Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Notes from Civil War Tennessee, April 13, 1862-1865.

Notes from Civil War Tennessee,

April 13, 1862-1865.





          13, Colonel Pope's triumphal entry into Shelbyville

Union Feeling in Tennessee.—An officer of Col. Pope's Fifteenth Kentucky Regiment, writing to his brother in this city and describing its entrance into the town of Shelbyville, Bedford county, Tenn., gives the following glowing and cheering account of the loyalty of the inhabitants.—Louisville Journal.

They came out in showers to welcome us, and the ladies waved their handkerchiefs and flags to such a degree that it set us all wild. Such shouts and huzzas you never heard. As we drew near Shelbyville it was raining pitchforks, but that made no difference; some of the ladies came out in the rain, to the fences, and waved their handkerchiefs and cheered us. And the men—you ought to have seen them. The rain was coming down in torrents, and they had kept their hats close down to keep it from running down their necks, but when they saw the flags they had to pull off their hats, rain or no rain, wave them, and yell as loud as possible. Lieut. Col Jouett had his hat off so long and got his head so wet that the hair commenced sprouting on top of it! Then when we got into camp, it seemed as if they could not do enough for us. They sent us all sorts of things."

Nashville Daily Union, April 13, 1862. [1]

          13, Combined Navy and Army Destruction of the Charleston & Memphis Railroad Bridge at Bear Creek

Destruction of railroad bridge over Bear Creek, Tennessee River, April 13, 1862.

Report of Lieutenant Gwin, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Tyler.


Pittsburg, Tenn., April 14, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that the Tyler and Lexington convoyed two transports, containing 2,000 troops, infantry and cavalry, under the command of General Sherman, to Chickasaw, Ala., where they disembarked and proceeded rapidly to Bear Creek Bridge, the crossing of Memphis and Charleston Railroad, for the purpose of destroying it and as much of trestlework as they could find.

I am happy to state that the expedition was entirely successful. The bridge, consisting of two spans, 110 feet each, was completely destroyed (i.e., superstructure), together with some 510 feet of trestlework and half mile of telegraph line.

The rebels made a feeble resistance to our cavalry, 120 in number, but soon made a hasty retreat, losing 4 killed; our loss none.

I regret to state that in firing a salute on the 12th, John D. Seymore, boatswain's mate, was so much injured by the premature discharge of a gun as to cause his death yesterday morning.

Allow me to congratulate you and those under your command on your great success at Island No. 10.

Enclosed I send you Lieutenant Commanding Shirk's report.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant, Commanding Division of Gunboats

on Tennessee River.

Flag-Officer A. H. FOOTE,

Commanding Naval Forces on Western Waters

NOR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pp. 22-23.




13, Plea to Confederate Secretary of War for release of prisoner of war from Maury County

COLUMBIA, TENN., April 13, 1863.

Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War.

DEAR SIR: Under ordinary circumstances I would not intrude upon your valuable time, but I am constrained from a sense of duty to ask your attention to a few words in relation to a worthy citizen, a neighbor of mine. To be brief, Dr. Joseph E. Dixon, a citizen of Maury County, Tenn., was taken prisoner at Donelson and was released, being surgeon. He returned to his home in this country then in the enemy's lines, reported himself to Gen. Negley, in command of the Federal forces, and in some fifteen or twenty days Gen. Negley gave him a pass to go to Richmond and Doctor Dixon went via Huntsville, Ala. There he reported himself to Gen. Buell and received a pass to Decatur, but when next morning it was reported that fighting was going on in the neighborhood of Decatur and he called to have his route changed and Gen. Buell being out, Gen. Rousseau gave him a pass to go by way of Battle Creek to Chattanooga. With this pass he arrived upon Battle Creek and unfortunately for him a battle was expected there and Gen. McCook, in command of the Federals, complained to Gen. Buell of Gen. Rousseau for granting said pass and Gen. Buell him arrested and sent to Johnson's Island, where he has been confined ever since, now seven or eight months. I have the facts upon reliable information. Doctor Dixon was surgeon of the Ninth Battalion of Tennessee Cavalry, commanded by Lieut.-Col. Gantt. He was released as a surgeon while his battalion was still in prison and was on his way to report to his Government and with the pass of the Federal general in his possession. There have been several general jail deliveries since his imprisonment but he seems to be forgotten. His wife and family and friends are in deep distress. I beg leave to suggest for your consideration that you make a special demand for his case and if possible that you have him released.

With my best wishes for your official and personal success, I am, your friend,


[First indorsement.]

Is not this the case in reference to which Mr. Ould made a report to the Secretary of War?

[Second indorsement.]

APRIL 28, 1863.

Respectfully referred to Hon. R. Ould.

