Monday, February 16, 2015

2.16.2015 Tennessee Civil War Notes

16, "Nashville was a panic stricken city. The Union men alone seemed to have their wits about them." An entry from Dr. John Berrien Lindsley

Sunday – Johnston's army passing by the University from 10 A.M. until after dark – camped out near Mill Creek. Light of campfires very bright at night. The army was in rapid retreat – the men disliked bitterly giving up Nashville without a struggle. The Southern army however was too small to make a stand against the overwhelmingly superior numbers of Union troops. About 12 M. a doctor in uniform rode up & gave me to read an order addressed to all the Surgeons of hospitals in Nashville – to wit: imperative directions to assemble all the men who were able to walk, place them under charge of a Surgeon or Sargeant [sic], with orders to report at the camp o­n the Murfreesboro pike. This order was executed and by 2 P.M., we had but little more than one hundred. (In the forenoon Capt. Cottles had reported to me that his encampment for convalescents at the fair grounds was ready; and had carried off with him at least 200 men; getting a promise from me to send them dinner. I went out to the fair grounds with the Capt. on the way heard of the fall of Fort Donelson.) About 3 P.M. after dining all my men and starting off the last to the camp, went to work getting dinner for the men who went to the Fair Grounds in the forenoon – while doing so an officer came with an urgent request from the men not to forget my promise. Gartlan pressed a wagon & took out two loads to them. He kept the wagon for getting commissary stores – it turned out to be Stokes of Triune –4 P.M. Buildings now looked vacated – so all hands were set to cleaning up the buildings for the reception of the wounded from Fort Donelson who might arrive at any moment. Drs. Peake & Hober, with Saunders & ten or 12 men and boys, pretty well fixed up the lower floor of Stone College, with bedsteads &c. purchased from the Faculty by permission of Sehon given the Friday previous. They were kept hard at it until 2 A.M. of Monday; then until daylight doing same for barracks. During all Sunday from about 10 A.M., when the news of the fall of Fort Donelson reached here, the wildest excitement prevailed in the city. Very many persons left the city in vehicles – many on the cars – the Gov. & Legislature decamped

Nashville was a panic stricken city. The Union men alone seemed to have their wits about them. About 9 P.M., with Stokes wagon & six of my patients as guards went to the commissary; got bacon & six sacks of coffee. Made a second trip after midnight: found the stores closed except to the moving army.In all my Commissariat affairs Lieut. John King McCall was very kind and useful to me.

Dr. John Berrien Lindsley's Journal, February 16, 1862, TSLA, ed. Kathy Lauder

        16, Fall of Fort Donelson

Because the fall of Fort Donelson falls into the category of a large battle it will not be covered here in any great documentary detail. There are secondary works enough to provide analysis and narration for this event, and to do so here would not only be presumptuous and would add but little to understanding the event.

However, the following letter from Jefferson C. Davis, apparently to General A.S. Johnston, seems to find the Confederate President trying to distance himself from the defeat at Fort Donelson and the occupation of Nashville.

RICHMOND, VA., March 12, 1862.


MY DEAR GEN.:...I avail myself to write you an unofficial letter. We have suffered great anxiety because of recent events in Kentucky and Tennessee, and I have been not a little disturbed by the repetition of reflection upon yourself. I expected you to have made a full report of events precedent and consequent to the fall of Fort Donelson.

* * * *

In the mean time...You have been held responsible for the fall of Donelson and the capture of Nashville. 'Tis charged that no effort made to save the stores at Nashville and that the panic of the people was caused by the army. Such representations, with the sad foreboding naturally belonging to them, have been painful to me and injurious to us both; but, worse than this, they have undermined public confidence and damaged our cause.

A full development of the truth is necessary for future success. I respect the generosity which has kept you silent, but would impress upon you that the subject is not personal but public in its nature; that you I might be content to suffer, but neither of us can willingly permit detriment to the country.

As soon as circumstances will permit it is my purpose to visit the field of your present operations; not that I should expect to give you any aid in the discharge of your duties as a commander, but with the hope that my position would enable me to effect something in bringing men to your standard.

With a sufficient force, the audacity which the enemy exhibits would no doubt give you the opportunity to cut some of his lines of communication, to break up his plan of campaign, and, defeating some of his columns, to drive him from the soil as well of Tennessee as of Kentucky. We are deficient in arms, wanting in discipline, and inferior in numbers. Private arms must supply the first want; time and the presence of an enemy, with diligence on the part commanders, will remove the second, and public confidence will overcome the third. Gen. Bragg brings you disciplined troops. I suppose the Tennessee or Mississippi River will be the object of the enemy's next campaign, and I trust you will be able to concentrate a force which will defeat either attempt.

The fleet which you will soon have on the Mississippi River, if the enemy's gunboats ascend the Tennessee, may enable you to strike an effective blow at Cairo; but to one so well informed and vigilant I will not assume to offer suggestions as to when and how the ends you seek may be obtained.

With the confidence and regard of many years, I am, very truly, your friend,


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 258.

        16, Burning of railroad bridge over the Cumberland River by Confederate at Clarksville

A.H. Foote, Flag Officer of Naval Forces, reported on February 20:

The rebels have retreated to Nashville, having set fire, against the remonstrance of the citizens, to the splendid railroad bridge across the Cumberland river.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 644.

        16, Destruction of Tennessee Ironworks on the Cumberland River by U. S. S. St. Louis

No circumstantial reports filed.[1]

        16, Report of the ad hoc Committee of the General Assembly to ascertain the wishes of Governor Harris relative to the advance of Federal forces and changing the venue of the state Confederate government

It was the intention of the Governor to convene the Genl. Assembly in the City of Memphis on the 20th instant. When on motion the House adjourned to meet upon the call of the Governor.

House Journal, p.p. 422-423.[2]

        16, Governor Harris' proclamation to the members of the General Assembly of Tennessee relative to the advance of Federal forces and changing venue of state Confederate government

EXECUTIVE DEPARATMENT, Nashville, Tenn., February 16, 1862

The Members of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee will assemble at Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday next, the 20th instant, for the dispatch and transaction of such business as may be submitted to them.

House Journal, p. 423.[3]

        16, Annie M. Sehon's letter to her sister, relative to the invasion of Nashville

Nashville Feb 16th/62

My own precious sister,

I have but a few moments to write, and as this may be the last opportunity I will ever have to write to you I will tell you of our wretched situation. You need not expect to hear again from me as I suppose in a few hours we will be entirely cut off from all communication with our beloved, oppressed & almost crushed South. We are in hourly expectation of hearing the approach of the Northern Army. Mr. Sehon, Capt Wright and all our Government officers fly to night for their lives with Gen Johnston's immense army which is here from Bowling Green and is retreating as fast as possible Southward. O my sister I cannot tell you how my heart is almost breaking to part from my precious Husband who is far more than life to me. Without him I would pray, pray for death, pray that God would take me from this prison world to my husband in Heaven for I know he will be there if he falls, he is so good so pure so noble. But oh God defend us spare us and avert the calamities we so much dread. Mr. Sehon will take this with him & mail it. I dare not say where they are going to, but it is where I can follow him and no power on earth could keep me from going to night with my darling husband but the fact that he must fly for his life on horseback and I being with him would retard his progress. I might be the means of his being taken. We received the news this morning and I expected to be able to go with him until a few hours ago when Mr. Sehon told me he would have to go on horseback. My dear sister I hope that I am not asking too much of you when I make this request. Keep posted as to the whereabouts of Gen Johnston's Army and if anything

should happen to Mr. Sehon and you can hear of it, do all in your power for him. I will be cut off from all communication from him and I dread that I may be allowed to pass to him. If you will do this my dear sister I can never repay you for your kindness, will thank you Bettie to my dying hour and bless you for any kindness to my precious darling. O God to think of our situation! But I still hope for & trust in God and I believe he will animate our brave defenders with a superhuman power and we will yet drive from our soil the hated invaders whose tread [illegible] profanation, but this is an hour to try men's souls--Fort Donelson has been taken by the enemy. Frank was there and covered himself with honor but his bravery cost him a wound; he was wounded in the leg slightly--a flesh wound only, you must not be uneasy. We can hear nothing from our forces there but I suppose he is a prisoner. You must not be unhappy about him. His wound is slight, only a flesh wound. I wish I had time to tell you of his noble conduct but I can not now. I pray I may soon be able to follow my husband when I can write you fully. Will is at Cumberland Gap, was not with Gen Zollicoffer. I will try dear Bettie to take care of all the little things we value so much, the portraits your bonnet box with its contents and those things for which no money could repay us. Goodbye my darling sister, probably the last goodbye but may God protect us and if we never meet on earth may we meet at last in Heaven where all is happiness, strife & turmoil never come, no breaking bleeding hearts are there. May God bless you. Your husband and your precious little children is the prayers of your loving sister

Annie M. Sehon

Kimberly Family, Correspondence. [4]

        16, "[T]hey have chosen out one hundred men out of our regiment to go to night up to the [T]ennessee River and cut down the bridges on the railroad I feel in hopes that the tide of war will change." Letter of Captain Peter March, 47th Tennessee Infantry, to Sousan [sic] [Marchant][5]

Camp Trenton

Feb 16/62

Dear Sousan, Received your welcome letter on this evening an was glad to hear from you that you were all tolerable well an I am glad to inform you that I well, this evening I suppose you home heard of our defeat at fort henry [sic] it was true but our loss was trifling they have bin [sic] fighting of at fort donelson [sic] for four days yesterday our boys went out of the fort and fought them on the on the open field whipt [sic] them and drove them at the pointe [sic] of the bayonet the yankeys [sic] gave way and retreated beyond their encampment we have not got the full details of the fight but I suppose it was terrific the loss on both sides was grate we took over one thousand prisoners and two batteries and a large amount of small arms tents and other military stores I regard it as a test battle it is thought that they have given it up they now expect that they will come down the railroad to Memphis they have chosen out one hundred men out of our regiment to go to night up to the Tennessee river and cut down the bridges on the railroad I feel in hopes that the tide of war will change I think their will be some hard fighting this spring but i [sic] hope it not last longer our troops at fort donelson [sic] is said to be in high spirits and I can perceive that our boys here is getting in the tune to fight the report of fort henry [sic] is still dishartning [sic] them save to stimulate them to a willingness to go eny whare [sic] I do not think we will leave here for some time though we will be at our countrys [sic] call theres [sic] a consderabele [sic] stir now with the boys geting [sic] ready to go when the train comes they expect it in an hour I would be willing to go with them if it was nessery [sic] but there was enuf that was willing to go I do not supose [sic] they will be gone more than two days you must right as soon as you can very affectionately yours

P Marchant

Letters of Captain Peter Marchant, 4th Tennessee Infantry

        16, Wealthy citizens aid volunteer families

Soldiers' Families—Our wealthy citizens are determined that the families of soldiers now in the war from our city, and of those who may go, shall be adequately provided with the necessaries of life. We conversed yesterday morning with an influential gentleman of this city, who went out with a subscription book on Friday and obtained eleven thousand dollars for this object. Last evening the fund amounted to fifteen thousand dollars. It is intended to create a fund of fifty thousand dollars, which will be dispensed by a committee among the families of soldiers requiring assistance in their husbands' absence. The wealthy people of the city are called upon, individually, to contribute to this object. Many of them are so situated that they cannot themselves to into camp; they must help to support the families of those who shed their blood to save their country and the property of the rich man from the invader. Women and children must not want while their husbands and fathers are sharing the dangers and fatigues of war. Let those who have the means contribute, and with no niggard hand, to this fund.

Memphis Daily Appeal, February 16, 1862.

        16, Widows , orphans and the Home for the Homeless in Memphis

Soldiers' Widows and Orphans.—As the war progresses, and especially that portion of it in which our own Memphis people are engaged, there will be widows and orphans left without a protector. Such will be a sacred legacy left by their heroic sires for a grateful people, who treasure the memory of the brave, to support, to shelter from want, to educate, and to set them out in life under circumstances worthy of the honored names of the patriotic dead. We learn with pleasure that the ladies of the Home for the Homeless at their late meeting adopted a resolution that their institution would take charge of the widows and orphans of slain soldiers, provide them with a comfortable home, with education, and start the young persons in life in a way to become prosperous citizens. To do this the wealthy, for whom the patriotic soldier is fighting, must provide this valuable institution with the means of carrying out their benevolent intentions. We know of no better way than that proposed by the ladies of making provision for the destitute widows and orphans, left a legacy to a grateful country. Shall not steps be taken to provide the necessary funds?

Memphis Daily Appeal, February 16, 1862.

        16, A method for providing for soldiers' families in Memphis

The Way to Provide for the Families of Our Soldiers.

