Thursday, February 26, 2015

2.26.2015 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        26, Report on Delays in Mail Transit and Passenger Holdups Due to Non-standard Railroad Time

The Mail Route North.-The following letter, which speaks for itself, has been handed us for publication by the Postmaster of this city:

Knoxville, Feb. 21, 1861.

Dr. S. L. Riddle, Postmaster, New Orleans:

Sir-I arrived at this place at 81/2 A. M., just in time to be too late, yet in time to see the train leave the depot. Two minutes delay would have taken all the mails and about ninety passengers. As the weather is fine, and the railroad in good order, there is no good reason why we should not have connected; as it is, all have to lie over twenty four hours.

There is a bad feeling existing between the two routs, for which the community must be the sufferers, and that a local matter, in the great chain of routes from New York to New Orleans. The East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad is running a schedule by Washington city time, and the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad by mean time. There is about forty minute's difference.

I will recommend to the Postmaster General that the New Orleans mails going north be sent from Chattanooga, via Atlanta and Augusta, Ga., until there is an understanding they will go through. You will please inform the traveling community that if they take this route they will be delayed at this place twenty-four hours, which has been the case since the 1st inst.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

George Whitman, Special Agent Post Office Dept.

Daily Picayune, February 26, 1861[1]

        26, Condition of 52nd Regiment, Tennessee Volunteers

HDQRS. FIFTY-SECOND Regt. [sic] TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS, Henderson Station, February 26, 1862.


DEAR SIR: Yours of this date received. In answer I have to say that I have under my command the Fifty-second Tennessee Regiment, of which I am colonel, numbering 760 men, of which 260 are sick; we have arms except 100 double-barrel shot-guns; Capt. C. S. Robertson's cavalry company, numbering 140 men, rank and file, armed with double-barrel shot-guns and sabers; about 251 of the Fifty-first Tennessee Regiment, under command of Lieut.-Col. Chester, for whom he has secured about 100 common sporting rifles, repaired and cleaned. They are all stationed at this place. I send out Capt. Robertson's cavalry every few days to scout the country from Clifton to Savannah. From scouts returned this evening I am reliably informed that no Federal cavalry has been sending guards in the direction of Savannah by Purdy.

Any suggestions you may make or commands to give will be gladly received and promptly executed. Can you by any possible means secure for me the musket or rifle with bayonets?

Very respectfully,

B. J. LEA, Col., C. S. Army, Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 910.

        26, Confederate reconnaissance to and about Nashville including destruction of the Minna Tonka[2]

FEBRUARY 26, 1862.-Scout to Nashville, Tenn.

Report of Capt. John H. Morgan, Kentucky Cavalry.

