Tuesday, January 6, 2015

12.28.2015 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        28, Plea for the establishment of Confederate martial law in Memphis to counter actions of Mayor John Park [see November 15, 1861, "Mayor's Proclamation" above]

MEMPHIS, December 28, 1861.

Gen. L. POLK, Columbus, Ky.:

I inclose you a proclamation issued this morning by John Park, our mayor. You will see from it where we stand. Our city is in a terrible condition with such a man at its head. You can plainly see his aims. Nothing in my judgment will do but strict military law as long as he is at the head of affairs. Our prisoners are not safe. I learn there is frequently no guard around them. Your ordnance, commissary and quartermaster's stores are unsafe, only two to four men at each place at night to guard them, and the town full of rascals and incendiaries, and the mayor is issuing proclamations saying he will protect them, and offering inducements virtually to bringing more. For heaven's sake don't let any supplies be burnt up for want of proper guards. Nashville has suffered enough. Don't let us repeat it. We have no one here with any authority over the city who is disposed to protect the right.

Yours, truly,


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, p. 246.

        28, More contributions to the Tennessee Hospital Association in Nashville

Market St. Hospital

Dec. 28, 1861

Mrs. Dr. Shelby, President Tennessee Hospital Association:

Through you, we return our most sincere thanks to the following person for the articles appended to their names: 1 box mustard, from Pinckard, Steel & co., I box mustard from Goodrich & Co., 1 box mustard from Violet & Co.: 25 yards adhesive plaster, 1 can, 1 pound opium, 8 vials morphia, from Messrs. Welock & Co, 10 pounds cream tartar and 1 bottle arnica, 20 pounds arrow root, 8 fine surgeon sponges, 3 self-injecting syringes, 1 dozen camel hair pencils, 1 dozen dressing combs, 1 ½ dozen white castile soap, 1 dozen boxes gelatine [sic], (Corson & Armstrong), page, splint and wrapping paper, from J. H. Pope, druggist; 1½ dozen bottle of paregoric, 1½ pounds seidlitz powders, 1½ pounds, Dover powders, from Mrs. John Cotton.

Jno. D. Winston, Surgeon.

By Samuel Fox, Ass't Surgeon.

Nashville Daily Gazette, December 29, 1861.

28, Desperate need for weapons at Fort Donelson

HDQRS., Fort Donelson December 28, 1861.

His Excellency President DAVIS,

Richmond, Va.;

SIR; This will be handed you by Col. Bailey, of one of the Tennessee regiments stationed at this post. The exposed position of this command and the impossibility of obtaining arms here has induced us both to make an effort to secure them at Richmond. Knowing the difficulties we all labor under on this score, permit me simply to state that I feel deeply solicitous about our condition on the Tennessee and Cumberland, and believe that no one point in the Southern Confederacy needs more the aid of the Government than [these] points. Col. Bailey will be presented to you under such auspices as will, I am sure, command for him your especial consideration.

With every assurance of the highest consideration, and the hope that a complete restoration to health will enable you to meet the heavy demands on your time,

I remain, respectfully, your obedient servant,

LLOYD TILGHMAN, Brig.-Gen., C. S. Army, Cmdg. Defenses Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, pp. 245-246.

        28, Federal report on activities associated with Colonel William W. Lowe's cavalry expedition to West Tennessee and on destruction of Island No. 10

COLUMBUS, KY., December 28, 1862--10 a. m.

(Received 5 p. m.) Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Gen.-in-Chief:

I have just received a telegram from Fort Henry that Col. William W. Lowe, who was sent by Gen. Grant to attack Forrest, has just returned. Reports that he went up as far as Lexington, and finding that Gen. Dodge was following Forrest he returned to Fort Henry, dispersing on his way back Nepier's band and destroying some property. With his return to Fort Henry I consider Forts Donelson, Henry, and Heiman, which were assigned to my command, measurably secure....Island No. 10 has been rendered useless in case of capture. New Madrid will be evacuated to-night and the useless heavy armament there destroyed. The troops will re-enforce Fort Pillow. I hope Fort Pillow will be strong enough to stand with the re-enforcements. I have learned from reliable sources that their plans of operations have not been so much directed toward the railroad as to gain possession of Island No. 10....There is no communication with Gen. Grant.

THOS. A. DAVIES, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. II, p. 500.

        28, Fewer Negroes noted on Nashville's streets

The Colored Population.—Old inhabitants of Nashville are astonished at the small number of negroes about our streets during the Christmas holidays, and particularly surprised that all are so remarkably quiet. To us the cause of all this is very plain: the worst part of the black population have either absconded or are at work upon the fortifications, and the best of them are careful to do nothing that would cause them to be set to work for the public's benefit. They find little sympathy in a military guard or the civic police, and therefore try to keep out of their hands. Many of our best servants are having their balls and parties, and other social re-unions, and are enjoying the holidays rationally, allowing their masters and mistresses to do a good share, if not all, of their own work; but they will report for duty at the customary time, invigorated and refreshed after their eight days relaxation.

Nashville Dispatch, December 28, 1862.

        28, A tête-à-tête between enemies prior to the battle at Stones River between enemies prior to the battle at Stones River

An Incident of the Battle of Stone's River.

Correspondence of the Nashville Dispatch.

Camp at Murfreesboro', Feb. 9, 1863.

I was thinking every scene of the late tragedy played by the armies of the Cumberland and Mississippi had been shown in some way or other; but there remains one to which I was an eye witness, that gives distinction to no particular character; yet, for its novelty, (as such is generally a constituent of tragedy,) is somewhat interesting. On the 27th of December, our army arrived at Stewart's Creek, ten miles distant from Murfreesboro'. The following day being Sabbath [28th], and our General being devout, nothing was done, except to cross a few companies on the left as skirmishers, our right being watched by the enemy's, as well as ours; both extending along the creek on opposite sides. Despite of orders, our boys would occasionally shut an eye at the Confederates, who were ever ready to take the hint. This was kept up until evening, when the boys, finding they were effecting nothing at such long range, quit shooting, and concluded they would "talk it out."  When the following occurred:

Federal (at the top of his voice)—Halloo! boys, what regiment?

