Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Notes from the Civil War in Tennessee. January 13, 1862 & 1863.

Notes from the Civil War in Tennessee. January 13, 1862 & 1863.




13, Affair on Harpeth Shoals

Destruction of fully laden US hospital ships (U. S. S. Trio, Parthenia) and one gunboat (Sidell) by Wheeler's cavalry at Harpeth Shoals on the Cumberland River.

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

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Murfreesborough, Tenn., February 15, 1863.

GEN.: Supposing it well to furnish the Department evidence of the inhuman violations of the rules of civilized warfare by the rebel authorities, I inclose of the lists of our medical officers who were robbed of their private and personal property at the late battle, and statement of Chaplin Gaddis, who was on a hospital boat that was fired on and robbed at Harpeth Shoals by Wheeler's cavalry. I can multiply documentary evidence on these outrages and many others, fully revealing the barbarism of these rebel leaders, and will do so, if you think desirable.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. S. ROSECRANS, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, .Vol. 20, pt. I, pp. 979-980.


Report of Brig. Gen. Robert B. Mitchell, U. S. Army.

HDQRS., Nashville, January 13, 1863.

MAJ.: The steamer Charter was burned last night about 8 o'clock, with her cargo. But two regiments have arrived from Gallatin yet; two locomotives have given out. Stanley went on the Hillsborough pike, as you directed. I think our force should have been sent nearer the train. Damn the railroad, say I!

ROBT. B. MITCHELL, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. I, p. 982.


Report of Gen. Braxton Bragg, C. S. Army,

TULLAHOMA, January 17, 1863.

Gen. [Joseph] Wheeler, with a portion of his cavalry brigade, after burning the railroad bridges in the enemy's rear, pushed for the Cumberland River, where he intercepted and captured four large transports; destroyed three, with all the supplies, and bonded one to carry off the 400 paroled prisoners. He was hotly pursued by a gunboat, which he attacked and captured, and destroyed her with her whole armament. I ask his promotion as a just reward to distinguished merit.


OR, Ser. I, .Vol. 20, pt. I, p. 982.


Excerpt from the report of Reverend Maxwell P. Gaddis, on board one of the ships at the time of the attack:

