Thursday, April 21, 2016

Notes from Civil War Tennessee, April 21, 1861-1865.

Notes from Civil War Tennessee,

April 21, 1861-1865.




          21, Peter Turney solicits exemption of his unit from Major-General Gideon J. Pillow's command

WINCHESTER, TENN., April 21, 1861.


DEAR GEN.: Before this reaches you I will have my regiment ready to march. My great desire is that I shall not have such delay as to make my men impatient. So soon as I get my men ready I think I will rendezvous. I dislike exceedingly to think of having my men on oars for Gen. Pillow; we would greatly prefer to be an independent regiment. Gen., my all, my honor, and that of my father is involved in this matter. My father was the first man in Tennessee to take grounds for our present position here. He sacrificed himself upon its altar. I feel that under the circumstances this regiment ought to be received first of all from Tennessee. I was the first to make a tender of a Tennessee regiment. I have now about got it ready, and hope I will not have to wait the movement of Pillow. Such a course would certainly dampen the ardor of my men, who have volunteered as minute men, and are now making rapid preparations to move. How are you off for arms? I request an early answer. Remember that my name has been cursed in Tennessee (I allude to my father) for its devotion to the South. Do not, for God's sake, suspend me to gratify Pillow. Answer right off.

Your friend,


P. S.-I mean by the above no disrespect to Gen. Pillow whatever, but do not want to be postponed to anybody. The fever is high, and want to see nothing cool it here.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, p. 60.

          21, "To the Women of the South"

While the men in every part of the country are arming themselves and mustering in squadrons to resist the invasion and oppression threatening our beloved land, let us emulate the enthusiasm of our husbands, sons, and friends in the cause. Many of our daughters are already active in the service with their needles. Let the matrons of every city, village, and hamlet form themselves into societies, called by some appropriate name, pledged to take care of the sick and wounded soldiers of the Confederate army, whenever the changing drama of war shall bring them in their neighborhood; to take them if necessary and practicable, to their own homes. Let the organizations be commenced at once, with officers appointed and known, to whom the officers of the military companies may communicate the wants of the soldiers, and call upon for aid when the time for action shall come; and Baltimore has taught us how soon it may come.[1] I offer myself for the work. Will not some matron with more time take the lead, and allow me to serve in a subordinate capacity? Let the women of the entire South join and spread the organization till not a spot within the Southern borders shall be with its band of sisters, pledged to the work and ready for it; and thus shall every mother feel assured, in sending her sons to the field, that in time of need they shall have the tender care of some other mother, whose loved ones are in the patriot ranks at other points, and our soldiers feel sure that true hearts are near wherever they may be.

Mary E. Pope

Memphis Appeal, April 21, 1861.[2]

          21, Italian community of Memphis form military company

Garibaldi Guards.—A company of our Italian fellow-citizens organized some time ago under this name, and have reached a high degree of perfection in their drill, but have thus far been unable to procure arms. As soon as the necessary accoutrements can be procured, they hold themselves in readiness to do active and valiant service for their adopted country.

Memphis Daily Appeal, April 21, 1861.

          21, Procuring arms for the Memphis Home Guard

Sharpe's Rifles.—The Home Guard of the sixth ward yesterday dispatched Mr. Galbreath, of the firm of Meacham & Galbreath, to New Orleans, as their agent, to purchase a hundred and fifty Sharpe's rifles for the use of the company. There are at present a hundred and six men in the company.

Memphis Daily Appeal, April 21, 1861.

          21, Women of Memphis' eighth ward organize

To the Ladies of the Eighth Ward. The undersigned would call the attention of ladies of the eighth ward to the necessity of the early formation of a society to make uniforms, flags, etc., for the military company recently formed in said ward. We can do something in this emergency, and suggest the propriety of a meeting of the ladies at the house of B. D. Nabers, on Alabama street, on Monday, 22d inst., at 4 o'clock P.M., for the purpose of organizing.  
[Signed] Mrs. B. D. Nabers, Mrs. G. W. Acree, Mrs. J. M. Lee, Mrs. Dr. Hewett, Miss C. E. Nelson, Miss Sallie Nelson.