Editors Appeal:; I notice that subscriptions are on foot to raise a fund of $50,000 or $60,000, to support the families of such men as will shoulder the musket and go into active service when they feel certain that their families will not be left to want and privation. The object of this subscription is to afford a permanent, not a temporary support for those dependent upon husbands, fathers and brothers whom this war may have called to the field; and looking to the expenditure of the money voted by the county court, it is evident that the $50,000 or $60,000 sought to be raised, will last only about one year, if disbursed as the county found has been disbursed. As our enlistment are all now for the war or for two years, the relief should continue for that period; and, in order to render it thus permanent, I propose to be one of a hundred gentlemen who will obligate themselves to pay each $50, monthly, for the two years or for the war, for the use of the families of such volunteers as need assistance. The money to be employed in purchasing provisions by the wholesale and distributing them to the needy, through the instrumentality of a free market as has been done in New Orleans. Let the market be regulated by a directory who shall inquire into the necessities of each applicant, and let the directory issue weekly tickets for the provisions necessary for their support. Food is the important item, for work is so abundant here, that any family, if in health, can get clothing by work. The county court might also make a subscription for the same purpose; and in this way a fund of from $5,000 to $10,000 per month might be raised, and our gallant soldiers feel at ease about the welfare of those whom they have left behind them.

Memphis Daily Appeal, February 16, 1862.

               16, "Nashville was a panic stricken city.  The Union men alone seemed to have their wits about them." An entry from Dr. John Berrien Lindsley

Sunday – Johnston's army passing by the University from 10 A.M. until after dark – camped out near Mill Creek.  Light of campfires very bright at night.  The army was in rapid retreat – the men disliked bitterly giving up Nashville without a struggle.  The Southern army however was too small to make a stand against the overwhelmingly superior numbers of Union  troops.   About 12 M. a doctor in uniform rode up & gave me to read an order addressed to all the Surgeons of hospitals in Nashville – to wit:  imperative directions to assemble all the men who were able to walk, place them under charge of a Surgeon or Sargeant [sic], with orders to report at the camp on the Murfreesboro pike. This order was executed and by 2 P.M., we had but little more than one hundred.  (In the forenoon Capt. Cottles had reported to me that his encampment for convalescents at the fair grounds was ready; and had carried off with him at least 200 men; getting a promise from me to send them dinner.  I went out to the fair grounds with the Capt.  On the way heard of the fall of Fort Donelson..)  About 3 P.M. after dining all my men and starting off the last to the camp, went to work getting dinner for the men who went to the Fair Grounds in the forenoon – while doing so an officer came with an urgent request from the men not to forget my promise.  Gartlan pressed a wagon & took out two loads to them.  He kept the wagon for getting commissary stores – it turned out to be Stokes of Triune –4 P.M.  Buildings now looked vacated – so all hands were set to cleaning up the buildings for the reception of the wounded from Fort Donelson who might arrive at any moment.  Drs. Peake & Hober, with Saunders & ten or 12 men and boys, pretty well fixed up the lower floor of Stone College, with bedsteads &c. purchased from the Faculty by permission of Sehon given the Friday previous.  They were kept hard at it until 2 A.M. of Monday; then until daylight doing same for barracks.  During all Sunday from about 10 A.M., when the news of the fall of Fort Donelson reached here, the wildest excitement prevailed in the city.  Very many persons left the city in vehicles – many on the cars – the Gov. & Legislature decamped

Nashville was a panic stricken city.  The Union men alone seemed to have their wits about them. About 9 P.M., with Stokes wagon & six of my patients as guards went to the commissary; got bacon & six sacks of coffee.  Made a second trip after midnight: found the stores closed except to the moving army.In all my Commissariat affairs Lieut. John King McCall was very kind and useful to me.

Dr. John Berrien Lindsley's Journal, February 16, 1862, TSLA, ed. Kathy Lauder

        16-25, the "Great Panic" in Nashville, evacuation by Confederates and occupation by Union forces

Governor Isham G. Harris ordered Colonel Henry Claiborne of the 88th Tennessee Infantry: [a.k.a. Nashville Home Guards]:

"You will call out the entire force under your command and apply to the military storekeeper at the capitol for arms. When armed, call upon the ordinance [sic] officer at Nashville for ammunition and accouterments, and hold your command subject to the orders of General Johnston.

Impress upon your soldiery that the Revolution of '76 was won by the Tennesseans [sic] rifle, and that we fight in defense of our homes and all that we hold dear." [6]

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 887.

PADUCAH, February 21, 1862.


From information gleaned in Clarksville we believe the panic in Nashville is very great, and that the City will be surrendered without a fight if a force proceeds at once against it. Gen. Johnston is reported to be gathering his scattered forces at Columbia.


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, pp. 648-649.

Perhaps the best narrative on the activities during the Confederate evacuation of Nashville is the report of Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd, C. S. Army:

KNOXVILLE, TENN., March 22, 1862.


* * * *

I arrived at Nashville on a steamboat, together with a portion of the command rescued from Fort Donelson, consisting of parts if the various regiments from Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee, at 7 o'clock on the morning of the 17th of February. Immediately on coming within view of the landing at the City I beheld a sight which is worthy of notice. The rabble on the wharf were in possession of boats loaded with Government bacon, and were pitching it from these boats to the shore, and carrying what did not fall into the water by hand and carts away to various places in the City. The persons engaged in this reprehensible conduct avowed that the meat had been given to them by the City council. As soon as practicable I reported to Gen. Johnston for duty, and on the same day I was placed in command of the City, and immediately took steps to arrest the panic that pervaded all classes and to restore order and quiet. One regiment, the First Missouri, Lieut.-Col. Rich, together with a portion of Col. Forrest's and Capt. Morgan's cavalry, were added to my command, and these were principally occupied in guarding public warehouses and the streets of the City. The only other force which I could use for the purposes above mentioned were the fragments of regiments that I had brought with me, and all of which were well-nigh totally exhausted from the exertions and fatigues to which they had been subjected on the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th days of February.

I immediately stopped the indiscriminate distribution of public stores by placing guards over them, and, having thus secured them from the gaps of the populace, I commenced the work of saving the stores that were in the City. Day and night the work was continued, being only temporarily stopped at times for the purpose of feeding the teams that were at work transporting articles of Government property from the wharves and store-houses to the railroad depot. My men worked incessantly with commendable perseverance and energy under my immediate supervision. Owing to the exhausted condition of the men thus engaged, it became absolutely necessary to force the able-bodied men who were strolling about the City unoccupied to assist in the labor before me....During the interval between the morning of the 17th and the evening of the 20th of February trains were loaded and dispatched as fact as they arrived. Much more could have been saved had there been more system and regularity in the disposition of the transportation by rail. Several trains were occupied in carrying off sick and wounded soldiers. The weather was exceedingly inclement during the entire time occupied as above mentioned, and there was an excessively heavy rain on the 19th of February.

As the moment for destroying the bridges had been left to my discretion up to a certain period, I allowed them to stand until a large amount of transportation, a large number of cattle, and some troops had been brought from the north side of the river. At 10 o'clock on the evening of the 19th the destruction of the suspension bridge was commenced; the wood work was burned and the cables on the south side were cut. At 3 o'clock on the morning of the 20th the railroad bridge was destroyed....

During the period embraced by this report Col. Forrest and Capt. Morgan, with their cavalry, rendered signal and efficient service in dispersing the mobs which gathered in the vicinity of the warehouses containing Government property, and which often had to be scattered at the point of the saber. I had succeeded in collecting a large amount of stores of various kinds at the depot, but as I had control of the transportation by rail, and hence obliged to await the action of others, much that would have been valuable to the Government was necessarily left at the depot. Among the articles saved were all the cannon, caisson, and battery wagons of which we had any knowledge.

At 4 o'clock p. m. on the 20th February I started with my staff for Murfreesborough, which point I reached on the morning of the 21st, where I reported to Gen. Johnston in person.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN B. FLOYD, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, pp. 427-429.

Rejoice with me dear grandma! The glorious Star-spangled Banner of the United States is again floating above us! O, how we have hoped for, longed for, prayed for this joyous day! I am wild, crazed almost, with delight. I am still fearful that I shall awake, and find our deliverance, our freedom, is all a dream. I cannot believe that it is a positive fact, it has come upon us so unexpectedly, this successful move of the Union army. Grandma, I cannot write connectedly at all....So great is my ecstasy, I cannot sit still-I cannot keep my eyes on the paper-indeed, I cannot do anything but sing, whistle, or hum 'Yankee Doodle,' 'Hail Columbia,' 'The Star Spangled Banner,' and feast my eyes on those victorious colors.

....The morning that Fort Donelson surrendered, there seemed to be such an intense feeling of bitterness here against the Union men! The papers (how little did they imagine that that [sic] would be their last issue!) came out on that Sunday morning with maledictions and threats the most inhuman against them, saying that if such a fiendish villain remained in our midst, he must and should be dealt with instantly as a traitor of the deepest dye.

We have had so much to bear since I wrote you! My father and brother have been taunted, sneered and hissed at, threatened by everyone, until endurance was becoming impossible. But nothing [sic] (I am so [sic] proud to say it, and thank God for it), nothing could make them play the hypocrite. They believed the Federal cause was just and right, and they would, in spite of our prayers and tears, express their opinion openly, and denounce secession boldly. We have been warned since Zollicoffer's death, that there was imminent danger here for them; and the hatred towards Union men was becoming so intense that both ma [sic] and I have been in an agony of suspense.

For my idolized brother I have felt more keenly than for than anyone else....Being drafted, he procured a substitute; and though displaying so much moral courage, he has been hissed at as a coward ever since, until he would vow to escape and join the Federal army, and several times endeavored to do so; but pa, [sic] discovering his plans, prevented him from it....The cloud was lowering over us, growing darker and darker day by day, and I thought the silver lining never would appear; but it is here! [sic]....

Can you wonder that, in the state of feeling I was in that Sunday morning, dear grandma [sic], when Tom knocked at the door, and called out to me that Fort Donelson was surrendered and the Federal army would soon be in Nashville, I became perfectly frantic with joy?

I ran screaming over the house, knocking down chairs and tables, clapping my hands, and shouting for the 'Union' until the children were terrified, and ma and pa thought I was delirious! I rushed to the parlor and thundered 'Yankee Doodle' on the piano in such a manner as I had never done before. I caught little Johnny up in my army, and held him over the porch railing upstairs until he hurrahed for the Star-Spangled Banner, Seward, Lincoln, and McClellan! The little fellow though his sister was going to kill him, she looked so wild, and would not come near me again for several days.

Just in midst of these rejoicings, intelligence came that Johnston's army from Bowling Green had evacuated the place, and was even then passing on the turnpike to Nashville. Could it be possible? Yes, indeed! There they were retreating most valiantly. Grandma, you never saw such a frightened set of men! They could not get over the river fast enough! I never bade the Southern army 'God-speed' but that once, and then I did it with my whole heart. May their present advance be as successful even to the Gulf of Mexico itself.

If you could have seen Breckinridge! the meanest, the most downfallen looking specimen of humanity imaginable. The army did not stop in Nashville one day [sic], but went on as swiftly as possible. The citizens here were mortified and exasperated to the quick by this surrender. Floyd remained in Nashville a few days after his brave [sic] escape from Fort Donelson. After the army had gone, and the city had sent commissioners to surrender, he had both bridges destroyed, though he could give no reason for it, and though it was against the prayers and protestations of the citizens. He is a wicked wretch. Is it wrong to wish that he may soon meet the fate he deserves?

It was not a week until after [Ft.] Donelson's fall that the Federals came in. We, whose all [sic] depended upon their speedy arrival, had begun to think that they were not coming, after all, and our [sic] freedom was not yet at hand; but on a Sunday afternoon, my brother came in, the picture of happiness, with the intelligence that Buell would be here in a few days; that he had ridden up and met his advanced guard; and that now at last we could rejoice. Buell came in at night. The troops were in perfect discipline, and completely amazed the poor duped people here by their orderly behavior. For the people believed that the soldiers would not stop till they had murdered the women and eaten the children [sic]; but when it was seen that they took nothing without pay, the people were rejoiced to sell [sic], for money of any kind has long been a marvelous sight here.

But, O, grandma, I have not told you what did me [sic] more good than anything else-the panic [sic] here on the 16th [of February]. Away flew the citizens without stopping for anything! The brave city regiments [i.e., home guards] who on the 15th took their stand on the square with Andrew Ewing at their head, and vowed to die there, fighting even against myriads of the 'barbarians,' should they ever reach Nashville, heard at twelve o'clock on the 16th of the surrender of Donelson, and at eight o'clock in the evening of that same day, not one of the gallant determined braves was to be found within miles of Nashville. Didn't I clap my hands and shriek for joy when it was told on Monday that not one editor remained in our city! that their wicked threats had been published for the last time here?

This town is almost deserted, so many families have left their homes, and fled, panic-stricken, away. It is so distressing to think of the sufferings they have brought upon themselves so needlessly. The Federals have interfered with no one whatever, and have behaved much better than the rebel army. The Governor and Legislature left the very day Donelson surrendered. May they never return!

Grandma, you will think me a heartless girl to write thus, and I know it is wrong, but you would excuse me if you knew what we had to contend with. I speak the truth when I say that, notwithstanding our former social position and popularity here, there is not now one family of all our friends who would cross our threshold, or bid us welcome to theirs. My noble uncle is always an exception. He and pa have stood firmly together, enduring the tempest, and nothing now should ever divide us. Mr. _____, too, has never faltered in his allegiance. When the death of his only son [a Confederate soldier] was told to him, his exclamation was, 'Would to God he had died in a nobler cause!'