...I beg to state that I was one of the passengers aboard the steamer Hastings...on the 13th...the day she was fired into by a party of rebel guerrillas of General Wheeler's cavalry brigade, under command of Colonel [William B.] Wade. The Hastings had on board 212 wounded soldiers under charge of Surgeon Waterman, with instructions to report the same at Louisville. The Hastings left Nashville without any convoy. On nearing Harpeth Shoals we saw the burning hull of the steamer Charter, opposite a group of some half dozen of more small houses that had also been burned. A short distance below a fleet of six steamers were engaged in loading and unloading Government stores under the protection of the gun-boat Sidell commanded by Lieutenant [William] Van Dorn. Suspicious of some danger below I hailed Van Dorn and inquired as to who burned the boat and boat and houses. He replied that the guerrillas had burned the steamer and that he had retaliated by burning the houses. "Is there any danger below?" "No;" said he, "you can pass on safely. I have cleaned them out." The steamer Trio also laden with wounded was in advance of us some four or five miles. Believing all safe below we passed on. On reaching the head of Harpeth Shoals we saw the Trio lying to in a cove on the south bank of the Cumberland River, thirty five miles from Nashville, and thirty miles from Clarksville. Having heard the caption of the Trio say that he was nearly out of fuel I presumed that he was taking on wood. On a nearer approach to her I discovered a company of cavalry drawn up in a line on the bank just above the Trio. Two of the company took off their hats, waved them at us and ordered us to come to. I inquired "Why, and what do you want? We are loaded with wounded and have no time to stop." "Come to, or we will fire into you." And at that instant the whole line came to a ready. Being the only commissioned officer of board (not wounded) with the exception of Surgeon [Luther D.] Waterman I immediately assumed command ordered the captain of the Hastings to land. The boat in the meantime had moved past the designated landing point, and the guerrilla commander gave the order to fire and three volleys of musketry were fired all taking effect upon the upper and forward portion of the steamer. The volleys were followed by one discharge of cannon, the ball passing through the clerk's office on the starboard side and out on the opposite side of the cabin. I told them to cease firing as we were landing as rapidly as possible. On landing they boarded the steamer and ordered the men to leave the boat as they must burn her. In connection with Doctor Waterman I urged the claims of humanity upon them, and finally through a personal acquaintance with Captain [Spruel E.] Burford, General Wheeler's assistant adjutant general, we extracted from them a promise to spare the boat on condition of the captain entering into bonds that she should carry no more supplies for the Army of the United States. I pass by a description of the horrible scenes enacted by Wades' men. They plundered the boat, even to the knives, forks, spoons, &c. Rifled passengers' baggage; robbed wounded soldiers of their rations, and money from their pockets; took the officers' side arms, overcoats, hats, &c. I reasoned with their officer to no purpose, save Captain Burford, who was utterly unable to control the men. I then took on board the wounded of the Trio and her crew and asked permission to leave. This was granted and the colonel ordered his men off. On his leaving he noticed several bales of cotton on which our wounded men were lying; he instantly became furious and ordered us to remove the same ashore and burn it, a task almost impossible. Many of the men were badly wounded; night was coming on; no rations nor medicines and thirty miles distant from any military post. Seeing all this I asked for other terms. He then agreed if I would burn the cotton on my arrival at Louisville he would spare the boat and allow us to go on unmolested, and in the event of my failing to comply with the order I must return to the line of the Confederate States as a prisoner of war. These terms were harsh, but in view of the suffering men I instantly complied, brought to, her crew and passengers transferred to us, and preparation was them made to burn the Trio and Parthenia. In order to save the Hastings from coming in contact with the steamers...I again asked to leave. This they would not grant, but through the entreaties of Captain Burford, we were allowed to cross to the other side of the river under range of their cannon. We hardly landed when the gun-boat Sidell hove in sight. On her appearance the enemy mounted their horses and awaited her action. She came on under a full head of steam, carrying her when the engine had ceased within 150 yards of our boat, on the same side of the river. I hailed Van Dorn; told him to take the middle of the stream and not endanger the lives of the wounded during the engagement, for we had no other idea but that he would fight. To our utter astonishment he ignominiously surrendered, without firing a single shot. He then crossed her over to the steamers and ordered us across the river again. I took on what was left of the crew and soldiers and after waiting one hours and a half, according to their orders I started with the Hastings for Clarksville, reaching there at 8 p. m. and reporting to Colonel Bruce. He acted promptly and soon furnished us with supplies. I telegraphed the facts to General Rosecrans at Nashville.

Maxwell P. Gaddis, Chaplain Second Ohio

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. I, pp. 980-981.


Loss of a Federal Gunboat, Corrupt U. S. Quartermaster Corps and an Inventory of gunboat cannon on the Cumberland River and Army Interference with Navy Affairs

Report of Acting Rear-Admiral Porter, U. S. Navy, responding to the Department's enquiry regarding the loss of the U. S. gunboat W. H. Sidell, and Corrupt U. S. Quartermaster Corps and an Inventory of gunboat cannon on the Cumberland River

No. 83.]

U. S. MISSISSIPPI SQUADRON, January 29, 1863.

SIR: In answer to your communication, asking information about a gunboat burned on the Cumberland River, I have the honor to state that the vessel mentioned did not belong to this squadron. She was called the Sidell, and was, I believe, an old ferryboat, with a field-piece on her.

The army undertakes sometimes to get up an impromptu navy, which generally ends by getting them into difficulty. There are five vessels of this squadron in the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, which are detailed for convoy, and under the management of Lieu-tenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch, who has until the late affair, kept the rivers open, and convoyed all vessels safely through.

I shall direct that no army vessels be allowed to ascend these rivers without a convoy, and I have detailed the Lexington and two more light-draft gunboats for the upper fleet. This will make 40 guns on the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers. There are enough there now (20 guns) to take care of these rivers, but the recklessness of the army quartermasters is beyond anything I ever saw, and they employ persons who half the time are disloyal, and who throw these vessels purposely into the hands of the rebels. If the history of the army quartermasters' proceedings out here were published, the world would not believe that there could be so much want of intelligence in the country.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

DAVIDD.PORTER, Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.