Memphis Daily Appeal, April 21, 1861.




          21, "I cannot do anything in the cotton seed business until the army moves." D. C. Donnohue's letter to Assistant Secretary of the Interior J. P. Usher

Savana [sic] Tennessee

April 21st 1862

J. P. Usher Esq

Assistant Scty of the Interior

Dear Sir

I am still at this place which is in the vicinity of the great Battle – we are having incessant rains – Genl. Pope is arriving with his division of the Army – and I suppose we will now have a forward move, if the roads will at all permit – I cannot do anything in the cotton seed business until the army moves – The seed I have bought are all out of our lines and wagons cannot be had to bring them into the boats – I think I am not mistaken in public sentiment here. The poor or labouring men are the only union men but they cannot easily be brought up to the point of asserting their manhood – Some of the more inteligent [sic] of them are pleased with the emancipation of slaves in the District of Columbia - & they hope to [see] the slaves emancipated every where – They say slavery caused the rebellion and ought to suffer – Most of the mechanics talk in this way but mechanics are few and far between here – There are others here to say they are for the Union [sic] but some of them who are home plashing Union have two or three substitutes in the rebel army – I do not think that our Military leaders act with Candor or Justice – I have known them to allow men to pass through our lines and insult our soldiers hunting negroes and have more facilities and protection than ;you could have extended to yourself – I care not on what business you might visit the army unless you might be hunting negroes [sic] – I know it is very hard to get along with this slavery question but I do think when if a negro runs off from a traitor to the government that always had protected him in the right to own negros [sic] – it asking a great deal from me to have my son to catch and hide the negro until the traitor ties him – Yet other men have it to do who are just [as] good as me or my son it is all wrong – I almost fear that the negroes [sic] will prove the utter ruin of our nationality – I have nothing to say about the policy of the government but if it should turn in the end that in attempting to hold four millions of miserable Africans [sic] in bondage, twenty six Anglo-Saxons should have their freedom – would it not be a sad comment upon our boasted institutions – It is easy to see the end of this rebellion from Washington institutions – It is easy to see the end of this rebellion from Washington City – but when your get in this latitude it seems to have just begun. Our Army has not moved three miles  farther sought than where they were camped when they were attacked on the 6th Inst – it is true we drove them from the field on Monday but they fell back in good order and have not been attacked since so you can see that both armies were willing to quit! I learn that the rebels are reinforcing and will fight again in the neighborhood of Corinth Miss – They can better afford to wait better than we can as our army will be unfit for fighting in six weeks from this time on account of sickness – We should drive them or fight them at once as all must see that we have all to loose [sic] and nothing to gain by delay – Governor Harvey of Wisconsin, was drowned at this landing night before last – by accidentally stepping over the guard of the boat – That I have been staying on for several days – he was here taking care of and hunting up the wounded from Wisconsin and had been very active and had most of his wounded on board when by some mistake he steped [sic] in the river and was soon our of the each of help. The Gov was a young man of good habits and [it is] said posses [sic] more than ordinary talents – I had been in conversation with him not more than five minutes before he was drowned – his friends offer a $1000.00 [reward] for the recovery of his body – but so far have not succeeded in obtaining it.

I think I will make some money on cotton if ever our army moves – I have a good chance to do so & will do it but the boats are all in Govt [sic] employment, and I have to proced [sic] with great caution so as not to have the cotton burned I have not and dont [sic] intend to have the vandals to burn anything of mine – I am not to pay them until the cotton gets to Paducah.

Will be in Washington as soon as I possibly can – Cant [sic] hear any thing [sic] from there or any other place –

Your Friend

D. C. Donnohue

Letters of D. C. Donnohue.

