Monday, July 20, 2015

7.21.2015 Tennessee Civil War Notes


          21, Formation of a military sewing society promoted

Ladies of Memphis, Please Attend! You are requested to meet in the basement of Calvery [sic] church, corner of Second and Adams, on Monday next, to form a Military Sewing Society. There is work to be done for the volunteers, and this announcement is sufficient to bring the patriotic ladies of Memphis together, for they certainly will not consent to let the soldiers pay for having their uniforms made, while there are so many willing hands and hearts waiting for some opportunity, like this, to work for those who are doing so much in their defense. The first work to be done by the society is for the Southern Guards. Those having friends in that company, whose suits they wish to make, can get them if they apply soon enough, at Calvary church. Further solicitation is unnecessary. 

Memphis Daily Appeal, July 21, 1861.


          21, Burning of Mill Creek Bridge, Nashville environs [see July 21-22, 1863, "Forrest destroys bridges and disrupts railroads in Middle Tennessee" below]

          21, Skirmishes around Nashville


No. 1.-Brig. Gen. William Nelson, U. S. Army, commanding at Murfreesborough.

No. 2.-Col. John F. Miller, Twenty-ninth Indiana, commanding at Nashville.

No. 3.-Brig. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest, C. S. Army, including operations July 18-24.

No. 1.

Report of Brig. Gen. William Nelson, U. S. Army, commanding at Murfreesborough.

HDQRS., Murfreesborough, Tenn., July 24, 1862.

GEN.: You will have heard that on the 21st instant Forrest went down the Lebanon road to within 5 miles of Nashville and burned a bridge and some trestle work. When this occurred I had only the cavalry companies I picked up at Nashville, Haggard having joined after the damage was done. I determined at once to cut off Forrest's retreat, and gave orders for the cavalry to march to Readyville…and thence to Statesville, and close up to Milton, and I would march with infantry to the point where the Jefferson pike crosses the road from here to Lebanon, 2 miles beyond Stone River, it being my impression that Forrest, having gone by way of Lebanon, would return this way. Twenty minutes before marching a courier came to me from Franklin, bringing a dispatch that Forrest, with 2,500 or 3,000 men, was at Nashville. All sorts of reports came by the courier. I immediately, to save the stores at Nashville, changed the order and sent Haggard with all the cavalry to move rapidly to Nashville and attack the enemy wherever he could find them, telling Col. Haggard that he would find the enemy scattered, marauding, and having his own men in hand all he had to do was to attack and destroy them as fast as he came to them. I immediately followed with the infantry, and at 10 p. m. was in 10 miles of Nashville. Col. Harrard sent me several messages with various accounts of the supposed strength of the enemy in front. I answered him in writing to attack-to attack all the time.

When I arrived at the junction of the Old Franklin road, at 10 p. m., I found him and all the cavalry there awaiting my arrival. He had been there five or six hours. The enemy were so strongly posted, &c., that he had determined to wait for me and report, having held a council of war and all that sort of nonsense. In an hour's examination I was satisfied that there was not only no enemy, but that they had retreated over the identical road that I had expected they would. Being so sure that he would go that way in any event, I sent messengers back to Col. Barnes at Murfreesborough for him to take the regiment remaining there and abandon everything there and move up that road; but, alas! he got there just after Forrest had gone by.

By the telegram sent me by Col. Miller, indicating that Nashville was in danger, Forrest escaped; the 80 men that were guarding the bridge that was burned are lost, 3 of them killed, the rest taken. They were of the Second Kentucky. That regiment is much reduced since leaving Athens; 3 were killed and 48 wounded on the railroad; now 3 are killed and 81 taken, making a loss of 6 killed and 129 lost by death and prisoners.

Forrest was last heard of near Liberty. I have ordered a battalion of Wolford's cavalry to come here by way Shelbyville; a battalion of Board's by way of Versailles. When they do come I will have about 1,200 cavalry, and Mr. Forrest shall have no rest. I will hunt him myself. Where, O tell me, where is Gen. Jackson? It's a chance for him.

I have called in 500 negro laborers from the country to build the field work indicated. When it is finished it will relieve the men here, and I can take the field with the whole force, and I will clear out the country if it can be done. I have stationed three regiments at the crossing of the Jefferson and Lebanon pikes, and will move on McMinnville from that point instead of from here.

Your order has been received to forward 100,000 rations to Stevenson, and I am using all energy to carry it into execution. I will be able to-morrow to send a train to within 5 miles of Nashville, when I will load it and send it along.

If you will send me the rest of my division I will settle the rest of this country in no time. The troops I find here are without discipline, and your orders in relation to marauding, stealing, and rascality generally are dead letters as far as many of them are concerned.

By the burning of the bridges provisions are scarce, and a train I have not, but will go ahead. I inclose some papers. Reports are constant that a large force is coming in at this point. Every man in this country yesterday, so soon as the troops changed direction, started, and I heard of several parties hurrying to Forrest to carry him the news.

