Monday, October 27, 2014

10.27.2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

            27, Noting Nostradamus in Memphis

The following is translated from the Courier des Etats Unis, of the 29th ult.:

Although many of the predictions made by Nostradamus (especially those concerning the deaths of Henry IV and Louis XVI of France) have been completely verified, they are generally discredited in our times. But in the Prophecies of Vaticinations, of that great man, vol. 2d, (edition of 1609,) we find the following, which seems to deserve attention:

"About that time (1861) a great quarrel and contest will arise in a country beyond the seas (America). Many poor devils will be hung, and many poor wretches killed by a punishment other than a cord. Upon my faith you may believe me. The war will not cease for four years, at which none should be astonished or surprised, for there will be no want of hatred and obstinacy in it. At the end of that time, prostrate and almost ruined, the people will embrace each other in great joy and love."

The period of four years, it will be observed, comprises the exact term of Lincoln's administration. At the close, a new era, it seems, will commence of harmony and peace. Well, if we are to go through this fiery ordeal we must make up our minds to bear up manfully through the conflict, and acquit ourselves like men. The more signally the Hessians are thrashed and humbled by our arms, with greater joy and love will they embrace us when the quarrel and contest have ceased.

Memphis Daily Appeal, October 27, 1861.

            27, Memphis' Jewish women's war production record

Hebrew Aid Society.—The ladies of the Israelitish [sic] faith are earnest in generous effort to provide comfort for our troops. The Hebrew Aid Society, of which Mrs. J. Strauss and Mrs. M. Simon are the acting committee, a short time ago contributed a large supply of woolen garments. They have made a second contribution for the Tennessee volunteers, making, with the former contribution, a total of 112 blankets, 416 pairs socks, 243 pairs drawers, 198 undershirts, 9 pairs pantaloons, 1 jacket, and several bundles of linen and lint.

Memphis Daily Appeal, October 27, 1861.

            27, Observations of a nurse in a Confederate hospital in Chattanooga; an excerpt from the diary of Kate Cumming

Patients from Bragg's army are coming in daily, the hospital is full of them. I never saw such exhausted and worn-out men; they are in rags, and many of them barefooted. It is said they who army suffered much that many a time they have nothing to eat by parched corn.

Mrs. W. is much worse; has typhoid fever. There is a negro girl waiting on her, which to me is a relief.

I thought I had found a treasure in a white woman whom I have made my head cook; but, on going into the kitchen this morning, found her in such a state of intoxication I had to dismiss her, and fall back on the convalescent men as cooks. They do pretty well, but it seems hard to make them understand the importance of cooking properly.

There are many things, if not correctly prepared, are very injurious to the sick. Even much, simple as it is, is seldom properly made. It should be boiled at least an hour, otherwise it is very unwholesome.

Cumming, A Journal of Hospital Life, p. 50

            27, Lynching and church; a day in the life a Federal soldier posted in Nashville

Monday 27th the left wing our regiment on picket left camps at the usual time and relieved the Michigan at 8 oc [sic] last night was very cold…about 10 of our caverly [sic] run about 50 rebel caverly yesterday they found two of our cavelry [sic] hanging to a tree they were captured by the rebels a few days ago they belonged to the 1st Tennessee Cavelry [sic] it is believed they ware [sic] hung tight up when they ware taken prisener [sic] by the rebels and has [sic] remained there ever since as they ware [sic] stiff and cold hanging by the neck when our cavalry found them yesterday. I went to church last night accompanied by N. Pancher, Joseph Blackman and several others I was very much inrested [sic] in the evening service although the preachers complained of being unwell & only preached a short sermon yet the Congeration [sic] seemed to be very much interested I think the text was John 10 & 9 the house was crowded with soldiers: as usual: a report in campt of Bragg and one division of his army being captured by [sic

John Hill Fergusson Diary.