          21, Changes in Nashville Benevolence One Year Later

A year ago the Nashville papers looked like dairies, so full were they of exhibitions of the milk of human kindness. Doctors advertised their professional services gratuitously to the families of those who had volunteered in the Confederate army; public school teachers taught the young ideas [sic] how to shoot, without pay, in consideration for the parents who were coming in to shoot down Kentucky Unionists; lead for bullets was tendered fee of charge; Gov. Harris was authorized to draw on certain individuals for any amount, and landlords offered tenements rent free to the wives and children of soldiers. Nashville was in fact princely in the munificence of its promises; gorgeous in its display of charity and benevolence and its horn of plenty was lavishly emptied form both ends into the laps of its indigent but lucky inhabitants. Well, time tries all things, even the ostentatious professions of rebel sympathizers. About a month since the Western Union Sanitary Commission wrote to Gov. General Johnson that there were daily discharged from the hospital at St. Louis citizens of Tennessee, formerly belonging to the rebel army, who had become convalescent and were wandering the streets without the means of living or returning to their homes, and the Commission requested that transportation and subsistence should be forwarded for them. In view of these Statements, Gov. Johnson made a public appeal "not only to the charitable but especially to those who have been instrumental in rendering there misguided fellow citizens to this sad degree of suffering, and who have been co laborers in the unholy work in which they were engaged, to come forward and contribute to their relief."

What was the response? Did doctors, or school-teachers, or pig-headed dealers in pig lead, or bankers, or landlords, who in April last made such a parade of their liberality, open their hands or pockets for the relief of these unfortunate convalescent soldiers? Was the horn of plenty sent to St. Louis to gladden the sight of men exiled from their homes and pining to return to their families and friends? How much did the prodigal and lavish charity of Nashville subscribe? History must be written fairly and impartially, and, therefore, we answer-Not one dollar! Not even a donation of Confederate scrip or State shinplasters. The mild of human kindness was frozen in it lacteal fonts; money chests were double padlocked, and the discharged Confederate soldiers who have been prisoners or in hospitals may starve and die and rot for all that Nashville cares! This exemplifies most strikingly the selfishness and hollow-heartedness of secession. Munificent in its professions to induce its deluded victims to serve in its armies, it has no m ore regard or consideration for them when their services are no longer required or useful than it would have for so many sheep with the rot, or swine with the hog-cholera.

Louisville Daily Journal, April 21, 1862. [3]




          21, A sham battle at Tullahoma; R. D. Jamison's (49th Tennessee Infantry) letter to his spouse

Today we had a sham battle between our Division and Claiborne's and we whipped them powerfully. Next Friday we are going to have another and bring in the artillery on each side, but this move will break it all up.

....Dearest, you ought to see me. You would hardly know me because I am so fat and have shaved off all my whiskers. My face is all clear of hair now as when at home when there was no war. Must I turn out my whiskers any more or not?

Robert D. Jamison Papers, TSL&A

          21, Major-General Rosecrans issues GENERAL ORDERS, No. 87, relative to the observance of the national day of prayer and fasting, April 30, 1863


Murfreesborough, Tenn., April 21, 1863.

In accordance with the proclamation of the President of the United States, Thursday the 30th day of the present month, will be observed in this army as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer.

The general commanding desires, in thus ordering the observance of this national fast, to impress upon the minds of the officers and soldiers of this army the fact that if we expect the blessing of Almighty God upon our efforts to suppress this rebellion, we must place our trust in Him. Let us acknowledge our entire dependence on Him; let us, by this public and solemn act of humiliation confess the truth that we have often outraged the rights of conscience, and disregarded the authority of the God, of truth and justice. Let us, then, as reason and religion dictate, arise from our humiliation with a firm resolution that we will hereafter avoid blasphemy, impurity, and every kind of wrong toward God, our neighbors, or ourselves, humbly hoping and trusting that God in his mercy will aid us in keeping our good resolutions, and that He will deliver us from the unjust and cruel enemy, who, with lying lips and malicious hearts, seek to destroy us and the nation. If we do this we shall surely conquer peace and liberty for ourselves and our children, both North and South.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Rosecrans:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 265.

          21, Ellet's Marine Brigade destroy mills and commissary supplies near Savannah

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Itinerary of the Mississippi Marine Brigade for April, 1863.

* * * *

On the 21st, was forced to leave Eastport, in consequence of the water falling rapidly. Landed at Savannah, and sent scouting parties out to burn mills used by the enemy. Destroyed the mills, with large amount of commissary supplies. Captured 3 of the enemy's pickets, and returned without loss.