I must tell you something that has transpired since you left here. The hostility to the United States Government and the troops has increased 1,000 per cent. It seems settled into a fierce hatred to Governor Johnson, to him personally more than officially, for in questioning many people they cannot point to an act that he has not been warranted in doing by their own showing; but still, either in manner of doing it, or that it should be done by him, or from some undefinable course touching him their resentment is fierce and vindictive, and this country, from being neutral at least, as you left it, is now hostile and in arms, and what makes it bad for us it is in our rear. The continual rumor of a large body of infantry coming into this country tends to make the discontented bold and active. Wherever Forrest stopped he found prepared (notice no doubt having been given) food and forage in ample quantities. Every man is an active spy, and guerrillas are now aiding him.

I send this letter by Messrs. William Spence and William Elliott, two good and true Union men, whom I beg to recommend to your favorable consideration.

Very respectfully,

W. NELSON, Brig.-Gen.

Maj.-Gen. BUELL, Cmdg. Army of the Ohio, &c.



HDQRS. FOURTH DIVISION, Murfreesborough, Tenn., July 18, 1862.

Information has been received at these headquarters that arms and other property belonging to the United States, captured with the troops last Sunday, were distributed yesterday to the disloyal citizens of this town. All persons having such arms or property in their possession will bring them immediately to the court-house and turn them over to the provost-marshal there. These failing to do so will be arrested and sent to a military prison on the charge of treason.

By order of Brig.-Gen. Nelson, commanding.

J. MILLS KENDRICK, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

SPECIAL ORDERS, No, . HDQRS. FOURTH DIV. ARMY OF THE OHIO, Murfreesborough, Tenn., July 21, 1862.

The inhabitants of the county will furnish negro laborers to the amount of 200 for the use of troops at this point. These laborers will report here to-morrow morning.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Nelson:

J. MILLS KENDRICK, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

No. 2.

Report of Col. John F. Miller, Twenty-ninth Indiana Infantry, commanding at Nashville.

HDQRS., Nashville, July 22, 1862. Gen. Forrest, with forces variously reported from 1,200 to 4,000 strong, advanced yesterday on Lebanon pike within 8 miles of city, then marched across to Mill Creek Bridge, 7 miles out on Chattanooga Railroad; destroyed three bridges, taking 80 prisoners Second Kentucky Volunteers, killing 2; 1 wounded. Rebel loss reported, 20 killed and wounded. Took prisoners on Murfreesborough road 12 miles from this place, camped, paroled the prisoners this morning, and marched at daylight toward Murfreesborough to capture wagon train with 360 of Thirty-sixth Indiana, who left here yesterday morning for Murfreesborough, and supposed to have been 12 miles this side of Murfreesborough this morning.

The enemy menaced this place yesterday evening; drove in our pickets; captured 3 of our scouts. They are divided into parties and endeavored to draw out my forces after them. I held and will hold my forces under arms in city. I have no cavalry to pursue, but will hold the city. I telegraphed to Franklin last night and this morning to send couriers to Murfreesborough with all information. The paroled men have just arrived.

JNO. F. MILLER, Col., Cmdg. Post.

Maj.-Gen. BUELL.

No. 3.

Report of Brig. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest, C. S. Army, including operations July 18-24.

HDQRS. SECOND CAVALRY BRIGADE, McMinnville, Tenn., July 24, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report to you that on Friday, the 18th, at noon I left my camp on Mountain Creek, 10 miles from this place, with about 700 effective men of this brigade, in the direction of Nashville, for the purpose of making a reconnaissance. On my arrival at Alexandria with a portion of my command (the Texas Rangers) I was advised that during the day some 700 Federal cavalry had been sent from Nashville to Lebanon. I immediately ordered forward the balance of my command, being portions of the First and Second Georgia Cavalry and the Tennessee and Kentucky squadrons, and by a forced march reached Lebanon soon after sunrise. We dashed into the city in fine style, but found that the enemy, having notice of my approach, had retired about 12 o'clock, leaving me in the undisturbed possession of that place. I found the entire population true and loyal, with perhaps a single exception.

I remained at Lebanon until Monday morning, and moved then with my command toward Nashville. On reaching the vicinity of Nashville, say 5 or 6 miles,[1] I captured 3 of the enemy's pickets. I moved then around the city, semicircling [sic] it and the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, passing within 3 miles of the city, and capturing on the way, 2 additional pickets. I moved on the road for the purpose of destroying the bridges on the railroad near the city, and to my entire satisfaction accomplished the purpose, destroying three important railroad bridges over Mill Creek and cutting the telegraph wires. At each bridge I found heavy pickets, and had some considerable skirmishing at each, and also at Antioch Depot.

In the several skirmishes there were 10 killed and some 15 or 20 wounded, 97 prisoners (94 privates and 3 lieutenants), besides destroying a considerable amount of stores at Antioch Depot. Our forces were reported to be four times their number, so I afterward learned.

