Saturday, November 1, 2014

11.01.14 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        1, Report on Confederate river defenses at Fort Pillow

MEMPHIS, November 1, 1861.

Capt. E. D. BLAKE, C. S. Army, Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Columbus, Ky.:

SIR: I beg leave to state for the information of Maj.-Gen. Polk that I am now at Memphis collecting barges to be used in the constructions of the floating defenses at Fort Pillow. Owing to the weight of the chain to be used across the river, barges will have to be relied on for buoys in place of rafts of logs. The heavy anchors have not yet arrived, but are daily expected. The chain is here. I beg leave further to add in the letter for Gen. Polk's information that I have received a letter from Commander M. F. Maury,[1] C. S. Navy (late chief of the late National Observatory), informing me that while engaged in making preparations for mining the Mississippi River he had been ordered by the Navy Department to suspend such preparations, and to report himself for special duty. This letter of Professor Maury was from Fredericksburg, Va., dated 17th ultimo. I exceedingly regret this failure of our expectations regarding Commander Maury's assistance with submarine batteries, for the reason that I fear we have no sure means above water of arresting the threatened descent of the enemy's iron-clad ships. I have written to the Navy Department to-day, asking sufficient aid from it to insure the placing of such means of defense, and have also written a private letter to the Secretary of the Navy urging him to send Commander Maury to engage in the work. A direct application from Gen. Polk to the Navy Department would no doubt have much greater weight in the matter than what I may have said.

I am, very respectfully,

ISAAC N. BROWN, Lieut., C. S. Navy

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, p. 194.

November 1, 1862, Concern about Confederate draft dodgers, Chattanooga environs

We learn that there are various pretexts being resorted to in order to avoid being enrolled as conscripts. Stout, able-bodied and athletic young men are getting positions as agents to buy articles of food and clothing, also horses, mules and wagons, thinking thereby that they will avoid being put in the army. These things can be done well by men over forty as by younger men. There are, also, many disabled soldiers who are unfit for active exercise, who are as honest and capable as any men in the country, who would make excellent agents. The men who are attempting to evade the law are, however, mistaken as to its provisions. They are just as liable to be enrolled now as if they were not government agents. A "Tennessee Volunteer," the other day, made known the fact that many men were getting employed by Government contractors, hoping thereby to avoid conscription. All this will not avail them. It is the duty of the enrolling officers to enroll all such, and if they are exempt, the proper authorities will grant them exemptions. Let it be known how many men liable to conscription are employed as agents or are working under contractors. The exemption law was not intended to enable men to avoid the conscript law, and such perversion of its provisions should be looked after by the government.

Chattanooga Daily Rebel, November 1, 1862.

        1, A first-hand account of the benefits resulting from the Confederate General John C. Vaughn's offensive in East Tennessee


Atlanta, Ga. November 1, 1863

Dear Register-On yesterday in the train on the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad, went up to Charleston. The bridge there is nearly finished-the iron will be laid down against tomorrow, and on Tuesday it is expected the train will go through to Loudon. The reoccupancy of the country by Gen. Vaughn fist and since by our infantry, has had this effect your correspondent predicted two or three weeks ago, viz: to prompt the farmer to sow their small grain. You see this all along the route, and if the country continues to be held by us there may still be a good crop of wheat. Another good effect is the penning and fattening of a very considerable number of hogs. This is a very important consequence of the campaign towards Knoxville, and the supply of subsistence from our great East Tennessee granary will compensate fully for the amount of men and money expended in the reconquest of so much of it as we have retaken and hold. There are rumors of our progress further East. Our scouts have been to Lenoir's, and to Concord. They report that there is no enemy this side of these points, and not a single Federal soldier in Blount.

That dash on Philadelphia, and the capture of Wolford's Cavalry has produced such consternation north of the river that the enemy has fallen back to Knoxville. Indeed, some say that four of the most prominent Lincolnites there have left with their families for parts unknown, and that the Federal army is now withdrawn to their fortifications at Cumberland Gap. "The wicked flee when no man pursueth."  Up to this time, I believe, our forces have not crossed the Tennessee below the mouth of Holston; but you will hear before this week closes of another advance no less important than that to Loudon; still our cavalry has not remained inactive. On Thursday General Vaughn is reported to have achieved another signal success. At Niles' Ferry he heard that the famous guerrilla and bandit, Bryson had just passed on his return from Knoxville with seventy or eighty men under his command. With above two hundred men Vaughn gave immediate pursuit. He passed the house of a Southern soldier, now in Bragg's army; the wife and children had been robbed an hour before of everything they possessed but the clothes they were wearing. The pursuit was quickened; they soon overtook Bryson and desperados pillaging another family. Vaughn dashed upon them. One of his men advised him to surround the house and capture the party. He refused to do so, but ordered a charge and led it himself.