            27, Skirmish at Brown's Ferry.[1] "The bayonet charge, made by the troops of Gen. Howard, up a steep and difficult hill, over 200 feet high, completely routing the enemy and driving him from his barricades on its top, and the repulse, by Gen. Geary's command, of greatly superior numbers, who attempted to surprise him, will rank among the most distinguished feats of arms of this war

Reports of Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Cumberland, relative to the skirmish at Brown's Ferry.

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee, October 27, 1863--11.30 p. m. (Received 9 p. m., 28th.)

Gen. William F. Smith, commanding Hazen's brigade, Sheridan's division, Fourth Corps, and Turchin's brigade, Baird's division, Fourteenth Corps, floated boats of pontoon bridges down the river from Chattanooga to Brown's Ferry, 6 miles below; landed, surprised, and drove off the enemy's pickets and reserves; took possession of the hills commanding debouche of the ferry, on southeast side, and laid bridge and intrenched the command strongly enough to hold the bridge securely.

By the judicious precautions taken by Gen. Smith before starting, and the intelligent co-operation of Gen.'s Turchin and Hazen, commanding brigades, and Col. Stanley, of the Eighteenth Ohio, commanding boat party, this was a complete success, and reflected great credit on all concerned.

Our loss, 4 killed, 15 wounded; enemy, 8 killed, 6 prisoners, and several wounded.

Gen. Hooker, commanding troops composing Eleventh Corps and part of Twelfth, marched from Bridgeport at daylight to-day, to open road from Bridgeport to Chattanooga, and take some position protecting river. Two brigades of Palmer's division, Fourth Corps, should have reached Rankin's Ferry, to co-operate with Gen. Hooker to-day. The Sixteenth Illinois reached Kelley's Ferry to co-operate with Gen. Hooker. If Gen. Hooker is as successful as Gen. Smith has been, we shall in a few days have open communication with Bridgeport by water, as well as by a practicable road, running near the river on the northern bank.

GEO. H. THOMAS, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg. Department.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, pp. 40-41.


Report of Brig. Gen. William F. Smith, U. S. Army, Chief Engineer, Department of the Cumberland.

HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND, OFFICE OF CH[IE]F. ENG[INEE]R., Chattanooga, November 4, 1863.

GEN.: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations for making a lodgment on the south side of the river at Brown's Ferry.

On the 19th of October, I was instructed by Gen. Rosecrans to reconnoiter the river in the vicinity of Williams' Island, with a view to making the island a cover for a steamboat landing and storehouses, and began the examination near the lower end of the island. Following the river up, I found on the opposite bank, above the head of the island, a sharp range of hills, whose base was washed by the river. This range extended up the river nearly to Lookout Creek, and was broken at Brown's Ferry by a narrow gorge, through which ran the road to the old ferry, and also flowed a small creek. The valley between this ridge of hills and Raccoon Mountain was narrow, and a lodgment effected there would give us the command of the Kelley's Ferry road, and seriously interrupt the communications of the enemy up Lookout Valley and down to the river on Raccoon Mountain. The ridge seemed thinly picketed, and the evidences were against the occupation of that part of the valley by a large force of the enemy, and it seemed quite possible to take by surprise what could not have been carried by assault, if heavily occupied by an opposing force.

The major-general commanding the geographical division, and the major-general commanding the department, visited with me the ferry a few days after this reconnaissance, and were agreed as to the importance of the position by itself, and especially in connection with the movements to be made from Bridgeport to open the river, and I was directed to make the necessary arrangements for the expedition to effect the lodgment. To do this, 50 pontoons, with oars, to carry-crew and 25 armed men, were prepared, and also 2 flat-boats, carrying 40 and 75 men. The force detailed for the expedition consisted of the brigades of Brig.-Gen. Turchin and Brig.-Gen. Hazen, with three batteries, to be posted under the direction of Maj. Mendenhall, assistant to Gen. Brannan, chief of artillery.

