Tuesday, December 2, 2014

12.02.14 Tennessee Civil War Notes.

        2, Capture of Confederate Counterfeiters

We arrived at Big Creek last night. We were ordered up the valley (Powell's Valley) to arrest a band of counterfeiters who have been counterfeiting the Confederate money. A deputy marshall [sic] from Knoxville, named Fox, is with us to make the arrests. We succeeded in capturing the counterfeiters, with a quantity of the bogus money in their possession, and brought them to Big Creek to-night.

Our battalion is on the other side of the mountain on Elk Fork, foraging their horses. We will cross over to them to-morrow.

Diary of William E. Sloan.[1]

        2, "Such careless shooting ought to be put a stop to; this is only one of many cases reported to us." A newspaper report on mayhem in Nashville

Robberies and Outrages.

On Saturday night Officer John Puckett discovered some soldiers carrying off a large quantity of china ware, which he justly suspected them of stealing, and went in search of a guard to aid in their arrest, which being procured, they went in pursuit, and succeeded in arresting two of them, and recovering the stolen property, which was found to consist of valuable china sets, sufficient in quantity to fill an express wagon. The prisoners and plunder were conveyed to the office of the Provost Marshal, where the thieves were disposed of as the case demanded, and the property restored to its owner, Mrs. Dr. Hall.

On Sunday night, about nine o'clock, as Mr. Thos. Hale, of North Market street, was turning out of College street, by the Presbyterian Church, on his way home, he was attacked by three men dressed in Federal uniform, one of whom gagged him, another held his hands, and a third searched his pockets, when some person fortunately came near, and the miscreants fled.

As two young boys were walking quietly along the Franklin pike on Saturday, one of them with a board upon his shoulder, some soldiers fired off their muskets pointed towards them, one of the balls cutting off the toe of the shoe of one of the boys, and with it the skin, and another ball went through the plank a few inches from the head of the other boy—a narrow escape in both, the one with his life, and the other with his foot. Such careless shooting ought to be put a stop to; this is only one of many cases reported to us.

From the depot to Whiteside street, on market, the people were kept in a constant state of alarm all night, by the breaking down of fences, firing of pistols, and the most hideous noises. The common centre and cause of all these depredations and breaches of the peace is supposed to be a whisky shop on College street, where the poison is dealt out to soldiers at all hours of the day and night. If the Provost Marshal wishes to know the spot, he can learn it at the Recorder's office. We are also informed that there are other houses in the neighborhood, where stolen property is sold and whisky bought daily and almost hourly. We hope the Mayor will soon be able to make some arrangements with the military authorities which will give security to the persons and property of our citizens.

Nashville Dispatch, December 2, 1862.

        2, Conscription notice for Johnson County


Conscripts Attention.

Knoxville, Tenn.-December 2, 1862

All white persons between the ages of 18 and 40 years subject to conscription will be assembled by the enrolling officers at Taylorsville on the 11th of December 1862.

Blank certificates of exemption will be furnished to enrolling officers, to be issued on that day to those entitled to them.

E. D. Blake, Lt. Col. C. S. A., Commandant of Conscripts

Knoxville Daily Register, December 14, 1862.

        2, Resistance to Confederate Conscription in Middle Tennessee reported


Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 2.-There is much excitement in Middle Tennessee about the enforcement of the rebel conscription act. A regular organization has been formed in Lincoln county to resist the conscription, and the people there fired upon the rebel cavalry while they were attempting to enforce it. Rebel foragers are seizing the winter meat of private families.


Boston Daily Advertiser, December 3, 1862.[2]

        2, Confederates captured after burning railroad rolling stock at Loudon

No circumstantial reports filed.

HDQRS. FOURTH ARMY CORPS, Philadelphia, Tennessee, December 3, 1863--10.30 a. m.

Brig. Gen. T. J. WOOD, Cmdg. Third Division:

* * * *

Our cavalry, with two divisions, reached Loudon last night and captured a number of prisoners.

The rebels destroyed forty-eight cars, three locomotives; burned their pontoon train and their entire depot of supplies at that point.

By order of Maj.-Gen. Granger:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 319.

        2, Skirmish at Philadelphia

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Report of Major General Oliver O. Howard, U. S. Army, commanding Eleventh Army Corps, including march to the relief of Knoxville, with complimentary orders, relative to skirmish at Philadelphia, Tenn., December 2, 1863.

* * * *

December 2, the corps left camp at 5.30 a. m. for Philadelphia and Loudon. About 3 miles this side of Sweet Water the advance came upon a detachment of the enemy's cavalry. As soon as the Infantry skirmishers approached within musket range the cavalry would leave. We kept them in sight till we arrived at Sweet Water, at which place we were directed by Maj.-Gen. Sherman to make a halt in order to allow Col. Long with his cavalry to pass us. This small brigade of cavalry was instructed to move forward and make a dash Into Loudon with a view to save the enemy's pontoon bridge and stores at that point. I was directed to follow Col. Long and give him support in case he needed it. We marched to within about 3 miles of Loudon, having made that day 23 miles, when it became dark. The roads were too bad, and the command too weary to proceed farther that night. A section of Wheeler's battery was sent forward to Col. Long at his request.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. II, pp. 351-352.


Excerpt from the Report of Major-General Carl Schurz, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division, including march to the relief of Knoxville, December 22, 1863, relative to skirmish at Philadelphia, December 2, 1863:

December 2, marched to Sweet Water and Philadelphia, driving a little detachment of rebel cavalry before us. Arrived in camp, 2 miles beyond Philadelphia, about one hour after sundown.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. II, p. 382.

