Friday, March 20, 2015

3.20.2015 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        20, Secessionist rationalization of anti-secession results of February 9, 1861 vote in Tennessee

SAVANNAH, March 20, 1861.


I herewith report to you the result of my mission to the State of Tennessee:

In discharging the duties imposed upon me by the commission, I visited Nashville, the capital, on the 9th of February last, having been detained a week on the pay by injuries to the railroad, and found that the Legislature, which had been convened by the Executive in extra session, had adjourned on the 4th.

The act of the Legislature calling the convention provided that the question of "convention" or "no convention" should be submitted to the popular vote at the ballot box. The result of that vote was a majority of 10,000 against having a convention. The only means, therefore, of official communication with the people of Tennessee left me was with the Governor, to whom I presented the ordinance of secession and the resolution inviting the co-operation of Tennessee, together with the other border slave States, with the seceding States in the formation of a Southern confederacy.

I was kindly received by His Excellency Governor Harris, who deeply deplored the result of the election in Tennessee, and warmly indorsed the action of Georgia in dissolving her connection with the Federal Government. He expressed the opinion that the withdrawal of Tennessee from the Government of the United States and its union with the Confederate States of America was only a question of time, and in this opinion other distinguished citizens, and among them Governor Henry S. Foote, who boldly vindicates the cause of the South, concurred. The election was not regarded as indicating anything more than the desire which was felt and the hope that was cherished by the Union party that the Border State Convention, then in session at Washington, would adopt some plan of adjustment of the pending difficulty, not only satisfactory to the Border States but to the entire South, for the opinion was entertained by many that the Southern States had seceded with the view of reconstructing the Government and the obtainment [sic] of the constitutional rights and guaranties upon which they insisted in such reconstruction. I corrected this mistake as far as circumstances enabled me to do so, and announced that the separation was final and irrevocable, and that whatever line of policy Tennessee might adopt in the future this fact is to be regarded as settled. I announced also that the people of Georgia were a unit in maintaining the action of this convention in the adoption of the ordinance of secession. I assured those with whom I communicated that it was a great mistake to suppose that the action of Georgia was the result of a reckless popular impulse, but that it was the high resolve of patriots determined to die freemen rather than live slaves. These assurances, together with the fact that the Southern States have repudiated the reopening of the African slave-trade, and indicated the policy of raising revenue by duties on imports, and not by direct taxation, gave our friends great confidence in the success of the movement and had a conciliatory influence upon those hostile to it.

The opinion prevailed almost universally at the time I left Nashville that the action of Tennessee would be determined by the action of the Border State Convention and of the convention of Virginia. My own opinion is that Tennessee will be governed by Virginia upon this subject, and that perhaps all the border slave States will be controlled by the same influence. Some, however, of our more sanguine friends entertain the opinion that the next election, which will take place in August next, will settle the question in Tennessee in favor of the South. Upon the whole, my judgment is that when the people of that State realize fully the fact that they are reduced to the alternative of taking the chances of subjection to the domination of relentless Republicanism or the enjoyment of equality and independence with a great people with whom they are identified in interest, institution, and destiny they will not hesitate to pursue that course dictated alike by honor and patriotism, and determine to unite their fortunes and destiny with those of the Confederate States.


OR, Ser. IV, Vol. 1, pp. 179-181.

        20, Rabbi Peres vs. the Children of Israel

Common Law Court.—The case of the Rev. J. J. Peres against the congregation of the children of Israel was before the court yesterday. Mr. Peres claims that he was discharged from his position as Hazan, or reader in the synagogue, before his engagement had expired, and he claims his salary for the balance of the unexpired time. The congregation allege on their part, that Mr. Peres became incompetent to perform the duties he had undertaken in consequence of his engaging in secular labors on a Saturday, contrary to the Mosaic law and the authority of the Talmud.

Memphis Daily Appeal, March 21, 1861.

        20, Destruction of cotton harvest by Confederates in Maury County

Our cavalry [are] burning the cotton in the southern portion of Maury county all they can find and the enemy crossing [the] Duck river into town in canoes.[1]

Diary of Nimrod Porter.

        20, On the march, cotton bales, plantations, the occupation of Murfreesboro, erstwhile Confederate encampments, chicken bones and diarrhea; Surgeon William Eames to his wife in Ohio

Murfreesboro, Tenn., March 20 1862

Dearest Wife,

We have just got to housekeeping [sic] again after a 40 mile march & are now quietly enjoying our tent "away down south in the land [sic] of cotton!" [sic] We left camp Andrew Jackson on Tuesday morn & had a very pleasant march about 16 miles & encamped in a very pleasant grove on a pleasant evening. But the next morning we heard the ominous thunder rolling & the big drops pattering on the tent & when it was day light the rain was falling in torrents & running over our tent floor [sic] under our beds – but we were obliged to start away at day light & after hauling down our wet tent in the mud & slosh we started off in a most drenching rain, which lasted half the fore-noon, but finally changed to sun shine & we plodded slowly on (13 miles out of our way on account of the bridges destroyed by the rebels).& went into camp after dark within 6 miles of this place. This morning we heard the same ominous roll of heaven's artillery [sic] & went through the same performance of starting out in the rain excepting that we did not put up our [sic] tent L&: consequently didn't [sic] have to take it down. We slept (what little time we could sleep) in an ambulance. I had a good [sic] sleep, tho, very much interrupted, & got nicely soaked in the ride & came into camp rather chilled. Our whole Division is here at Bacon Creek.[2]

The whole journey to this place lies thro, cotton plantations, & in some fields there are 40 or 50 acres of cotton stubble of last years [sic] growth, & on almost every plantation is a building with a cotton press [sic] & another with a cotton gin. I inquired of the darkeys [sic] on several plantations how much cotton their massas [sic] raised & they replied some 60 & some as high as 100 bales. I suppose 100 bales would now bring 10,000 dollars. I was much interested in looking at the plantations devoted to King Cotton [sic] as they were the first I had ever seen.

It frequently requires 25 or 30 working negroes to take care of the plantations & of course there would be 20 or 30 who would be too old or young to work & make some 50 or 75 to a plantation.

The rebels have burned in this town [Murfreesboro] thousands of dollars worth of their king since we came to Nashville. One man had his teams hauling cotton 2 or 3 days to burn so that the Yankees would not get it. [sic] The planters are many of them more sensible & prefer Yankee money to having their own way & are bringing their wares to Nashville 7 getting the ready money for them, more than they have seen before since the rebellion commenced. We are not stopping on a rebel encampment ground & have had to clean up chicken bones [sic] & other rebel leavings to get a place to set our tent on, & now I fear we will all be sick on account of the filth [sic] altho [sic], I suppose we could not get any more promising place as the rascals had camps all around here. We expect to stay here several days to build the R. R. bridge over the Stone River [sic] which the rebels destroyed. Our whole Division may [sic] possibly remain here a week or even two. I like the appearance of the village of Murfreesboro very well. – The houses are neat & quite large & everything looks comfortable.[.]

Our Reg. Marched through the most important streets to the tunes of Yankee Doodle & Dixie, & they appeared very well as did all the other Reg.ts [sic] & the people all stared – the darkeys [sic] our of doors & the white people in their houses. I saw no Union [sic] flags nor any other sign of love for the Union or joy at our arrival – no beautiful women in the doors waving handkerchiefs & flags as we used to see all through Kentucky. I just begin to realized that I am away down south, [sic] tho, the term Sunny South has been misapplied if we are enjoying a fair specimen of their Spring weather. You can hardly imagine how the wind blows to-night or how our old tent flaps [sic] about our ears. I can hardly keep a candle burning. My health is about as usual. Yesterday I felt well but today not as well. Diarrhea is the great trouble of our whole Regiment as well as my own. Dr. Young is almost laid up with it & Col. Norton also, & many of the Company officers. I am still of the same opinion that I was when I last wrote about resigning. Have not got a letter from you for the past 8 days but know there are 2 or 3 coming. You must be patient about mine for I cannot send as regularly as I would like. Write often. Love to all

Yours as ever,

Wm. M. Eames

William Mark Eames Papers

        20, Food for soldiers' families

Free Market.—This market is supplying a large number of soldier's families with meat, potatoes, flour, sugar, bacon and other necessaries. Its present expenses are about $1200 a week, and the number of applicants are increasing. We call attention to the fact that while the "Soldier's Families Aid Association" is keeping up the free market; the county has authorized an allowance to soldier's families. Unless some concert of action is agreed upon between the two the same parties will receive sufficient food for their living from the one, and money from the other, and the means of both will be expended disadvantageously. It appears that an understanding might be come to, in which both could work together with good benefit. If the county would appropriate a portion of its funds to the free market, it might give an allowance in money to each proper applicant for the payment of necessary expenses, and the remainder of the allowance might be granted in the form of orders on the free market for provisions, and perhaps other necessaries, such as wood, might be included in the articles dispensed at the free market. We beg leave to call the attention of country friends who have potatoes, turnips, or any other vegetables or supplies to dispense to the support of the families of men who are enduring the fatigues and dangers of the field, to the free market, where their aid will be gladly welcomed. The market is at No. 10, Shelby street, between Union and Gayoso streets.

