Monday, July 21, 2014

7.21.14 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        21, Formation of a military sewing society promoted

Ladies of Memphis, Please Attend! You are requested to meet in the basement of Calvery [sic] church, corner of Second and Adams, on Monday next, to form a Military Sewing Society. There is work to be done for the volunteers, and this announcement is sufficient to bring the patriotic ladies of Memphis together, for they certainly will not consent to let the soldiers pay for having their uniforms made, while there are so many willing hands and hearts waiting for some opportunity, like this, to work for those who are doing so much in their defense. The first work to be done by the society is for the Southern Guards. Those having friends in that company, whose suits they wish to make, can get them if they apply soon enough, at Calvary church. Further solicitation is unnecessary. 

Memphis Daily Appeal, July 21, 1861.



        21, "Pickets Captured—Railroad Bridges Burned—Great Excitement."

Six of our pickets, who were stationed on the Lebanon road were attacked yesterday afternoon by a party of twenty guerrillas belonging to Forrest's troop, and all but one captured; one of these subsequently escaped. We learn that the pickets were strolling in an orchard at the time.

Later in the afternoon three bridges on the Chattanooga Railroad were burned down, the nearest seven and the furthest eight miles from the city. Scouts report Col. Forrest with a force of from twelve hundred to two thousand within five miles of this lace. At the time of writing this paragraph the troops are under arms, prepared for an attack, and much excitement exists.

Nashville Daily Union, July 22, 1862.

        21, L&N Railroad cut by Confederates between Murfreesboro and Nashville

HDQRS., Huntsville, July 22, 1862.

Gen. McCOOK, Battle Creek:

….Railroad between Nashville and Murfreesborough cut yesterday, will take eight days to repair it….


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, p. 197.



        21, The Gangs of Memphis

"Riot Among the Boys"

It seems that the New York [draft] riots have set everybody crazy on the riot question -- even the boys are not getting along well unless they can get up a riot on their own account. Yesterday, therefore, they undertook the game out in the neighborhood of Chelsea.[1] Some boys from the locality known as Scotland, gathered together, and marched into Chelsean territory. This invasion roused all the wrathful fires of pride of place in the bosoms of the Chelsea boys. A call for organization was made. The boys of the invaded territory flew to arms; clubs, stones and brickbats were their principal weapons. The number, though small at first, rapidly increased until each side numbered about fifty. A regular pitched battle was fought, in which the Chelsea boys, aided by reinforcements from Pinch were victorious, the invaders being forced to evacuate. The boys composing these bands were of all ages, ranging from six to twenty years. Some ten or fifteen the boys were more or less injured by being stuck with clubs, stone, and such like missiles. Some soldiers who had watched the fight interposed, and restored quiet among the rowdies.

Memphis Bulletin, July 21, 1863.

        21, "Murder, Robbery, Cutting and Maiming;" the return of a crime wave and a call for the return of a military police force in Civil War Nashville

Many of our readers will remember the fearful state in which Nashville was for two or three months previous to the first of last January; almost everyday we were called upon to record some brutal murder, a burglary, a robbery, or assaults. Earnestly and repeatedly we called upon the authorities for reform, and suggested a plan by which we hoped to restore law and order, and protect the lives and property of our fellow citizens. This plan was finally approved by Gen. Rosecrans, who caused a military force to be placed in command of the mayor, with the view of aiding the police in the preservation of good order, and the prevention of crime[2]. We need scarcely say that our citizens were rejoiced at the manner in which Lieut. Isom's detachment performed their arduous duties; after two days and nights of constant vigilance, some of the most notorious characters were either in jail or had absconded, and so close a watch was kept upon the others that many found it convenient to leave the city soon thereafter. Citizens could walk the streets at any hour of the night without fear, and the horrible atrocities were nearly forgotten, when Lieut. Isom was called to another field of operations, and his men were ordered to other duties, thus leaving the city again at the mercy of the depraved -- citizens and soldiers.

Again our city is disgraced by scenes of barbarous atrocities and almost nightly robberies. Soldiers are permitted to roam about the city off duty, armed, and after imbibing a few glasses of whisky, ready and willing to use their weapons upon the slightest provocation. Within a few days we have recorded the killing of Jeremiah Walsh, an inoffensive citizen-an act, to say the least of it, unwarranted: the poisoning of a family of nine persons; the cutting of a soldier by a comrade in so horrible a manner that he died in a few hours thereafter; the killing of sutler by a negro [sic]; and on Sunday night [19th], the cutting of a citizen with a sabre or sword bayonet, in such a manner that it is almost miraculous how the man could possibly survive.

The atrocities are increasing daily, and hence the necessity of immediate action to check the progress of crime in our midst. We respectfully suggest a conference between the military and civil authorities, for the purpose of deriving some means of preserving order. South Nashville, especially, needs immediate attention. We were informed by one of the watchmen of that district last week that in one night, between the hours of 10 and 3 o'clock, he heard more than a dozen shots fired, and one of the city marshals informed us that no citizen considered himself safe outside his house after dark. The Western part of the city also needs especial attention and for reasons which Marshal Chumbly can point out.

If no better plan can be adopted than that we originally proposed, we respectfully urge upon the authorities its revival; it is simply to detail a sufficient number of the Provost Guard, to allow two men to accompany each Policemen on his beat, and parade it together every night -- the whole to be under the command of the Mayor, and subject to his order, night and day.

Nashville Dispatch, July 21, 1863.



        21, "The Tennessee Banks."

We have understood that the Supervisor of Banks will enter upon the discharge of his duties under the Bank Code during the present or coming week and that it is his intention to exact as faithful a compliance with provisions of the Bank

Code and the acts amendatory thereof as circumstances will at present justify. We feel warranted in saying that one object he will labor to accomplish will be to bring up the notes of the banks doing business in the State to the "greenback" standard. He regards it a duty he owes to the people of Tennessee, who hold largely the issues of our banks, to require the banks to make their issues as good as that which the Government has made legal tender.

Another matter that will engage the especial attention of the Supervisor of Banks will be the looking after and gathering up of such of the assets of the Bank of Tennessee as may be within reach. There is a large amount of debts due the Bank scattered over the State much of which, by proper attention, may be secured. The evidences of these debts have been carried beyond the limits of the State; but where it can be ascertained that a party owes the Bank, the laws of Tennessee provide amply for enforcing its collection. The Bank holds a very considerable amount of real estate in various parts of the State, which he proposed to take possession of. The greater portion of this real estate is improved and very valuable, and may be disposed of upon very advantageous terms. From these tow items a fund may be realized which will go a long way toward liquidating the indebtedness of the State.

Nashville Dispatch, July 21, 1864.

[1] Chelsea was the Irish section of Memphis in the 19th century.

[2] This sounds similar to actions taken by W. T. Sherman in Memphis in the summer of 1862. There seems to be no record of Rosecrans actions on this particular point.

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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