NOR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, p. 19.



The late raid of Wheeler and Forrest on the Cumberland below Nashville is the talk now--cavalry capturing 5 transports and a gun boat is as good as Forrest's men taking a battery at Murfreesboro last summer with shot guns! Wheeler and Forrest burn the boats and stores and took 300 prisoners. The raids and feats of Stuart's cavalry in Va. are being thrown entirely in the shade by the daring deeds of the mounted men of the West. Forrest, Morgan, Wheeler and Van Dorn are beating the Virginian cavalry to death. Long may they wave!

War Journal of Lucy Virginia French, entry for January 25, 1863.


Report of killing negroes during the affair at Harpeth River, February 13, 1863

After the battle of Stone River, or Murfreesboro, a Federal Hospital boat when conveying the wounded, and bearing the customary flag indicating its object, was fired upon and boarded by the rebels, some fifteen negroes employed as servants on board the boat were killed. Others endeavoring to escape were shot in the water while clinging to the sides of the boat. The inhuman treatment was not the work of guerrillas, for   whose actions the rebel authorities might endeavor to excuse themselves, but was done by soldiers under the command of Colonel Wade. General Wheeler's Adjutant General was among the officers present. This Wheeler was promoted for the raid which the attack on the hospital boat and murder of negroes was the principal feature.

These facts were made known in a private letter from the Headquarters of the Fourteenth Army Corps, near Murfreesboro and published in the New York Evening Post, March 11, 1863.

Colonel Percy Howard, The Barbarities of the Rebels, p. 23.[1]


          13 Federal reconnaissance ordered, Murfreesborough to Salem, to Middleton, to Shelbyville Pike, Wilkinson Pike and Eagleville [see January 13-15, 1863, Reconnaissance, Murfreesborough to Nolensville and Versailles below]

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Murfreesborough, January 13, 1863.

Maj.-Gen. THOMAS, Cmdg. Center:

GEN.: The general commanding directs that you send out two brigades on a reconnaissance, and to halt at Salem, and send a regiment from it to reconnoiter down toward Middleton; the other to proceed to Versailles, and send a regiment to reconnoiter its front by the shortest road as far as the Shelbyville pike. They had better remain over to-morrow night in their position, keeping a good lookout, in hopes that the cavalry may come down in their retreat, returning to-morrow afternoon. It will be necessary to send some of Rousseau's cavalry with them, to keep open communication. Have them report frequently. These brigades will effect the triple purpose of reconnoitering and observing in southerly direction, covering the flank of Wagner's movement, and catching any cavalry that may chance to pass toward them. Order the brigade commanders to note well the roads and the forage, and bring all the intelligence they can of the position of the enemy's cavalry. The men should take three days' rations on their person, and should [march] by 6 in the morning. They should carry with them their axes and hatchets and a few spades. It may prove advantageous for the brigades to unite and move to Eagleville. The brigade commanders will be advised of that, and directed to judge of its advantage and to act accordingly, endeavoring to threaten an advance on Shelbyville and intercept the retreat on that road.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. GODDARD, Adjutant-Gen. and Chief of Staff.

MURFREESBOROUGH, January 13, 1863.


Send two of your regiments from Nolensville across, scouring the thickets, to the Wilkinson pike. March with the other six to Eagleville, thence to Versailles. Join Beatty's command there, and move with it to cut up the rebels.

By order of Maj.-Gen. Rosecrans:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. II, p. 325.

          13, "Some were wallowing in the streets dead drunk others were being loaded on drays and into wagons and tied hand and foot and taken to the Calabose …" Private Cyrus F. Boyd's first day in Memphis

We started at daylight this morning and made a march of 9 miles and came to the suburbs of Memphis. Here we were brought into line and notified to sign Pay Rolls We put up our tents and signed Rolls – then I took a ramble thro' Memphis It was 2 miles to the River from camp Saw a camp of Contrabands containing old and young 1500 [sic], and they were packed into a building about 200 X 150 feet[.] They were a mass of filthy and abandoned creatures[.] Down at the wharf there was a long line of steamers lying along the bank[.] Saw one gun boat [sic] anchored in the stream[.] There is a view up the River of about five miles and ten or twelve miles down the stream Memphis is situated on high bluffs and has a beautiful location[.] The business portion is built of brick Lafayette Square is the center of the city and is a beautiful Park full of Evergreens and tame squirrels are numerous among the trees and follow strangers all around.