Memphis Daily Appeal, March 20, 1862.

        20, Memphis editorial on the refugee dilemma

A Suggestion to the People.

We are told that the towns and villages in the northern counties of Mississippi and Alabama are crowded with refugees from Kentucky and Tennessee. These people have abandoned their homes and property, under the belief—well founded, no doubt, in most instances—that they would be unsafe in the event of the advance of the enemy. The brutal conduct of the Federals in many parts of the country—their unjust seizures and confiscations—their wanton destruction of private property, and their ready appropriation of family supplies—have very naturally had the effect of driving many citizens from their homes, to the great grief and loss of themselves and their families.

Where persons have taken an active part in the revolution, whether male or female, we think it best for them to remove themselves and their property beyond the reach of the enemy. They should carry with them their slaves especially. Their cotton, sugar, molasses and tobacco should be destroyed, and their provisions turned over to the Government.

We speak, of course, of such districts as lay in the path of the Federal army, or within its reach. Outside of the field of their operations our remarks can have no application; but within this circle, we think it best that all slaves should be removed, and all cotton, sugar, etc., burnt, whether they belong to persons who have participated prominently in the war or to non-combatants.

The Federals are on their best behavior just now in this State. Should they be able to advance farther into the South, which we do not apprehend, they may continue thus to demean themselves. They will be finally driven back, however, and it is then we look to see them do most mischief. There is less cause of apprehension from an advancing army, flushed with victory, than from one that has been beaten and forced to fly. Burning with revenge and exasperated by defeat, they will pillage and burn on their retreat what they have spared on their advance.

All other persons, however, especially the aged and infirm, and such as have been prevented by their peculiar situation and circumstances in life from engaging actively in the war, should remain at their homes, and continue to pursue the even tenor of their lives. If they have any slaves, they should be sent to a place of safety, and their cotton and such other produce as the enemy may desire, should be destroyed. By remaining at their homes they may manage to support themselves and families, and protect the little property they have; whereas when they flee to other parts of the country, they not only can produce nothing themselves, but they help to consume what others produce. In this way the districts not overrun by the enemy will be required to sustain the resident population, as well as the army and the refugees.

As already intimated, we do not believe the enemy will be able to advance much, if any further. We do not think it proper to state the grounds for this belief now. But such is our belief; and in a short time we look to see the invader turned back from his course and driven beyond the Ohio.

Our remarks do not apply to able bodied men; they are expected to join the army, and to take with them their rifles and shot-guns.

Memphis Daily Appeal, March 20, 1862.

        20 Report on railroad transportation; the ride from Chattanooga to Cowan

Pursuit of Knowledge Under Difficulties.

The army correspondent of the Savannah Republican has been circulating through a portion of East Tennessee, in search of items, and his experience was a severe one. He will, undoubtedly avoid that particular locality in future. Writing from Stevenson, Alabama, he says:

["] Leaving Chattanooga after a breakfast upon a "rashen" of bacon minus the streak of lean, a piece of cold corn bread, and a cup of hot rye coffee without cream or sugar, I turned my face towards Murfreesboro. The cars were crowded to suffocation, and it was with difficulty one could get a seat, or retain it after he had got it. The further we advanced, the greater the difficulty of proceeding, owing to the number of returning trains laden with stores, sick and disabled soldiers, and women and children seeking a place of safety. I succeeded in stemming the current as far as Tullahoma, but had to abandon the effort there, and leave the train. Fortunately I had procured three hard boiled eggs and a pinch of salt for dinner, and a friend at my elbow gave me a "drop' wherewith to wash them down.

The return train, which presented the only opportunity to retrace my steps, was if possible, more crowded than the one I had left. Indeed I found it necessary to make friends with the engineer and fireman, who kindly permitted me to occupy a place upon the tender, on condition that I would assist in throwing wood to keep up the fires. In other words they required me to work my way, which I did willingly enough. On reaching a depot known as Cowan, at the foot of the mountains, we were visited by a thunder storm which drove me from my perch upon the woodpile, and compelled me to stop for the night at a house kept by a one-legged man, a few of the occupants of which were one idiot, two pigs, a man with a freshly broken arm, and a number of sick and weary soldiers. It is the dirtiest place I have yet encountered. Fortunately the landlady had a supply of eggs, and upon them I made my supper and breakfast entirely, without bread or drink. At 8 o'clock this morning, we took a freight train for this place, and after worrying and struggling over the mountains through a snow-storm, we succeeded in accomplishing the passage—a distance of twenty-five miles—in eight hours. It is now bitter cold, and I write in the back-room of a store house, in the midst of a crowd of rough mountaineers and shivering soldiers who press around the fire. The train that passes here at 10 o'clock to-night for the west, will take me to Huntsville, the future headquarters of General Johnston, provided, always, I can get a seat.["];

Memphis Daily Appeal, March 20, 1862.

        20 – April 6, 1862, "We marched this day (Friday) 23 miles over a very rough, muddy road, and a great many of our men dropped out, and did not come up at all." Prelude to Shiloh, entries from the diary of Rufus B. Parker, First Lieutenant, Company E, 5th Kentucky Regiment

"Lynchburg, March 20th, 1862. Left home about 10 o'clock; took dinner at J. W. Holman's. On reaching Joseph Whitaker's I heard that the Lincolnites would probably be in Fayetteville that night, but upon arriving at Fayetteville found it was a hoax. Passed a portion of Capt. Morgan's cavalry in camp at Elk River. Stopped for the night at Well's 4 miles south of Fayetteville. Started early Friday morning, which was a cold, cloudy day, and traveled 22 miles and stopped at Hatchett's who treated us very kindly. Started out next morning; still cold and cloudy with an occasional shower of snow. We passed through Athens about 4 o'clock, and stayed all night, 5 miles east of Athens. Got up Sunday morning and found it snowing very hard -- everything perfectly white with snow. We left Maj. J. M. Johnson here, who was too sick to travel. James W. Brown also very sick. Traveled here till Monday night, 10 o'clock. James W. Brown turned back home with the wagon. We got on the cars and traveled about 15 miles and stopped and stayed all night; slept in a stock car. Tuesday morning cars started at daylight. Passed General Crittenden's Division at Iuka, Miss., and reached Burksville about 12 o'clock and found our company encamped about 1-4th of a mile from the village, in the 5th Ky. Regiment, commanded by Col. Thos H. Hunt, of Louisville, KY., in Gen. John C. Breckinridge's Brigade. Wednesday, March 26th, weather warm and dry; company generally well. Went out on company drill and dress parade in the evening.

Thursday, weather still fine; company drill before noon; battalion drill at 3 p. m.; dress parade at 6 p. m.

Friday, the 28th Squad drill at 8 a.m.; company drill at 9 a.m.; battalion drill at 3 p. m.; dress parade at 6 p. m. Nothing strange occurred.

Saturday, the 29th: Went out to drill before noon; rather unwell, too much so in the afternoon to drill.

Sunday, 30th; Felt much better and got 24 hours leave of absence and went to Corinth, 14 miles, to Gen. Wood's Brigade, Col. McDaniel's Regt. [sic] (44th Tenn.) and found W. Haggard very unwell threatened with inflammation of the bowels.

Monday, 31st: Failed to sell my horse, but left him with Capt. Haggard, who rode him about 12 miles in the country to remain about 10 days to regain his health. Saw Gen. Hindman at Corinth who is a low, heavyset man apparently about 30 years of age, long hair, and of not a very prepossessing appearance. Left Corinth about 1 1-2 o'clock, p. m. and reached Burkesville about 2 1-2 o'clock; found several of the boys complaining, R. F. Holman very sick.

Tuesday, April 1st; Robert F. Holman very sick with pneumonia; taken to a private house in Burkesville (Mr. Gray's): R. M. Holman detached to wait on him. I regard his case as a very bad one. Samuel McCullough also is very sick. About 9 1-2 o'clock we received orders to cook two days rations as soon as possible, to be ready to march at a half hour's notice. Whether we will leave here or not I can not say yet. Now 10 o'clock p. m.; the boys are all cooking up their provisions.

Thursday, April 3rd: We were ordered to 5 days rations, 3 in haversack and two in wagon. We cooked till after midnight; and about 3 o'clock fast, and about sunup we took up the line of March. I, being lieutenant of the guard the night before, was up all night. About 4 o'clock a.m., it rained very hard and continued to rain on us till about 7:30 o'clock. We marched this day (Friday) 23 miles over a very rough, muddy road, and a great many of our men dropped out, and did not come up at all. We halted about 8 o'clock, p. m., and bivouacked in an old field, without tents; and about 1 o'clock there came up a thunder storm which roused us all up.

