Thursday, June 26, 2014

6.26.14 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        26, Brigadier-General Grenville M. Dodge initiates confiscation policy for Confederate guerrilla supporters in West Tennessee, General Orders No. 11
GENERAL ORDERS, No. 11. HDQRS. CENTRAL DIV. OF THE MISS., Trenton, Tenn., July 26, 1862.
I. The general commanding has undoubted knowledge that the sympathizers with this rebellion within the limits of this command are aiding in a spies of warfare unknown to the laws and customs of war, the suppression of which calls for more rigorous and decisive measures than have been heretofore adopted. The allowing of bands of guerrillas to encamp in the neighborhood without giving information of the fact, the firing upon pickets, the feeding of parties who are hiding from our forces and the carrying of information to and from the enemy have become matters of daily occurrence. It is therefore ordered-
II. That any neighborhood, town or village that allows marauding bands or guerrillas to remain or camp near them without immediately sending word to the nearest military post will be levied upon, and a certain portion of the property of all known sympathizers of this rebellion than can be used by the U. S. forces, to be determined by the commander of the division, will be taken, and the citizens will be held personally responsible for the acts of the band. Where pickets are fired into the sympathizers of the rebellion being near the place will be arrested and held until the guilty party is brought to fight, and when any injury is done the picket there will be assessed upon the disloyal citizens living near the place an amount not exceeding $10,000, as the commanding general may determine.
III. Citizens who encourage returned soldiers and deserters to hide in the woods and form bands to return to the rebel army will be arrested and held responsible for all depredations committed by these bands; and when it comes to the knowledge of any of the commanders of posts of this command that returned soldiers or deserters are lurking about, hiding and not coming forward as required they will arrest and hold for hostage the nearest disloyal relative to the soldier, such person to be held as hostage till the soldier delivers himself or is delivered up.
IV. Any person, white or black, free or slave, who brings reliable information of guerrilla bands, marauding parties and of citizens who are breaking any provisions of this order, which information proving to be of benefit to the U. S. forces, will receive a liberal reward. If a slave he will be guaranteed against receiving punishment for bringing such information.
By order of Brig. Gen. G. M. Dodge
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 4, pp. 290-291.[1]