But I tremble when I think of the possibility of a reverse -- that the Confederates should ever get back here. The our [sic] doom is spoken -- either flight -- beggary -- or remaining, death.

O that the United States [sic] troops would push onward rapidly, and make an end to the rebellion while the Confederates are quaking with fear and dismay. Give them no time to rally.

Now that the railroad and telegraph will soon be opened, we will be again in a civilized country; and surely we have cause to rejoice, for we have been living in utter darkness a long, weary time. If you could see my father it would do you good. He looks happy again! The gloomy, sad brow of two weeks ago is once more smothered with content! Three cheers for the sight of the old banner![7]

"MAGGIE!" Maggie Lindsley's Journal, pp. 5-9.[8]

Aunt Nanny's description of the fall of Nashville, as told to Elvira J. Powers:

Aunt Nanny, the former housekeeper of the rebel banker who owned this residence, has just been giving me a highly interesting account of the scenes here when it became known that our forces were coming towards Nashville. It was on Sunday morning the news reached the With citizens, when they were on their way to church. And the streets were soon filled with half-crazed people flying here and there, women and children and even men running our of breath, and screaming, "The Yankees are coming," while the less excited ones were securing every possible conveyance to use for flight.

"We colored folks," said Nanny, "knew it in the night, and all de mornin' while de white ones was so quiet a putin' on dere finery for church, we knew it wouldn't last long., An' we was all so full wid de great joy, dat we'se a sayin' in our hearts all de time "Bless de Lord," "Thank de good God," for de "day of jubilee has come!" [sic]

"But we was mighty hush, an' put on just as long faces as we could, and was might 'sprized when they told us of it. An' missus she come runnin' back from the street wid' her bonnet on her neck, an' the strings a flyin', and she come to the kitchen and put up both arms and she said:-

"'Oh, Aunty Nanny, we'll all be killed! The Yankees are coming! They'll hang or cut the throat of every nigger that's left here!"

"An' after that she tried to have me go south with her, but I told her I'd risk the Yankees a killin' us, and I wouldn't go."

Powers, Pencillings, pp. 70-71. [9]


A gentleman who left Nashville shortly after the battle at Fort Donelson communicates to the Mobile Tribune an interesting account of the evacuation and surrender of the city, a portion of which we append:

"The fight at Fort Donelson, on the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth of February, was of intense concern to us, and each day's work down there wound up with the statement that the fight would be renewed to-morrow. The fears that had been well-nigh dispelled by the way Fort Donelson was holding out. It was better located, and stronger in men and guns. Pillow, Floyd, and Buckner were there. Pillow had said 'Let come what might, her never would surrender the place,' and Nashville felt that we could not afford to lose the battle. Saturday's [15th] work was glorious. Our citizens shouted over it. Many were saying: 'I never liked Pillow, but forgive him now-he is the man for the occasion.' A sober, modest citizen, an Old Line Whig and ex-Governor, was heard to say, Saturday afternoon, on being asked how the fight went on: 'First-rate; Pillow is giving them h_ll, and rubbing it in.'

"The despatches closed on Saturday as they had for three successive days before-'The enemy are expecting large reenforcements,' but we slept soundly, and expected to have great news on the morrow. About nine o'clock Sunday [16th] morning, I rode out into the country seven or eight miles, and leaving the turnpike, dined with a friend in one of the quiet and luxurious farmer-homes of Middle Tennessee. Returning leisurely, I struck the pike about four P.M., and as everybody and met in the morning and asked me the latest news from the city, I asked the first man I met, 'Any news?'-prepared to hear only of victory.

"'News! What's the last you've heard'

"'Last night's despatches.'

"'None since? The latest out, and plenty of it. Fort Donelson has fallen, and Nashville is surrendered! They say the white flag is waving now on the capitol, and the gunboats will be up before sundown.'

"I thought he was hoaxing me, but quickened my pace. The next morning [17th] confirmed it all and more. I saw there was literally a cloud of witnesses, pouring along the turnpike leading to Franklin. Convalescent soldiers, quitting the hospitals, were waddling along with their scanty baggage. Travellers, in groups and squads, had left the hotels, carrying carpet-bags  and satchels, and saddle-bags in hand. The family of the owner of the omnibus line were rolling out in those vehicles. Double and one-horse carriages were full of living freight. On reaching the tollgate, on the top of the hill overlooking Nashville, I strained my eyes to see the white flag on the capitol. The tall flag-staff was naked. There was no flag of any sort on it.

"Passing down Brown Street by the Nashville and Decatur [rail]road, the first man I saw was Gov. Harris, about to leave on a special train, with the Legislature and archives of the State. The town was in commotion. Over the wire bridge the spans the Cumberland, Gen. Johnston's army were passing, taking the direction of the Murfreesboro turnpike. The train of wagons and soldier reached out of sight, and did not get over that night. The sight of a withdrawing or retreating army is very disheartening.

"My residence is in Edgefield, a little village separated from Nashville by the Cumberland River. For several days Gen. Johnston's headquarters had been established on that side of the river, and near me. The lady with whom he and his staff took their meals is my neighbor and friend, and tells me that the General opened the news to at the table in these words"

"'Madam, I take you to be a person firmness, and trust your neighbors are. Don't be alarmed. Last night, my last despatch, up to twelve o'clock, was favorable, and I lay done expecting a great victory today; but this morning at four o'clock I was waked by a courier with the news that our forces at Fort Donelson were surrounded, and must surrender. They are not made of steel. Our soldiers have fought as bravely as ever soldiers did; but they cannot hold out day after day, against fresh forces and such odds. I cannot make men. Stay at home. Tell all your friends from me to stay at home. I cannot make a fight before Nashville, and, for the good of the city, shall retire. I know Gen. Buell well. He is a gentleman, and will not suffer any violence to peaceable citizens, or disturb private property.

It might have been well if the General had issued a proclamation. He and staff crossed the bridge that night at eleven o'clock. Gen Breckenridge followed, and your corresponded followed soon after.

"The question has often been asked: 'Why didn't the people of Nashville make a stand? What! give up their city without striking a blow?'

"The people were astonished and indignant at the way they were handed over to the enemy's mercy and occupation. But what could they do? When generals, and armed and drilled soldiers, give up and retire, what can unarmed and undisciplined citizens do before a foe advancing by land and water?'

'Throw brickbats at them,' said one. Indeed! that would be well enough, if the enemy would deal in the same missiles.

"The bones of Gen. Jackson, the defender of New-Orleans, must have turned in his grave, at the Hermitage, a few miles away, at such a surrender.

"A few months before, on urgent call, every man who had a rifle or double-barrel gun, had brought it forward and given it up for army service. Not fifty serviceable guns could our citizens have mustered. No, not even pikes,  though they have just enrolled themselves and resolved to have them made, and if Gen. Johnston made a stand before the city, they were resolved to stand with him. Such of them as were not willing to be surrendered to the uncovenanted mercies of Lincolndom, with the prospect of having the oath tendered them or the bastile [sic], followed the retiring army.

"After taking my family as far as Decatur, I returned to Nashville on Wednesday. The stores were closed and bolted; the streets deserted, save by a guard here and there, and a press-gang taking up every man they could find, and sending him to load government pork into barges, upon which it was being taken up the river, and put out of the enemy's way. Had a stand been made before the city, or even a feint of a stand, no doubt all the government stores could have been removed safely. As it is, vast amounts have been thrown away, wasted, given out, both from the quartermaster's and commissary's departments. At one time the doors were thrown open to whomsoever would, under the impression that they had better let the poor have these provisions than the enemy, who was expected instantly. A friend saw quantities of mean lying on the roadside, where persons, having overloaded their carts, had thrown it down. Barrels of flour, sacks of coffee, tierces of lard and meat, were rolled into private houses and back-yards, with hundreds of boxes of candles, belts of cloth, etc. Afterwards this order was countermanded, as the enemy was not exactly [sic] at the door, and a guard placed over the stores, and an effort made to get them off by railroad and boat. Private carriages, hacks and carts, were stopped in the street and pressed into service, and some of my friends had to get their baggage to the station in wheel-barrows. Advantage was taken of the confusion and dismay of the hour for private injustice and irresponsible oppression. The selfishness developed in such a crisis is humiliating

* * * * [sic]

The opinion prevails there that Nashville will be burnt, first or last-if not when we leave it, then when we drive the enemy out of it. For Tennesseeans [sic] are resolved that the enemy shall nor rest on their soil. Gen. Floyd and staff left Thursday [20th] morning, and it was understood that Capt. John H. Morgan, with his company, would retire slowly, as the enemy in force entered. The Louisiana cavalry, Col. Scott, were near Franklin, on their way to the vicinity of Nashville, where they will act as scouts and hold the enemy closely in bounds.

"As far out as Brentwood, Franklin and Columbia, some people are leaving their homes and sending off their slaves. Others, deeply-committed Southerners, stand and risk the consequences. They look for inconveniences and heavy losses, staying or going.

"In reply to the question often asked, whether any Union element has been developed by these events: There was always some of this element in Nashville, but in very inconsiderable proportion to the population. Let Unionists show their hands and heads now; it is hoped they will. We have friends enough to watch them; and when the tide of war rolls back, the country will finally be purged of them, for they will have to leave with the Lincoln army.

"The great mass of Tennesseeans [sic], especially Middle and West, are sound to the core, and thoroughly aroused for the first time. They chafe under the humiliation and disgrace of the surrender of their capital. Those that can will move their families out of the reach of immediate harm, and return to face the fore on a hundred fields. The greater battles of the war are to be fought in the West. This is just the beginning. The people realize now what is at stake, and they will measure out wealth and blood without stint."

Rebellion Record, Vol. 4, pp. 211-212.

Observations from the Cumberland river as the U. S. S. Conestoga entered Nashville.

The river-banks, and the country adjoining, from Donelson up to Nashville, are of a most charming character. The bluffs on either side, are broken, now towering up three hundred feet, a square, solid wall of rock, again isolated conical peaks, whose tops are green with cedars; here and there sweeping back from the river, in an irregular semi-circle, leaving a rich bottom, in which nestles a comfortable farm-house, surrounded with orchards and springing fields of winter grain. The air was warm and delicious; birds chirped and twittered among the boughs, which already are half concealed by the bursting buds and green young leaves of spring. Tennessee many, judging from the glimpses caught from the river, be well termed the "Garden State," for never were there scenes better calculated to give pleasure to the lovers of the beautiful or the utilitarian, than those which, spread away on either side of the Cumberland.

Six miles below Nashville we reached Fort Zollicoffer. It is located on the west bank of the river, some sixty feet above the water, and is mounted with eight guns – thirty-twos and sixty-fours. Although the guns are mounted, the Fort is unfinished, being nothing more as yet than a series of breastworks – one for each gun. Two additional guns have been thrown down the bank and lie close to the water's edge – one or two others are supposed to have been thrown in the river, while the balance are indifferently well spiked. The rebels who constructed the Fort evidently knew but little of the existence of gunboats, or else they would have placed the pieces in quite a different position. The guns stand nearly on a line with the river, thus exposing them to our enfilading fire from the gunboats. The gallant Commodore Foote, with his fleet, would have swept the whole battery out of existence in half an hour; but they were evidently intended to operate against transports carrying troops, in which case they would have answered admirably.

Soon after passing Fort Zollicoffer the magnificent state house, situated upon the highest hill of Nashville, came into view, with the glorious old flag waving proudly from a staff upon the roof. A little further, and the lofty piers of ruined bridges become visible – a few minutes later, and the Conestoga was fast at the wharf at the foot of one of the main Streets of Nashville

*  *  *  *

Rebellion Record, Vol. 4, p. 207.

The first flag raised by the Union forces over the State House at Nashville was the property of Capt. William Driver, an old Salem shipmaster, but for some time a resident of Tennessee. During the dark days, the Captain kept the flag hidden, quilted into the covering of his bed; but when the gun boats came up, "Old Glory" was brought out, and the Captain had the honor of raising it over the Capitol. He writes to his daughter: "I carried my flag, "Old Glory," as we have been used to call it, to the Capitol, presented it to the Ohio Sixth, and hoisted it with my own hands on the Capitol, over this proud city, amidst the heaven-shaking cheers of thousands—over this proud city, where, for the last eight months, I have been treated with scorn, and shunned as one infected with the leprous spot."

Leavenworth [KS] Daily Times, March 25, 1862.

The Great Panic-Its Rise and Progress

Before ten o'clock Sunday (16th) morning a rumor, vague and indefinite, it is true, that Fort Donelson had surrendered, and that the entire Confederate force had been taken prisoners, had found its way into the streets of the city, and was spreading with a rapidity which only such rumors can spread. It was the rebound which was least expected by the great mass, and assumed the most terrible proportions as it traveled. This rumor was accompanied with the statement that General Buell, with thirty-five thousand men, was then at Springfield, only twenty-five miles distant, and that a fleet of Federal gunboats had passed Clarksville and would reach here by three o'clock in the afternoon, by which time Buell's army would arrive in Edgefield, when the city would be shelled, without notice, and laid in ashes. These rumors created a consternation, which it would be impossible to portray. A reign of terror and confusion ensued, the like of which was never witnessed in Nashville. "How is this?" asked a gentleman we met as we were going up town to learn the facts in regard to the rumors alluded to. "We whipped the enemy badly all day yesterday" he continued, "and now, so early in the morning, it is announced that all is lost." We assured him that the affair was as much a mystery to us as to him, when, with exclamation, "I can't understand it!" he hurried to his home to quiet, if possible, the "better-half."