Confederate—Eighth Confederate.

Fed.—Bully for you.

Confed.—What's your regiment?

Fed.—Eighth and twenty-first Kentucky.

Confed.—All right.

Fed.—Boys, have you got any whisky?

Confed.—Plenty of her.

Fed.—How'll you trade for coffee?

Confed.—Would like to accommodate you, but never drink it while the worm goes.[1]

Fed.—Let's meet at the creek and have a social chat.

Confed.—Will you shoot?

Fed.—Upon the honor of a gentleman, not a man shall. Will you shoot?

Confed.—I give you as good assurance.

Fed.—Enough said, come on.

Confed.—Leave your arms.

Fed.—I have left them. Do you leave yours? 

Confed.—I do.

Whereupon both parties started for the creek to a point agreed upon. Meeting almost simultaneously, we (the Federals) were, in a modulated tone, addressed in the usual unceremonious style of a soldier, by [:] Confed.—Halloo, boys!  how do you make it?

Federal—Oh! bully, bully!

Confed.—This is rather an unexpected armistice.

Fed.—That's so.

Confed.—Boys what do you think of the Proclamation?

Fed.—We think it will suit a nigger and an Abolitionist, but not gentlemen.

Confed.—Now your heads are level.

Fed.—Boys, are you going to make a stand at Murfreesboro?

Confed.—That is a leading question; notwithstanding, I will venture to say it will be the bloodiest ten miles you ever traveled. 

Thus the conversation went on for some time, until a Confederate Captain, (Miller, of Gen. Wheeler's Cavalry,) came down, requesting an exchange of papers. On being informed we had none, he said he would give us his anyhow, and wrapping a stone in the paper, threw it across. Some compliments were passed, when the Captain suggested, as it was getting late, we had better quit the conference; whereupon both parties, about twenty each, began to leave with, "Good bye, boys;" "if ever I meet you in battle, I'll spare you."  So we met and parted, not realizing we were enemies. My God, when will this unnatural war have an end!—when shall friend cease to seek the life of friend, and mankind once more realize the blessings of peace?

Eighth Kentucky.

Nashville Dispatch, February 21, 1863.

        28, C. S. A. attack on Federal wagon train between Knoxville and Chattanooga [see December 1, 1863, Skirmish near Loudon above]

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Itinerary of the Second Brigade, Second Cavalry Division (Army of the

Cumberland) From return for December 1863, the Ninety-eighth Illinois, Seventeenth Indiana, and detachments of the Fourth Michigan and Third U. S. Cavalry Regiments were attached to this command, Col. Eli Long commanding, relative to the attack on a Federal wagon train, December 28, 1863:

* * * *

December 28, Gen. Wheeler, with 1,500 rebel cavalry and some artillery, attacked a wagon train, moving to Knoxville from Chattanooga, and escorted by infantry, convalescents, &c. Col. Long at once mounted the small portion of his command not on duty (less than 150 men) and charged the enemy, whose ranks had been broken by the infantry escort, scattering them in every direction. Pursued one column of 400 or 500 men several miles and captured 121 prisoner, including 5 officers and many stand of arms. Wheeler lost several killed and many wounded; among the latter, 2 colonels.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 435.


"Wheeler's men had said while going up that 'Wheeler was H-ll on Wagons' and they would get all the sugar and coffee we had."

Courier Station East Tennessee

January 1st 1864

Dear Father

I am still doing courier duty and am as well as usual --- it is a clear cold and windy day --- The ground is frozen quite hard….I have been out to the wood pile chopping wood. I came near freezing my ears off, too. The people in this country use fireplaces altogether -- don't know what a stove is hardly, they are about 50 years behind the times-but they are clever and hospitable and UNION [sic] through and through. A man by the name of Burton brought us a basket-full of cold chicken biscuit, cake and pies this morning as a present. It came very acceptable to the boys -- we gave him a lot of coffee and sugar a great handy [sic] for a person to have in this country. Some families here have a son in the Federal Army and one also in the Rebel Army. It is no uncommon thing to see a father staunch Union and a son a strong rebel. It is a bad thing to make the best of it, when one army holds the country awhile and then the other. It gives the little neighborhood jealousies and spites a chance to revenge each other. Great time to settle old scores. There are always enough mean ones you know to take advantage of such things on both sides. Makes a very unpleasant State of Society. We have not been disturbed yet at our station. There was a large train of wagons went up the valley to Knoxville last Sunday.[2] Wheeler, who has been raising "ned" with us all the time at Cleveland, heard of it and the wagons were only guarded by about 250 infantry, thought he would have a Nice Time [sic] and get some sugar and coffee for his boys. So he came on after it with about 1500 cavalry and 3 pieces of artillery. The train passed on the same road as the courier line is on, but Wheeler came up the valley road east of us about 1½ miles only. Two little boys from that valley came running over early Monday morning to tell us that the rebel were swarming up the valley (it's a good thing to be among your friends) We saddled up and moved upon a hill nearby where we could see a ½ mile in any direction and staid there all day expecting every minute to see a company of Rebels come dashing after us. We didn't ask any odds of them. They couldn't catch us anyhow-but they didn't come-for they had plenty of fish to fry. Instead of 250 men with the train we happened to have between 4 and 5000 and Col. Long[3] at Calhoun had 500 Cavalry. A dispatch had gone thro' telling him Wheeler was coming. So they were ready for him. Wheeler's men had said while going up that "Wheeler was H-ll on Wagons" and they would get all the sugar and coffee we had. Well-when about 2 miles from Charleston Wheeler saw the train and ordered a charge, the Rebels yelled and plunged forward each man trying to be first. But presently crack! crack! whiz! bang! A line of smoke 200 yds long rises from the grass on their left and the cedars on their right-ah! my boys what makes you falter! Why don't you go on and sweeten your coffee-they halted amazed, fired a few shots, whirled their horses, run back a quarter of a mile, and formed in line of battle. Their Artillery they thought would be up soon and the wagons would be theirs-but Fate was against them. The artillery was stuck in the mud and didn't come at all. The infantry were moving slowing upon them and at that moment Col Long with his gallant little 500 were seen with sabres drawn-coming up like the wind-at the command Charge! Boys Charge! The Infantry gave way and Long was upon them like an avalanche, cutting thro' their line and in their rear the work of death commenced, in 15 minutes we had 140 prisoners and had killed 30. The rebels were flying from the field in every direction terror stricken and helpless they threw away over 400 guns. Wheeler only had 40 men with him when he went back, the rest were scattered. He was never so badly whipped before or so badly misinformed-in fact he got his foot in it sure. Prisoner say he is superseded-they haven't bothered us since….