Whiskey O Whiskey [sic]! Drunk men staggered on all the streets In every store The saloons were full of drunk men [sic] The men who had fought their way from Donelson to Corinth and who had met no enemy able to whip them now surrendered to Genl Intoxication[.] Some were on the side walks and both hands full of brick bats and swearing that the side walks were made for soldiers and not for any d_____d [sic] niggers[.] Some were wallowing in the streets dead drunk others were being loaded on drays and into wagons and tied hand and foot and taken to the Calabose [sic] or guardhouse or to Camp[.] Several of Co "G" are down this evening with the general complaint[.] The whiskey here seems to be very effective at short range[.]

I found some what bread the first I have seen for months Sergt[.] Gray came near getting shot this evening about dark[.] He was full [sic] and in camp[.] He saw a mounted orderly coming past in hot haste and he halted him and made the orderly give him the countersign. Afterwards the aid discovered that he had been delayed without cause and he drew his revolver and if Gray had not run and hid himself he would have got a bullet Gray gave him the dodge among the tens and finally reached one where he lay down and the boys covered him up and he was snoring away in 2 seconds[.]

Boyd Diary.

          13, Tales of Security and Female Smuggling in the Middle Tennessee; an excerpt from the War Journal of Lucy Virgnina French

….As the ladies were coming through the pickets this side of Murfreesboro – there seemed to them to be indications of a skirmish ahead, which they of course did not desire to run into. They spoke to some for the men and asked if there was danger ahead. "My' said one, "what sort of men are you afraid of? You isn't [sic] afraid of blue coats is ye?" "I'm afraid of all sorts of men when they're shooting. One ball is as like to hit as another," shrewdly replied Mrs. Scott. The men were rather checkmated in their endeavor to find out which the ladies preferred, blue or gray (butternut) – Very many amusing things they told us of ladies trying to get out things from the city thru' the lines. One lady came out with two pairs of boots under her hoops, which had unfortunately dropped right before the guard as she descended from her carriage! They ripped open the carriage cushions of one lady to see if they could not find something – but did not. One lady came from Ky. With 5000 [sic] dollars worth of morphine in a false bottom in her trunk. A female detective found it, and took the lady's diamonds, saying "I suppose you're carrying these south for a bridal present for John Morgan. Well they're contraband." And she appropriated them to her own use! The city is full of bad women, they are at hotels and in private houses living with the officers and passing for their wives. – The place too is full of female spies and detectives – some of whom will go to the citizens and represent themselves as Southerners in exile and persecuted, ask for money as charity. If the citizen grant this they are arrested. They resort to all low means to get men arrested. One draughtman [sic] they took in by desiring him secretly to prepare a draught of their fortifications – then they went to a shoemaker, and employed him to make a pair of boots with the toes double – between the leathers this draught was to be inserted and worn out of the lines. After taking in these men in this way they were arrested and imprisoned them….

War Journal of Lucy Virginia French.

          13, Newspaper report regarding larceny and murder at White's Creek environs

Robbery and Murder in Tennessee.-On the 20th inst. a bold and atrocious murder was committed at White's Creek, near Nashville, by seven men dressed as soldiers. The gang arrived at the house of the Rev. Jefferson Wagner at 11 p. m., and went into the house and demanded his money. He gave them $400. The robbers then left, but on reaching the gate one of them called out to Mr. Wagner and endeavored to get up a quarrel with him charging him with having stolen his horse. In the dispute one of the party shot the reverend gentleman, when they all preceded the residence of Mr. Enoch Cunningham and perpetrated a robbery. The marauders were possessed of the countersign for the day, which enabled them to pass the pickets. They have not yet been arrested.

