Friday, January 9, 2015

1.9.2015 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        9, "Shall Tennessee Submit?"

In the House of Representatives yesterday, Mr. Wisener [sic],[1] of Bedford [County], presented a series of resolutions declaring against the policy of holing a State Convention, as proposed by Gov. Harris, either for the purpose indicated in his message and announcing it inexpedient to pass any law reorganizing and arming the militia of the State. We must confess that we were not prepared to expect such broad indications towards submission, from any member of the Tennessee Legislature. But for charity sake we take it for granted Mr. Wisener has not lately paid much attention to the political events of the day, and is especially ignorant as to what has been lately transpiring in Congress. For we cannot see how any Southern man, who is at all familiarly with the history of the times, can in his capacity as the Representative of a Southern constituency, in a Southern Legislature solemnly declare it inexpedient for the people of his State to hold a convention and determine whether they will resist or submit to the Abolition rule now about to be inaugurated. This is really the question now addressing itself to the people of the Southern States. Tennessee will be untrue to herself, untrue to her proud position in the sisterhood of States, untrue to her glorious memories and great destiny, through the proper medium, at an early day, for herself to answer the question with the emphatic words: "We will resist." Such will be her answer-such is today the voice of her people. He who expects any other answer from Tennesseans does not know them, and does them egregious wrong even in the suspicion that their necks will be conveniently bent to the yoke of despotism intended by Northern fanatics for Southern men. No event of the future can be put down as more certain than that Tennessee will resist [sic], and it may also be take as a certainly that her militia will in a short time be put in proper trim for all emergencies indicated by the "signs of the times."

Nashville Daily Gazette, January 9, 1861.

        9, "Returned without a fight."

Hons. John H. Savage and S. S. Stanton, who left the city a few days since, going Kentuckywards [sic] under circumstances which smacked considerably of a duel, returned by yesterday's train, all sound and square. The authorities at Mitchellsville [sic], Tennessee...being informed of the object of the gentlemen, arrested them, and required each to give bond in the some of $10,000 [sic] to keep the peace for twelve months. We are glad that no hostile meeting occurred, and hope the friends of the parties will now interpose and include a peaceable settlement of their difficulties.

Nashville Daily Gazette, January 9, 1861.

        9, Bragg issues General Orders No. 2 relative to depredations against civilians

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 2. HDQRS. ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Winchester, January 9, 1863.

The general commanding has perceived with surprise and pain that some of the troops of this army have been engaged in the indiscriminate destruction of fences and houses, devastating a fair and fruitful country, on the productions of which salvation depends. Fields of growing wheat have been left without fences, and property, which even a rapacious enemy had respected, has been needlessly destroyed.

Such wanton acts of waste are unworthy the character of Confederate soldiers, injurious to the holy cause they defend, and are alike destructive of personal honor and military discipline.

This growing evil must be checked, and commanders and inspectors are enjoined to take all proper precautions in future to prevent such disgrace to our fair name. Inspectors will, in all cases, report to these headquarters by what troops such injuries have been inflicted. They will cause a rigid scrutiny into all such acts, and bring to punishment all offenders.

Citizens are invited to bring in their accounts for such injuries, when they audited and paid, and the amount charged against the responsible commander.

By command of Gen. Bragg:

GEORGE WM. BRENT, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. II, p. 492.

        9, Federal medical care for Confederate casualties consequent to the battle of Stones River

SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS, No. 6. HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND, Murfreesborough, Tenn., January 9, 1863.

* * * *

XIII. To insure proper care of the Confederate sick and wounded within our lines, Surgeon Avent, C. S. Army, is appointed medical director for them.

All Confederate and other surgeons employed in care of their sick in hospitals and private houses, and all citizens having Confederate sick or wounded, in either case will promptly report their location, names, number, and condition to Surgeon Avent, and will be held responsible for their care, and conformity to his orders of our military authorities. No medical men, nurses, or invalids will leave their hospitals or places without his permission, and none will be removed without written application, sanctioned by him and approved by the medical director of our army. All nurses or patients leaving without such permission will be treated as deserters, and medical officers violating these orders will be severely punished. Needful supplies will be issued on requisitions sanctioned or submitted by Surgeon Avent, and approved by authority of the medical director of this army.

