Monday, January 19, 2015

1.19.15 Tennessee Civil War Notes

19, Newspaper report on Nashville working class opposition to secession

Union Sentiment

We copy from Brownlow's Knoxville (Tenn.) Whig the following expressions of the public feeling at the South on the secession question:-The workingmen and mechanics of Nashville have held a large and enthusiastic meeting, at which they adopted the following resolution:

Resolved, that we, the workingmen, citizens of South Nashville, feeling as we do and undying love for the Union as it came to us from our fathers, cemented with their blood and tears, do here, in this sacred edifice, consecrated to the God of love, solemnly pledge ourselves to support the Union, the Constitution and the laws, determined that no power on earth shall rob us of our birthright as American citizens; and we do here most earnestly invoke the aid of Him who rules the storm, to enable us to stand firm in the breach prematurely made by our deluded sister, South Carolina

Philadelphia Inquirer, January 19, 1861.

        19, Pre-Secession Political Dynamics in Memphis: Minute Men and Ex-Governor Brown

Public Sentiment in Tennessee.

Correspondence of the Cleveland Herald

Memphis, Jan. 19, 1861

Extract from a letter from Memphis, Tennessee, to a gentleman of this city:

"For a man to travel through the South and to judge of the feelings of the majority by the casual remarks he would be likely to hear, he would be mistaken about the sentiments of the people; as those who are advocating secession and disunion make six times the amount of talk that sensible men do. The news of the secession of South Carolina was received here with various feelings. Some thought her merely too precipitate in her action, others expressed themselves as glad she was gone, and hoped she would never come back. The "Minute Men" fired on hundred guns and had a grand torchlight procession, in which I counted 250 persons, with and without torches, including boys. After a few inflammatory speeches, they hung and burned Senator Johnson in effigy, on account of his Union speech in the Senate a few days previous. This action called out the conservative men [sic],and odd Fellow's Hall was crowded with men and ladies-some of the men old and gray headed-and all being the real backbone of the city. The meeting was opened with prayer by Bishop Otey, and Ex-Governor Brown made one of the most eloquent and impressive speeches that I have ever heard, and appealed to the calm judgment of the people to exercise forbearance and moderation, and not to give up the hope of maintaining the Union. So intensely were the feeling of the people enlisted, that some even shed tears at the prospects before them. A band of Music came in while he was speaking-and here I would remark that the "Minute Men" have not permitted any national airs to be played in the streets-but as Gov. Brown sat down the band struck up the "Star Spangled Banner," and almost simultaneously the entire audience sprang to their feet, waved their hats, and their cheering was almost deafening. After a few short and appropriate speeches, and prayer, the meeting was closed. I retired with more favorable impression s of the Southern people and hope that many such meeting may be held, North and South.

Daily Cleveland Herald, January 22, 1861. [1]

        19, Escape of Confederate guerrilla chief, Captain Jourdan Mosely [see also September 30, 1864, Execution of Confederate guerrilla Jourdan C. Mosley below]

SHELBYVILLE, January 22, 1864.

Lieut. Col. H. C. RODGERS, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Twelfth Corps, Tullahoma:

COL.: I have the honor to report to you that Capt. Mosely, a guerrilla captain, escaped from custody on the evening of the 19th of January, under, as near as I can ascertain, the following circumstances:

For some reason unknown to me Capt. Mosely was allowed to go to the house of Mrs. Blackwell, the wife of Capt. Blackwell, the guerrilla chief, accompanied by a single guard, to stay all night. The guard went to bed and, of course, to sleep, when Capt. Mosely took a revolver from under his head, and the horse of a lady friend of Mrs. Blackwell, conveniently near, and made off. Several messages have been reported as coming from Capt. Mosely since his escape, of an unpleasant nature. During Capt. Mosely's stay here he was allowed to a great extent the freedom of the place, and to receive any of his friends or sympathizers who chose to call on him; was never sent to the guard-house of turned over to the commander of the post, but, on the contrary, rather treated as a guest, who was entitled to a guard of honor.

Taking into consideration this man's desperate character, the amount of trouble he has given the United States Authorities, the atrocities of every description committed by him and his men (of which murder was probably the most merciful) upon peaceful citizens, I thought it best to lay before you some of the facts, so that if possible an investigation might be ordered, and the party or parties responsible for his escape brought to punishment.