A Federal Captain and eight others darted into an adjoining field and attempted to escape.-Vaughn rushed upon the party and gave them the contents of his revolver, when such of them as had not fallen turned and gave him battle. We clubbed his pistol and held them all at bay, until some of his men coming up, relieved him from the unequal conflict. Seven or eight of the banditti were killed and seventeen captured. Bryson and his surviving comrades dispersed; but the pursuit was continued in the direction of Telico plaius, and it was believed most of them would be killed or captured. The Federal Captain threw himself on Vaughn's protection, declaring that he was not a bushwhacker, and had not participated in the guilt and infamy of the pillaging and murders of the banditti. It was difficult to restrain our men from killing him on the spot.

Another party of our calvary has gone into Blount to retake a drove of five hundred hogs collected in the lower end of Blount, and engaged to the Federal Commissary at Knoxville. We cannot re-occupy the country too soon. Much of the hog crop will be lost to us if the enemy is not driven out immediately.

Macon Daily Telegraph, November 17, 1863.

        1, Confederate citizens of Johnson and Washington counties petition for protection from Federal bushwhackers and guerrillas

NOVEMBER 1, 1864. Gen. J. C, BRECKINRIDGE, Cmdg. the Dept. of East Tenn. and Southwest Virginia:

The undersigned, citizens of Johnson County, Tenn., would represent to you that our county is infested with several bands of bushwhackers, murderers, and deserters, who are committing depredations upon the lives and property of Southern citizens to such an alarming extent that a great many of them had to leave their homes and seek shelter in North Carolina and Virginia. Those that remained at home have embodied themselves together under, arms, trying to hold them in cheek until we can get assistance. We are about twenty in number, taking in boys from fourteen years old and men up to sixty. The disloyal element in this county is too powerful for us to withstand without assistance. There is a very large number of deserters from the Federal army lurking in the woods with guns of the best quality, and could, if they were to unite, destroy every Southern family in the county in a short time and is threatening to do so if we attempt to arrest them. We would also represent to you that several of the iron establishments in this county are under contract to make iron for the Confederate Government, and hands were detailed to carry on the contract and had commenced work, but were stopped by the Yankee advancing into upper East Tennessee. When they fell back they left a great many vagabonds in the county, who are now bushwhacking, robbing, and killing or citizens. No Southern men who have made contracts with the Government for iron nor none of the Southern men who have been detailed can leave their houses, without jeopardizing their lives, unless they have a guard, and consequently cannot comply with their contracts. The Union men seem to be in no danger; they go about their business fearing nothing. Now we cannot content ourselves with such a state of affairs as this; after giving all our sons, or fathers, our brothers, and sympathies to the cause of Southern independence and after all to be thus driven to such extremes as this; to be robbed and murdered by wicked men, it is more than we are willing to bear. Your petitioners would therefore earnestly call upon you to give us some assistance. We have full confidence that you will not suffer any portion of your military department to fall into the hands of the enemy if it can be avoided, and especially we believe you will protect it from the bushwhackers. We would respectfully ask you to let the few soldiers remain that are yet in this county. We would recommend that Clinton Bevins be commissioned to organize the reserves and conscripts in this county, and that the loyal conscripts be assigned to duty in this county with the loyal reserves, and then let us have men enough to make out a full company when added to conscripts and reserves, and we will try to hold this county. H. M. Baker, Company B, Second Kentucky Battalion, and Green Hazleman, Company F, Second Kentucky Battalion, we ask to be assigned, to duty here. The aforesaid Clifton Bevins is a citizen of this county and has been a faithful soldier in the Thirty-seventh Virginia regiment of infantry until he became disabled and was discharged. He has been scouting after bushwhackers in this county for some time with good success. We ask for this petition your favorable consideration, hoping you will grant our request by giving us protection in the way we have asked for it or any other mode you may see proper.

G. MOORE, [And fourteen others].

[NOVEMBER -, 1864.]

JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE, Cmdg. Dept. of East Tennessee and Western Virginia:

The undersigned, citizens of the county of Washington, Va., would represent that they feel themselves endanger from a party of robbers, who make their rendezvous in the mountains bordering on Johnson County, Tenn., and believe that they ought to be afforded a guard to protect the. They will state that the gang of robbers has made three raids into that part of Washington County known as Denton's Valley. They robbed the houses of several citizens living in the valley, took away eight horses, shot at several, and killed Fayette Marks. They have threatened that they will come back into the valley, and they have likewise threatened they will burn Abingdon. They have threatened to kill John M. White and Campbell Denton, who live in Denton's Valley, and James Campbell, who lives in the neighborhood east of the valley about-- [sic] miles. The citizens on the south side of the county, especially in Denton's Valley, are in dread nightly of a repetition of an-other raid by the gang, and the loss of more property and the loss of some of their lives. They pray that you will detail a body of men to guard and protect the south side of the county of Washington and to hunt down the gang and bring them to punishment.

SAMUEL S. GLENN, [And fifty-nine others].

OR, Vol. 39, pt. III, pp. 873-874.


[1] M.F. Maury was a native of Maury County, 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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