Sunday, July 27, 2014

7.26.14 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        27, Letter from R. J. C. Gailbreath [C. S. A.] in Bristol, Tennessee, to his wife Mariah Gailbreath, near Gainesborough, relative to railroad transportation, the first battle of Bull Run, and righteousness of the Southern cause

Bristol, Sullivan County, Tennessee

July 27th, 1861.

Dear Wife and Children-

I again embrace the pleasure of writing to you & as Ink [sic] is scares amongst us, you will pardon me for making this impression with pencil.

I can inform you, [sic] that I am in excellent health, as well as the other boys from your neighborhood.

We left Camp Trousdale on Sunday the 21st. Inst. and arrived her on Thursday the 25, [sic] making 4 days and nights travel by Railroad, [sic] passing through Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Greenville, [sic] Jonesboro, and other places of minor importance.

Crossing the Tennessee and other smaller Rivers, [sic] on Bridges, [sic] passing the Cumberland Mountains through a gap and tunnel and running under the Frowning [sic] brow of the Iron Mountains [sic] hundreds of Miles [sic] amid the most delightful and Majestic like Cenery, [sic] the Eye of Man ever beheld, in spring the beholder with a deep reverence for the Infinite [sic] wisdom of him [sic] that made us and everything. Could it have been that our thoughts had not occasionally strayed from the cenery [sic] around us and found a resting place, [sic] The Hearth at Home, [sic] where our wives and Children, [sic] with their sweet and lovely Faces, [sic] and the many items of Interest [sic] that bound us to them.

Had it not been for a thought of the Blood, [sic] Death, [sic] and carnage before us, of which I will write on another page, the trip would have been delightful.

No accident of a serious nature occurred until we were leaving Knoxville, when one of our Company, a son of Joseph Law, by the name of Don. F. in attempting to jump the Train, [sic] fell under the Train, [sic] cutting his leg smooth into, [sic] just below the left knee. We carried him into the warehouse where the Seargant [sic] cut it off again just above the knee. I carried his foot and leg in my hand from the Railroad [sic] to the Warehouse, [sic] with a shoe and a sock and a part of the Breeches [sic] leg on it-We left him there and his brother to wait on him, but learned this Morning [sic] that he has since died.

We are within a half mile of the Virginia line, connecting with Washington County sick, in that State, where the State [sic] line crosses the Railroad-There is [sic] two Flagpoles, [sic] one in Virginia, and one on the Tennessee line, and since the decision of Tennessee [to secede and join the Confederacy] the two Flags [sic] have been tied together.

While I am writing, Colonel Newman's Regiment, among which is the Granville Company, [sic] has arrived here from old Camp Trousdale, and while they March through our Camps with Marshal [sic] Music, [sic] [they] had a Warlike [sic] appearance. I stopped to shake hands and to help the other boys to Holow. [sic] They were mighty glad to see us again.

Yesterday we received order to move to Lynchburg, Virginia, and as there was a scarcity of Cars [sic] there was only Seven Companies that got off, and we, with two other Companies [sic] was left-after they got up 15 Miles [sic] into Virginia, They [sic] got a Telgraph [sic] dispatch to come back, and as they are just getting into Camps [sic] again I must stop again, to tell the Howdy Do [sic]-We were as glad to see them as if they had been gone a week.

Last Night Five [sic] of our Boys [sic] caught up with us, Bill among them-They looked like they could stand the Fight [sic] first rate.