The necessity of rapid marching to secure the end desired having exhausted to a very considerable extent both men and horses, I found it necessary to fall back to this point, with a view of recruiting, which I did in good order, having the satisfaction to report that I did not lose a single man on the expedition, either in killed or wounded. I regret the limited time allowed me in which to make this report will not permit me to enter minutely into the details of this exploit. I hope it will fully meet the approbation and expectation of the general.

Permit me to add that the entire force, officers and men, under my command acquitted themselves with great credit, and bore the fatigue and risk of the expedition in a manner only to be borne by Confederate troops. My demonstration on Nashville, I am advised, created great excitement in that city, by which the greater portion of the force at Murfreesborough was ordered to that point. I regretted then, and now sincerely regret, that the limited force I had with me, which was all that I had which was available, did not permit me to make a more solid demonstration against that city. They were evidently frightened. A few thousand would then have placed that city in our possession.

On my return I sent a flag of truce to Murfreesborough and found the troops at that point in great confusion and evident fright. They are attempting to fortify the place and have partially blockaded the road between that city and this. I am credibly informed that the same state of confusion and terror pervaded their entire army at Wartrace and all other points within my reach. I regret that my force will not permit me to avail myself of this terror. [emphasis added]

The officers and men of my entire command, flushed with victory and our past success, are anxious and ready to meet the enemy. I feel secure in my present position. Should events render this an insecure place I will fall back to a less exposed point.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

N. B. FORREST, Brig.-Gen., Second Cavalry Brigade.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. I, pp. 815-819.

          21, Camilla Jamison's verse for her husband, Robert, Co. D., 49th Tennessee Infantry:

A wind in fragrant bowers,

Mournful spirit hovers near,

And whispers from among the flowers,

He is not here, he is not here.

The minutes are prolonged to hours,

The days are lengthened into years,

And in spite of birds, and brooks, and flowers;

My weak heart is filled with tears.

Robert Jamison Papers, TSL&A.

          21, Skirmish on the Big Obion

No circumstantial reports filed.


Capt. M. ROCHESTER, Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Columbus, Ky.:

I have but one report from my cavalry parties sent out; that is a rumor from Big Obion. It is said we have had a small fight 25 miles down the Obion. Lieut.-Col. Hogg, with five companies, is in that vicinity. At Key Corners they are in force, but by to-night will have left or been attacked.

 My fears now are from the Tennessee River. A large band is forming there, I expect, to clear them out west in time to mass my cavalry and meet that band before they get very near to me. I am very much opposed to weakening my cavalry force now, if it can be avoided. We have all the important bridges to hold, with no surplus force at any place, while south of me they have divisions and brigades at points on the road.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. M. DODGE, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. II, pp. 109-110.

          21, Continued Confederate guerrilla harassment of Federals and railroads, Trenton, Humboldt environs

HDQRS., Trenton, July 21, 1862.

Brig. Gen. I. F. QUINBY, Columbus, Ky.:

I have 900 effective cavalry, with the worst guerrilla country to take care of on line of road. All my cavalry are now out, and it is very dangerous to take any away. The guerrillas are determined to give us work. A large force is between here and the Tennessee River, but I have no force to send after them until my cavalry returns. If you send any, the battalion of Curtis' Horse better go, or three companies of Sixth Illinois. The Curtis Horse is thoroughly posted around Humboldt, and I do not like to spare them. Cannot some of the cavalry on the river be pushed out after the guerrillas, or also sent to me.

G. M. DODGE, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. II, p. 110.

          21, Major-General W.T. Sherman assumes command in Memphis

ORDERS, No. 56. HDQRS. FIFTH DIV., ARMY OF THE TENN., Memphis, Tenn., July 21, 1862.

The undersigned hereby assumes command in Memphis and vicinity. All orders issued by my predecessor will be respected and enforced.

Staff officers stationed at Memphis will report at once in writing, giving full information as to the condition of their departments and the location of their officers.

W. T. SHERMAN, Maj.-Gen., Comdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. II, pp. 110-111.

          21, "Pickets Captured—Railroad Bridges Burned—Great Excitement."

Six of our pickets, who were stationed on the Lebanon road were attacked yesterday afternoon by a party of twenty guerrillas belonging to Forrest's troop, and all but one captured; one of these subsequently escaped. We learn that the pickets were strolling in an orchard at the time.

Later in the afternoon three bridges on the Chattanooga Railroad were burned down, the nearest seven and the furthest eight miles from the city. Scouts report Col. Forrest with a force of from twelve hundred to two thousand within five miles of this lace. At the time of writing this paragraph the troops are under arms, prepared for an attack, and much excitement exists.

Nashville Daily Union, July 22, 1862.

          21, L&N Railroad cut by Confederates between Murfreesboro and Nashville

HDQRS., Huntsville, July 22, 1862.

Gen. McCOOK, Battle Creek:

….Railroad between Nashville and Murfreesborough cut yesterday, will take eight days to repair it….