Potter Correspondence.

        28, Action at Calhoun (Confederate attack on convalescent train)

Report of Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Cumberland, with complimentary letter to Col. Eli Long.

CHATTANOOGA, TENN., December 29, 1863.

(Received 1.45 p. m., 30th.)

SIR: Col. Eli Long, Fourth Ohio Cavalry, commanding Second Division of Cavalry, reports from Calhoun, Tennessee, December 28, that the rebel Gen. Wheeler, With 1,200 or 1,500 cavalry and mounted infantry, attacked Col. Laiboldt, escorting a supply train from Chattanooga to Knoxville, about 10 this a. m., Charleston, on south bank of the Hiwassee. The train and escort had reached and encamped at Charleston last night, and Col. Laiboldt's skirmishers were hotly engaged with the enemy this a. m., before Col. Long was apprised of their approach. He immediately mounted the small force for duty in his camp at the time (150 men) and crossed the river to Col. Laibodt's support. The rebels shortly afterward gave way, Long pursuing them closely.

Discovering a portion of their force cut off on the right, he charged them with sabers, completely demoralizing and scattering them in great confusion in every direction. Several of the enemy (number not known) were killed and wounded. One hundred and twenty one prisoners, including 5 commissioned officers, were captured. The main rebel column fled, and was pursued for 5 miles, on the Dalton road, and, when last seen, was fleeing precipitately. Long's loss was 1 man slightly wounded. For this and many other gallant acts of Col. Long, since serving in this department, I earnestly recommend him for promotion to brigadier-general of volunteers.

The officer in command of the courier station at Cleveland also reports that he was attacked early this morning, December 28, by a force of about 100 rebels. He drove them off.

GEO. H. THOMAS, Maj.-General.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. II, pp. 641-642.


Excerpt from the Report of Major-General George H. Thomas on operations from December 1 to 31, 1863

On the 28th, Col. Bernard Laiboldt, Second Missouri Infantry, in charge of a train and escort, principally of convalescents belonging to the Fourth Corps, proceeding from Chattanooga to Knoxville, was attacked by a force of Wheeler's cavalry, numbering between 1,200 and 1,500, as he was crossing the Hiwassee River at Charleston. He immediately formed his guard in line of battle on the south side of the river, succeeded in crossing all his train in safety, and then charged the astonished rebels and drove them in confusion. He then called upon Col. Eli Long for cavalry co-operation, he sent all the force he then had in camp, numbering 150 men. With this small force Col. Long charged the enemy with sabers and drove him 5 miles, capturing 130 prisoners, including 5 commissioned officers. Our loss was 2 killed and 15 wounded. The enemy left his dead and wounded, as well as quite a number of small-arms, &c., upon the field.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. II, p. 126.[4]

        28, Skirmish at US courier post, Cleveland [see December 28, Action at Calhoun, above]

        28, Skirmish at Charleston [see also December 28, 1863, Action at Calhoun above]

Report of Col. Bernard Laiboldt, Second Missouri Infantry.

CAMP NEAR CALHOUN, December 28, 1863.

SIR: It affords me great pleasure to reports to you that I have given the rebel Gen. Wheeler a sound thrashing this morning. I had succeeded, in spite of the most abominable roads, to reach Charleston on the night of the 27th; and this morning shortly after daylight I was moving my train across Hiwassee River Bridge when Wheeler's cavalry, reported 1,500 strong, with four guns (which, however, they had no time to bring into action), appeared in my rear. I placed the infantry in line of battle, then got my train over the bridge safely, and next asked Col. Long to place a regiment of cavalry at my disposal. These arrangements made, I charged with the infantry in double-quick on the astonished rebels and routed them completely, when I ordered a cavalry charge to give them the finishing touch. The charge was made in good style, but the number of our cavalry was insufficient for an effectual pursuit, and so the enemy got away, and was even able to take his guns along, which, with innumerable prisoners, must have fallen into my hands could I have made a hot pursuit.

I have now with me, as prisoners, 5 commissioned officers, among them the inspector-general of Gen. Kelly's division, and a surgeon, and 126 men of different regiments. Wheeler commanded in person, and it was reported to him, as the prisoners state, that I had 600 wagons in my train, which he expected to take without great trouble.

The casualties on my side are as follows: Third Division, 2 commissioned officers wounded, 2 men killed, 8 men wounded, 1 man missing; Second Division, 4 men wounded. The rebels lost, besides the number stated, several severely wounded, which I am obliged to leave behind, and probably several killed. The number of small-arms thrown away by them is rather large, and they will undoubtedly be gathered up by Col. Long. I shall pursue my march at daybreak to-morrow.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BERNARD LAIBOLDT, Col. Second Infantry Missouri Volunteers.

Brig. Gen. W. D. Whipple,

P. S.-Our infantry numbered between 2,000 and 3,000 convalescent men returning from furlough, and others, who had been absent and belonged to the two divisions of the Fourth Army Corps. Long's cavalry, with which he charged the rebels, 150.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, pp. 643-644.

A National Account.

