Thursday, July 31, 2014

7.31.14 Tennessee Civil War notes

31- August 20, 1861, Confederate anxieties about the loyalty of East Tennessee


Brig. Gen. F. K. ZOLLICOFFER, Cmdg., &c., Bristol, Tenn.

SIR: I am instructed by the President to make you the following communication:

The great importance of the East Tennessee and Western Virginia road requires that it should be closely guarded wherever there is reason to apprehend its destruction. The movements of the enemy or the sending of arms into East Tennessee should be so closely watched by an adequate force as to render success impracticable. You will know so well the state of things in East Tennessee that nothing more can be said in that regard than to point to you the importance of preventing organization for resistance to the Government and of attracting by every possible means the people to support the Government, both State and Confederate. It may occur that civil process in case of treason may be resisted in which event you will endeavor to be in position to give all needful support to the civil authorities. The President relies on you to give more accurate and exact information in relation to public affairs in East Tennessee than it has heretofore been possible to obtain and you are invited to the fullest correspondence in all matters relating to your command.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector Gen.


RICHMOND, August 1, 1861.


Retain at Bristol under your orders such of the Tennessee regiments now there or that may arrive there until further advised. You are assigned to the command of the District of East Tennessee.

S. COOPER,Adjutant and Inspector Gen.


EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Nashville, August 3, 1861.

Hon. L. P. WALKER.

SIR: That there will be an effort on the part of the Federal Government to arm the Union men of Tennessee I have no doubt. For this purpose companies and regiments of Union men are being organized in Kentucky and every day our relations with the people of Kentucky are becoming more complicated and threatening, especially that part of Kentucky adjoining East Tennessee. I fear we will have to adopt a decided and energetic policy with the people of that section. I hope, however, to visit Richmond in a few days, and confer with you upon this and other questions of interest to the State and Gen. Government.

Very respectfully,



KNOXVILLE, August 10, 1861.

Adjutant-Gen. COOPER:

News received that John Baxter is arrested at Lynchburg. This is unfortunate. He is a Unionist but has my permission to go to Nelson and counsel with him as a lawyer and friend. He gave me assurance of conciliatory influence there, and here his arrest embarrasses my plans of conciliation.



EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Nashville, August 16, 1861.

Hon. L. P. WALKER, War Department, Richmond.

SIR: I am satisfied from the movements of the Union men of East Tennessee that more troops should be stationed in that division of the State. If you would establish camps of instruction at different points in East Tennessee and order to them such troops as you may have in camps in States south of us to the extent of 5,000 or 7,000 men the presence of such a force would give perfect security to our railroads and prevent the organization of a rebel army, while the presence of the force we have there at present has the effect of irritating without being sufficient to awe or subdue.

Twelve or fourteen thousand men in East Tennessee would crush out rebellion there without firing a gun, while a smaller force may involve us in scenes of blood that will take long years to heal. We can temporize with the rebellious spirit of that people no longer. If you can order a sufficient number of troops from States south of us to that point, the adoption of a decided and energetic policy (which I am resolved upon so soon as I have a sufficient force to sustain it), the arrest and indictment for treason of the ringleaders, will give perfect peace and quiet to that division of our State in the course of two months. If the suggestion with regard to East Tennessee is to be acted upon at all it should be done at once as every moment's delay but increases the danger of an outbreak there.

Very respectfully,



ORDERS, No. 3. BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS, Knoxville, August 18, 1861.

The general in command gratified at the preservation of peace and the rapidly increasing evidences of confidence and good-will among the people of East Tennessee strictly enjoins upon those under his command the most scrupulous regard for the personal and property rights of all the inhabitants. No act or word will be tolerated calculated to alarm or irritate those who though heretofore advocating the national Union now acquiesce in the decision of the State and submit to the authority of the Government of the Confederate States. Such of the people as have fled from their homes under an apprehension of danger will be encouraged to return with an assurance of entire security to all who wish to pursue their respective avocations peacefully at home. The Confederate Government seeks not to enter into questions of difference of political opinions heretofore existing but to maintain the independence it has asserted by the united feeling and action of all its citizens. Col.'s of regiments and captains of companies will be held responsible for a strict observance of this injunction within their respective commands, and each officer commanding a separate detachment or post will have this order read to his command.