About 7 o'clock a.m. Saturday morning, we took up the line of march, and marched about 8 or 10 miles, this day, and camped Sunday morning, April 6th; about half an hour after daylight we heard the battle commence. We were ordered into line and marched at a double quick; marched about 3 miles and came upon a Yankee camp where our men had a very hard fight, but routed the enemy, capturing a splendid battery and killing a good many of them. While in this camp the enemy shelled us considerably, but doing us no injury. We marched through this camp up in sight of another Yankee camp. We halted here and lay on the ground for about half an hour, during which time there was almost a continuous road of musketry about half a mile from us; at the end of time we discovered about two hundred Yankees advancing on our line. We let them come up in about one hundred yards when they halted and formed a line. When we turned loose on them they stood two fires when they took to their heels in real Bull Run style. We advanced to the top of the ridge and formed a line, when the Yankees came us in fine style. We engaged them a greatly inferior numbers and held our ground for about an hour, losing a good many of our men. W. R. Womack and John W. Allen were wounded in the first engagement. In the second, Capt. Bright fell wounded in the hip, Lieut. J. L. Moore in the arm. Privates J. W. Clark and James Howard were killed here, and James S. Bedford, B. V. Howard, G. W. Berry, Alex Forrester were wounded. Capt. Coldwell's company on our right suffered badly, himself being wounded. Our adjutant Major (Capt. Bell) was also wounded badly. We lost in this engagement about 30 or 40 killed and about an hour we fell back about sixty yards to a ravine, and let the 1st Missouri Regiment pass forward, when they engaged the enemy on the same ground."


        20, Confederate Scouts in the Eagleville and College Grove environs

[MARCH 20, 1863.]

Lieut. Gen. LEONIDAS POLK, Hdqrs. Shelbyville, Tenn.:

GEN.: The scouts sent in the direction of Murfreesborough have returned. They got near Murfreesborough, and still got no information, except from citizens, all of whom seem to think the enemy meditate a backward movement. But so far no actual movement has been made, except that spoken of toward Triune or Franklin. The soldiers are kept strictly within their guard lines. None have been out, except scouting parties on duty since last Friday. My scouts were compelled to return, after getting in sight of Murfreesborough from hills adjacent, for want of guides. The man guiding them took sick and was compelled to return, and they could procure none other in the country; otherwise they would have gone on the roads from Murfreesborough to Nashville, as directed. I wish you would interest yourself in procuring some good company made up in this country to assist us in this vicinity. I am sure I could make it pay well.

Very respectfully and truly,

P. D. RODDEY, Col.

SHELBYVILLE, March 20, [1863]-6 p. m.

Gen. BRAGG, Tullahoma:

I send you the following, received from Col. Roddey:

Nothing further from my scouts. The only excitement to-day is occasioned by the news that the enemy are out with several scouting parties. One party said to be on the Eagleville road, one on the Nashville road, and another our northwest of this place, and we are trying to find out what they are after.


HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, Columbia, Tenn., March 20, 1863.

Maj. K. FALCONER, Adjutant and Inspector-Gen., Tullahoma:

SIR: The dispatches of Gen. Bragg, in regard to the information that the enemy were probably falling back from Murfreesborough, and ordering that I should follow them if true, have been received. I have constantly had scouts in every direction, in front and on both flanks, and although rumors have reached me that such a movement was contemplated, no report of any actual movement of the kind has been made. I have been shoeing my horses and resting them after the very trying forced marches I have recently made. I had informed moving back across Duck River as soon as possible. I had ordered the corps over this morning, but owing to reports that the enemy were advancing this way again, I crossed part of the command last night; the balance are going over this morning. I will get in their rear, if possible, and strike at Franklin, Brentwood, and other points in that vicinity. I can only take, however, about 5,000 men. If no movement is made from Franklin, and none against Gen. Bragg's main position, I would respectfully suggest the propriety of allowing my horses rest for a short time, to gain sufficient flesh and strength for the final contest. I am sorry that I must report that they are not in very good condition now; that is, there are many that are not.

Very respectfully, major, I am, your obedient servant,


P. S.-Scout just in from College Grove and Eagleville reports Steedman's brigade and two regiments of cavalry at Triune, fortifying hill in vicinity. Some troops came from Nolensville to Triune last Tuesday. The impression among citizens near Murfreesborough is that the enemy intend moving back; part of their army has gone across Stone's River.

A deserter from Franklin yesterday states that he heard officers discussing plans for taking Columbia; they had maps, &c., and that preparations were being made for the movement. The enemy had, he says, 9,000 men.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, pp. 714-715.

        20, Scout and skirmish on Middleton-Salem Road

NEAR SALEM, TENN., March 20, 1863.

[Brig.-Gen. WHARTON:]

GEN.: In obedience to instructions, I have scouted the Middleton and Salem road, and found the enemy's pickets at Mr. Butler's, about 1 mile from Salem. My advance guard, under Lieut. [C. M.] Pearre, drove in their cavalry pickets back upon their infantry line. Their pickets are only half mile from their encampment. There is a brigade of infantry here, with some cavalry. After driving in their pickets on this road, I made an attack on their pickets on the Murfreesborough and Columbia dirt road, at Stone's [sic] River, about 4 miles from Murfreesborough. I was charged by 200 or 300 cavalry, and forced to fall or retire back, but not until after charging the head of their column and driving them back upon the main body. Their lines are very well guarded. It was impossible to ascertain whether they are evacuating Murfreesborough or not. Citizens report that they are. The Union people are leaving. I will probably not return to camp to-night.


M. L. GORDON, Capt. Wharton Scouts [C. S.A.].

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 717.

        20, Skirmish three miles west of Murfreesboro, on the Salem Pike near the Stones River

On the night of March, 20 they [two new recruits] were on picket, with a squad of others from the regiment, and were placed together on the outposts. This was the last ever seen or heard of them, but about daybreak an attack in force was made on our pickets. The command was ordered out, and the Second and Third [Tennessee Cavalry] placed in a field facing in direction of the attack, then in line of battle marched out very near the place where the pickets were firing, then the Third was ordered to the right, across a field and into a woodland, on a high point. About this time a wild yell was raised by the rebels near the direction in which the regiment was going. It came nearer and grew louder and louder. As yet they could not be seen, being across a ridge. The Third was ordered into a trot, then front into line, which orders were obeyed just in time to meet their charge, forming our line on the top of a little ridge. A volley was fired into them, whereupon they stopped their charge and fell back along on an opposite ridge in a woodland, and within easy range. Here the two commands stood, neither yielding an inch, and neither advancing, for over [an] hour, all the while pouring the shot into one another's ranks with all the fury to be commanded. Their fire was too high, the balls striking into the trees a little above us, and knocking the bark and rotten wood down upon us. Being called upon rather unexpectedly, we were not very well supplied with ammunition, but had enough to stand the ground for some time. While thus engaged, another body of rebels passed in [the] rear of this command opposing us, endeavoring to get into our camps, but they were met by the Fourth Indiana Cavalry and driven back. I remember that while the firing was hot and rapid, the balls making almost a clattering a dead oak near me, knocking the rotten sap wood over us. I heard apparently a larger ball than the others come lower and make a loud and distinct "sap" into something. Turning my head, I saw old James Carver of Company "B," trembling and pale, pulling back on his reins. I felt sure that he was badly wounded, as did others, but in a few minutes he got back a few feet in rear of the line, when his horse fell dead.

At length Col. Ray came up and finding the ammunition scarce, ordered us to fall back; but the orders was not readily obeyed, the men standing firm to their places. A cloud arose some distance in [the] rear coming toward us. It was easy to understand that reinforcements were coming, so Col. [D. M.] Ray countermanded his order. A battery and two Illinois Infantry regiments came and we were soon masters of the situation. In this engagement, as hot as it was and as long as it lasted, our regiment did not lose a single man killed. Some colored people told us afterwards that they saw the rebels carrying four of their dead off the field. Whether this was all and how many were wounded, of course, we could not learn. The Second Tennessee lost one young man killed on picket.

….I stood by the side of Sergeant George Wade. An elderly man [a civilian] continued to load his carbine, get behind us and fire across at the rebels. We didn't like this and at length threatened to shoot him if he repeated it, ordering him up into the line. Then he told us of killing a rebel, that he saw him fall. When the affair was ended we went over and there was no appearance of any of them ever having been at the place he pointed out to us.

The fight ceasing and the rebels withdrawing, we went back to camps, each man relating the wonderful thing he had seen and laughing over the ridiculous occurrences. And, after a fight everything that happened seems to present itself in some ridiculous way, so that incidents occurring in cold earnest and very serious at the time are laughable when the affair is over.[3]

Knoxville Daily Chronicle, May 24, 1879.[4]

        20, Attack on Union positions on Stones River, near Murfreesborough [see March 20, 1863, Scout and skirmish on Middleton-Salem Road above]

        20, Action at Vaught's Hill, near Milton

MARCH 20, 1863.-Action at Vaught's Hill [a.k.a., "Battle of Milton], near Milton, Tenn.


No. 1.-Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, U. S. Army.

No. 2.-Maj. Gen. Joseph J. Reynolds, U. S. Army, commanding Fifth Division, Fourteenth Army Corps.

No. 3.-Capt. Alexander A. Rice, Assistant Adjutant-Gen., U. S. Army.

No. 4.-Col. Albert S. Hall, One hundred and fifth Ohio Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.

No. 5.-Col. Henry A. Hambright, Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding Third Brigade, First Division.

No. 6.-Col. Robert H. G. Minty, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, commanding First Cavalry Brigade.

No. 7.-Brig. Gen. John H. Morgan, C. S. Army.

No. 8.-Capt. J. D. Kirkpatrick, Ward's Ninth Tennessee Cavalry (Confederate).

