Saturday, March 14, 2015

3.14.2015 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        14, Skirmishes at Big Creek Gap [Hawkins County][1]

MARCH 14, 1862.-Skirmishes at Big Creek Gap and Jacksborough, Tenn.


No. 1.-Col. James P. T. Carter, Second East Tennessee Infantry, U. S. Army.

No. 2.-Maj.-Gen. E. Kirby Smith, C. S. Army.

No. 1.

Report of Col. James P. T. Carter, Second East Tennessee Infantry, U. S. Army.


GEN.: In obedience to your order of the 8th instant to proceed to Big Creek Gap and Jacksborough, Campbell County, Tennessee, and capture or rout the rebel forces which were reported to be in that vicinity blockading roads and molesting the persons and property of Union citizens, I left with my command on the morning of the 10th instant, accompanied by Lieut. Col. James Keigwin, of the Forty-ninth Indiana Volunteers, and marched to Big Creek Gap via Boston. My force consisted of the Second East Tennessee Regt. [sic]; Company A, of the First East Tennessee Regt. [sic], Capt. Cooper; Company B, of the Forty-ninth Indiana Regt. [sic], Capt. Thompson, and a detachment of Lieut.-Col. Munday's First Battalion Kentucky Cavalry.

We arrived at the foot of the Cumberland Mountains, on the north side, on the 13th instant, at 6 o'clock p. m. I then learned that two companies of the First Tennessee Regt. [sic] rebel cavalry were encamped at Big Creek Gap. Finding the road completely blockaded, I detached the cavalry, and sent them around by another road, with orders to meet the main body of the command at a certain point on the opposite side of the mountain. Procuring the services of a guide, I divided my command, placing one portion under charge of Lieut.-Col. Keigwin. We took up the line of march at 9 o'clock p. m., intending to meet at a point on the opposite side of the mountain about daybreak. The distance we had to march was about 9 miles, yet so difficult was the ascent of the mountain that it was only by the superhuman exertions, as it were, of the men that the march was made. The men, however, bore it patiently, and moved on "eager for the fray."

Having to pass through narrow ways in single file, and the night being very dark, a portion of the infantry got lost, and did not arrive in time to take part in the skirmish. About 1,300 of the infantry came upon the camps of the rebels, under command of Lieut. Col. John F. White, at about 6 o'clock a.m. of the 14th instant, and after a sharp skirmish of about five minutes the rebels were completely routed. The rebel loss was 5 men killed, 15 wounded, and 15 taken prisoners, among whom were Lieut.-Col. White and Lieut. Hoyl.

We captured 86 horses (27 killed), 7 mules, and several wagons, a large amount of camp and garrison equipage, a quantity of powder, and a large amount of quartermaster and commissary stores-a sufficient amount of the latter to supply the command during their stay. It being impossible to bring off the quartermaster stores I caused them to be burned and the powder destroyed. Owing to the darkness of the night and the impassability of the roads the cavalry did not arrive till after the skirmish. Had the troops been able to get up in time I am satisfied that we could have succeeded in capturing the whole force. On the arrival of the cavalry we marched to Jacksborough, distance 5 miles, and there overtook the rear guard of the cavalry; killed 1 man and captured Capt. Edward Winston, of the Corps of Sappers and Miners. We hoisted the Stars and Stripes over the town, and on the 15th instant marched to Fincastle, and from thence to Woodson's Gap, where we encamped a few days.

Learning that there was a manufactory of saltpeter in the neighborhood, I sent a detachment of cavalry with orders to destroy the same. They destroyed about 1,000 pounds of saltpeter, broke up the kettles, burned up the shed, and destroyed about 11,000 pounds of bacon and 20 sacks of flour. Our loss was 1 wounded-Lieut. Myers, Company H, Second East Tennessee Volunteers. His wound, however, is not dangerous.

Officers and men behaved admirably, and proved that they are ready and willing at all times to meet the rebels. The people through the section of country over which we passed are truly loyal in their sentiments and hailed the advent of our troops with unbounded enthusiasm. Everything they had was freely tendered to us. We found forage and provisions abundant on the route after we left Boston. The position we had at Woodson's Gap was a very strong one, and could have been held against a large force, and had we been permitted to remain we would no doubt have had an opportunity of meeting the forces at Cumberland Gap which had been sent out to attack us, but on the 19th instant I received an order from you to report at headquarters with my command at the earliest possible moment. I accordingly took up the line of march for this place on the 20th instant, and arrived here on the 23d instant without the loss of a single man.

Your obedient servant,

JAS. P. T. Carter, Col. Second East Tennessee Volunteers.

No. 2.

Report of Maj.-Gen. E. Kirby Smith, C. S. Army.

HDQRS. DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE, Knoxville, March 15, 1862.

GEN.: I have the honor to report that the enemy, having passed the Cumberland Mountains, yesterday surprised and captured, without the fire of a gun, I believe, the larger number of two companies of the First East Tennessee Cavalry near Jacksborough. Their force consisted of a regiment of infantry.

Couriers who arrived last night bring the intelligence that they are moving in this direction. I have ordered forward to Clinton two Alabama regiments, the Third Regt. [sic] Tennessee Volunteers, a battalion of North Carolina Volunteers, a section (two pieces) Third Maryland Artillery, and a portion First East Tennessee Cavalry (an aggregate of 2,000 men), the whole under the command of Col. D. Leadbetter, who had received such instructions from me as I thought necessary for the exigency.