By order of the Secretary of War:

J. A. CAMPBELL, Assistant Secretary of War.

[Third indorsement.]

OFFICE EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS, Richmond, Va., April 30, 1863.

Respectfully returned.

The case of Surg. J. E. Dixon will receive special attention. I have already made a report to the Secretary of War in this case.

RO. OULD, Agent of Exchange.

[Fourth indormsent.]

Answer that the special attention of Col. Ould, agent, &c., has been directed to the case of Surgeon Dixon.

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 5, pp. 927-928.

          13, Letter from Lafayette McDowell in the Army of Tennessee at Tullahoma to his sister Amanda in White County, relating conditions in the army

Tullahoma, Tennessee

April 13, 1863

Dear Sister:

I send a letter every chance but received nothing from you. Polly Morris says she will go to see you and take this letter, and I know of another she will have to take. Tell Pollie Stone so if you see her.

I suppose Mrs. Camron had heard that we were all starving to death. You never saw such a load of provisions in your life as they all brought down. I live well enough these times. I have wished many times I had not written for anything and should not have done so only that Mr. Shugart told me you had more four than you had any use for and I have to buy here. If Mr. Shugart comes down, you can send the flour at least and anything else you please but don't send anything that will spoil. All the people are sending provisions which they always do when we are starved. We will fight here before long, which may cause us to move, but I believe it will be forward. I do not calculate a hard battle for our regt. [sic] this time. As we had the hardest place before, we are apt to have the easiest this time.

I do not feel very uneasy for us this time. But of one thing you may be sure, if the Yankees are able to hold us half a fight, it will be the greatest battle ever fought in the south [sic], for this army in its present condition could fight three times the force we fought at Murfreesboro as easy as we fought them there. I never saw an army in such trim. The Gens. may easily say we are ready for a fight.

I shall as much as possible keep my business so arranged as to place what I am able to own at your disposal in case of accident. If the time should come that you should have to live without me, remember that raising your support on a very small scale is worth more than all the wages you can ever earn. The main object is [to] live during the war, which you easily do by raising all you can this summer with the start you have. I shall not make money hereafter (unless I am promoted). As for an honest watch or horse trade now and then as I used to make, I acknowledge rascally speculators have shamed me out of countenance. None but a rascal can trade to any advantage here. So I give up the chase. I want to hear from Father to know what he has done with the money I left at home and that I sent by Mr. Shugart. In my last I spoke of being out of money, but I now have more, having collected some I had loaned. Uncle Jeff owes me $200 yet, which I can get when Capt. Dibrell comes back; at the end of this month, if I have luck, I shall have $300 to dispose of some way. It will take $100 for my expenses until my next draw, I mean from the time of this one at the end of this month, or at least I shall retain that amount in my pocket. With the rest I desire to pay what may remain unpaid of Father's debts. What is then left I desire to spend for valuable property at even high expense

Diary of Amanda McDowell.




13, Increased Federal cavalry patrols ordered north of Loosahatchie and between the Loosahatchie and the Wolf Rivers

HDQRS. SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tenn., April 13, 1864.

Brig. Gen. B. H. GRIERSON, Cmdg. Cavalry Division, Sixteenth Corps:

GEN.: You have probably heard that Fort Pillow has been captured....

The cavalry patrols on all roads must be kept strong and well out, and a strong detachment should sweep up on the north side of Loosahatchie and in the space between Loosahatchie and Wolf. The construction of bridges should be watched, and every precaution taken against surprise.

Your cavalry must be kept up to its full strength by the use of all horses fit for service. Officers must be kept with their men, and men must not be allowed to race their horses in the manner they are now doing. If no other way can be devised, men will not be allowed to leave the camp on horseback to visit the city except on duty and in charge of an officer.

S. A. HURLBUT, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, pp. 345-346.

          13, J. G. M. Ramsey to President Davis relative to conditions in East Tennessee and sales of Confederate bonds to confederate citizens and soldiers

DEPOSITORY OF CONFEDERATE STATES, Now at Atlanta, Ga., April 13, 1864.