No. 1.

Report of Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, U. S. Army.

MURFREESBOROUGH, TENN., March 21, 1863--1 a. m.

Gen. Reynolds reports from Col. Hall's brigade, on a scout near Milton, on the road to Liberty, that he was attacked this morning by Morgan's and Breckinridge's cavalry, about eight or ten regiments. After a four hours' fight he whipped and drove them, with a loss to us of 7 killed and 31 wounded, including 1 captain. The rebel loss was 30 or 40 killed, including 3 commissioned officers, 150 wounded, and 12 prisoners, including 3 commissioned officers.

W. S. ROSECRANS, Maj.-Gen.

No. 2.

Reports of Maj. Gen. Joseph J. Reynolds, U. S. Army, commanding Fifth Division, Fourteenth Army Corps.


COL.: A brigade from Gen. Granger's command is about starting to re-enforce Col. Hall. Gen. Thomas is not in. Will you authorize the movement? Have just heard from Hall. He was in a good position, and holding the rebels off, but I fear they will greatly outnumber him.

J. J. REYNOLDS, Maj.-Gen.


COL.: About 12.30 p. m. a messenger arrived from Col. Hall, saying that he was attacked at Milton, and threatened with being surrounded by a large force of cavalry, and requesting our mounted men. The mounted men are all out foraging. I sent a request to Gen. Stanley for 1,000 cavalry, which were ordered from department headquarters (Gen. Stanley being out). Gen. Granger offered to send Hambright's brigade, and I called to see Gen. Thomas to authorize it, but found him out. It was authorized by department headquarters. I have only about 500 men in camp, and have sent them with four pieces of artillery to Hall's aid. Messenger arrived half an hour since. Hall had moved to a good position, and was holding his own, but evidently outnumbered. Hall is said to be about 12 miles from here.

J. J. REYNOLDS, Maj.-Gen.


COL.: Dr. [O. Q.] Herrick and Capt. Blair have just returned from Milton. Hall is all right. He was surrounded by a superior force of cavalry and five pieces of artillery. He took a good position, fought them four hours, and drove them off handsomely. Our loss 7 killed and 31 wounded. Among the killed is Capt. [A. C.] Van Buskirk, One hundred and twenty-third Illinois. Rebel loss 30 to 40 killed and 150 wounded; among the killed 3 commissioned officers. We have taken about a dozen prisoners, including 3 lieutenants. Our re-enforcements are all up, and Hall may give the rebels a punch to-morrow morning. Morgan, Wheeler, and Breckinridge were present.

Very respectfully,

J. J. REYNOLDS, Maj.-Gen.

No. 3.

Report of Capt. Alexander A. Rice, Assistant Adjutant-Gen., U. S. Army.


COL.: Col. Hall has with him about 1,500 infantry and two pieces of artillery. Is 3 miles this side of Milton. Was attacked this morning in the rear. Says he has seen the enemy in large force both on his right and left, and thinks he is being surrounded. Says the enemy are all mounted, and asks for re-enforcements of cavalry. Gen. Reynolds called on Gen. Stanley for 1,000 cavalry, and is now gone to find Gen. Thomas, to get a brigade of infantry from Gen. Granger's division, as Col. Wilder's brigade are all out. Strength of enemy not definitely known.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ALEX. A. RICE, Capt. and Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

No. 4.

Report of Col. Albert S. Hall, One hundred and fifth Ohio Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.

HDQRS. 2d BRIGADE, 5TH DIVISION, 14TH ARMY CORPS, Murfreesborough, Tenn., March 22, 1863.

SIR: Having completed the reconnaissance begun on the 18th instant, I hereby report the operations of my command.

I left camp, with two days' rations in the haversack and two on pack mules, with the following force: One hundred and twenty-third Illinois Infantry, Col. James Monroe commanding, 18 officers and 313 enlisted men; Eightieth Illinois Infantry, Col. Thomas G. Allen commanding, 18 officers and 365 enlisted men; One hundred and first Indiana Infantry, Lieut. Col. Thomas Doan commanding, 19 officers and 353 enlisted men; One hundred and fifth Ohio, Lieut. Col. William R. Tolles commanding, 18 officers and 245 enlisted men; one section of the Nineteenth Indiana Battery, Capt. S. J. Harris commanding, and Company A, of Stokes' cavalry, Capt. [Joseph H.] Blackburn commanding, giving me a total strength of infantry of a little over 1,300. My orders were to "reconnoiter the enemy and strike him, if the opportunity offers."

On the night of the 18th, I occupied Cainsville, taking 2 prisoners; making that night an unsuccessful effort to surprise a small rebel camp and failing by the mistake of a guide.

Early the next morning [19th] I took the Statesville road, finding the enemy's pickets; captured 2 of them. At Statesville my advance was met by a force of 150 or 200 rebel cavalry; a slight skirmish took place here, in which a sharpshooter from the One hundred and fifth Ohio mortally wounded one of [J. M.] Phillips' rebel cavalry. The enemy retired slowly down Smith's Fork toward Prosperity Church, on the pike. I followed very cautiously, skirmishing the ravines, and upon reaching the pike wounded 2 of Smith's ([Eighth] Tennessee) cavalry and captured 1. Half a mile from this spot, down the valley toward Liberty, a regiment of rebel cavalry, re-enforced by those whom I had driven from Statesville, was in line of battle across the valley. A small cavalry picket was also seen on the pike toward Auburn. I rested my command at Prosperity Church about two hours.

Becoming entirely satisfied that a large rebel force, under Morgan's command, was massed in the vicinity, and that I should be attacked by the next day [20th] at the farthest, I determined to choose my own ground for the engagement, and accordingly at dusk I moved my command to the high ground to the rear of Auburn, bringing me 3 miles nearer Murfreesborough, leaving the rebel regiment wholly unmolested, by skirmishing my way to Auburn with 40 or 50 rebels, whom I found had occupied the place during the afternoon. Of this force I wounded 1 or 2, and they retired on the Woodbury road. That night the enemy's pickets confronted mine on every road leading from my position, and a large force advanced in the night [19th] from toward Liberty and encamped in the vicinity of Prosperity Church. Knowing that the enemy largely outnumbered me, I determined to draw him as near Murfreesborough as possible, and to reach a fine position near Milton, 7 miles from my Auburn camp.

I moved at light [20th], and upon reaching the high ridge, 3 miles from Auburn, halted twenty minutes to fill canteens and view the enemy's advance. He was 2 miles behind me, but showed himself in no great force. Making on this ridge some demonstrations which would indicate a purpose to stay there, I dropped suddenly down the slope toward Milton, and passed 3 ½ miles of open, level country at a quick but steady step, occupying one hour, bringing me through Milton with the head of my column within 500 yards of the spot I desired to reach. Throwing two companies of the One hundred and twenty-third Illinois and half of Blackburn's company of cavalry into the edge of the town as skirmishers, and posting lookouts on my flanks and rear, I put a Napoleon into position, stacked arms, and awaited the enemy's pleasure. In twenty minutes his advance was visible in the eagle of the pike, beyond Milton, about 1,500 yards away, and was promptly scattered by a shell from Harris. A few minutes later the enemy advanced, dismounted, and attacked my skirmishers in the village. By this time a large force was visible, and two heavy columns began passing, one to my right and one to my left, on the gallop. At this moment I started three messengers for the general, to apprise him of my whereabouts and to ask him for a re-enforcement of cavalry. Placing the Eightieth Illinois into position to take care of my right, and the One hundred and first Indiana my left, I drew my skirmishers gently back, re-enforcing them with three more companies of the One hundred and twenty-third Illinois, so as to cover the center, and set Harris to shelling each column as it passed, supporting his guns by the One hundred and fifth Ohio. As the heavy flank movements of the enemy made it necessary, I drew the whole command slowly back, converging my flank regiments to a line with my center along the top of the hillock, where I had determined to make a stand. The heavy column passing to my left was two or three times cut in two by Harris, but from the nature of the ground was enabled to pass out of range. The column on my right was forced to come nearer and run the terrible gauntlet of Harris' fire, which killed and wounded them at every shot, and finally ran against a volley from the Eightieth Illinois, which killed and wounded some 30 men and 8 horses, and but for an unwarrantable delay on the part of the officer commanding the Eightieth Illinois, in giving his men orders to fire, would have been substantially destroyed. As it was, the terrible raking given it by the artillery, and the volley from the Eightieth Illinois which it finally received, quite effectually extinguished its valor and boldness, so that a thin line of skirmishers and part of Blackburn's little company was all that was necessary to control them thereafter.

Each of my regiments came into position on the crest, just as I directed, without confusion or delay; but there was no time to spare on my left. Here the enemy dismounted, and advanced with all the precision, boldness, and rapidity of infantry drill. The blow struck the One hundred and first Indiana and the left wing of the One hundred and twenty-third Illinois. The first attack was at once repelled; but the enemy, quickly re-enforcing his line of skirmishers, renewed it with double force and determination, rapidly advancing his main line. At this moment some confusion was manifest in the One hundred and first Indiana, but the gallant example set the men by their field, line, and staff officers, by the unflinching One hundred and twenty-third Illinois, and the opportune arrival from the right of five companies of the Eightieth Illinois and one of Harris' guns, enabled me to check the disorder. Every man returned to his post and fought to the last. The enemy gained no advantage; the advance he made by it cost him dearly.