The Scioto Gazette (Ohio), January 13, 1863.[2]




13, Skirmish at Collierville

JANUARY 13, 1864.-Skirmish near Collierville, Tenn.

Report of Maj. Ira R. Gifford, Ninth Illinois Cavalry.

HDQRS. NINTH ILLINOIS CAVALRY, Collierville, Tenn., January 13, 1864.

COL.: I have the honor to report that in pursuance of orders from your headquarters, I moved out on the road to Pleasant Hill with a battalion of the Ninth Illinois Cavalry, numbering about 60 men; while crossing the Nonconnah we heard firing about 1 mile to our left. I moved over the stream as rapidly as possible, the crossing being very bad, and before the command had crossed the firing seemed to be coming toward us. I ordered the advance company forward about 60 rods to a road crossing at right angle, where I saw a small party of soldiers pass at full speed. I knew them to be our own men by their uniform. I then ordered a halt, dismounted two companies, and moved forward in direction of the firing, sending one company around on our left flank mounted. We had advanced about 100 yards through a thicket of brush when we met the enemy coming toward us, numbering from 50 to 100 men, and within 50 yards of us. I then opened fire on them and emptied many saddles, the enemy falling back in great confusion, leaving 1 man mortally wounded on the field, 5 horses, 5 carbines and revolvers, together with 4 prisoners out of the 5 they had previously taken from the command sent out previous to our being ordered out.

I skirmished on through the woods about three-quarters of a mile, then mounted my men and pursued the enemy about 3 miles, and finding they had too much the start, I returned to camp. Our loss none. From indications on the field the enemy's loss must have been heavy.

I remain your obedient servant,

IRA R. GIFFORD, Maj. Ninth Illinois Cavalry.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 72.

          13, Confederate foraging along Big Pigeon and French Broad Rivers reported

HDQRS. ANDERSON CAVALRY, Jim Evans' Ford, January 13, 1864.

Lieut. SHAW, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Hdqrs. Cavalry Corps:

LIEUT.: The enemy are foraging extensively on this side of the river with wagons, keeping close to the shore up In the Dutch and Irish Bottoms, and In the fork of Big Pigeon and French Broad Rivers; also, still more extensively with wagons In the fork between French Broad and Chucky. All these rivers are now fordable, and there is no ice running in them. The guards sent along with the wagons are light, but in consequence of the river being fordable at various places between Dandridge and the mouth of Pigeon, and Morgan's and part of Armstrong's cavalry divisions lying within a short distance of the river bank at Denton's Ford and Dr. Boyd's, it is risking rather too much for my small command to go so far up. There are also 150 cavalry at Gorman's, near Newport, on this side of both French Broad and Pigeon. I earnestly recommend that one brigade of cavalry be sent here to-night, crossing at this ford, which is now in good order. If artillery be sent, we have a ferry-boat here to cross it. They should come down the Mutton Hollow road to Shady Grove (from Flat Gap), thence 2 miles across the river to this camp; total distance from Mossy Creek to my camp, 12 miles. They should not leave Flat Gap till about dark, so that information of the movement may not reach the enemy above Dandridge. Two or three roads, including the Maryville road (from Shady Grove to Dandridge), lead off from the Mutton Hollow road toward Dandridge, and small picket posts should be placed on each of these to prevent any citizens from carrying information of the movement. There are also three or four houses on the way that should be guarded. These will be pointed out by the guides, of whom I send you 6 herewith, to be used with the column if it is decided to send it.

These guides also know the ford well, and there will be no danger in night fording. The ford is 30 yards wide and with a smooth bottom. The force can get a good feed here of both corn and hay, and start to-morrow with my command for the wagons and foraging parties. All the fords can be guarded as we go up, although if the Cavalry Corps makes its movement toward the French Broad to-morrow the attention of the rebels will be so much engaged that they will hardly attempt to cross to this side, even if they hear of our going up, which is doubtful. If they should cross a large force to menace us, it will be all the better for your command on the other side of the river; they can never catch us in these woods and mountains, as we have the whole population to guide and picket for us. If the plan is accepted I think we can take many prisoners and wagons and bring them off, thus crippling their facilities for foraging permanently. If they should cross the river at about Denton's Ford to intercept us they will probably send a smaller force than ours, as they will deem it improbable that a brigade has got on the south side of French Broad without their knowledge. We would in that event have the smaller force at our mercy. There would be no risk to your main force in sparing this brigade, as our force of cavalry is certainly that much larger than the enemy's while theirs is scattered from mouth of Chucky to Denton's Ford.