While this Mosely was a prisoner here (or guest, as you choose to term it) he had every opportunity to find out the strength of the forces at this post, as well as their position, and any other knowledge that might be valuable to an enemy. He was captured by Capt. Beardsley's command and was in his charge when he escaped.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. H. STURDEVANT, Lieut. Col. and Commissary of Subsistence, Twelfth Corps.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. II, pp. 179-180.

        19, Skirmish at Big Springs, near Tazewell

JANUARY 19, 1864.-Skirmish at Big Springs, near Tazewell, Tenn.


No. 1.-Col. Charles D. Pennebaker, Twenty-seventh Kentucky Infantry, commanding District of the Clinch.

No. 2.-Capt. Jackson Stepp, Sixth Indiana Cavalry.

No. 3.-Lieut. Gen. James Longstreet, C. S. Army.

No. 1.

Report of Col. Charles D. Pennebaker, Twenty-seventh Kentucky Infantry, commanding District of the Clinch.


Tazewell, Tenn., January 19, 1864.

GEN.: I have the honor to submit the following report for your information:

This morning about 5 o'clock a party of rebels, numbering about 125, surprised and captured about 40 men of the Sixth Indiana Cavalry, stationed at Big Springs, on the Morristown road, 5 ½ miles from this place, under command of Capt. Stepp.[2] It was a complete surprise. This officer escaped, and has been placed in arrest and required to give an explanation, which will be forwarded to you for information as soon as received. As soon as this was reported, a detachment of cavalry under Lieut.-Col. Matson, Sixth Indiana Cavalry, was sent in pursuit. Col. Matson went as far as Evans' Ford, on the Clinch River, and sent a scout across. They found no enemy, and returned. The enemy went out in the direction of Morristown, crossing Clinch River at Evans' Ford. I sent a scout yesterday which went in the neighborhood of Mulberry Gap, and returned this evening. They report no enemy in that locality except small scouting parties depredating upon the citizens. Col. Love, commanding Third Brigade, First Division, Cavalry Corps, is encamped near Ball's Bridge, on the Virginia road, 14 miles from Cumberland Gap. His scouts have been several miles beyond that point, and report information received from citizens that the enemy is in position near Jonesville, 1,700 strong. If this is so, and I have no reason to doubt it, I have not mounted force sufficient to dislodge them.

I am, general, your obedient servant,

C. D. PENNEBAKER, Col., Cmdg. District.

No. 2.

Report of Capt. Jackson Stepp, Sixth Indiana Cavalry.


COL.: In compliance with your order directing me to send to you a statement in explanation of my conduct on the morning of the 19th instant, at Big Springs, I hereby send you the facts as they occurred. In order to present the facts clearly it will be necessary to state what occurred the day previous.

On the morning of the 18th I had for duty 3 lieutenants and 127 men. On that day I was ordered by Col. Matson to have 1 lieutenant and 30 men to report to the commandant of the post at Tazewell, which left me with 97 men and 2 lieutenants. Out of 97 men left me I had 40 on picket duty and 7 on camp duty. My pickets were posted as followed: On the Mulberry Gap road were posted 6 men and 2 non-commissioned officers; on the Evans' Ford road were posted 6 men and 2 non-commissioned officers; on the Walker's Ferry road were posted 8 men and 1 non-commissioned officer. These pickets were all posted from three-fourths of a mile to 1 mile from my headquarters in camp. The pickets on Walker's Ferry road and on Shelton's Ferry road were under the command of Lieut. James, of Company G, while the others I commanded myself, visiting night and day. On the road leading to Tazewell were posted 4 men one-fourth of a mile from camp.