The enemy now opened on my center with four pieces of artillery, and vigorously attacked my rear, but was repulsed at the rear by Capt. [W. S.] Crowell, with one company of the One hundred and fifth Ohio, and Capt. Blackburn's company, dismounted. The enemy's artillery assisted in driving the enemy from my rear. The engagement was now general. My line encircling the hillock, inclosing us within 5 acres of space, was entirely surrounded by the enemy, and every reachable spot was showered with shot, shell, grape, and canister. Meantime Harris was not idle; with one gun on the crest, he swung it as on a pivot, and swept them in every direction, and Lieut. [W. P.] Stackhouse, with the other gun on the pike, swept everything within his range. Artillery was never better worked. Again and again the enemy tried to break our devoted circle, and continued the unequal contest upon me steadily from 11.30 a. m. till 2.15 p. m., when, seeing it was of no avail, he drew off his cavalry to my front, leaving but a small force on my flanks; and, desisting from the attack with small-arms, continued to play his artillery till 4.30 p. m., when he finally withdrew it also. He, however, continued to so far occupy the ground outside of my line as to prevent me from taking his slightly wounded or the arms left by him. He collected the most of them and took away all the men, except those within rifle range of my lines that were not dead or mortally wounded. The enemy left upon the field, of men and officers, 63, including 4 captains and 2 lieutenants, dead or mortally wounded; and from an interview with four surgeons, left by the enemy, I learned that the wounded carried away cannot be less than 300, among whom were many officers, including Gen. Morgan, slightly wounded in the arm; Col. [J. W.] Grigsby, arm broken; Lieut.-Col. [Thomas W.] Napier, thigh broken; Lieut.-Col. [R. M.] Martin, flesh-wound in the back, and many officers of lower rank. I am myself satisfied, from a personal examination of the ground, that the enemy's loss is not less than 400. To this could easily have been added a large number of prisoners if my cavalry re-enforcements had reached me in due time. Col. Minty, of the Fourth Michigan, commanding cavalry re-enforcements, reached me about 7 p. m., at dark, and after the enemy had wholly left. I am most credibly informed that Col. Minty received his order to re-enforce me at about 1 p. m., and I submit to the inquiry of my superior officers why it should take Col. Minty six hours to make the distance of 13 miles over one of the best roads in Tennessee. The gallant Col. Hambright, with his brigade of infantry, reached me within thirty minutes after the cavalry had reported.

I have brought into camp fifty-three stand of arms, taken from the enemy, 10 prisoners, and 8 horses. The wounded and prisoners who fell into our hands represent nine regiments, including three of mounted infantry, and there were at least three regiments of the enemy held in reserve during the entire engagement, 1 mile in front. The fatal force of the enemy could not have been less than 3,500. The surgeons declined to disclose the force, and one wounded officer placed it at 4,000. Among the enemy's dead was a mulatto, killed on the advance line, fully uniformed and equipped. My loss is as follows: Killed, 1 captain and 5 enlisted men; wounded, 1 lieutenant and 41 enlisted men; prisoner, 1 enlisted man; missing, 7 enlisted men. Of the number wounded but few are serious, and many will not need hospital treatment. The missing were all inside the lines when the engagement began. They undoubtedly ran away to the rear, and are either captured or are in the woods on the way to this camp. The detailed reports of regimental commander are forwarded herewith, together with a plat of the route passed over and of the field of battle.[5]

I directed the citizens to bury the rebel dead and brought my own into camp.

The hard fighting of the day was done by the One hundred and first Indiana and the One hundred and twenty-third Illinois, but I feel profoundly thankful for the prompt and gallant co-operation which every officer of the command gave me, and too much praise cannot be given to the men of the entire command for their soldierly conduct. Capt. W. R. Tuttle, of the One hundred and fifth Ohio, my acting assistant adjutant-general, and Lieut. Sanford Fortner, of the One hundred and first Indiana, my aide-de-camp, rendered me the most valuable assistance on every part of the field. Capt. Blackburn, of the First Middle Tennessee Cavalry, deserves especial praise for his daring and efficient conduct during the scout and engagement. I desire also to make especial mention of Private J. H. Blackburn, Company A, First Middle Tennessee Cavalry, for the prompt and intelligent execution of my orders in bearing my dispatch from the point of attack to division headquarters, at Murfreesborough, and also of Private Edward Potter, Company E, One hundred and fifth Ohio, for the faithful and prompt management of my train of pack-mules, so placing them that not an animal was lost, and for his valuable assistance as an orderly on the field.

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

A. S. HALL, Col., Cmdg. Second Brigade.

No. 5.

Report of Col. Henry A. Hambright, Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding Third Brigade, First Division.

HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, March 22, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding, that, in compliance with orders received from division headquarters, at 1 p. m. on the 20th instant, I placed my command in readiness to move immediately, provided with two days' rations and all reserve ammunition.

At 2 p. m. orders were received to report to Brig.-Gen. Reynolds, commanding Fifth Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, and from him I received orders to move, as rapidly as possible, to re-enforce Col. Hall, commanding a brigade, who had been attacked at Milton, 15 miles distant, and was reported as being surrounded by the enemy and out of ammunition.

In accordance with these instructions, I moved forward with my command on the [Cainsville] pike at 2.30 p. m. Forded Stone's River at a point near the pike, which occasioned a delay of about an hour, and, pushing rapidly forward, arrived at the point designated at 8 o'clock p. m.

After reporting to Col. Hall, and being informed that our cavalry were unable to discover any traces of an enemy, I selected a position and bivouacked my command for the night, after throwing out proper pickets and taking necessary precautions against surprise. On the morning of the 21st, a cavalry reconnaissance was ordered.

They scoured the country around as far as Liberty, and reported no enemy in sight.

From information received from citizens and others, I was convinced that the enemy had been warned of our approach, and, not wishing to renew the fight, had fallen back. Deeming it unnecessary to remain longer at that point, I ordered Col. Hall, after taking care of his own killed and wounded, and the killed, wounded, and prisoners of the enemy, to take the advance and return to Murfreesborough. I moved next with my command, the cavalry protecting the rear.

I have no casualties to report in my brigade. I arrived in camp at 8 p. m.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. A. HAMBRIGHT, Col. Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Cmdg.

No. 6.

Report of Col. Robert H. G. Minty, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, commanding First Cavalry Brigade.


SIR: In obedience to orders received from the major-general commanding cavalry, I marched with the First and Second Brigades at about 2.30 p. m. yesterday for Milton, for the purpose of assisting Col. Hall, commanding a brigade of infantry, who was supposed to be surrounded by Morgan's force. I moved at the trot, and arrived at Milton a little after 6 p. m. I found that Col. Hall had repulsed the enemy, who had retreated at 4 p. m.

I immediately moved to the front, and scouted the country thoroughly for a couple of miles, without finding any trace of the enemy. I bivouacked near the infantry, and covered them in all directions by strong pickets.

This morning [21st] Col. Hall was full of the idea of surrounding and capturing the enemy's force, which he supposed was at Cainsville, Statesville, Auburn, Prosperity Church, Liberty, or Snow Hill. I declined moving until I could gain definite information of the direction of their retreat, and to that end sent out the following scouts: Col. Long, with the Fourth Ohio, to Cainsville; Lieut.-Col. Sipes, With the Seventh Pennsylvania, to Statesville; Lieut.-Col. Murray, With the third Ohio, to and beyond Auburn, and Capt. Tolton, with the Fourth Michigan, to take position at the junction of the liberty and Las Casas [sic] pikes, to protect Col. Murray's rear.

The enemy had not been seen in Cainsville or Statesville for some days. At Auburn, Lieut.-Col. Murray found a scouting party of 6 men; pursued them for a couple of miles without result. He learned that Morgan had fallen back to Snow Hill, leaving Breckinridge's battalion as an outlying picket at their old camp, this side of Liberty.

Col. Murray brought in 2 prisoners, a private of Duke's regiment, whose horse had broken down, and 1 of [R. M.] Gano's regiment, found at a house, wounded.

The force which attacked Col. Hall was:

Duke's regiment...................................... 350

[Adam R.] Johnson's regiment................ 250

Gano's regiment...................................... 350

Breckinridge's battalion (say)................. 250

Smith's and two other regiments from Wharton's brigade, most likely the Fourteenth Alabama [Battalion], under Lieut.-Col. Malone, and [John R.] Davis' Tennessee Battalion,

say 350.......................................... ….. 1,050

Total.............................................. …. 2,250

Two brass pieces (one rifled and one howitzer) and two small mountain howitzers.

The infantry left Milton for Murfreesborough at 12 m. My scouts returned at about 2 p. m., when I had horses fed and followed the infantry, arriving in camp at about 8 p. m.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBT. H. G. MINTY, Col., Cmdg. Brigade.

No. 7.

Report of Brig. Gen. John H. Morgan, C. S. Army.

LIBERTY, March 21, 1863.

We attacked the enemy at Milton on yesterday morning; drove them 2 miles. They were largely re-enforced, and maintained their position. The fight lasted six hours. Our loss heavy in officers.