BUCHANAN, TENN., February 27, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that on yesterday, the 26th instant, left camp with 12 men for Nashville. About 300 yards this side of last toll-gate towards town I left this pike and crossed through Mr. Tribe's. farm to the Lebanon pike. Left one man near pike to bring us intelligence of the enemy if any should come along the pike. We then followed the Lebanon pike until we reached the City. When inside the City limits found the pike covered with water, it having been backed up by the great rise in the river. Just at that point met a farmer, who said he was a Union man. Pressed him in and made him guide as over the backwater. He took us for Federals, as he afterwards told me. We proceeded into the City on Front street as far as the water-works, and there saw a steamboat--the Minna Tonka. She laid about 300 yards out in the vast field which covered the whole valley. She was chained fore and aft to trees. She laid not over 500 yards above the gunboats and their large fleet of transports. Could see the soldiers distinctly sitting upon the boats, and they were full of them. Young Buckner, Warfield, and Garrett took possession of a skiff and made oars of a piece of plank fence; boarded the steamboat; found several men on board who seemed preparing to get up steam to drop down the stream to the gunboats; made the crew leave in a boat, and set fire in several places to the steamer, and reached the shore in safety. The troops in the transports could see what we were doing. My orders were to fire the boat, and then cut her loose and let her drop down stream and set the other boats on fire, but this I found impossible to do, on account of the steamer being so securely moored with chain cables. At least 2,000 citizens gathered around us while we were waiting for the boys to get back from the steamer. They begged us to leave; told us the Federal cavalry were scouring the City; that a large party of cavalry had just passed through the street we were on. Sent all my men but 5 out the pike, with direction to halt at the cemetery Remained with the 5 men about thirty minutes, until I saw a large body of cavalry going out Murfreesborough pike at a rapid rate; then started after my command. When we were half way through the water that was upon the pike a large body of Federals rode after us until they reached the water, when they halted, much to my satisfaction. We then retraced our steps back to this pike; reached our man who was standing picket just before sundown. About three minutes before we reached him he said seven officers--and one of them a general--had passed through and stopped at the gate where he was standing, not 20 yards distant. He was in a clump of cedars. When we reached him the officers were not over 700 yards distant. Kept our position about an hour. A Mr. James came out and informed us that there were men encamped at the toll-gate that had refused him a permit to leave the City, but he walked along with them as they came out, and as they were going into camp he passed along. He had just left when another man rode up. I halted him. He asked me if I was one of our pickets. I replied, if he meant Federals, we were. He said that was what he meant. I then asked him for his pass. He pulled out one from Gen. Mitchel, allowing him to pass and re-pass the lines. He did not want me to keep it, but I told him it might be forgery, and that I wished to take it in and see if it was all right. He has been professing to be a Southern-rights [man]; he is a Lincolnite. Lieut. West and myself then rode up to the toll-gate. I asked the man who lived there who were those officers who had just passed through. Said he did not know, but that they were looking out for a place to camp. While talking heard a body of cavalry approaching. We fell back to the place where our men were. I waited a few minutes. The night being very dark, could not see more than 50 yards ahead of us. While sitting listening I heard the clink of sabers about 60 yards from us. They had left the pike and were riding on the dirt alongside of the pike to keep their horses from making a noise. We were close to the fence behind cedar trees. They rode up within 50 feet of us and stopped about five minutes. I dismounted and took a shot-gun and started for the fence, where I could easily have killed two or three of them. Just as I was raising to put my gun through the fence they called to each other to fire, which they did and ran for the City. We returned the fire. One of my men (Peter Atherton) was severely wounded, being shot through the thigh. Reached camp at 12 o'clock last night.


JOHN H. MORGAN, Cmdg. Squadron.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, pp. 434-435.

        26, Report on preparations for Confederate guerrilla attacks on Tennessee River traffic

We learn that some of our citizens are preparing for effective service on the Tennessee River. They will go out in squads of not more than five or six. Each man is a practised [sic] shot, with a rifle at long range, and each will go prepared with not less than one hundred rounds. They will take with them nothing but ground coffee, relying upon the citizens and their guns for food. They propose in these small squads to guard the Tennessee River. They will take their opportunities from behind trees, log, and in the narrow bends of the river, to pick off the Lincoln pilots. They can plank a Minie-ball in a sheet of foolscap paper, at a distance of six hundred yards; and we venture the assertion that such a corps of sharpshooters will be as great a terror to the enemy's boats as our gunboats were at Fort Donelson.[3] Let each county bordering on the Tennessee River, I West-Tennessee, send a squad of such men on this duty, and the pilots will soon refuse to ascend a stream where death awaits them behind any big tree. A man may face a known or seen danger, but when he cannot divine how, from what quarter, and at what moment the arrow may be sped, he will shrink from it with an unaccountable dread.

Memphis Avalanche, February 26, 1862.[4]

        26, GENERAL ORDERS, NO. 14, relative to granting passes to civilians seeking fugitive slaves and necessity of refusing sanctuary to fugitive slaves


Fort Donelson, February 26, 1862

General Orders, No. 3, of the series of 1861, from Headquarters Department to the Missouri, are still in force and must be observed.