        2, Cavalry attack on Loudon [see December 1, 1863, Skirmish near Loudon, above]

        2, Descent on Saulsbury

Report of Maj. Gen. Stephen A. Hurlbut, U. S. Army, commanding Sixteenth Army Corps, with complimentary orders.

MEMPHIS, December 3, 1863. (Received Chattanooga, 5th.)

The enemy, under Lee, Forrest, and Ferguson, broke into Saulsbury yesterday. We had no troops there. They destroyed track and bent rails. It will take twenty-four hours to repair. Mizner fell back to Pocahontas against orders, and left this gap open. Hatch is following their main body, which is retreating south by Holly Springs. Forrest escaped north with about 500 men. We have lost no men nor trains, and have, so far, 40 prisoners. I cannot learn with certainly of any infantry below this cavalry movement.

S. A. HURLBUT, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 576.

        2, Confederate forces burn Salsbury

No circumstantial reports filed.

HDQRS. SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tennessee, December 2, 1863.

Col. MORGAN, La Grange:

I learn from telegraph that Saulsbury is burned, and the enemy there. Hold your ground; if overmatched drop to Moscow and rally everything there. Reach Hatch if possible, and let him close on our friends and do them justice.

S. A. HURLBUT, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 306.

        2, Skirmish near Eastport

Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee.[3]

        2, Action at Walker's Ford on the Clinch River

Reports of Brig. Gen Orlando B. Wilcox, U. S. Army, commanding Left Wing United States Forces in East Tennessee.


A messenger who left Walker's Ford 12 o'clock brings word from one of my staff officers at the ford that Col. Graham is skirmishing with enemy about 2 miles from the ford and is falling back gradually. Col. Jackson is at the ford. This point is 5 miles from the ford, and I have sent word to Jackson to see if he needs re-enforcements. Part of the brigade of reserve with the battery took the middle road instead of the Irwin Ford road, and I am waiting to hear from Jackson before concentrating at this point.

It may be that the troops on the other road will be needed at the ford; if so, they will have a better road than from here. If you decide to send a regiment of cavalry to re-enforce Graham, Col. Foster is at Tazewell, and you can communicate directly with him.

O. B. WILLCOX, Brig.-Gen.

Maj.-Gen. FOSTER.


Understanding that Jackson is crossing part of his infantry over the river, I have ordered Col. Curtin to the ford, with two regiments and the remaining battery, leaving one regiment here with Col. Mahan. I shall now proceed at once to Walker's Ford. I understand that Col. Graham feels no uneasiness about his ability to withdraw, that he is falling back slowly, and that the main body of the enemy is on other side of the mountain.

O. B. WILLCOX, Brig.-Gen.

Maj. Gen. JOHN G. FOSTER, Tazewell.

WALKER'S FORD, December 2, 1863--5 p. m.

After quite a struggle to-day, our troops remain in possession of Walker's Ford. A regiment of infantry held the road on the opposite side of the river until toward dusk. The enemy withdrew after in vain having attempted to force our infantry line. They seemed to draw off both to their left and right. There are only two companies picketing Needham's Ford.

Col. Graham's brigade expended all their ammunition, and will require to be replenished by morning. Col. Jackson lost about 10 killed and 20 wounded, and Col. Graham's loss will not exceed 25 or 30.

O.B. WILLCOX, Brig.-Gen.

Maj. Gen. JOHN G. FOSTER, Tazewell.

ONE AND A HALF MILES FROM WALKER'S FORD, December 2, [1863]--9.30 p. m.

GEN.: The following dispatch has just been received from Col. Jackson, commanding forces at ford:

I sent 80 men with a commissioned officer 2 miles in advance; found the enemy in camp, and thought they were preparing to move. I have sent parties to watch their movements. All is quiet at the ford above; One hundred and twenty-ninth in good position. While the One hundred and twenty-ninth Ohio were taking their position, the enemy opened on them from opposite side of the river. They were answered by the One hundred and twenty-ninth and silenced. The enemy have one regiment and two pieces of artillery. The foregoing is from good authority.

* * * *

Very respectfully,

O. B. WILLCOX, Brig.-Gen.


ONE AND A HALF MILES FROM WALKER'S FORD, December 3, 1863--8 a. m.

The North Carolina regiment that remained across the river last night, sent out scouts during the night who reported that the enemy were retiring toward Knoxville; none are visible in our front this morning. I hear nothing from them at the lower fords, and have ordered a regiment of cavalry across the river and will try and find out what has become of them. Patterson's battery of Napoleon guns, that did such good work yesterday, is reported immovable on account of the condition of the horses for want of forage. Two of the horses died yesterday. I don't know what we can do unless you order down ten spans of horses from the First Tennessee Battery at the gap, which would give Patterson's battery 8 horses to a team. The harness must accompany the horses.

Very respectfully,

O. B. WILLCOX, Brig.-Gen.

Maj.-Gen. FOSTER, Tazewell.

ONE AND A HALF MILES FROM WALKER'S FORD, December 3, 1863--1 p. m.

GEN.: I have just received the following dispatch from Col. Graham:

Col. Capron, 5 miles from the river, reports the enemy 5 miles in the advance still retreating.

He does not state the direction, but I suppose toward Knoxville.

Very respectfully, yours,

O. B. WILLCOX, Brig.-Gen.

Maj. Gen. JOHN G. FOSTER, Tazewell.

ONE-HALF MILE FROM WALKER'S FORD, December 3, 1863--1.45 p. m.