The Federals are reported advancing upon us again to-day. If they should, will fight them at this point. Will send a regiment to Lebanon to-day if enemy do not advance.

Col. [R. M.] Martin, who has just returned from the Murfreesborough and Nashville pike, reports that the Federals are not falling back.


JOHN H. MORGAN, Brig.-Gen.

No. 8.

Report of Capt. J. D. Kirkpatrick, Ward's Ninth Tennessee Cavalry (Confederate).

AUBURN, March 20, 1863.

We have had rather a warm time to-day. Our loss is great; do not know how much yet; perhaps 125 killed and wounded. Do not know the enemy's loss. They were re-enforced with a large force, and we had to fall back. They are not pursuing us.

Yours, very respectfully,

J. D. KIRKPATRICK, Capt., Cmdg. Ward's Regt. [sic]

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 152-160.

The account of Major James A. Connolly, 123rd Illinois Infantry of the Battle of Milton

Murfreesboro, Tenn., March 28, '63

Dear Wife,

As our Lieut. Col. is going back home in a couple of hours I will write you a hasty letter...I received your letter...on the 20th and the time and place of its reception brought me great pleasure.

It was near sunset, the air was still loaded with the sulphurous [sic] smoke of battle, the rattle of musketry and booming of cannon were still ringing in my ears; the dead and wounded lay scattered around me; the browned leaves were marked here and there with little pools of blood where some poor fellow offered up his last sacrifice; our wearied men lay upon the ground in line of battle narrowly watching the dense cedars in our front where the enemy had hid themselves the last time we drove them back. I sat on an old log, my faithful mare near me, still quivering with the excitement of the battle, and as I sat there musing on the fortunes of the day that had lost us one of our bravest captains and two of our best lieutenants, I could see in the distance, the long lines of the enemy commence to move slowly away from us; just then a courier dashed up from our camp at Murfreesboro, his horse covered with foam, bearing with him the mail of our regiment, and also the news that our precarious situation had been heard of at our camp 14 miles distant, and that heavy reinforcements were then on the road to succor us.

But when that mail was distributed I found your letter, and forgot all about war's alarms; occasionally, however, I would look up from the page to glance at the retreating enemy. What better time or place could there have been for me to receive that letter.

It thrills one to feel that his side has won a victory. I never felt it so completely before....and it was the redoubtable Morgan we whipped and sent flying from the field, with a bullet mark of ours on his arm.

He expected to make another Hartsville affair of it but was mistaken in his men. The last letter I wrote you was the evening before we started on our expedition. We started next morning and marched about 15 miles  when we bivouacked for the night; early the next morning we started forward again, expecting to meet the enemy, our regiment being in the advance. I was immediately ordered forward with 3 companies of our regiment deployed as skirmisher to engage the enemy's pickets and drive them in. We went ahead about a quarter of a mile when my men poured a volley into a squad of cavalry which unhorsed one whom we captured, the rest flying in confusion. Moving on some distance farther we came in sight of a heavy force of the enemy drawn up in line of battle, and we halted; our brigade commander came up and concluding the enemy were too strong for us, the whole column about-faced, bringing us in the rear, and marched back. We bivouacked that night on a wooded hill near Auburn, Tenn., expecting to be attacked during the night, but we were not molested, although the enemy's scouts were all around us all night and kept most of us awake.

In the morning we resume our march toward Murfreesboro, moving very cautiously, our regiment still in the rear, and we could see the scouts of the enemy following us all morning. About 9 o'clock in the morning we passed through the village of Milton, Tenn., and halted on this side to rest. In a few minutes the enemy appeared in small force in the village. A shell was thrown at them which caused them to leave suddenly, but in a few minutes they reappeared in greater force. I was then ordered to take 3 companies of our regiment back to the village and open up a skirmish with the enemy, which I did. I concealed my men behind houses and fences in the village and kept up a skirmish fire about 20 minutes, in which two of my men were wounded, but the enemy's cavalry being about to surround us I brought my men back to the regiment. By this time the enemy had disclosed his full force and was filing around on our right and left, in plain view, for the purpose of surrounding our entire brigade. Our brigade kept falling back in line of battle, my 3 companies being in the rear covering the retreat. In this way we fell back about a mile, the enemy keeping up a fire on us and making several ineffectual attempts [sic] to charge us with cavalry to break our lines. Finally we reached a rocky hill on which our little brigade of about 1100 fighting men determined to make a stand and await the attack of the 4000 or 5000 rebels under John Morgan.

We had but few minutes to wait until on they came rushing suddenly upon the 101st Ind., which was on our left, and causing some confusion, but the 101st boys fell in with ours and soon drove the enemy back into the cedars; another charge came upon our front and we drove them back; again they charged on the on the left, but by that time the 101st Ind. was reformed and they punished the enemy terribly.

The fighting continued from 10 o'clock in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. The pommel of my saddle and one of my holsters were carried away by bullets. I then dismounted and in a few minutes they shot away the collar of my overcoat, leaving it in rags and knocking me down, but it didn't' hurt a bit. The next day we returned to camp bringing our dead and wounded with us We had 6 men killed on the field and about 30 so severely wounded, two of our killed being officers. The enemy's loss in killed, wounded and prisoners was about 400. The battle of Milton will not figure among the big battles of the war, but we flatter ourselves that it will be worthy of mention as a handless victory. They deliberately made the attack with force enough to completely surround us, we had no protection, and they expected to gobble us up as they did the Hartsville brigade but Morgan failed for the first time.[6][emphases added]

* * * *

Three Years in the Army of the Cumberland, pp. 43-45.

        20, "I would like two flannel shirts with flannel collars." Clothing and medicinal needs in Murfreesboro, excerpts from Gershom M. Barber's letter from Murfreesboro

Head Quarters Sharp Shooters

Murfreesboro Tenn, March 20 1863

My Dear Wife

Mr. A Honey will be coming along soon to join the company. I have written to him to call on you and bring whatever you may desire to send. Lieutenant Pickard has made the same request I would suggest that you and Mrs. Pickard write and port up a small box. I would like two flannel shirts with flannel collars. A buff vest and one night-shirt and a few little items of luxuries. Send as you may have and can spare. We can get a great many things here very reasonably. I wish you would send my brandy flask and send me about a quart of good brandy. I need it for medicines and cannot get it here less than $5 a quart and good for nothing at that. The little stock of medicines I brought with me….Nearly all of us have to take a turn of diarrhea and some have regular dysentery. He have had about twenty cases of measles hear [sic]….

Don't send any other clothing than I have named as I could not do anything with it and would have to throw it away….

Barber Correspondence

        20, "Juvenile Crime."

Yesterday, three boys, Daniel Griscoll, fifteen years old, "Daniel." twelve years old, and "Sub," eight years, entered the Senate Restaurant, on Jefferson street, while the waters waiters were in the back room and stole twenty-five dollars from the till. On obtaining the money they hired a hack, and were enjoying a drive around town when they were taken. They gave up the remainder of their money, and Mr. Coy, with a forbearance that will do them no good, on account of their tender years, declined to prosecute. A dozen new pocketknives, a very large quantity of necklace beads, and a new coat, doubtless all stolen, were found upon them.

Memphis Bulletin, March 21, 1863.

        20, "…I just wish you could see our camp. it [sic] is one of the most beautiful places you ever saw;" Frank M. Guernsey's letter home to Fannie

Memphis, Tennessee

March 20th, 1863

My Dear Fannie

I have nothing to do in particular this afternoon and I know of no more pleasant way to pass a leisure hour than by writing you. I wrote you a few days since which you will probably receive in due course of time. I have nothing in particular to write, no news, nothing but the same old routine over day after day, yet still I am enjoying myself very well, this free and lazy life suite me this warm and pleasant weather. I have not done any duty since I was sick and am as well as I ever was, but I have played off as long as I dare for this time. I shall return to duty to-morrow shure [sic].

Fannie I just wish you could see our camp. it [sic] is one of the most beautiful places you ever saw. the [sic] trees are now fully leaved out, rearing their tall and graceful forms majestically towards heaven, affording a most pleasant retreat in the shade of their broad branches from the scorching rays of a southern sun, and I assure you the boys enjoy and appreciate it.

Glen just came into my tent and of course I had to stop and have a long talk with him as usual. He is well and sends his regards to you all. Fannie what do you think of the 32nd Regiments being ordered to Wis. to spend the summer. There is such a report in our camp that we are to be ordered to Wis. to enforce the conscription act, though I hardly dare believe it, it is to good news, there is however some truth in the reports for our Regmt. [sic] has been recommended as one of the three to go. if we do go I pity the poor Fellow who tryes [sic] to resist the conscription for our boys are soldiers every bit of them, and they would obey orders though the streets flowed in blood and these are the kind of men who ought to be sent on such business, Fanny, men that will not see the laws trifled with, if men are too big cowards to sacrifice a little ease and comfort and their lives if need be for their country they are too big cowards to live and enjoy the rights and protection of her laws. Those are my sentiments. You know the good book says "He that is not for me is against me" so that will not take up arms in the defense of his country and the protection of her rights is a traitor as deep as any of old Jeffs [sic] crew, if we do come north you may calculate on seeing a pair of blue pants (as the Memphisites [sic] call us) just about as quick as the law allows. Oh, wouldn't I enjoy myself while I was there. I would get a furlough as long as I could and make you a good visit [sic] and all the rest of my friends, then we would get your dear mother to give you a good long furlough so you could repay my visit. I guess we could manage some way to enjoy ourselves, dont [sic] you Fannie.

