Saturday, September 13, 2014

9.13.2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        13, "Southern School Books"

School-rooms in the North have long been and are yet the very hot-beds of Abolition fanaticism, and Northern school books have been and are still yet the apt and ready implements for pruning and otherwise cultivating the growth among Northern youth of false and unnatural ideas of social, domestic, and political affairs. Southern children have not altogether escaped contact with these poisonous influences, for until very recently a large majority of the teachers in all branches of learning, employed in the South, have been people of Northern birth, and in many instances partaking, as incontestably established by the late exodus of such individuals from Southern communities, of the foolish fanaticism characterizing Yankee teachers and preachers. The books, with but few, if any exceptions, hitherto used in our schools, have been of Northern make and authorship, and many of them not entirely free of ingeniously contrived thrusts at Southern society, and institutions. With our people the long continued employment in Southern schoolrooms of these baneful agencies has been the source of much pain and annoyance, but until recently it seemed almost an impossibility to get up any well-directed, organized effort aiming at the riddance to Southern communities of these justly censurable influences. For ascribed reasons, which we were never able fully to explain, but always deemed ill-founded and unjust, Southern school committees and parents have up until now seemed disposed, even where all other considerations were equal, to give the preference to the ubiquitous Yankee pedagogue, and the slight to the solid home made teacher. In more than a dozen instances, within the history of the past three or four years, have we seen this unaccountably foolish disposition strikingly exemplified in the employment of teachers for our city schools. Under their former management, the surest guarantees of success in applying for a situation as teacher, were the irrepressible Yankee twang of voice and smoothly, methodically written letters of recommendation from the spectacled heads of New England normal school. The establishment, in fact, would have saved trouble to itself and spared the pain of disappointment to competent home-raised applicants by advertising "non others need apply."

The almost exclusive use of Northern made school-books is not so much a matter of wonder. Southern publishing houses have not until very lately turned their attention to the preparation and printing of standard school-books, and we have been therefore forced to depend almost entirely upon the money loving North for such articles. But now, in this, as in all other material aspects, must we become independent of our heartless enemies. Within ourselves we have the talent, the capital, and the enterprise necessary to this particular branch of Southern independence. It is only essential that they should be properly encourage and patronized, in order to rid Southern school houses of the Yankee trash now in use, and supply its place with good, solid[,] home-made books of instruction.

If we would be free entirely, we must be independent entirely. Absolute dependence upon home talent, enterprise and material is essentially important to the freedom and independence of the Confederate States.

Nashville Daily Gazette, September 13, 1861.

        13, "Confederate School Books"

Dr. J. B. McFerrin, Agent of the Southern Methodist Publishing House, has placed upon our table several specimens of school books now being printed at that establishment. They are entitled "The Confederate Primer," "The First Confederate Speller," and "The Second Confederate Speller. The matter was arranged by an association of Southern Teachers, and the casual examination we have been able to give it, impresses us with the opinion that the work could not have been better done. The printing is clear, near and precise.

It affords us much pleasure to chronicle the fact that an effort is now being made in this city to supply a want long felt in Southern schools, and we hope to see the enterprise meet with the proper kind of encouragement.

Nashville Daily Gazette, September 13, 1861.



        13, "God bless the ladies!" Excerpt from a Correspondent's Letter from Knoxville

From Knoxville—Letter from J.T.G.

Near Knoxville, Sept. 13, 1862.

Editor Enquirer:

* * * *

….I must say a few words in defence of that portion of the ladies of Knoxville who are with us heart and soul in this contest. Both in public and in private have they been charged with indifference and neglect towards the thousands of sick now languishing in the hospitals in and out of Knoxville. Time and again have they solicited the privilege of attending at the hospitals in the capacity of nurses, but as often refused by the authorities, who have even gone so far as to station sentinels at the gate to prevent their visits. No wonder the poor soldier enjoins upon his messmate to slip him away to some private house in the event of his sickness. Give the ladies a showing. One intelligent lady in a sick room is worth a dozen doctors. Prominent among the ladies of East Tennessee in good works is Miss Anna Law, of Sweetwater. Possessing a heart of the most noble and generous impulses, ever on the alert to lend a helping hand, this young lady has never ceased, since the commencement of the war, to aid and encourage the weary soldier to the extent of her ability, her unbounded devotion to our cause, her untiring energies that have been used so well in behalf of our soldiers, and her unremitting efforts to render them comfortable, will ever be remembered with feelings of gratitude and love by hundreds who have been the honored recipients of her handiwork. God bless the ladies!