GEN.: Your dispatch just received. The ammunition came down in due time. After waiting till something had to be done for forage, I sent the remainder of Graham's brigade across the river, where it will go into camp about a mile and a half from the river.

I sent you a prisoner, taken yesterday, from whom I learn that the enemy had two brigades and a battery in the fight, and one in reserve.

Armstrong was present with Harrison's and Dibrell's brigades, of Wheeler's cavalry. Carter's brigade was back toward Maynardville. Our officers estimate the enemy's loss at least 100 killed. They endeavored to gain Graham's rear by a flank movement through one of the side gaps near the river, but were severely punished. They made several bold charges in the road, exposing themselves, and suffered accordingly. Citizens report that our artillery damaged them considerably. On the whole it was a pretty little repulse.

Respectfully, yours,

O. B. WILLCOX, Brig.-Gen.

Maj. Gen. JOHN G. FOSTER, Tazewell.

FOUR MILES FROM WALKER'S FORD, December 3, 1863--6 p. m.

GEN.: I forward dispatches received from scouts. Prisoners will be forwarded in the morning. One of them by the name of Smith, First Tennessee, was attached to Gen. Jones' headquarters; told him the night before the fight that he was going to Blain's Cross-Roads. It is possible that while Wheeler's brigade started toward Kingston, Jones' command will move up toward Virginia to cover Longstreet's left flank. There is no doubt that Col. Dibrell was wounded and Assistant Adjutant-Gen. Allison killed in the affair of yesterday.

O. B. WILLCOX, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, pp. 394-397.


SIR: I have the honor to report that, in accordance with orders, I marched from camp, near the bridge over Powell River, on main Cumberland Gap road, on 27th November, 1863.

My brigade consisted of the Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry, Col. Capron commanding; Fifth Indiana Cavalry, Lieut.-Col. Butler commanding; Sixty-fifth Indiana Mounted Infantry, Capt. Hodge commanding, and Colvin's (Illinois) battery, Capt. Colvin commanding. Beside the four guns of Colvin's battery, there were four mountain howitzers, attached to Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry, and two 8-inch rifled guns, attached to Fifth Indiana Cavalry. My entire force numbered 10 field and staff officers, 47 company officers, and 1,031 non-commissioned officers and enlisted men, making an aggregate of 1,088.

I moved, via Tazewell, taking the Straight Creek road at that point to within 4 miles of Walker's Ford, where I encamped for the night.

On the morning of the 28th, I crossed Clinch River and bivouacked at Brock's, 4 miles from Walker's Ford, where my command fed. Toward night, moved down the right-hand road, recrossing Clinch River at Headham's Ford, and camped for the night near Headham's Mill.

On the morning of the 29th, I moved down Clinch River to Ensley's Ford, where I crossed and took the direct road to Maynardville, where I camped for the night.

On the morning of the 30th, I marched with all of my available force on the main road leading from Maynardville to Knoxville, having previous to starting sent a detachment of Fifth Indiana Cavalry in advance with orders to go to the enemy's pickets and report back as soon as they were found. I had proceeded 15 miles, when a courier reported a small rebel patrolling party on the road, about 4 miles in advance of my main force, and which my advance had driven in. I halted my command at this point, and remained there some time, awaiting further information. On learning there was a force of rebels at or near Blain's Cross-Roads, I moved back to Maynardville and camped for the night, throwing out strong picket force and small patrol parties on all the roads on the front and left.

On morning of December 1, my pickets were attacked at the gap, 4 miles below Maynardville, on Knoxville road. They were speedily re-enforced by detachments from each regiment and two of the Fourteenth's howitzers. More or less firing took place during the day, both parties holding their ground. Scouting parties were also sent out in considerable force during the day. The one on the road leading to Blain's Cross-Roads was driven back, and during the afternoon I had such information as led me to believe that a considerable cavalry force of the enemy was approaching, and by 9 p. m. I became convinced that an attempt would be made to surround and capture my command.

I decided at once to move, but several of my scouting parties being several miles out I could not get my force concentrated till near midnight, when, all being in, I moved quietly on the road to Walker's Ford, leaving Company M, Fifth Indiana Cavalry, at the point where the road from Blain's Cross-Roads comes in, with instructions for a part of it to patrol the road back to Maynardville; proceeding on to Brock's, I halted that the men and horses might be fed. This was about 5 a. m., December 2.

Forage parties were sent out, and rations were being issued as daylight appeared, and my pickets in rear of camp were vigorously attacked. Although my command was tired, men sleepy and hungry, and the natural condition of my camp, after a night's march, somewhat irregular, yet all were under arms and in shape to repel the attack in the very shortest possible time.

I immediately sent the Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry to the river and down the road leading from Walker's Ford to Rutledge, feeling confident that I could, with the remainder of my force, keep the enemy in check and make good my retreat to and across the river. Two guns of Colvin's battery were sent to Walker's Ford, with orders to cross and take position on the bank of the river so as to command all the approaches to the fords. By half past seven o'clock my pickets had fallen back to Brock's house, the enemy advancing in such numbers as to compel them to give way at this time. My main force was in position, the Sixty-fifth Indiana on the left of the line, a portion of the Second and Third Battalions, Fifth Indiana Cavalry in center, and one company of the Sixty-fifth Indiana, and one from the Fifth Indiana Cavalry on right. The guns of the Fifth Indiana Cavalry were put in position in rear of center, on a rise of ground, from which they did good service in keeping the enemy in check. Three companies of Fifth Indiana Cavalry, under command of Maj. Woolley, and one section of Colvin's battery, under Capt. Colvin, were placed in reserve.

