Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10.15.2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        15, Governor Isham G. Harris to President Jefferson C. Davis relative to difficulties in recruiting, Confederate strategy and geopolitical concerns


Nashville, October 15, 1861

His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS, Richmond:

As you are doubtless already informed, General [A.S.] Johnston has called upon me for 30,000 volunteers, in addition to the Provisional Army of Tennessee heretofore transferred to the Confederate States. To fill this requisition companies and regiments are rapidly reporting themselves, yet, from the constant inquiry made as to when and how they can be armed, I fear there will be some difficulty in raising so large a force unless I am authorized to give more satisfactory assurances than I am at present able to do.

It is the prospect of immediate and active service that swells the ranks of a volunteer force. They are reluctant to go into camp for winter quarters, where, without arms, they feel that they can render no service and really be of no use to the Government. I am exceedingly anxious to have this force armed and equipped to aid in repelling invasion, so strongly threatened at this point upon the northern border of the State, feeling certain that if properly prepared we can prevent the enemy reaching our soil.

Tennessee had placed every arm that she could command in the hands of the troops transferred to the Government. If it is the policy of the Government to cease operations in Western Virginia until the winter is past, I would be pleased if it can be done consistent with the public interest, to see the Tennessee troops there removed to the scene of action in this vicinity. The term of service of these troops will about expire with the winter in the mountains, in view of which fact the Government can make more profitable use of them in the manner indicated than by quartering them there; besides, a re-enlistment would be much more probable than in their present location.

The confidence of our people in their security from invasion is necessary to insure the production of such supplies and provisions as are absolutely demanded by the wants of our armies; to aid in doing which (if there were not more important considerations), it becomes of the utmost importance that Kentucky shall be held by the South. If the movement in Kentucky should halt or fail, it may seriously affect the amount of supplies produced in Tennessee. Recent movements indicate the purpose of the Federal Government to throw an overwhelming force into that State. I am satisfied that Kentucky is not the battle ground, and if superior numbers should give the enemy even a temporary success, it would not only endanger the safety of Tennessee, but carry with it incalculable mischief to the whole Confederacy. I am sure your policy is to drive them back to the Ohio.

The requisition of General Johnston will be promptly filled upon the assurance of arming. Without such assurance I frankly confess that there will be some delay.

If there could be thrown into this quarter an army large enough to drive the enemy back to the Ohio and push a column forward to Saint Louis, from these points ample supplies could be obtained to support the armies of the Government, and aggressive movements inaugurated and pushed forward which would deprive the North of the rich grain fields of the West, cut them off from their supplies, break up their hives of men, and enable you to make peace upon fair and honorable terms. It is the West that sustains the Federal Government in prosecuting the war. If able to take such positions as will command that section the East becomes powerless, and our supplies, so necessary and important to all our future movements, become abundant and certain

But I find myself digressing from the object of my letter, which was to suggest the importance of a large force for a winter campaign in Kentucky; to ask that the Tennessee troops be sent from Western Virginia, or a part of them, if it can be done with safety, and to appeal for arms for the 30,000 men now being raised here. The interest and anxiety which I feel for the success of our cause and the safety of Tennessee, which I regard as now seriously threatened with invasion, must be my apology for the length of this communication and the freedom of my suggestions. Feeling the highest assurance that your excellency will do all that is possible to prevent such a calamity,

I have the honor....etc.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 4, pp. 449-450.

15, Repeal of Bawdy House Police ordinance in Memphis

Be it ordained &c. That the ordinance passed by the Board on the 6th of August last entitled "Bawdy Houses" be and the same is hereby repealed. [The ordinance was passed to police the brothels of Memphis and collect a tax on them by the special bawdy house police]

Passed 1st reading and referred to the Ordinance Committee.

Memphis City Council Meeting Minutes, Meeting of October 15, 1861, p. 604.

        15, Skirmish at Neely's Bend, Cumberland River

No circumstantial reports filed.

        15, " …we have nothing but beef, bread and coffee...."continued shortages at the Confederate hospital in Chattanooga

The day has cleared off beautifully. Good news continues to come in from Kentucky. I have just received a note from a Kentuckian, with a vest requesting me to enlarge it, as the hope of soon seeing his wife and children, whom he has been separated from for some time, has so inflated him that it needs altering.

J. Tew, a member of the Thirty-second Alabama Regiment, died to-day, is from Red Creek, Ala.; was a married man.

The colonel of that regiment (McKinstry) is from Mobile. He has visited his men in the hospital, and seemed much interested in them. He was post commander of this place.

Two of our men died to-day, Robert Arnold, member of the Tenth South Carolina Regiment, and Mr. Schoff, member of the Sixteenth Louisiana Regiment.

We are in despair for diet for the men, as our money is all gone. I have written to our friends in Mobile to send us some. If they do not, I do not know what we will do, as we have nothing but beef, bread, and coffee; many of the men can not taste either of these things. I believe that many a man dies for want of proper nourishment. When they have money themselves, the give it to us to buy things with but money is an article of which they have very little at this time. I hope there will be a change for the better soon, and that we will be able to get plenty of money, as Dr. Stout (who is said to be an excellent manager) is now medical director of the hospital department from Atlanta to this post.

Cumming, A Journal of Hospital Life, p. 49.

        15, Skirmish at Bristol, expulsion of Confederate forces

HDQRS. FOURTH DIVISION, Bristol, October 15, 1863-2.30 p. m. (Received 16th.)

I have the honor to report that, with the blessing of Providence, we have succeeded in driving the enemy out of East Tennessee, and are still pursuing him. Our forces occupy Zollicoffer and this place. The enemy evacuated Zollicoffer.

I am, colonel, yours, truly,

J. M. SHACKELFORD, Brig.-Gen., Comdg.

HDQRS. FOURTH DIVISION CAVALRY, Bristol, October 16, 1863-9 a. m.

We drove the enemy 10 miles above this yesterday evening. Have just returned to this place. Our advance is still 10 miles up the Abingdon road. The railroad bridge and block-house at Zollicoffer have been destroyed. We are destroying cars, locomotives, railroad tracks here, above, and below. No news from the enemy this morning.


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. II, p. 595.

15, Skirmish at Mossy Creek

No circumstantial reports filed

HDQRS. CAVALRY BRIGADE, Rheatown, October 18, 1864.

MAJ.: In addition to my dispatch of yesterday I have the honor to report that Lieut. Hynds, Company A, Third Tennessee, who was on scout below with twenty men, surprised the guard at Mossy Creek of thirty men on night of 15th, killed 5, wounded 1, and brought out 12 prisoners, and thinks there were some 6 or 7 burned up in the brick store in which they were sleeping, and which they had pierced with port-holes for musketry. He captured 20 horses. On account of the smallness of command and the prisoners to guard, he was unable to destroy the bridge at that point.

I am happy to be able to state that my command is increasing every day by recruits and absentees. I am in great need of clothing for the command; a great many are nearly naked and barefooted. I need supplies of every sort in quartermaster's department.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN C. VAUGHN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg. Cavalry Brigade. [C. S. A.]

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. I, pp. 848-849.


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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