Wednesday, July 23, 2014

7.23.14 Tennessee Civil War Notes

23, Letter Alleging a Conspiracy to Furnish Arms and Munitions to East Tennessee Unionists

Correspondence of the Louisville Courier.

Arms and Munitions of War-Aid and Comfort in the Tories of East Tennessee-The Conspiracy.

Nicholasville, Ky., July 23

Editors Louisville Courier: For two weeks past quantities of munitions of war and provisions have been passing through this place purporting to be for Cumberland Gap. By minute inquiry I learned that several wagon loads of parched coffee passed through en route for the Gap. In addition to this, arms in abundance have been transported to that section of the State. The Southern Rights party, though not informed of their movements, have great reason to believe these guns and provisions are encouraged by the Union men of this State for the Tories of East Tennessee. I write this note in order to enable you to give information of the proceedings of the Union party of the States. If you think it advisable to give the citizens of Tennessee any information of the present movements you can do so on my authority, and also on that of many other reliable men.

The breezes whisper that the troops from Newport Barracks are to accompany the arms to their destination. Volunteering has been going here, for the same purpose.

Daily Columbus Enquirer, July 31, 1861.



        23, Major-General W.T. Sherman refuses to rescind orders permitting draft age Confederates to remain in Memphis


Dr. E. S. PLUMMER AND OTHERS, Physicians in Memphis, Signers to a Petition:

GENTLEMEN: I have this moment received your communication[1], and assure you that it grieves my heart thus to be the instrument of adding to the seeming cruelty and hardship of this unnatural war.

On my arrival here I found my predecessor (Gen. Hovey) had issued an order[2] permitting the departure South of all persons subject to the conscript law of the Southern Confederacy. Many applications have been made to me to modify this order, but I regarded it as a condition-precedent by which I was bound in honor, and therefore I have made no changes or modifications, nor shall I determine what action I shall adopt in relation to persons unfriendly to our cause who remain after the time limited by Gen. Hovey's order has expired. It is now sunset, and all who have not availed themselves of Gen. Hovey's authority and who remain in Memphis are supposed to be loyal and true men.

I will only say that I cannot allow the personal convenience of even a large class of ladies to influence me in my determination to make Memphis a safe place of operations for an army, and all people who are unfriendly should forthwith prepare to depart in such direction as I may hereafter indicate.

Surgeons are not liable to be made prisoners of war, but they should not reside within the lines of an army which they regard as hostile. The situation would be too delicate.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. II, p. 114.

        23, "City Council, General Sherman and Col. Slack."

Headquarters, U. S. Forces

Memphis, Tenn. June 20, 1862.

Members of the Board of Aldermen, the Mayor, City Recorder, and all other persons discharging any official duty within the city of Memphis, and under the charter thereof, are required to come before the Provost-Marshal and take the oath of allegiance to the Government of the United States, within three days, or in default there of will be regarded as sympathizing, aiding and abetting rebellion, and will be treated as only traitors deserve.

By order of Jas. R. Slack, Col. Com.

M. P. Evans, A. A. A. Gen.

How many of the present and past Board of Aldermen have conformed to the requirements of this order?

Has S. T. Morgan, a secessionist when Tennessee was Union, taken an oath of allegiance since he voted for the Southern Confederacy, and since he illuminated his house to honor secession processions; and since he signed secession directory's [sic] to force Memphis, then Union, to become rebellious? Has he, we say, taken any oath of allegiance [sic] to the government, that under it he presumes to legislate for a city in which all others are required to take one; or did he, unelected by the people, smuggle into the pseudo-board to avoid taking an oath of allegiance to a government he had sought to shatter?

Has Mr. Alderman Amos ever pledged his allegiance [sic] to the United States since Rebellion became unprofitable? Did he not also, un-elected by the people, smuggle into the Board to avoid taking that oath of allegiance?

Has Samuel Tighe taken an oath of allegiance yet? Has Dr. Merrill? How comes the latter in the Board at all? How comes any of these in the face of the order of Col. Slack? Was not the order published? Was it not kept standing in our columns? Was it ever revoked? Did not Gen. Sherman's order, published yesterday [sic], make clear to the Union men of that Board why in our same issue we wished an investigation of eligibility? Do the gentlemen imagine that, like the ostrich, if they hide their heads in the dirt they cannot be seen?