From what I have learned of the character of the troops from East Tennessee in our service, of their strong Union proclivities, greatly increased by their near relationship to and from intimate association with many citizens who have fled the country and espoused the Federal cause, I am satisfied the capture near Jacksborough was the result of treachery. Pickets detailed from them cannot be relied on, and even officers are not free from suspicion of more fidelity to the Federal than to our service. It is not an individual opinion that some of the regiments from this section are disloyal, but it is the conviction of many of our friends, who know the public sentiment prevailing in those counties in which they were raised and the strong personal ties which would influence them to become so. There is a want among them of that confidence in the loyalty of each other which would make them faithful in the discharge of their duty to their fellow soldiers and to the country, and this is aggravated, too, by the opinion, which exists to some extent, that East Tennessee cannot be defended by the force we have in the field, and must be abandoned upon the advance of the Federal Army.

I cannot, therefore, too strongly urge upon the Department the propriety, if not the necessity, of removing these troops to some other point, where they cannot prove traitors, either by purchase or from love to the Federal Government, and where, if they do not make efficient soldiers, they cannot be tampered with by the enemy. If this be done, and their numerical strength be supplied by troops from other States, I am persuaded it would in every respect be to the advantage of the service.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. KIRBY SMITH, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, pp. 19-21.

        14, Skirmish at Jacksborough

See immediately above.

        14, Sketches of Tennessee from the Cincinnati Gazette

Northern Opinion of the South.

The army correspondents of the Cincinnati papers have been furnishing their readers many sketches of their observations in Tennessee. Of course their tales are told for the edification, especially, of the people of the North, and should be accepted with many grains of allowance. The following extracts from the correspondence of the Cincinnati Gazette will not be found uninteresting:

The Rebels of Nashville.

A good deal has been said about the dormant Union feeling in Tennessee. Most of the statements about this "dormant feeling" has been exaggerated. In Nashville we ought to find a large proportion of loyal men; yet the assertions of those who have the best means of ascertaining the facts in the case are, that loyalty to the government is to be found only among the mechanics and laboring classes of the city; that the mercantile and business men are nearly all sympathizers or abettors in the rebel cause, and can only be made to side with the government by repeated and unequivocal demonstrations of its ability to enforce national law. That this is true appears evident from the fact that as soon as it became known that the Federal army was advancing in Nashville, all the business houses in the city, with a few exceptions, closed their doors, and many of the merchants commenced shipping their goods further south. Nearly all the gold and silver coin belonging to these merchants has been sent to Atlanta, Georgia. The streets of Nashville wear a sad and gloomy aspect. Whole rows of houses which two years ago were occupied by families of wealth and respectability, surrounded by all the circumstances that make homes happy and prosperous, stand vacant, and the gaze of the passerby is met, instead of, as in former days, with fine, tapestry window curtains and neatly polished marble steps, with panes of dust-dimmed glass, over which the spider has spread his web, as if to hide from recognition the mournful vacuity within. If Tennesseans had cause to pride themselves upon the architectural beauty of their capital city, it was before the bats and the owls of treason took up their abode in the finest edifices of Nashville.

The Texas Villains.

The Nashville Banner does not say anything, of course, about the depredations which two Texas regiments, in ascertaining that they must evacuate the city, committed on unoffending citizens. Throwing off all guise, these villains openly entered upon the legitimate object of their enlistment, just before the arrival of the Federal army, and commenced a system of plunder and robbery which would disgrace any civilized nation. They knocked men down in the public streets, in open daylight, and rifled their pockets. They entered private houses, and defiantly carried off such articles of value as they could lay their hands upon. They dismounted riders to steal horses—all this conducted, too, toward the people of a city where they had been named as protectors of God-given rights. Such acts of these the Banner includes in the general term of "riot."

[The Gazette's correspondent was not in Nashville or he might have learned two important facts, that with a few exceptions, the Texas rangers did not stop here, and that there was the smallest possible foundation for his story. In fact, that it was a veritable fancy sketch.]….

Clarksville—How Secession Leaves It.

Clarksville is, next to Nashville, the most important point in the western half of Northern Tennessee. A pleasant little city of five or six thousand inhabitants, with steamboating up to Nashville and down to Paducah, and railroad connections to Louisville and Memphis, with a larger shipping trade than Nashville, beautifully located on the rolling bluff of the Cumberland, with flourishing business houses, elegant private residences, full academies and female seminaries, tasteful churches, and the seat of not a little wealth and refinement—so the rebellion found Clarksville.

It leaves her with trade destroyed, many of her business houses bankrupt, her costly bridges burnt, preventing railroad connection with either Louisville or Memphis, some of her best families exiles within the fast receding boundaries of the Southern Confederacy, a regiment and a half of her sons prisoners of war in the North, a victorious general's headquarters established in the resident of one of her absent traitors, sentries at every corner, an armed guard patrolling the streets, encampments of loyal soldiers around her treason-built forts, the people sullen, cut off from the cause to which they had given themselves, and forced to associate with and depend for the very necessaries of life upon the North they have been so industriously reviling.