* * * *

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, p. 279.

          21, Consequences for Disloyalty in Nashville


Headquarters, U. S. Forces

Nashville, Tenn., April 21.


The sympathizers with the existing rebellion in this city and vicinity, apparently considering the dictates of their political sympathies as of more power than the obligations imposed upon them by their residence and protection within the Federal lines, the General commanding of this post orders as follows:

I. All white persons over the age of eighteen years and residing witching the lines of this command, who do not witching ten days from the publication of this order, subscribe to the oath of allegiance or non combatants' parole, and file with Col. John A. Martin, Provost Marshal, bonds with sufficient securities for the faithful observance of such oaths or paroles will be requested to go South of the lines of this army, by routes to be designated by the military authorities.

II. Parties who have already subscribed to proper oaths or paroles and bonds, and who have not been guilty of acts or words of treason subsequent to the taking of such obligations, are exempted from the operations of this order.

III. Forfeiture of the amount of bonds given as above, and of all other property of persons violating obligations taken in accordance with this order, together with such other punishment as may be decreed by a military commission, will follow any violation of the requirements of such oaths or paroles.

IV. All persons who are unwilling to subscribe to the obligations herein ordered, will report their names and place of residence, within ten days specified, to Col. John A. Martin, Provost Marshal.

By order of

Brig Gen. Robt. B. Mitchell

John Pratt, A. A. General

Nashville Daily Union, April 21, 1863.[4]

          21, "Read this to them and If [sic] I live to get home safe and sound they may dread me and my navy." Lieutenant A. J. Lacy's letter home to his parents in Jackson County

Springhill Maury Co [sic] Tenn [sic] April the 21st 1863 [sic]

My dear Father and Mother,

I am once more permitted to take my pin [sic] in hand to drop you a few lines to inform you that I am reasonably well at the present. Hoping that if these lines arrives [sic] safely to your hand that they will find you all enjoying the best of health.

I havent [sic] much important news to write to you. There is 7 briggades [sic] of Cavalry [sic] here at the present. We are in Gen Armstrongs [sic] briggade. [sic] Gen [sic] Forest has been promoted to Major Gen. Gen Vandorn [sic] is also a major general. There is a large force at Franklin now of the Fedderals [sic]. I was on picket the 18tt 19th and 20th of this inst. The 18th they came out about 500 Yanks and fired on us. Run our advance picket back 1 mi. About that time Major Forest [sic] came up [and] took 15 men and we went and run [sic] them back. When we got in sight of them they was [sic] all formed in a line of battle. Wee [sic] fired on their pickets. They began to fall back. We followed them 2 mil [sic] and we halted and put our pickets on a gain [sic].

Wee [sic] are expecting an engagement evry [sic]; day here. We have to keep 2 days rashens [sic] on hands [sic] on that account. We are a doing [sic] harder drilling now than we ever have and have strictter [sic] orders in general. A man cant [sic] go out of camps without a pass signed by the major genn [sic].

We had a general review the other day. All 7 briggades [sic] was [sic] there on the field and all the batteries. All the gen [sic] marched around us and 2 brass bands of musick [sic] marching after them. It was a beautiful sight. It was 10 or 15 thousand cavalry all together. It was a great sight. Our independence is verry [sic] costly to us but if I live untill [sic] it is gained and return home once more I think that I will see a great deal of pleasure with my friends by no Union man need not expect my friendship for I would as live [sic] shoot one as look at him for Torys [sic] I despise. Read this to them and If [sic] I live to get home safe and sound they may, dread me and my navy.

I will change the subject. If you can get Drapers [sic] buttons for me do so and then if that coat you have had made for me is grey lanes [sic] put them on it and send them to me if you can right off. Do the best you can.