Weekly Columbus [Georgia] Enquirer, September 23, 1862.[1]



        13, Circumstances in Chattanooga on the dawn of the Battle of Chickamauga; Excerpts from the letter of Captain Gershom M. Barber to his wife

Headquarters O. V. S. S.


September 13, 1863

My Dear Wife,

It is the Sabbath evening and in prevalence "of habit" I find myself writing to you. Things are "beginning to work" and the great seething cauldron of war boils and bubbles as if the very fires of the infernals were kindled around us. What the result will be we do not know but we have no fear of the result.

Our men are all on duty. Part are repairing a R.R. bridge below town and one detachment under Lt. Somers are out on a foraging exercise. Another under Lt. Reese we went out on double quick this pm with three days rations on picket in a very exposed position. Our camp looks lonely enough. Part will be back tonight. The 10th O.V.I. is out and so is almost every available man in and around headquarters. Gen. Rosy himself went out at noon and took his surgeon and two ambulances all looking like work.

More or less fighting has been going on in front and on our left the last two days and the wounded are heavy. Most in the hospital which the enemy was kind enough to leave us on their hasty retreat from this place. Gen. McCooks [sic] corps have been driven back twelve miles and they are being reinforced by Gen. Hussen he overtook the rebs [sic]. It seems a little tantalizing that I must stay in camp whilst our men are out and there is work to be done. But I am obliged to remain at headquarters to receive and give orders. Capt. Squire is – well – sick – has been grunting ever since I got back. I began to think he is – playing – off. Doesn't like to go back to the line after taking the field so long. He boards with the officers of the 10th. Stays with them most of the time – 10 or 11 or 12 or some other early hours being counseled and I fear a little whisky to boot.

Lt. McCook has gone back to Stevenson for a wagon and has some extra wheels to repair our old ones. We are less than half rations the men at Stevenson on supply until the 15th. Yesterday we were notified that we could not draw any more until the 20th so that two days rations are all we have for seven days and the worst kind at that.

Lt. Somers has come in since I commenced this and reports a load of corn and good beef and sundry other articles that will come in play just now. I am well- feeling first rate and in good spirits.

I am notified that it is time to make of the meal so Bon Jour my love. Kiss the children.

* * * *

Barber Correspondence

        13, Summation of the events connected with the fall of Knoxville to the Federal army

The Ovation at Knoxville.

Cincinnati, Sept. 13.-(Special to the New York Tribune.)

The ovation at Knoxville on the occupation by the Federal troops was a pleasing affair. The town was decorated with flags, which, hidden for years, had been suddenly brought out.

General Burnside addressed a large meeting the day after the occupation. The people congratulated themselves on their deliverance from oppression. The day after Foster's arrival a procession of women, who husbands were in the Union service, came in from the country. It was nearly a mile long.[2]

A valuable machine shop and foundries were found in Knoxville, two million pounds of salt, a large quantity of wheat, and many thousand hogs.

The prisoners captured at Cumberland Gap were the Second North Carolina, First Virginia, First Georgia, and several companies of artillery. They surrendered unconditionally. The Georgia Regiment was eight hundred strong, and was captured once before by General Burnside, at Roanoke Island.

On the night of the 7th [Monday] two companies of our troops stole through the Rebel pickets, and burned a mill that had supplied the Rebels with meal, in the very sight of the Rebel camp.

General Burnside was to return to Knoxville on the 10th [Thursday] until the decision of the War Department in regard to his resignation was made.

A few small bodies of Rebel troops are still in the State, near the Virginia line.

The saltpeter mines, which the Rebels worked, are now within our lines.

Ready communication is had with General Rosecrans.