Hon. JEFFERSON DAVIS, President Confederate States of America:

SIR: The importance of the subject of this letter will, I know, lead you to excuse me for bringing it to the attention of the Executive and his Cabinet. I was authorized by the honorable Secretary of the Treasury to repair from this place around to Jonesborough, Bristol, and other adjacent points in East Tennessee and there to give members of the Army and our citizens generally an opportunity to fund their Treasury issues. I executed the mission promptly and with great pleasure. All holders there were loud in expressions of thanks to Mr. Memminger for this act of considerate kindness to them on his part. My presence in East Tennessee gave me a good opportunity of realizing the real condition of things in that ill-fated and unfortunate country. Its evacuation last August by Gen. Buckner was a miserable military blunder, which time cannot soon repair. Its abandonment on a more recent occasion, though perhaps less inexcusable under the circumstances, is accompanied with evils scarcely to be realized or exaggerated. As the army of Longstreet fell back toward Virginia those of our southern citizens who had the means of doing so fell back too, and many of them will be able to find shelter and subsistence elsewhere. But my heart bleeds to have witnessed the condition of the families of our soldiers and our poorer people of true Southern proclivities. What will become of them? [added emphasis]  They are unprotected and without supplies-a prey to the rapacity, the cruelty, and the revenges of the unrelenting and malicious Union men of that country, to say nothing of the hostilities of the Yankees. A citizen there told me that if it were not for the fish in Chucky River many of them must starve. [added emphasis]  In its retreat the army swept the country of all its supplies. With the recuperative energy that characterizes that Scotch-Irish population, many of our farmers had endeavored to repair the desolation made before the reoccupancy of the country by Longstreet, were rebuilding their fences, &c., and doing other spring work on their plantations preparatory to planting some corn. Now, since our forces are withdrawn, the horses stolen, their fences burned the second and the third time, and no prospect of further protection from the pillaging enemy, the heart sickens at the contemplation of the spring and summer before them. No Egypt is at hand to which these virtuous, patriotic, and indigent people can repair to procure bread. They must not be left there to suffering and starvation. [added emphasis] As the soldiery of Tennessee are standing like a bulwark of defense against the invasion of Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, leaving their desolated homes and destitute families to the benignant care of the Government, will you listen to an appeal from one of their countrymen, an exile himself, and houseless and homeless, too, when, he suggests to the Confederate authorities to order at once the purchase or the impressment in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia of a supply of corn, the establishment immediately of a store-house or houses on our lines, and the authorized invitation to loyal destitute families to come there and be fed at least till harvest. "Fas est ab hoste doceri."[2] The execrable enemy are before us in this labor of love and humanity. Maynard has been sent to Memphis, Brownlow to Nashville, Netherland to Louisville, others (Nelson, I believe) to Cincinnati, and Everett to Boston to solicit benefactions for the oppressed Union people of East Tennessee. And can it be possible that even greater efforts than these should not be inaugurated and carried into speedy consummation for such a class of our people as the families of our loyal East Tennessee soldiers and citizens? The President will excuse me for repeating what I have heretofore often said to him, that there is not in this wide Confederacy a single spot where genuine loyalty to your Government, self-sacrifice and self-denial, an elevated patriotism, or a holier chivalry exist to the same extent and to a higher intensity. There is no such people-none truer to their friends, their principles, or our cause. None have suffered more for their devotion to their country, its rights, or its honor. None have such malignant and implacable enemies amongst their own wicked and revengeful neighbors. And the Government, if it cannot give us further protection at home, can at least give bread to the families whose natural protectors and guardians are fighting for the defense of other communities not more patriotic or more worthy of its care. May I suggest that Spring Place, Ga., and Zollicoffer, or Bristol, Tenn., should be points at which these supplies should be deposited? The agent for the procurement and distribution of this corn should be selected with great care and caution. The unhallowed greed of gain has become a passion so general and all-absorbing that some will seek it for the purpose of speculating on the very charities of the Government by placing it in the hands of the unworthy or the disloyal. [added emphasis] I cannot at this time suggest the names of the most suitable. Let them be not tinctured with the slightest suspicion of Unionism or the stain of peculation or money-making. I am done. I do not speak in my own name. Were it otherwise proper or necessary every Tennessee refugee in Georgia would sign this. To call a meeting of my co-refugees to memorialize you would be to expose to the enemy the nakedness of the land.

I therefore sign it alone, and am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


[First indorsement.]

Respectfully referred by direction of the President to the honorable Secretary of War for perusal, &c.

BURTON N. HARRISON, Private Secretary.

[Second indorsement.]

APRIL 27, 1864.

Whatever sympathy is felt for the evils depicted, the powers of this Department do not enable us to administer relief in the manner suggested.

J. A. S., Secretary.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, pp. 655-656.

          13, Elvira Powers' first day of duty as a lady nurse at the Small Pox Hospital, Nashville

Entered upon my duties to-day, as lady nurse of two divisions of tents at Small Pox Hospital.

Not obliged to come here, but have accepted this most disagreeable place, as there are so few who are willing to take it. Expect to be quite confined to the place; and the hope of doing good in a position which otherwise would be vacant, is the inducement.

