Thursday, May 7, 2015

5.6.2015 Tennessee Civil War Notes - revised and corrected

For reasons unknown, the first TCWN included entries for August 6, 1861. The error has been corrected here.


May 6, 1861-1865





            6, Fear of abolitionists in White County, an excerpt from the journal of Amanda McDowell of the Cherry Creek community

* * * *

The news is flying around that they are going to hang a man by the name of Barger tomorrow at Sparta. I don't put any faith in such news as that. They say he expressed Abolition principles most too freely. Wm. Willhite says that they were [sic] considerable whisperings in Sparta on Saturday about Father's being an Abolitionist whispered hints of threats, etc., but I guess there is not much the matter. They had better not tell him to his face that he is an Abolitionist, for I heard him say yesterday that if there was a thing in the world that would make him strike a man it would be for anyone to throw it up to him. He believes in reason in all things, and in being sure that he is right before he pitches into anything.

Diary of Amanda McDowell.

6, Fear and loathing in Memphis – the Committee of Safety in Action

Affairs in Memphis-The Feeling in Tennessee and Kentucky.

On Saturday we were kindly furnished with the following information by two young gentlemen who had just arrived from Memphis, Tennessee, at which place they had for some time past been in business. During several weeks past the have received continued intimations that their presence was no longer desirable in Memphis, and one of the gentlemen was obliged to live in the night, his ticket having been procured by a friend. The other was waited upon by a Committee of Safety, who, after asking him where he was from, and how long he had resided there, informed them that if he intended to remain he must join a military company, and if he did not he had better leave the following morning. As the member of the committee seemed respectable, he deemed it advisable to leave that afternoon, an employe of the establishment in which he was engaged buying his ticket for him.

As he went to the cars on Friday a proclamation was posted up, to the effect that there were but two parties in the city, friends and foes; and all able-bodied men who did not at once join the Secession forces, were enemies. Several Northerners will be compelled to leave, while others who think more of dollars than principles, have expressed an intention to obey the proclamation.

The feeling in that section is decidedly in favor of Secession, the few Union men residing there being compelled to maintain silence.

A large force is engaged near Memphis in making fortifications, and at Fort Randolph, sixty-five miles above the city, every preparation will be made to prevent Northern troops from passing down the river. Sand batteries have been erected, and six thirty-two pounders have been planted. The point is garrisoned by a company of Light Guards of the 154th Regiment, and a company of flying artillery. More troops are to be sent there at an early day.

In the Southern portion of Kentucky the feeling is similar to that in East Tennessee….

On Wednesday last, our informants witnessed the perpetration of a horrible atrocity. As the steamer Glendale was lying at the wharf in Memphis, a young man, a clerk in Johnson & Just's store, who was about to start on a temporary visit to his old home, Fort Wayne, Indiana, for the purpose ob being married, imprudently said that if the Secessionists visited his section of the country, they would be clubbed. The cry of "Abolitionist" was raised, and the poor fellow was knocked down, abused, and subsequently taken to a barber's shop and his head shaved. He was afterwards escorted by a policeman to the residence of one of his employers, and the next morning left for the North.

Two weeks before this, there men who had, it was supposed, returned North, were seen hanging to trees a short distance from Memphis. One was a moulder and the other two were carpenters, hailing from Ohio and Allegheny City in this State.

Our informants passed up the Ohio river, American flags were waving on both sides.

Philadelphia Inquirer, May 16, 1861.





          6, "From Middle Tennessee."

We learn that at Columbia, the county seat of Maury county, an attempt was made about ten days since, to get up a grand "Union" demonstration, which terminated in a most humiliating and disgraceful failure. Flaming posters were handed around the streets and stuck up at public places, announcing that the "loyal" citizens of Maury, would, on a certain day, present General Negley's brigade of Hessian invaders with a "Union" flag. Accordingly, upon the appointed occasion, the brigade assembled at the court house to hear its blushing honors, when but three citizens, of the whole population of Maury, presented themselves as participants in the infamous and reasonable procedure! This trio of traitors should be handed down to posterity, and we accordingly give their names: C. P. Bynum, C. D. Crawford, and Junius Wilson, all three of whom have long been regard a men of doubtful loyalty.[1]

It is stated that the Federal commander, Negley, was so mortified at this demonstration of "Union sentiment," that his whole speech in reply to the presentation, consisted in a protest against the policy of the movement as one calculated to divide and exasperate the people. It proved a complete "fizzle" in every respect, and only served to attest the stern and unwavering devotion of the people to the Confederate cause.