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, p. 197.

          21, Texas Ranger Dutch Hoffman's letter home from McMinnville

July 21,1862

McMinnville, Tennessee

Dear D,

I am writing to let you know that I am still well and now in Tennessee. After our fight at Pittsburgh Landing we returned to Corinth, then were sent to Chattanooga and brigaded under Colonel Forrest. We had only been there a few days when we were then sent to McMinnville. It took three days to cross the Tennessee River and go over the Cumberland Mountains. The country around there was still green and pretty, and our ride was not so hard. We spent one day in McMinnville and were told to fill our bags with three days of food and forty rounds. The talk was that we were riding to Murfreesboro. Late in the afternoon we rode out and never halted once except in Woodbury, on a lane in the outskirts of town. While Swede and I were making a little coffee during this stop, a young lady and her mother came out of their house to see us and the boys. They said the yankees had been through there just the night before and had taken some of the men from town back to Murfreesboro as prisoners. The little girl gave Swede a flower that he put in his jacket to make her smile. They were glad to see us and gave us some cornbread and apple butter that was so good it must have been made in heaven. The cornbread was soft and moist and didn't taste dry and full of gravel like the kind we are used to. We ate it all on the spot and wiped the last of the butter out of the crock with our fingers, licking them clean. After that we had just enough time to burn our throats with the coffee before we thanked them, remounted and continued the ride which took the rest of the night. We were dead tired when we got outside of Murfreesboro, but there was no rest waiting for us there. Some of the yankee pickets had been captured and we found out from them that they had no idea we were upon them. We were ordered to split up into three groups. There were several companies of Rangers in the front of each group to lead the attacks. Somehow our troopers got mixed up in the dark and different companies of the regiments got in such a mess that nobody had the right men with them when they started out on the advance. Our company was supposed to lead the charge on a camp of yankees along the Liberty Pike but we ended up riding through town. It was still dark as we rode along, and every jangle from my rig and each snort of my mount sounded so loud to me that I figured it must have roused even the hardest sleeping yankee. As we approached the town we chased off their pickets with a few shots and rode on in. Some yankees had holed up in the courthouse and started firing at us furiously as we rode down the streets. This noise woke up the people who lived there who, until now, had been mostly unaware of our presence.I then beheld a spectacle I have never before witnessed. The women of the town came out onto their porches in all various stages of undress. Some wore richly colored dressing gowns over their night garments, while others looked like pure angels in their simple white linen shifts with their hair let down and streaming in long tresses at their sides. They were all shouting "Hurrah!" and urging us to take the courthouse, as it was full of yankees and their prisoners. They were completely unmindful of the lead balls hissing down the streets as they cheered us on. Under any other circumstances I would have lingered to fully enjoy the view they presented. Several companies of the Georgians bravely rushed the courthouse and captured all inside, but I understand it was done at a great loss. I heard that the yankees tried to burn the jail before the rescue could be made. What kind of people could they be to attempt such a deed?We continued riding on with Capt. Ferrel and Col. Forrest, trying to locate the rest of the troopers who got separated from us in the dark. We rode to the outskirts of town and turned north, passing by a large cornfield. With an abrupt roar and blinding flash the field exploded into flames. My mount reared back and wheeled, nearly throwing me into a ditch. The cornfield had contained a battery of yankee artillery that was firing directly into us at close range. Through the smoke and dust I could see horses and men staggering under the fierce fire. With every blast great gaps were blown in our column, and I saw man and animal alike thrown into the air like rag dolls.I hesitate to tell you, but a most grisly thing happened that I have not yet been able to remove from my thoughts. Bill Skull was astride his mule not ten feet from me and I watched a solid shot from their battery hit him square. It took his mule broadside right in the middle, knocking off one of Bill's legs right below the knee, passing all the way through the flank of the mule and coming out the other side, knocking off Bill's other leg. I was sprayed with blood and gore; I know not if it was from Bill, the mule, or both, but I became sick from it. Bill and his mule dropped to the ground in a heap. His eyes were wide open with the same expression fixed on his face as before the shell struck him. I don't think he ever knew it happened. God rest his soul.The terrible roar of the cannon so close at hand had made me all but deaf after the first shot. My ears were ringing, and all the shouts and screams that were so close seemed very faint and distant to me. The air was thick with smoke and in all the confusion I had no idea which way to turn. I saw our men running and riding back to a line of trees on the far side of the field. I rode that way, trying to make myself as small as possible to the yankees who were shooting at us. Once in the trees, I dismounted and lay down in the dirt and stayed put. Branches and splinters were flying out of the trees with great force, and the shells made a terrible shrieking sound as they tore by us. I am ashamed to say I did not think to raise my gun and fire it once. I was very intent on preserving myself. We pulled back a little more, and some of the Georgians were sent out on a ride back behind the yankees to find their camp and burn it while they were attacking us from the cornfield.We stayed where we were, and after a short while we heard that Crittendon had been captured in town while still wearing his nightshirt. Forrest sent a message to the yankees in front of us telling them that they were the last to hold out and that he meant to show no mercy unless they surrendered. He threatened to send in the Rangers under the black flag (though I later found out that it was a bluff by Forrest and the rest of the yankees had not yet surrendered). Hearing that, they put up the white flag and we took the whole bunch prisoner. We rounded them all up and marched them back to McMinnville that evening. I was ordered to ride guard. We formed a hollow square with the yankees in the middle, and made them walk and carry some of their supplies, which were now our supplies, while we rode on all sides of them.I passed back down the road where we had been attacked and it was hard to look at the sights there. The wounded had been taken away, but the dead still remained. Animals and men were strewn and scattered about and I saw poor Bill still lying there. He was as white as a cracker and looked so terrible to me. I was very tired. We had been in saddle for nearly two days and nights without sleep and we couldn't stay awake. Believe me when I tell you that the jarring gait of a mule can actually be as relaxing and soothing as the rocking of the softest cradle when you are tired. On the ride back, the Sgt. had to keep riding by us and giving us a kick or punch to wake us up. It had little effect other than to rouse us momentarily. We stopped once to rest and Ranger and yank alike fell to the ground like dead men and slept. We were too tired to guard them and they were too tired to run away. The next day we were back in McMinnville and that's where I am now. We have had some rain so the dust is not too bad and we are dining regally on Crittendon's rations.I hope you and your family are doing well. Please send me some news and tell me what is happening where you are. Do you have word of any of my friends? Bob, Jess or Little Dave? I don't know if they are still alive or have perished. I have not gotten a letter for nearly three months and know nothing of what is happening at home. God bless you and write me as often as you can.