Chattanooga, December 28

An important victory has just been added to the list which has crowned the army of the Cumberland with glory. True, the fight was upon a comparatively small scale; but victories are not always to be valued by the numbers engaged, nor the list of the slain. The importance of an achievement must be estimated by results; and, in this instance, it would be impossible to compute the magnitude of the interests at stake, and the advantages gained by the defeat of our adversary.

Although it has hitherto been contraband, I deem it so no longer, to state that the divisions of Sheridan and Wood were left at or near Knoxville, when Sherman withdrew from that point, and they will remain there during the winter; and, of course, it is necessary that their supply-trains, left behind at the first march, should be forwarded to them. Accordingly, a few days since, the quartermasters received orders to move their vehicles to their respective commands, and, in a brief space, the trains were on the way, guarded by the cavalry brigade commanded by Colonel Long, of the Fourth Ohio. They met with no traces of the enemy for several days-only hearing of small guerrilla parties, at different points, which were by no means formidable-and finally arrived at the very natural conclusion that the route was unobstructed, and that the train was not threatened.

Night before last (twenty-seventh) the wagons were all thrown across the Hiawassee, and parked with but a small guard, under Colonel Siebert, in the front, the main force, one thousand two hundred in number, remaining on the south side of the stream. During the night no alarms occurred, and in the morning the mules were hitched up, as usual, to proceed on the journey, when the small guard was suddenly attacked by Wheeler, at the head of one thousand five hundred men. The charge was sudden and unexpected, and resulted in a hasty retreat on Colonel Siebert's part, leaving the train in the hands of the rebels. He had but about one hundred men with him, and it would have been impossible to have resisted the progress of the enemy; but he had scarcely reached the river-bank, when reinforcements, to the number of one hundred and fifty, crossed to his aid, when a counter-charge was made, resulting in the recapture of the wagons, mules, and horses, which had not been injured, so brief was the possession of the prize.

After retaking the train, Colonel Siebert, with his handful of men, was unable to continue the pursuit, but, keeping his force in line, he so far terrified his adversary that no effort was made to repossess the lost plunder, until Colonel Long, with the whole force, reached the north bank, and wheeled into line, ready for work.

But a moment was required to prepare for an onset; sabres were drawn, and the soldiers stood waiting for the command; it was given, and in a moment, without even making a show of resistance, the rebels broke and ran, pell-mell, down the Dalton road, up every trail, and over hills so steep that hoof had never before trodden them. Many jumped from their animals and sought safety among the rocks; others, in dismay, leaped fences, while yet more surrendered themselves prisoners of war.

The loss to the rebels in this engagement was forty-seven killed and wounded, and one hundred and twenty-three prisoners. But this was not the most important result of the achievement. The wagon route from here to Knoxville has been rendered secure, and the courier lines saved from futher annoyance.

The old cavalry corps of this department of the rebel army, once the terror of Kentucky and Tennessee, has dwindled down to almost nothing. It can no longer effect any thing [sic]. It has been defeated so often of late, that it and its commanders have fallen into disrepute, and are no longer looked upon as of importance to the army.

Our loss in the engagement is variously estimated at from one to ten wounded, all agreeing that none of our gallant men were killed, thought one was taken prisoner. To the Fourth Ohio cavalry and Twentieth Missouri mounted infantry belong the honor of this last important achievement, which resulted in securing a connection of the highest importance to the county.

Rebellion Record, Vol. 8, pp. 293-294.

        28, Situation report relative to Forrest's West Tennessee raid

HDQRS. SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tennessee, December 28, 1863.

Maj. Gen. W. T. SHERMAN, Comdg. Department of the Tennessee, via Nashville:

Forrest, driven from Jackson, eluded Grierson's cavalry and crossed the railroad at LaGrange last night. This was owing to neglect of orders in not destroying bridge over Wolf in rear of La Fayette. He had been repulsed between Somerville and Middleburg. Telegraph and railroad east of Collierville are cut; damage not known. Grierson was at LaGrange at last accounts, and I suppose is pursuing. Smith not yet heard from.

S. A. HURLBUT, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 523.

        28, Federal pursuit of Forrest, Grand Junction to La Fayette to Collierville

COLLIERVILLE, December 28, 1863.

(Received 9.30 p. m.) Maj.-Gen. HURLBUT:

I moved from Grand Junction yesterday at 3.30 p. m., by rail, in obedience to the order of Gen. Grierson. Reached La Fayette about dark. My advance skirmished a few minutes with Forrest's rear guard. Forrest was reported to have taken the Mount Pleasant road. Did not follow with my infantry, as it was considered useless. At 12 o'clock last night received a dispatch from Maj. Burgh that Forrest was near Collierville; that he intended to strike that place at daylight. I marched with my command at 3 a. m. for Collierville. Learned that Forrest had taken the road leading south, about 1 mile east of Collierville. His force was reported at 4,000. Cannot get telegraphic communication with LaGrange yet.

WM. H. MORGAN, Col., Cmdg. Brigade.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 525.

        28, Confederate dash upon Cumberland Gap ordered

HDQRS., Russellville, Tennessee, December 28, 1863.

Brig. Gen. W. E. JONES, Comdg. Cav. Brig., through Maj. Gen. Ransom, Comdg., &c.:

The commanding general desires to make a sudden and well-concealed dash upon Cumberland Gap, with the view of obtaining possession of it. Unless you can work secretly and quietly, your effort will not succeed. You can use Rucker's cavalry along the north side of Clinch Mountain, in the direction of Evan's Ford or across the Clinch River, as you may desire.

The commanding general directs me to say that if you will advise him of the proper time, he will throw Giltner's brigade across the Holston to move down and divert attention and protect this flank of your column, and indeed our entire line may be advanced at the same time to recover some of the foraging country that we have lost, and to prevent any re-enforcements moving in the direction of Cumberland Gap.

There is a force of 100 reported at Mulberry Gap, a regiment at Tazewell, and from 300 to 500 are reported at Cumberland Gap. It will be necessary, however, for you to secure definite information before making your movement, and endeavor to get between Tazewell and Cumberland Gap, and then to secure the latter as soon as practicable.