Surgeon Avent will furnish, with the least possible delay, lists of the Confederate sick and wounded within our lines, and morning reports of the nurses and sick, certified to on honor, as the basis on which he makes his requisitions. He will promptly report for negligence or disobedience of orders all delinquent medical officers and others under his control.

These regulations being for the good of those whom it concerns, the general commanding trusts they will be fully and cheerfully complied with.

* * * *

By command of Maj.-Gen. Rosecrans:

HENRY STONE, Lieut. and Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. II, pp. 311-312.

        9, Editorial on Memphis shinplaster ordinance

"The Shinplaster Business;" Ald. Morgan introduced a resolution-which we published in the official report of the Council report, and which everybody should read-that gives the shinplaster scheme, which we have taken some pains to expose and show up, its quietus. It is a perfect "sockdolger."[2] [sic] It takes the question in hand squarely, and prostrates the iniquity horizontally. It declares that the shinplaster ordinance adopted some time ago, on the threat of having General Sherman "down on them, was not the expression of the convictions of the Board [of Aldermen]; that the anticipated deficiency of the revenue, pleased as a reason for its passage, had never occurred; that the military authority which had been invoked in favor of the measure, protected against its infliction; that the Mayor did not sign it, and therefore it never became a law. For these reasons be it Resolved, that the shinplaster ordinance being a violation of law, passed on the presumption of a necessity did not exist, is void; that no city officer shall put our or receive, in city payments, any such shinplasters; not lastly, will the Council ever pay for printing any such shinplasters. As we expected, the $3,000 or $4,000 worth of this stuff that has been printed, will not pay even its own printing bill. Great are the shinplasters of Memphis!

Ald. Morgan observed, that in passing the ordinance in question, Council had been influenced by threats that were based on no authority. The military authority had condemned it, the Mayor had withheld his sanction. He was with the Mayor when he received Gen. Sherman's note in condemnation of the measure, and the Mayor said he would proceed no further init. Ald. Merrill was opposed to the resolutions; he thought them extraordinary. The ordinance they speak of was either a law or not a law. If the former, the right course was to repeal it; if the latter, it was a nullity, and dead of itself. The resolutions of Ald. Morgan were elaborate, but unnecessary. He saw no reason for such long, "whereases" to express the ideas of Council on the subject, inviting public attention to its doings. He did not see whether the ordinance was a law or not, very likely it was not. But he would point out that an ordinance could not be repealed by a resolution.

Alderman Morgan, in reply, called the attention of the Board to the circumstances under which the ordinance was passes, and which has excited the objections of Gen. Sherman. He read from the Ordinance Book the clauses containing the requirements that musty be complied with before an ordinance could become operative, and stated that they had not been complied with in this case. The city charter mistakes it the duty of the Mayor to either sign an ordinance when passed by the Board, or to return it, with his reasons for not doing so. In this case the Mayor had violated the obligations laid upon him by the charter, as he had done neither the one nor the other. In such cases the ordinance was not worthy of a repeal. The resolutions were intended to let the community know that if the shinplasters should be struck off and attempted to be circulated, the act was without the sanction of the Board.

On a vote, only Aldermen Merrill, Hall, and Ogden opposed the resolutions. There could be no doubt as to the sentiments of the Board, being like those citizens of Memphis generally, opposed to the shinplaster business.

So ends the third attempt made to curse Memphis with shinplasters. The first attempt received the disapproval of the merchants of the city, by a resolution passed by the Chamber of Commerce.

Memphis Bulletin, January 9, 1863.