Yours truly,

Dutch Hoffmann

Dutch Hoffman Correspondence.[2]

          21-22, Forrest destroys bridges and disrupts railroads in Middle Tennessee

NASHVILLE, July 22, 1862.

Maj.-Gen. BUELL:

My bridge force at Murfreesborough on yesterday p. m. expected to complete two burnt bridges by to-night. Wires cut; three bridges over Mill Creek, division house, wood house, and water station at Antioch, 9 miles from here destroyed yesterday p. m. by a band of cavalry. Shall I go on to rebuild those structures as soon as I can reach my men or take them to -------? After I get my forces to Mill Creek it will require eight days to rebuild the bridges.


NASHVILLE, July 22, 1862.

Maj. Gen. D. C. BUELL:

I sent this morning a train for Reynolds'; it passed Franklin safely. The party that destroyed bridges on Chattanooga roads yesterday are reported as having remained at Antioch all night. I fear they will reach Tennessee and Alabama road to-day. I have instructed trains at Columbia to start up as soon as Duck River Bridge is made safe. Foreman says it will be completed soon, but if you so order at once I will detain the four trains at Columbia until we ascertain certainly that track this side is safe. Enemy is said to have reached Louisville and Nashville near the line.


HDQRS., Huntsville, July 22, 1862.

J. B. ANDERSON, Nashville:

Keep at work on Chattanooga road as fast as possible; we will try and guard it. Conduct your trains at your discretion and judiciously.

JAMES B. FRY, Chief of Staff.

* * * *

COLUMBIA, July 22, 1862.

Maj.-Gen. BUELL:

I have just received the following dispatch from Col. Miller. Have you any instructions in the premises?


Enemy, 2,000 or 2,500 strong, burned the Mill Creek Bridge yesterday evening; camped 12 miles from here, on Murfreesborough road. Started this morning toward Murfreesborough in pursuit of wagon train with 360 Indiana troops, who were on road to Murfreesborough about 12 miles this side. Col. Boone, Gallatin, [telegraphs] that enemy were at Richland Station 1,000 strong, and he wants re-enforcements. Can you send me re-enforcements? If so, how many men?

JNO. F. MILLER, Col., Cmdg. Post Nashville.



Huntsville, July 22, 1862.

Gen. NEGLEY, Columbia:

For the present you must not move any troops which are posted south of Columbia. You must protect the railroad from Columbia to Nashville. The line is now threatened from the east by cavalry. Throw out your cavalry and drive them off if they approach. Defend bridges to the last extremity.

JAMES B. FRY, Chief of Staff.

HDQRS., Huntsville, July 22, 1862.

Gen. NEGLEY, Columbia:

Don't confine your cavalry to mere defense; put a little life into it and destroy the marauding bands that hover about you.


HDQRS., Huntsville, July 22, 1862.

Gen. NEGLEY, Columbia:

There is reason to believe that Chapel Hill, between Franklin and Shelbyville, is a point through which the rebel cavalry will pass, and they may be there now. Ascertain to-night, and, if so, watch him and satisfy yourself which way he moves. It may be his intention to go move to the east via Shelbyville or to move on our supplies and trains at Reynolds'. If the last should be the case, take your cavalry and artillery and form a junction with troops at Reynolds' Station. It is expected that your stockades at Duck River Bridge will secure that in case you move your cavalry and artillery, the town being of small importance compared with the bridge.