If the general movement to-morrow is prompt, some large foraging parties with wagons can probably be caught in the bend of the river at Swann's Island above Dandridge, by taking the Ellett's Ferry road; they are foraging there to-day with one regiment of cavalry.

You had probably better retain Lieut. Miller and Lieut. McGuire, of Ninth Tennessee, who accompany this, as guides, to come with the main body when it starts; they are acquainted thoroughly with all the country, trails, &c., in the vicinity of Dandridge below and above to the mouth of the Chucky.

I have arranged to have here at daylight to-morrow the latest information from up the French Broad, as far as mouth of Chucky on this side.

Please send me some of the president's proclamations; the rebel pickets at Swann's Island are asking for them.

I am, lieutenant, yours, very respectfully,

WM. J. PALMER, Col., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. II, pp. 80-82.

          13, Description of Fort Sanders, Knoxville

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Reports of Captain Orlando M. Poe, U. S. Corps of Engineers, Chief Engineer, Department of the Ohio, January 13, 1864, relating to a description of Fort Sanders.

* * * *

A short description of Fort Sanders may be appropriate here. It is a bastioned earth-work, built upon an irregular quadrilateral, the sides of which are, respectively, 125 yards southern front, 95 yards western front, 125 yards northern front, and 85 yards eastern front. The eastern front was entirely open, and is to be closed with a stockade; the southern front was about half done; the western front was finished except cutting the embrasures, and the northern front was nearly finished. Each bastion was intended to have a pan coupe. The bastion attacked was the only one that was completely finished. A light 12-pounder was mounted at the pan coupe, and did good service. The ditch of the fort was 12 feet in width, and in many places as much as 8 feet in depth. The irregularity of the site was such that the bastion angles were very heavy, the relief of the lightest one being 12 feet. The relief of the one attacked was about 13 feet, and together with the depth of the ditch, say 7 feet, made a height of 20 feet from the bottom of the ditch to the interior crest. This, owing to the nature of the soil, the dampness of the morning, and the steepness of the slopes, made the storming of the fort a very serious matter, and when taken in connection with the neglect of the enemy to provide themselves with scaling ladders, the confusion in their ranks, caused by passing through obstacles of stumps, wire entanglement, and brush in front of the fort, and the cool and steady fire to which they were exposed, coming from the very best troops in our service, sufficiently account for the repulse of one of the best divisions in the rebel army, from that point of attack. A short time after the repulse of the enemy a truce was offered him, during which he might bury his dead and take care of his wounded. It was accepted, and extended until 7 p. m.

During the assault on Fort Sanders and for some time after that had been repulsed, sharp fighting took place on the south side of the river, but we were everywhere successful.

* * * *

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 309.

          13, Presence of U. S. C. T. in Eagleville, excerpt from a letter to Dr. U.G. Owen from his mother Henrietta

....Yankees & Negroes are stealing [from] everyone that is any account. I have to lock our stock up every night....While I am writing this letter there is a company of Negroes passing the road hunting for Abe & Jack. There is a Negro camp[3] at Eagleville....

Your Mother, Henrietta Owen

Letter from Henrietta Owen to her son Dr. U. G. Owen, in Dr. U. G. Owen to Laura, January 13, 1864.

          13, Confederate spirit in Rogersville

A Spirited Woman.—When the Yankees were at Rogersville, Tennessee, a short time since, they arrested a shoemaker, who was well known as "old Harry," and confined him in the guard house. His wife, as clever and industrious a woman as ever lived, has borne him ten likely sons. The worthy couple have been "pegging away" for many years to raise their children properly, and hence they have accumulated but little of this world's goods. Mrs. Harry called upon her husband at the guard room where he was surrounded by the officer of the day and a guard. She upon seeing her liege lord, asked him, "So you're in here, are you?"  Harry responded affirmatively. "Well, you're not going to take the oath, are you?" asked she, with flushed cheeks. "No!  I've no notion of it," responded Harry, with clenched teeth, and a defiant air. "I'd rather see your last end—see you rot first, than hear of you taking that oath; I can take care of the boys," said Mrs. Harry.