Maj.-Gen. Ransom's infantry and artillery have been ordered to this side of the river, and the commanding general wishes you to give orders to Col. Rucker, and use him in front, or where you find it necessary.

I am, general, very sincerely, your most obedient servant,

G. M. SORREL, Lieut.-Col., Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 875.

        28, Skirmish at Cleveland

....The Rebels fired at the Yanks about 4 o'clock this morn. About daylight the Rebels came in town and fought a while. The Yanks repulsed them....[sic]

Diary of Myra Adelaide Inman, p. 224.

        28, The tobacco question and a murder by guerrillas in the Hiwassee River region, an excerpt from the diary of Brigadier General John Beatty

While bivouacking on the Hiawasse [sic], a citizen named Trotter, came into our camp. He was an old man, and professed to be loyal. I interrogated him on the tobacco question. He replied, "The crap [sic] has been mitey [sic] poor fur [sic] a year or two. I don't use terbacker [sic] myself, but my wife used to chaw it; but the frost has been a nippen of it fur [sic] a year or two, and it is so poor she has quite chawen ontirely"[sic].

* * * *

While we were encamped on the banks of the Hiawasse [sic], a Union man, near seventy years old, was murdered by guerrillas. Not long before, a young lady, the daughter of a Methodist minister, was robbed and murdered near the same place. Murders and robberies are as common occurrences in that portion of Tennessee as marriages in Ohio, and excite about as little attention. Horse stealing is not considered an offense.

Beatty, Citizen Soldier, pp. 366-367.

        28, John W. Turner, 19th Indiana Infantry, in Shellmound, Tennessee, to his Aunt, Catherine Hawk, in Blountville, Indiana

Camp at Shellmound, Tenn.

December the 28th, 1863

Dear Aunt,

It is once more with pleasure that I seat my self to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present and hope that when these few lines reaches you, they may find you enjoying the same blessing. I received you letter yesterday and was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was [sic] well. You stated your letter that had a mind not to write any more for you thought I was mad, well I was a little mad but soon got over it so you must excuse me for not writing what I did, so we will let that pass. We have had christmas [sic] here but we had no fun at all, I was on pickett [sic] on Christmas day and did not see very mutch [sic] fun but I think that I will have some fun, I am going to have a big dinner of hard bread and old bacon, so you may gess[sic] that will be a good dinner. Well, I must tell you that when I get in the notion of volunteering again, I intend to volunteer and not say any thing about it, now you must not get angry when you read this letter for I just speak what I think and I alow[sic] others to do the same. Well, I gess [sic] I will have to bring my letter to a close by asking you to write some more. Direct you letters as before and they will come. So good by for this time, but not forever.

John W. Turner

John W. Turner Correspondence.[5]

        28, The Plight of Union Refugees in Chattanooga

From the Cincinnati Commercial.

CHATTANOOGA, Dec. 28, 1863.


Are daily arriving from the interior of Georgia and Middle Tennessee in large numbers. Here they are dependent upon the bounty of the Government until arrangements are completed for sending them North. The picture of destitution and suffering presented by all of them is truly heart-rending. They are almost naked, and the traces of gradual starvation are visible upon their gaunt forms, that resemble walking skeletons. Mothers with sickly children, with scarcely enough rags to cover their nakedness, are forced to listen to their cries for bread, and press them to their bosoms in the embrace of death; sons are to be seen supporting the trembling forms of parents as they faint beneath the fatigue of travel and starvation, and are unable to quench their hunger. Could your philanthropic men and women of the North witness the ray of joy that lights their countenances, and behold the grateful look as the sunken eyes of these starved loyalists are raised to heaven in mute return of thanks to God for the Government rations distributed to them, they would in the distribution of their bountiful supplies, remember this class of their fellow-creatures, upon whom the war has fallen with crushing weight. One circumstance, however, strikes the spectator as a little singular. Many of these refugee families arrive with their negroes' children, for whose welfare they seem as much concerned as for that of their own flesh and blood.

Nashville Daily Union, January 8, 1864.[6]

        28, Confederate Scouts Ordered to Sevier County, Maryville and Mossy Creek

No circumstantial reports filed.

HDQRS., Russellville, Tenn., December 28, 1863.

Maj. Gen. W. T. MARTIN, Cmdg. Cavalry:

….Our trains are ordered to be protected by escorts from the infantry. If any should be in rear of you without such escorts at a time when you desire to make a movement with a view of concentrating upon a particular point, you should order the trains in and proceed with your movement. More efficient protection will be given our trains by beating back the enemy at one point, even, than by having your forces distributed over the country in such a manner that you can do nothing else than watch. Instead of running a line up the French Broad, it will be better to send scouts across it into Sevier County, and in that way keep yourself advised of any movement up the river on the south side. The commanding general desires that you will endeavor to get a scout over to Maryville, to ascertain definitely what has become of the forces that came up from Chattanooga, whether any of this force came to Knoxville, and how much of it; also what portion of it went back, and the names of its prominent commanders. The commanding general wishes also that you will proceed to concentrate your forces to regain your position, and prevent the enemy foraging on Mossy Creek for the supplies which you were expected to hold for our own use.

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

G. M. SORREL, Lieut.-Col. and Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, p. 584.

        28, Mildred A. Hall's Final Plea [See July 14, 1863 "'Please tell me Governor, what to do?' Mildred A. Hall's plea for debt relief" above]

Dec. 28th 1863–

No. 26 Cherry St–

Governor Johnson

I slept sweetly last night in the hope and belief that your would not permit me to be thrown into the streets – I have no place to go – have no where to store my furniture – and if you will only suspend that writ till March – I can go North – but fear to do so now on acct [sic] of my health - Oh Governor – I hope I do not appeal to you in vain - I will pay the rent to any responsible person. Please do Governor – send an orderly down with the order suspending the writ - & thus save me from exposure and a sacrifice of all I have.