The number of citizens who are applying for permission to pass through the camps to look for their fugitive slaves proves the necessity of the order and its faithful observance. Such permits cannot be granted; therefore the great necessity of keeping out fugitives. Such slaves as were within the lines at the time of the capture of Fort Donelson and such as have been used by the enemy in building the fortifications or in any way hostile to the Government will not be released or permitted to return to their masters but will be employed in the quartermaster's department for the benefit of the [United States] Government.

All officers and companies now keeping slaves so captured will immediately report them to the district quartermaster. Regimental commanders will be held accountable for all violations of this order within their respective commands.

By order of Brig. Gen. U. S. Grant, commanding

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 667.

        26, Brigadier-General Gideon J. Pillow reports to Richmond relative to his statement on the fall of Fort Donelson and his judgment for a "remedy for existing condition of things."

MEMPHIS, February 26, 1862.

(Received Richmond, February 27, 1862.)


Great excitement here and depression in public mind. To correct misapprehension and explain the necessity which compelled capitulation at Donelson I have had my official report published.[5] My judgment is that there is but one remedy for existing condition of things; that is, abandon sea-coast defenses except New Orleans; concentrate all the forces in Tennessee; drive the enemy north of the Ohio River, and press invasion of Ohio, Indiana.[6] [emphasis added] That means we will draw enemy's forces back and relieve the heart of country, and give up control of interior rivers until we can get power on water-causes. Enemy can inflict no great calamity on sea-coast.

If we do not relieve heart of the country, Mississippi River will be opened, and then cause of South is desperate.

GID. J. PILLOW, Brig.-Gen., C. S. Army.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, pp. 908-909.

26, General Buell's Order Regarding the Occupation of Nashville

The following is the order of Gen. Buell to his soldiers when that officer entered Nashville:

General Orders, No. 13.

Headquarters Department of the Ohio,

Nashville, Tenn., February 26, 1862

The General Commanding congratulates his troops that it has been their privilege to restore the national banner to the capital of Tennessee. He believes that thousands of hearts in every party of the State will swell with joy to see that honored flag reinstated in a position from which it was removed in the excitement and folly of an evil hour; that the voice of her own people will soon proclaim its welcome, and that their manhood and patriotism will protect and perpetuate it.

The General does not deem it necessary, though the occasion is a fit one, to remind his troops of the rule of conduct they have hitherto observed and are still to pursue. We are in arms not for the purpose of invading the rights of our fellow countrymen anywhere, but to maintain the integrity of the Union and protect the Constitution under which its people have been prosperous and happy. We cannot therefore look with indifference, on any conduct which is designed to give aid and comfort to those who are endeavoring to defeat those objects; but the action to be taken in such cases rests with certain authorized persons, and is not to be assumed by individual officers and soldier. Peaceable citizens are not to be molested in their personal property. All wrongs to either are to be promptly corrected, and the offenders brought to punishment. To this end all persons are desired to make complaint to the immediate commander of officers or soldiers so offending, and if justice be not done properly, then the next commander, and so on until the wrong is redressed. If the necessities of the public service should require the use of private property to public purposes, fair compensation is to be allowed. No such appropriation of private property is to be made, except by the authority of the highest commander present; and any other officer or soldier who shall presume to exercise such privilege shall be brought to trial. Soldiers are forbidden to enter the residences or grounds of citizens on any plea without authority.

No arrests are to be made without the authority of the Commanding General, except in case of actually offence against the authority of the Government; and in all such cases that fact and circumstances will immediately be reported in writing to headquarters through the intermediate commanders.

The General reminds his officers that the most frequent depredations are those which are committed by the worthless characters who straggle from the ranks on the plea of being unable to march; and where the inability really exists, it will be found in most instances that the soldier has overloaded himself with useless and unauthorized articles. The order already published on this subject must be enforced.