        9, Conditions in the Army of Tennessee in early winter retreat after the battle of Stones River, a letter from Fayette McDowell in Tullahoma to his sister, Amanda, in White County

Dear Sister:

I did not have time to write when Bob went away nor was able. The last battle was a hard one. I could hardly sit up when I got through. We were in line ten days living on cold bread and beef and without shelter. I had just been vaccinated, and the cold or something else caused my arm to swell from elbow to shoulder. I am in only tolerable health at the present. I should feel very well if we had anything to eat but our only chance is bread without any grease and beef that can climb a tree.[3] Enough to kill any man. I wish those in favor of carrying on this war had to eat a whole cow, hoofs and all, every day one each. I mean, until they are ready to quit.

I have just taken down a peck of sole leather bread. Nothing to eat with it. I have the promise of some pork to eat tomorrow. I recd. a letter from you since I commenced, dated 25th Dec. You desire to know how I spent my Christmas. Well, I spent it cooking rations for that ball which came off at Murfreesboro on the 31st Dec. ult. Of all the Christmases that ever I saw in my life this beats all. I suppose on New Year's eve [sic] I saw 5,000 dead men, about 4,000 of them Yankees. Everybody says we killed four to one; I say we killed and wounded 20 to one. I saw all the field because I was detailed the day after the fight to collect stragglers. After we got them started to run, they did not stop to shoot at us much. We gave them a tremendous whipping. Gen. Bragg took away from them in four days after the battle, but he had no occasion for doing so as the Yanks left the same night. The bad weather wore out both armies until the Gen. thought they were beaten and both sides retreated the same night. The Yanks and a few of them went into Murfreesboro, but Gen. Wheeler drove them out day before yesterday. The Yankees' army is now at Nashville, ours at Tullahoma and Shelbyville.

You need not be afraid you have made my pants too short, but if like the rest you sent they are too small in the legs. Most too little all over, but they will do if I can get in them. If not I can change them of. Do not sell them or the cloth for my coat, you can make my coat but wait until I come home or send word for it to be made. I have a good new jeans coat, very nice; it cost me 37 dollars, but the buttons cost 12 dollars of the money and will do me with military buttons and in fashion. I have a new suit at Uncle Peter's, but don't know what it will cost me nor when I will get it. I will need all if the war don't end [sic] or end me. If I don't come home in ten days, send my pants and vest, no matter about the buttons, by the first safe one passing. I don't care about coming home on the business I shall be sent on if I come, therefore shall try to get off. I am going to quit the war at my first opportunity. If I get out, I can go into some post duty or resume my old occupation. I send fifty dollars by Mr. Shugart. I can send no more. I want you to buy pork immediately.

L. L. McDowell

Diary of Amanda McDowell.

        9, "We were expecting an attack every moment as there was a large force of Rebels …"Frank M. Guernsey's letter home

Camp at Jackson, Tenn., Jan. 9th 63

Dear Fanny,

I suppose you are fully assured by this time that I am numbered with the victims of this war, as you have probably received no letter from me in a long time, but through the kindness of an overruling Providence, I am yet spared and enjoying good health.

Since you heard from me last we have been on a long and tedious expedition, one of the hardest that has been made in the west since the war began. We received orders while we were near Oxford Miss, and began our march. We marched nearly through Tenn. to within a few miles of the Kentucky line, then taking another road marched back as far as this place [Jackson, Tennessee]. We have marched every day through rain and shine camping at night without a tent to cover us and living on what we could confiscate from the enemy. It was a rough way of living, I tell you but I have passed through it and am all right I guess. Our Regmt. [sic] Marched some twenty miles alone through the enemy[']s country. We were expecting an attack every moment as there was a large force of Rebels [sic] Caverly [sic] hovering around us all the while but dare not interfere with our araignments [sic]. We were at one time on the march for forty-eight hours during which time we stoped [sic] about three hours for rest and sleep. The enemy were then about two miles from us and as often as advanced they would retreat so that we could not fight them if we wished.[4]

There is now a strong probability of our going into winter quarters and I hope we shall for we have been marched almost to death. It has been about seven weeks since we left Memphis during which time we were in camp about one week. The balance of the time we have been marching all over the country and as yet have found no fight. That appears to be what our Colonel is hunting for.