Such are the rights secession has brought to Clarksville; and still the people pray the end may be not yet.

[It is rather singular that all this prosperity should depart with "Secessia!"].

Still Rebel.

We have all been curious to know the condition and feeling of the people in the rebel States. Here is a piece just cut of rebeldom, and still palpitating with its old life-blood. The people may eventually return to their allegiance, and become good Union men again; but just now they take particular pride in informing us that there are but six Union men in the whole city. They submit quietly to a force they know it would be madness to resist; but they are frank enough to make no secret of the fact, that all their hopes and sympathies are with the rebellion, and that for us their best wish is that we may get soundly beaten on every field where we meet the southern armies.

Secessionists Professing Confidence.

Strange as it may seem to those who, flushed with our recent successes, are predicting that a month will end the war, these people seem to believe in the ultimate success of their cause. Fort Henry they talk of as an affair hardly worth mentioning; and they insist that Fort Donelson wasn't so very big a thing after all. The gunboats were beaten, they say; the land forces were driven off on Thursday and Friday, and on Saturday forenoon they nearly made a Bull Run stampede of it for us; and, in short, but for the cowardice of Buckner, and the "excessive caution" (with due emphasis on "caution") of Floyd, Fort Donelson, they maintain, might still be theirs.

The Gunboats.

They cherish a very wholesome respect for our Mississippi fleet, (which a captured letter very mildly calls "the infernal hell-born contraptions known as Yankee gunboats,") but they insist that while "the Federals are dangerous on the river, we can whip 'em anywhere, easy, on land."

One to Five.

"It's about time," I suggested, in the course of a conversation with one of their merchants, "that we were getting beyond the idea that one man on either side can be equal, in a fight, to five of his antagonists."; "Why," responded the merchant, with evident earnestness, "why, I never heard it questioned before that one southern soldier was as good as five northern ones."; I strained my eyes looking to see if the man was joking, but there was no room to doubt that he was in absolute, solemn earnest. And yet he was an intelligent, educated business man.

How Gen. Smith Treated a "Rebel."

Gen. Smith has made a very favorable impression upon them. The gray-haired old veteran looks like a soldier. He was very cordially received by Cave Johnson and other prominent citizens on his arrival, and there seems no doubt that whatever latent Union feeling there may be in the place he will draw out.

His treatment of a pompous rebel at headquarters, the other day, was characteristic. The man called on him to ask a special favor. "Who are you, sir?" asked the general. "I am a southerner, sir, (very pompously), and I am not ashamed to say, a Secessionist."; "Get out of my room you scoundrel!; don't talk to traitors!; Get out of my room, sir!"

Excitement During the Fight.

Clarksville was in a perturbed state during and after the battle at Fort Donelson. Up to Saturday evening, all was the most perfect confidence. They received almost hourly dispatches from the field, and each gave additional encouragement. On Friday, Gen. Pillow threw them into a fever by telegraphing that the gunboats were within two hundred yards of the fort, and that his guns had no effect on them; but subsequent dispatches soon glorified over the brilliant victory they had won over Commodore Foote. During the jubilation it was decided advisable to hand one of the Union men, as a terror to future evil-thinkers. They finally thought best, however, to wait till they were ready to celebrate the victory, and by that time there was so much confusion, the hanging was overlooked, and every body was more concerned about the safety of his own neck.

Memphis Daily Appeal, March 14, 1862.

14, "A little more whiskey and a few more blunders, and Tennessee is lost." Confederate Difficulties in East Tennessee: Reluctance to join the army and possible crop failure

From the Atlanta Confederacy.


Chattanooga, Tenn., March 14, 1862.

~ ~ ~

The news from the border counties of East Tennessee is rather depressing. In Powell's Valley, one of the most fertile portions of Tennessee, The Lincolnites are all crossing over to Kentucky, through fear of being "drafted" in the Confederate service, while the loyal citizens are removing further South, for fear of the marauding tories from Kentucky and East Tennessee. So that neither party is preparing to raise any crops, and one of the finest portions of Tennessee to be desolated entirely. Let Georgia and other Gulf States understand that they must raise their own supplies this year. Nothing can be expected from Tennessee, as the time for planting is nearly at hand, and with the enemy in our midst we will do well to supply our home market.

The militia law of this State is a signal failure, and is administered with perhaps very little less signal stupidity. The Executive, in his first proclamation, called for all men over he age of sixteen and under sixty, to rally to the standard of their country, while those incapable of bearing arms were exhorted to "stand as pickets to our struggling armies.'-The proclamation concluded by appointing places of rendezvous for the men, and thus ended the first effort to "rally." The militia officers are next appealed to and directed to assemble their commands at their "muster grounds" in order that one fourth of the militia, or as many as could be armed, might be drafter, unless the requisite number should volunteer. This has been followed up by one or two indefinite orders from perhaps two militia Brigadiers in the Eastern Division of the State. And here the matter stands. No one seems to know who the militia are, and I have entirely unable to find a single man who belonged to the "melish." Now, Tennessee has sixty-three regiments in the field already, and no one who is acquainted with the spirit of our people, doubts the sixty more could be raised if we had arms to place in their hands. The number called for is, I believe, thirty-three. A little more whiskey and a few more blunders, and Tennessee is lost.