By order of Brig. Gen. F. K. Zollicoffer:



Richmond, August 20, 1861.

His Excellency ISHAM G. HARRIS, Governor of Tennessee.

SIR: Your letter of August 16 has just been received by the hands of Major Bradford. The importance of the present attitude of East Tennessee is not unknown to this Department and the necessity of providing promptly the means of supporting our friends in that section is by no means disregarded. Three regiments have been accordingly already ordered into East Tennessee--two from Mississippi and one from Alabama--and it is hoped that these troops with those already within your State may suffice for the accomplishment of the objects at present necessary.

The Department fully concurs in your view of the necessity of adopting a decided policy to insure the public safety and only regrets that it is not in the power of the Government, to the extent that may be necessary.


~  ~  ~

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully,

L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War.

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 1, pp. 829-832.



        31, Letter of John A. Ritter, 49th Indiana Volunteers

July 31, 1862 from Camp Cumberland Gap, Tenn.

Camp Cumberland Gap, Ten.

July 31, 1862

Theophilus C., John A., Thomas B., & William V. Ritter

Gentlemen Sir,

I take up my pen to write you a few lines to let you Know that I have not forgotten you and that you still have a father that cares for you though fare a way. I often think of you all and wonder what you are doing & how you are getting a long and am glad that you are not compelled to undergo the hardships & Fatigues of a campaign life for be assured that we see rough times at times and I expect that none that has been out has had a much harder time than we but when we all get home together I will have many things to tell you and till that time be obedient children. Do not disobey your dear Ma. I expect that she has her hands full. I Know if I was their I could take many things off of her but I must trust to you to fill my place as fare as you can and when I shall have spent my life I shall be proud of my sons. You may do much to make her happy. I do not Know when I shall be at home. I have not the remotest Idea. Yet I feel assured that I will get home some time. I am ingaged [sic]. Building fortifications with my Company at Cumberland Gap. The Rebbels [sic] done [sic] a vast amount of Fortifying but it was to Keep us out of the Gap coming up on the other side. Now we are fixing the Tennessee side so that they could not get us out if they were to try which I don't they will. If they do I think they will rue it.

I was down at the Camp a few evenings ago. As I came back stopt [sic] at the 2nd Tenessee Regiment. The men was playing soldier. There were some 80 or a 100 on a side. One party Represented caveralry [sic]. The caveralry [sic] were stradle of sticks for Horses had little bunches of Bushes for swords some of them had staves in the shape of paddles. The Infantry had staves for guns. The Infantry would forme [sic] up in two ranks in line of battle. The Caveralry [sic] would forme [sic] up in to ranks and make a charge on them and such cutting & slashing with the bushes was not see every day by a good deal. Some times the Caveralry [sic] would brake the lines & scatter the Infantry, sometimes the Infantry would scatter the caveralry [sic]. They would soon reforme [sic] and make an another charge in this way. They plaid soldier for an Hour or two and I left them at. I expect that they had a Jolly time but to think that men an[d] sticks for horses Galloping like little boys. Occasionally one would get his horse Killed or crippled and some times they would take each other prisners[sic]. Each party had their commanders and all was done up a good deal like they injoyed [sic] the sport fine but soldiers when they get time must have their sport. I will say to [sic], Theophilus that you must not think of enlisting. You are to young, you cannot stand a camp life at your age and attend to things till I get home and then I will try to get you in at West Point and give you a military education.

*  *  *  *

Jno. A. Ritter

Ritter Correspondence.

        31, Remarks by a private in the 15th Iowa Infantry relative to the greetings slaves made in Hardeman County, on the way to Bolivar

Hundreds of Negroes flock after us and don't seem to be afraid of the soldiers. They yelled and shouted and said "day was glad to see Uncle Sams [sic] boys" With all their ignorance they seem to have pretty good ideas as to what is going on and I think it will not be many months until their influence will be felt in the scale.

About 10 oclock [sic] we came to Bolivar a beautiful town and surrounded by a splendid country. My feet were worn out when we halted and we were all very tired upon this our really first march. Dan and I put up our little tent and will sleep in it to-night. I think our tramp has been as useless as there is no enemy here in arms.

Boyd Diary.