All of General Burnside's troops have marched over 250 and some portion 300 miles, averaging about 10 miles per day over the most difficult roads.

But one casualty occurred, and of sickness there is so little that the Surgeon in charge of the hospital at Knoxville has asked to be relieved for want of work.

Philadelphia Inquirer, September 14, 1863.



        13, "Feminine Politics."

The discussion of partisan politics and public affairs is by no means confined in Memphis to person of the masculine gender. Half a dozen dear creatures who chance to meet at the house of some mutual friend can hardly wait to get their what-you-call-ems [sic] off and go through the insipid kissing each other, in which women habitually indulge before some casual remark, launches the whole bevy into a sea of argumentation.

Mrs. S.-"Dear me, Mrs.T._____, have you heard the news? Miss F_____ is married?"

Mrs. T.-"Married, indeed, who to pray?"

Mrs. S.-"Oh, some young fellow belonging to the Yankee army. I think she ought to be ashamed of herself."

Miss L.-"Bless me, why it was only two months ago that she went out of a room at a party because somebody sang that old Yankee song, "The Star Spangled Banner."

Miss M.-"Yes, and abused me like a pick-pocket, just because I flirted a little with one or two Yankee lieutenants."

Mrs. T.-"Several Yankee officers stay at my house, and I must say they behave like gentlemen, except always saying 'sir," and 'mam'[sic] to the niggers [sic]; but how any Southern woman can marry a Yankee invader, passes my comprehension. I've been a widder [sic] these seven years since my dear Simon drank hisself [sic] to death, and I wouldn't marry one of 'em not if he just got down an his knees and begged me to have him.

Mrs. P.-"That's just what sister Liza said, and it wasn't six months afore she married Captain D. The fact is girls are bound to get married, and I don't believe there's six girls in Memphis that wouldn't jump at an offer from a good looking Yankee, if they liked him and didn't like somebody else better."

Mrs. S.-"If that's so, Mrs. T. is in danger, since the Yankee officers seems to have a penchant for windows. There's Mrs. A. married a captain, and Mrs. B. an army commissary, and Mrs. D. a hospital surgeon.

Miss L.-"Brother Jim picked up in the street yesterday a paper that had evidently dropped from some army officer's pocket, for it was army paper with a regimental heading, and it had in it a list of the widows within several miles of Memphis with notes about their appearance, property and reputation."

Mrs. T.-I do wonder if it had my name on it."

Mrs. M.-"It is my opinion that a good many of these Yankee officers have wives up North and only marry here for three years or the end of the war."

Mrs. B.-"I don't believe Lieutenant B. has a wife anywhere!"

Miss L.-"No, and I don't believe Dr. _____, the army surgeon, that boards at our house, ever was married."

Mrs. W.-Well, I'm a Southern woman and have two daughters that will be old enough to get married by-and-by, and I don't see that Southern girls can do better than marry good men, when they get a chance. If the war goes on much longer there won't be many rebels left. I see by New Orleans papers, that of the eight or nine hundred thousand men who entered the rebel army, all that is left is about one hundred and twenty-five thousand in the armies under Lee and Hood [sic], and maybe as many more is small bodies under Wheeler, Forrest, Price, [sic] and other generals. Now if Southern girls ain't got to marry Yankees, what is to become of the three or four hundred thousand Southern women who have through the war, lost their chances of getting Southern men.

The fact is either Southern men must turn to Mormons, or Southern girls will have to marry Yankees."[3]

Memphis Bulletin, September 13, 1864.

        13, "Terrible Accident at Fort Pickering."

A terrible accident, by which two men were instantly killed, and four badly wounded, occurred at Fort Pickering, between nine and ten o'clock yesterday morning. The magazine of Battery A, 3d United States Colored Heavy Artillery, located immediately on the river bank, at the foot of the bluffs, suddenly exploded for some unknown cause, producing a concussion that was felt throughout the greater portion of the city. A dense volume of smoke arose, that was seen from all points, and attracted hundreds to the levee, who supposed that the noise was caused by the explosion of some steamboat. Some were so foolish as to think that Forrest was again thundering at the city gates, and bethought themselves of secure hiding places, while the professor traveled homeward to shove his "millish" uniform up the chimney, as on a former occasion.