Fanny I have got a splendid horse which you may have if you will come after him. I captured him from Secesh on our march. He is a splendid riding horse and as pretty as a picture. I mean to keep him and bring him north if he can stand the hardships of camp life such as his master does. This is the third one I have had since I have been in the army. One I wore out and the other was stolen from me. This I think I shall keep until you come for him.

It has been about seven weeks since I have heard a word from you or any of my friends North. Our communication North has been entirely cut off by the Rebels in our rear. They tore up the track and burned several bridges so that trains could not run. I suppose my Mother thinks that I am captured or killed by this time as she has not heard from me in so long a time. There is a large mail for us at La Grang [sic] and our Col. has gone down to day [sic] to have it forwarded to us so that tomorrow or next day I expect we shall get some letters from home. They will probably be about a month old, but will be new to us. Fanny I would have given my old boots (the last pair I have got) if I could onley [sic] have received a letter from you once in a while.

It was the hardest part of our tramp to be deprived of our communication with our loved ones north, but we hope for better times in the future.

We are expecting marching orders again every hour or two to go to the Lord onley [sic] knows where. I have got so that I dont [sic] care much what the do with us or where they send us. I go like a machine when I am set in motion, but Fanny it is getting late and I must close for this time. I shall write to you again in a day oar two if we stay here that length of time. Please give my regards to all you people and accept much love for yourself.

Yours affectionately,

Frank M. G.

Guernsey Collection.

        9, Pollution prevention in Breckenridge's Division, excerpt from Special Order No. 60

Head Quarters Breckenridge's Div.

Tullahoma, January 9th 1863

Special Order No. 60

I. Brigade Commanders will take immediate steps to prevent the pollution of the stream of water near which the Division is camped. No slaughter houses or butcher pens will be allowed to be erected near it. All offal of any kind whatever must be burned or buried, and must not be thrown into the stream.

It will be the duty of the inspector Genl of Division and Brigade to report promptly to these Head Quarters the violation of any part of the above order.

*  *  *  *  *

By command of Maj Genl Breckinridge.

William B. Bate Collection

        9, Report on the federal and rebel wounded at Murfreesboro

From the Battle-field of Murfreesboro', or Stone's River.

A gentleman connected with our office on last Tuesday visited the field of the late bloody battle of Murfreesboro', or Stone's River, as we learn it will be designated in the report of General Rosecrans, and returned to the city on Wednesday….

Murfreesboro is one vast hospital, nearly every house having more or less wounded in it, the farm-houses for miles along the various roads are also used for the same purpose. The town was not harmed during the fight, except V. D. Cowan's residence which was burned by the rebels, being filled with their stores. Nearly all the citizens of the town had left, and fled South, or to what they deem safer retreats in the country. Every residence almost has been surrendered to the unrelenting Genius of War, who spares nothing in his relentless career. The federal and rebel wounded are placed promiscuously together and doubtless it would be not only curious, but instructive to listen to the conversations of the soldiers who in an evil hour, were persuaded to attempt the destruction of this Government. May a kind Providence quickly inspire them with a better feeling. The miserably little village of Lavergne, between here and Murfreesboro, which lately contained some thirty dwellings has suffered the righteous penalty of its treason, and villainy, and now is a heap of smouldering ashes.

Nashville Daily Union, January 9, 1863.

        ca. 9-11, Federal scouts in Gallatin environs

No circumstantial reports filed.

GALLATIN, TENN., January 11, 1863.


My scouts have returned from up country, and report Morgan's men there, gathering horses, hogs, sheep, &c. I also learn from reliable source that they are still running Allinson's mill, gathering up and grinding all the wheat in the country. I think the mill should be disabled or destroyed. Shall I send a brigade and have it done?