The condition and behavior of a corps are sure indication of the efficiency and fitness of its officers. If any regiment shall be found to disregard that property of conduct, which belongs to soldiers as well as citizens, they must not expect to occupy the posts of honor, but may rest assured that they will be placed in position, where they cannot bring shame on their comrades and the cause they are engaged in. The Government supplies with liberality all the wants of the soldier. The occasional deprivations in hardships, incident to rapid marching, must be borne with patience and fortitude. ''Any officer who neglects to provide properly for his troops, and separates himself from them to seek his own comfort, will be held to a rigid accountability.

By command of Gen. Buell,

James B. Fry, A. A.. G., Chief of Staff

Official, J. M. Wright, A. A. G.

Rebellion Record, Vol. 4, pp. 205-206.

        26, Mocking the Nashville Vigilance Committee

Nashville, if not taken, is evidently in peril. Where is her famous "Vigilance Committee" that was so active a few months ago? Why doesn't it notify the United States army, as it did hundreds of private citizens, to leave within ten days?

Louisville Daily Journal, February 26, 1862. [7]

        26, Reflections on Tennessee Confederate Currency

Tennessee Money.-We have received specimens of one dollar notes, fifty cent notes, twenty five cent notes, and ten cent notes, issued, or purporting to be issued, by the Bank of Tennessee at Nashville. At the top of the one dollar note we find "A No.," but the number is left blank. None of the smaller notes are numbered. On each of the four different kinds there is an engraving of the old Spanish coins with the mottoes, crown and all, seemingly indicating a partiality for the Confederates for Spanish institutions. The dollar notes are signed "Joshua Elder, President;" from which it appears to be doubtful whether Joshua Elder is President of not. Either the one signature of the other is a fraud. The ten cent notes bar the name of the artist, "J. Manoinvrie, N. Orleans."

Perhaps some of our intense rebels would like to get these notes in exchange for U. S. Treasury notes. We are ready for a trade gentlemen. Call soon.

Louisville Daily Journal, February 26, 1862. [8]

        26, Nashville City Council acts to control Negroes

Resolved That all negroes   laying around loose in this city and not employed, and having run away from their masters (some who are loyal to the United States) with the expectation of being free, and, as they are not capable of self-government, and are a nuisance to the community in which they live, unless they have a master to superintend and provide for them, that all such be arrested...and either confined in jail or made to labor on public works, or be advertised in order that their masters by paying all necessary expenses, may be reclaimed, and send them where they properly belong, and thereby rid the public of an intolerable nuisance, and show our constituents while we are in favor of a restoration of the Federal [constitution] at every sacrifice, we have no sympathy with negro worshipers, or those who would destroy our country, for the purpose of abolishing slavery, thereby placing the negro [sic] on an equality with the white race.

Resolved, That nothing in this resolution shall be considered as coming in conflict with the military authorities or the suppression of this nefarious rebellion.

Nashville Daily Union, February 27, 1863.

        26, Capture of Washington, Rhea County, by guerrilla chief Champ Ferguson[9]

FEBRUARY 26, 1864.-Capture of Washington, Tenn.

Report of Col. Robert K. Byrd, First Tennessee Infantry.

LOUDON, February 28, 1864.

SIR: The following dispatch just received from Col. Byrd, Kingston, dated February 27:

Champ Ferguson, with 150 men, made a raid on our courier-line last night at Washington, in Rhea County, killed the provost-marshal at that place, and captured all the couriers from there to Sulphur Springs, killing 1 and wounding 2 others. He carried off 11 horses and 11 repeating rifles.

G. GRANGER, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 485.

        26, Skirmish at Sulphur Springs

No circumstantial reports filed.

        26, General Orders, No. 17, division of mules for the transportation of the Confederate Army in East Tennessee

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 17. HDQRS. DEPT. OF EAST TENNESSEE, Midway, Tenn., February 26, 1864.

The transportation of the army in East Tennessee will be reduced to the following basis, viz.,:

Army headquarters, one 6-mule wagon.