Sunday, the 25th of October, I was assigned to the command of the expedition, and the troops were distributed as follows: Fifteen hundred men, under Brig.-Gen. Hazen, were to embark in the boats and pass down the river a distance of about 9 miles, seven of which would be under the fire of the pickets of the enemy. It was deemed better to take this risk than to attempt to launch the boats near the ferry, because they would move more rapidly than intelligence could be taken by infantry pickets, and, in addition, though the enemy might be alarmed, he would not know where the landing was to be attempted, and therefore could not concentrate with certainty against us. The boats were called off in sections, and the points at which each section was to land were carefully selected and pointed out to the officers in command and range fires kept burning, lest in the night the upper points should be mistaken. The remainder of Gen. Turchin's brigade and Gen. Hazen's brigade were marched across, and encamped in the woods out of sight, near the ferry, ready to move down and cover the landing of the boats, and also ready to embark so soon as the boats had landed the river force and crossed to the north side. The artillery was also halted in the woods during the night, and was to move down and go into position as soon as the boats had begun to land, to cover the retirement of our troops in case of disaster. The equipage for the pontoon bridge was also ready to be moved down to the river so soon as the troops were across. Axes were issued to the troops, to be used in cutting abatis for defense so soon as the ridge was gained. Gen. Hazen was to take the gorge and the hills to the left, while Gen. Turchin was to extend from the gorge down the river.

The boats moved from Chattanooga at 3 a. m. on the 27th, and, thanks to a slight fog and the silence observed, they were not discovered until about 5 a. m., when the first section had landed at the upper point, and the second section had arrived abreast of the picket stationed at the gorge. Here a portion of the second section of the flotilla failed to land at the proper place, and, alarming the pickets, received a volley. Some time was lost in effecting a landing below the gorge, and the troops had hardly carried it before the enemy began the attack. The boats by this time had recrossed the river, and Lieut.-Col. Langdon, First Ohio Volunteers, in command of the remnant of the brigade of Gen. Hazen, was rapidly ferried across, and, forming his men quickly, pushed forward to the assistance of the troops under Lieut.-Col. Foy, Twenty-third Kentucky Volunteers, already hard pressed.

The skirmish was soon over, and Gen. Turchin, who followed Lieut.-Col. Langdon, quietly took possession of the hills assigned to him. So soon as the skirmishers were thrown out from each command, the axes were set at work felling an abatis, and in two hours the command was sufficiently protected to withstand any attack which was likely to be made. So soon as the last of the troops were across, the bridge was commenced and continued under some shelling for an hour or so, and was completed at 4.30 p. m., under the vigorous and skillful superintendence of Capt. P. V. Fox, First Michigan Engineers, and Capt. G. W. Dresser, Fourth Artillery.

Six prisoners were taken and 6 rebels buried by our command, and several wounded reported by citizens, and among the wounded the colonel of the Fifteenth Alabama Volunteers. Twenty beeves, 6 pontoons, a barge, and about 2,000 bushels of corn fell into our possession. Our loss was 6 killed, 23 wounded, and 9 missing.

The artillery placed in position was not used, but credit is due Maj. Mendenhall for this promptitude in placing his guns. To Brig.-Gen. Turchin, Brig.-Gen. Hazen, Col. Stanley, Eighteenth Ohio Volunteers, who had the superintendence of the boats and was zealous in his duty, and to Capt. Fox, First Michigan Engineers, all credit is due for their zeal, coolness, and intelligence. Capt. Dresser, Fourth Artillery, and Capt. P. C. F. West, U. S. Coast Survey, rendered every service on my staff. Lieut.'s Klokke, Fuller, Hopkins, and Brent, of the signal corps, were zealous in the discharge of their duties, and soon succeeded in establishing a line of communication from the south side of the river.

I inclose the reports of the various commanders.

Respectfully submitted.

WM. F. SMITH, Brig.-Gen., Chief Engineer, Comdg. Expedition.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, pp. 77-78.


Report of Col. Timothy R. Stanley, Eighteenth Ohio Infantry.

HDQRS. EIGHTEENTH REGT. OHIO VOLUNTEERS, Chattanooga, Tennessee, October 28, 1863.

LIEUT.: I have the honor to report the part taken by the forces under my command during the recent expedition to Brown's Ferry, 9 miles by the river below this place.