Macon Daily Telegraph, March 19, 1862.

        14-15, Expedition, Memphis & Charleston Railroad

Report of Maj. Elbridge G. Ricker, Fifth Ohio Cavalry, of expedition against Memphis and Charleston Railroad.

STEAMER DIAMOND, March 15, 1862.

SIR: At 11.30 o'clock p. m., March 14, 1862, with some 400 cavalry, I started to execute your command to destroy the Memphis and Charleston Railroad at a point between Corinth and Iuka. The incessant rains had so swollen the creeks on our line of march that we were compelled to make a circuit of some miles to evade the high water, swimming one, at which we came very near losing 3 men and 2 horses by drowning. At this point we lost all our picks and axes. We pushed forward, the rain falling in torrents. At 4 o'clock a.m., March 15, we reached a creek (name unknown) over which the bridge was afloat. After consultation with the officers it was decided that farther progress would endanger the command, without any possibility of executing your orders. We reached the boat at 11.30 a.m. From all the information I could obtain I am of the opinion there was no force in the vicinity of any importance.

Respectfully, yours,

E. G. RICKER, Maj., Second Battalion Fifth Regt. [sic] Ohio Cavalry.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, pp. 28-29.

        14-17, Expeditions from Savannah to Yellow Creek, Mississippi

Of the five reports regarding this expedition only those of Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman is presented here.

Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman, U. S. Army, commanding expedition, with abstract from "Record of Events" in his division for the month of March, 1862, Charleston Railroad.

Reports of Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman, U. S. Army, commanding expedition.

HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, Steamer Continental, Savannah, Tenn., March 14, 1862.

SIR: I would suggest, as a precautionary measure, after I pass up the river with one gunboat and my division, that the other gunboat and one division, say Hurlbut's or Wallace's, move up to Pittsburg Landing and there await our return. My belief is that the enemy's force under Cheatham will, after we pass Pittsburg, fall back on Corinth. Yet, if the force at Corinth be already large, Cheatham may remain at or near Pittsburg Landing and embarrass our return.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg. Division.

HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Steamer Continental, March 15, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that in obedience to the order of the major-general commanding, received at 10 a.m. on the 14th instant, I started from Savannah at 12 m. with my division, embarked in nineteen steamboats, escorted by the gunboat Tyler, Commander Gwin. We proceeded steadily up the river to the mouth of Yellow Creek, reaching that point at Tyler's Landing at 7 p. m. I ordered the immediate debarkation of the cavalry, consisting of six companies of the Fifth Ohio, under command of Maj. E. G. Ricker, and ordered him, under the guidance of a man named Bird, to proceed by the way of the Red Burnsville, there to tear up and destroy some trestle-work and as much of the railroad as time and the circumstances would permit. I ordered him to take axes, crowbars, and picks, and sent with him one of my chief aides, Maj. Sanger. It was 11 o'clock at night before he got off, but as the estimated distance of 19 miles caused to be traveled in five hours, I dispatched him that he might execute his work before the news of an arrival could possibly reach Corinth or Iuka, the two points on the railroad held by the enemy in force. The night was very stormy, heavy rain having fallen all day, but at the time of his departure it seemed to clear away; but the rain again began to fall, and continued all night and passed off to-day. The guide was of opinion that the Sandy, the only stream of consequence that had to be passed, would offer no serious obstacles, but the amount of rain was so great that ravines became rapid torrents, creeks became as rivers, and streams such as the Sandy were utterly impassable.

My plan was to follow up with the four brigades of my division to a point about half way, where the road branches to Iuka, and there await the return of the cavalry force, and accordingly ordered the First Brigade, Col. Hicks, to move at 3 a.m.; the Second Brigade, Col. Stuart, at 4; the Third Brigade, Col. Hildebrand, and the Fourth Brigade, Col. Buckland, and daylight.

Notwithstanding the pouring rain and snow-storm the brigades were put in motion at the hours appointed, but upon examination of the ground between the landing and the foot-hills I determined to halt the last two brigades and proceed to the appointed place with the first two, and by daylight took the road, leaving word to send forward frequent reports of the effect of the storm and rain upon the streams between the landing and high ground. These reports overtook me frequently, reporting the water as rising at the rate of 6 inches per hour. This and the terrible condition of the roads induced me to order back one of the two batteries.

The head of the column was brought to a halt by the swollen creek without name 4½ miles out. Col. Hicks partially bridged it, but the water soon rose above the timbers, and as our cavalry has passed it quite early in the night and had gone on, I ordered the construction of another bridge. While at work on this a messenger returned from the cavalry, stating that they had found it impossible to proceed and were returning. I awaited their return, received the verbal report of my aide, Maj. Sanger, and was satisfied that no human energy could have overcome the difficulty. The streams were impassable, save by the slow process of bringing, which was inconsistent with the object of our expedition. The rain was still falling and the slough to our rear rising rapidly. I saw no other alternative but to return to our boats. On reaching the slough the water had risen so that the battery could not pass, and had to be taken to pieces and carried on boats down to the steamboat. The severity of the storm and amount of rain which fell in those few hours are shown by the fact that the Tennessee rose 15 feet from 7 p. m. of yesterday till 6 p. m. to-day. The landing, which was last evening ten feet above water, is now submerged from the bank back to the bluff.