Quartermaster, commissary, ordnance, and medical departments of army headquarters, one 6-mule wagon.

Division headquarters, one 6-mule wagon.

Quartermaster, commissary, ordnance, and medical departments of division headquarters, one 6-mule wagon.

General staff of two brigades, one 6-mule wagon.

Quartermaster, commissary, ordnance, and medical departments of four brigades, one 6-mule wagon.

Field and staff, quartermaster, ordnance, and medical departments of two regiments, one 6-mule wagon.

Cooking utensils of each brigade, on 6-mule wagon.

Medical wagon of each brigade, one 6-mule wagon.

As ambulance for each brigade, one light 4-mule wagon.

Field and staff, and company officers of each battalion of artillery, one 4-mule wagon.

Cooking utensils of each battalion of artillery, on 6-mule wagon.

As ambulance for each battalion of artillery, one light 4-mule wagon.

This order will be immediately and vigorously complied with. All surplus transportation will be turned in to Maj. Taylor, chief quartermaster.

By command of Lieut.-Gen. Longstreet:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. II, pp. 806-807.

        26, First Lieutenant Robert Cruikshank, 123rd New York Infantry Regiment, letter home to his wife Mary, the nature of the war at the local level

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

Elk River, Tenn.,

Feb. 26, 1864.

Dear Wife,-

It is a relief to be in Camp again, and not to be on the look out all of the time for some one who we may expect is ready to put a bullet through any of us. That was the way we felt while at Boons Hill. We left one young man by the name of McClain there who, I am afraid, will lose his life. He is the brother of the man who went there to buy mules and was robbed and murdered. He had $1,400.00 in all, that the guerrillas got. The brother is well armed and says he will shoot them like dogs when he meets any of them. Another man was taken from his home at night, murdered, and his body thrown into the river. It was recovered afterward and identified by his family. This man's name was Wakefield.

I am in hopes I will not have so much work to do now. I have a clerk to help me with the writing. His name is John F. Cole. He was an editor of three New York papers, "Every Saturday," "The Household Journal," and an architectural paper. He is a fine penman and a smart man.

It is reported there is fighting now at the front beyond Chattanooga. It is reported so in the papers. Is the Potomac Army moving yet? I have seen no papers for some days and do not know what is going on. I expect we will leave here when the Spring opens.

The more I see of what caused this war the more I feel it my duty to be here. Write often.

Ever with love,

R. Cruikshank.

Robert Cruikshank Letters.

        26, Social tensions, death, guilt, and writing letters to Confederate soldiers; an entry from the diary of Belle Edmondson

February, Friday 26, 1864

Nannie, Helen, and Miss Mary Robinson and myself sat up last night with Mrs. Morgan's corps [sic]-It was a sad and lonely night-Poor Missie, how my heart sympathizes with her in this great affliction. Helen and Nannie came home very early, Miss Robinson and I staid until after breakfast, when Miss Huckens came we left. Tate & Joanna went to the funeral, after that Joanna and Cousin S. returned Memphis-

A squad of 7 Confederates stoped [sic] at the gate-belonging to 2nd. Ark-

I went to sleep directly after breakfast, and did not awaken until after dinner. I was never in such a cross humor as I have been tonight. I feel ashamed for the way in which I have spoken to Bettie and Laura-nobody knows what I have to try me sometimes. Bettie left early, Laura fast asleep-Beulah & Tippie Dora both nodding-here I sit at 3 o'clock morning, with four packages of 300 letters for our Rebel Soldiers, which it has taken me until this time of night to finish. I will lie down and take a nap-I had to wake Laura to get me fresh water, I was so sick. She is always kind to me.

Diary of Belle Edmondson

        26, A negro servant, Confederate money and Confederate prisoners of war

Head Quarters O.V.S.S

Chattanooga Feb. 26. 1864

My Dear Wife.