On the 25th instant I was ordered by Gen. Smith to have ready fifty pontoon boats and one ferry-flat to transport and ferry troops; to organize parties to man them; to superintend, and have all ready to move the following day. To do this required the building of some ten additional boats and the making of one hundred and fifty oars and row-locks, all which was being done under the direction of Capt. Fox, of the Michigan Mechanics and Engineers. I detailed 100 men from my own regiment, under command of Capt.'s Grosvenor and Cable, and requested details of river men from other regiments, which were furnished as follows: From the Thirty-third Ohio and Second Ohio, under command of Lieut. McNeal 88 men; from the Thirty-sixth Ohio, under command of Lieut. Haddow, and from the Ninety-second Ohio, under command of Lieut. Stephenson, each 44 men. I directed boats' crews to consist of 1 corporal and 4 men, and each two boats to be under command of a sergeant, each detail to be under command of a commissioned officer. I afterward added a large flat, in which I carried 60 men. The pontoons each carried 25 men besides the boats' crews, making in the whole fleet fifty-two boats and 1,600 men.

It was nearly night of the 26th before the boats were all ready, and far into the night before we were supplied with oars, and had it not been for the energy of the Michigan Mechanics and Engineers we would not have been supplied at all. The boats were, however, loaded, and at the appointed hour, 3 o'clock in the morning of the 27th, we left the shore and rowed to the other side of the river, passing through the opening made for us in the pontoon bridge. Keeping near the right bank, we floated down stream until the rear had well closed up, when we pulled steadily and silently under the shadow of the trees near the right bank, until opposite the point of Lookout Mountain, where the current, setting strongly toward the mountain, threw us some distance from shore, but we quickly, however, regained our place, and thus glided past the enemy's pickets on the left and part of our own on the right without being discovered by the enemy. We were seen by the enemy posted near Lookout Creek, but after some conversation among themselves they concluded it was only drift. I had provided one of the flats for Gen. Hazen, and Capt. McElroy, of the steamer, gave me a select crew to man her, and in that I took passage with Gen. Hazen and staff, following the first boat. The moon was so obscured by clouds that we were favored in that respect, but the perfect order and stillness with which we moved prevented discovery.

I had divided the boats into two fleets, one half under direction of Lieut. McNeal, to make the landing at Brown's Ferry, the other half under Capt. Grosvenor to land at the gap above, our guide having pointed out to me the two gaps. I landed on the right shore above the upper one, and gave directions to each as they came down to make the proper landing, which was easily done without alarming the enemy, as the boats came down close to that shore. I was gratified to see how silently they came; how well they had obeyed my order. The leading boat landing, the others quickly followed, all unloading the armed men, who quickly gained the top of the bank, surprising the enemy's pickets, the boats quickly, according to previous arrangements, crossing to the right shore, coming down and up to the Brown's Ferry landing, which point I had also at this time reached, where the remainder of the forces were in waiting, who, being properly counted off into boat loads, were quickly and regularly loaded, and thus the whole force were ferried, 5,000 men, in less than one hour. There was no confusion. Every officer and man did his whole duty, did it fearlessly, willingly, and well, although there was sharp firing by the enemy, and bullets were flying thick both on the river and the shore where we were loading into the boats.

Having thus crossed the whole infantry force, and daylight having come and my men being exhausted with their efforts, the boats were all tied up to shore in line ready. I ordered breakfast for most of the men, keeping, however, a sufficient number of boats running to carry officers' messages, and gave directions to Capt. Cable to fit up the ferry-flat, and cross two pieces of artillery, which he did, taking command in person under fire of the enemy's artillery, which had in the meantime commenced throwing shells into our midst. While going over with the first piece of artillery, a shell passed a few feet over their heads; a little farther on another plowed the waters just above and passed under the boat, but neither the enemy's fire nor fatigue detained them from their work. After breakfast and a short rest, I was directed to make a road up the bank, on the south side, to be ready for the bridge, which was in process of construction by Capt. Fox. After completing that work, thus relieving the armed men from other than their appropriate duty, I ordered my men to camp, remaining, however, in person until nearly night.