We found the town in a perfect tumult-a furor that lashed into a phrenzy those who were regarded perfect models of the calm and passionless-and the wave was spreading with fearful rapidity. Not a man was there in all the goodly city who stepped forth to tell the people that there was no cause for the alarm to which they had given way. It was understood that the intelligence of the fall of Fort Donelson had been communicated to Gov. Harris by Gen. Johnston, and that it was from the former the rumor proceeded. His office at the Capitol was besieged by anxious inquirers, and he was appealed to, through one of his aids, to issue a proclamation setting fort the facts as far as they were in his possession, which, of itself, would quiet the people that if left the victims of conjecture, the most wild and improbable stories would obtain, causing a panic without a parallel, because without a sufficient cause, while a simple statement of the facts as they really exited, without any attempt at explanation, would have a tendency to allay the excitement that then existed. The Governor, however, declined to issue a proclamation. Some thought that Gen. Johnston should issue a proclamation, others that the Mayor should, and still others that the editors of the respective papers, who were proficient in "Making the worse appear the better part," should issue extras assuring the people that matters were not half so bad as they appeared. Nothing, however, was done to quiet the people who were almost deranged with excitement, and hundreds were seen hurrying to and fro, preparing to flee, as for dear life, before the approach of an enemy they feared but little less than if they had been semi-barbarians.

The services at the churches were generally discontinued, in consequence of the excited state of the public mind, and, unfortunately, some of the pastors, in dismissing their congregations, added to the intensity of the excitement instead of allying it. Many of those who attended one of the churches, misapprehending, perhaps, the purport of what the pastor said, returned home and reported that he had advised his hearers to quietly retire from the city for fear of an insurrection. We cannot think that such advice was given, but he was so understood by a number of his congregation, and it produced the most painful apprehensions in the minds of those who heard him as well as those to whom they communicated their impression of what he said. A moment's reflection, however, should have satisfied every one that there was no danger to be apprehended on this score from the servile or any other portion of our population.

About this time (say eleven o'clock) a report was put in circulation, as coming from Gov. Harris, that the women and children must be removed from the city within three hours, as at the expiration of that time the enemy would shell the place and destroy it. This outrageous story created the most terrible alarm wherever it went, and it spread like wildfire. We met this rumor on our return from the capitol, and it is due to Gov. Harris to say that he never intimated any such thing. There is no doubt, however, that this rumor hurried hundreds from the city, as the contradiction traveled much slower than the original story. Men and women were to be seen running to and fro in every portion of the city, and large numbers were hastening with their valuables to the several railroad depots, or escaping in private conveyances to some place of fancied security in the country. The hire of private conveyances was up to fabulous prices, and it was only the wealthy that could enjoy the luxury of a ride on that day. Large numbers, in their eagerness to escape from the city, left on foot carrying with them such articles as they wished to preserve, either as mementoes or for their comfort, and of course these must necessarily have been few.

Upon the receipt of the intelligence of the capitulation of Fort Donelson, Gen. Johnston advised Gov. Harris to remove the archives of the State to some place of safety, as it might become necessary to evacuate Nashville. In accordance with this suggestion, the archives were packed up and shipped in a special train during the afternoon to Memphis, whither they were accompanied by the Governor and heads of departments. The Legislature met at an early hour of the morning, and went through the formality of adjourning to meet upon the call of the Governor, and the following notice was served on the members:



The members of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee will assemble at Memphis, Tenn., on Thursday next, the 20th inst., for the despatch and transaction of such business as may be submitted to them.


This temporary removal of the set of government was done in accordance with a resolution adopted by the two houses of the General Assembly in secret session[10] a few days previous.

We were at the Capital a short time before the Legislature met. Messengers had been sent around to hurry up the laggard members, and as those who were present strolled about "from pillar to post," from door to window, eagerly gazing for the appearance of some fellow-member, so as to get a quorum. Their faces resented the most interesting study we have ever beheld in human nature. The actions of all told how eager they were to get away from "the doomed city." We have hebandard of "long faces," but that scene beat anything we had pictured from the most extravagant stories. Anxiety and fear struggled for the mastery in almost every countenance, and in one or two instances where the latter had manifestly asserted its supremacy, that "pallor which sets upon the brow of death," was but too visible where the ruddy glow of excellent satisfaction was marked the day before.

** ** ** **

It is said the members of the Legislature presented rather a ludicrous appearance as they trudged off toward the depot of one or the other of the railroads, each one with a trunk on his back or carpet sack and bundle in hand. As it was next to impossible to procure a vehicle to convey one even to the depot, those who chose not to witness the promised exhibition of fire-works by Gen. Buell and Com. Foote, "stood not on the order of their going."

** ** ** **

The movements of the Governor and Legislature had a tendency to increase the excitement, while the passage through the city at an early hour in the day of a large portion of Gen. Johnston's army from Bowling Green, was another incentive to the growth of the panic which continued to spread until it seemed to have seized upon almost every one. Go where a person would, the question met him at almost every other step, "What are you going to do?" or, "What shall I do?" To the former, the most frequent reply was, 'I don't know," with here and there an exception, "I shall stay and take care of my family." Very few appeared inclined to give advice in the midst of such a panic, even to their most intimate friends, so that the second question was rarely answered, and each man was left to decide for himself whether he should leave the city, and go, he knew not where, nor for why, or remain and take his chances with those who had prudence enough to stay quietly at home, and those, less, or perhaps more, fortunate, who could not get away.

Every available vehicle was chartered, and even drays were called into requisition, to remove people and their plunder, either to the country or to the depots, and the trains went off crowded to their utmost capacity, even the tops of the cars being literally covered with human beings. It was a lamentable sight to see hundreds of families thus fleeing from their homes, leaving nearly everything behind, to seek protection and the comforts and luxuries they had abandoned among strangers.

A large number of citizens left the city from fear of fire. They had been led to believe that the town would be shelled during the afternoon or night at farthest, and reduced to heap of ruins. These went only a short distance into the country, and returned as soon as they felt they could do so with safety.

No effort was made to allay this frightful panic. Had a proclamation been issued by some of our authorities, civil or military, stating the facts as they existed, so far as known, that of itself would, in all probability, have assured the people, and reason might have assumed its place again before the scenes we have referred to, and other over which a mantle should be drawn, were enacted. There may have been "a military necessity" for the course that was pursued in this matter, but the people were wholly unable to appreciate such reticence, when a few words would have gone far toward quieting their fears.

Early in the day the yellow flag was hoisted over a number of buildings occupied as hospitals. Over one business house we noticed the British flag floating. The Bank of Tennessee, with its effects, was removed to Columbia, and several of our bankers gathered up their specie and other valuables and carried them to some point which they regarded as more secure than Nashville. The Planters', Union, and City Banks were the only ones that remained, but whether they retained their specie is not know to the public.

Much anxiety was manifested to know Gen. Johnston's purposes in regard to holding the city, many favoring and others opposing such a policy. So clamorous where the people upon this point, that, during the afternoon, Gen. Barrow, the Senator of Davidson county, who had remained at home to share with his people the fate that might befall them, in company with Mayor Cheatham, visited Gen. Johnston at his headquarters in Edgefield to ascertain what he should do in is behalf. Gen. Johnston informed them that his army was not then in a condition to make a stand here, and that he should make no effort to defend the city. On their return, Messrs. Barrow and Cheatham addressed the crowd assembled upon the Public Square, informing them that they had Gen. Johnston's assurance that he would not hazard the safety of the city by attempting to hold it, and they advised the people to remain quietly at home in the pursuit of their ordinary avocations, and expressed the conviction that they would not be molested. Mayor Cheatham also stated that upon the approach of the Federals he should, in company with a committee of our wisest, most discreet citizens, go out under a flag of truce to meet the commanding General and make a formal surrender of the city, and that he should negotiate for the best possible terms for the protection of the rights and property of the citizens. He further stated that the provisions of the commissary stores, which could not be removed by the Confederate authorities, would be distributed among the people, so that there need be no fear of suffering for the want of the necessaries of life by those thrown out of employment by the state of things now upon us. These assurances quieted somewhat the minds of the people, especially those who feared the shock of a battle in the immediate vicinity of the city.

Three o'clock came, and still time sped on, but neither Gen. Buell's army nor the gunboats…had arrived By this time the people began to understand that Gen. Buell's army could not, by any possibility, have got to Springfield, so that the fears of danger from that force were quieted. It was given out as coming from a high official, that the gunboats would reach here about twelve o'clock that night, and this was used to keep up the panic.

Great fears were entertained that the torch would be applied to the city during the night, and an urgent appeal was made to Gen. Johnston for protection against incendiaries. A regiment of Missouri troops was detailed to guard the city, and faithfully did they perform the duty assigned them. The night was passed in a degree of quiet which was surprising as well as gratifying.

Thus passed the most exciting Sunday we ever witnessed in Nashville.

Monday morning, the 17th, came but it brought no gunboats or Federal troops. It had rained considerably the previous night and the streets were full of mud, yet the Confederate troops continued to pour in in a continuous stream, and the city was soon filled with soldiers, wet, hungry, and worn out by long and continuous marches. As the day wore away they gradually fell back Southward, so that comparatively few remained in the city over night.

The excitement of the previous day had abated but little. Business of all kinds was suspended and the stores and shops closed. Almost every body seemed to be upon the streets hurrying to and fro, many seeking friends to advise with, while perhaps the same friends were out upon a similar mission' others were to be seen congregated in little groups upon the corners discussing the probabilities of the future, or listening to the miraculous stories of some soldier who had escaped from Fort Donelson, and….had made their way to this city. Some of them told wonderful stories. We recollect encountering one in our perambulations, who professed to have followed Gen. Floyd through his campaign in Western Virginia, and his graphic descriptions of how his chieftain eluded the plodding Rosecrans formed quite a spicy little episode in the panic of that day. A "Maury county boy" was entertaining an interested crown on another corner with the daring exploits that were performed at Fort Donelson, and wound up by declaring that he could have walked upon the bodies of dead Yankees for acres without ever touching the ground.

Many who were wealthy removed themselves and what property they could take with them out of town, while the thousands of poor had no alternative but to remain and make the best disposition of themselves they could, as there was no possibility of getting out of town, except at enormous cost, the military authorities having taken charge of all the railroads leading out from the city, and the owners of vehicles refused to hire them out, unless the hirer would pay a price approximating the cost of carriages and horses. Notwithstanding these exorbitant demands, large numbers paid the price and left the city, seeming with no object in view except to get out of Nashville.

Of course, the city was filled with rumors of every conceivable description, and it would have been perfect folly to have attempted to glean a grain of truth from the reports which one would meet at every corner, yet thousands seemed to believe everything that was told in regard to the numbers and rapid approach of the Federals….

At one time it was asserted with a degree of confidence that almost inspired belief in the sincerity of the narrator, that the gunboats were only a few miles below the city, then another would assert, in terms equally as positive, that there was not a Federal soldier in Gen. Buell's army this side of the Kentucky line, nor a gunboat this side of Clarksville. It was evident that not a few were trying to "play upon a harp of a thousand strings."

The Great Panic, pp. 5-15.[11]

        16-27, Life in Nashville during the first week of occupation, from the pen of a New York Times war correspondent.

*  *  *  *

Up to Sunday morning, the sixteenth inst., the day upon which Fort Donelson surrendered, the impression was prevalent in Nashville that the "Yankees were being "cleaned out" in the usual wholesale slaughter, buncombe style, customary in the cases of the gallant sons of chivalry. Saturday [15th] a dispatch [sic] was published [in Nashville] as follows:


Gen. Pillow also sent up a despatch:


Pillow, however, failed in his prognostication. His "honor" apparently, is not worth speaking of. The only "despatch" that he can pride himself on is the despatch with which he, in company with the valiant Floyd, got himself out of Dover, danger, and the range of Yankee bullets.

The despatch of the other sanguine individual is also liable to objection, both on account of its lack of truthfulness and its inelegant allusions. Instead of picking the Nationals, the rebels became the recipients of the condiment above name, both in from and "rear," which, in addition, being thoroughly punched in by the bayonets of the veteran Smith's division, they were glad to get out of their pickle by a surrender.

Cave Johnson was also seized with the prevailing hopefulness and the despatch-mania, and from the safe distance of Clarksville, cheered the rejoicing spirits of Nashville as follows:

"The fighting on yesterday was mainly between two gunboats and the Fort. Boats greatly damaged and retired. Three out of seven in this river are believed to be disabled. Firing kept up all day on our line without loss on our side. We hear firing again this morning. They have had large reinforcements. Their whole force supposed to be near one hundred thousand. Our officers feel confident of success, and our troops equally so, and cannot be conquered. A Virginia regiment, McCaustine, took one of their batteries night before last without any loss on our side. Reports of the capture of Russelville and Elkton, not believed. Their whole loss, it is thought, exceeds one thousand."