The firing had now become somewhat brisk, and the enemy not only showed his force, but made attempts to flank my position. I could only prevent him from doing so by gradually falling back, which I did, to the point near Yeadon's house, where I brought my command into close order, and under cover of a fence and a log house or barn. The enemy here made a charge in column, which was splendidly met by a portion of each regiment, and which proved decidedly disastrous to the enemy.

My artillery had now been retired, the information of the ground on which it had to pass being unsuited to its use. The enemy being exhausted [exasperated] at their repulse pushed on furiously, but the gallant officers and men of my command were not to be driven back so easily; on the contrary, they manfully contested every foot of ground, falling back slowly to a point about 1 mile from the river, where they were re-enforced by the One hundred and sixteenth and One hundred and eighteenth Indiana Infantry, Col. Jackson commanding brigade.

These regiments being in position and my men being out of ammunition, I retired my force across the river, thus ending the fight, so far as the Fifth Indiana Cavalry and Sixty-fifth Indiana Mounted Infantry were concerned. Colvin's battery was engaged for some time after in shelling the enemy, and the Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry was also engaged for a short time after on the road leading to Rutledge. I respectfully refer you to the report of Col. Capron, herewith attached, for an account of the part the Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry took in repelling the attack and advance of the enemy.

I now come to speak of the enemy, his designs and expectations. After hearing reports of prisoners and the citizens along the line of the enemy's march, I am confident that there were five brigades of cavalry and mounted infantry brought against my little force, the whole under command of Maj.-Gen. Martin. The design was to keep my force engaged at the gap, 4 miles below Maynardville, until a portion of their forces could be moved from Blain's Cross-Roads into the road between me and Walker's Ferry, and at the same time a sufficient force had been sent around my front (Onsley's Ford) to blockade the road to that point. At daylight, on morning of 2d Instant, my entire command was to have been surrounded. The enemy moved on to a consummation of the object he so devoutly wished for, only to find he had surrounded a camp barren of everything save the fires which my [men] had left In good order.

In surrounding my camp he did, however, capture a portion of M Company, Fifth Indiana Cavalry, which had been left to patrol the road back to Maynardville, and were not able to cut their way out. Finding themselves foiled in their first attempts, they next tried to cut my command off at Walker's Ford, and that, too, proved a failure, and at the same time cost them a considerable loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners. From all the information I can get, and having made every effort to get at their loss, I am satisfied they lost 25 killed, about 50 wounded, and 28 prisoners.

Maj.-Gen. Martin was wounded in the wrist. Col. Dibrell, commanding brigade, was seriously, if not mortally, wounded. His adjutant-general was killed. Capt.-, who led in the charge, was also killed.

* * * *

Sixty-fifth Indiana Mounted Infantry, 2 men killed and 6 wounded; Fifth Indiana Cavalry, 2 officers wounded and 5 men killed, 10 men wounded and 10 men missing; Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry, 7 men wounded. Total, 2 officers wounded and 7 men killed, 23 men wounded and 21 men missing.

Very respectfully,

F. W. GRAHAM, Col., Cmdg. Brigade.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, pp. 426-429.[4]

        2, Heavy skirmishing in Maynardville environs, Federals pushed to Clinch River

TAZEWELL, Tennessee, December 2, 1863--9 p. m.

(Received 5.30 p. m., 3d.) Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,


Heavy skirmishing has been continued all day between our advance cavalry and the enemy in the direction of Maynardville, which has resulted in Col. Graham, commanding the cavalry, being driven back to the infantry supports on Clinch River, where all attempts to force a passage were repulsed. Ransom's division of three brigades of infantry, en route to Knoxville, is reported near Bean's Station.

J. G. FOSTER, Maj.-Gen.

(Same to Gen. Grant.)

TAZEWELL, Tennessee, December 2, 1863--12.10 p. m.

(Received 5 p. m., 3d.)

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Gen.-in-Chief:

Your dispatch received. My force is so small-being only 5,000 men of the six-months' troops-that I shall not be able to do a great deal. Still you may rely upon our doing something at the right time. A brigade of cavalry in front toward Maynardville skirmishing all day yesterday with a superior force, and is still engaged, being forced to retire toward the Clinch River. The artillery and infantry now taking position to command the fords.

J. G. FOSTER, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, pp. 311-312.

        2, Depression about the course of the war in Cleveland, and return of hogs

….I feel so sad this eve about our condition. I often wonder what will be the end of all of this. If we retreat I would be willing to live any way [sic], I think….I went to see cousin Mary Jarnagin, she came home with me to get George [a slave] to kill her hogs she got from the Yanks this morn.

Diary of Myra Adelaide Inman.

        2, Northern newspaper accounts about Brigadier Orlando B. Wilcox's army, rumors, refugees, East Tennesseans entering the U. S. Army and Parson Brownlow

Department of the Ohio

Operations of General Wilcox's Army-Rumors and Refugees-East Tennesseeans entering the Army-Parson Brownlow and His Doings.

Cumberland Gap, Nov. 26, 1863.-The wires between this and some point south of Morristown have been unusually animated for several days past; but the intelligence they bring is contraband. A knowing shake of the head is all one's eager inquiries elicit at the telegraph office. I had, however, seen and heard enough during the past week, independent of official channels, to convey the reverse of hopeful impressions. That East Tennessee is lost, was a proposition that all seemed to concur in. Long lines of frightened refugees facing north, by every means of locomotion, each voluble with doleful takes, have blocked up our narrow mountain roads for the past week, severely testing the amiability of impatient army teamsters. Every conceivable disaster was credited to Burnside and his small army of tried heroes.