We are pleased to learn that the people of Middle Tennessee – even those who were once lukewarm in support of the war – are every day becoming more bitterly opposed to the rule of Andrew Johnson and his minions, by reason of their atrocious outrages on the rights of persons and property.

Memphis Appeal, May 6, 1862.

          6, Newspaper report on conditions in Memphis

Dullness and Distress in Memphis.

Memphis, according to the refugees, is dull as an abandoned cemetery; and so many people have left there that they do not think out of a population of thirty thousand, claimed there before the commencement of the Rebellion, there are now no more than twelve thousand in the city. Nearly all the stores are closed, and the proprietors of the few that are open, keep very few goods to sell; having secreted the greater part of their stock to prevent its being stolen.

No one wants to sell anything, but endeavors to avoid selling; knowing that the wretched shinplasters, which form the staple of the currency in retail circles, are entirely worthless. There is no gold or silver in Memphis or vicinity, and no notes [scratch in film] of the Bank of Tennessee, but in their stead the town is flooded with five, ten, and twenty-five and fifty cent issues of the Tennessee and Mississippi Railway.

Great distress prevails among the people, and has prevailed for six months, in consequence of the severest poverty, and a great many laboring men and mechanics have been compelled to join the Southern army to obtain the common necessaries of life.

Nashville Daily Union, May 6, 1862.

          6, "…an immense number of hearty yeomen, who came filled with love of country to overflowing, and greater enthusiasm on no occasion was ever manifested."

Tennessee Moving for the Union.

Great Meeting of Unionists in Alexandria, Tenn.

Mr. Editor:--Please permit us through your columns to publish to the world the fact that the Union feeling is reviving in Middle Tennessee. On Saturday, the 3d day of May—a day appointed for public speaking and hoisting the Union flag—early in the morning there began to pour into the town of Alexandria, from the hill-tops and fertile vallies, an immense number of hearty yeomen, who came filled with love of country to overflowing, and greater enthusiasm on no occasion was ever manifested. After the pole was raised, and everything made ready for hoisting the flag, the crowd proceeded to the house of Mr. O. D. Williams, a staunch and unflinching Union man, where the flag was received from the hands of his lady, Mrs. Williams, with the following appropriate address:

"Sir:--It is my happy lot to present to you, on this occasion, this flag, the emblem of American independence and republican institutions, which I here hold, to be placed by you and your patriotic associates, in behalf of the loyal citizens of this community, upon this pole of liberty, planted for the purpose; yes, a hickory pole, the representative of Tennessee's greatest hero and most illustrious statesman. Place it there to flutter in the breezes of heaven, as a beacon light and hope anchor for the loyal citizens of this community. It is scarcely one year ago that the American flag here was trailed contemptuously in the dust, to be replaced by the serpent like one of secession which flaunted aloft its defiant folds to the admiring gaze of its phrenzied [sic] votaries. They exalted for being able to profanely trample under foot the Constitution and laws of their country.

"Loyal men stood aghast, despondingly contemplating the horrid scene. And for a time the children of darkness seemed to prevail. But behold what a change has come over the land! Union men are no longer stricken with terror at the hissing threats of secessionists. The Constitution and the laws are being vindicated; disunion myrmidons are flying every where, with lightning speed, before the conquering marches of the Union soldiery. The Federal army is now, Jasper like, restoring its colors, affording protection to the people, and restoring order wherever they go.

"I heartily congratulate you, sir, upon the recent brilliant achievements of our brave army. In them I can behold, as I sincerely trust, the dawn of an early peace, which I ardently hope will never again be disturbed by the causes which have lately and now mar it. I must confess that the satisfaction which I experience on the present occasion would be greatly abridged if I did not believe that the loyal men of this village and vicinity are now ready, and will defend if necessary, with their strong arms the flag; and will strike down any vandal hands that may again attempt to tear it from its position; for it is the flag of Washington and his compatriots, under which our country achieved independence and attained to greatness—a flag that has afforded protection at home and secured respect abroad, and is the hope of republican institutions and the rights of mankind throughout the world. Who would oppose such a flag? None, I hope, in a short time.

"In conclusion, sir, I will ask of you again to raise aloft in our midst the Star Spangled Banner, that it may continue to wave over the land of the free, and the home of the brave."