COLUMBIA, July 22, 1862.

Maj.-Gen. BUELL:

By pursuing your advice has been our safety. The First Kentucky Cavalry has exhibited great endurance and determination. The enemy has refused in every instance, although greatly superior in numbers, to stand. This confirms my opinion that the rebel parties have been constantly hovering near us the last few days, and citizens and deserters say they were to concentrate near this on Saturday, but a rush against their parties in detail prevented them doing so in force. Shall Col. Board's cavalry march to Murfreesborough as ordered?


HDQRS., Huntsville, July 22, 1862.

Gen. SMITH, Tullahoma:

Forrest is now between Nashville and Murfreesborough and destroyed three bridges 9 miles from Nashville yesterday.


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, pp. 198-200.


21, "This has been a hard day for me--harder even than was the 21st of April, when the last Yankee raid was made upon our home." Conditions in occupied McMinnville, an excerpt from the War Journal of one Middle Tennessee Confederate woman at Beersheba Springs

This has been a hard day for me--harder even than was the 21st of April, when the last Yankee raid was made upon our home. Towards morning there had been a very heavy rain--I was awakened by the thunder, but afterwards lulled by the falling rain, dozed off again. I had gone to bed with a severe headache, the falling rain, dozed off again. I had gone to bed with a severe headache, and it was aching still when suddenly I became aware of a tumult of men and horses in front of the house. "Yankees!" was the thought that flashed across me. I sprang up opened the shutters, and saw them thro' [sic] the vines--a troop of "sure enough" Yankees--surrounding the carriage house. There were 100 men in all--came to arrest the Col. and Mr. Henderson [a neighbor]. I know whom to thank for this--the dear blessed Unionists of sweet McMinnville and I--here promise never, never to forget them! There will come a day of reckoning. They tried the game last summer but were afraid to work out their malice. They will carry it our now. It was what I expected--so I was not in the least surprised. The Cols. intimacy with Gens. Wheeler, Wharton, Morgan, etc., will have to be atoned for of course. I wanted to see the Col. of the gang but he declined coming to my room "lest he should be influenced against discharging strictly his duty," (so he said) but the person who made the arrest came into my room and up to my bedside with Darlin'[3] and entreated me "to compose myself," assuring me that "Mr. French should be very kindly dealt with," etc. etc. I inquired why my husband had been arrested? He replied he "did not know--but it would certainly be all right." I asked "if he did not return in three days could I be permitted to meet him in McMinnville?' "That would be impossible Madam, but I pledge you my word of honor he will return," was his reply. I hated to do it, but was so relieved that I offered my hand and thanked him! I scarcely know how I could do it--yet such was the fact. My last exhortation to Darlin' was to "deport himself like the gentleman he was and never to allow his enemies for a moment to suppose that he felt humiliated of cast down before them." He said "he would deport himself in a manner worthy of the woman he called his wife"--and I bade "God bless him and good bye." It was hard for me--very, very, bitter--yet I did not have a fit of crying. I could not cry--I was so hard--so bitter--so indignant! One hundred armed men, came up her to take two unarmed citizens! They left McMinnville at 6 P.M. the evening previous--had lost their way--travelled all night, and in the rain, and arrived here [Beersheba Springs] at daylight. They had written down the names of all the Col's. fine horses, and inquired of him where they were. I suppose his Union friends want the sweet Yanks to get all his property--if they will only let him alone--but yet I shall remember them--for this....We can get no good news now except such as the enemy choose to give us--to wit, that Vicksburg has fallen--Charleston ditto--the Yankee cavalry in Chattanooga, --Lee's army driven out of Penn.-with a loss of 33,000, etc. etc. which if we could believe might incline us to be gloomy indeed. This evening I went down to the Hotel, and got some china, etc. (the Yankees went off this morning laden with articles from this doomed hotel)....

War Journal of Lucy Virginia French.

          21, The Gangs of Memphis

"Riot Among the Boys"

It seems that the New York [draft] riots have set everybody crazy on the riot question -- even the boys are not getting along well unless they can get up a riot on their own account. Yesterday, therefore, they undertook the game out in the neighborhood of Chelsea.[4] Some boys from the locality known as Scotland, gathered together, and marched into Chelsean territory. This invasion roused all the wrathful fires of pride of place in the bosoms of the Chelsea boys. A call for organization was made. The boys of the invaded territory flew to arms; clubs, stones and brickbats were their principal weapons. The number, though small at first, rapidly increased until each side numbered about fifty. A regular pitched battle was fought, in which the Chelsea boys, aided by reinforcements from Pinch were victorious, the invaders being forced to evacuate. The boys composing these bands were of all ages, ranging from six to twenty years. Some ten or fifteen the boys were more or less injured by being stuck with clubs, stone, and such like missiles. Some soldiers who had watched the fight interposed, and restored quiet among the rowdies.