When it is found Necessary, and is felt to be just in the Government to require an oath of allegiance from the unofficial, can it be believed it should be exacted from those who aspire, and even illegally dare to wield under the United States flag official power and influence after having positively refused [sic] to swear allegiance to that flag, when requested by Colonel Slack then commander of this post.

We, and thousands of others have much mistaken the sense and justice of General W. S. [sic] Sherman if such trickery is imposed on him.

On two different occasions, far removed, we have warned that board of the ineligibility of many of its members, of a sufficient number indeed to render it inoperative. It has persisted in its treasonable evasion of the order which forms the opening of our article. Men in it had refused and would, ay and some will, or say they will, refuse to take the oath of allegiance [sic] expected from all, and yet forsooth they hope to be permitted to remain here and regulate for a city over which W. T. Sherman holds chief authority!

On other [sic] scores that Board is illegal. In a few days we will publish the opinions of some of the leading [sic] counsel[s] in the city on the question; and in the meantime we warn our readers that no contracts made by them, no pretended ordinances passed by them can possibly be considered binding on the City of Memphis, nor is the city even bound to recognize or pay any appointees of their making.

The only legitimate authority now in Memphis is that of Gen. W. T. Sherman and under him the military authorities appointed to various offices; and, thank heaven! About their allegiance and their loyalty to it, hangs no doubt.

The smuggling into the pseudo-board of Messrs. Morgan, Amos, Merrill, and others, unelected by the people, and in defiance of the order of Gen. Slack is most admirable proof of the wisdom of the order itself, and in the late order of Gen. Sherman, we find assurance that such skulking treason will not be tolerated.

It needs no great perspicacity to see what future evil to the best interest of the city would accrue from the continuous action of an illegal Board, whose doing would assuredly lead to endless litigation. Still less foresight is required to conjecture the dangers that might arise to the national cause from the continuance in office of men who "can't take that oath." The troops now here, the position of the city, the presence of General Sherman, all point to the necessity of having no two rulers here, no two codes of laws, no two corps of gens d'armierie [sic] responsible to different authorities. General Butler saw the need of a united rule, and much as we admire his sagacity we have every reason to believe that the wisdom of General Sherman is no wise inferior.

Memphis Union Appeal, July 23, 1862.



        23, Rodent dilemma in Nashville


We have in Nashville more mean dogs and cats than any city of the same size was ever cursed with. A man can scarcely walk the streets on a dark night without kicking a few rats as they cross his path, and yet if he but imitate the bark of a dog, in two minutes from twenty to a hundred dogs will rush from their hiding places, and woe be to the smallest cur which happens amongst them. Night is made hideous with their cries of barking, and they finally crawl into the several holes, and the rats again hold a carnival among themselves. One of our friends owns about sixteen dogs and as infinite number of cats, and yet he complains to us that his house is eaten up by the rats, one of his cat recently killed by them, and constant danger of an attack upon his family. What is to be done? Really, we cannot conjecture; but we have an idea that if we had to turn rat-hunter, we would first shoot all the worthless dogs and cats on the premises, and then commence with traps and every device which human ingenuity has devised. Dogs and cats have duty to perform to society as well as other animals, and they ought to be made to do it.

Nashville Dispatch, July 23, 1863.



        23, A petition to Military Governor Andrew Johnson to pardon Confederate deserters

Gov. Andrew Johnson,

Dear Sir:

We, the undersigned, would very respectfully call your attention to the following statement and earnestly ask of you your good offices in behalf of those for whom this petition is written. Joseph Berryman, H. T. Berryman, T. Berryman are now confined as Prisoners of War at Rock Island, Bar.[racks] 57. They are citizens of Humphrey County, Tenn. About the 10th of Feb. 1863 they were conscripted by Forrest wholly against their will. About the 1st of June following-the first chance that had presented itself-they deserted the Confederate Service and returned to their homes where they remained until Christmas last, quietly engaged in their civil pursuits. At that time, they of their own free act, delivered themselves up to Major Price, then commanding at Station Forty Nine on the N.W.R.R. with the request that they should be allowed to take the oath of amnesty or any oath or bond that might be required in order for them to resume their occupations as citizens, from which they had been forcably [sic] withdrawn. They were not permitted to do this but were sent immediately North for exchange. They now and have at all times refused to be exchanged-only desiring to take the oath of allegiance and return to their homes.

