Thursday, September 18, 2014

9.18.2014 Tennessee Sesquicentennial Civil War Notes

        18, "Steamer V. K. Stevenson Captured."

On Sunday [15th] evening last about 4 o'clock, the steamer V. K. Stevenson, owned in this city by the Messrs. Hughes, was captured by the gunboat [U. S. S.] Conestoga at Mammoth Furnace on the Cumberland River, four miles this side of Eddyville [Kentucky]. The Stevenson was landed a short time before she was taken, and the crew made their escape by climbing up the bluff-We learn from Capt. Wiley Sims, who left Eddyville on a "mule express" to inform the Captain of the Stevenson of the approach of the gunboat, that one of the deck hands had been sick died from the exhaustion consequent upon escaping. He also informs us that the Stevenson was heavily laden with pig iron, valued at $30,000.

Nashville Daily Gazette, September 18, 1861.

        18, Martial Ritual in Memphis, Captain Hamilton's Funeral

Funeral of Capt. Hamilton.- The funeral of Capt. Hamilton yesterday, was an impressive event. The procession moved through this city along Shelby and Main streets on its way to the Elmwood cemetery. It was of great length, and included Capt. Storm's City Guards, the Grade Civiler, the Grade Frangraiser, Capt. Burn's Italian company of Garibaldi Guards, Capt. Coles Maynard Rifles, Capt. Begbia's company, and some others we were unacquainted with, and a long train of carriages containing many young ladies and citizens. The coffin was a very handsome one, of rosewood. The German band played appropriate music, and the flags of the military were shrouded with crepe. At the cemetery, when the coffin had been lowered to the last resting place of frail humanity, the City Guards surrounded the grave and fired three volleys over it. A general sentiment of sorrow was expressed among our citizens that one who had toiled and cared so much for his country, would have been called away before he could witness the scene of its deliverance.

Memphis Daily Appeal, September 18, 1861.



        18, Funeral procession of Ellen Hill

Death of Ellen Hill.—One of the largest and most mournful funeral processions we have ever seen was that which passed through the city yesterday following to the grave the body of Ellen Hill, wife of James Hill, the colored barber on Cedar street. She was greatly respected by all who knew her and her loss will be sorely felt by the colored population, as she possessed not only the means, but the disposition, to be charitable toward her poor neighbors and friends. The procession was fully half a mile in length.

Nashville Dispatch, September 19, 1862.

        18, Confederate news relative to Federal army movements, negroes, and public meetings in Shelbyville and Winchester

Letter fro Murfreesborough-The Federals Leave Nashville and Return.

Murfreesborough, Tenn., Sept. 11, 1862.

Editor Rebel: I have just time to write you a line.

Buell, after evacuating Nashville, attempted to retreat across the river and into Kentucky, but finding he was cut off by the army under Gen. Bragg, which had crossed the river previously, his retreating force turned and back to Nashville.

There is some doubt here as to their future movements, but one thing is certain, they have 10,000 to 12,000 stolen negroes at work on the fortifications at Nashville. These negroes are literally starving to death, and many of them are running away and endeavoring to get back to their masters.[added]

I have attended two public meetings-one at Winchester and one at Shelbyville. The latter was a rousing meeting, and everywhere the cry is, "let the last man die rather than see the Vandals enter our country again!"

Tennessee is fully aroused, wherever I have been, and, I have no doubt, will, almost to a man, sustain General Bragg in the business of crushing this vast army of thieves and robbers.

Let everybody come on and we will first invest and then wipe out this army of outlaws.[1]

Macon Daily Telegraph, September 18, 1862.



        18, "Attention, Battalion." Looking for love in the Memphis want ads

Wanted, correspondence, by an amiable and interesting young lady, of marriageable age-just twenty two-of elegant style, graceful carriage, of medium hight [sic] and suggestive proportions, possessed of a happy disposition and domestic habits, with one or more gentlemen of intelligence and standing and of known respectability, with a view to love, matrimony and the consequences. All communications strictly confidential. Address, with or without carte de visite, Glass Box 20, Memphis, Tenn.


P.S. No "gay or festive cusses"[2] [sic] need apply.

Memphis Bulletin, September 18, 1863.

        18, John Watkins' [19th Ohio Battery, 3d Division, 23rd AC] letter home to his wife Sarah; marching to Knoxville and Cumberland Gap, prices, Confederate excesses and punishment for depredations