Memphis Bulletin, July 21, 1863.

          21, "Murder, Robbery, Cutting and Maiming;" the return of a crime wave and a call for the return of a military police force in Civil War Nashville

Many of our readers will remember the fearful state in which Nashville was for two or three months previous to the first of last January; almost everyday we were called upon to record some brutal murder, a burglary, a robbery, or assaults. Earnestly and repeatedly we called upon the authorities for reform, and suggested a plan by which we hoped to restore law and order, and protect the lives and property of our fellow citizens. This plan was finally approved by Gen. Rosecrans, who caused a military force to be placed in command of the mayor, with the view of aiding the police in the preservation of good order, and the prevention of crime[5]. We need scarcely say that our citizens were rejoiced at the manner in which Lieut. Isom's detachment performed their arduous duties; after two days and nights of constant vigilance, some of the most notorious characters were either in jail or had absconded, and so close a watch was kept upon the others that many found it convenient to leave the city soon thereafter. Citizens could walk the streets at any hour of the night without fear, and the horrible atrocities were nearly forgotten, when Lieut. Isom was called to another field of operations, and his men were ordered to other duties, thus leaving the city again at the mercy of the depraved -- citizens and soldiers.

Again our city is disgraced by scenes of barbarous atrocities and almost nightly robberies. Soldiers are permitted to roam about the city off duty, armed, and after imbibing a few glasses of whisky, ready and willing to use their weapons upon the slightest provocation. Within a few days we have recorded the killing of Jeremiah Walsh, an inoffensive citizen-an act, to say the least of it, unwarranted: the poisoning of a family of nine persons; the cutting of a soldier by a comrade in so horrible a manner that he died in a few hours thereafter; the killing of sutler by a negro [sic]; and on Sunday night [19th], the cutting of a citizen with a sabre or sword bayonet, in such a manner that it is almost miraculous how the man could possibly survive.

The atrocities are increasing daily, and hence the necessity of immediate action to check the progress of crime in our midst. We respectfully suggest a conference between the military and civil authorities, for the purpose of deriving some means of preserving order. South Nashville, especially, needs immediate attention. We were informed by one of the watchmen of that district last week that in one night, between the hours of 10 and 3 o'clock, he heard more than a dozen shots fired, and one of the city marshals informed us that no citizen considered himself safe outside his house after dark. The Western part of the city also needs especial attention and for reasons which Marshal Chumbly can point out.

If no better plan can be adopted than that we originally proposed, we respectfully urge upon the authorities its revival; it is simply to detail a sufficient number of the Provost Guard, to allow two men to accompany each Policemen on his beat, and parade it together every night -- the whole to be under the command of the Mayor, and subject to his order, night and day.

Nashville Dispatch, July 21, 1863.

          21, Skirmish at Denmark

No circumstantial reports filed


          21, "The Tennessee Banks."

We have understood that the Supervisor of Banks will enter upon the discharge of his duties under the Bank Code during the present or coming week and that it is his intention to exact as faithful a compliance with provisions of the Bank

Code and the acts amendatory thereof as circumstances will at present justify. We feel warranted in saying that one object he will labor to accomplish will be to bring up the notes of the banks doing business in the State to the "greenback" standard. He regards it a duty he owes to the people of Tennessee, who hold largely the issues of our banks, to require the banks to make their issues as good as that which the Government has made legal tender.

Another matter that will engage the especial attention of the Supervisor of Banks will be the looking after and gathering up of such of the assets of the Bank of Tennessee as may be within reach. There is a large amount of debts due the Bank scattered over the State much of which, by proper attention, may be secured. The evidences of these debts have been carried beyond the limits of the State; but where it can be ascertained that a party owes the Bank, the laws of Tennessee provide amply for enforcing its collection. The Bank holds a very considerable amount of real estate in various parts of the State, which he proposed to take possession of. The greater portion of this real estate is improved and very valuable, and may be disposed of upon very advantageous terms. From these two items a fund may be realized which will go a long way toward liquidating the indebtedness of the State.

Nashville Dispatch, July 21, 1864.


          21, Assault and battery upon Joseph Wheeler, ex C. S. A. general, at City Hotel, Nashville

NASHVILLE, August 23, 1865.

Maj. Gen. G. H. THOMAS, Nashville:

GEN.: In obedience to your instructions I have the honor to make the following statement:

An order from the War Department of the United States releasing me from confinement as a prisoner of war directed that I should be paroled in accordance with the terms agreed upon between Maj.-Gen. Sherman and Gen. Johnston. I have not carried about my person or baggage any weapons since May 1, 1865.