They have recently addressed one of us a letter earnestly asking that a petition be drawn up to you with the hope that, when you know the circumstances under which they became Prisoners of war, you will exercise that kind influence, which has alleviated the sufferings of so many other unfortunate men, in procuring their release. They are and have always been true, unflinching Union man and two of them voted against [sic] Separation and Representation on the 8th of June 1861. The other was not old enough or he would have voted the same ticket. The letter they have written in this matter is herewith enclosed that you may be convinced of their earnest desire to be released for Prison and restored to the rights of citizens under a government which they were forcably [sic] enlisted.

Entreating, Gov. Johnston, that this petition will obtain your well known [sic] kind consideration, we remain

Very Respectfully,

Your obedient Servants,

Andrew J. Pemberton and others

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 752.

        23, "I am fully convinced that there is a deep laid Conspiracy on hand in this count to draw from the United States Treasury a large amount of money – "

Jasper, Tennessee, June 23rd, 1864

To His Excellency, Andrew Johnson,

Military Governor, Nashville, Tenn.

I am fully convinced that there is a deep laid Conspiracy on hand in this country to draw from the United States Treasury a large amount of money – how large I am unable to say – wrongfully, as I think. In December last, if I remember well, there was a Board of claims established hereto assess the damages done to the citizens by the Federal troops since the commencement of the rebellion. The Board was composed of five members, three Military, and two citizens, Brig' Gen Steedman, Chairman. The Board was imposed upon by the enemies of the Government, as can be proved, if necessary; but the Board, or most of it were innocent. I understand an Agent is now gone to Washington City to urge the payment of these claims as early as possible. I know that there were Conspiracy, fraud and perjury on the part of some of the claimants, but not all; and my opinion is that fifty thousand dollars or more in consequence was allowed by the Board, than would have been allowed, if truth alone had been introduced. Since the Army of the Cumberland drove Bragg from this Country, and took possession of it, many of the enemies of the Union came forward and took the oath of allegiance, but if there is one in the County in reality converted to the Union Cause, in all candor, truth and Sincerity, I know rebels are suffered for nearly three years to do all they can do to break down the Government, and then when they are conquered, come forward and take a hypocritical oath to save property, and awful doom awaits the loyal portion of the American people. It seems to me that the loyal only should be paid for damaged; but if it is the policy of the Government at Washington to place all, loyal and disloyal alike, upon an equality in deriving benifits [sic] from it, then I can see no good that can result from the loss of so much blood and treasure, already shed and spent. I know it will be hard for the truly loyal and needy to be out of the use of their just claims the length of time it would require to reinvestigate all the claims considered by the Board; but some special relief might be afforded to them.

No truly loyal man who is able to live without immediate aid from some quarter, will murmur at the postponement of the payment of his just claim against the Government, when the postponement of the collection will prove a saving to the Government of so large a sum. If this system of wrong upon the Government shall be successfully carried out in all sections of the country, in the manner it is sought to be carried out here, what will become of us? As one who has ever been loyal to the Union, I have thought it my duty to say thus much to you now, as a faithful sentinel on the watch tower. If, however, the rebels are to be dealt with by the Government in the same manner that we are to be dealt with, I shall not deem it necessary to say more on the subject; but whatever may be done in the matter, I would be pleased to hear from you on the subject, and as early as your convenience will permit.

And as there is but little or no regularity in the post office at Shellmound, on the Nashville and Chattanooga Rail Road, which is the nearest post office to me, it is deemed best to address me at Bridgeport, Alabama, where this letter is written[.]

Very Respectfully, Wm. A. Sorrels

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol., 6, p. 753-754.


[1] Not found.

[2] Not found.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214


(615)-532-1549  FAX


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