        31, A report on a conversation with Military Governor Andrew Johnson concerning secret Confederate committees, contrabands, defense of Nashville, rigorous treatment of disloyal citizens and guerrilla bands in the Clarksville environs

HDQRS. DISTRICT OF THE OHIO, Nashville, August 1, 1862.

Col. J. B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Chief of Staff:

COL.: I beg leave to report to the commanding general the substance of a conversation held at this office with Governor Andrew Johnson yesterday. The conversation was protracted, and on the part of the Governor deeply earnest, and the main points were supported by considerable detail.

The Governor is so informed as to have adopted the conviction that an attempt will be made very soon by the rebels to repossess themselves of this State, and that they consider the possession of the capital a necessary incident. He believes that if they should succeed the moral and physical consequence would be disastrous to our cause, and that therefore means to the contrary should be applied which would defeat their designs beyond a peradventure. He is satisfied that the enemy has numerous secret adherents who in a crisis would give them aid, particularly should there be prospect of their success without great sacrifices; but that many of these are not ready for considerable sacrifices, and would be deterred if they were sure these sacrifices would follow.

Hence the Governor argues in reference to saving the city that an evidence of determination to hold on our part at any cost would deter them, and to corroborate this quotes a fact, that when the city was lately threatened members of a secret committee went out to restrain their friends, assuring them that the city would be destroyed by us should they get possession.

The Governor therefore believes that if the enemy is convinced we mean to hold it he would hesitate to attack, uncertain as he would be of adherents within, and suggest the construction of works of defense in the shape of redoubts and other eartheorks.

The labor he advises to be taken from those who render it necessary, and that contrabands, of which he has now control of a good many, be used in that way habitually.

The Governor says that recent observation has changed his ideas in regard to treating rebels with lenity. At one time he advised it, but now believes that they must be made to feel the burden of their own deeds and to bear everything which the necessities of the situation require should be imposed on them.

This I believe is the substance of all that was said, but, as I observed before, there was much elaboration of detail and evidence of earnest conviction.

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. SIDELL, Maj., Fifteenth U. S. Infantry, Act. Asst. Adjt. Gen.

P. S.--Gen. Mason writes Governor Johnson by letter received to-day and sent to me that there is no doubt of the organization of guerrilla bands near Clarksville, and that the wealthier part of the population is disloyal and humbler classes the reverse; that it would be difficult to raise a cavalry regiment there, but there are sufficient horses belonging to the secessionists to mount as many men as needful. He wants Governor Johnson's order to "possess and occupy" the horses.

Gen. Mason says he has but 250 men near Clarksville, on the opposite side of the river. He says further that he is advised by Col. Bruce that he has sent 400 men to Russellville.

I am, respectfully,

W. H. SIDELL, Maj., Fifteenth U. S. Infantry, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, pp. 242-243.



        31, In defense of Col. Cocke's sons' honor; election politics and character defamation


Knoxville, July 29, 1863

M. J. Hughes,[1] Sir:-

I see in the columns of this mornings Register a most scurrilous aspersion upon the character of two of Col. Cocke's sons purporting to emenate [sic] from a soldier in the Confederate service, who seemingly, has grown weary of fighting the common fore in noble honorable battle, and is determined to annihilate the unreproachable [sic] characters and honorable gentlemen through the barrier of newspaper correspondence. The gentleman who receives his opening salute (Lieut. Cocke) has the misfortune to be absent from his locality, otherwise, knowing him to be eminently courageous for intimate association, I would leave him to fight his own battles, and whether they would be decided by "paper bullets of the brain," or in the event the assailant would "dare meet him upon the bloody sand," I for one, would tremble, not for his success, but am confident he would prove that calumniators like chickens, come home to roost. The foul slander of his having acted the dastardly and ignoble part assigned him by the correspondent of the Register, I affirm, from a full acquaintance with the circumstances, to be void of a scintilla of foundation in truth and in fact.

Determined to leave nothing of obloquy unnoticed he throws a parting broad-side at his brother, who, he asserts, "managed to get a discharge, but looks like he is as able to in the service as any other." The aforesaid young gentleman has in his pockets and exemption [sic] from military duty duly signed and endorsed, perfected by all the formula prescribed in the system of that department.