Disappointed in this result, I determined to proceed farther up the river (Tennessee) to another landing, at the mouth of Indian Creek, almost in sight of the enemy's redoubt at Chickasaw, and Commander Gwin politely offered me the use of his gunboat. I found the landing utterly inaccessible-entirely under water. To keep the enemy in mind of our presence the gunboat was run up to the point within range of their rifled guns of the battery at Chickasaw, but we could see little or nothing of a force there, although Capt. Gwin had on a former occasion drawn their fire from five guns, two of which are rifled and of heavy caliber. Finding the whole shore under water from Chickasaw down to Pittsburg, I had no alternative but to run down to the latter place and report to you.

The object of our expedition failed on account of the severe rain, but we obtained much information useful for future operations. Lieut. Jenney, of Engineers, of your staff, who was on board the gunboat, has compiled a map, which embraces all the authentic data collected, which he will hand you. I understand the enemy has fortified Chickasaw, and has there a force of some 3,000 or 4,000. Back of Chickasaw, at the Bear Creek Bridge, is also represented a large camp, but the main forces is quartered at Iuka and Corinth. They are shifted from one to the other and back again, but the accounts of the actual force vary so widely that I do not pretend to form an opinion, but knowing the importance to them of the safety of the Charleston and Memphis Railroad, no one can doubt that between those two points will be generally guarded, not with least care, at the point I aimed at near Burnsville, as no doubt the fact of our landing and marching into the interior has reached them. We should not expect any further neglect on their part. For the present the condition of the boat will prevent her going to Pittsburg, from which point there can be but one point of attack, and that is Corinth. All the Union people whom I found (and they were few) represent Corinth as the place where they except an attack. Yet, by seemingly advancing on Corinth with a well appointed force, and sending off a small party of cavalry to the left, by Farmington, it may be still that the interruption of the road without a general engagement could be successfully accomplished. I am willing to undertake it with such force as the general may designate.

* * * *

I await the general's further orders at Pittsburg Landing.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, pp. 22-24.

        14-17, The 5th Iowa cavalry sees action in Henry County

On Friday last (14th) about 4 o'clock A. M., we were getting ready to start for Paris – a town about 26 miles southwest of our camp and soon started. After a march of 9 miles we stopped to feed our horses and wait for a battery of artillery. Noon we started again and just at sundown entered Paris, white flags being displayed from different part of the town. The rebel camp was about a mile on the west of the town. We passed on and in a little while under the thunder of the artillery told that the fight had begun. We only mustered all together about 200 men. The rebel force was variously stated at from five to 1500. The rebels not making any answer the cavalry were ordered to charge on the camp. Cos. A, B, and D advanced, Co. C being ordered to stand by the guns and baggage. Our men came within a few rods of the camp where a force of rebels lying down in the brush rose and poured in a close volly [sic]. Some of the horses of our men took firth and ran away with their riders. Some stood firm and some of the men not being able to quiet their horses dismounted and went in on foot. A short time however showed that our cavalry could not do anything among the timber and brush and they were ordered to fall back and form on the artillery. LA warm contest was not carried on for some time between these and the rebels, whose fire well sustained for some time, began to slacken as darkness came on. Our guns also ceased firing, but after a short time the rebels resumed it and leaving their cover advances as if to charge on the guns, a few drove them back to the woods and their fire soon died off. We could get no further answer we followed suit and returned to town. Our loss was our Sergeant Major, one sergeant of Co. A, 1 corporal and three privates and one private of Co. B killed and one or two wounded. The Artillery Capt. – Bullitt [sic] was also mortally wounded. After consulting together our officers determine to retreat, as there was a large force of rebels only a few miles on the railroad and we were far from ours, so we continued on till about three o'clock next morning and I finished the night on picket guard. Next day [15th] we returned to camp. Here I had to get five days rations for the men and after working till midnight I was right glad to get to bed. Next day [16th] we moved towards Paris again and encamped a few miles out. Friday [17th] two Cos., C and G, went out on a scouting expedition and passed on till within four miles of Paris. We came home through a pouring rain, lost our way in the woods at night and cracked our camp wet and weary; after tattoo after a ride of 40 miles….have had a hard time, wet and hungry, not having tents and only one days [sic] provisions and at least in consequence of the wet were ordered back to camp. Such is a soldier's life.

Alley Diary, entry for March 17, 1862.

        14, Skirmish at Davis' Mill

No circumstantial reports filed.

        14, "Chattynoogy Rebel"

Newsboy on the Street-"'He-yeah's yer Chattynoogy Rebel!

Federal Prisoner from Spring Hill[2]-"What's that boy?"

Boy -"Rebel, sir."

Fed.-"Well I guess I'll take one o' [sic] them-tried to take one 'tother [sic] day at Spring Hill-and didn't."

Chattanooga Daily Rebel, March 14, 1863.

        14, "If we can't have our families protected, what have we to fight for?" Correspondence from a Soldier in Co. A, 32nd Tennessee Regiment in the Tullahoma environs


In camp near Tullahoma, March 14, 1863.

