Wednesday, September 3, 2014

8.29.2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

29, Catching a Federal spy near Jacksboro; an excerpt from the Journal of Bradford Nichol, Rutlege Battery

Nothing unusual today. At night we were informed of a certain man Kelsoe, who was accused of being a spy. Said Kelso having come across the Cumberland Mountains near Big Creek Gap, about dark, with fifteen well-armed cavalrymen. A 9 o'clock P. M. Lieut. Falconet with nine of our men, viz.,: Trabue, Martin, Bellsnyder, Hough McLemore, Marbury, Hadley and myself, and Lieut. Will Demoss, of the 20th Tenn. Regt. [sic], with like number, proceeded in route for Kelsoe's quarters, four miles off. Through many dark windings, and yet darker woods, we were carried by our guide, until we were the last informed we were within three hundred yards of his house. On the route an incident (funny after it was over) occurred. Dr. Demoss by some means learned that John Hough was possessed of a canteen of extra good old rye. He wanted it badly, but being aware of the danger of loud speech, whispered to the man in his rear (you see, we were in single file the Lieut. In front and Hough delegated to guard the rear from surprise.) "I say" Lieut. Demoss whispered, "Hough to the front, pass it down." Along the whisper came in solemn, sad and serious tone – "Hough to the front." Reaching him, Geo Trabue says, Joe fairly shook, and said, "George, it's all over with me, but if I go, tell my ma I died a brave boy, facing the enemy." He took old "Rosenantic" steed to Joe, and slowly made to the head of the column. When he reached it, what relief and chagrin was in store for him, for Lieut. Demoss simply, but naturally, asked him for a drink-only that and nothing more. Still 'tis not safe for you to quote Joe and George's conversation, for Joe will fight sure and certain.

Well, here we dismounted, and soon posted sentinels. This was surely amusing. Over a fence on our left crept Fred Hadley, Frank Johnson and a 20th boy, when they found to their astonishment they had gotten into a watermelon patch. Frank, thinking it a rock, mounted a melon, to find it burst beneath its dignified load. The men being careful in place, a portion of the infantry went softly to the door. At the concerted whistle Lieut. Demos, in thunderlike tone, gave the command, "Charge bayonets!" When in went the door with a crash. Not without some trouble were our birds to be caught. Out of the back door Kelsoe and two of his men ran, the others had gone on further to camp for the night.

The night being very dark they fell on their hands and feet and crawled for some distance by the infantry to within several feet of our artillery guard. Sergt. Kit Bellsnyder, being on the qui vive, heard and spied them, and astonished the gent with a "Halt!Surrender, or die. [sic]"

At this junction Lieut. Falconet, who happened nearby, slipped forward with his dark lantern in hand, approached within a foot of Capt. Kelso, and suddenly opening it presented a navy pistol at his breast, at the same time ordering him to raise hands and surrender.

Having secured these three men, we placed them on, and tied them to, our steeds, and returned to camp full of joy at this first success assured enough soldiers of the C. S. [sic] Capt. Kelso, we are informed by one of the captives, is the legal captain of one hundred and four men in the U. S. service.

Journal of Bradford Nichol, Rutlege Battery, August 29, 1861.[1]

        29, Memphis prostitutes arrested for refusing to pay monthly municipal tax

Persons of Ill-Fame.—The police are arresting women, having received directions to do so, on the charge of being inhabitants of houses of ill-fame. Several women will be brought before the Recorder this morning on that charge. It is believed that there is a connection between these arrests and the refusal of this class of this population to pay a monthly tax of fifty dollars, each house, to the city, as they are required to do by an ordinance recently passed by the Council. That ordinance is entirely illegal, and is not worth the paper it is written upon, and no outside proceeding can make it binding, or give its provisions the force of law.

Memphis Daily Appeal, August 29, 1861.



        29, The story of Ellen Quinn, Federal soldier

Recorder's Court.