The officer of the day then ordered her away, telling her that her language was insulting to him and his men. Stepping back with erect form and noble mien, the heroic woman shook her hand in his face, and told him that she was raising ten fine boys to hate and fight such despicable wretches as he and his men were, to the bitter end.

Richmond [VA] Whig, January 13, 1864. [4]

          13, The Condition and Needs of Contrabands in Nashville; Extracts from Correspondence Written by the General Secretary of the Pennsylvania Freedman's Relief Association

The following extracts are from letters received by the Pennsylvania Freedman's Relief Association…from their General Secretary, now on a tour of observation through Tennessee and the Mississippi Valley, from which may be perceived the urgent need of prompt and persistent action on the part of the loyal and humane [sic] north:

["]****There is no mistake about there being much destitution in this department. The suffering seems to be about equally distributed among the colored refugees (contrabands) and the white refugees (Unionists.) The difference between the two classes is that the latter are provided for by the State government, which imposes taxes on the rich rebels for their maintenance, which the former are dependent for what they need upon the philanthropy of the north. I do mean to imply by that Governor Johnston [sic] and his coadjutors are insensible to the claims of the blacks, but that they have as much as they can attend to, and more, in providing for the wants of the poor whites. From what I have been able to collect, I should estimate the number of newly freed people in this department at the present time at 15,000.

It is the policy of the authorities here not to let them accumulate in camps and barracks, awaiting future developments, but to distribute then wherever their services are needed and people are willing to hire them. Farmers and citizens, men and women, needling 'help' obtain a pass to go out to 'Hobson's Chapel,' the "contraband rendezvous," about three miles from the city, where the blacks re collected, and with whom they make the best bargain the can. This 'Hobson's Chapel' is constantly changing its inmates, some going out to compensated service, others coming in form Chattel bondage. The new ones that come in must be clothed, bedded, and instructed. This is being done by good people here sent from the north. In this work we of Philadelphia are privileged to take part. These 15,000 will soon be multiplied tenfold. That the old system of slavery is falling to pieces in this State is patent to the dullest observer. All admit that before long the 275,000 Tennessee slaves will be freed. What shall be done with them? Employ as laborers those who can work, is the answer of all intelligent men here with whom I have conversed, and instruct them in schools the remainder. I have yet to see the first Tennessean-and I have talked with a good many on the subject-who has not seemed relieved when assured that the north would provide teachers to the extend of their necessities. An intelligent citizens of this place told me this morning that Tennessee would need at least three hundred teachers to supply the want. The same is true of other slave States. It will require a large number of teachers and helpers to reconstruct society in the south. Whether the government organize a Bureau of Emancipation or not, this work will surely devolve upon the loyal and humane [sic] people of the free States. We have winked at and aided in the degradation of the black man, and we must now aid and promote the work of his elevation.

P. S.-I have read this letter to my friend Dr.____, a Tennessean, whom I see here daily. He is an ardent and unconditional Unionist, a particular friend and advisor of Gov. Johnson. "Do you approve of what I have written, Doctor?' 'Yes, people are now on the right track. They did well in working for the abolition of slavery, though it is only now that I see it. I used to be opposed to them (the doctor is owner, in law, of forty slaves) but now slavery us dead. Its only ray of hope is the success of the rebellion. Slavery and the rebellion must go down together. If your friends want to help us let them fight to put down the rebellion, and work to aid us in solving our social problem."

Nashville, Jan. 1, 1864.

I am glad the supplies are coming, as they are much needed here at this moment. The Association did well to buy blankets and shoes. Nothing could come better here at this time. Blankets will serve as shawls during the day, and as beds at night.