N. O. Wallace, Esq:

Dear Sir – It has been some time since I have had any correspondence with you, and even now, I fear that I shall not be able to interest you or your readers, knowing as I do that you are familiar with what is going on at this point and portion of the army. We have quite a number of men on the sick list at this time, more than I have ever seen at one time since I have been in the service. It is a general thing throughout the entire army here, and I attribute the most of it to living on bread and meat alone, which seems to be all that can be procured, only as our friends send to us from home. We get occasionally a box of luxuries from the friends of soldiers which all highly appreciate, but no one has yet sent us a mess of turnip greens, which is nearly as much prayed for as the recognition of our independence. Yes, if the good ladies would spend one-half the time in preparing vegetables to send the soldiers that they do in preparing nicknacks [sic] we would appreciate them still more highly, though I know what they will say to these remarks. They will say at once that there is no vegetables [sic] in the country. So I will reply to that and say to them that we mean turnip greens when we speak of vegetables. Knowing as we do that there are no potatoes, cabbage, &c. we only ask for roughness. We would not refuse eggs, but be thankful of them. – The soldiers would be glad to get the above mentioned articles at any price. We are aware that there is a set of trifling loafers ranging through almost every neighborhood who consume a great portion of the citizens['] supplies, and that, too, without paying for it, and I will here give my opinion as to what I conceive to be the duty of citizens in regard to the punishment of such thieves as are scouting through the county absent from their commands, and a great portion of them without leave or knowledge of their officers.

In the first place it is the duty of the citizen to find out whether the scamps have authority to be absent from their commands or not; it is your duty to report him to the commander of the nearest post. If he has permission to visit your house to buy any thing and you have the article to spare, sell it to him; if he refuses to pay for it report him. In the very outset get his name, his rank, the command he belongs to, and where the command is stationed. Then if he conducts himself ungentlemanly you can have recourse upon him. Always present your complaints to the commander, in writing with date and place. Some will ask why the writer is meddling with these matters, and as this may be the last time I may write on the subject, I will answer previous to the question being asked. Well what [sic] Because I am interested both directly and indirectly in horse thieving being stopped. Horse stealing is not all; not a week passed over but we hear of some villian [sic] calling at some house and demanding white ladies to prepare a meal of victuals then insulting them if they asked any pay for it. – Such treatment is too intolerable to be suffered, and I again say that it is the duty of all citizens to arrest such soldiers, or rather such thieves. But says one, we have no power; all the power is vested in the military department – but that is not so. The citizens' rights are as much shielded by the law as they ever was [sic], and his evidence in a courtmartial [sic] has to be the same weight as it ever did in a civil court of justice; and I argue that if the citizens do not punish or have such men punished they should be regarded not only as an enemy to our cause but an enemy to humanity. Military law is very strict to punish any soldier for molesting citizens or taking private property. So you citizens have no excuse for suffering such conduct; all you have to do is to prefer the charges and adduce the evidence. If the officer refuses to take action in the case, report him. If we can't have our families protected, what have we to fight for? Space demands me to bring my remarks to a close. Mr. Wallace, please send us a few copies of the Observer, and oblige your friend from Lincoln Co, [sic] Tenn.

A Soldier in Co. A, 32nd Tenn. Regt. [sic]

Fayetteville Observer, March 19, 1863.

        14, Repulse of Confederate reconnoitering party near Morristown

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpts from the Itinerary of the Army of the Ohio, January 1-April 30.


First Division, commanded by Col. George W. Gallup, Fourteenth Kentucky Infantry.

* * * *

March 12, marched to Morristown.

March 14, repulsed reconnoitering party (350 rebel cavalry), inflicting a loss on them of 1 killed.

* * * *

OR Ser. I, Vol. 42, pt. I, p. 52.

        14-17, Army Navy expedition, Fort Heiman, Kentucky, to Perryville, Tennessee

HDQRS. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Steamer Bostona, No. 2, off Fort Heiman, Ky., March 17, 1863.

(Via Paducah, Ky., March 18.) Maj. Gen. STEPHEN A. HURLBUT,

Cmdg. Sixteenth Army Corps, Memphis, Tenn.:

In obedience to your orders, reoccupied Fort Heiman, on the 14th, in the morning....I myself proceeded with five companies of infantry and two companies of cavalry on the steamboat Bostona, in company with three gunboats, up the river as far as near Perryville, above mouth of Duck River. All the country from there to Florence is overflowed. Rebel deserters, crossing at Perryville.. brought the news of...the total defeat of Van Dorn by Rosecrans. May it be so.

* * * *

Capt. LeRoy Fitch, commanding third division light-draught flotilla, will efficiently co-operate for the future. The gunboats saint Clair and Robb will commence to-morrow to run up and down the Tennessee, controlling all crossings.

ASBOTH, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 150.

        14, Skirmish at Bent Creek

No circumstantial reports filed.

        14, 5th U. S. (Tennessee) Cavalry ordered to impress horses in White, Jackson, Van Buren and Overton counties


Nashville, Tenn., March 14, 1864.