Quite a romantic scene occurred in the Recorder's Court yesterday morning, in connection with a young woman named Ellen Quinn, who was arrested on Wednesday evening, for being drunk and disorderly. The witnesses against her were Belle Fulcher and Mollie Bradley, the former of whom was fined $5 for disturbing the Court after being told to cease talking. Ellen was fined $14. She was willing to plead guilty, and threw herself upon the mercy of the Court, promising never again to appear before the Court as a criminal. Ellen is the young woman who was arrested some months ago for being dressed in male attire. She is a native of Ohio, and was among the earliest volunteers from that State. She preserved her disguise for several moths, when her sex was accidentally discovered. She then left the army. But her love of romance and adventure prevented her remaining long in the charms of crinoline, and she soon joined another Ohio regiment, with which she came to Nashville, and afterwards went farther South. In April she returned to Nashville, and her disguise was shortly thereafter discovered, when she was arrested and placed in the work-house in charge of Mr. J. Q. Dodd. Here she remained until about six weeks ago, when she was permitted to depart. She was a stranger in town, and knew not where to go or what to do for food and shelter. Under such circumstances, distressing and embarrassing as they were, she very naturally applied to some soldiers for advice. One of them took her under his especial care, and promised to have her wants attended to, and to procure lodging for her until she could be sent home. He took her to a house of disreputable character, where she continued until Wednesday last; but she has not yet lost all feeling of shame. Her tears seemed to indicate that she may yet be reclaimed, if proper steps be taken to accomplish so desirable an object. We commend her case to the military authorities here, and hope they will render her such speedy assistance as will prevent the necessity of her returning to her former habits….

Nashville Dispatch, August 29, 1862.

        29, Running skirmish from Dunlap environs up the Sequatchie Valley and capture of two of Bragg's body guard near Altamont

HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, ARMY OF THE OHIO, McMinnville, August 30, 1862.

Gen. BUELL, Decherd:

….Sent Gen. Wood with a brigade and some cavalry on the Chattanooga road. He sent cavalry under Maj. Foster to within 5 miles of Dunlap. Reports that he encountered the enemy's pickets 8 miles this side of Dunlap, which he drove in for 3 miles, coming in succession upon different outposts. Learned that Gen. Bragg was there with three brigades encamped up and down the Sequatchie. There is also another force some 7 miles higher up the valley. People with whom Maj. Foster conversed thought the enemy was making up the valley. These reports of citizens not known are good for naught.

Maj. Foster also reports no water from the foot of the mountain this side to the foot on the other side, a distance of 15 miles. A small party sent to Beersheba Springs were told by citizens that a rebel force 1,500 strong (cavalry) was encamped yesterday on Big Creek, 6 or 7 miles from Altamont toward Dunlap. Heard from Gen. Mc-Cook at Altamont last night. Has captured two of Bragg's body guard, who report that he has a large force, but not yet in the Sequatchie Valley. His cavalry thinks he has a division there.

*  *  *  *

GEO. H. THOMAS, Maj.-Gen., U. S. Volunteers.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, pp. 453-454.



        29, Wheeler moves on Sparta

No circumstantial reports filed.

NASHVILLE, August 29, 1864.

Brig. Gen. W. D. WHIPPLE, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.:

A courier in at Gallatin from Carthage reports Wheeler at Sparta with 12,000 men and six pieces of artillery. Gen. Granger reports a part of Roddey's and Forrest's force across the river near Savannah, with nine regiments near Tuscumbia, preparing to cross at Bledsoe.

L. H. ROUSSEAU, Maj.-Gen.

NASHVILLE, TENN., August 29, 1864.

Brig.-Gen. WHIPPLE:

Gen. Steedman telegraphs that some 3,000 or 4,600 of Wheeler's force were reported north of Kingston yesterday morning, moving toward Sparta and McMinnville. Gen. Granger telegraphs that Roddey with 3,000 men and nine pieces of artillery is preparing to cross the Tennessee in boats, and, if possible, at the Shoals.


NASHVILLE, TENN., August 29, 1864.

Brig. Gen. H. P. VAN CLEVE, Murfreesborough:

A courier in at Gallatin from Carthage reports Wheeler at Sparta. Keep scouts out on the road to Lebanon as far up as Jefferson Crossing, ten or twelve miles. A scout has been sent from here to Lebanon.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Rousseau:

B. H. POLK, Maj. and Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

NASHVILLE, TENN., August 29, 1864.

Brig. Gen. R. S. GRANGER, Decatur:

A courier just in at Gallatin from Carthage reports Wheeler at Sparta,[2] with large force and six pieces of artillery. No orders have been given to Col. Spalding since he was ordered to send the two regiments to Decherd, of which order you were at once notified. You will be notified when orders are given direct to your troops.