A whole heart full of gratitude Governor, will ever be yours – if you will extend this act of humanity to me – I have neither friends nor counsellors [sic] in the City – Will you assist me? This will be my last appeal-excuse me for troubling you – the unfortunate position in which I am placed I hope be ample apology. Shall I come up, or will you not send an orderly with the order – ?[7]


Mrs. W. B. Hall

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 530.

        28, "I will promise you I will Ever Recolect [sic] you as my children is so small and my wife very weakly."[8] A Confederate Conscript's request for release from prisoner of war camp

Jeffersonville, Indiana

Dec. 28th 1863

To his Excellency

Gov Andrew Johnson

Dear Sir

I have been a solder in the so called Confederate Armey for a little over twelve months under Capt Js Tyner of Tyner Sta[t]ion Hamilton county Tenn [sic] I have Ever [sic] been opposed to a Disolution [sic] of this Greate [sic] government[.] I voted against it[.] that was all that I cold [sic] Do but after the conscript law was Passed & the law inforced I was compelled to go in as it was almost impossible for me to get my family away[.] I have Lived in Hamilton County the most of my time for sixteen or seventeen years Ever since I was a beoy [sic] [.] I am a poor man[.] I had to Labor horde [sic] for the supporte [sic] of my familey [sic] [.] I was imployed [sic] on the R Road for six years a preavious [sic] to the War [sic] [.] I have not been with the Rag since the 26th of Sept[.] my family [sic] has been Living [sic] at Chichamauga [sic] Depot Ever since I went in to armey [sic]. I was in 2 miles of home when the federals got posesion [sic] of the Villege [sic] where my family Lived [sic] [.] I then came home & gave myself up to Col Spuner of the 83rd Indiana Reg[iment][.] I was advised by various men to go to Chattanooga & take the oath & that I cold Get transportation for my family but when I went to the provst [sic] Marchial [sic] at Chattanooga I Did not get the opertunity [sic] of stating to him my condition[.] he was buisey [sic] in talking to some sittozens[sic] [.] the Clearks [sic] promies [sic] me they wold [sic] have my case attended to but they Did [sic] not Do [sic] it[.] I was placed in the garde [sic] house where there was about Eighty [sic] or a hundred others[.] we [sic] was [sic] sent from there to Nashville were I taken [sic] the oath of allegiance[.] I was sent from there to Louisville Ky where I taken [sic] the oath again[.] it [sic] was so all aded [sic] to the oath to go immediately North of the Ohio River & Remain untill [sic] further orders[.] I am now Deprived [sic] of my familey [sic] or of hearing from them [.] will [sic] you assiste [sic] me in getting my family where I can soporte [sic] or Do [sic] something for them at least [.] if [sic] you will I will promise you I will Ever [sic] Recolect [sic] you as my children is [sic] so small & my wife very weakly [sic] [.] I am cutting corde [sic] wood near Jeffersonville[.] I will send you a copy of the oath[.]

J F Henderson

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, pp. 530-531.

        28, "Closer examination of Dave and his kit revealed two bottles of rye whiskey, tied at the necks by a cord, slung on either side of his saddle as if they were pommel holsters." A Confederate Christimas near Knoxville; Texas Ranger Dutch Hoffman's letter home

December 28, 1863

near Knoxville, Tenn.

Dear D,

It has been a long time since I have had a chance to write, but I am to remain in this place for a few days without any hard duty so I will tell you all of note that has happened to me recently. Our regiment was sent off with Longstreet in November to rescue Knoxville from the yankees, but by now you have heard what a disaster that was. Many men were shot down and blown up in the ditches in front of Ft. Loudon, and we had no effect at all on the defenders. Knoxville is still firmly held in their grasp. Right after the fight we were sent back with Wheeler to the army at Dalton. When we arrived, we were surprised to hear the news that Bragg had been relieved and Hardee was now in command there. I have spent many cold hours in the saddle looking out for yankee troopers during our movement south. I believe that me and my mule have crossed and re-crossed every creek and river in between Knoxville and Dalton at least 5 times while either guarding or searching for good fords. The weather has been bitterly cold and my mule's been badly cut up by the hard crust of ice that freezes up on the top of the snow and creeks every night. Although he and I are not great friends, I decided I should wrap his legs in some burlap bags and apply some grease to ease his injuries and prevent them from getting worse. I don't have a name for my mule, for I have determined that it is not suitable to become too well acquainted. Companions of the four-legged variety seem to last even less time than the two-legged ones in this army and I don't want to form any unnecessary attachments. We are both in a dangerous profession, and if push comes to shove in a tight spot, I will leave him behind without a thought, as I am sure he would do the same to me if given the opportunity.

Although I anticipated spending Christmas on picket along the banks of some unnamed and icy stream, I instead received a pleasant surprise. Our company was called off picket duty and returned to the camp near Cassville. When riding in I passed Dave Mabry of the first Tenn. Cav.. He said that his brother Sam, who was in the infantry, had put up a first-rate shebang and had "procured" the makings for a Christmas feast. I was invited to the party. I returned to my camp to find once again no mail and no pay, but I was consoled by the promise of a good feed soon.

While I waited for Christmas to arrive it was company drill each morning and regimental drill each afternoon to pass the time. To my mind, drilling was preferred to the boredom and chilliness of the small drafty tent with the board floor that was my home. In spite of its imperfections, I had no inclination to improve upon my dwelling, as I was sure we would be sent on a ride shortly with the possibility of not returning to this same spot since the cavalry always seems to be moving, even in winter. At least the drill was enough to invigorate and bring some degree of warmth back into my limbs before I returned to the small fire constantly smoldering at the entrance to our tent. The small flames provided little heat but plenty of smoke.