Col. WILLIAM B. STOKES, Cmdg. Fifth Tennessee Cavalry:

SIR: Your favor by Lieut. Carter is received. Your have no idea of the demands made upon our Government for horses to remount our cavalry. No one Government--not all the Governments of the world--could keep so much cavalry mounted while animals are so recklessly destroyed. You know I will gladly aid you at all times in every way that I can to keep your command in good shape, but horses are absolutely out of the question. You must find and take them in the country you traverse. Horses cannot be bought at the North at any reasonable rate, and but few can be had at any rate whatever. If there are not horses enough where you are, we will have to move you to where they can be obtained. I am informed that there are still many serviceable animals all through White, Van Buren Jackson, and Overton Counties. These must be taken with out exception, until you are fully provided. Endeavor to feed well and insist upon the very best kind of grooming. Our cavalry will share in the coming campaign just in proportion to the nursing they will bestow upon their horses, for it is a question of horses, not men, and none can except new mounts by purchases made north.

As to arms, I will do my best to secure you the best at the earliest possible moment. I am endeavoring to get a depot of cavalry arms, ammunition, and equipments established here for the prompt supply of all these things.

Galbraith was ordered to join you with all the he had with him, and I will endeavor as far as possible to keep your whole regiment at all times within immediate control.

Now, "pitch in," colonel, and help yourself to horses; "keep your powder dry" and give the guerrillas "thunder" wherever you can fired them.

Yours, always,

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

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, p. 70.

        14, Report relative to fortifications at Shellmound environs

HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, ELEVENTH ARMY CORPS, Shellmound, Tenn., March 14, 1864.


There are three hills running nearly in a north line and nearly parallel to the course of the river some 600 yards above the railroad brigade, the first and third being about 500 yards apart, all of about the same height. The hill nearest the brigade has a small earth-work upon it, constructed by Maj. Hoffmann last fall.

If a redan were placed upon each upon each of the second and third hills, with the gorges open to the first, the position would hold the valley toward Hog-Jaw Ridge and the good road leading to these hills from the north, but to hold would require at least three or four more regiments than are now there.

This I would suggest; but not wishing to work the men more than is necessary, nor knowing the importance which may be attached to the position, I respectfully ask from the major-general commanding the corps whether it would be worth while to construct those works.

Brig.-Gen. Geary, commanding Second Division, Twelfth Army Corps, came to the First Brigade of this division the other day and told Col. Robinson, commanding solicitous about the first hill I have named; whereupon Col. Robinson, without my knowledge, at once commenced the enlargement of the works upon the first hill, and it is now going on. Col. Robinson did this, of course, for the interest of the service, and the word is an improvement, but I have instructed him to undertake nothing of the kind under either expressed or implied orders from any other than his proper commanding in the future.

The major-general commanding the corps told me that a part of Geary's division might soon occupy that position, in which case would it not be as well for that division to do its own word? Be good enough to instruct me to the above as early as possible, as the redans named would much strengthen the position if it is to be held.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HECTOR TYNDALE, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg. Third Division.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, pp. 68-69.

        14, Smugglers plan a trip to Memphis; an excerpt from Belle Edmondson's diary

March, Monday 14, 1864

….Anna Nelson and I have made our arrangements to go into Memphis tomorrow and not return till next day. Oh! Lord, deliver me from getting in any trouble with the Yanks, this will be a hard trip, I have a great risk to run. No Beulah tonight, I think she has forsaken her post. Laura and Tip both here nodding. I feel like I had been stewed-oh! God, protect, guide and make me a good girl.

Diary of Belle Edmondson

        14-ca. 21, U. S. C. T. recruiting expedition[3], Sequatchie Valley to Pikeville, Caney Fork to Calfkiller Rivers


Chattanooga, March 10, 1864.

Col. T. J. MORGAN, Cmdg. Fourteenth U. S. Colored Troops:

You will march with your regiment on Monday morning next [14th] on a recruiting expedition. You will march up the Sequatchie Valley to Pikeville, thence to Caney Fork and the Calfkiller Rivers, varying your line of march as you may think best for the accomplishment of the business upon which you set out. You will impress no negroes [sic], but take such as volunteer, and bring them to this place, and add them to the two regiments now being organized at this place. You will take such supplies of provisions as you may think advisable, but encumber yourself with as little transportation as you can make answer. Having finished this duty you will return to your camp at this place.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. D. WHIPPLE, Brig.-Gen. and Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, p. 48.

        14, West Tennessee Thrown Open to Trade-Arrival of Paroled Prisoners

Cairo, Monday, March 13.

Gen Washburne [sic] has thrown the entire District of West Tennessee open to trade. Citizens will be allowed to come freely to Memphis with the products of the country, and take out a limited amount of family supplies. This will continue however, only so long as the people manifest a loyal and friendly feeling toward the Government of the United States, and do not abuse the privilege granted.

Four hundred and fifty paroled prisoners from New Orleans, belonging to Western regiments, arrived to-day, and will move North as soon as transportation can be furnished.

New York Times, March 14, 1865.