Your very welcome letter of the 18th is to day received the first I have had for a week. ….By the way I have me a Negro [sic] servant. One I confiscated when I was at the front. His name is Ben Myers. I like him very much. He is an excellent cook and takes a great deal of pain in keeping everything I have in good order. He washes my clothes and irons them with as much care as you could. Some one asked him yesterday if he would not enlist. He replied "M. I recon I'll have to get long and take care of Captains" He is about 30 has a wife and two children near Rome Georgia and is very trusty. I wish you have him to do your out door work. He has been a domesticated and well raised….Prisoners are daily coming into our lines and taking the oath and most of them enlist in our army. The Provost Marshall told me to night that he enlists about 20 per day [into the Union army] and we have sent about 200 per day for a few days past to Nashville. Some of them however were brought down from Knoxville. Tomorrow morning I send a detachment to Knoxville with some of our prisoners who go thru for trial. I enclose you some rebel money which you can keep as a specimen of Confederate money….

Barber Correspondence

        26, "General Orders No. 6." Enforcement of the Enrolled Militia Program in Memphis. [see January 20, 1864, "Organization of Federal Home Guard in Memphis, Special Field Orders, No. 6" above]

Headquarters 1st Brigade Enrolled Militia, District of Memphis.

Memphis, Tenn., Feb. 26, 1864.

The following order is published for the benefit of this command all whom it may concern:

Headquarters District of Memphis,

Memphis Tenn., Feb. 26, 1864

Special Order No. 39

*  *  *  *  [sic]

III. Colonel John McDonald, commanding 1st Brigade, Enrolled Militia, District of Memphis, will proceed immediately with the execution of General Orders, No. 6, from his headquarters of date January 20, 1864, and approve of these headquarters same date, by arresting every male resident of Memphis who have not complied with the requirements of the said order.

Colonel McDonald is hereby empowered to fine each party whom he adjudges guilty of willful non-compliance with said order from ten (10) to one hundred (100) dollars, according to the nature of the delinquent's offense – the moneys so collected from said fines to constitute a fund for the purpose of meeting the contingent expenses of the militia of this district.

Col. McDonald will keep an accurate recorded of all fines collected by placing in his record the amount of each one received, with the name of the party paying the same. He will also make a return on the first day of each month to these headquarters of all fines so collected, and of the source from whence derived.

All persons so arrested who refuse to pay the fine imposed upon them Col. McDonald will cause to be confined in the Irving Block Military Prison until their fined are paid.

*  *  *  * [sic]

By order of Brig. Gen. R. F. Buckland

Memphis Bulletin, March 1, 1864.


[1] As cited in PQCW.

[2] The situation in Nashville soon after the Confederate withdrawal and the Federal occupation was chaotic. It was so chaotic that a young captain of the Confederate Kentucky Cavalry could enter the City and cause some destruction to the enemy. This is most likely the most famous story about Tennessee's John Hunt Morgan, a story that sets the tone for his almost brash, dashing, and spontaneous actions throughout the war. Indeed it seems as though this one action provided a stereotype for future Americans, an archetype that tends to obscure the true nature of the Civil War in Tennessee. It is also a thrilling story. The Minna Tonka (or Minnetonka) was a Confederate mail packet on the Cumberland River and not, until its abandonment and subsequent capture, a United States ship.

[3] Since there were no Confederate gunboats at the battle of Fort Donelson it is difficult to understand what was meant by this.

[4] As cited in Rebellion Record, Vol. 4, p. 81.

[5] Pillow took this unusual step to counter arguments that his conduct during the battle for Ft. Donelson was at best as incompetent and a major reason for the Confederate defeat there, or to debunk charges of cowardice. He was trying to build up civilian support for himself to deflect a court of inquiry about his effectiveness as a brigadier general in the Confederate service.

[6] His strategy was ignored.

[7] As cited in PQCW.

[8] As cited in PQCW.

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

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-770-1090 ext. 123456

(615)-532-1549  FAX


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