He was overwhelmed, repulsed across the river; the streets of Knoxville were crimson with the blood of his decimated troops; annihilating or surrender were the two horns the dilemma presented. So ran the sad story  The simultaneous falling back to the Gap of General Wilcox, with the left wing of the Tennessee Army, seemed to confirm the rueful tidings that heralded his approach. Last night, however, Madam Rumor grew more complacent. Burnside had mowed down three distinct Rebel assaults upon his works on College Hill (the western suburb of Knoxville). The latter were impregnable; reinforcements from Grant had begun to arrive; an order of assurance to the stampeding loyalists of Knoxville had been issued; in short, tidings weren't so bad as they were. The gloomy tidings, however, have the prestige of precedence, and there are not a few who persistently refuse to be reassured.

Among the pressing throng of stampeders, I notice quite a number of familiar  faces that I had noted in the procession of returning fugitives that followed the wake of our forces in August and September. They have thus barely recollected the scattered embers of the domestic altar to be aroused to the realization that they are again fugitives from the endearing association of home. Among this number is the veritable and pungent, "Parson," who abruptly left off work upon the inside of the third number of the Ventilator. He is now sojourning in the neighboring town of Barboursville, Ky., awaiting further developments.

A marked advantage consequent upon the present Rebel invasion is the reanimation and practicalization of the proverbial Union feeling of East Tennessee. Every step of the Rebel advance has been to sow dragon teeth, from which has sprung hosts of staunch loyalists who, if not all armed, speedily will be. Eleven hundred of such passed in a body through the Gap last evening, en route, for Camp Nelson, to be organized and equipped. They had previously been sworn in. The exodus that has swept through this and the gaps below, during the past week, will promptly furnish material for still another regiment.

Since the date of the Rebel invasion we have been constantly on the qui vive tor an attack here. Col. Lemmert, the wide-awake and skillful commander of the forces here has had his preparations completed for the successful repulsion of any attempts upon this place.

Philadelphia Inquirer, December 2, 1863.

        2-3, Reconnaissance from Blain's Cross Roads to Powder Springs Gap

Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee.[5]

        2-3, Artillery action, Knoxville[6]

Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee.

        2-7, Cavalry skirmishing along the Clinch River Valley environs

No circumstantial reports filed.

TAZEWELL, Tennessee, December 6, 1863--9.20 a. m.

(Received 8 p. m.)

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Gen.-in-Chief:

After the repulse of the enemy's cavalry at the Clinch River on the 2d, their whole force continued to hover around, endeavoring to turn our flanks and to force some of the fords. In all these efforts they were foiled and driven back in several small encounters. In addition we succeeded in blockading a portion of the valley road near Ruttledge in the front of Ransom's column.

Yesterday the whole cavalry force withdrew in the direction of Knoxville. Graham's brigade followed a short distance.

To-day I unite Garrad's brigade with it and send the whole forward under Col. Foster to hover on the enemy's rear.

It is reported that the roads in front are blockaded, and that the enemy have burned the railroad bridges at Strawberry Plains and Mossy Creek. If this be so, it indicates that Longstreet is, or soon will be, retreating. Scouts report cannonading yesterday in the direction of Clinton.

J. G. FOSTER, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 344.


TAZEWELL, December 7, 1863


Since my arrival here on the 2d I have kept the small force under my command skirmishing with the enemy continually. Their force being much larger than mine, we have not been able to make much progress. The infantry and artillery started this morning for Bean's Station for the purpose of attacking the retreating columns of Longstreet. Soon as I have accomplished this I will join you at Knoxville. The cavalry under Col. Foster have been at Blain's Cross-Roads pressing the enemy's cavalry for two days.

J. G. FOSTER, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 352.

        2, "Provost Order No. 249."

Headquarters Post of Nashville

Office of Provost Marshal

Nashville, Tennessee, December 2, 1864


* * * *

On account of the crowded condition of the city and the number of troops present collected in and around the limits, it is here by ordered:

That all Saloons [sic] and all Bars [sic] in Eating Houses [sic] be closed at 8 o'clock P.M. until further orders.

All special permits [sic] as to the selling at the tables of Restaurants [sic] are for the present revoked.

By command of Brig. Gen. John. F. Miller

Nashville Dispatch, December 3, 1864.

        2, On the burial of Cleburne at Ashwood

[From the Mobile News.]

Gen. Cleburne.

A member of the staff of the lamented Maj. Gen. Cleburne, writing from Columbia, Tenn., to a friend, gives the following account of his burial:

"I had his remains brought to this place, and buried at Ashwood, six miles distant, the private grave-yard of the Polk family. I met with great kindness from the people here in the performance of my sad duty. His coffin was strewn with flowers by the ladies, and the following beautiful lines written by Miss H., were sealed upon it:


"Fare thee well, departed chieftain!

Erin's land sends forth a wail;

And oh! my country sad laments thee,

Passed too soon through death's dark vale.


"Blow ye breezes soft on him,

Fan his brow with gentle breath,

Disturbye not his peaceful slumber,

Cleburne sleeps the sleep of death!


"Rest thee, Cleburne, tears of sadness

Flow from hearts thou'st nobly won,

Memory ne'er will cease to cherish

Deeds of glory thou hast done."

Columbia, Tenn., Dec. 2, 1864.

Galveston Weekly News, April 5, 1865. [7]

        2-5, Operations against stockades and block-houses held by U. S. C. T. on N&C Railroad[8]

The following reports present a good indication of the fighting at the railroad blockhouses.