        14, 1865. "Ah I shall remember this evening." A homeward bound discharged Federal soldier's impressions while traveling on a U. S. M. R. R. troop train, Cleveland to Knoxville; an entry from the Arthur Calvin Mellette diary, Co. C, Ninth Indiana Volunteers

Woke up at Cleveland, just before day & got on top of the car to see the country & got on top of car to see the country. Very fertile – poorly cultivated. Plow with one horse for corn. Think I never saw better soil. People seem to be poor. Here is the first part of the South were I have found villages. We pushed through many pretty little places. First place – country where I have seen Union people in the South. They are all out at the doors waving handkerchiefs & cheering. Sometitmes we'd see a dozen at one house. Crossed the Tenn [sic] on a bridge at Loudon. The people seem to have the spirit of old Brownlow. Came into Knoxville about 4 o'clock  [P.M.] A beautiful place. Larger than I expected. I never saw a more strongly fortified place. Marched us out about two miles at night and ordered us to camp. Ah I shall remember this evening. It commenced raining as we started. I thought I should drop down before we got there. Wasn't long till we had a shelter & were in bed soundly sleeping after a good supper, having had nothing since leaving O[hio] – but hardtack. ByBy M&M [sic]

Diary of Arthur Calvin Mellette.[4]

        14, Guerrillas and lifted trade restrictions in Memphis and environs

The Effects of the Late Order in; Memphis.

Sentiments of Southern People.

[From the Memphis Bulletin, 14th]

The immediate effects of Gen. Washburn's late liberal order opening the lines to trade were seen yesterday in long strings of wagons, loaded with cotton, coming into the city by every road. These may be considered the few pattering drops that precede the great shower that is expected in a few days, when it becomes known throughout the country that trade is once more free. Many of these wagons are from forty and fifty miles distant. Their owners roughly dressed people, with simple manners, and evidently seen many privations, many hardships. The drivers are generally aged negroes, clad in garments with an infinity of patches. The horses, or mules, in most cases, showed signs of hard fare.

We conversed with many of the parties bringing inn cotton, and found them, without a single exception, jubilant at the opening of trade, hopeful of the speedy return of peace, satisfied that the rebellion is nearly played out, bitterly hating guerrilla thieves, and most willing to let slavery go if they can only have peace and a chance to hire the negroes that they want. Very few of them have any objection to taking the oath of allegiance, and we believe most of them would give information and actively aid in restoring law and order. They all spoke of General Washburne's order as just what was needful, or as one of them expressed it, "It gives the planters a show."

We learned that they generally were apprehensive of robbery by guerrillas when returning to their homes, and fully appreciated the embarrassment of the military authorities in affording needful protection. They assured us that in Shelby, Tipton and other counties, and even in Marshal county, Miss., the planters were consulting on the organization of Home Guards. Such guards have to a great extent prevented guerrilla robberies in Arkansas. A gentleman who came from his plantation in Arkansas, twenty miles distant, says that the lines of the rebel home guards are within a few miles of the river, and that they shoot guerrillas without hesitation. No guerillas are taken prisoners. The people of Arkansas would be exceedingly glad if trade across the river could be as fully opened as is that with West Tennessee and Northern Mississippi, outside our lines.

The negro drivers of the wagons loaded with cotton made acquaintance with these fellows, as they lounged about for the opening of the stores, and, doubtless, many a cuffee will return to the country with new notions in his head. Many of them were profoundly impressed by the numbers and martial appearance of the militia.

They all say that they know of a great deal too much to fight for the rebels. It seems that on the plantation of a Mr. McGhee, in Northern Mississippi, recently an effort was made to see how many of the blacks would enlist in the rebel army: urgent appeals were made; the horrible Yankees were denounced; the blacks who should enlist were promised their freedom and little plats of land; and those who would accept the terms were invited to come up and shake hands with the white massa making the kind offers. But out of two hundred blacks only two would go up and shake hands, and these were subsequently so afraid of being murdered by the other negroes, that they would not go to their quarters for some time after they assured their fellow slaves they they [sic] only suffered to enlist for the purpose of fooling the whites.

Many of the planters in Tennessee and Mississippi are bringing back the negroes that they sent that they are willing to pay the blacks wages, and believe that the Confederacy being played out, they will enjoy peace and prosperity by submitting to Federal authority, and, according with its policy, by the abolition of slavery,

A gentleman from Raleigh says that passing through that place some days there are ten or fifteen guerrillas, and on other days only three or four of them. The people have no liking for them, but are powerless.

A planter from Bolivar says that there are few guerrillas in that vicinity now. He also says that the people all want peace, and will accept gladly any terms that are fair. They will not hesitate to give up slavery.

One find looking old farmer had suffered losses by bushwhackers, and was particular violent in his denunciations. He thought Gen. Washburn should not look up jayhawkers, but "hand every d____d one of them."

New Orleans Times, March 19, 1865.


[1] The following reports are from both the Union and Confederate sources. The Union victory was the result of treachery claimed Confederate Major-General E. Kirby Smith. Colonel James P. T. Carter (U. S.), an East Tennessean loyal to the Union, however, claimed victory due to good soldiery and the pro-Union sentiment in the country.

[2] See: March 13, 1863, Confederate Scouts, Eagleville, Chapel Hill, Spring Hill, Murfreesborough environs above.

[3] The nomenclature "recruiting expedition" instead of "conscript sweep" is used inasmuch as the orders direct that no Negroes were to be impressed, i.e., conscripted, but taken on a volunteer basis. It would seem that most slaves would have found it in their best interests to volunteer.

[4] Gerald W. Wolff and Joanita Kent, eds., The Civil War Diary of Arthur Calvin Mellette, rev. ed. (Watertown, SD: Codington County Society, Inc., Kampeska Heritage Museum, 1983). [Hereinafter cited as: Diary of Arthur Calvin Mellette.]

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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