I am much indebted to Capt. Grosvenor, to whom I had intrusted much of the details before starting, and the immediate command of the upper fleet, for the perfect manner in which he carried out my orders, and the system and coolness displayed in the crossing and landings. Capt. Cable and Lieut.'s McNeal, Haddow, and Stephenson were equally cool, ready, prompt, and active. These officers, without exception, obeyed my orders strictly and aided me throughout. Much of the success which characterizes the expedition is owing to their efforts. My thanks and commendation are no less due to the brave men, the sergeants, corporals, and privates under their command, who so gallantly disregarded danger and put forth their utmost strength to such good purpose. They did not have arms in their hands to repay the enemy in kind, nor charge upon the enemy to excite and nerve them, but stern duty was well performed regardless of danger.

I regret to record the loss of 3 men of the Thirty-third Ohio. Corpl. John W. Gillilin, Company I, was killed; Private Henry Pierce, Company B, mortally wounded; Private Elijah Conklin, Company C, slightly wounded.

Your obedient servant,


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, pp. 79-81.


[ORDERS.] HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Chattanooga, November 1, 1863.

The general commanding tenders his thanks to Brig. Gen. W. F. Smith and the officers and men of the expedition under his command, consisting of the brigades of Brig.-Gen.'s Turchin and Hazen, the boat parties under Col. T. R. Stanley, Eighteenth Ohio Volunteers, and the pioneer bridge party, Capt. Fox, Michigan Engineers, for the skill and cool gallantry displayed in securing a permanent lodgment on the south side of the river at Brown's Ferry, and in putting in position the pontoon bridge, on the night of the 26th instant. The successful execution of this duty was attended with the most important results in obtaining a safe and easy communication with Bridgeport and shortening our line of supplies.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Thomas:


GENERAL ORDERS, No. 265. HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND, Chattanooga, Tennessee, November 7, 1863.

The recent movements, resulting in the establishment of a new and short line of communication with Bridgeport, and the possession of the Tennessee River, were of so brilliant a character as to deserve special notice.

The skill and cool gallantry of the officers and men composing the expedition under Brig. Gen. William F. Smith, chief engineer, consisting of the brigades of Brig.-Gen.'s Turchin and Hazen, the boat parties under Col. Stanley, Eighteenth Ohio Volunteers, and the pontoniers [sic] under Capt. Fox, Michigan Engineers and Mechanics, in effecting a permanent lodgement [sic] on the south side of the river, at Brown's Ferry, deserve the highest praise.

The column under Maj.-Gen. Hooker, which took possession of the line from Bridgeport to the foot of Lookout Mountain, deserve great credit for their brilliant success in driving the enemy from every position which they attacked. The bayonet charge, made by the troops of Gen. Howard, up a steep and difficult hill, over 200 feet high, completely routing the enemy and driving him from his barricades on its top, and the repulse, by Gen. Geary's command, of greatly superior numbers, who attempted to surprise him, will rank among the most distinguished feats of arms of this war.

By command of Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 68.

            27, The Corrupt "Colonel" Truesdail

The Fall of Rosecrans.

Startling and Scandalous Charges Brought Against him by the Washington Chronicle[2]

[From the Washington Chronicle, Oct. 24]

An octavo volume has just appeared, from the press of Lippincott & Co., of Philadelphia, which is likely to be severely criticized by those who are familiar with the events it professes to record.