HDQRS. FORTY-FOURTH U. S. COLORED INFANTRY, Nashville, Tenn., December 4, 1864.

LIEUT.: I have the honor to submit the following report of the affair which occurred on the 2d and 3d instant, at Stockade No. 2, on Mill Creek (Chattanooga and Nashville Railroad), between the troops temporarily under my command and the enemy under Gen. Forrest:

At 8 a. m. the train containing the Forty-fourth U. S. Colored Infantry and Companies A and D of the Fourteenth U. S. Colored Infantry left Murfreesborough and arrived at the bridge over Mill Creek, guarded by Block-house No. 2, at about 11 a. m., when suddenly a battery opened upon the train, nearly all of which was upon the trestle bridge. The locomotive and first car were struck and several of the men injured. I immediately got my command off the train and moved it up to the stockade, which I supposed was evacuated, but, on my arrival there, found it occupied by a detachment of the One hundred and fifteenth Ohio Volunteers, commanded by Lieut. Harder. As the block-house was full, and three batteries were shelling us terribly, and a heavy musketry fire commenced from all sides, I formed my men around the house and then pushed a portion up a hill on the east side of the fort, which entirely commanded it, and from where the heaviest fire was kept up. Unable to carry the crest of the hill I kept the men on the side of it, and had logs and stumps of tress converted into a breast-work. This position afforded them much shelter, and they held it against several assaults of the enemy. The batteries, which continued their fire, injured the block-house constantly; they had to change position a dozen times, being silenced by our musketry. At about 5 p. m. the enemy managed to establish a battery on the hill which I spoke above, and it was this battery which did more harm than all the rest. It knocked the lookout of the stockade to pieces, and also the roof, which caved in at several places. The shots fired by it struck the house every time, and a number penetrated it; one shell, exploding inside, killed the railroad conductor, who had sought shelter in the house, and wounded several of the garrison. It was now dark and the artillery fire ceased, but musketry was still kept up. I drew the command back to the block-house, and left a strong skirmish line at the position which we had occupied during the day. As my ammunition was nearly exhausted (the men who came off the train only had forty rounds), and I expected an assault, I stopped all firing in order to reserve the four rounds I had left per man for the last effort. The firing was kept up until 3 a. m. of the 3d, but not answered by my men. My position was quite desperate, and when I took into consideration that my stock of ammunition was almost expended, the stockade so much used up that a few shots would have knocked it down, and having lost one-third of the men, I resolved to abandon the stockade and fight my way to Nashville.

I knew that should the place be surrendered or taken by assault a butchery would follow, and I also knew that re-enforcements would have been sent to me if it had been possible to send them. I therefore left the block-house at 3.30 a. m., and, contrary to my expectations, got through the rebel lines without much trouble. I arrived at Nashville about daylight. In addition to the above I have to state that I left Surg J. T. Strong, Forty-fourth U. S. Colored Infantry, and Chaplain Railsback, Forty-fourth U. S. Colored Infantry, in the block-house to take care of the wounded men.

The soldiers and officers of the different commands behaved well and steady during the entire fight, and especially during the retreat; every man did his duty; not a shot was fired, but silently they marched, determined to die rather than be taken prisoners.

The forces engaged numbered as follows: Forty-fourth U. S. Colored Infantry, 227 muskets; Companies A and D, Fourteenth U. S. Colored Infantry, 80 muskets; detachment One hundred and fifteenth Ohio Volunteers, 25 muskets; total, 332 muskets.

* * * *

I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. JOHNSON, Col., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 45, pt. I, pp. 540-541.


Report of Capt. Clarence W. Baker, Fourteenth U. S. Colored Troops, of operations December 2, 1864.

CAMP FOURTEENTH U. S. COLORED INFANTRY, Nashville, Tenn., November [December] -, 1864.

LIEUT.: I have herewith the honor to submit a report concerning the conduct and loss of Companies A and D, Fourteenth U. S. Colored Infantry, in action at Stockade No. 2, December 2, 1864.

The train was very unexpectedly fired upon by a rebel battery from a commanding position. The men left the cars hastily, were formed in line, and moved upon the hill in rear of the stockade, subsequently deployed as skirmishers, lying exposed to a heavy fire from artillery and musketry from 11 a. m. until about 6 p. m., when the larger part of the command was drawn in, leaving pickets posted upon the skirmish line held during the day, and throwing up a rude breast-work, with traverses, on two sides of the stockade. Upon a due consultation of the place was determined upon, whereat the men were much pleased, expressing themselves as ready to cut through the rebel lines, or, failing, die in the attempt. Fortunately we succeeded in passing through the line of rebel pickets without losing a man in killed or wounded.

Our loss was as follows: Company A, Fourteenth U. S. Colored Infantry-killed, 1 private; wounded, 1 corporal, 2 privates, missing, 1 corporal, 7 privates; total, 2 corporals, 10 privates; total, 1 corporal, 12 privates. One wounded man from A and 2 wounded from D Company were left in the stockade, unable to be moved.

It is no more than simple justice to say for the men and officers under my command that they behaved admirably and did credit to the regiment.


Capt., 14th U. S. Colored Infty., Cmdg. Companies A and D.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 45, pt. I, p. 538.


Report of Col. Thomas C. Boone, One hundred and fifteenth Ohio Infantry, of operations December 2-5, 1864.

LIEUT.: I have the honor to transmit herewith a report of the operations of my regiment during Hood's late advance into Tennessee.