As I promised to write more about the Big Fight Manassas [sic] I will now give you all the news as we have it. I have just been down to Town [sic] (Woodrow, Virginia), and red the Richmond Examiner, and give it to you. The Southerners had 30,000 men Commanded [sic] by Beauregard [sic], Davis and Johnston. The Yankees had 65,000 men Commanded [sic] by Scott, McDowell and Patterson. Fight [sic] commenced at 8 O'clock-Morning [sic] (Sunday) about the hour we left Camp Trousdale and lasted all day. The Southerners [sic] lost 500 killed and 1,500 wounded-Then the Northern Men [sic] lost 21,000 killed [sic] and lost 1,000 prisoners-Our side took 63 Cannons [sic] 1,000 Stands of Arms, [sic] Horses [sic] and provisions and etc. worth a Million of Dollars [sic]-Enough to Furnish [sic] the Southern Army for 12 Months. From the General [sic] detail of the battle it was the greatest Battle [sic] fought since the Memerable [sic] Battle [sic] of Waterloo-If Jeff Davis had of had [sic] Ten Thousand Men [sic] more, who was Fresh [sic] and not exhausted, he says he could have taken Washington City in 10 Hours [sic] after the battle-Our side run [sic] them within a few mile [sic] of the Potomac River-Got old Scott's Carriage, [sic] and his walking stick and he run [sic] 40 miles, got 2 members of the Yanks [sic] Congressmen as prisoners, and in fact, whipped them shamefully -- For full particulars I refer you to the News [sic] Paper. [sic]

I do not know where we will go from here. It is rumored that we will go to the Cumberland Gap, some say to Missouri. Governor Jackson of Missouri was here Yesterday [sic] in Company [sic] with Senator Atchinson-They both spoke-Jackson says that he can whip out the Yankees in Missouri if he had Guns-He has gone to Richmond to see Davis. The impression here is that he has gone there to get some of the Guns [sic] we got from the Yankees.

I cannot say now, my Dear Family, [sic] when I will see you again, if ever, but should it be the will of God to cut me off from you, rest assured that you shall never be disgraced by any Conduct [sic] on my part in this War [sic], for you and my Country; [sic] I am willing to do Battle, [sic] and if Fate [sic] be against me, let it be so. Be curageous [sic] and let not private feelings have sway with you, for I believe it is for the Best, [sic] and but performing the Providence of God that this War [sic] is upon us, in other words, it is a Righteous War. [sic]

Take good care of your health, our sweet little Children [sic] raise them up as though they should go, and although the example heretofore set by me to them has not been of that Moral Character [sic] they should have been, Yet [sic] I trust that their superior intelligence will enable them to observe and avoid my errors.

Since writing the above, we have orders to leave immediately for Richmond, and Boys [sic] are bundeling [sic] up to start.

You need not write me until I write again. Give my love to your Mother, [sic] and all the Black Folks, [sic] and to your Friends. [sic]

Should Faith [sic] preserve me, I will see you in May next, if not sooner. May Heaven will it so.


R. J. C. Gailbreath

W. P. A. Civil War Records, Vol. 3, pp. 64-65.



        27, Skirmish[1] near Manchester

No circumstantial reports filed.

MANCHESTER, July 27, 1862.

Col. J. B. FRY:

* * * *

Forrest appeared before me this morning and made a successful dash upon one of my reconnoitering parties, killing 3 and capturing 15 men. He was apparently withdrawn in the direction of McMinnville. I sent out a strong detachment a short distance to the front to ascertain his whereabouts. We must concentrate a cavalry force sufficient to chase him down before we can get rid of him. Will I be relieved by Gen. Wood? If so, when? I have the flour all safely stored in the depot.

W. S. SMITH, Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, p. 218.

        27, Affair near Toone's Station, a.k.a. Lower Post Ferry.

Report of Capt. James J. Dollins, Stewart's Battalion Illinois Cavalry, on the "Affair at Toone's Station, or Lower Post Ferry, July 27, 1862.

GEN.: I am at this place. I reconnoitered the ground where I had the fighting to-day. About 1 p. m. found the enemy's cavalry posted on your side of the river. They are about 200 strong. I learn from a reliable source that some had crossed the river by swimming at Estenaula Ferry, where I destroyed the boats yesterday. I have just seen Gen. McClernand's dispatch to Gen. Ross, saying Maj. Stewart is sent to re-enforce me. After reconnoitering to-day I fell back to Toone's Station, 6 miles. They followed us to within 3 miles of that place.

Maj. Stewart had better come there, as I think their intention is to overpower the guards and burn the cotton at that place. What shall I do? Will wait your orders. All here on hand and will wait a few minutes for an answer. My dead are yet on the field.


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt, I, p. 25.