With this break from picket duty I have taken time to catch up on my letter writing and on my reading. I have spent some time reading about the recent events outside Chattanooga. A newspaper from Pennsylvania has been passed around, and it is quite amusing to see how its account differs so widely from the Georgia press, neither one, of course, being accurate from my point of view. Besides reading, I have also taken the opportunity to stitch, patch, repair and reinforce all of my clothing. I've got a first-rate housewife with all the fixings sent to me by Miss C and I have put it to good use. Although my fingers are near frozen all the time, I have developed the skill to create a rather delicate and straight stitch. I have done a top-notch job of fixing the worn seat of my canvas pants. By using numerous patches with a variety of colors and patterns, I have now created a pair of britches that are suitable to match Joseph's "coat of many colors." They have generated a fair amount of amusement for my comrades and never fail to inspire a comment when I stand up and walk away from any gathering. My talent with the needle has lent me some small fame within my company and I can occasionally exchange my sewing skills for such items as this writing paper.

In between my drilling, reading and sewing duties I searched diligently for something to contribute to the Christmas festivities, but could do no better than to obtain a jar of sauerkraut of dubious appearance and origin. I traded a good fresh plug of tobacco to Joe Riddle for it, and he claimed he purchased it from the root cellar of one of the local people. I have little doubt that Joe visited that root cellar and made his purchase without the full and complete knowledge of the owner. There was no way of telling how long ago the jar had been put up, and it had turned a color I would not normally assign to cabbage. In any event, I was not too concerned about the origin or condition for I knew the evidence of Joe's crime would soon be disposed of in a suitable manner.

The day of the Lord's birth arrived and Dave Mabry appeared at my tent at the appointed hour. I attributed the vivid red tint of his nose and cheeks to something more than the bracing effects of the brisk winter air. Closer examination of Dave and his kit revealed two bottles of rye whiskey, tied at the necks by a cord, slung on either side of his saddle as if they were pommel holsters. Although these liquid offerings were meant as a tribute to our hosts, I noticed that Dave had nearly emptied one bottle and was thereby upsetting the delicate balance of his method of transport. I proposed that we solve the problem by eliminating one bottle entirely and stow the other in his saddlebag. Two long pulls at the bottle by each of us quickly dispatched the contents and put me in a fine mood to start the party. I securely wrapped the kraut inside my jacket, jumped up behind Pvt. Mabry and we set off for his brother's quarters.

About two miles behind the line we dismounted in front of a spectacular display of engineering ingenuity. Having always traveled with the cavalry, I have never had the time to construct any of the wondrous buildings that are erected by the ever-resourceful infantrymen during the cold season. The winter shanty was square in shape and measured about 15 feet along each side. The walls were composed of upright logs about 12 inches in diameter that had been buried in the ground and rose to a height of about 5 feet. The spaces in between the logs had been snugly packed with Georgia clay that provided a fine clean stripe in contrast to the dark brown shades of the rough bark on the logs. The roof was made from some stout, wide planks that had been overlapped like shingles and brought to a peak to enable the inhabitants to comfortably stand upright when in the center of the abode. The planks were milled, not hand hewn, and I suspected that they had led an earlier life as the side of a nearby barn. More of the planks had been put to good use in constructing a sturdy door and a small porch roof to protect the tenants from the immediate effects of rain and snow when entering and leaving. The front and one side of the shanty had a simple square window covered with oiled cloth that glowed yellow with a warm and inviting light from the candles and fire within. The crowning glory to this winter palace was a chimney built of flour barrels, stacked on end and chinked with more clay. The volume and velocity of the smoke sailing forth from the chimney indicated that a large and hot fire was burning inside. As a final amenity, a corduroy walkway had been made from small, stripped branches trimmed to size and laid out side by side in the ground. I suppose this was done to prevent the men from disappearing entirely in the mud when the spring finally came and they had to step out of the door of their beloved home.

A few steps up the walk brought us to the door which was flung open at the sound of our approach. The glorious blast of heated air that greeted us was no warmer than the salutations exchanged between Dave and his brother Sam. They laughed and clapped each other on the back as long lost brothers are apt to do, in spite of the fact they had seen each other just a few days previous. I was hustled inside and loudly introduced to each of the other men. I promptly forgot their names, and later found that the names were not needed anyway, as each remark or joke made during the rest of the evening by anyone seemed to be directed simultaneously to everyone present. There was no need to address any specific person. Any comment brought a prompt and deafening reply as everyone in the room tried to respond or laugh at once. Inside the shebang there were snug cots lashed together from pine branches and laced with boughs and rope with bedrolls placed on top. A table made from the remnants of a cracker crate and rough wooden stools stood before a small fireplace. The hearth had been erected from river rocks mortared with mud, and topped with one more barn plank that served as a mantel. The mantel displayed smoking pipes of various manufacture, from corncob to carved burl, tobacco pouches, and some candles. The yellow candles sputtered wax onto the plank as they burned, covering it with tiny dots of wax that mimicked the appearance of the light snowfall on the ground outside. Potatoes had been packed with mud and, along with wrapped ears of corn, were buried and roasting in the ashes in the front of the fireplace. A bright fire burned hotly within the opening, and it drew us toward the mantel while it filled the room with blissful heat.

On the table before us was a huge canvassed ham that must have been obtained at great cost or through great guile, some tinned oysters, and 2 loaves of white bread. This was a special treat as I had not seen anything made from flour for two months. Dave and I uncovered the kraut and the rye and the celebration begin. A toast was poured into tin cups and delivered in honor of the day, and then another to the Confederacy, but before the tributes got out of hand it was decided that the ham was of greater importance. All further speeches were cancelled at the appearance of the carving knife. I had not enjoyed a meal such as this since leaving Bowling Green 3 years earlier. We ate and drank into the evening and cared not a whit about the weather outside or what the rest of the world was doing. After we had fully satisfied our appetites, we sang some hymns and discovered that between us we never seemed to get much farther than the middle of the second verse in each one because no one could remember the words. However, the chorus of every hymn seemed to be well known and was shouted out with such enthusiasm as to make the muddled verses seem insignificant. I truly enjoyed the evening as I sat with these men who, like Dave and Sam, became my brothers for at least this one night. With the light and shadows from the fire dancing across our faces we sat in our snug retreat and not only shared our food and drink, but a little of our misery and our hopes for the end of the war. Much later in the evening, with the aid of Dave's brother and friends, we were placed back on his horse and sent in the general direction of our camp. Miraculously I awoke the next morning wrapped in my own blankets, safe and sound in my tent. It had indeed been a Merry Christmas.