SPEED S. FRY, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, p. II, p. 319.

        9, Petition to Military Governor Andrew Johnson seeking recompense as a result of Confederate raid in Franklin [see also June 4, 1863, "Confederates rob stores in Franklin and July 14,1863 Merchants in Franklin seek recompense for losses sustained during Confederate raid on Franklin" above]

[Franklin] January 9, 1864

To his Excellency Andrew Johnson

Governor of the State of Tennessee

Sir [sic]

Upon testimony herewith submited [sic] and the current rumor of the country the undersigned H.C. Sinclair and A. W. Moss composing the firm of Sinclair and Moss would respectfully represent to your

Excellency that on the 4th day of June A.D. 1863 a body of men composed of from three to five hundred in number banded together as rebel soldiers commanded by Forrest, Starnes &c entered the town of Franklin Tennessee and robbed the undersigned of Eight thousand dollars worth of Goods, Wares, Merchandise, etc. That is to say They robbed Sinclair & Moss of Five thousand dollars worth and H.C. Sinclair (upon his statement) of Three thousand dollars worth and furthermore From the caracter [sic] of the goods thus taken and the wanton manner in which the foul deed was perpetrated together with the malishious [sic] remarks that were made by officers and privates we are force to the conclusion that the leading object of the Banditti was to injure and plunder union citizens whenever found[.]

The goods taken were composed principly [sic] of silk Dress goods, Boys & Childrens [sic] Readymade [sic] Clothing, Calicos, Delanos[5], Fingis and a general assortment of Dress Trimmings, Muslins Linins, Etc [sic] that were unfit for soldiering entirely[.] They took a lot of Readymade Clothing that had been again and again picked over for goods suitable for Army purposes which doubtless many of the plunderers knew as many of them were well acquainted with us and the caracter [sic] of the goods we had. Our glass doors and shoe case and lites [sic] in the framework of the Post office were broken up and our Desk wantonly punched and split with their guns[.]

They plundered the stores of the most prominant [sic] union men and did not plunder those belonging to men less odious on account of their loyalty to the Government of the united states [sic][.] They were in town long enough to acertain [sic] the political Status of every Merchant then doing business here if they had been strangers but as many of them were residents of the county they doubtless knew without inquiry[.] Thus the avowed enemies of the Government of the United States have robbed us of our own heard [sic] earnings and just rights and malishously [sic] distryed [sic] them or appropriated them to the use of their Relatives Friends and Rebel sympathizers because we were its Friends [sic] [.]

Furthermore your petitioners would represent to your Excellency That but for the existing rebellion in which these plunderers were engaged against the Government of the united States [sic] and the Government of the state of Tennessee as an integral part therof [sic] That we could collect remuneration of the depredators [sic] themselves by virtue of the Laws of the state of Tennessee and moreover By the Laws of the state of Tennessee your petitioners could convict several of the friends and sympathisers [sic] of this Rabble Bandit as Particeps criminis [sic] in said plundering as they were the recipients of our goods known to be thus obtained in defiance of the Laws of the state of Tennessee.

But we are estopped by the extraordinary troubles upon the country superinduced [sic] by the Rebellion against the Government of the united states [sic] and thisfar [sic] successful defiance of the Laws of the State of Tennessee in which these plunderers were engaged and by which they are being shielded from the penalties due Burglers [sic] & Thieves under the laws of the state of Tennessee[.]

Your petitioners are Bonafide [sic] citizens of the united states [sic] and have demeaned ourselves as much for which we have been maltreated[.] We think we come fully within the purview of your Excellencies Proclamation of May the 9th 1862[.] We therfore [sic] earnestly petition your Excellency to enforce said proclamation in our behalf to the end that such an amount be collected as your Excellency may think that we are intiltled [sic] to from our own Statements, and Statements by others herewith submitted and cause the same to be paid to us that we may pay the Same to our creditors who had intrusted the goods to our hands for which we are still bound morally and legally and would have been paid long ago but for the losses brought upon us by the Rebellion For which your Excellencies [sic] consideration and kindness will ever be acknowledged.