        27, Major-General W. T. Sherman seeks cooperation of Memphis municipal authorities in maintaining order in the Bluff City

HDQRS. FIFTH DIVISION, Memphis, Tenn., July 27, 1862.

JOHN PARK, Mayor of Memphis:

SIR: Yours of July 24[2] is before me and has received, as all similar papers ever will, my careful and most respectful consideration.

I have the most unbounded respect for the civil law, courts, and authorities, and shall do all in my power to restore them to their proper use, viz., the protection of life, liberty, and property.

Unfortunately at this time civil war prevails in the land, and necessarily the military for the time being must be superior to the civil authority, but does not therefore destroy it. Civil courts and executive officers should still exist and perform duties, without which civil or municipal bodies would soon pass into disrespect--an end to be avoided.

I am glad to find in Memphis yourself and municipal authorities not only in existence but in the exercise of your important functions, and I shall endeavor to restore one or more civil tribunals for the arbitrament [sic] of contracts and punishment of crimes which the military authority has neither time nor inclination to interfere with.

Among these, first in importance, is the maintenance of order, peace, and quiet within the jurisdiction of Memphis. To insure this I will keep a strong provost guard in the city, but will limit their duty to guarding public property held or claimed by the United States, and for the arrest or confinement of State prisoners and soldiers who are disorderly or improperly away from their regiments.

This guard ought not to arrest citizens for disorder or common crimes. This should be done by the city police. I understand that the city police is too weak in numbers to accomplish this perfectly, and I therefore recommend that the city council at once take steps to increase this force to a number which, in their judgment, day and night, can enforce your ordinance as to peace, quiet, and order, so that any change in our military dispositions will not have a tendency to leave your people unguarded.

I am willing to instruct my provost guard to assist the police force where any combination is made too strong for them to overcome, but the city police should be strong enough for any probable contingency.

The cost of maintaining this police force must necessarily fall upon all citizens equitably.

I am not willing, nor do I think it good policy, for the city authorities to collect the taxes belonging to the State and county, as you recommend, for these would have to be refunded. Better meet the expenses at once by a new tax on all interested. Therefore if you, on consultation with the proper municipal body, will frame a good bill for the increase of your police force and for raising the necessary means for their support and maintenance, I will approve it and aid you in the collection of the tax. Of course I cannot suggest how this tax should be laid, but I think that it should be made uniform on all interests, real estate and personal property, including money and merchandise. All who are protected should share the expenses in proportion to the interests involved.

I am, with respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Maj.-Gen., Comdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17. pt II, p. 127.[3]



        27, "A Great Mistake."

On yesterday afternoon, Judge M. M. Brien had occasion to chastise a negro [sic] woman, to prevent her abusing a member of his family, when a large mob of negroes [sic] gathered in front of his dwelling and made pretty menacing demonstrations. The provost guard appeared, and after hearing how the matter stood, went their way. But a number of them soon returned and arrested the Judge and presented him before the bar of the Provost Marshal when he was released. Col. Spaulding was not present, but the gentleman officiating in his stead, treated the Judge very courteously, dismissing him with a remark that the time had passed when negroes [sic] could be whipped in this country. [sic] The Judge supposed the guard returned and arrested him at the suggestion of some of the angry negroes [sic] who had assembled near his residence

We would caution the soldier on duty in this city, that it would be wise to pay but little attention to many of the negroes [sic] who have accumulated in and around Nashville. Judge Brien is, and always has been, not only a Union man, but a strong administration man. And we have no doubt, but the "ironclads" and "copperbottoms," who saw the Judge marching up Capital hill has a sharp stick after him, laughed in their sleeves, and grew bolder in their reason [?]. Be careful soldiers, we know your motives are good, but don't punish your best friends by mistake. Done for the present.

Nashville Daily Press, July 27, 1863.

        27, Conditions in the Decherd and Winchester and environs

Winchester, July 27th, 1863.