Of course the virtuous and Christianly [sic] traitors of Nashville were highly delighted Sunday [16th] morning, to receive these encouraging assurances of the thrifty progress of rebellion. They were mingling this glad intelligence with their devotions -- indulging in cheerful anticipations of the future of Dixie, while they gave vent to Old Hundred and other Te Deums, when suddenly the delicious union of religion and rebellion was strangled as mercilessly as one throttles a litter of blind puppies, by the advent of the gallant Floyd, who commanded the vanguard of the retreat from Donelson.

Old Hundred was dropped instanter [sic]-devotion was silenced-and if the name of Him they had meet to worship was again mentioned in the course of that memorable Sunday, it was generally with the addition of an emphatic "d__n."

Harris instantly convened his Legislature, but, finding no parliamentary remedy against the approach of Yankees with rifles and armored gunboats, they adjourned without calling for the nays, and took a special train for Memphis.

Before night, [General] Johnston, with his retreating hordes from Bowling Green, entered the city and struck straight south for Dixie. This added to the general panic, and when a rumor became current that the dreaded gunboats had taken Clarksville and were advancing up the river, the excitement grew to be tremendous.

To save the trouble of writing, I take the remainder of the account from an extra of the Republican Banner issued this morning.[12]

"Such hurrying to and fro was never seen. Before nightfall hundreds of citizens with their families were mankind their way, as best they could, for the South, many of them having no idea why they were thus recklessly abandoning comfortable home or where they were going. About night it was announced that the military authorities would throw open the public stores to all who would take them.

"The excitement continued through Sunday night, constantly gaining strength, aided by the destruction of two gunboats at the wharf, which were in process of construction, to fine New Orleans packets, the James Woods and James Johnson, having been taken for that purpose. The retreating army of Gen. Johnston continued its march, encamping by regiments at convenient points outside of the city.

"Monday [17th] morning the drama opened in the city intensely exciting. The public stores were distributed to some extend among the people, while the army and hospitals were making heavy requisitions, and pressing all vehicles and men that they could, to convey their supplies to their camps. At the same time considerable quantities were removed to the depots for transportation South. Evening came and no gunboats and no Federal army from Kentucky. Gen. Johnston left for the South, placing Gen. Floyd in command, assisted by Generals Pillow and Hardee. The apprehensions of the near approach of the enemy having been found groundless, it was determined by Gen. Floyd that the destruction of the stores was premature, and an order was sent to close the warehouses, and a force detailed to collect what had been given out. This was done as far as practicable; but on Tuesday [18th] the distribution commended again, and continued with more less restrictions, under the eye of the most judicious citizens, until Saturday morning. Tuesday night the wire bridge and railroad bridge across the Cumberland were destroyed in spite of the most earnest and persistent remonstrances of our leading citizens. The wire bridge cost about one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and a large portion of the stock was owned by the lamented Gen. Zollicoffer, and was the chief reliance for the support of his orphaned daughters. The railroad bridge cost two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and was one of the finest draw-bridges in the country.

"The scenes which were enacted during the following days up to Monday morning, the twenty-fourth, beggar description. The untiring energy of the Mayor and city authorities, who throughout this whole affair acted with a prudence, zeal and devotion to the city which cannot be too highly commended, was inadequate to keep down the selfish and unprincipled spirit of mammon, which run riot, grasping from the mouths and backs of suffering widows and orphans and the poor pittance of meat and clothing which was left them as indemnity for months of toil with their needles, and the sacrifice of husbands, sons and brothers in defence of the Southern Confederacy. Through the efforts of the May, however, a plan was adopted on Saturday by which most, if not all of these poor and unprotected creditors of the government were fully secured by quartermaster and commissary stores.

"Here was an entire week of panic and confusion, during which millions of dollars' worth of property was lost to the Southern Confederacy, and wantonly destroyed, all of which might have been quietly and safely removed, had the panic-stricken leaders been able to maintain their equanimity in the face of a vague and unauthentic rumor that the enemy were near at hand. Comment upon such management is unnecessary in these columns-it can be heard loud and unsparingly from every mouth in the land."

Sunday morning a small advance of Gen. Buell's column arrived and took possession Edgefield, a small town opposite Nashville. Nothing was done until Monday evening, when Genl Buell arrived at Edgefield, and was immediately visited by a committee from Nashville, headed by Mayor Cheatham. The hour for a formal interview was fixed at eleven A. M. Tuesday, before which time Gen. Nelson arrived with his column on transports, accompanied by the gunboat St. Louis.

At the appointed hour the Mayor and some ten citizens waited on Gen. Buell and surrendered the city, receiving assurances that the liberty and property of all citizens would be sacredly respected.

The interview passed off pleasantly, and resulted in the issuing of the following proclamation by the Mayor [February 26, 1862, Wednesday]:


The committee, representing the city authorities and the people, have discharged their duty by calling on Gen. Buell, at his headquarters in Edgefield, on yesterday. The interview as perfectly satisfactory to the committee, and there is every assurance of safety and protection to the people, both in their persons and in their property. I, therefore, respectfully request that business be resume, and all our citizens of every trade and profession, pursue their regular vocations.

The county elections will take place on the regular day, and all civil business be conducted as heretofore; and the Commanding General assures me that I can rely upon his aid in enforcing our police regulations. One branch of business is interdicted-the sale or giving away of intoxicating liquors. I shall not hesitate to invoke the aid of Gen. Buell in case of the recent laws upon this subject are violated.

I most earnestly call upon the people of the surrounding country, who are inside of the Federal lines, to resume their commerce with the city, and bring in their market supplies, especially wood, butter, and eggs, assuring them that they will be fully protected and amply remunerated.

R. B. Cheatham, Mayor

February 26, 1862

Of course, Floyd, Pillow and Co. long ere the National troops had possession, were long miles away from the vicinity of Nashville. No prisoners, save one, were captured, and no stores of any amount, as the latter were all taken possession of by the mob. There were a large number of guns in the city, but they were either spiked, thrown in the river, or placed on the bridges before they were fired. The two gunboats, alluded to in the Banner extra, were also partially burned, and sunk close by the railroad bridge, but fortunately not in a position to interfere with navigation. Several fine steamers were captured, the rebels leaving in such a hurry that they had not time to burn them. Among them were the J. H. Baldwin, Charter, B. M. Runnion, W. V. Baird, and two others. About half of them are side-wheelers and first-class boats. The Baldwin was captured yesterday. She had been somewhere up the river, and not knowing the important changes which had occurred in Nashville during her absence, came unsuspiciously [sic] into the national net, and was taken.

I have spent a good deal of time to-day in conversing with the citizens and found but little Union sentiment. Men asserted that they were not citizens of the United States-didn't want any protection from the government, and in several cases even refused to sell any good to the soldier or officers. One man said he was a Union man, but never dared to say so for fear of being hung; another said the only two nights' sleep he had had in weeks were since the arrival of the National army. Another individual assured me, with a very haughty air, that there were no Union men in Nashville except among mechanics and laborers; no gentlemen, he said, were anything but secessionists, or rebels, if I liked the term any better.

The fact is, that the masses have been so lied to and misled about the purposes of the Government, that they listened with incredulity to the assertion that we do not come for the purpose of stealing their "niggers," and other property. As soon as their minds are disabused of these kindred lies, they will be prepared to return to their first love-the Union. They admit that our troops behave in a manner as entire unexceptionable as it is unexpected. Hence it may be inferred that this believe will ripen, ere long, into a substantial loyalty.

A present an air of gloom hangs heavily over the whole city. The stores are closed almost without exception, and the inhabitants gather in sullen knots to talk over the new order of things. One thing they all agree upon; and that is, that the destruction of the suspension and railroad bridges was a most cowardly and wanton outrage upon the city. This wholesale destruction, when compared with the manner in which the National troops disabled, without destroying, the bridges on the Tennessee [river], invites a comparison between the two forces that must result favorably to the latter.

Gen. Grant and staff came up here to-day from Clarksville, and spent several hours in looking around the city. Among other whom they called upon was Mrs. Polk, the widow of James K. Polk, formerly President of the whole United States. The residence of the relict of the late President is a handsome brick mansion, on a fine street, and shows by her surroundings that she is a woman of taste. A large yard lies between the street and the house, which is filled with clumps or the trim and elegant cedar, stately magnolias, all green as in summer, while here and there daffodils and other plants have pushed forth their leaves and flowers with all the richness and beauty of a Northern midsummer. In one corner, surrounded by emblematic evergreens, is a tasteful, costly tomb, beneath which sleeps the once powerful chief of a then united nation.

Mrs. Polk is a well-preserved lady of perhaps fifty years of age. She received her visitors courteously, but with a polished coldness that indicated sufficiently in which direction her sympathies ran-she was simply polite and ladylike; in no case patriotic. While she discreetly forbore to give utterance to any expression of sympathy for the South, she as rigidly avoided saying anything that might be construed into a wish for the success of the Government. She hoped, she said, that the tomb of her husband would protect her household from insult and her property from pillage; further that this she expected nothing from the United States, and desired nothing.

Soon after this her visitors left, satisfied that Ephraim was joined to his idols, and might as well be "let alone." As the widow is of more than ordinary intelligence, and owes the ample fortune which smoothes the declivity of her old age to the Government, it is somewhat strange that she should be at once so blindly ignorant of the true character of the present war, and so ungrateful.

The ladies of Nashville-that is, the few of them who have not struck for the warmer and less Yankee-haunted portions of Dixie-are, of course, as full of treason as they are, in occasional cases, of loveliness. I have seen only two cases of women who are loyal and both of these are among what might be called the "lower walks" of social life. One of these was a bare-armed, bare-headed female that issued from a shanty on the bluffs as we passed along the front of the city, and commenced waving her hands wildly up and down, at the same time teetering violently on her toes, like some devotee before the altar of an Aztec idol. She continued this demonstrative but original welcome, till a couple of other females issued from the same shanty and forcibly carried her indoors. It maybe suspected that her loyal recognition sprang rather from whisky than patriotism -- a suspicion that my own mind is not altogether free from, as I have carefully reflected upon this singular and almost isolated case of Union feeling.

The other case was also that of an Irish lady, and seemed more the result of genuine loyalty than of stimulants. As Gen. Grant and staff were riding through the city, a woman rushed out from a house, and throwing up her hand in the style adopted by cruel parents when they say: "Bless you, my children," in fifteen-cent novels, exclaimed: "God bless ye, gintlemen! Success go wid ye! Arrah, git in there, ye Thafe, and don't be boderin' the life out o' me!" The last remark, I must say, was accompanied by all resounding slap, and was addressed to a dirty faced gossoon that thrust his unkempt head beyond the doorway-and not, as may be surmised, to the Illinoisian hero. The youth set up one of those vigorous howls so peculiar to offended juvenility, and amid a chorus of slaps, blessings, and the roars of the suffering infant, the General turned a corner and disappeared.

A little further, and the party passed slowly by a costly carriage, out of one of whose windows was thrust the head of an elegantly-dressed lady. She was giving some directions to the liveried darkey that held the reins; but looking up as the party passed, she caught sight of the Federal uniforms. With a "baugh" [sic] as if she had swallowed a toad, she spat toward the ground, and with a contemptuous and expressive grimace of disgust upon her features, drew in her head, and threw herself back in her carriage. Quite possibly such movements are the very height of Southern breeding-further North, in the land of Yankees and wooden clocks, a woman who would perpetrate an act of the kind, under similar circumstances, would be regarded-well, to use a convenient everyday expression, as "no better than she should be"-a somebody closely akin to, if not the identical scarlet feminine spoke of in Revelation.

Occasionally I met other specimens of Nashville ladies, who, in many cases, supposing me to be a soldier, from the possession of a blue overcoat, described upon meeting a wide semicircle of avoidance, swinging, as they did so, their rotundant [sic] skirts with a contemptuous flirt far out, as if the very touch of a blue coat would be contamination. And then the angle at which the noses of the naughty darlings went up, and the extent to which their lips went down, were not the least interesting portion of these little by-plays, and assisted materially in showing the exquisite breeding of these amiable demoiselles.

A more cynical observer than myself would, perhaps, assert that all this flirting of dresses was mainly gotten up for the better display of pretty ankles, and those to whom nature had not been kind in this respect, were among those who omitted from their performance, to give their rustling silks the outward sweep. Possibly this view may be true, but I will not be uncharitable enough to endorse it.

It is not probable that our soldiers will allow these evidences of disdain to affect them to any great extent. At present, there are but few ladies in town; hundreds have fled in horror from the approach of the ruthless Hessians of the North; others, unable to leave, have put triple bars before their doors and windows, and hide at once their fears and beauty behind those protections. In view of these facts, those who now wander through the streets are not formidable as to number, and they will, doubtless, soon become, to some extent, civilized.

The rebels had stores here in unlimited quantities, none of which they were able to take away. All, after several days of riot, which, in terror, almost exceeded the three days in Paris, in 1848, were divided among, or rather seized by, the mob. There were, in addition to the food, several hundred barrels of whisky, the heads of which were knocked in, and the contents allowed to mingle with the waters of the Cumberland.

About one hundred of our prisoners, who were captured by the rebels at Donelson, were found at this place upon the arrival of our troops-all of them were either sick or wounded. That they were glad to once more find themselves among friends, will not be doubted.