The high price of rents makes it hard for the poor. Large families are crowded into small rooms, unglazed and every way comfortless. Here in the city there would be no difficulty about the support of the blacks, if they had only a place to live. Labor of all kinds is in great demand, and these blacks have all a natural knack at making money. All agree along and adjoining themselves to circumstances much superior to that of the poor whites. . The fact is, the blacks in the south are, by all odds, the most thrifty, industrious, managing people to be met with. All they want is an opportunity. Here in Nashville their industry, thrift, respectability and successful enterprise are matters of general observation. I have made a list of the well-to-do and rich colored men of this city, and its length would quite surprise you. I have the names of a dozen men whose aggregate property is worth not less than $180,000 another $28,000, and so on down. They are chiefly hackmen and gardeners, (truckmen) and the like.

A local freedmen's association has been formed here since my arrival, composed partly of men and women of Nashville, and partly of strangers sojourning here, which will assume the charge of goods sent here from the north, etc.

Yours & etc. ______

The American and Unites States Gazette (Philadelphia, PA) January 13, 1864. [5]

          13, A Virginia Newspaper's Book Review of a "dung-hill" Tennessee romance


We have, from a Philadelphia publishing house, a pea-green novel or romance entitled: Miss Martha Brownlow; or the Heroine of Tennessee-a truthful and graphic account of the many perils and privations endured by Miss Martha Brownlow, the lovely and accomplished daughter of the celebrated Parson Brownlow, during her residence with her father in Knoxville: By Major W. D. Reynolds, late acting adjutant in the western army; beautifully illustrated.

The book is after the style dung-hill romances; a nasty mixture of bad grammar and big words. The following is a specimen of its pea-green heroics:

"In the library-room of their snug home, the beautiful and noble Martha Brownlow sat reading some manuscript' near her stood her parent, just preparing to leave on a short journey. As he stood, hat in hand, he turned to his loved daughter and tenderly said, 'Now, daughter, I shall not be gone long. But, in the meantime, prepare all the copy you can for the paper against my return.'

The obedient and affectionate Martha arose and said, 'I will do so, papa. But hasten your return, please; for there are troubled times long to be alone.'

'If you are fearful, Martha, I will remain at home to-day,' said the tender parent.

"''O no, papa, do not mind it; 'twas a sudden thought only, that flitted through my mind; nothing will become of it,' replied the noble girl, and looking from the casement out upon the stars and stripes just floating off in the breeze from the flag-staff in the centre of the lawn in front of the house, she continued: 'I shall feel perfectly safe, even in your absence, father, for 'our flag is still there.' Surely, I am safe beneath its protecting folds.'"

It appears that after the retirement of "the parent" a raid of "rebels" is made on the fair Margaret of which the following is the scene and denouement:

"She was suddenly startled afresh by Roslyn commanding his men to force the gate and take down the distasteful flag, who, as he led them in over the lawn said, 'If you will not remove it we will take it down for you.' But Martha, soon recovering her self possession and hastening into the house, soon emerged again with a well charge musket, and taking her stand beneath the stars and stripes, brought the unerring weapon to her shoulder, like a well-practiced veteran and leveling it at her foes, exclaimed, 'Back, you cowardly dogs! Leave me ere I make you bite the dust! Touch not the sacred folds of that good old flag!"

Cowards, as they really were, they turned and skulked away, leaving the heroic Martha Brownlow unharmed.

"When her parent returned he found her again in the library sweetly singing, 'Touch not that old flag.'"

Bully for Martha! Besides this accomplished goddess, the interest of the romance in heightened by her picture of the Fiend of the Forrest [sic] and the Scout of the Bloody Bones."

Daily Richmond Examiner, January 13, 1864. [6]


[1] As cited in: Colonel Percy Howard, The Barbarities of the Rebels, as shown in their Cruelty to the Federal Wounded and Prisoners; in their Outrages on Union Men; in the Murder of Negroes, and their Unmanly Conduct Throughout the Rebellion, (Providence, R.I.: Printed by the author, 1863.), p. 23

[2] TSL&A, 19th CN.

[3] This may have been a "contraband" camp, or perhaps a U. S. C. T. encampment.

[4] As cited in:

[5] TSL&A, 19th CN.

[6] TSL&A, 19th CN.


James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Editor, The Courier

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214


(615)-532-1549  FAX


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