Knoxville Tennessee Sept 18th 1863

My own dear Sarah,

Well darling it is a long time since I have written you….the Battery has been here nearly two weeks and have not had any mail from home….we left Crab Orchard Key [i.e., Ky] on the 21st of Aug….on the 26 we crossed the line into Tennessee. We had inquired for a number of miles where the line was and the folks told us as how we would know when we came to it. There was a large square stone stuck up on one side of the road so plain that we could not help but see it. All along there was plenty of pine timber and in some places plenty of cedar. And no end of the rocks both above and below the surface of the ground. Along there and for two or three days after awhile we were on top of those hills the air was very clear and cool. On the 31st of Aug we marched through a town at the foot of the mountains called Montgomery some 4 or 5 housed in it were inhabited and as many more that were empty. On the 1st day of Sept we drew 8 days rations to carry us and the next day started for Knoxville about 2 oclock [sic] and marched until midnight. On the 3rd of Sept we crossed the Clinch river by fording. That was a very clear stream and about 3 feet deep where we crossed and a rock bottom. On the 4th of September we camped outside of Knoxville having marched that day about 22 miles. On the 5th we camped and marched through a town and went into camp again. The rebels have held this place since the war began. And I don't see why they did not try to hold the place. They had thrown up breastworks on two or three hills and that is about all they did do. For they were all gone before our Cavalry came into the place. Here they had a conscript camp that they confined there [sic] conscripts in so as to hold them. Knoxville musty have been quite a place before the war begun but it looks now as though it was the oldest place in the world and was allowed to run down ever since it was built. The rebels have driven all the union people most out of the place and stripped them of most everything. There has been a man hung here for loyalty to the union and [half] of them put into prison. We are encamped on quite a hill a little peace [sic] out of town but I can see the hills all around us that are a good deal higher….on the morning of the 7th [of September] the section that I belong to was called up about 2 o'clock and at 4 we started out of camp with a days [sic] rations of hard bread and 1 of salt meat. When we started we did not know where we were going but finally found it was Cumberland Gap 60 miles from Knoxville. We were 2½ days going there. We got there in the forenoon of the 10th and expected to have fight at that place sure. But were again disappointed for they surrendered about ½ past 8 the same day we got there….General Burnside himself went along with us. He got there early in the morning the same day that we got there and gave them till 3 o'clock that afternoon to make up there [sic] minds which there [sic] would do fight or surrender and finally saw fit to give the place up. There was quite a force of Cavalry there ahead of us and a force on the other side of the Gap from us that had come in from Key [sic] the nearest way. But is seems the reason they did not show any fight was because they had to [sic] conscripts and North Carolina soldiers that wouldn't fight to risk a battle and to leave the place to after all. About 4 o'clock Burnside and all the mounted force that were on the side that we were and the 104th marched up to take possession of the place. I have never seen the official report of the number of prisoner but have heard there was [sic] about 2500 [sic] of them and 12 pieces of Artillery. You have no doubt heard of it long before this. The nearest that I was to the Gap was about 3 miles. But to look straight across to the Gap from where we were it did not seem more than a mile….on our return to Knoxville and when we started we had 8 or 9 mules hitched on to the two pieces in place of horses that had given out and gone the first day. Going back we marched 15 miles, and a little before we put up for the night we went through a place called Tagewell [i.e. Tazewell] of about 200 population. A year ago in November the rebels burned 36 houses in the place and I tell you the place looks pretty hard now. We got back to camp in Knoxville Monday forenoon the 14th of Sept. and there is no mistake about it I am glad of it for a little rest will be very exceptable [sic]. On Tuesday morning we had inspection in camp and that evening all the troops marched down to town to see a fellow belonging to Wolfords Cavalry drumed [sic] before his regiment all the rest with ½ his head shaved his hands tied behind him and a large placard pined [sic] on his breast with the word thief printed on it in large letters, for robbing a home and setting it on fire. [sic] And besides all that he is sent to Johnsons [sic] Island for the rest of this term of service without pay that is pretty severe punishment yesterday I did not do much of anything but lay down and rest myself a little…I should like to hear from you first rate….& as soon as they get the railroad clear between here and Chattanooga we ought to have mail pretty regular and once more get full rations now we get neither sugar or [sic] coffee salt meat [sic]. the supply trains have got delayed somewhere and the Commissary department is pretty near cleaned out. and it has been so dry here. [sic] the [sic] vegetables are not very plenty potatoes are selling for $1 a bushel and onions $2 butter 25 cts, sugar in town is worth 65 cts a pound but this is nothing to what they did ask for stuff when we came here in Confederate money boots were selling for $40 a pair ladies shoes $30 and other stuff in proportion the same boots are now selling for $10 in our money that I call a pretty good price for a pair of common cowhide boots. while [sic] the rebels were here they did not draw any government rations but lived on the country they would go to a union mans [sic] house and take the very last thing he had in the world and walk off without a word. And the best thing he could do was to keep still. Oh I tell you Sarah I have been glad a hundred times that we lived so far north as we do for I think that a much greater curse could not happen to any section of the country than to have an army pass through it: whether hostile or not. for [sic] they strip everything on there [sic] rout [sic]. Orchards potatoes patches [sic] cornfields [sic] and eat people out of house and home. I have thought a great many times that if an army ever went through country where I lived I would shut up house and go into the woods to live…I wish Sarah I could hear from you as often as I did in Kentucky. I would be satisfied. And don't know but what I shall have to be any how. I wish that I could be up there this morning for jist [sic] a little while. I would like to walk around with you and get some aples [sic]. There is plenty of apples in this country but all they are fit for is to make cider….I must close now hoping to hear from you….

John Watkins Collection,

University of Tennessee Library Special Collections Division




[1] In hindsight these are some of the most desperately unjustified words uttered by Confederate supporters. The naivety in them is as obvious as is the enthusiasm and empty bravado. While this is nineteenth century rhetoric, it can be used today to propagandize young men to volunteer to fight for a reprehensible fight in a war of choice, which this, like Iraq, was.

[2] Given the context of this want ad's contents and the use of the word "cusses" as well as the words "gay" and "festive," one is tempted to conclude that it is a reference to gay men, as it is meant in the 20th and 21st centuries. However, the use of the word gay meant "jolly or happy" in the 19th century and so it may have been an illusion to effeminate men. Yet the question remains, was this a reference to gay men men? Women were not referred to as "cusses." It is a small question with potentially meaningful answers, Why would such an ad for female companionship include the words "gay or festive cusses" if there were not such men in the army?

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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