I leave it to public adjudication, whether Col. Blake with his efficient Medical Board, or the sagacious informant in the Register, (who doubtless has mistaken, in the language of Aretmus Ward, "his forte [sic]" in dropping his scalpel to grasp the scimetar [sic]) is better qualified to decide upon such medical considerations.

I sincerely trust the writer is misled from the steppings of propriety by inaccurate information, and spouts not his own bilge-water intentionally upon the reputation of two honorable young gentlemen. He certainly could not have obtained such information from those who saw [sic], and are able to speak truth. The assertions of all of his company who are present fully exonerate Lieut. Cocke from all unsoldierly conduct, and stamp the most glaring falsity upon the alleged villiainous [sic] charges.

A Comrade In Arms

Knoxville Daily Southern Chronicle, July 31, 1863.

        31, Speculation on civil government and emancipation in Tennessee in the wake of Rosecrans' campaign

Tennessee Restored.

The public attention has not, for some time, been called to the civil condition of the State of Tennessee, which since Bragg's retreat, is peculiar and anomalous. There is now no large army, either rebel of Union, planted on its soil. The army of Gen. Rosecrans, though nominally still in the State, is pressing upon and felt by Alabama and Georgia more than by Tennessee. While the State is therefore delivered from the presence of military rule, it has no civil government anywhere erected or respected. There are no courts, no laws, no civil administration, no body politic, no taxation nor representation. The population of the State, reduced by the war to perhaps 800,000, is in utter social and political chaos.

The time is propitious for reorganization, and the worked has fairly commenced. A State Convention met at Nashville on the 1st inst., and continued in session till the 7th, Between forty and fifty counties were represents (about half of the State,) by about two hundred members. The Convention recommended the election of a legislature in August, to form a civil Government, reestablish Courts and laws, and restore the State to the Union. This programme will be carried out. The expulsion of the last strong body of rebels from the State has made it practicable, and the people are already absorbed in the consideration and discussion of the issues presented in this new phase of affairs.

We predict the development of a more intelligent and advanced state of public opinion in Tennessee on the vital question of the times than either Maryland or Kentucky now exhibits. The systems of Slavery has been more thoroughly trampled out in that State than in any other except Missouri, and the policy of emancipation will be declared by the first organized body that speaks for Tennessee. [sic]. East Tennessee has ever been animated by a sincere hostility to the slave oligarchy of the South. Middle Tennessee has long ceased to grow products that called for slave labor. The mass of slaves has been transferred to the Cotton States, and the institution has existed for years more as a domestic than as an industrial one. It can vanish, it has vanished [sic], without shock or deep injury to the resident population of this most rich and highly favored part of the State. In West Tennessee, where cotton has remained a staple, and where Slavery had a strong hold, the events of the war have crushed it out. The marching and countermarching of our armies between Jackson, Corinth, Bolivar, Lagrange and Memphis, has opened the door so wide for the escape of slaves that all have gone that wished, and those remaining are more nominally than actually in servitude.

Under these circumstances the people of Tennessee will not be slow to perceive their policy and duty. They will cut loose from a dead system of society. They have a higher average of political intelligence and firmness than the citizens of most States in the Southeest, and will be bold in maintaining whatever positions they assume. The latent unionism of the State will come u as a strong ally of the new-born policy of Freedom that must soon be inaugurated.

We feel justified, therefore, in foreshadowing amore rapid regeneration of the State of Tennessee than has been witnessed in any border State, Missouri excepted: and when it does return to the Union, it will be with a fidelity and heartiness worthy of the home of that stern on Unionist, Andrew Jackson.

New York Times, July 31, 1863.



        31, The New Politics in Columbia, excerpt from the diary of Nimrod Porter

[I] went to town…The candidates for Congress together with the secretary of State made speeches, said amongst other things that he would rather have the negroes [sic] vote than the Rebels[.] Arnell said the same thing….

….Genl [sic] [Gideon J.] Pillow was permitted to define his position he made himself out now the best of Union Men [and] was willing to fight under the old flag & particularly against France (all this was for the effect to alay [sic] the feelings of the authorities against him)….

Diary of Nimrod Porter, July 31, 1865.


[1] Editor and owner of the Knoxville Daily Southern Chronicle.

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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