Notes from Civil War Tennessee,
March 10, 1863-1865
10, "Street Improvement;" Public Health Initiative in Memphis
Some of the newly appointed district overseers got their "contrabands"to work yesterday in the streets. As far as we saw the old method of street cleaning was pursued, that is, the filth and dregs deposited in the gutter and lying at the side of the streets was loosened by means of a pickax, then shoveled to the center of the street. [added emphasis] We have heard of an Irishman who, when on his first visit to Dublin, was treated to a ride in a hack, from which the bottom had been removed for repairs, consequently Paddy went on his legs as usual although he had the roof the vehicle over his head. On being asked afterwards how he enjoyed his ride? [sic] he replied: "Faith I did not see that it was any better than walking, except for the name of the thing." And we do not see that cleaning a street by shoveling the dirt from the sides to the middle is any better than leaving them dirty, except for the name of the thing. Complaints are already made the negroes [sic] take every opportunity that offers, to run away from the job. If their only pay is two meals each, at a cost of thirty cents for both, we should think Sambo [sic] feels considerably like changing his quarters when he get a chance.
Memphis Bulletin, March 10, 1863.
10, Complaints about Dispatch article of March 6, 1863, "Colored Churches and Balls."
"The Nigger."—Two or three of our subscribers have taken exception to an article published in the Dispatch on Friday morning last, entitled "Colored Churches and Balls," in which we endeavored to point out the difference between the innocent amusements of slaves owned and living in Nashville with their masters and mistresses, and the pastimes of those not under the master's control. The former was innocent and unobjectionable, as may be attested by at least twenty white persons who were in the room, the most of whom we left there, after 11 o'clock; while the parties given by the latter have become so disreputable that no negro having a particle of self-respect would attend them, because, as we said in the article alluded to, they were made up exclusively of "soldiers, contrabands, and prostitutes." If any of the gentlemen alluded to will make known their objections to the Local Editor, he will attend to them with much pleasure. He is always easy of access, and is ever ready to listen to reason; and infinitely prefers conversing with the parties who fancy themselves aggrieved than with others who profess to espouse their cause.
Nashville Dispatch, March 10, 1863.
10, Pro-Confederate women bear the insults of Yankees in Cleveland
….I heard the sent Mr. Walcott to Chattanooga. How I wish for independence, my spirits feel crushed. In vain I sight for peace and find none. My very soul is depressed and weighed down in the language of our psalmist did when he was oppressed by his enemies, in Psalms 8-9; ["]Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God, defend me from them that rise up against me.["] Judge [?] and his lady here tonight. Such a trade [sic] of abuse I never heard as he pronounced against our beloved South. Mrs.____ said she was truly sorry for the Confederate army. He said they were forced to fight at the point of a bayonet and spoke of them being urged on by a few fanatic demagogues. And denounced the Confederate lying newspaper in the bitterest of terms, how my heart ached for revenge. O, our father, if it is Thy will let us gain our independence. Truly I thought he would spare our feelings, but alas, he bridled not his tongue, neither spared he our feelings. I could only sit and offer up a feeble prayer to God for our deliverances. We are done with peace….
Diary of Myra Adelaide Inman.
10, A Theatrical Presentation in Civil War Nashville.
"The Ticket of Leave Man," a new and very interesting play by Tom. Taylor, Esq., will be produced here this evening. The plot is based upon the English custom of giving convicts, who have proved deserving, a ticket to leave to go out upon the word before the expiration of the term of their penal servitude, and guaranteeing them from arrest so long as they shall behave themselves properly. The hero of this play is Robert Brierly (personated by Mr. John E. Owens), a simple Lancashire lad, who falls in love with Mary Edwards, (Miss Radcliffe), a peer ballad singer. These two lovers continue faithful to each other during the imprisonment and transportation of Robert, and is renewed with even more ardor on his return. For a long time Robert prospers in the world, and is about to be married to Mary, when he is recognized and exposed by Moss (Mr. Pierce) as a convict, and the wedding is postponed at the time when the principals are dressed and the company assembled for the ceremony. Still the lovers are faithful, and in poverty they marry, another expose [sic] by the villainous Moss driving them almost to despair. More sorrow ensues, and shame, and discord between them-which, however is put on for an object, for a scheme has been conceived by villains to rob Mr. Gibson (Fletcher) and Brierly is, as it seems, a willing accomplice. This is at the Bridewater Arms, whose landlord is a person "who does not know how to keep a hotel very well." The landlord, with Moss, go down [to] the cellar, for more liquor, when Brierly shuts the hatch upon them and writes a letter to Mr. Gibson stating the contemplated robbery. A difficulty arises: he has no messenger, and says to himself in despair, "who will take my letter?" when a miserable being, drunken away through, and apparently asleep upon a bench, suddenly arouses himself and says, "I will"-it is Hawkshaw (Hamilton) – the Detective! The last act presents a satisfactory denouement. The letter and detective vindicate the Ticket of Leave; Man and the play ends happily for the virtuous and otherwise to the vicious, after keeping the audience in them most intense excitement during the first acts. "Young America," will also be performed, and steward will sing.
Nashville Dispatch, March 10, 1864.
10, Return of religious animosities between the Presbyterian and Episcopal congregations in Bolivar
To-day was the day appointed by our President [Jefferson Davis] as a day of fasting and prayer. I for one observed it, though perhaps not with the right spirit. All the animosity which formerly existed (but which we had hoped had completely died out) between the Presbyterian and Episcopalian churches seems with the last few days to have been revived. Everybody is talking of the [sic] church some think one some the other. Everybody is commenting on a book which the Episcopalian Minister is circulating by the name of "A Presbyterian Minister in search of The [sic] Church" which our pastor pronounced (also any good sensed person) a collection of falsehoods to deceive the ignorant. There is a class of young ladies who intend being confirmed, and this book is given preparatory to confirmation. How wrong to cultivate feeling so injurious to the cause of Christ and so unchristian like in their bearing, instead of cultivating feelings of good will toward all men in imitation of our gentle Jesus. The apple of discord has now been thrown among us. Father is divided against Son, Mother against daughter, all ties of Christian affection completely and perhaps forever surrendered....Yankees reported in eight miles of town this morning. At LaGrange this evening, also at Salisbury, I believe.
Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress, March 10, 1865.
10, Guerrilla Outrages in Tennessee
The Memphis Bulletin of the 4th prefaces another half column of guerrilla items with these remarks:
Very few persons have any idea of the reign of terror that exists just outside our army lines. The numberless rages, murders, robberies and conscriptions that daily occur are not, in most cases, known in the city until some days after the happen.
New Orleans Times, March 10, 1865.
James B. Jones, Jr.
Editor, The Courier
Tennessee Historical Commission
2941 Lebanon Road
Nashville, TN 37214