Well Elisabeth [sic] I thought I would right [sic] you a letter but I have got some business to attend to so I cant [sic] have the chance I would like to see and that fine large boy [sic]. You must excuse me for I have to close. Tell mother that I want her to write to me again and you and Father [sic]. Also write often. My friends give my best respects to all my friends if such there be. Give my best respects to M W [sic] Cummins, Uncle Joseph Grimsley, Capt Matheny. You can tell Capt Mathene that I can give LEM [sic] great praise for he is as find a boy as can be found. Tell my friends that I want them to right [sic] to me and that is all the pleasure that I can see while off here in a distant land. I will close by asscribing [sic] our names as friends now and forever. Your most obedient and best friend

Lacy Correspondence.

          21, "Southern soldiers will visit their friends…." An excerpt from the diary of Mary L. Pearre

* * * *

Bro. Robert is here again tonight. Also spent Sat. night here. Chas. Sawyer was our guest last night.

Southern soldiers will visit their friends, let yanks do what they may to prevent them. They come in the night and leave at dawn. Have not seen Bob C. since the night we had such a dispute. He is afraid to show himself on this side of Harpeth since the Federals scout through here so frequently.

If he is well [i.e., Bob C.] I wish he would join his company and save his reputation.

* * * *

Diary of Mary L. Pearre

          21, The oath or exile in Nashville

Wednesday 21 [April 1863]. An order in today's paper, ordering every white person over 18 to take the oath in 10 days or be sent South, how unhappy….

Diary of Rebecca Carter Craighead.[5]





          21, Entry in Alice Williamson's Diary, Sumner County

"All quiet in Gallatin to-day." Old Payne [sic] and all the rest are mad about the Fort Pillow affair. This vengeance will be taken out on the citizens of G. [sic] in a few days.

Williamson Diary

          21-22, Federal scout and skirmish between Spring Place and Boiling Spring

HDQRS. FIRST CAV. DIV., DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND, Cleveland, April 22, 1864

Brig. Gen. W. D. WHIPPLE, Chief of Staff, Chattanooga:

GEN.: I have the honor to report all quiet in our front. There are rumors that the enemy in small parties have been seen near the railroad in the neighborhood of Charleston and Athens. Col. LaGrange has returned with a scouting party of 300 men sent out yesterday, having captured 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, and 12 men, forming part of one of the enemy's outposts without loss. This occurred at a point 29 miles distant from Cleveland, half way between Spring Place and Boiling Spring. Col. LaGrange reports from information obtained by the way that the enemy's cavalry force, now small, but soon to be considerably augmented, is at Tunnel Hill.

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

EDWARD M. McCOOK, Col., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, pp. 444-445.





          21, Guerrilla activity on the Obion

No comprehensive reports filed.

Excerpt from the Report of Acting Master Fentress, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Mist, regarding the general movements of that vessel, giving information obtained.

U. S. S. Mist

Off Barefiled's Point [Ark.], May 4, 1865


....I continue to cruise from Osceola to Gayoso Landing....I keep generally under easy steam, and anchor but a very short time at any one place. One of the most important places on my beat is the mouth of the Obion River. Quantities of supplies are landed there, and some cotton is shipped from there almost every week. Steamers will not risk landing at that point without my protection....

Several gangs of...desperadoes, well armed and mounted, and commanded by a Captain Lee, formerly with the Tenth New Jersey Volunteers (U. S.). These are up the Obion, and on the 21st day of April last they boarded the steamer Panola...and after searching her, and finding no money or supplies, allowed her to proceed....

* * * *

I have the honor, sir, to be your most obedient servant,

Walter E. H. Fentress,

Acting Master, Commanding U. S. S. Mist.

Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 27, pp. 185-186.


[1] From April 17 through April 20, 1861, Baltimore was the scene of secessionist meetings and riots, which seemed to many Southerners to indicate that Maryland would secede from the Union.

[2]Anecdotes, Poetry, and Incidents of the War: North and South, 1860-1865, (NY: Publication Office, Bible House, 1867), p. 542. [Hereinafter cited as: Anecdotes.]

[3] As cited in PQCW.

[4] This order does not appear in the OR, however, it was reprinted in the Memphis Bulletin, April 29, 1863.

[5] Diary of Rebecca Carter Craighead, TSL&A Civil War Collection.


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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