Col. Wm. Stokes received the flag, and in his eloquent manner pledged the fidelity of the crowd to that flag, and the certainty of its never being removed. Captain Henry proposed three cheers for the flag received from Mrs. Williams, which was answered with three deafening shouts. The flag was then run up, and the joy of the crowd was unbounded.

The crowd was then addressed by Col. Stokes, who spoke nearly three hours, reviewing the past, and showing up what he conceived would be the developments of the future. The crowd then dispersed to meet at New Middleton, on Saturday, the 10th day of May, there to be again addressed by Col. Stokes.

Nashville Daily Union, May 6, 1862.

May 6, 1862, Renewing police surveillance of free Negroes in Nashville

To Free Colored Persons.—Almost every day one or more colored persons are brought before the Recorder, charged with being out without a certificate, and fined. Most of them are aware that the law requires them to have their certificate always with them; but the old police being acquainted with all those doing business in town, they were never molested, and the consequence is, they left their certificates at home. A new set of policemen having been appointed, colored persons must comply with the law.

Nashville Dispatch, May 6, 1862.

          6, The condition of Overton Hospital

Overton Hospital.—We have again and again been asked to call public attention to the condition of the Overton Hospital. We have not done so because we have reason to believe that a newspaper article on the subject would not aid in producing the change that is desired. The hospital is entirely under military authority. The assistance formerly given by the citizens' committee to such good purpose has been dispensed with. Those who wish to see a change at the hospital should draw up a brief and plain statement of fact; let it be signed by well-known parties personally acquainted with the facts stated, and forwarded it to Gen. Beauregard. The general's well-known humanity might be relied on for the rest.

Memphis Daily Appeal, May 6, 1862.





          6, GENERAL ORDERS, No. 102, relative to increase of wall tents for infantry and cavalry regimental commanders in the Army of the Cumberland


Murfreesborough, Tenn., May 6, 1863.

General Orders, No. 78, current Series, from these headquarters, are so amended as to allow four instead of three wall tents to the field and staff officers of each regiment of infantry, and five instead of three to the field and staff officers of every regiment of cavalry having twelve companies and the full number of field and staff officers prescribed for such an organization. Cavalry regiments having a less number of companies will be limited to the allowance prescribed by these orders for regiments of infantry.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Rosecrans:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 314.

          6, "I knew nothing about reconnoitering never did such a thing and didn't know how to go about it…." Federal reconnoitering at La Vergne

No circumstantial reports filed. [2]

....On the morning of May 6th an order came transferring us from this brigade in which we have always been to this new brigade....

On the same morning desptaches [sic] came from General Steedman at Lavergne [sic], a place on the railroad midway between here and Nashville, saying that he had been driven in the day before by about 6000 [sic] cavalry and mounted infantry, advancing from Lebanon, and that the railroad was in imminent danger...[we were ordered to] proceed immediately to Lavergne [sic]....I started to see the brigade commander, found him, and he told me where to find corn, and he also told me to have my command in the saddle by 6 in the morning as he would send me in command of a reconnoitering force to hunt up the enemy. Here was a fine fix.

I knew nothing about reconnoitering, never did such a thing and didn't know how to go about it, and here now I was to take four or five hundred men, with a guide, and strike out among the cedar thickets, rocks, hills and ravines of this abominable Stone [sic] River county to find the location, strength &c of an enemy who knew the country well, and were reported to be five or six thousand strong. As I laid down on a brush pile in the woods to sleep that night visions of Libby prison loomed up before me, and as I started in the morning I looked at my blankets strapped to my saddle and wondered whether I could sleep comfortably under the next night while one of my southern brethren stood guard over me; but my duty was to obey and let results take care of themselves; I dare not plead ignorance, so I was up betimes, and with my own command reinforced by 150 men from another regiment I struck out into a bridle path over the hills and after moving northward about 8 miles came to a ford across Stone River. Halting here I sent 150 men across the River with orders to divide into 5 parties of 30 each and scour the country as far as they could safely go, in search of rebels, "contraband" horses and mules, and report to me at the ford at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Posting pickets then around my remaining force I sat down to await the result; everything was quite until noon and I went into a house near by where I found a fine old lady and her handsome intelligent daughter -- intimated that I could eat some dinner, and soon had a very good dinner.