That portion of the work which will probably arrest more attention than any other is the police record of the spies, smugglers and rebel emissaries-being, in fact, the narrative of the doings of the "army police' attached to Gen Rosecrans' army. This has been published, also, in a separate and cheaper form, and contains a sketch of the Chief of the Army Police, Mr. Wm. Truesdail. Upon this portion of the "annals" we propose to throw some additional light. As the work is anonymous, the authorship being simply, that of "An Officer," we may canvas it with all freedom. It is possible, and by no means improbable, that, as Mr. Truesdail, though holding no military rank, if familiarly called "Colonel" in the army, he is the "officer" who has written the book. Certainly, no "enemy: of his had "done the thing." The "chief" in his connection with the army, first attracted attention, we believe, while in the employ of General Pope. He was then sort of a sub-mail agent. After the evacuation of Corinth an important command was tendered to General Rosecrans, which included portions of General Pope's Army of Mississippi, and Mr. Truesdail thus  came under General Rosecrans' orders. He soon contrived to persuade that general to authorize him to establish an "army police, "the ostensible object of which was to capture deserters, arrest rebel citizens and spies, watch the movements of federal officers, &c.. Experience showed, however, that the chief object of the distinguished chief was individual aggrandizement  and gain. Soon after his appointment, he associated with himself one Russell (who, of course, soon became  "Major" Russell, inn police and army parlance) and the power of the "army police" soon began to make itself felt, and its doings talked about; so much so, that complaints about their proceedings were formally made to General Grant; accompanied by a representation that General Rosecrans was countenancing and fostering a brigade of cotton thieves.

An inquiry was instituted, and it was shown that this class of hangers on about General Rosecrans' headquarters were habitually committing depredations on the country around, apparently with the consent of General Rosecrans, and certainly by the assistance of his soldiers. The mode of operations was adroit and cunningly devised. Truesdail would report to General Rosecrans that "Major" Russell had discovered at a certain place-generally twenty or thirty miles distant from our line of pickets-a small band of guerrillas, or a depot of provisions for the rebel army. Wagons would thereupon be sent out under a strong cavalry escort: but they generally returned laden with cotton, instead of with bacon or grain. Very rarely indeed were guerrillas brought in by these expeditions, though sometimes parties would be captured who could not have been guilty of any great crime, as they were invariably released after taking the oath of allegiance. So satisfied was General Grant that the whole affair was a gross abuse that he turned the whole of the operators out of the army.

Truesdail would probably have found  "his occupation" gone had not General Rosecrans about this time been placed in command of Buell's army. The  "chief" no sooner heard of this than he hired him to Bowling Green. He was promptly reinstated as "chief of the army police."

When the Army of the Cumberland arrived at Nashville, "Colonel" Truesdail took a house at the corner of Church and High streets, and a quiet, and we suspect, a profitable business for a few weeks. By that time his force was fully organized and his ambitions rose accordingly. He removed his office to a house owned by Zollicoffer's daughter, while for his own headquarters he took the elegant mansion of Dr. Jennings, located at the corner of High and Cedar streets, and thenceforth the chief of the army police was second only to General Rosecrans. His detectives had found their way into many private families. The bearing of his officers, alike to loyal and disloyal citizens, was often insulting in the extreme. They would ride through the streets in a manner perilous to life and limb, and carried themselves so offensively that earnest remonstrances were addressed to Governor Johnson, who himself appealed to

General Rosecrans to have the nuisance checked. The General replied that the governor must apply directly to General Truesdail for redress; but that gentleman had long since ceased to be approachable by civilians. He had taken the ground that neither his acts nor those of his agents were to be questioned. Ere long, and without the issuing of any order, the chief demanded and seized all the Confederate money in the banks and bankers' offices at Nashville. The right of the Chief of Police to do that was questioned by Governor Johnson who addressed Mr. Truesdail upon the subject, but received no reply. Elated by his success in this mater, he next contemplated a seizure of the banks themselves and conducting under his own supervision, his "judge advocate" counseling hi thereto. Luckily, before he took the step, he mentions his purpose to the

Secretary of State, Mr. East, who gave him "a piece of his mind." Of such weighty, proportions that the discomfited "chief" abandoned that speculation. However,, he consoled himself soon afterward by inaugurating a system of confiscation, which he successfully carried on for months, He was also invested with authority to give passes, which power was withheld from all legitimate commanders. He seized goods; arrested whom he would, on a charge of treason; tried them in his own court, convicted them and sent them to prison and confiscated their property. Indeed, the power of "William Truesdail, Chief of the Police of the Army of the Cumberland" was the talk of the whole army, and a source of regret and mortification to all the general officers, who feared that both the government and the army would lose confidence in their commander when it came to be known that he tolerated such an institution, with such a head, in his army. Soon however, the chief's power was made still more conspicuous and profitable. He assumed the entire charge of the mails, letters, newspapers, &c., to and from the army, farming out this profitable monopoly to his son and a man named Scott, who both rapidly acquired wealth by it.