About 4 o'clock p. m. on the 21st instant, while I was lying on my bed in my room at the City Hotel, no other person being in the room, some one knocked at my door. After partially dressing myself I unlocked my door, when two officers, partially dressed in U. S. uniform, entered, one of whom stated that he at one time had been a prisoner in my hands, and that he had come to thank me for kindness received at the time. The other said he knew me and had called to make his personal respects. After a few moments of polite conversation they arose and bade me good-by, remarking that as they discovered I was unwell they would not remain any longer. About five minutes after their departure I heard another knock at my door, which I again unbolted as soon as possible, when two other officers dressed in U. S. uniform, neither of whom I had ever been before, entered. One of them advanced and extended his hand, which I took. While in the act of shaking hands, he remarked, "Is this Gen. Wheeler?" And upon my answering in the affirmative he stated that he was Col. Blackburn.[6] The other officer immediately seized me by both arms, when Col. Blackburn, having given no previous intimation whatever of his hostile purpose, struck me violently twice my head with a club of considerable dimensions. I struggled away from the man who held me, and as I left the room both the assailants followed me, the other officer holding a pistol in a threatening manner. I am confident I only prevented him from shooting me by keeping Col. Blackburn between him and myself. [emphasis added] Col. Blackburn continued his attempts to strike me, but I succeeded in warding off his blows with my arms. Finally a gentleman caught hold of the other officer, when Col. Blackburn hastily ran back and ran down the stairs.

I am satisfied that the attempt was one upon my life, [emphasis added]  and that the pistol would have been fired at me but from the fact of Col. Blackburn being between myself and the officer holding it.

I would here state that I never issued any order whatever to the prejudice of Col. Blackburn or any of his men, and that all his men who fell into my hands were kindly treated and allowed to return to their commands in bodies, in order that they might not be molested by any one. I would further state that while passing through the country I do not recollect that any complaint was made by any of Col. Blackburn's family, or that anything whatever was taken from them.

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

J. WHEELER, Late C. S. Army.

The foregoing is addressed to you in the form of an Official communication, but now desire to swear the facts are true as set forth.

J. WHEELER, Late C. S. Army.


Respectfully referred to Brig.-Gen. Mason, commanding post of Nashville, who is authorized to furnish copies of this statement of Gen. Wheeler, together with the letter of this date reprimanding Col. Blackburn and Capt. Quinn, to the newspapers of Nashville for publication.



OR, Ser. II, Vol. 8, pp. 726-727.


HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE TENNESSEE, Nashville, Tenn., August 26, 1865.

Bvt. Brig. Gen. E. C. MASON, Cmdg. Post of Nashville:

GEN.: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your report of the investigation ordered by the major-general commanding into the causes for the assault upon Mr. Joseph Wheeler, late major-general in the Army of the so-called Confederate States at the City Hotel in this City. Your report has been carefully and impartially considered by the major-general commanding, and the facts therein elicited and brought out, with other facts in the same connection, which have been brought to his notice, show the attack upon Mr. Wheeler by Lieut.-Col. Blackburn and Capt. Quinn, Fourth Tennessee Cavalry, to have been wholly unprovoked and unjustifiable and unbecoming an officer in the service of the United States. Mr. Wheeler, as a paroled prisoner, is justly entitled to protection, instead of being exposed to assault, and his position, by virtue of his parole, an unarmed man and hence without means of defense, should have been and must in future be respected, and not only in his case but in the cases of all other persons occupying a similar position.

You will convey to Lieut.-Col. Blackburn and to Capt. Quinn, of the Fourth Tennessee Cavalry, the notification of the displeasure and reprimand of Maj.-Gen. Thomas for their unofficerlike [sic] and highly reprehensible conduct, and say to them that the muster out of the service of their regiment has been the only reason for their not being subjected to arrest and trial by court-martial. Their conduct at the time of the assault, as well as subsequently, has been an insult and a disgrace for the uniform they wore and is justly discountenanced and frowned down upon by every honorable and high-minded officer and enlisted man in the service.

The major-general commanding directs that you will further require of Lieut.-Col. Blackburn and Capt. Quinn positive and satisfactory assurances for their future good conduct and the strict compliance with all orders and regulations for the prevention and maintenance of the public peace, and at the same time advising them that they will be held to a strict accountability for any future breach of the same.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBT. H. RAMSEY, Col. and Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 8, pp. 728-729.


[1] Forrest's command was said to have stayed at Clover Bottom plantation about the 21st  of July, about this distance from Nashville.  See: Jan Furman, ed., Slavery in the Clover Bottoms: John McCline's Narrative of his life during Slavery and the Civil War, Voices of the Civil War Series, Frank L. Byrne, Series ed., Knoxville, 1998) pp. 45, 137. Today the Clover Bottom mansion houses the offices of the Tennessee Historical Commission.

[4] Chelsea was the Irish section of Memphis in the 19th century.

[5] This sounds similar to actions taken by W. T. Sherman in Memphis in the summer of 1862. There seems to be no record of Rosecrans actions on this particular point.

[6] Blackburn's motive for the attack is not known.


James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214


(615)-532-1549  FAX


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