The origin of the explosion is unknown. The door of the magazine which was of wood, had not been opened since the day previous, and sentries are always upon guard. About thirty yards from the scene of the explosion is a steam saw mill, which was fronted by the door of the magazine, and it was the general impression among the officers yesterday, that sparks from the mill entered through crevices in the door, and ignited the powder, of which there were about 800 pounds, besides a number of shell. It is estimated that about 150 shells exploded; fragments were found scattered in all directions of the fort. There is not a vestige of the magazine left standing, and the ground in the immediate vicinity is ploughed up to the depth of several feet. The saw mill was only slightly damaged on the roof by exploding shells. The residence of Lieutenant Colonel Harper, commanding the 3d United States colored heavy artillery [sic] which forms a portion of the garrison of [the] fort was violently shaken by the concussion all the windows (sashes and all) in the house being broken, the plastering displaced, and the furniture generally demolished. Some articles were thrown from one side of rooms to the other. Mrs. Harper, one or two children and a gentleman, beside servants, were in the house at the time, but, fortunately, none of them we in the least injured. When we visited the premises a half hour after the explosion, Mrs. Harper was busily engaged getting things to rights, as calmly and coolly as if nothing unusual had happened, not showing the least peturbation [sic] or nervousness as peculiar to her sex under similar circumstances. So much for a soldier's wife. The house is situated on the bluffs, about one hundred feet above the spot where the magazine stood, and some thirty feet back from the edge. Numerous pieces of shell and fragments of the magazine were picked up in the yard. A little boy was playing in the yard when they fell, and was uninjured.

The casualties were as follows: Killed-- Private Geo. Washington, co. A, 3d U. S. C.H.A., and Thos. Knevals (white) Government employee; Wounded:-Sergeant Rice, co. A., 3d U. S.C.H.A., David Macklin, co. C, 3d U. S.C.H.A.; Sam Rice, co. A, 3d U. S.C.H.A. and Pat Smidy (white) Government employee.

There were about twelve or fifteen soldiers and Government employees standing near when the accident occurred, who, with the exception of the above, are supposed to have escaped. It was thought that one or two more were blown into the river, but is generally discredited. Private Washington was on guard at the magazine. He was blown over a hundred feet into the air, and descended a shapeless mass, minus a leg, which could not be found. Thomas Kneavals, who was engaged repairing the railroad in the fort, in front of the magazine with several other laborers, had his head blown to atoms by a shell. His brains were scattered over the persons of his co-laborers. Smidy was wounded in both legs, and my have to supper amputation. Private Macklin was wounded in the back by a shell, and cannot possibly survive. Sergeant Rice was also wounded in the back, seriously, but it is thought, not fatally. The other is seriously wounded, but is expected to recover. The others standing near were only prostrated by the concussion. No injury was done to the armament of the fort, and the damages otherwise, can speedily be repaired.

Since writing the above we learn that it has been discovered that the explosion was caused by the accidental discharge of a musket in the hands of the sentry, the charge lodging in a box of catridges [sic].

Memphis Bulletin, September 14, 1864.




[1] As cited in:

[2] See also: Daily Cleveland Herald, September 14, 1863; "The day after Foster's arrival, a procession of women, whose husbands are in the Union service, came in from the country, and was nearly a mile long," also Lowell Daily Citizen and News, September 15, 1863.

[3] This conversation may or may not have been based upon some conversation overheard by the editor of the Bulletin, and it is certainly a bit of toadying propaganda, yet the veracity of the dialogue is not as important as is the final paragraph. In an age when women were expected to marry it was important to do so. If, as the article facetiously suggests, only Yankees or Southern Mormons were available for matrimony, one can get another glimpse into the far ranging effects of the Civil War upon people in Tennessee. That is, who would the women marry? The "gene-pool" had been dramatically altered as a result of the fighting and it is anybody's guess what future geniuses and benefactors of mankind may have been produced had the war never occurred. Subtle yet vast social change took place as a result of the war in Tennessee.

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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