While eating word was brought from one of my pickets that he had seen a party of mounted men some distance from him and supposed them to be rebels. To drop the dinner, mount and hasten to the picket post was the work of a moment; just as I reached the post I saw a man dismount and enter a house on a hill about a half mile distant; I could see the flashing of his saber scabbard but couldn't distinguish the color of his uniform, by concluded it was a rebel, as my men were miles away by that time and I determined to "bag" him, so sending back for 5 men, I made a circuit through the timber and surrounded the house, then dismounting, with pistol in hand I walked to the door of the house and on looking in saw one of Uncle Sam's boys quietly putting himself outside of a chunk of "pone" and a bowl of milk. I ascertained that he belonged to another force...who...had lost his way....My hope of capturing a live butternut having thus vanished, I sent the man off to find his command and pilot them through to me, while I returned to my party, and in about an hour the Major with about 100 men reached me; being his senior he asked me for orders and I sent him across the river with his command to follow up and join my men sent out in the morning, which he did, just as a party of 100 rebels had attached a detached party of 50 of my men. They drove the rebels, killing one, wounding two and killing two horses.

My scouting parties were all in safely by half past three o'clock and we moved to Lavergne [sic], having learned that there was no considerable force of the enemy nearer than Lebanon....

Three Years in the Army of the Cumberland, pp. 59-61.





          6, Inventory of supplies for the Quartermaster's Department, Army of the Tennessee


Chattanooga, Tenn., May 6, 1864.

Lieut. Col. W. T. CLARK, Chief of Staff, Hdqrs. Dept. and Army of the Tennessee:

COL.: I have the honor to make the following statement of supplies in the Army of the Tennessee:

Each regiment of the Fifteenth Corps has three wagons, one for officers, one for the companies, and one for the medical department; each brigade headquarters two wagons; each division headquarters three wagons. The remainder of the wagons are organized into supply trains and kept in camp at Chattanooga, when not hauling supplies to the corps. Some of the trains have not yet arrived at Chattanooga. Each division is supplied with fifty wagon-loads of ammunition. The Second and Fourth Divisions are supplied with ten days' rations from May 6; the First Division with five days' rations from May 6. Twenty-five wagon-loads of forage have been sent to the Fourth Division, and twenty-three wagon loads to the Second Division (on May 6). The First Division train will be in to-night, May 6, for forage. Left Wing, Sixteenth Corps, is supplied as follows: Two wagons for each regiment; the remainder en route to Chattanooga, and organized as in Fifteenth Corps. Up to this time wagons have been furnished to Sixteenth Corps by the Fifteenth, and twenty wagons are now waiting here to load for that corps; forty more will be furnished to-morrow. The divisions have four days' rations from May 6. Forty wagon-loads of ammunition were sent to Gen. Dodge's command May 6, and twenty wagon-loads of forage. There are wagons enough here now to keep up the supplies, and the remainder are arriving daily. Gen. Dodge's trains are expected to be in by to-morrow night.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. D. BINGHAM, Lieut. Col. and Chief Quartermaster Dept. of the Tennessee.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. IV, pp. 52-53.

          6, "A Dangerous Toy"

For several months past we have noticed as a favorite amusement among the juveniles of our city the use of a certain ingenuously contrived toy for throwing missiles such as small stones or pieces of brick, We never have known a boy who was not fond of casting stones, either at some target or in the air, and when a youth is the happy possessor of a sling, or some such a plaything as that which we have alluded to, he is delighted and consequently indulges in the use of it almost constantly. This might [pass?] in the country, but in town where there are more windows and more people which may accidentally come between the lad and the target which he shoots at, throwing stones will not begin to do. Last evening a Mr. Murphy, while standing on the corner of Union and Second streets, received quite a severe wound in his face from a missile, which was accidentally shot in that direction from one of those playthings in the hand of a little boy upon the opposite side of the street, who was as much alarmed at striking him as he was injured by his carelessness. The use of this toy should attract the attention of parents.[3]

Memphis Bulletin, May 6, 1864.

          6, "A Terrible Railroad Accident"

A train on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad bound for this city, and containing a large number of soldiers, collided with a construction train near South Tunnel, south of Gallatin, yesterday morning, by which three or four soldiers were killed and about sixty wounded, several it is feared, mortally. The cars were badly wrecked. This accident delayed the mail train, which arrived here something over two hours behind time. We believe the wounded were brought to this city.

Nashville Dispatch, May 6, 1864.





          6, Federal authorities prohibit wearing of insignia or uniforms of late Confederate army in East Tennessee


I. Hereafter any person found within the limits of this command, wearing or having about his person the badges, insignia, or uniform of an officer of the late Confederate armies, will be considered as guilty of an act of hostility toward the United States Government and will subject himself to arrest and imprisonment.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Stoneman:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. II, p. 638.