Fannie, enclosed you will find a picture of your soger [sic] boy. I was down town the other day and had one taken so that you could see that secesh had not entirely worried me out yet. We have got our mail very irregularly for a week or two past in fact I have received none at all for nearly three weeks. It is probably going to Vicksburg, but we are in hopes of getting it regulated soon, but it is nearly night so that I must close. So dear

Fanny I will bid you good by for this time. Please give my love to all your people and accept much for yourself

I am

Yours affectionately

Frank M. Guernsey

Guernsey Collection.

        20, J. A. Rogers, assistant surgeon, 28th Tennessee Regiment [CSA], in Tullahoma environs, to his father

Near Tullahoma March the 20th 1863

Dear Papa,

I find myself seated for the express purpose of writing you a few lines they have me well with this hope that they may find you all enjoying the same good health I have no news of much importance to write though it is Rumored here today that the Yankees have attacted [sic] Charleston I don't know how reliable the rumor is our forces at Port Hudson have defeted [sic] the federal fleet with considerable loss our loss trifling this place is few miles  about Baton Rouge I saw the other day the Yankees pass through here that Van Dorn captured at Spring Hill there was a large squad of them I wrote this to you the other day If you have not received that letter before you get this you can send to________for it. I sent it by Capt. Bandy in care of A. Vick Lebanon to be forward [sic] to C. A. Winters I have not wore my shoes yet I had my boots mended I think that they will do me a month or so yet. When I wrote for the shoes I thought that I could not get them [illegible] you too send the hat the first chance you have I will need it by May send me another pair of socks also I Believe [sic] that is all the clothing that I want. I am acting asst. surgeon I have been doing so for the past five weeks I could be the ass't. If it was possible for a first course student to be Assistant Surgeon myself & Dr. Wilson have our hands full now the Big base considering we have from 75 to 90 on the sick list every day. I am getting along as well as I could wish I will have to quit write [sic] soon and give me all the news S. S. Stanton is Col. and D. C. Crook Lt. Col.____[sic] Smith major of this Regt. [sic] It goes by the name of the 28th Tennessee Regt. [sic] Quit I must Read all you can and guess at the rest [sic]

We are in Wrights' Brigade Chethams [sic] Divison Polks [sic] Corps

J. A. Rogers

TSL&A Confederate Collection: Box 11, Folder 14,

Letters, Rogers, Joseph Anderson et al.

        20, The Public Debate on Sanitation in Memphis [see March 6, 1863,"'SANITARY ARRANGEMENTS.' Editorial approval of street cleaning initiative in Memphis" above and March 24, 1863, "'The Dirty Street Theory;' the pre-germ-theory debate on public health in occupied Memphis," below]

City Sanitary Measures.

In consequence of a mandate from Gen. Veatch requiring a larger force to be put to work cleaning the streets than at present employed, a meeting of the city council has held yesterday.

Ald. Mulholland, who had been very active in having the district committed to his case well cleaned, was of the opinion that a full force should be set to work, to have every alley and street thoroughly cleansed.

Alderman Merrill addressed the board at length, repeating his experience gained in the city of Natchez and in this city during the yellow fever period of 1855. He was of the settled opinion that the process of removing the filth lying in the alleys and gutters, at a time when the warm weather was just coming upon us, is one of the most fearful danger. Observations made in New Orleans with the microscope had shown that such street filth was filled with myriads of animalcule. These little creatures were devouring the filth among which they subsist, but when the filth was removed and thrown out so as to expose it to the sun and air, those creatures die and become a mass of putrifying [sic] corruption loading the air with poisonous exhalations. The cleansing process now proceeding should have been performed during the winter. To expose the filth to the air at this period, the speaker declared as a medical man, replete with disease and deaths. [sic] He hoped the board would not underrate [?] the dreadful responsibility of uninviting death to hold horrid carnival in our city- desolating households, sweeping away every away families, bring death and weeping into every house. For his own part he would not, he could not be a sharer in a responsibility as awful. To avoid it he would if necessary, after giving as solemn a warning as was in his power to do, resign his place at the Board, lose his personal liberty, and meet death itself. He spoke what he knew, what experience in this and other southern cities had taught him. The opinions of northern physicians, totally unacquainted with the peculiarities of the Southern climate were on weight in the case. He had, not only in conversation, but in repeated communications in the newspapers in 1855, before the yellow fever broke out, predicted what was coming. The soil was then turned up, and miasmatic affluvia [sic] filled the air, and disease and death was the consequence. Alderman Mulholland was of opinion that a committee should be appointed to wait upon General Veatch and call his attention to the facts he had adverted to, and consult with him generally upon the subject, which was agreed to.

Alderman Drew wished to have an ordinance passed forbidding citizens to throw slops or refuse from their houses into the streets.

Alderman Merrill warned the Board against taking measures that would lead to such articles having poured down in the yards and cellars of private premises. Whatever objection there might be thought to exist against depositing such substances in the open air in the streets, there were innumerable and most important objections against placing them in holes and corners where they would become hotbeds of disease. The official report of the Council, which we publish,[7] explains what steps were taken by that body. We may tomorrow have some remarks to make on Dr. Merrill's theory of street cleaning.

Memphis Bulletin, March 21, 1863

        20, Sanitation measures taken by the Memphis Board of Mayor and Aldermen

* * * *

Ald. Drew offered the following:

Resolved, That the Mayor issue his proclamation prohibiting and forbidding in future the throwing into the streets, alleys and gutters of this city any offal, filthy water, or any substance whatever calculated to produce sickness or uncleanliness, and that the Chief of Police see that said proclamation is enforced, and, further, that the Police Chief be held responsible in their respective wards or beats for any violation of the Mayor's proclamation under this resolution.

Ald. Merrill offered the following as an amendment to the above, and the same was accepted by Ald. Drew, and the resolution was amended adopted by the Board.

That all slop water be required to be emptied into the middle of the streets and alley, and that all offal be deposited in heaps to be taken away by the city carts.

Thereupon the Board adjourned.

L. R. Richards, City Registrar

Memphis Bulletin, March 21, 1863.


We referred in yesterday's Bulletin, to the recent raid upon Tennessee Bank notes. We also stated that one of the banks – the Gayoso Savings Institution, itself the creature of the legislature of Tennessee – had refused to receive Tennessee Bank notes of a denomination under five dollars. It appears that our pointed reference to the affair created quite a stir among the bankers, and the result was, a meeting yesterday morning, at which the act complained of was confessed, but the responsibility of the same disavowed by the head officer of the offending Institution. There was another good resulting from this meeting, which is made apparent by the following rule of action laid down for the future government of all bankers and brokers in this matter:

We, the undersigned, bankers of Memphis, do agree to receive and pay out as heretofore, notes under five dollars on good banks of Tennessee, where they are not mutilated; and we further agree to use as above the traditional parts of dollars notes of the Bank of Tennessee. This we do because of the [late?] practice of some dealers throwing them out. We know they are as good as large notes, and they are needed for use; and by refusing them many poor people will suffer and no good arise. Every argument for their use, and none against it.

I.R. Kirtlan, Presd.

E. M Avery, Cashier

Jesse Page, Cashier

Bolling & Co. Brokers

The action is a step in the right direction. It is what should have been done long ago. There can be no propriety in holding the large notes of the Tennessee Banks at a heavy premium, and at the same time refusing to receive as good the small notes of the same banks! [sic] Merchants who are comparative strangers, seeing the small notes refused, would not only get an unfavorable opinion of our small currency, but also the larger notes, and the ultimate, if not [the] immediate result would be, the depreciation of the whole! – greatly to the injury of everybody except those who make money by its depreciation. It was this consideration – it was because the causeless opposition to Tennessee bank notes originated not with strangers, but with the managers of an institution deriving its existence to a Tennessee legislature – that we felt called upon to expose it, and thus to save from loss, immediate and remote, the great mass of our people. We regretted the necessity of calling attention to the matter, but none rejoice more than ourselves that apologies have been made for the past, and that a better course has been marked out for the future.

Memphis Bulletin, March 20, 1863.

        20, "Markets and Monopolies."