Again Governor Johnson remonstrated with Gen. Rosecrans about these proceedings, but the general turned a deaf ear to his appeals. It passed, in fact, into a byword that William Truesdail was commander in-chief of the Army of the Cumberland. Wearied with his fruitless efforts to obtain from General Rosecrans a remedy for this evil, and becoming anxious about the consequences if it were permitted to continue, the faithful Governor repaired to this city [Washington, D. C.] and laid out the whole thing before the government. Circumstances at the time were unfavorable for grappling with it, and Governor Johnson returned home disappointed. Truesdail was now in the meridian of his power, and he exercised it unblushingly. He began to boast that he could not be removed, and it was the common talk, especially among officers from Grant's army, who visited Louisville, that he had a hold upon General Rosecrans which would one day destroy the latter. Of course the General's reputation was seriously damaged by these things, for some officers openly charged Truesdail with dishonesty, and Rosecrans with participating in it. The "Annals" overlooks all these facts, and its anonymous author, speaking of Truesdail, says-

["]As may be readily supposed, such an extensive army organization ere long attained considerable notoriety. It marshaled the friends and its enemies in almost regimental numbers. Even in the army it has been most violently assailed, not only by the victims in the ranks, but by officers, whose evil deeds were not past finding out. If any direct charge was made, however, to General Rosecrans, it was at once and fully investigated; and in no one instance has the charge been maintained as affecting the good character of its chief or of his principal aids [sic].The breath of calumny has been even wafted to the President's ears, and the newspapers of last spring contained the announcement that a special commission had been appointed at Washington to investigate the operations of the police of the Army of the Cumberland. Many weeks elapsed, and this was not done. At the solicitation of its chief and his assistants, General Rosecrans then appointed a special inspector, Captain Temple Clark, formerly a member of his staff in Mississippi, and now chief upon the staff of Brigadier Johnson, of Kentucky, to examine into the operations of his army police and make a report.["]

One man, and he ranking only as captain to investigate charges of such magnitude and gravity! The "Annals" does not tell what its author must have known, that Capt., temple Clark was the intimate friend of Rosecrans and Truesdail, and that, on his arrival at Nashville, he so conducted himself in a place of public amusement that Captains Pratt and Garret, of General Mitchell's staff, were, for the honor of the profession, constrained to make charges against him for "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman," and that, when his conduct was about to be officially investigated, an order from General Rosecrans put an end to the proceedings. Was it to be wondered at that Captain Temple Clark made a favorable report. The incidents in the life of a spy or detective policeman must always be interesting, and an organization of such magnitude as the police of the Arm of the Cumberland could not well help discovering many offenders. But what we complain of in "The Annals" is that favoritism and partiality are shown in the selections from the police records. It becomes our duty, as it happens to be in our power, to describe other doing of this great organization. Soon after Chief Truesdail first moved into Zollicoffer's house a negro appeared at the office Governor Johnson, representing that he had run away from his master, and had brought with him a horse valued at $1,000. The Governor ordered him to hand the horse over to the quartermaster, who would return it to the owner, if he was a loyal man. It turned out that "Major" Russell had got possession of the horse, and when the negro presented himself with the Governor's order for the horse to be transferred to the Quartermaster. Russell put him in prison. Remonstrance from Governor Johnson only brought a reply from Truesdail that he obeyed no order except from Gen. Rosecrans. Again, an Irish man, who had lost a limb in the federal service, and whose loyalty was well attested, obtained a permit to take a hundred bushels of potatoes to Nashville for sale. Truesdail seized the potatoes on the plea that the owner was disloyal, and that joint representations of the Governor, and the joint representations of the Governor, the Secretary of State, the Postmaster and the Comptroller failed to recover the poor man's property. With regard to detectives, who, in disguise, entered secession families, they were, of course, generally successful in convicting the persons of disloyal sentiments and practices, and confiscation of their property speedily followed. But not seldom innocent parties suffered by the doings of the police. One case particularly deserves attention. One of Truesdail's detectives called one day upon a lady who was loyal, but who had a son in the rebel army. He represented himself as belonging to the same regiment as her son, adding that he should return in a few days, and that if she would prepare a letter and some under clothing he would convey them to him. She informed him that, although she would not regard such an act as wrong in view of the destitution of her boy, yet, as a loyal woman, she could not send such articles without first obtaining permission from the authorities. The detective's answer was that she would be refused, and her boy would continue to suffer. The temptation was strong, and she packed up an undershirt and a pair of drawers, enclosing a letter. The next day the "army police" took every thing valuable from her home, including nearly $300, which was all she had. She laid the case before Governor Johnson, but he declined to have anything more to do with the organization. This is but one of many cases of the same nature. Mr. Truesdail superintended the pressing of negroes and horses, and too the latter work he was once caught handsomely. He was sending off two splendid animals he had pressed for the cavalry service, but instead of sending them to Murfreesboro he ticketed for St. Louis As his word was law they went safely until they arrived in the department of General Boyle, who seized them and turned them over to the proper authorities.