On the 18th, a flag of truce from Gen. Vaughn's command, escorted by 6 men, came to one of the picket-posts, and without my orders or knowledge were permitted to pass and come to my headquarters. They represented themselves as guarding 3 Union women through from Bull's Gap, where they had had their houses burnt and other property destroyed. After making inquiries of the women sufficiently to convince me of their honest intentions I permitted them to pass on. Immediately I sent the flag of truce and the escort, guarded by 9 men and 1 non-commissioned officer, back through the lines to the river a distance of 3 miles, with orders not to permit any conversation whatever by them with any citizen. After this I sent a note to the colonel commanding post stating the circumstances of a flag of truce coming to the lines, and that I had sent them back to the river, but received no reply. Late in the afternoon the same day a citizen reported to me that some 15 home guards had come across the river 10 miles above, but upon inquiring of the citizen I learned the greater portion of them lived on this side and had frequently come over to their homes; but not being able to spare any men from camp, the horses not being in a condition to go on a scout, I did not think it advisable to go after them. But to guard against any danger, about 8 o'clock at night I moved the position of the picket-posts. After giving strict orders to the men on camp guard to be on their watch and alert, and to communicate any alarm to me, I lay down at a late hour.

About 5 a. m. on the morning of the 19th, I was awakened by the firing and yells of the rebels, who had completely surrounded the camp. I ordered the men to get to their arms, but the only response I met with was for me to surrender, and that my men were already in their hands. Seeing the condition of affairs, and knowing it was impossible to get my men to do anything, through their fire I succeeded in getting to my horse, which I got on and went to the hospital to order the hospital steward to get the sick and medical stores away as soon as possible, and report the affair at Tazewell to the commandant of post. While putting on my bridle and saddle preparatory to going back to my quarters if I could possibly get there, and learn the condition of my command (which I knew must be captured), I was again fired at by several rebels, which rendered it impossible for me to return. From the hospital I can directly to the headquarters of the commandant of post at Tazewell and made known what had happened. Upon going back with the detachment in the morning which was sent in pursuit, I learned that 21 men of Company I had been taken or were missing, and 24 of Company G, all to 53 head.

From good evidence I learned the rebel force had crossed at Evans' Ford and directed their course in a westerly direction, capturing in their route 1 officer and 14 men, purporting to be of the First Tennessee Regt. [sic] Getting within a short distance of my camp, a portion of them were dismounted and sent over the mountain, evading the pickets on the Walker's Ferry road and Shelton's Ferry road. None of the pickets were disturbed until after the attack was made on the camp, all of them escaping except 5, who were captured as the enemy left, on the Evans' Ferry road. The only way I can account for the camp guards making no alarm is, they were fired on so suddenly they had no time to communicate the fact to the camp.

Hoping this may be sufficiently explicit, and being willing to make any statement that is asked of me,

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

JACKSON STEPP, Capt., Sixth Indiana Cavalry.

No. 3.

Report of Lieut. Gen. James Longstreet, C. S. Army.

RUSSELLVILLE, January 19, 1864.

GEN.: Maj. George W. Day reports a handsome affair at Big Springs, near Tazewell, this morning. With 100 men he attacked 150 Yankees, killed and wounded 6, captured 3 lieutenants, 64 privates, 60 or 70 horses, 50 stand of arms, 6 wagons, and 1 ambulance.

J. LONGSTREET, Lieut.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, pp. 95-97.

        19, Scout on Clinch River to Evans' Ford [see January 19, 1864, "Skirmish at Big Springs, near Tazewell" above]

        19, Reply relative to protest against depredations in Dickson County [see December 8, 1863 above]