As you will not receive this before the New Year begins, please accept my warmest and most sincere wishes for a New Year that will bring happiness and peace to all of us.

Yours truly,

Dutch Hoffmann Correspondence.[9]

        28-January 8, 1864, Anti-guerrilla scout of Brigadier-General William S. Smith in Middle Tennessee [see December 28, 1863-February 11, 1864, "activities of Brigadier-General William Sooy Smith's Meridian Expedition in Tennessee" below]

        28-February 11, 1864, activities of Brigadier-General William Sooy Smith's Meridian Expedition in Tennessee

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Report of WM. SOOY SMITH, Brig. Gen. Chief of Cavalry, Mil. Div. of the Mississippi concerning the Meridian Expedition, relative to activities in Tennessee, December 28, 1863 through February 11, 1864.


SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of recent cavalry operations made by the direction of Maj.-Gen. Grant, commanding the Military Division of the Mississippi....

* * * *

On the 28th day of December, 1863, I started from this City with the Second, Third, and Fourth Tennessee Cavalry Regiments, Third and Fifth Kentucky Cavalry, and Twenty-eighth Kentucky Mounted Infantry.

On the 30th, I reached Columbia, from which point I sent the Third Kentucky Cavalry down the north bank of Duck River to scour the country bordering that river on the north to the Tennessee River, and to watch that stream from the mouth of Duck River to a point opposite Fort Henry. The Fifth Kentucky Cavalry was ordered down the south bank of Duck River to clear the country to the Tennessee, and to watch that stream from the mouth of Duck River to Savannah, where this regiment was to communicate with me and receive further orders.

The object of these movements was to clear the country of the bands of guerrillas that infested it, and to watch any attempt that Forrest, who was then at Jackson, Tenn., might make to throw his force, or any portion of it, over into Middle Tennessee or Kentucky.

These regiments captured some 50 guerrillas, and among them the notorious Col. Hawkins.

The Third Kentucky Cavalry reported back at Nashville, according its instructions, and the Fifth Kentucky met my command at Waynesborough and accompanied it from that point. The Twenty-eighth Kentucky Mounted Infantry was ordered from Columbia to Pulaski, Tenn., where it reported to Gen. Crook, and was assigned to duty with the Second Cavalry Division under his command, agreeably to my instructions.

Gen. Crook sent the Fourth U. S. Cavalry as escort to a supply train, which I ordered him to send through with rations for my command, from Pulaski to Savannah. He also sent the Seventy-second Indiana Mounted Infantry through from Pulaski to Savannah to open communication with that point, and hold the ferry-boats there until the arrival of the command.

Upon reaching the Tennessee River, the whole command, consisting of the Second, Third, and Fourth Tennessee Cavalry, Fifth Kentucky Cavalry, Fourth U. S. Cavalry, and Seventy-second Indiana Mounted Infantry, was thrown across the river and moved toward Corinth, which point we reached on the 8th day of January. Forrest had moved southward into Mississippi before my command reached the Tennessee River, urged to this step by the movement of the troops of the Sixteenth Army Corps upon him.

Orders had been issued to abandon the railroad from Memphis to Corinth, and I moved my command to Collierville, where I awaited the arrival of Waring's brigade from Columbus, from which point it was ordered to move to join our other forces. Owing to bad roads and the freshest, which made the crossing of the streams extremely difficult, especially that of the Ohio River, this brigade was delayed, and only reached Collierville on Monday, the 8th day of February.

For full particular of this march, I beg leave to refer to Col. Waring's report. Much of its ammunition had been sent by boats from Columbus, and it was encumbered by a train which had to be got rid of. By great effort the whole command was prepared for the movement and put in motion on the 11th day of February.

Forrest had taken position with all his forces behind the Tallahatchie River, determined to resist our crossing. I threw McMillen's brigade of infantry, temporarily assigned to my command, rapidly toward Panola, from Memphis....

* * * *

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

WM. SOOY SMITH, Brig. Gen. Chief of Cavalry, Mil. Div. of the Mississippi.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, pp. 254-256.

        28, Expedition from Nashville to Creelsborough, Kentucky

Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee.

        28, Duel North of Memphis

Fatal Duel.- The Memphis Argus, of the 29th [December 1864] has the following:

We learn from a very reliable source, that yesterday morning (28th) a duel was fought about three miles from the city, the principals in which were gentlemen well known to our citizens as worthy gentlemen. The origin of it we cannot give. We have been put in possession of three or four reports concerning it, any of which may be true: we, therefore refrain from giving any. The fight took place on the Randolph road, three miles north of the city, and the weapons used were shot guns at twenty paces. Mr. James Simpkins and Mr. James Stutts neighbors of many years standing, after stepping off the required distance turned and fired simultaneously with fatal effect. The first named received four buckshot, the second twenty-four, causing death to ensue for both almost instantly. Both the gentlemen were looked upon by their neighbors as excellent citizens and loving husbands and kind and indulgent parents. The sad event shrouds the neighborhood of its occurrence and gloom and brings mourning to families among whom for years all has been happiness and joy. Mr. Holst of the firm Holst & Co, of this city, went out with the necessaries for their internment last evening.

Daily Picayune, January 4, 1865.


[1] Meaning unknown.

[2] This was the 27th of December, 1863. Whether or not Colonel Long or Lt. Potter had the date wrong is not known. Long's report was closer to the event than Potter's letter, thus giving greater credibility to the 28th as the date of the affair.

[3] Eli Long.

[4] See also: Boston Herald, January 8, 1864.

[5] As cited in: www.civilwarnews.com/archive/articles/highway_ballam.htm

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

[7] There is no evidence to indicate any resolution to Mrs. Hall's difficulties.

[8] All spelling is original.

[9] http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Aegean/6732/files/soldier_dutch_122863.html

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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