Dear Press: Leaving your city on Thursday [23rd] last by the 6 A.M. train of the N&C Railroad, and being passed free of charge on the strength of a bit of pasteboard kindly furnished by the worthy superintendent Anderson, who is a perfect gentleman, as is also his assistant, I arrived safely at Decherd, after a most delightful trip in company with Mr. Sinsabaus, who is a perfect brick in his own way, and withal very much of a gentleman. At Decherd everything was noise and confusion, what between the puffing and snorting of three or four engines, the rattle and jam of hundreds of government wagons, and the almost incessant braying and screeching of a thousand or more mules, mingled with the shouts and curses of their contraband drivers, the ding to our unpracticed ear was almost intolerable. But it was surprising to witness the rapidity and accuracy with which all government business was despatched [sic] amid this tumult, and in less than one hour the crowd had dispersed, the mountains of rations had disappeared, and but few remained upon the ground except the necessary guard, and an occasional sutler, who were pretty equally divided into two parties, the one bewailing bitterly the loss of his valuable stock through his own foolhardiness in attempting to smuggle contraband goods through under the very eyes of a score of government agents, who long since have learned all the dodges of the cunning craft, and are ever on the alert to pick up and offending army follower, while the remainder were counting already the profits in perspective upon the sale of their edibles and bibibles [sic] to Uncle Sam's nephews, many of whom have just been paid off, and are consequently quite flush.

But it is time that we, too, be moving, and following one of the many long lines of wagons loaded with "grubb [sic]" for the soldiers. We finally arrived at the pretty little town of Winchester, where we found the headquarters of General Rosecrans in a fine large college building. The General himself not being at present here, having been for some time, as you know, in your city, accompanied by his Provost Marshal General, Major Wiles. The present department is under control of Captain Elias Cooper, an efficient officer and a perfect gentleman, who is never absent from his post of duty. Here, too, we find the headquarters of Colonel Wm. Truesdail, Chief of the Army Police, who has labored so assiduously in the discharge of the many duties devolving upon him, as to win for himself the admiration and respect of all true hearted men and patriots. The Colonel himself is not in Nashville, with a view, as I understand, of making some important changes and improvements upon the present police system established by him.

Everything remains quite at this point; the men an officers having by this time been perfectly recruited-all appear to be feeling well, if not better, than before their late tedious and disagreeable march from Murfreesboro. What the next important movement in this section will be, and when made, I can only guess at, and as a mere surmise is not generally considered "reliable information." I shall wait and see, hoping soon to forward you something of more general interest than I am at present to do

Yours, Asa

Nashville Daily Press, July 29, 1863.



        27, The first grand review of U. S. C. T. in Nashville

The grand review of the colored troops in this city took place yesterday afternoon at 4 o'clock. A large concourse of citizens and officers of the army were present to witness the first review of this branch of our service, which has attracted so much attention and comment from all classes. The Reviewing Officer was Brig. Gen. Chetlain, commanding the colored troops of Tennessee. The troops present were the 12th regiment U. S. C. Inf., Col. Thompson; 15th U. S. C. Inf., Col. T. J. Downey; 17th regiment U. S. C. Inf., Col. W. R. Shafter; and 100th regiment U. S. C. inf., Maj. Ford, commanding. The band of the 10th Tenn. Infantry were present and discoursed most beautiful music, and added much to the effect of the review. Col. Thompson, Review Officer present, took command, and right well did he acquit himself. The 12th regiment came upon a special train from section 26, N. W. R. R. To say that the review as good hardly does justice to these gallant troops. We have been an eyewitness of many reviews of veteran troops, but have not witnessed a more creditable review than that of yesterday. The commanders of the different regiment[s] may well feel proud of their commands-and those of our citizens-especially the galvanized portion-missed a grand sight if they were not present; and we would advise them when next an opportunity affords, to be present and see how well some of the sons, grandsons, nephews, &c., of our F. F.'s.[4] acquitted themselves as soldiers of the Union. We trust that these reviews may be frequent hereafter, that our citizens may see that the "nigger" [sic] can and will make as good a soldier as a white man. Gen. Chetlain expresses himself highly gratified with the condition of the troops here, and we can only wish him god speed in his glorious mission.