On Tuesday night, in the City Council, Ald. Morgan took a position respecting certain articles sold in the market here that appears worthy of attention. The nature of the matter may be judged from an ordinance offered by Dr. Merrill which provides that it shall hereafter the law [require?] any person, property licensed, of course, will be required, to sell any article of food in any portion in the city at times of the day, just as they sell other merchandize. This [looks?] fair enough, and the reader on pursuing the ordinance will be apt to say certainly, why not? The "why not" is answered in the city ordinance regulating markets, which says no one shall sell any fresh meat, except game in any other part of the city, than in the market at any time. They may sell a quarter of beef, or a half of a pig, sheep or other animal (the city ordinance says "any other animal whatever," but as we do not eat cats, dogs or horses, the provision is not used as extensively as it might be) out of market but to cut off legs [illegible] steaks is strictly forbidden by the combined wisdom of the City Fathers of Memphis. It may seem difficult to understand how a man may innocently sell half a sheep at his store, but be guilty if he sell a leg of mutton; or sell a quarter of an ox but not one of the steaks cut from the quarter. These are nice distinctions and very profuse; doubtless fathomless as the "philosophy of the unconditioned" and the mysteries of theology [?]. The mind is lost in amazement as [he ponders secrets (?)] so bewildering [?], and looks with admiring wonder toward those city fathers, whose power is so great, and to explain so small. The ordinance introduced by Dr. Merrill was considered in Council on Monday, and rejected with profundity wise and mysteriously wonderful distinction between halves and quarters and steaks and [illegible], still remain monuments of profundity and sagacity.

Memphis Bulletin, March 20, 1863.

        20, J. G. M. Ramsey offers interest bearing bonds to fund the Confederate war debt

Office of Depository,

Knoxville, Tenn., March 20, 1863.

I am directed by the Secretary of the Treasury to give public notice that all Treasury notes not bearing interest, and dated prior to Dec., 1, 1862, are entitled to be funded at this office in eight per cent. coupon bonds up to the 22d April ensuing. Notes which bear date subsequent to Dec. 1, 1862, can be funded in bonds at the rate only of seven per cent., or in stock certificates bearing a like interest. Interest bearing notes of $100 each will still be exchanged for the $20, $50, and $100 issues of the Hoyer and Ludwig plates.

East Tennessee papers copy to April 22, and send duplicate bills to this office for payment.

J. G. M. Ramsey, Depository

Knoxville Daily Register, April 18, 1863.

        20, Guerrilla attack on locomotive train above Richland Station


Franklin, Tenn., March 20.-The Nashville train was yesterday thrown off track, by the guerillas placing obstructions on the track, by the guerillas placing obstructions on the track four miles above Richland Station, not at Woodburn, as previously stated. The locomotive, tender and two express cars were crushed.

The guerillas fired into rear car, containing women and children. They called themselves Morgan's men. The passengers returned the fire, killing one and wounding three. One passenger was slightly wounded. The guerrillas commenced paroling at the head of the train, and took away the officers' side arms, rifled their carpet sacks, &c. Adams' Express car was robbed of its contents, but part was subsequently recovered. The mail on the train was seized but recovered.

The Conductor ran back one mile, to the station, and the soldiers coming up at the double-quick, recaptured the train and drove off the guerrillas, wounding several and taking four prisoners.

General Brannon and Lieutennant-Colonel McKer were in the rear car, but were neither captured nor paroled, but are safe at Nashville.

Philadelphia Inquirer, March 21, 1862

        20-21, Reconnaissance, Unionville environs, Wilkinson pike, and road between Murfreesborough and Triune, [see March 21, 1863, Skirmish near Triune below]

        20, Skirmish in Tullahoma environs[8]

Excerpt from the Report of Col. John M. Hughs, Twenty-fifth Tennessee Infantry on activities from January 1-April 18, 1864, relative to skirmish in Tullahoma environs, March 20, 1864.

* * * *

On the morning of the 20th March we were, for the first and only time, surprised by the enemy while in camp and suffered a loss of 2 men killed and some captured, including some valuable papers of my own. The enemy in this affair lost 7 killed and 8 wounded, according to their own report.

* * * *

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 56.

        20, Federal scout, Blue Springs to below Red Clay

BLUE SPRINGS, March 20, 1864.

Gen. WHIPPLE, Chief of Staff:

Maj. Paine, First Wisconsin, commanding, scouted below Red Clay; found rebel pickets at Wade's house. An advance of 3 miles found pickets much stronger than formerly. Rebels say Forrest has joined and is on their right.

D. S. STANLEY, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, p. 99.

        20, Federal scouts, Strawberry Plains to Rutledge, Mouth of the Chucky, Dandridge Road

STRAWBERRY PLAINS, March 21, 1864.


The following from Gen. Stoneman is the only news from the front:

Scouting parties from Rutledge report nothing in that direction, except small parties prowling about the county. Deserters and refugees from Russellville report 300 cavalry at Morristown; that Longstreet returned from Richmond yesterday, and was to move with his infantry in this direction to-day.

No reports from the Mouth of Chucky or Dandridge road. Three hundred or 400 cavalry, supported by a regiment of infantry, will be sent to Morristown to-day, returning to-morrow.


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, p. 102.

        20, "Those men are not soldiers but a band of robbers and murderers. They don't mind whether a man is a Union man or a Confederate,- if he has money they will take it. " First Lieutenant Robert Cruikshank, 123rd New York Infantry Regiment, letter home to his wife Mary, camp life near the Elk River

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

Elk River, Tenn.,

March 20, 1864.

Dear Mary,-

I have just returned from hearing a sermon preached by the Rev. Mr. Small, formerly of Jackson, N.Y. He was on his way home from Chattanooga where he has been on a visit for some weeks and having some relative in this Regiment he came here today and preached to us. We often have preaching now furnished by the Christian Commission.

I am kept busy week days but the labor is not hard. I have not been on picket since I returned from Boons Hill. I go on duty as Officer of the Day once in about eight days. All the night work I have to do is to visit the guard once after twelve o'clock, midnight. We have been in this department almost six months. It does not seem so long. Our time is over half in, as the men say we are on the home stretch on our time of enlistment. Soldiering is like everything else; we have our bright days and dark days; we have the bitter and the sweet.

The Colonel has been absent some days attending the court-martial in which those guerrillas that were taken at Boons Hill are being tried. I understand that some have been convicted of murder and are to be hung. Those men are not soldiers but a band of robbers and murderers. They don't mind whether a man is a Union man or a Confederate,- if he has money they will take it. They commit crime on the Confederate people and then the Union soldiers are charged with it. I do not intend ever to fall into their hands.

With love to all,

R. Cruikshank.

Robert Cruikshank Letters.

        20, An Elizabethton refugee's inquiry about the safety of returning home [all spelling original]

Loisvilll March the 20, 1864

The Governeur Johnson

At Tennessee

Dear Sir!

You moeby would not have anny Objection for to tell me of it is safed for to go to Elizabethtown Carter County East Tennessee. I would not like to fall in the Hands of Rebels – and I would Like to go to mein Farm thereself. It would be a bik favor to me if you would let me known with the nacst Mail of our Armee have the rebels driven away there; that I will come to mein lovely Home ad atten to mein Farm. Sure you do not know me but you will be kind anouch to every man hoe did his duti in the Union Armee for several Months like me; and I can not find out the very Trueth about this matter without you, becas I do not belief every report.

Your Servent G. G. Dosse.

I find the Stamps and Umvellups for Youer Answer, Closed in here[.]

G G Dossee

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 651.

        20, "The Tables Turned in Tennessee."

The secessionists of East Tennessee, who, at the outset of the war, practiced every imaginable outrage on their neighbors, are beginning to suffer the just penalty of their action. The Union men, the courts having been reestablished, are prosecuting their former prosecutors for damages sustained, and the juries, of far as cases have come to trial, indicate a disposition to see full justice done to all concerned. Parson Brownlow has just recovered $25,000 damages in the United States Circuit Court at Knoxville, from three persons who had made him the object of their malice; another loyalist has obtained a verdict for a similar amount, while the heirs of a third have recovered the large sum of $40,000 in a similar manner. Brownlow, in his paper, advises all Union men who have suffered to commence suits at once; and the verdict in the cases names well, no doubt, influence very many to follow his advice. The fighting parson says on the subject, in language which is vigorous if not polite:

"Impoverish the villains-take all they have-give their affects to the Union men, they have crippled and imprisoned-and let them have their "southern rights!" They swore they would carry on the war until they exhausted the last little negro [sic], and loss [of] their lands. Put it to them, is our advice, most religiously-fleece them, and let them know how other men feel when robbed of all they have! Let them be punished-let them be impoverished-let them be slain-and after slain, let them be damned!"

Should the practice this initiated in Tennessee be carried out in other States, as they are gradually recovered and civil government reestablished, man wrongs will no doubt be righted and the wealthy secessionist, even should they escape all political penalties, will find, as others have done before them, that crime always brings, in some form, its own retribution. The action of the east Tennessee juries affords conclusive evidence that the loyal people of the insurgent States, when the rebellion is finally expelled, can be depended upon to administer the laws and take care of the secession element without any help from loyal bayonets, Newark Advertiser.

New York Times, March 20, 1865.


[1] Most likely he meant pontoon bridges.

[2] Not identified.

[3] It can be readily seen by his use terms "affair" and "engagement" that there was no precise term for such combat, which could just as easily been called a "skirmish."

[4] This date is correct.

[5] Plat omitted by the editors of the OR.

[6] It wouldn't be the first time: Morgan also failed on May 5, 1862, at Lebanon, being taken by surprise and completely routed from the city.

[7] Not found.

[8] A more exact location for this skirmish cannot be determined. Inasmuch as Hughs was in the Tullahoma area when he attacked the Union supply train on March 16 it seems likely he was in the same general area four days later.


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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