Headquarters District of Nashville,

Provost Marshal's Office

Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 19th 1864


Dear Sir

As you wish me to Give you A Statement of the facks [sic] Concerning the burning [of] the House [sic] of Mr. J J Pickets [sic] of Dixon County State of Tenn I will do So [sic] with the best of my ability. I was Sent [sic] down there by Capt Nelson then Commanding at Kingston Springs. And after arriving on yellow Creek. [sic] And Infact [sic] before I Got theare [sic] I Learnt [sic] that yellow Creek was A place of resort for Guerellas [sic] [.] this [sic] I Got [sic] from nearley [sic] evry [sic] Citizen [sic] I met and was warned by Some [sic] Citizens [sic] bfore [sic] I got theare that I wood [sic] find them at evry [sic] house that I Came [sic] to after arriveing [sic] on yellow Creek. [sic] And that I wood be bushwacked [sic] from evry [sic] hill Side. [sic] And I Found [sic] it to be so When [sic] in About [sic] three fourth (3/4- [sic] of A mile of Mr. Pickets house at Mrs Adams my pickets Was [sic] driven in wile [sic] my men was eating Breakfast [sic] [.] I ordered them to mount And [sic] I proseed [sic] down yellow Creek And [sic] I had Not Gone [sic] more than About [sic] (400) four Hundred [sic] yards when I was fired upon from boath [sic] Sides [sic] of the road from the tops of hills that A man Wood [sic] have to wride [sic] about two (2) [sic] or three (3) [sic] miles [to] get them. I new [sic] that was no place for me if I wanted to Save [sic] my men so I ordered the Gallop [sic] and ran down yellow Creek And [sic] the first house I Came [sic] to was some widdow [sic] ladies And [sic] thare [sic] was Some [sic] Guerillas [sic] theare [sic] eating breakfast and Some walking about the yard[.] I charged the house and captured two (2) or three (3) horces [sic] I have forgotten Witch. [sic] I Stoped [sic] theare [sic] about five (5) minutes and Just [sic] as I Was Going [sic] to leave I was fired upon agian from the Hill Side [sic] [.] I then moved further down yellow Creek And [sic] as I was pasing [sic] mr [sic] Pickets [sic] house my rear Gard [sic] was fired upon again[.] the [sic] wemming [sic] at mr [sic] Pickets house Came [sic] out on the porch and hollowed and laughing at my Command[.] I did not Care [sic] for that but keep on my way [sic] [.] after [sic] arriveing [sic] at the Command Gave [sic] the command Wright [sic] about and then the Command [sic] to Charge [sic] and as I was Charging back Mrs Picket Came [sic] out and herried the rebels off Saying Kill them Kill them Kill them [sic] and then Sed [sic] Get [sic] away; with them yankeys [sic] for yonder comes some more And [sic] made some insulting remarks to the two (2) [sic] men belonging to my Command [sic] that the rebels had Captured. [sic] And as I Came [sic] up to the house the Same [sic] womming [sic] was Standing [sic] laughing[.] again [sic] I passed on by in persuit [sic] of the rebels and captured one of my men back and when tha [sic] saw that tha was going to Lose [sic] him tha [sic] Shot [sic] him the Ball Passing [sic] threw [sic] his left arm and Passing [sic] along the small of his back Cuting [sic] the Skin [sic] in several places[.] he [sic] Sed [sic] to me that them wemming [sic] was the Cause [sic] of him being Captured [sic] for tha [sic] Seen [sic] the rebels and new [sic] that tha [sic] was theare [sic] And [sic] that When [sic] tha [sic] Seen [sic] my Command Comeing [sic] back that tha Wanted [sic] the rebels to kill him and that he heard them tell the rebels foare [sic] or five times to Kill [sic] them after witch [sic] I went to the house and ast [sic] them Whether [sic] they did Say or not Suth [sic] things and tha [sic] wood [sic] not say, Whether tha [sic] did or not So [sic] I thought it was Just [sic] and proper to burn the house witch [sic] I ordred done being as my man life [sic] was sought by them trying to Get [sic] them (the rebels) to kill them (my men)[.] I think to the best of my Judgment that it was nothing but wright [sic] that the house was a burnt And [sic] the Statement [sic] of mr [sic] Pickets Saying [sic] that I threned [sic] to kill his wife and daughter is falce [sic] [.]

I Spoke [sic] no insulting langach [sic] to them – Generall [sic]-this Is [sic] the facks [sic] of the Case [sic] [.]

* * * *

Henry W. Barr, 1 Lieut. Co "C" 3d Tenn Vol Cav and asst Provost Marshal Distrit [sic] of Nashville

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, pp. 566-557.

        19, "Disorderly House"

Sally Park, a young woman currently reported to be no better than she should be, was escorted by a gentlemanly policeman to the presence of the recorder yesterday morning, and there required to answer to the charge of keeping a disorderly house. We leave you to imagine what the term "disorderly house" signifies, and proceed with the story. She failed to convince his honor that the charge was abase and groundless slander so he accepted a loan on behalf of the city of $10 and costs and permitted her to go her way in peace.

Memphis Bulletin, January 19, 1864.

        19, "Stirring Up the Guerrillas"

The picket boat Wenbaa amused spectators on the levee last evening by tossing some lively shells among a party of guerrillas on the other side of the river last evening [sic]. It is not known whether any of them were hurt. It was rumored that the rascals fired at the Olive Branch as she passed up.