The "Annals" contain some stories which are true, but a great many which are mutilated, and the handsome part given to the public, as in the case of Mrs. Molly Heydein [?]  . The books in Truesdail's office will show that had certain officer declined giving passes to the handsome widow, she would have committed no harm. But our space is exhausted. Than any army police can do much good; that Mr. Truesdail's spies and detectives procured such valuable information is certain; but such an organization should be held to strict accountability, or it may do incalculable mischief.

The New York Herald, October 27, 1863.[3]

            27, "I have the honor to report the utter inadequacy of the Irving Military Prison of this city for the purpose to which it is now used, with a request that a proper prison may be built." An appeal for military penal reform in Memphis


Memphis, Tenn., October 27, 1864.


SIR: I have the honor to report the utter inadequacy of the Irving Military Prison of this city for the purpose to which it is now used, with a request that a proper prison may be built. The building consists of three stories, on ground floors of which are large rooms used for the general prison rooms; the upper part of which are used for hospitals, female prisoners, and guards [and] are cut up into small rooms originally intended for offices and bed rooms to be leased out. This of course makes a contracted place, and as it is in the center of the city there is no place where the prisoners can take exercise or be exchanged from the prison rooms. They have to eat, sleep, and live in the same room. There is but a small cistern to supply this whole prison with water and it will not hold the fifteenth part of what is required to keep the prison clean. For some days I have been able to barely get sufficient water for cooking purposes, and this little I have been obliged to have hauled by wagons for the river. This is the second time that this has happened. In my experience heretofore (with this other exception when the pump broke) by the aid of the fire engines I have been able to have the cistern filled from the river, but now the pump has again given out and it is impossible to get it in that way, and it is now impossible to get the prisoners the necessary amount of water for their own cleanliness. I have applied to Col. Clary, Quartermaster's Department, for wagons, but he cannot furnish enough of them, as he has to supply the hospitals at the same time. I would respectfully recommend that a suitable prison may be built, say in Fort Pickering, near the river, where there would be plenty of room. The water would be convenient and the prisoners would be more secure. The amount that would be required to keep the present building in repair, and would be much more comfortable, safe, commodious, and secure, any of which qualities the present building cannot be made to poses. I have called the attention of all inspectors to this, and all agree that there should be a proper prison built, as one will undoubtedly be required at this place for years to come.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEO. A. WILLIAMS, Capt., First U. S. Infantry, and Provost-Marshal.

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 7, pp. 1049-1050.



[1] Part of the re-opening of the Tennessee River. The "skirmish" at Brown's Ferry was an extraordinary and effective amphibious assault.

[2] Not found.

[3] PQCW.

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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