          6, General Orders, No. 52, relative of amnesty oath for former Confederate soldiers


For the information of whom it may concern, the following dispatch from Maj. Gen. G. H. Thomas, commanding Department of the Cumberland, is published:

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Nashville, Tenn., May 6, 1865.

Maj. Gen. C. C. WASHBURN, Memphis:

You are authorized to administer the amnesty oath to rebel soldiers, but not to officers or citizens. It is now too late for them to be reaping the benefits of the amnesty proclamation, after having maintained an attitude of hostility for four years.

By command of Maj. Gen. G. H. Thomas:

* * * *

WM. D. WHIPPLE, Brig.-Gen. and Chief of Staff.

Citizens who left our lines and sought refuge in rebeldom, and have resisted all persuasions to return until the present moment, will not be allowed to return to Memphis at present. Confederate officers returning to this district paroled from the armies of Lee, Johnston, and Taylor will not be allowed to wear their uniform or any badge reminding of their treason. Paroled enlisted men, or those who have taken the amnesty oath, will be required to divest themselves of their rebel uniforms as soon as they can procure other clothing, and they are given thirty days from the time of their coming into the district to do this.

By order of Maj. Gen. C. C. Washburn:

WM. H. MORGAN, Maj. and Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. II, p. 671.

          6, General Orders No. 31 issued in Knoxville


I. Hereafter any person found within the limits of this command, wearing or having about his person the badges, insignia, or uniform of an officer of the late Confederate Armies, will be considered as guilty of an act of hostility toward the United States Government and will subject himself to arrest and imprisonment.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Stoneman

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. II, p. 638.

          6, "While the two were engaged in robbing the house one of the other two seized me and commenced taking liberties with my person." Martha Marshall's Narrative; A Post-War Bushwhacker Attack in Franklin County [see also May 12, 1865, Denying amnesty to guerrillas near Tullahoma below]

On Saturday the sixth day of May A. D. 1865 about one o'clock a party of four men rode up to my house in Franklin County Tenn. They came to the door and pushed said door open. Geo Pless who was then living there opened the door. They asked who lives here. He answered Pless. They then asked if this was the place Nelson was killed at. This Nelson was a Guerrilla Capt & killed my brother in law while surprised in robbing the house, some time previous. Pless answered them no sir this is not the place. The same man then came in and hitting Pless over the head forced him to sit down. They or two of them then commenced robbing the house. While the two were engaged in robbing the house one of the other two seized me and commenced taking liberties with my person. I broke away from him, and going to one of the others appealed to him to make the other stop which he did. They then dragged Mr. Pless into the floor and told him they were going to kill him that if he wanted to pray he must do so then. Mr. Pless got to his knees to pray just at that time I started to leave with my two little children just as I got to the door the one who was about to kill Mr. Pless stepped to the door and told the two who were there to guard us and to see to it I did not get away. He then took Mr. Pless out of the house to kill him when the same man who made the one spoken of above leave me alone took him Pless from the other. Mr. Pless succeeded in slipping off and affected his escape. Three of them then rode off leaving one of their party behind. The man left behind entered the house and catching Mrs. Pless was about affecting his purpose on her person when she begged him to desist saying it would kill her since she was expecting every moment to be confined. He says then by G__D___ I'll have that other woman and catching hold of my babe which I had in my arms threw it in the backside of the bed. He then caught holt [sic] of me & threw me up on the bed and threatened to kill me. I again jumped off when he caught both hands and forced me down in the bed striking me in the side with his fist or pistol he said G___D____ you, you push me off & I will kill your baby. He succeeded in attaining his purpose. I with Mrs. Pless & children left the house and went over to my fathers. While at my fathers the four again entered but left. While we were at the house the one who raped me there jumped on the bed for the purpose of burning the house. Mrs. Pless extinguished it. Their brutality toward me was most inhumane. The whole party was very large but four entered the house. I did not recognize any of the parties.

Blood and Fire, pp. 162-163.


[1] Meaning loyalty to the Confederacy.

[2] Listed neither in OR nor Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee.

[3] It is not known what this toy looked like or how it operated. It is tempting to call it a "war toy," some class of spring-loaded gun which fired stones. It does not sound as though it was a sling (or "slung") shot.


James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-770-1090 ext. 123456

(615)-532-1549  FAX


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