State of Tennessee/Williamson County }Personally appear before me Alexlr. Witherspoon, Provost Marshall of Franklin Tennessee A W Moss [sic] who affirms and H C Sinclair who makes oath that the Statements made in the foregoing petition are true to best of their knowledge and belief.

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, pp. 551-553.

        9, On Brownlow'sKnoxville Whig for January 9, 1864

East Tennessee

We have received Parson Brownlow's Knoxville Whig for January 9. It is published in Knoxville and republished in Cincinnati. The proprietor expected to issue weekly. He declines to take Tennessee money for subscriptions, according to his original intentions, as he left Knoxville when it was besieged, not because he was afraid, but because he did not like being confined in a "cold, lousy, filthy prison of the South," live on their diet, or hang on one of their trees. He is heavy in his denunciation of rebel ladies in Nashville, and calls for banishment. He says that the rebels at the beginning of the rebellion, stated they were about to develop the resources of the South, and he now sees them walking out with patches on their knees, and a development of visible shirt tail.

While on his way from Cincinnati he met from three to five thousand men, women and children, some on foot, some in wagons and carts, and others on packed mules and horses, were pressing through the deep gorges of the mountains, making their escape through every possible gap from murderous assaults, revolting insults, and thieving Arabs under Longstreet's command. No adequate idea of the mass of Union refugees fleeing from their more than savage pursuers to places of safety in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana, can be formed unless the sight could have been seen. Thousands of panic stricken Unionists, simultaneously deserted their homes, in the midst of indiscriminate robberies, insult and outrage, and more than savage barbarities. All this distracted multitude, from the whole of thirty-two counties, on the high-ways and by-ways, hiding now in sloughs, and now in the river hills, and in the woods, in the rear of plantations; some famishing for provisions, others suffering from cold, all dreading the approach of the infuriated, but thieving, murderous cavalry of a rebel army.—[Memphis Bulletin.

[Little Rock] Unconditional Union, February 19, 1864.[6]

        9, Exaggerated Reports of the Defeat and Retreat of Hood


We have Montgomery papers of December 28th, but they contain nothing from the seat of war in Middle Tennessee. The Appeal says reports from our friends are anxiously looked for, and a well-grounded hope is entertained that the intelligence already published, taken from Northern sources, announcing the defeat and retreat of Gen. Hood, are exaggerated, as is usual with the Yankee press. The latest Southern reports from the army are to the 14th.

The Daily Express, (Petersburg, VA) January 9, 1865. [7]


[1] William H. Wisener (1812-?) served in the Tennessee House of Representatives in the 27th, 29th, 30th and 33rd General Assemblies, 1847-49, 1851-55, 1859-61, where he represented Bedford County. He was a staunch Unionist and he served in the Senate in the 34th, or Reconstruction, and 35th General Assemblies. He was a presidential elector on the Union Party ticket in 1864, supporting the election of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. He was defeated for the U. S. Senate in the 34th (Reconstruction) General Assembly; he was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor on the Republican ticket in 1870 and later unsuccessful as Republican candidate of Congress in 1874. The date of his death place of burial is not known. See: Biographical Directory of the Tennessee General Assembly, Vol. I, 1796-1861(Nashville, Tennessee Historical Commission, 1975), pp. 813-814.

[2] Slang, meaning something decisive, as a heavy blow or coup de grace.

[3] Perhaps a joke or an allusion to opossum or raccoon.

[4] These were probably part of Forrest's expeditionary force into West Tennessee. As such their mission would have been to monitor Union troop movements, not to engage them.

[5] According to the editors of The Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 553, fn. 2, "A corruption of delaine, a lightweight dress wool, and fingrim, a course serge. Webster's Third International; Stephen S. Marks, ed., Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles (NY 1959), 221.

[6] As cited in:

[7] TSL&A, 19th CN.

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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