The different regiments escorted the 12th regiment to the N. W. Railroad depot, and then marched through the streets. We regret to record the fact than an officer of the Army Commis'y [sic] Dep't., so far forgot himself as a soldier and gentleman to give commands to the troops as they passed his office on Cedar street. We trust hereafter that he will discontinue the practice of putting an enemy in his mouth to steal away his brains. We would gladly give an account of the rise and progress of the organization of colored troops in this Department but time will not permit.

Gen. Chetlain and staff, Major Paddock, Inspector General, and Dr. Rush, Medical Inspector, accompany him -- both agreeable and accomplished soldiers and gentlemen. The General leaves for Chattanooga on Friday.

Nashville Daily Times and True Union, July 28, 1864.

        27, Treatment of a U. S. C. T. Slave Family in Maury county

Cruel Treatment of the Families of Colored Soldiers by Tennessee Rebels.-A correspondent of the Nashville Times writes the following:

A recital of the wrongs daily inflicted upon the wives and children of colored soldiers in Tennessee is enough to make a human man weep tears of blood! Rebels who are living under the amnesty proclamation-rebels whose crimes against the State have justly forfeited their property and their worthless necks, appear to take fiendish delight in abusing the wives and children of those noble colored men who have enlisted to fight for a Government from which they have heretofore received on injustice. I will give you one case; I might give many. In 1841, Ira Hardison, who resides in Maury County, ten miles east of Columbia, bought a man named Wilson, and from 1841 to 1863, a period of 22 years, Wilson worked faithfully for Hardison without compensation. No man ever had a more faithful or efficient slave. In November, 1863, after giving to Harrison all the best years of his life, Wilson enlisted in the 15th U. S. colored troops, commanded by Col. Donner, and every officer in the regiment can bear testimony to the intelligence, honest and good conduct of Sergeant Wilson. But ever since his enlistment, his wife and children, left in Harrison hands, have been cruelly tormented. A son was driven to work last winter and spring without shoes and almost naked, until he was ready to drop into the grave. A daughter was knocked down last Sabbath a week, kicked and stamped by the rebel brute until her life as almost despaired of. The old scoundrel taunts the mother and children continually about their husband and further being a soldier. As Sergeant Wilson is a very intelligent Christian man, he feels these wrongs keenly, and asks whether the Government for which he has taken up arms has no means of redress, Harrison is raising a fine crop cotton this year, and is boasting of the large sum of money it will yield him.

Daily Evening Bulletin, July 17, 1864. [5]



        27, Military forces placed on duty to guard polls in Benton, Henry, Weakley, Gibson, Lauderdale, Henderson, and Carroll, West Tennessee; Humphreys, Dickson, Stewart, Montgomery, Shelby, Fayette, Williamson, Davidson, Wilson, Sumner, Robertson, Cheatham, Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall, Giles, Maury, Hickman, and Lewis counties in Middle Tennessee

NASHVILLE, TENN., July 27, 1865.

Maj. Gen. GEORGE STONEMAN, Knoxville:

Governor Brownlow having applied to me for a sufficient military force to insure that the approaching elections be conducted legally in certain counties throughout this State, I wish you to send a sufficient force to the election precincts of each of the following counties to be present at the holding of the election for the purpose of enabling legal voters to hand in their votes, and also to insure them protection whenever they choose to challenge the legality of votes of other parties when offered; also to see that the judges of elections conduct them fairly and preserve propriety during the election, viz.,: Benton, Henry, Weakley, Gibson, Lauderdale, Henderson, and Carroll, West Tenn.; Humphreys, Dickson, Stewart, Montgomery, Shelby, Fayette, Williamson, Davidson, Wilson, Sumner, Robertson, Cheatham, Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall, Giles, Maury, Hickman, and Lewis, Middle Tenn. A copy of this has been sent to Gen. Smith to expedite matters. You will please see that the order is executed in the other counties named.

GEO. H. THOMAS, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. II, p. 1093.


[1] This event is not listed in the OR General Index and is referenced only in passing in the following excerpt from official correspondence. The event was called a "dash," which here will be determined to be a skirmish.

[2] Not found.

[3] See also: Memphis Union Appeal, July 30, 1862.

[4] Most likely an abbreviation for "Fighting Forces."

[5] GALEGROUP - TSLA 19TH CN (San Francisco, CA)

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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