        26, The Sack of Beersheba
Scenes enacted here today beggar description. Early in the morning the sack of the place began. But a few of the "bushwhackers" were in--the mountain people came in crowds and with vehicles of all sorts and carried off everything they could from both hotel and cottages. Mr. Armfield seeing that the place was going, opened Dr. Harding's and Mr. Bass' cottages, just opposite, and told his negros [sic] to come and remove whatever they wanted. The negros [sic] "pitched in with a will"--and furniture and housekeeping articles changed places rapidly. Mrs. Scott's wagon was here--she had it filled, and Mr. Hadden took it down home for her, going in company with our gentlemen. Darlin' and Mr. Armfield started about 11 o'clock intending to remain over night at Mr. Scotts. In the morning Miss Jane and I went to Sunday school with the children, but no one arriving [sic] but Miss Martha Smartt and Maj. we came home without any school....I left there...but the scenes we witnessed were indescribable. Gaunt, Ill-looking men and slatternly, rough barefooted women stalking and racing to and fro, eager as famished wolves for prey, hauling out furniture--tearing up matting and carpets--running to and fro after entrances into inclosures, the women fully as full of avaricious thirst as the ruffainly [sic] men. Others seated on their piles of plunder, smoked and glared defiance on any one who came near them. One crone, a Mrs. Anglin, a veritable Mrs. Meriless [sic] in appearance, sat on her pile, and crooned a hymn [sic] by snatches and starts! One girl-bare-headed and barefooted took off some dress from B[isho]p Otey's. She could not wait until she reached home to try them on, but put down her bundle in a fence corner, tried one on and had a great overgrown boy hooking them up for her! Satisfying herself as to the fits--she resumed her bundle and marched on! (Speaking of fits reminds me that one of those Yankees who were up here on Tuesday [21st], fell down in a fit at the dining room door--just as he was going to breakfast. He was a frightful object--and they deluged him with water and poured brandy over his face, and beat and rubbed and shook him. They saw Jane and Mollie and one of them said "it was a d____d shame for them secesh women to be laughing at Dare." Mrs. M. asked what was the matter? They said he had a fit in consequence of his night ride, no supper, the storm, the losing of the way--the scare, etc. etc. "Why!" she exclaimed, "soldiers scared--scared into fits!" [sic] "Oh!" if you'd been there you'd been scared too--my horse jumped down a precipice 15 feet high,--etc. etc.) At Mrs. Freeliln's house they held an orgie [sic] the whole night, singing, shouting, and it is believed dancing. I heard the noise among the cottages myself, when I closed my shutters at 11 o'clock. It was a brilliant moonlight--fair and cloudless, with a light breeze blowing. Nature so serene and lovely seemed to smile upon the scene of confusion. They dragged off mattresses--fine furniture etc., into the woods, and left it, coming back for another load, and in this way many who had no conveyances managed to get away a great deal. It called up before me (on a small scale,) visions of the reign of terror and the mob of Paris shouting "to Versailles!" The difference was that blood flowed there so freely--and it would have flowed here--if resistance had been made. And not withstanding [sic] it was so serious an affair, many incidents occurred which provoked me to laughter. Miss Sue White said that one woman had a lot of books from Bishop Otey's residence--many were Latin and French books, and there were some volumes of very profound theological character, and pamphlets of Church proceedings. The woman who did not know a letter to save her life, said "she had some children who were just beginin' [sic] to read and she wanted the books for them--she wanted to encourage 'em!" To crown all imagine one scene of old "Meg Merilees" [sic] sitting on her plunder with a bucket in her hand scooping out greasy boiled cabbage and swallowing it wholesale and clawing it up in her long bony fingers and helping another who being more fastidious rather expostulated as the manner of being helped-- when old Meg cried out "take woman as ye can git it--ye mustn't be so nice these times." Two women went into a regular fist fight and kept it up for an hour--clawing and clutching at each other because one had more than the other! A band would rush up and take possession of a cottage--place a guard, drive off everyone else, stating that this was theirs, and many were the scenes of contest that ensued. The men would have red curtain tassels on their hats--the women beggared description as to costume. I saw one tall, lathy, [sic] figure with a tallow face and hank hair [sic] --bare-footed, bareheaded, --a skirt of faded calico rent in several places, a body of a different material with a belt of red horse girth, vainly endeavoring to "make the connection" between the two incongraous [sic] garments! She went off like a locomotive hither and thither leaning forward until she was half bent in her eagerness to get everywhere before somebody else! All day it was beautiful, sunshine and calm, over the white cottages nestling among the heavy green foliage--but oh! the scenes enacted around that doomed Hotel and among these birds nest dwelling place[s] of luxury and taste in rural retreats! It is that "the masses" had it all their own way on this memorable day, --the aristocrats went down for the nonce, and Democracy--Jacobinism--and Radicalism in their rudest forms reigned triumphant. It has been a memorable day this 26th, July 1863.-when "the master" went down to town "to take the oath" and become in Lincolnite parlance a "subjugated rebel," and Bersheba [sic] was sacked in his absence by a wild onset from the very people he has been building up for years! The "bushwhackers" were in in the evening, and "one Campbell"...went to Hobb's and stole off our magnificent Morgan horse...I have given thus but a faint and feeble as well a disconnected outline of the strange doings of Sunday. I never expected to be in a "sacked city" but I now have a "realizing sense" of what it would be--having witnessed the sacking on a small scale. And having seen something of the demoralizing effect upon the servants, and indeed upon ourselves, I can imagine what its effect would be upon an army if allowed to revel in the license which has marked the proceedings of this day. I know of nothing which would utterly annihilate the soldier in a man so soon.
War Journal of Lucy Virginia French.

        26, Newspaper report on Tennessee Governor W. G. Brownlow's opinion on the fate of African Americans
Gov. W. G. Brownlow, of Tennessee, takes this view of the future of the negro, in a late letter to his Knoxville Whig, upon the presumption, we suppose, that they are to remain among the whites:
["]The negroes, like the Indian tribes, will gradually become extinct, having no owners to care for them, and no owning property in them, the will cease to increase in numbers-cease to be looked after and cultivated-while educated labor will take the place of slave labor, Idleness, starvation, and diseases, will remove a majority of the negroes in this generation. The better class of them will got work and sustain themselves[."]
Macon Daily Telegraph, July 26, 1865.

[1] See also: Soldier's Budget [Humboldt], August 14, 1863.

James B. Jones, Jr.
Public Historian
Tennessee Historical Commission
2941 Lebanon Road
Nashville, TN  37214
(615)-770-1090 ext. 123456
(615)-532-1549  FAX

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