The Hospital is about a mile out from the city, and near Camp Cumberland. It consists of tents in the rear of a fine, large mansion which was deserted by its rebel owner. In these tents are about 800 patients-including convalescents, contrabands, soldiers and citizens. Everything seems done for their comfort which can well be, with the scarcity of help. Cleanliness and ventilation are duly attended to; but the unsightly, swollen faces, blotched with eruption, or presenting an entire scab, and the offensive odor, require some strength of nerve in those who minister to their necessities. [emphasis added] There are six physicians each in charge of a division. Those in which I am assigned to duty are in charge of Drs. R. & C. There is but one lady nurse here, a side from the wives of three surgeons,-Mrs. B., the nurse, went with me through the tents, introduced me to the patients and explained my duties.

Powers, Pencillings, p. 42.

          13, Riding with Yankees in McMinnville

….It was on the 21st of last April that the "Wilder raid" took us by storm at home, but on Wednesday, the 13th [1864], a still wilder [sic] raid overwhelmed us here – a woman's raid [sic]. Col. Gilbert, Commander of [the] Post at McM, came up, whether on military business or not – no one knows – he had an escort of some 30 men and 5 girls, of the "Union element" of McM….what in the name of common sense and common decency, the mothers of those girls could be thinking of?...I don't see how those girls could help seeing that their conduct seemed to us very improper-and I should not wonder if they visit it on us sometime. The P's condemned the affair and thro them the raid will get hold of our opinion. Well, I can't help it. I did feel horrified – and I would tell Mrs. Armstrong any time, if necessary, that I considered it a great impropriety – that I was sorry to see the girls in it-and sorrier still that she allowed it….

War Journal of Lucy Virginia French, April 17, 1864.


13, "…our worst enemy or the one that I fear most is sickness…."

Prospect Tennessee April 13 1864

Dear Father

I take my pen& paper to write to you again. I am still in the enjoyment of good health & hope that this may find you all the same. We are still here but it is probable that we shall move in some direction before long appearances at least indicate as much. One thing our veteran soldiers have been called out to drill the orders are that we shall drill 6 hours a day so as to perfect us in the drill immediately & target shooting one hour each day for the recruits. Another thing they are making fortifications here. One large block house here is nearly finished& I understand that they are going to build another one a short distance from here across the river. So that one hundred men with the aid of these fortifications can withstand as much as one thousand without them. It is the prevailing opinion that when they are completed that we shall leave here for more active service. There is also great activity commenced on the railroad that runs through here. a short time since there was not more than one train each day Now there is as many as six each way to carry provisions & stores ammunition etc. to the army south it is likely that the spring campaign will soon be opened vigorous[ly] very soon. It is about time to do something or the heat of the season will be stronger than either of the contending parties &compel them to lay inactive till another fall. There are some days now that were it as warm north you would say this will make the corn grow. We dont know as much here about the operations of the army as you do where you get the regular papers at the north, but we know more about a soldiers life I am not disappointed I have not had to suffer half the inconvenience yet that I expected to or may even have to do in future but our worst enemy or the one that I fear most is sickness & as long as I can avoid that why all right. There has been a noted rebel guerilla caught not far from here called Moore he has played about these parts considerable robbing army wagons plundering killing etc. since we came here he gobbled up two of our boys who had got outside the picket line in search of a cow that belonged to the regimental hospital but they gave him the slip & got back to camp here again There has been some deserters come to our camp from the rebel army they give a deplorable account of the condition of the rebel army say that they were pressed into it etc. but no reliance can be put upon themI think that the government are too easyupon those rebels that are not in arms againstthem. I don't believe that there is one good rebel or union citizen in Giles Co Ten but they are allowed to come within the lines with passes which the got from the regimental officers signed by the Colonel we have quite a chance to find out their principal when we go on picket truly many of them have lost their last cow & pig & would just as soon shoot a picket as not but they ought to swing too it makes some of the boys curse & swear those them round with their butternut-colored clothes & brass buttons as near rebel uniform as they dare come & durst not pull a trigger on them. I have had but one letter from you & I dont know why I dont get more I want to hear at least once a week or oftener & another thing I want some postage stamps I have to borrow & it will soon run out on that score. I must say that H. J. Smith is promoted to first Lieutenant-I conclude Direct the same as before

Charles B Seniorto all at Home

Senior Correspondence.






          13, Eliza Fain Learns of Lee's Surrender. An Extract from the Diary of Eliza Rhea Anderson Fain

….We finished [washing] about 3 o'clock. After getting through I came to the house and found Lucy…with a Chattanooga paper containing the account of Gen. Lee's surrender with his army. It may be true but I do not believe and even were I to believe this it does not for one moment shake my confidence in my God as to the position which the South shall occupy amongst the nations of earth when this struggle shall cease….

Fain Diary.


[1] As cited in:

[2] "It is right to learn even from an enemy."


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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