On the 25th of November, as per instructions from headquarters post of Murfreesborough, I started to Duck River Bridge, at the same time sent the adjutant northward toward Nashville on an inspection tour. I found the troops from here to Duck River supplied with the requisite amount of ammunition and subsistence to December 10, 1864. The adjutant returned November 27, making a similar report. I immediately forwarded twenty days' rations to all the detachments of the regiment from Nashville to Duck River, supplying the troops to the 1st of January, 1865.

Block-house No. 2, five miles from Nashville, commanded by Lieut. George D. Harter, was the first attacked by the enemy. About 8 December 2, 1864 a force was seen approaching the block-house, a large majority of whom were dressed in Federal uniform. The force began gradually to surround the block-house. About this time a railroad train was heard approaching from the south. When it came in sight it was discovered to be loaded with colored troops. The train came up very slowly, and when on the bridge at the block-house was fired into by the enemy's artillery, disabling the engine and wrecking the train immediately. This began the fight, and seven pieces of artillery opened fire on the block-house. The colored troops, which consisted of parts of the Fourteenth and Forty-fourth U. S. colored Infantry, and numbering in all about 350 men, under command of Col. Johnson, of the Forty-fourth U. S. Colored Troops, sought protection at the block-house. They were scarce of ammunition, and Lieut. Harter gave to Col. Johnson for the use of his command 2,000 rounds, without which they could have rendered but little or no assistance to the block-house garrison. The garrison kept up constant firing on the enemy, forcing them to change the position of their artillery frequently. One piece, however, which did them the most damage, was stationed on a hill about 500 yards north of the block-house. It was loaded under cover of the hill, pushed to the crest, sighted and fired, and then drawn back to reload. The garrison was unable to force this gun from its position. Firing was kept up continually from 10 a. m. until dark. Near 500 rounds solid shot and shell, from 10 and 20 pounder guns, were fired at the block-house. The rebels told our wounded (who were left in their hands) that they fired upward of 460 rounds. Night found the block-house in a ruinous condition, the north wing being completely destroyed, outside casing of west wing was badly damaged, the lookout gone, two large breaches made in the roof, and one of the posts-the main support of the roof-knocked out, while the other center posts were badly splintered. Lieut. Harter, taking into consideration the condition of the block-house and that his ammunition was nearly all expended, regarded it as certain capture to remain until daylight. Consequently, at 3 a. m. December 3, 1864, the garrison evacuated the block-house, and, accompanied by the colored troops, arrived safely in Nashville at daylight. Upon reporting to Maj.-Gen. Thomas, Lieut. Harter was informed that an order had been issued two days previously directing the abandonment of all block-houses from Nashville to Murfreesborough. The courier failed to get through the rebel lines, consequently the order was not received. Casualties of the garrison at this block-house (No. 2) were 1 enlisted man killed and 3 enlisted men wounded.

No. 1, block-house, four miles from Nashville, commanded by Lieut. Jacob N. Shaffer, was attacked and the entire garrison captured December 3, 1864. The amount of firing upon and damage done to block-house and garrison before its surrender has not been ascertained. It is reported, however, that firing was kept up throughout the day and that a flag of truce was sent in five times during the day.

Block-house No. 3, near Antioch, commanded by Capt. D. N. Lowrey, was attacked on the 3d of December by artillery. The rebel guns here were placed in such positions as to prevent the block-house garrison from doing them much injury other than occasionally picking off a gunner. After holding out for thirty-six hours and receiving ninety shots, from 12 and 20 pounder guns, the garrison was compelled to surrender.

Capt. Lewis F. Hake, commanding at La Verge, received an order December 4, 1864, from Maj.-Gen. Thomas (which had been issued three days previously), to abandon all the block-houses from Nashville to Murfreesborough and withdraw the forces to the latter place. Couriers were started each way along the railroad on the morning of the 5th to notify the commanders of the block-house No. 4, having received this order, was in the act of evacuating his block-house, when he was attacked and compelled to surrender.

On the morning of the 5th of December, 1864, as the command at La Vergne was completing its preparations to march to Murfreesborough (two wagons having already been loaded), the rebels suddenly made their appearance in considerable force on all sides, and a flag of truce was discovered approaching. It was halted at a proper distance and Lieut. Eadie sent out to meet it. Whilst a consultation was being had under the flag the rebels took advantage of the same and planted four pieces of artillery bearing directly on the command. Under the circumstance, being surrounded by a force greatly superior in numbers, with their artillery in position commanding the whole ground ready for firing, Capt. Hake was compelled to surrender his command, consisting of 73 men (regimental martial band included), 25 horses and equipments, 2 pieces of artillery (one 6 and one 12 pounder), and small-arms.

Commanders of block-houses Nos. 5 and 6, Capt. William M. McClure and Lieut. John S. Orr, received Capt. Hake's order the night of the 4th. They evacuated their block-houses on the morning of the 5th instant. Rebels in small squads had already made their appearance on all sides. The garrisons were compelled to make a circuitous route around through Jefferson, marching over twenty miles, had several skirmishers with the enemy on the way, and arrived safely in camp at Murfreesborough about 2 p. m. of the same day.

Block-house No. 7, four miles from Murfreesborough, commanded by Lieut. H. H. Glosser, was attacked on the 4th instant by rebel artillery and musketry. Seventy-six artillery shots were fired at the block-house, thirty-two of which struck it. The railroad bridge at this point was saved, and but little damage was done to the block-house other than knocking off the lookout. This house was not again attacked with artillery. Sharpshooters remained keeping the garrison hemmed in, as the following communication, being the first that was heard from Lieut. Glosser, will explain.