It is not know precisely to what point the enemy is retiring, but it is generally believed that they are concentrating at Chattanooga, in this State. I doubt very much their making any more stand of any magnitude at any point where they can be reached by gunboats. "We can whip you even-handed," said a Fort Donelson prisoner to me, "on land, but d__n your gunboats!"

The water is very high in the Cumberland River; higher, in fact, that it has been in many years. This has favored the gunboats, and to their prestige we owe much in gaining Nashville so easily. Said a citizen an hour since: "I think the Old Monster has sent this high water on us; if it hadn't been for that, the gunboats couldn't have come up, and you wouldn't have got Nashville without a big fight!" Doubtless this is pretty much so. The ground around Nashville is broken and covered with timber, and could have been defended for weeks by a determined moderate-sized army.

No movements of great importance need be anticipated at this place within a short time. Gen. Smith's division has reached here from Clarksville, and has taken quarters in the suburbs of the city. Several skirmishes have taken place between our pickets and guerrilla parties of the enemy, but it is believed that no considerable force of the enemy is within fifty miles of Nashville.


Rebellion Record, Vol. 4, pp. 207-211.

        16, Skirmish at Bradyville

No circumstantial reports filed.

        16, Bragg issues General Orders, No. 38, relative to depredations committed by Army of Tennessee cavalry commands

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 38. HDQRS. ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Tullahoma, February 16, 1863.

The great number of men who have joined cavalry commands, and avail themselves of that peculiar service to roam over the country as marauders, avoiding all duty, renders it necessary that cavalry commanders should use vigorous means to search out such characters, and have them transferred to infantry regiments, where they can be more easily watched and compelled to perform their duties.

Cavalry commanders will immediately make out and forward through the proper channels, to these headquarters, full and complete descriptive lists of all such officers and men in their commands, in order that they may be transferred to infantry. This will include those who frequently fail to be with their commands on active duty, whether from loitering about camp from being without serviceable horses, from a deficiency in health on the part of the soldier himself, or from any other of the various causes by which bad soldiers seek to avoid the hardships and dangers of the service. Under the head of "remarks," will be stated the reasons for recommending the transfer.

Hereafter any cavalry soldier who is found absent from his command without written authority from his brigade commander or other competent authority, will be immediately dismounted, and sent on foot, under guard, to the nearest guard-house, with a written statement of the facts concerning his arrest, in order that he may be sent to his corps commander, and be assigned to the infantry. Their horses and equipments will be sent to the chief quartermaster of cavalry. Commanders of cavalry companies will state upon their muster and pay rolls, under the head of "remarks," the number of days each soldier has been without a serviceable horse, and the paymasters will not pay the soldier for use and risk of horse, except for the number of days his horse has been fit for duty.

All cavalry horses not fit for duty, and not susceptible of speedy restoration, will, under the direction of the commanding general of cavalry, be immediately turned over to the chief quartermaster of this army for future disposition.

By command of Gen. Bragg:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, pp. 636-637.

        16, Regulations governing wagon trains in the Army of the Cumberland

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 21. HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND, Murfreesborough, Tenn., February 16, 1863.

I. The following regulations are established for trains in this army: There will be allowed, for headquarters of each division, 7 wagons; for mechanics' tools and materials at division headquarters, 1 wagon; for headquarters of each brigade, 4 wagons; for mechanics' tools and materials at brigade headquarters, 1 wagon; for the field and staff of each infantry regiment, 1 wagon; for the hospital department of each infantry regiment, 1 wagon; for each company of infantry, 1 wagon; for each regiment of cavalry, 25 wagons; for each battery of artillery, the same number of wagons that there are guns in the battery. There will be an ammunition train of 25 wagons for each division, to be under the control of the division ordnance officer. All transportation in excess of this allowance will be at once reported to the chief quartermaster, and turned over under his direction.

II. Each company wagon will be plainly marked on the body with the letter of the company and number of the regiment to which it belongs, and the company commander will be held responsible for its condition, and that the animals are properly cared for.

III. Each company wagon will, in addition to the company baggage, carry four days' rations for the command, and two boxes of ammunition of caliber suited to its arm. On marches, each wagon will be required to carry three days' short forage for its animals.

IV. It is made the duty of all inspectors to report any excess of this allowance in any regiment, brigade, or division.

V. Quartermasters and other officers responsible for means of transportation will hereafter be held strictly accountable for the condition of the wagons and animals under their charge, and that all public animals in their possession are properly and plainly branded. Inspectors are especially directed to report any officer neglecting this class of public property.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Rosecrans:

C. GODDARD, Assistant Adjutant-Gen. and Chief of Staff.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 74.

        16, Letter from Lieutenant-General Leonidas Polk, in Shelbyville, to his wife, Frances, at Ashwood in Maury county

Shelbyville, Tennessee,

February 16, 1863

My beloved wife,

I have received your letters since my return and am glad to know you have received mine. Fanny's last informs me of your pleasure at getting mine. Tell her I thank her for her letters. I was quite anxious to know whether the negroes [sic] had been clothed and shod and hired out, all which she gave me information of. The snow much have fallen quite heavily and the cold-the thermoter [sic] at 10-must have caused you all to shrivel up.

I was glad to hear you had so good a supply of wood. You will receive this day my Meck (?) (Dr. W. M. Polk) [sic] who I send to see you on a furlough of twenty days. He will give you all the news and he will also tell you that I have relieved him from his situation as 1st Lieut. of his battery and made him assistant to the Chief of Artillery. I found that he was seriously embarrassed by the weight of responsibility and care that was attached to his affairs. His Captains [sic] health was band and as he was second in command he had to bear up the whole weight of taking care of the battery and fighting it in battle. I perceived this was weighing upon him and making him prematurely grave and I may say old, and though pride and vanity on my part at his advancement and prospects-so much ahead of his years, might have prompted me to keep him where he was, especially as he had the prospect of advancement to the office of Captain might have induced me to continue him where he was, yet my duty to him as a father forbid this and I ordered him to be relieved and put into a position of equal honour and of great usefulness, and where his attainment in his particular branch would be available for the government. He is entirely satisfied with it and indeed had the good sense to desire it,-I think it will be much better for him every way, as it is certainly a great relief to him. I hope his visit will be a great pleasure to you and his sister.

He takes with him a present from me to you. It is a dress pattern. I think it very pretty, and as it is all cotton and spun and woven in Tennessee-home spun-I hope you will value it and am sure you will wear it. The pattern I send you is with the broad stripe and I think will "make up" very prettily. I send also enough of the same style and figure and of other figures for dresses for all the girls, and also for Emily and for Kate, and for Emily's children and for Kate's children. Kate's will have to be kept for her until she comes up in the summer. You can distribute the patterns in any way you please. You will all be very fine in your new cotton dresses, and I hope very comfortable also. The goods cost 50 [cents] per yard at the mill. The mill is on [the] Duck River and turned by water power about two miles below this town. The mill is owned I believe chiefly by the old gentlemen with whom we are living.

The Yankees have not moved as yet, though I think they will do so not many days hence. Their preparations are all pretty well completed and they will no doubt move in the next ten days. Our force has been very much increased by accessions and if they have had additions, so have we;[13] I think our increase has lessened the disparity between their numbers and ours since the battle of Murfreesborough, and General Vandorn [sic] comes to us this week with six thousand cavalry, we shall find ourselves in a better condition to encounter them than at the last battles. We shall certainly make a stand this side of the mountains[14] and I see no reason why we should not give a good account of ourselves. Our trust is in the living God, to whom we look for wisdom to guide us and courage to sustain us; and may He be with us ever more!

I have completed and sent off the reports of the battles of Shiloh and Perryville and am very well satisfied with them both. They are clear and precise and I think will prove satisfactory and creditable to my command. The [report for the] battle of Murfreesborough I will complete so soon as I can get hold of the reports of my subordinate commanders. They are coming in now. I shall immediately write up all I can in advance of the coming in of the reports.

I am very well and quite comfortably situated in every respect. Meck will tell you of my general condition and surroundings.

Mr. (W. D.) Gale is with me and makes himself very useful. I like him very much. As he sleeps in the room with me I have seen a good deal of him, and find him a very estimable gentleman of high principle and much more than ordinary application and intelligence. Harry Yeatman is also with me and is likewise a very clever fellow and very useful. Richmond has gone to the capitol of Virginia [sic] to see after my affairs.[15] He will not be back for some days.

Willy Huger writes me he is doing very well, is on his crutches and is getting on as well as can be desired.

I think the general prospects of peace are increasing though we must have some battles yet before it is effected. I do not think it probable the war will last beyond the summer, perhaps not beyond spring.

Give my love to all the dear girls and to Hamilton, his wife and the little fellows, and tell Frank that General Rabbit send his love to him.

Ever dear wife affectionately yours,

L. Polk

W. P. A. Civil War Records, Vol. 3, pp. 38-39.

        16, Colonel Beatty's second ride over the Stones River battlefield

To-day I rode over the battle-field, starting at the river and following the enemy's line off to their left, then crossing over to the right of our line, and following it to the left. For miles through the woods evidences of the terrible conflict meet one at every step. Trees peppered with bullets and buckshot, and now and then one cut down by a cannon ball; unexploded shell, solid shot, dead horses, broken caissons, haversacks, old shoes, hats, fragments of muskets, and unused cartridges, are to be seen everywhere. In an open space in the oak woods is a long strip of fresh earth, in which forty-one sticks are standing, with intervals between them of perhaps a foot. Here forty-one poor fellows lie under the fresh earth, with nothing but the forty-one little sticks above to mark the spot. Just beyond this are twenty-five sticks, to indicate the last resting place of twenty-five brave men; and so we found these graves in the woods, meadows, corn-fields, cotton-fields, everywhere. We stumbled on grave in a solitary spot in the thick cedars, where sunshine never penetrates. At the head of the little mount of fresh earth a round stick was standing, and on the top of this was an old felt hat; the hat was still doing duty over the head, if not the head, of the dead soldier who lay there. The rain and sun and growing vegetation of one summer will render it impossible to find these graves. The grass will cover the fresh earth, the sticks will either rot or become displaced, and then there will be nothing to indicate that-

"Perhaps this neglected spot is laid

Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;

Hands that the rod of empire might have swayed,

Or waked the ecstasy the living lyre."

Beatty, Citizen Soldier, pp. 219-220.

        16, Request for establishment of state courts in West Tennessee

Head-Quarters District of Jackson

13th Army Corps, Department of the Tennessee,.

Jackson, Tenn., Feby 16th 1863

His Excellency

Gov. Johnson

At the request of many of your personal and political friends I write you to inquire whether some steps cannot be taken, or, some plan devised, to reorganize and reestablish the Law Courts in West Tennessee.[16] The whole community, is suffering to an extent not readily understood by the mere looker on, in consequence of the failure of the Courts of Justice and in many instance, the total destruction of the Records and papers in the clerks['] offices of the Western District. Complaints are daily made by good and loyal citizens to Genl. Sullivan at this post to devise some plan of relief, but as military law is deficient in affording the necessary relief, we have all concluded to ask you advice in the premises; and if you think it advisable, to appoint Judges from among our Union Lawyers, who shall hold their offices, until such time as the Legislature of the State may convene, or an election may be held –

The Judges in this end of the State utterly refuse to hold their Court and some of them, have for more than a year past absented themselves from the State claiming in other States, the protection of the rebel forces, and rebel laws.

I would be glad to hear from you on this subject and receive your permission to read your reply to the Union Club at Memphis and at Jackson –

You can address me at Jackson Care of my Brother Genl. Sullivan

Respectfully your friend

T. L. Sullivan

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol., 6, pp. 144-145.

        16, Cattle foraging and capture of Dunc Cooper, guerrilla chief in Lewis County

PULASKI, TENN., February 16, 1864.

Lieut.-Col. BOWERS, Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Nashville:

Railroad is finished and in running order. Trains can safely run to this place. One of my mounted squads, while out obtaining cattle in Lewis County, captured the noted guerrilla chief Dunc Cooper and 10 of his men. He was on his way [so he says] to burn bridges on the railroad.

G. M. DODGE, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. II, p. 404.

        16, "Fires"

An alarm was given about 10 o'clock Sunday night [14th], which proved to be a false one. About 12 o'clock another alarm rang forth, and this time the blaze indicated a fearful conflagration in South Nashville, and which proved to be the burning of the stable and feed crib, together with a large amount of fodder, belonging to W.H. Wilkinson, Esq., all of which were totally consumed, and the rear part of his dwelling slightly injured. By turning out in Georgia summer costume, the Squire succeeded in saving his two horses and cow, and bringing to his aid Deluge No. 3, whose members speedily quenched the flames, enabling the Squire and his family to enjoy the luxury of their own bed the remainder of the night. There seems to be little doubt that the fire was the work of an incendiary.

Nashville Dispatch, February 16, 1864.

        16, Court Martial[17] of Brigadier General James G. Spears[18]

Civil War Union Court-Martial Case Files[19]

Although the vast majority of courts-martial relate to enlisted men, there are several cases that pertain to general officers. One such case involves James G. Spears, who helped organize the First Tennessee (Union) Infantry in 1861 and became its lieutenant colonel Spears was later placed in command of a brigade in the Army of the Ohio and attained the rank of brigadier general. He was a slave-owning Unionist from Tennessee and believed the Emancipation Proclamation was illegal and unconstitutional and that only states could change slave laws. In February of 1864, General Spears was brought to trial in Knoxville, Tennessee, on charges including "using disloyal language."[20]

Several officers testified about conversations with General Spears concerning the administration in Washington and the topic of slavery. One Union officer testified that General Spears expressed the view that the President of the United States had the right to use slaves for military purposes but could not affect the institution of slavery itself for it was governed by state laws. Another officer testified that while discussing the war and slavery with the accused, General Spears felt "that there had not been a time since the rebellion began that the war could have been closed in sixty days; that he believed it was the policy of those in power to continue the war as a pretext or excuse to interfere with the institution of slavery, and when he found this to be the case, the Government might go to hell and he would be found fighting in the field against it."

Spears was found guilty of "using disloyal language" and "conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline" and sentenced to be dismissed from the service of the United States. The findings and sentence were disapproved by Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield, commanding the Department of the Ohio, because "using disloyal language is an offense not specified in the rules and articles of war and hence one over which a general court martial has no jurisdiction." Although Schofield acknowledged the lack of jurisdiction in the case, he recommended that the accused be dismissed anyway. This recommendation was forwarded for action to the President of the United States. President Lincoln concurred with Schofield's suggestion and on August 17, 1864, penned "summarily dismissed" on the case file, thus ending the military career of Brig. Gen. James G. Spears.

Civil War Union Court-Martial Case Files.[21]

        16, Domestic fuel supply in Nashville

Wood and Coal. - The Nashville Wood Company have on hand a large supply of wood and coal, which they are selling at very moderate prices, and can furnish in any reasonable quantity. They furnish full measure, according to the standard, a full cord of wood can be bought, already sawed and split, as easily and as accurately measured as if prepared in the usual size and four feet long. A great saving is thus effected to the purchaser, as well of trouble as of money. A single call upon Col. Bemen, the Agent of the Company, will insure a faithful fulfillment of an order, and the purchaser will be so well pleased that he will aver after patronize this company.

Nashville Dispatch, February 16, 1864.

        16, Attack on the Federal garrison at Athens

FEBRUARY 16, 1865.-Attacks upon the garrisons of Athens and Sweet Water, Tenn.


No. 1.-Gen. Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army commanding Army of Northern Virginia.

No. 2.-Brig. Gen. John C. Vaughn, C. S. Army.

No. 1.

Report of Gen. Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army, commanding Army of Northern Virginia.


Gen. Echols reports that detachments of Vaughn's cavalry struck the railroad beyond Knoxville at Sweet Water and Athens, capturing the garrison at both places. Sixty men of Second Ohio Regiment, with horses and equipments, were taken.

R. E. LEE.

No. 2.

Reports of Brig. Gen. John C. Vaughn, C. S. Army.

BRISTOL, February 20, 1865.

A small force from my command struck the railroad at Athens, west of Knoxville, capturing the garrison, which has caused two regiments to be sent below from this force above Knoxville.

J. C. VAUGHN, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. I, p. 47.

        16, Attack and capture of Federal garrison at Sweet Water

FEBRUARY 16, 1865.-Attacks upon the garrisons of Athens and Sweet Water, Tenn.


No. 1.-Gen. Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army commanding Army of Northern Virginia.

No. 2.-Brig. Gen. John C. Vaughn, C. S. Army.

No. 1.

Report of Gen. Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army, commanding Army of Northern Virginia.


Gen. Echols reports that detachments of Vaughn's cavalry struck the railroad beyond Knoxville at Sweet Water and Athens, capturing the garrison at both places. Sixty men of Second Ohio Regiment, with horses and equipments, were taken.

R. E. LEE.

Hon. J. C. BRECKINRIDGE, Secretary of War.

No. 2.

Reports of Brig. Gen. John C. Vaughn, C. S. Army.

BRISTOL, February 20, 1865.

A small force from my command struck the railroad at Athens, west of Knoxville, capturing the garrison, which has caused two regiments to be sent below from this force above Knoxville.

J. C. VAUGHN, Brig.-Gen.

BRISTOL, February 23, 1865.

Capt. Maston, with seventy-five men from my brigade, captured the garrison at Sweet Water, forty-five miles below Knoxville, sixty mounted men, horses, and equipments of Second Ohio Regt. [sic]

J. C. VAUGHN, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. I, p. 47.

CITY POINT, VA., February 25, 1865.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

The Richmond papers to day report nothing of interest. The following is taken from the Examiner:

Vaughn's Cavalry in East Tennessee.

HDQRS., February 24, 1865.

Hon. J. C. BRECKINRIDGE, Secretary of War:

Gen. Echols reports that detachments of Vaughn's cavalry struck the railroad beyond Knoxville at Sweet Water and Athens, capturing the garrisons at both places. Sixty men of the Second Ohio Regiment, with their horses and equipments, were captured.

R. E. LEE.

U. S. GRANT, Lieut.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. I, p. 766.

        16, Economic prognosis for the Volunteer State near the end of the war


Detailed Account of Its Resources, Climates, Productions, Manufactures, Railroad System, &c., &c.

From Our Own Correspondent.

Nashville, Tenn., February, 1865 [sic].

Tennessee is a Free State! In convention this has been unanimously declared, and upon the 22d of February, [sic] 1865, the people of the State will ratify this Christian declaration.

Since the commencement of the war, at least ten thousand citizens of the North have permanently located themselves on Tennessee soil. Nearly all the cotton baled in this State last season was raised by Northern [sic] men. Thousands of acres of land are now for sale in different sections of the State. Tennessee, for the first time during the war, is free from rebel rule, and, with the exception of small nomadic bands of guerrillas, in the extreme eastern and western portions of the State, will continue to remain so. It is the sincere desire of Gov. Johnson, and other prominent Union men, that the tide of emigration may increase in strength, and that the chances for a hundred thousand homes may all be taken, as speedily as possible, [sic] Tennessee is a dangerous rival of Pennsylvania, and boasts of minerals which the latter has not, while the cotton raised in the middle section of the State is only second to that known as Sea Island. The war is over in Tennessee, and I propose to give you a concise and correct sketch of this State, partially collected from a three-years' observation, and partially from the experiences of eminent dwellers herein.


The area of the State is about 45,000 square miles or 28,000,000 of acres. The longest line that can be drawn in the state is from the southwest to the northeast angle-a distance of nearly six hundred miles. The medial length is about 430, and the medial breadth is 104 miles.

In the way of cities, towns, mountains, and rivers, Tennessee presents as great a diversity as that of any State in the Union. All the varieties of soil and scenery to be found in the Western country are exhibited in Tennessee.


Iron ore, of all others the most important to society, is found in great abundance in nearly every county in East and Middle Tennessee. Many of the mines before the war had been quite extensively worked, supplying the country with iron and castings equal, if not superior, to any in the United States. Copper and tin have been found in large quantities. Near Cleveland, East Tennessee, exist the largest copper mine in the world. Lead has been found in many places, but there is no evidence of extensive veins of this ore. Extensive beds of stone-coal exist in Middle Tennessee, while mountains of it abound in the Eastern [sic] section. The fine coal districts through which the Nashville and Chattanooga road runs, exhibit unmistakable evidence of the existence of oil, Burr and other mill-stone, grit, marble, rock crystals, gypsum, paints and dye-stuffs, and salts and nitrous earths, may be procured in any quantities. In the mountainous districts; and, perhaps, no State in the Union is so well supplied with fine mineral springs. Some years ago, on the confines of Georgia and North Carolina, the search for gold was an object of profitable enterprise. A most excellent quarry of variegated marble-a specimen of which may be seen at the capitol at Washington-exists eleven miles from this city.


In this medial region, between the southern and northern extremities of the country, the climate is, of course, delightful, and may be ranked among the healthiest in the world. The Summers [sic] are not excessively warm for the latitude, and the Winters [sic] west of the mountains are mild, but sometimes rendered somewhat unpleasant by their occasional humidity. Perhaps there are no two contour sections of equal extent and similar latitude in the United States which differ more in general appearance and in the temperature of the climate, than do the eastern and western parts of Tennessee. In East Tennessee the country is too elevated and cold for the culture of cotton, and a sufficiency is not raised for domestic consumption; whilst in Middle and West Tennessee it is the agricultural staple. The Winters [sic] in East Tennessee are but little milder than they are in Ohio and Indiana, and deep snows are not infrequent. In elevated and favorable positions this state is almost universally healthy. In the valleys, adjoining stagnant marshes, and on the alluvions [sic] of the large rivers, it is here, as elsewhere in similar situations, more or less sickly.


All the fruit trees common in the western country are found in this State. Juniper, red cedar and pine exist in great abundance. Beautiful groves of pine abound in the mountains, and spirits turpentine, tar, resin and lampblack may be manufactured in considerable quantities. Apples, pears, plums and peaches grow in great perfection. The mulberry tree flourishes as well in Tennessee as in any State in the Union. It is to found in almost every grove, and seems difficult to eradicate. I certainly believe that if the culture of this useful and indigenous three should be especially regarded, silk would become, as cotton is now, the staple of the country. Before the war, some little attention had been paid to the cultivation of the vine, and it was found to flourish admirably. Taking the whole produce of the State in view, cotton is unquestionably the staple article of growth; but, as before observed the diversified soil and climate provide all the products of the Western States in more than ample abundance for domestic consumption.

Before the war, Nashville had become a very extensive produce market. The amount of produce shipped during the year 1860 from this point was far beyond what a casual observer would suppose. The following estimates are gleaned from very accurate sources, and are not far out of the way:

Up to within a few years of the war, farmers and planters in Middle Tennessee, who had previously made cotton, had abandoned its cultivation, and turned their attention to grain and stock. Notwithstanding this, however, the shipments of the article from this point during that year was upward of 100,000 bales. It must be remembered that Memphis-not Nashville-is the great cotton port. There were also ten thousand hogsheads of tobacco shipped from this point during the same year. Beside this amount, it is safe to say that an equal number of hogsheads more were controlled from this point, of which the regular shippers took no account. It has not been until within a few years that wheat-growing was pursued by Tennessee planter to any considerable extent. But, up to the commencement of the war, from a couple of years previous, a revolution had occurred in this branch of husbandry. In 1860, four millions of bushels were purchased in this city. The amount of corn shipped the same year was ten thousand bushels;-[sic] a large amount, it would appear, but I have the opinion and authority of several old extensive dealers in making this statement. Nashville was one of the most extensive bacon markets of the South. Up to 1861, it annually furnished to Georgia, South Carolina and other localities, upward of fifty thousand casks of bacon. Tennessee bacon, I may add, is in higher favor in Southern markets than that from any other State. In addition to the main staples above-mentioned, other grains, wool, feathers, fruits, root crops, &c., &c., formed no inconsiderable items in the produce market of this city. Hog slaughtering was carried on to a great extent in this city, Chattanooga, Knoxville and other places. In 1859, one firm, in one season, slaughtered 55,000 hogs.


Under this head I call the attention of capital and labor. Any amount of both may be expended here, and now is the appointed time. Before the war this State, with all its advantages in this particular, was far behind Georgia, Louisiana and the Carolinas. During the existence of the war, nine-tenths of all the foundries and rolling mills have been destroyed, while two-thirds of the cotton mills (few in number) have met the same fate. Thousands of flouring mills, slaughter houses, and cotton and hay houses have been put out of the way by various processes of destruction. While millions of dollars worth of the most improved machinery has been ruined. In the most flourishing conditions of the State's manufacture, millions of dollars were annually paid for articles manufactured out of the state, which could be made here.

It is an axiom, as true as trite, that no place has been or can be permanently prosperous without manufactures. A prosperity, based exclusively upon a commercial business, must necessarily be ephemeral. Take any city, for instance, which depends upon any one or more of the great agricultural staples for support, business and growth, it is liable to become paralyzed in its energies and interests, not only by failure in the production of such stables, but from their diversion to other points whose eligibility gives them the advantage and preference as markets. Such also are the fluctuations in the price of articles of produce, that no certainty of successful operations can be relied upon; and where uncertain, feverish and exciting speculation underlies the business of any community, there is no guarantee of permanent prosperity; whereas, where manufacturing is carried on successful, they is a steady and substantial growth.

A few years before the war and impetus had been given to manufacturing interests at the South which never before had been felt. Mills and factories for the manufacture of Cotton, woolen and linen fabrics were on the point of being established in various parts of Middle Tennessee. A movement was on foot to establish four cotton factories in this and adjoining counties. Certainly there is not valid reason why such enterprises cannot be established and carried on here successfully, as both the raw materials and the market for manufactured goods are here at our very door. The cotton supply is good, and the demand for manufactured cotton fabrics in the same ratio; and while the raw material would cost the manufacturer here less than it would his Eastern rival at his mill, the kind of labor employed would cost no more than it does in New England. It is confidently hoped by the prominent men of Tennessee that ere long the hum of many spindles and noise of many shuttles may be heard in our midst.

In connection with cotton manufactories, there is little doubt that others would be established for the manufacture of lubricating oil, and oil-cake [sic] from the seed, both of which, judiciously managed could be made highly profitable.

There are many other manufacturing enterprises which might be established immediately, requiring but little capital, that would, without doubt, prove highly remunerative. Soaps, candles, blacking, &c., &c., might be made here as well as elsewhere. I believe the day is not far distant when all these and many others may be made here; and I look confidently to that bright-coming [sic] and swift-footed [sic] future when Tennessee will stand before the country and the world as a great manufacturing State.


No skillful and intelligent capitalist living would take hold of an enterprise in a new Sate, without first glancing at its railroad system. In connection with manufactures, then, I will say a few words about the railroads of Tennessee, all of which, thanks to the Government, are in working order. As I stated in a "War Picture," some time before the battle of Nashville, the railroad shops in this city (carried on by the Government now, of course) are the largest and most complete in the world.

Four great and important railroads radiate from Nashville-one to each point of the compass. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad is a direct route to the North, east and West; branch roads connect Memphis and Clarksville. The Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, the pioneer work of the State, connects Tennessee with the improvements of Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas, and connecting with the East Tennessee and Virginia Road, is a direct out to the Northeaster cities. Branch roads exist in various portions of Middle Tennessee. These are the Shelbyville, eight miles long; the McMinnville, thirty-three; the Winchester, thirty-eight, and the Sewanee Coal Mines Road, twenty miles long. Several other branch roads were in agitation at the commencement of the war. The Northwestern Railroad, the construction of which was urged and brought about by Gov. Johnson, runs to the Tennessee River. By this route, in a short time, a connection can be made with the Mobile and Ohio, which gives an immediate outlet to the Gulf. The Tennessee and Alabama Railroad runs directly north to Decatur, connecting with the Charleston and Memphis Road. A glance at any reliable railroad map will verify my statements, and inform the reader more than I can do in so brief a space.


This State is divided into three grand parts. All that portion east of the Cumberland Mountains is known as East Tennessee, and has justly been called the Switzerland of America. Its war history will occupy the proudest pages in the story of the rebellion. The country is romantically diversified, and contains some of the most fertile country, the most charming rivers, the most stately mountains, and some of the bravest men and noblest women in America. The Alleghanies [sic] branch out into a great many ridges, the most lofty of which are the Cumberland, Laurel and others. Stone, Iron, Bold, Unica are prominent peaks of a continued chain of mountains. There are many other ridges and mountains east of the Cumberland of considerable magnitude, such as Walden's Ridge, Copper Ridge, Clinch Mountain, Bay's Mountain, &c., &c. East Tennessee, although sufficiently fertile for ordinary farming, can never expect to vie with the middle and eastern section in profitable agriculture; but she has an in[ex]haustible water power, which if properly applied, would make it one of the finest manufacturing districts in America. Besides, with the exception of the single article of cotton, there is scarcely a vegetable product common in the States which could not be advantageously cultivated. In former times considerable attention was paid to the raising of horses, cattle and hogs, which were driven over the mountains to the Atlantic couture for sale.

Knoxville, the metropolis of East Tennessee, and the home of the redoubtable Parson Brownlow, was laid out in 1792, and named in honor of Gen. Henry Knox, then Secretary of War. The town is beautifully situated on several high bluffs, on the right hand of the Holsten River, and contains, besides the garrison, about 6,000 inhabitants. Its elevated situation commands a magnificent view of the river, while the blue mountains of Chilhowee, thirty miles distant, "lend enchantment to the view." Knoxville is the head of river navigation, though in high water boats ascent to Kingsport. The city is well supplied with handsome store-houses, hotels, and many tasteful private residences, while among its public edifices the State Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb is especially worthy of note. The University of East Tennessee, more remarkable for its beautiful location than architectural elegance, stands on an eminence commanding an extensive view in every direction. The military history of Knoxville, including the siege and the awful destruction of property in the lower part of the city, is well known.


Middle Tennessee is that portion of the State lying west of the Cumberland range and east of the Tennessee river. It is for the most part a fertile, undulating country. Parts of the extreme eastern counties are somewhat mountainous and broken, and there is a chain of hills, between the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, and similar elevations between [the] Duck and Elk rivers. But a large proportion of the lands in this section, in addition to their acknowledged fertility, lie well for cultivation. There are many handsome towns in Middle Tennessee, among which Murfreesboro, Shelbyville, Columbia, Gallatin, Edgefield, Franklin, Lebanon and Pulaski are the most prominent. Middle Tennessee has been very celebrated for the raising of fine turn horses.

Nashville, the capital of the State, is the most wealthy and flourishing city in Tennessee. The city is about four miles long by two wide, and contained, before the war, a population of nearly 37,000. It now contains, including Government employes, (not soldiers) toward 75,000 inhabitants. Before the ware there was, perhaps, no city in the Union of the size and importance of Nashville about which so little was known abroad. The fact of its existence, and that it was the capital of Tennessee, was about all the information that a stranger, outside of the State, or beyond contiguous portions of border States, possessed in relation to it. Millions of dollars would be invested in lots and other property here if the city was better known. If she would prosper to the extent that she should, her eligible location, her facilities as a great point of trade, for manufactures, for education, for health, &c., &c., just become familiar to people at a distance at which she stands from the sea-coast [sic], renders her comparatively safe from the ravages of those fearful epidemics which are frequently the scourge of seaboard town and lower countries.

The State Capital proudly crowns the loftiest eminence in the city. Connoisseurs, practical architects and traveled gentlemen of intelligence who have visited Nashville, pronounce it the most completely-finished edifice within their knowledge. I have seen several cuts of it, all of which give but a faint idea of its magnitude, elegance and exquisite symmetry of proportion. Its cost was a million of dollars. There are may other prominent buildings in Nashville and vicinity, among which are the University of Nashville, Western Military Institute, Shelby Medical College, Nashville Female Academy, Penitentiary, City Hospital, State Lunatic Asylum, Tennessee Blind School, Protestant Orphan Asylum, St. Cecilia's Academy, House of Industry, Courthouse, City Hall, Masonic Hall, and others. There are twenty-one churches, several banks, water-works, gas-works, &c., &c. The railroad bridge, which spans the Cumberland at this point, is a great structure. Its length is 700 feet, in four spans-two fixed spans, one on each side, and two draw spans. Each fixed span is 200 feet in the clear between supports, and the clear opening of each draw span is 120 feet, making it the longest railroad draw in the country-that at Rock Island being 120 feet on one side, and 116 on the other. The total length of draw from one extremity to the other of the moveable portion is 280 feet, and its entire weight is computed at 285 tons. It can readily be turned into position by one man in four minutes, and by three men in two minutes and a half. It will be recollected that Gen Floyd burned the bridge in February 1862, but it was rebuilt the following May. Floyd also cut the suspension bridge at this point, it being one of the handsomest structures of the kind in the country. It was built by M. C. Field, brother of Cyrus W. Field, of Atlantic-cable fame. This bridge has never been replaced. It was 700 feet long, and it height was 110 feet above the low-water mark. Since its occupation by the National troops, Nashville has, during the war, been the most prominent military post in the country; and, only a very short time ago, a glorious battle was fought and won, in which the forts south of the city participated.


West Tennessee lies between the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers, and contains hundreds of fine plantations. It has fewer cities than either the Eastern or Middle divisions, and has raised fewer prominent men. The country presents, in the main, a gentle, undulating surface, abounds in creeks and springs, is of a light, sandy soil, and is well adapted to cotton, which is the great staple. Horses, cattle, sheep and hogs are raised in West Tennessee in considerable abundance.

Memphis is the most important and most flourishing city on the Mississippi River between St. Louis and New Orleans. Thirty years ago Memphis was an unimportant village, but began to exhibit signs of future greatness about the year 1845, and in 1860 contained 30,000 inhabitants. Its location in 750 miles above New Orleans, 420 below St. Louis, and 209 miles northwest [sic] from Nashville. The bluff on which it stands is elevated 47 feet; above the highest floods, while a base of sandstone projects into the stream, and forms a convenient landing. The appearance of Memphis from the river is remarkable fine, and the city can be seen from ascending boats when three miles below, and from descending boats when six miles above. The city contains some superb private residences and public buildings, among the latter of which are Odd Fellow's Hall, Eagan's Building, Orphan asylum, and two theatres. As a railroad center, Memphis enjoyed fine facilities before the war. A serious drawback in the good appearance of Memphis is an utter destitution of any kind of rock within man miles around, such as would be available for building, macadamized, &c. The soil being a light clay, becomes disagreeably muddy, or dry, accruing to the weather. Memphis has a bright future and a great destiny before her. She also appears handsomely in the history of the rebellion. The naval engagement near the city, over two years and a half ago, was one of the most brilliant and complete affairs of the war.

Benjamin C. Truman.

New York Times, February 16, 1865.

        16-19, Pursuit of guerrillas near Franklin [see January 16-February 20, Scouts about Franklin, above]


[1] According to Long, Almanac, p. 172, OR, I, 7, 423, 645, indicates rolling mills belonging to "Hon. John Bell" which was "a short distance above fort Donelson" had been burned, by a U. S. N. gunboat, or mortar boat. The letters, from Foote, do not use the name "Tennessee ironworks." Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee does not mention it. Long, Almanac contends it was the St. Louis.

[2] As cited in Robert H. White, Messages of the Governors of Tennessee, 1857-1869, Vol. 5, (Nashville: Tennessee Historical Commission, 1959), p. 364. [Hereinafter cited as: White, Messages of the Governors.]

[3] As cited in Messages of the Governors, Vol. 5, p. 364.

[4] As cited in: [Hereinafter cited as Kimberly Family Correspondence.]

[5] All spelling is original to the document.

[6] Shortly thereafter Harris left Nashville, declining to stay and fight for all he held dear. The home guard thereafter was put to work removing the military wares in the city.

[7] This letter was written by Margaret ["Maggie"] L. Lindsley, daughter of Adrian Van Sinderen Lindsle, Postmaster and attorney in Nashville. She and her family strongly supported the Union. In this letter, published without her permission in the New York Independent, May 1, 1862, under the title "A Young Lady's Letter." In it Maggie describes her joy at the Union victory at Fort Donelson, the re-introduction of the United States flag in Nashville, the chaos in the city as the great panic took place, and the occupation of the city by Federal forces.

[8] "GALEGROUP - TSLA 19TH CN  IE!" Mggie Lindsley's Journal: Nashville, Tennessee, 1864; Washington, D. C. 1865. Including Letters written to her in 1862 from Professor Benjamin Silliman of Yale College, (Privately Printed, 1977).[ Hereinafter cited: as: Maggie Linsdley's Journal. See also: Anecdotes, pp. 267-268.]

[9] Elvira J. Powers, Hospital Pencillings [sic]; Being a Diary While in Jefferson General Hospital, Jeffersonville, Ind., and Others at Nashville, Tennessee, As Matron and Visitor, (Edward L. Mitchel: 24 Congress Street: Boston, 1866) pp. 14-19. [Hereinafter cited as: Powers, Pencillings.]

[10] Secret sessions were not unknown to the Tennessee General Assembly.

[11] The Great Panic: Being Incidents Connected with two weeks of the War in Tennessee. By an Eye-witness, (Nashville: Johnson & Whiting, Publishers, 1862; rpt. Charles Elder Bookseller, Nashville, 1977). [Hereinafter cited as The Great Panic.] (The eye witness was Nashville newsman John Miller McKee with the Union and American.)

[12] It is not clear what date "this morning" was. The piece was written on February 27; then again he may be referring to February 16 or maybe 17. The extra is not extant.

[13] Brigadier-General Gideon J. Pillow, one of Polk's Episcopalian planter neighbors, was in charge of conscription and if this is any indication, he was doing a good job of conscripting young boys for the Confederate army. It was probably the only good job he did for the Army of Tennessee, in any event.

[14] The Army of Tennessee would not make a stand "this side of the mountains." The Federal army under Major-General Rosecrans would push the Confederates out of Middle Tennessee and early September, 1863.

[15] These men were most likely personal assistants to the Lieutenant-General.

[16] State courts would not be reinstated in West Tennessee until August 1864. As cited from Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 145, n. 2,Ernest W. Hoooper, Memphis, Tennessee: Federal Occupation and Reconstruction 1862-1870 (PhD dissertation, University of North Carolina, 1957), p. 90.

[17] Brigadier General Spears was no stranger to controversy. On September 3, 1863, officers of the Sixth and Third East Tennessee Volunteer Infantry (U. S.) threatened to resign rather than be under his command. Their petition was formulated at McMinnville and sent to Major-General William S. Rosecrans. See September 3, 1863, Sixth and Third East Tennessee Volunteer Infantry officers (U. S.) threaten to resign rather than be under the command of Brigadier-General James G. Spears above.

[18] Excerpt from Trevor K. Plante, The Shady Side of the Family Tree, as cited in:

[19] Ed. note – the only reference to this courts martial in the OR is in Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 52, indicating Spears was placed under arrest in Knoxville on February 16, 1863.

[20] General Court Martial Orders, No. 267, War Department, August 30, 1864, RG 153, NARA.

[21] File MM1367, entry 15, Court-Martial Case Files, RG 153, NARA. As cited in: Further research in these NARA files was not possible but would most likely have provided a great deal more such information on Federal military justice.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-770-1090 ext. 115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


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