By command of Maj. Gen. Rousseau:

B. H. POLK, Maj. and Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

NASHVILLE, TENN., August 29, 1864.

(Received at Tullahoma 8.45 p. m.)

Maj.-Gen. MILROY:

A courier from Carthage to Gallatin reports Wheeler at Sparta, with a large force and six pieces of artillery. What is the force at Duck River, Elk River, and at the Tunnel? They should be increased. The force at Decherd should be sent to Elk and Duck Rivers. Send the two pieces of artillery formerly at Elk River back to that place.

By command of Maj. Gen. Rousseau:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 38, pt. V, pp. 703-704.

        29, Major-General William T. Sherman furnishes rules for trading with States and parts of States in insurrection

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 25. HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Nashville, Tenn., August 29, 1864.

In order to carry out the provisions of the act of Congress approved July 2, 1864, and the regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury relative to trade and intercourse with States and parts of States in insurrection, and to make the operations of trade just and fair, both as to the people and to the merchant, the following general rules will be observed in this military division, as near as the state of the country will permit:

I. All trade is prohibited near armies in the field or moving columns of troops, save that necessary to supply the wants of the troops themselves. Quartermasters and commissaries will take such supplies as are needed in the countries passed through, leaving receipts and taking the articles up on their returns. When cotton is found, and transportation to the rear is easy and does not interfere with the supplies to the army dependent on the route, the quartermaster will ship the cotton to the quartermaster at Nashville or Memphis, who will deliver it to the agent of the Treasury Department. It will be treated as captured property of an enemy, and invoiced accordingly. No claim of private interest in it will be entertained by the military authorities.

II. In department and military district embracing a country within our military control, the commanders of such departments and districts may permit a trade in articles not contraband of war or damaging to the operations of the army at the front, through the properly appointed agents and sub-agents of the Treasury Department, to an extent proportionate to the necessities of the peaceful and worthy inhabitants of the localities described; but as trade and the benefits of civil government are conditions not only of fidelity of the people, but also of an ability to maintain peace and order in their district, county, or locality, commanding officers will give notice that all trade will cease when guerrillas are tolerated or encouraged, and, moreover, that in such districts and localities, the army or detachments sent to maintain the peace must be maintained by the district or locality that tolerates or encourages such guerrillas.

III. All military offices will assist the agents of the Treasury Department in securing possession of all abandoned property and estates subject to confiscation under the law.

IV. The use of weapons for hunting purposes is too dangerous to be allowed at this time, and therefore the introduction of all arms and powder, percussion caps, bullets, shot, lead, or anything used in connection with firearms, is prohibited absolutely, save by the proper agents of the United States, and when the inhabitants require and can be trusted with such things for self-defense, or for aiding in maintaining the peace and safety of their families and property, commanding officers may issue the same out of the public stores in limited quantities.

V. Medicines and clothing as well as salt, meats, and provisions, being quasi-contraband of war, according to the condition of the district or locality when offered for sale, will be regulated by local commanders in connection with the agents of the Treasury Department.

VI. In articles non-contraband, such as the clothing needed for women and children, groceries and imported articles, the trade should be left to the Treasury agents as matters too unimportant to be noticed by military men.

VII. When military officers can indicate a preference to the class of men allowed to trade, they will always give preference to men who have served the Government as soldiers, and we wounded or incapacitated from further service by such wounds or sickness. Men who manifest loyalty by oaths and nothing more are entitled to live, but not to ask favor of a Government that demands acts and personal sacrifices.

By order of Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. II, pp. 314-315.




[1] TSL&A Microfilm No. 1627.

[2] After a hard day's ride through Middle Tennessee with General Wheeler, Commissary Sergeant John Coffee Williamson, Company E, 5th Tennessee Cavalry (C. S.A.), wrote in his journal for August 29, 1864, that the women of Sparta were "very glad to see us. Most of them cheered in the true lady like style. Most of Sparta has been burnt by the Yanks." Sergeant Williamson and his company rode to Smithville by nightfall, camping on the Lebanon Road. The Sergeant also commented in part in his journal that night: "I have been very sick all day, and at night I was perfectly worn out. We got up no rations. I took a dose of morphine and slept soundly." See: J.C. Williamson, ed., "The Civil War Diary of John Coffee Williamson," Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Vol. XV, No. 1 (March, 1956), p. 65.

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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