Memphis Bulletin, January 19, 1864.

        19, Police theft of a contraband's money in Nashville

Nashville, January 19, 1864

To His Excellency Andrew Johnson, Military Governor of Tennessee-

Your petitioner, Robin Ewing, Colored man, would show to your Excellency that last Sunday night, he, together with eight other Colored men, were engaged in playing cards in a little eating house, on Union Street, between Summer & High Streets [sic], when three city policemen and two guards entered and arrested us all. We were then searched on the spot, to ascertain whether we had any weapons on our persons. A Mr. Ingall, one of said City Policemen, searched me, & in said search, took from me a knife, my watch, and my pocket book, the latter containing over $26. He handed back my watch, it being broken, remarking that he did not want that-The knife, not being worth more than thirty cents, he delivered up in the Police office-But the pocketbook &: its contents he held on to, & still holds on to-These statements the petitioner can prove by eight Colored witnesses. He has, however, no white witness &can therefore effect nothing in a regular law suit-He submits the case to your Excellency, & invokes your extra ordinary powers to defeat a piece of unmitigated rascality, & to restore to him his hard earnings.

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 568.

        19, First Lieutenant Robert Cruikshank, 123rd New York Infantry Regiment, letter home to his wife Mary

Camp of the 123rd Regt. [sic], N. Y. S. V.

Elk River, Tenn.,

Jan. 19, 1864.

Dear Mary,-

It is a blue morning for me. It is raining hard and the wind is blowing strong and the air is chilly. My work today will be indoors so I will be comfortable. There is not a particle of rain or a gust of wind that can penetrate my tent, it is made so close. Peter has a good fire in the stove and has put the room in order. If it were possible I should like to have you look in and see how orderly we are and how my time is occupied. Some of the men are calling on me the most of the time when I am not engaged. We talk over the prospect of the War closing (of which we know nothing), of who will be our next President and have decided on Mr. Lincoln. But the principal topic of conversation is home, of what we have there, what we have done there and what we will do there when this cruel war is over.

I have received yours of the 9th inst. You say that Mr. Culver wishes to know if I am in command of the Company. Tell him that I am, and have been since I left the Commissary Department at Bridgeport, December 20, 1863. I expect to draw pay as 1st Lieutenant since the 20th of November, 1863, the date of my muster. I also was in command of the Company before I was detailed in the Commissary Department, a short time. I am paid ten dollars a month extra for the responsibility as commanding officer. This Captain Culver is losing by being absent, nor can he draw pay as Captain until he is mustered as Captain and must be dated back to the date of my muster. At present I am drawing ten dollars more pay than he is (a month). This will explain the whole matter but keep it to yourself and let people talk as they wish to, but do not believe all you hear. I would much rather have Captain Culver return and assume command as I have everything to attend to. I do all the business of the Company. I keep no clerk. Colonel McDougall has requested that those who left last July be returned to the Regiment for duty.

You also say you are having a week of prayer in the churches. I am pleased to hear it. We should all thank God for His goodness to us, that He has prospered our whole North, that our armies have been successful, and pray Him that when He has accomplished all that He has designed that

He will bring this War to a close. This is the prayer of,

Your affectionate husband,

R. Cruikshank.

Robert Cruikshank Letters.

        19, African-American Jail Break in Nashville

Broke Jail. – Yesterday the faithful [jailor] Bradford was brought to grief in the yard of the count jail in this wise: Towards night he was about locking up the last darkie, when three of them rush out upon him, and in the twinkling of an eye, or in two shakes of a dog's bob-tail, they had him pinioned and gagged. Another instant and his hat and money were in the hands of the desperadoes, and before he well knew whether, he was upon his head or his heels, they, had seized his keys, and he saw seven stalwart negroes making their escape, and he unable to resist or call for help. Soon as the stampede took place, Bradford made known the mishap, and the police were on their scent, but it was too weak, or else the infinite number of similar scents threw them off the track, for none of the birds who had flown had been captured up to a late hour last night.

Nashville Dispatch, January 20, 1864.



[2] Captain Stepp was subsequently tried by general court-martial, charged with "neglect of duty." He was honorably acquitted.

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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