BLOCK-HOUSE, No. 7, December 18, 1864.

Maj.-Gen. MILROY:

SIR: I am informed by your scout (Mr. Lee) that the rebels have retreated. He tells me that if there is anything I want to sent a note to you and say what it is. Gen., I want nothing but liberty. I have been hemmed in for thirteen days, not daring to put my head outside the block-house. The rebel sharpshooters have left, and I feel better. The health of myself and men is good; am ready for any emergency. Gen. Forrest, sent in a flag of truce four times, demanding the surrender of this house, promising to treat me well, and threatening to burn me with Greek fire if I refused. I resolved to believe nothing but such things as I could see; and as I could not see the Greek fire, I thought I would until I did.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. H. GLOSSER, First Lieut. Company E, 115th Regt. [sic] Ohio Vol. Infty., Cmdg. Block-House No. 7.

No casualties were sustained at this block-house. The garrison kept up firing at all times when the rebels appeared in sight, expending during the whole time nearly 8,000 rounds of ammunition. The detachments at block-houses between Murfreesborough and Tullahoma, with but one excepting, were not attacked by the enemy.

Block-House No. 9, near Bell Buckle Station, Lieut. M. S. Hurd commanding, was approached by flag of truce and its surrender demanded. Lieut. Hurd promptly refused, telling them "if they wanted the block-house, they must come and take it." The rebels did not open fire with their artillery, and after a few volleys of musketry withdrew from sight. Straggling rebels were now seen all along the road to Tullahoma, quite a number of whom were picked up and forwarded to Murfreesborough.

You are already cognizant of the part taken by the detachment in and near Murfreesborough, which renders it unnecessary for me to mention the particulars. So far as I am able to learn I have good reason to believe that every detachment of the regiment throughout has done its duty as became soldiers.

I feel it my duty here to make special mention of the manner in which the little bands of veterans under their command, so nobly acquitted themselves under such trying circumstances. Too much credit cannot be given them for so gallantly defending heir block-houses against the prolonged attack of the enemy, so much their superior in numbers and furnished with 10 and 20 pounder guns.

Captured, 170; killed, 1; wounded, 4; escaped since capture, 4.

* * * *

I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

THOMAS C. BOONE, Col., 115th Regt. [sic] Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 45, pt. I, pp. 631-634.

        2-7, Activities of Major-General R. H. Milroy's command prior to the Battle of the Cedars, December 7, 1864, excerpt from a letter to his wife in Rensselaer, Indiana

Fortress Rosecrans

Murfreesboro, Tenn Dec. 18 1864

My Dear Mary,

....I arrived here on the 2nd inst. without any fighting except a little skirmishing with bushwhackers-of whom we killed and captured a number. On the afternoon of the 4th Inst. the Rebs [sic] attacked a Block house 4 ½ miles North of this place. I was sent out with 3 Regts [sic] of Inf. and one Regt of Cav. and two pieces of artillery to drive them off. It was nearly dark when I got to Overalls Creek where the Rebs [sic] were commanding our Block -house which guarded the R.R. bridge across that creek. I threw out my skirmishers and opened on them with my artillery. At dark I crossed the Creek with two of my Regts [sic] and attacked the Rebs [sic] furiously, not knowing their strength. I found them hard to drive but finally drove them capturing 20 prisoners from whom I learned that I was fighting a whole Reb [sic]division under Gen Bates about 3000 strong. I had about 900 men in action and thought it best to stop the pursuit and fall back which I did safely with the loss of 6 killed and 62 wounded. We left the field strewed [sic] with killed and wounded Rebs [sic]. The next day [5th] Bates was reinforced by two brigades of Infantry and by Gen Forrest with 3000 Cavalry, and come [sic] around this Fortress and the town [of Murfreesboro] on all sides. We have near 70 pieces of artillery in the fortress and we opened on them with our heavy sige [sic] guns and soon made them get out of reach, but they could be seen around in sight constantly till the 7th....

Papers of General Milroy, pp. 399-400.


[1] Sloan had in early August 1862 transferred to the 2nd Battalion Tennessee Cavalry, later integrated into the 5th Regiment of Tennessee Cavalry.

[2] Similar reports are found in the Freedman's Champion (Atchison, KS), November 29, 1862, the Scioto Gazette, (Chillicothe, OH), December 2, 1862, the North American and United States Gazette (Philadelphia), December 3, 1862, the Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, DC), December 4, 1862 and the Lowell Daily Citizen and News (Lowell MA), December 31, 1862. It would not be surprising that such reports were not filed in Confederate newspapers.

[3] See November 1, 1862, "Skirmish at Eastport" above. This is a mistaken reference to Eastport, MS, on the Tennessee River, just below the Tennessee-Mississippi border.

[4] Not listed in Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee.

[5] The OR has no reference to this episode on these dates. It may be that Dyer confused December 23, 1863 with December 2-3, 1863. There was a scout to Powder Springs Gap on the 5th, and activity at Powder Springs Gap on December 23, 1863-see below.

[6] The OR has no reference to this episode on these dates. It may be that Dyer confused December 23, 1863 with December 2-3, 1863. There was a scout to Powder Springs Gap on the 5th, and activity at Powder Springs Gap on December 23, 1863-see below.

[7] As cited in: http://www.uttyl.edu/vbetts.

[8] According Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee: " Dec. 2-3, Skirmishes Block House No. 2, on Mill Creek, Chatta. & Nashv. R.R."

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-770-1090 ext. 115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


No comments: