Thursday, April 7, 2016

Notes from Civil War Tennessee, April 6, 1862

Notes from Civil War Tennessee,

April 6, 1862


            6, Ohio officers go on a "serenading expedition" in Shelbyville

Late in the evening the officers of the regiment, with the string band, started on a serenading expedition. After playing sundry airs and singing divers songs, Ethiopian and otherwise, at the residence of a Mr. Warren, Miss Julia Gurnie, sister of Mrs. Warren, appeared on the veranda and made to us a very pretty Union speech. After a general introduction to the family and a cordial reception, we bade them good-night, and started for another portion of the village. On the way thither we dropped into the store of a Mr. Armstrong, and imbibed rather copiously of apple-jack, to protect us against the night air, which, by the way, is always dangerous when apple-jack is convenient. After thus fortifying ourselves, we proceeded to the residence of a Mr. Storey. His doors were thrown open, and we entered his parlors. Here we had the honor to be introduced to Miss Storey, a handsome young lady, and Lieutenant O'Brien, nephew of Parson Brownlow.

Lieutenant O'Brien is an officer of the rebel army. He accompanied Parson Brownlow to Nashville under a flag of truce, and has been loitering on his way back until the present time. He wears the Confederate gray, and when we entered the room was seated on the sofa with Miss Storey. After being introduced in due form, I placed myself by the young lady and endeavored to at least divide her attention with my Confederate friend. The apple-jack dilated most engagingingly [sic] on the remarkable beauty of the evening, and pleasantness of the weather generally, and the delightfulness of Shelbyville. There was a piano in the room, and finally, after having occupied her attention jointly with O'Brien for some time, I took the liberty to ask her to favor us with a song; but she pleaded an awful cold, and asked to be excused. The apple-jack excused her. The Storeys are pleasant people, and I trust that, full as we were, we did nothing to lessen their respect for us.

From Mr. Storey's we went to the house of Mr. Cooper, President of the Shelbyville Bank, but were not invited in, the family having retired.

Our last call was at the residence of Mr. Weasner, whilom Member of the Tennessee Legislature.[1] The doors were here thrown open, and a cordial invitation given us to ender. A pitcher of good wine was set out, and soon after Miss Weasner, a very pretty young lady, appeared, and played and sang many patriotic songs. We finally bad this pleasant family goon night, it was bordering on the Sabbath, and we returned to camp.

Beatty, Citizen Soldier, pp. 127-129.


We take the following from a letter to the Cincinnati Gazette, from Shelbyville, Tennessee, one of the glorious Union towns of that State. The writer says:

I must not forget to mention a pleasant incident occurring a night or two ago. A number of officers from the Third Ohio Regiment, received permission to go over to town and give the prominent citizens a serenade. They too with them the members of their excellent band, which can, at any moment be formed into a drum corps, an orchestra or a glee club, to suit the requirements of the occasion.

The first place we visited was the residence of Mr. T. J. Warren, a merchant of Shelbyville, and a gentleman, who despite of threats and bribes, despite of rebel attempts to bar him socially and to cripple his business, has held out against it all, and devotedly "kept the faith once delivered to the fathers." A few beautiful and finely executed pieces of instrumental and vocal music, bought out Mr. Warren, his lady and her sister, Miss Gurney. The latter acknowledged the compliment in a few neat and well chosen sentences, which won for her golden opinions from Capt. J. G. Mitchell and the other unmarried serenaders.

Citizens of Columbus, Ohio, will remember a young lady, Miss Lizzie Gurney, who some eight years ago became the wife of the talented Emory Butler, Esq. The latter died two years after the marriage and his widow is not the aforesaid Mrs. T. J. Warren, of Shelbyville, Tennessee. It is not much to be wondered that Mr. Warren is warmly in favor of the Union between the North and South. The beneficial effects of such an arrangement are most happily illustrated in his own household.

Columbus Gazette, April 25, 1862. [2]

6, Action at Island No. 10

Report of Commander Henry Walke, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. gunboat Carondelet.

U. S. GUNBOAT CARONDELET, April 7, 1862.

SIR: Agreeably to your instructions of the 6th instant, I proceeded down the Mississippi about 6.30 this morning. Attacked, silenced, and spiked all the guns of the rebel batteries opposite your batteries. The lower one made a desperate resistance. It consisted of two 64-pounder howitzers and one 32-pounder gun. Two were dismounted and the other disabled by our shots. I then took and spiked temporarily a 64-pounder howitzer about half a mile above, and a quarter of a mile above that found a 64-pounder spiked. I took on board a man who reported himself to me as a spy, whom I send to you. The rebels had set fire to a house on the shore.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. WALKE, Commander, U. S. Navy.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 8, p. 123.

6, An intellectual anti-conscription argument in Confederate Memphis

The Conscription

On Friday, the 28th of March, President Davis sent in a message to Congress, in which he says: "I therefore recommend the passage of a law declaring that all persons residing within the Confederate States, between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five years, and rightfully subject to military duty, shall be held to be in the military service of the Confederate States." The message concludes with recommending that all "the legislation heretofore enacted which would conflict with the system proposed" be repealed. The course of legislation here recommended, sweeps at once from our laws the system of raising and maintaining armies which has hitherto prevailed in this country from its early history, and which was drawn from the custom prevalent in England. The system proposed is that of the CONSCRIPTION [sic], which was originally in existence among the Romans, was in modern times adopted by the French, and afterwards introduced under one form or another, into most of the European states. A change so sweeping as the one proposed, demands the earnest attention of those who are to be affected by it. If the conscription be introduced, not an individual citizen will be unaffected by its workings in his or her person or family, not a domestic hearth in all the length and breadth of the Confederacy will escape its action confined to no class. A system that is of such personal interest to every citizen should be reflected upon by every citizen, before he sanctions its inflection upon himself and its entailment upon his posterity. We are now in the progress of a revolution; that revolution successful exercised an abiding influence on the future of our country, and the line of principle adopted now is like a young tree confided to the fruitful earth to grow and expand, and in other generations to produce fruit that will nourish, or poison that destiny. As a free people we have at all times claimed and exercised the right of narrowly scrutinizing and freely discussing the proceedings of our public men. At a time like the present, this duty of watchful superintendence over our legislative and executive officials, their policy and conduct, is of more importance than during ordinary epochs, or we are not making precedents to be quoted, and submitted to in future times. In a case when the whole military policy of our fathers, and of the free land from which we sprung, is proposed to be case aside, this narrow scrutiny and free discussion is especially requisite.

What is the conscription? We prefer giving the explanation in other words than our own; in words written without view to any bearing they may have upon events now existing among us. The History of Europe, by Alison, is a well-known and highly esteemed work; from the 1st vol., page 562, of that book, Harper's edition, 1843, we copy the following account of the modern origin of the conscription, which was introduced in France in 1798, at a period of strong public difficulty. The historian says:

["]It remained to adopt some method for the augmentation of the army, which had been extremely diminished by sickness and desertion….The skeletons of the regiments and the noncommissioned officers remained; but the ranks exhibited large chasms, which the existing state of the law provided no means of supplying. The convention, notwithstanding their energy, had made no permanent provision for recruiting their army, but had centered themselves with two levies one of 300,000 and one of 1,200,000 men, which, with the voluntary supplied men furnished by the patriotism or suffering of the people, had been found adequate to the wants of the State. But, now, that the revolutionary fervor had subsided, and a necessity existed for finding a permanent supply of soldiers to meet the wars into which the insatiable ambition of the government had plunged the country, some lasting resource became indispensable. To meet the difficulty, General Jourdan proposed the law of the CONCRIPTION [sic], which became one of the most important consequences of the revolution. By this decree every Frenchman from twenty to forty five years of age was declared amenable to military service. Those liable to serve were divided into classes….The conscription was to take place by lot in the class from which it was directed to be taken. ["]

This was the origin of the conscription among modern nations. We have now to notice its workings and ascertain its influence upon the personal feelings and individual happiness of the people among whom it was introduced. To this we will pass from the year 1798 to that of 1807, when Napoleon applied for still another addition to the previous conscriptions. We quote from vol. 2, page 565, or our authority informs us on this point:

["]Exemptions were at first allowed to be purchased for three hundred francs, but this privilege was repealed, and in the latter years of the Empire a substitute could not be procured for less than eight hundred and a thousand pounds (four to five thousand dollars) * * * [sic] It was decreed that a deserter, or a person who failed to attend, should be fined fifteen hundred francs, and sentenced to three years hard labor in the interior, with his head shaved, but his beard long; if he deserted from the army his punishment was to be undergone in a frontier place, where he was sentenced to hard labor for ten years, on bread and water, with a bullet of eight pounds weight chained to his leg, with a shaved head and an unshaved beard; in comparison of which death itself would have appeared an act of mercy. Such were the punishment[s] which awaited, without distinction, all the youth of France, it they tried to avoid the conscription. ["]

Alison expresses his opinion of the system of conscription with the following words:

["]Thus the justice of heaven made the revolutionary passions of France the means of working out their own punishment. The atrocious aggression on Switzerland, the flames of Hade Walden, the subjugation of Italy, were registered in the book of fate, and brought about a dreadful and lasting retribution. Not the bayonets of the allies, not the defense of their country, occasioned cries of injured innocence, first brought it into existence. They fixed upon its infatuated people this terrible law, which soon carried misery into every cottage and bathed with tears every mother in France. Wide as had been the spread of the national sin, as wide was the last of national punishment. ["]

"History is philosophy teaching by example." The reader has in the above, materials for drawing as to the nature, influence, and consequences of the conscription, and as to the propriety of substituting it for the system under which our fathers fought and conquered.

Memphis Appeal, April 6, 1862.

            6, A letter from Captain Charles C. Nott, Fifth Iowa Cavalry, to friends in New York, relating a mission to Paris to retrieve wounded Federal soldiers

Camp Lowe, Tennessee, April 6, 1862

Our regiment has left its pleasant camp near Fort Henry, and has crossed the Tennessee and encamped in a small field about three miles above the fort. I happened to be in command when we halted here, and named the camp after our colonel.

It is a rainy day in camp-since morning it has been rain, rain, rain. The camp seems deserted; save here and there you see a man, with blanket drawn close over head and shoulders, plod heavily and slowly through the mud. The horses stand with heads down, and drooping ears, stock still-nothing moves but the rain, and that straight down. There is no light umbrella, nor rattling omnibus in camp; nor dry stockings, nor warm fire to find, at home. The tents are tired of shedding rain, and it oozes through; there were no spades to trench them, and it runs under. There is water above, and mud beneath, and wet everywhere. No fun in soldiering now.

An officer says, "Captain, you will report immediately for orders." So I wrap my blanket round me, and toil over to the colonel's tent. The colonel is a young man, but an old soldier, and has the only fire in camp. It is close to the tent door-no danger on such a day of the canvas catching fire-the smoke occasionally blows in, but so does the heat, and the colonel says he will keep it up all night. He pitched his tent, too, the moment we arrived, not waiting for the clouds, and did it well. He is alone is comfortable-so much for being a "regular," and learning your lessons from experience.

The colonel hands me the order, which runs thus-"To-morrow, Captain N. will proceed with a flag of truce to Paris, and remover our wounded, left there at the recent engagement [i.e., Fort Donelson]. Should they be held as prisoners of war, he is authorized to make an exchange, and will take with him the surgeon and an ambulance and four of his own men."

The colonel then advises me to see the officer who commanded the late expedition to Paris, and learn from him the names of the wounded and roads. I go to his tent and find that he is sick, and has secured a little hospital stove, which puffs and blows like a locomotive baby….

I plod back to our tent; the water has run in, and it is ankle-deep in mud. Though the sun is hardly down, my two lieutenants have gone to bed, for there is no place to sit up, and nothing to see, or hear, or do. I may as well turn in, too; but there rises a serious question. My boots are mud from top to bottom, and wringing wet. If I pull them off, I may not be able to pull then on, and a man cannot carry a flag of truce without boots. If I leave then on, I shall have to go to bed with my feet, for it will never do to put that mass of mud into your blankets, and they feel like lumps of ice now. What shall I do? I will pull them off, and will get up before reveille (an hour, if necessary) and pull them in again. So I pull off the boots, and lie down in my wet clothes, and wrap myself in my wet blanket, and remember that I have not had anything [to eat] since a scant noonday dinner.

You get hungry in camp, and must be fed. Our camp chest is packed up under a tree, but on the other side of the tent is open with some stewed goose and corn bread. I cannot step into the mud unless I struggle into those boots again; but near me is an axe. I slip down to the end of the cot, and, with the axe, fish the pan of goose out of the little lake it stands in. The unhappy bird swims in a gravy of rainwater, and the corn bread is soaking wet; plates and forks are in the camp chest; but I have my pocket-knife, and with it eat a salt less supper.

My little German orderly comes in after awhile, and, giving a soldier's salute with great ceremony notwithstanding the rain, says:

"Captain, fot [sic] orders."

"Bischoff, we must have some coffee. Tell Anderson (our contraband) to bring it."

"But, captain, " says Bischoff, "the tent, he blow down-the cook, he go away to a barn-the fire, he go out-the wood, he is wet and will not burn."

"But, Bischoff, we must have some coffee, we shall die if we don't. There is the coffeepot, with a package of ground coffee inside-get some water, and go up to Captain K.'s tent, and ask him to let you make it on the stove."

"Yes, captain," and Bischoff departs.

By and by he comes back with the coffee; we sit up and drink it scalding hot, and, quite revived, say, "now for a smoke." My pipe and tobacco bag are always in my pocket…a dry match is at last induced to go, the wet blankets grow warmer, and we express the opinion that "this is really comfortable."

"Well, captain, any more order?" asks Bischoff, who is also revived by his share of the coffee.

"Yes, Bischoff, tell Sergeant Starleigh to be ready, with two men, to go with me in the morning -- you will be the fourth; and mind and have the horses ready by seven.

"Yes, captain."

Bischoff goes out, draws the tent opening closely together, holds his hand over his pipe to keep it dry; and then we hear his steps slowly receding-squish-squish-squish through the mud.

My dreams are entirely of boots, and they wake me early. Then commences a struggle for (outside) existence. Twice I take out my knife and meditate the last resort, and twice my hand is stayed by the thought that there may be no shoemaker in all Tennessee. It grows later and lighter, and I shall miss the morning roll-call for the first time since I have been in service. But the colonel saves me from breaking my rule. He thinks it too bad to make the men stand out in the wet, and has ordered the buglers not to sound the reveillie [sic]. While resting, I betake myself to the goose-now truly a waterfowl and wetter than ever was in his life-and I manage to breakfast between the struggles. At last I am victorious and have the boots beneath my feet, and go out to look around.

The poetry most appropriate to the occasion would be a verse of that little infant school him,

"The Lord, he makes the rain come down,

The rain come down, the rain come down,

Afternoon and morning."

But poetry is the last thing I think of, for my thoughts run on the roads; and some drenched pickets, who look as though they wanted me to be hung on a fence to dry, inform me that I will have hard work to get through, and that it has rained all night as it is raining now. At home, what a hardship, what an outrage it would be to send us off in such weather and on such roads. Now, we fear something may prevent and hurry lest it come, for the road is not more uncomfortable than the camp, or the rain wetter elsewhere than it is here. The doctor is a grey-headed, prudent, experienced man, and is something of an invalid; but he stoutly discredits a rumor that the wounded men have dies, and whispers to me that we had better be off, before any more such stories come in.

A flag of truce is not kept ready-made in camp, and we are rather puzzled of what to make one now. "Id' lend you my white handkerchief: (says a man who has been listening with great gravity to various suggestion_-"I'd lend you my white handkerchief, only I'm afeared if you put it up, the rebels 'ud think you'd histe-tud the black flag, and give you no quarter." We do not borrow the white handkerchief. But at length we remember the hospital tent, and the hospital steward produced a piece of white something from his store, which is bound around a stick and made into a flag.

Under circumstances such as these, the doctor climbs into the ambulance, I mount my horse, and we start. The rain somewhat abates, and diminishes to a drizzle, which is a great relief; but the ambulance drags along snail-like through the mud. We, who are mounted, do not ride faster than a walk, yet repeatedly have to wait and watch it crawling after us among the trees. This slow movement gives little exercise, and when one starts wet, he soon becomes cold and stiff, sitting thus motionless in a damp saddle. Nor can we trot off a mile or two, and then wait for the ambulance to catch up, for some straggling rebel soldier may be on any cross-road, or in any thicket, and pounce upon the ambulance as so much plunder, and shoot the doctor before they inquire into the facts. A surgeon is a non-combatant, and not required to be shot at, and we must stay near by and shield him, if nothing more.

Our road is the first object of interest-a wagon track running along high forest ridges, parallel to the Tennessee. We soon passed a little timber house, with its scanty field and scantier garden; and then go on, on, two, there miles, without seeing a sign of life; and then we turn into the main road from the river to Paris. There is now a railroad passing through Paris, from Nashville to Memphis, yet a year ago the road we are now travelling was its main avenue. We are, therefore, disappointed in finding that although, the farms are frequent, they are poor and neglected, and the dwellings are the same backwoods, timber houses we have so often seen.

We have not traveled seven or eight miles, and have passed the "line of our pickets."[sic]. In point of fact, there is no real line, real or imaginary, and we do not see a single picket; yet, inasmuch as our cavalry is constantly passing through and examining, by night and by day, a belt of country from six to eight miles wide, it is customary to speak of that belt as within our picket lines. Hitherto I have ridden at the head of the party, and the ambulance has followed close behind. Now some additional precaution is necessary. A man rides about the width of a city block ahead of us carrying the flag, and the ambulance falls back about the same distance in the rear. The object of these changes is, first, that a man riding alone in advance indicates that it is not an ordinary scouting party; and second, if shots are fired, the doctor and his men will be out of danger. The chief risks we run are, first, that our object may not be perceived, and if we be fired into before we can explain; and second, that King's cavalry, who are said to have suffered in the late fight [at Fort Donelson], and to be a wild, marauding set, may never have heard of the laws of war, and utterly disregard the flag of truce.

Five hours have passed, and we have just reached Mr. Clokes'. How delightful is a wood fire, roaring and crackling in a wide, old-fashioned fire-place, and how comforting is a dry board floor in a rainy day! Chairs and a table, too, are article of luxury, if one but know it; and when you have dined and breakfasted, seated on logs or saddles, or such like conveniences, for a few weeks, you appreciate them properly. I might add a paragraph on plates and knives and forks; but of those I have not been deprived more than a week at a time, and hence they do not fall in the class of novelties.

This dinner I shall always fondly remember. I cannot call to mind any other dinner that at all rivals it. We are so hungry, and cold, and wet, and it is so pleasant to "sit town to dinner, [sic] once more. And then this dinner is so nice, neat, and plentiful, showing, for a soldier's cooking, a good housewife's care! [sic] If that bewatered [sic] goose could see it, he would feel ashamed of himself, and request leave to be cooked over again. I was about to begin with the tablecloth, and enumerate all that was on it; but it occurs to me that what is a feast to us is an every-day [sic] affair to you, and that you will shrug your shoulders, and say, "Not much of a dinner after all." And I must confess that Mrs. Clokes' apologies called my attention to certain wants, which show that our blockade has been effective in disturbing the serenity of Southern housewives.

"I have nothing but rye coffee to offer you, gentlemen: it is impossible for us to get coffee now."

"What does coffee cost down her, Mrs. Clokes?"

"The last we bought was a dollar a pound, but now we cannot get it at any price. Everything is dreadfully scarce. I'm sorry we have no fresh meat, but the soldiers [rebels, she means] [sic] have taken a great many of our pigs, and we lost some which we killed, for want of good salt." Salt, I find, was fourteen dollars a sack when last heard from, like coffee, has gone entirely out of the market.

In the corner is a colored girl carding cotton, by hand. I look at the operation with some interest, and Mrs. Clokes goes on with the story of her wants: "There is no calico to be had, and we have to spin and weave by hand. Do you know, sire, whether trade will be opened soon with the North: our hand-carts are nearly worn out, and I do not know where to look for others. A neighbor of ours paid ten dollars for a pair the other day, and I don't suppose I could buy them at any price. Now." [They are worth fifty cents a pair.]

But there is a heavier grief in poor Mrs. Clokes' breast; She talks of her son: "He is so ill and so young, he will die if kept a prisoner at the North, and he did not enlist till they threatened the drafting. Oh! Why did we ever go to war, we were so prosperous and happy! Gentlemen, can't you do anything for my son?" And poor Mrs. Cloke's voice fails her, and she burst into tears. These are some of the sweets of rebellion.

But, dinner done, we must resume our journey. It is nine miles not to Paris. We have seen no rebel pickets; but our friends, the contrabands, tell us, that they have gone along a little while ago, and it will be dangerous meeting in the dark.

Thirty years ago two brothers came from Massachusetts and put up their little spinning-mill near Paris. The mill has grown larger as they have grown older, and they are not among the wealthy men of the place. Situated as they are-from the North-from hated Massachusetts;-for years employing free labor, and owning slaves only through their Southern wives; they have had to be most circumspect in every word and act, giving no sign of loyalty, but, I doubt not, secretly exulting at each success of the national arms. When or troops retreated from Paris. Leaving their dead on the neighboring field, the one brother had the bodies of our fallen carefully brought in, and buried them, as if they were his own kinsmen, in the town cemetery; and the other took the dying captain of our artillery corps into his own house, and nursed him tenderly through his last hours. It is in the gloom of evening that we reach the factory, standing close to the track of the Memphis railroad, neat and unadorned, New England reflected from every one of its plain white boards. A gentleman comes forward as we had, and I introduce myself. He steps up close, and asks, in a low voice, if we think we are safe. A train was up an hour ago taking down the telegraph wires; pickets have galloped past, and are not in Paris, and he thinks it dangerous to go there to-night. He also says, that he dare not stop; he came near being arrested….If he should ask us, he would be arrested and on his way to Memphis within twelve hours.

There is a house beyond, where we can stay; but it is a rule with me to advance, and then fall back to my camping ground. So we retrace our steps for a mile and halt at the farm house of a Mr. Horton, who does not keep a tavern, but does entertain travelers. The sergeant, with one man, has ridden on to break the subject and make arrangements and when we come up, everything is ready. Our weary horses are soon unsaddled and rolling in straw, and I follow the doctor to the house.

It is an old house, with old trees in front, and an old couple within. They sit on each side of the wide wood fire, and each comfortably puffs a pipe of home-grown tobacco. We sit town and join them, and talk Union for an hour or two.

Our host is a hale, hearty old man. He glories in the past, laments the present, and hopes for the future. The old lady listens with great gravity, and occasionally puts in a word between the puffs of her pipe.

"They would not let us vote for the Union at the second election," says the old man, "and I hadn't time to vote against it. So I stayed at home and told 'em that one election was enough in one year, and I couldn't spare time for more."

"Yes," says the old lady, "quite enough, and I thought something would happen when I found we were having two."

"I don't believe in Mr. Davis' doctrine," says the old man, "of fighting to the last ditch till everybody's dead. We were the most prosperous, happy people on the earth, and we had better go back and be so again than be killed."

"No, indeed!" says the old lady; "They had better not; and if they did, there would be nobody left for our girls to marry but northerners; so the South would get to be the North in no time."

Our room is a large one, with another large fire and three beds. The doctor takes one, and I hand the others over to the men it will not do for me to undress, so I take my buffalo [robe], and lie down by the fire.

I was beginning to doze, and thinking I never was so comfortable in my life-it was so delightful to shut your eyes and stretch yourself out, and feel the pleasant warmth of this glowing, flickering fire, when the opening of the door startles me, and I see the sergeant, who is "on guard," come in.

He reports that two men on horseback came up from Paris; one of them stopped and called out our host. They had a long conversation in a low voice, and then the man turned and rode back on a gallop. "and the contrabands say that the old man is secesh," pursues the sergeant, "and when the rebel troops went by, he made them come out and hurrah." This is agreeable. Was the man on horseback a picket, and will there be a troop clattering down on us in a few minutes? Or has he gone to raise a crowd of irresponsible countrymen, who will think it fine fun to kill us and capture our horses, and of whom Gen. Beauregard will say, he really knows nothing, they were not soldiers, and acted without authority? Is our old friend false to us?

"Sergeant, what do you think of it?

The sergeant is a shrewd judge of character, and there is no one in the squadron whose opinion I would regard more highly on such a point as this. He comes up close to the fire, and I see his face has a very anxious expression, and he says, after a long pause: "don't know what to think of it"

"We'll back and nick out a place where you can see up the Paris road, and call me the instant you see any object moving. Doctor, I say, did you hear that?"

"Yes, and I don't know what to think of it," says the doctor. "Can anything be done?"

"The worst of it is, doctor, that the flag [of truce] prevents our doing anything till actually attacked. We must now go in the character of guest, professing entire faith. If we were on ordinary duty, our sergeant would have stopped that man, I should keep him here till we leave. As it is, we can neither fight nor run away-though it is hardly fair, as you are a non-combatant, to make you risk it."

"I think I will risk it if you do," says the doctor; and he turns over and goes to sleep.

I lie by the fire this time without dozing. The men are all sleeping heavily and undisturbed. The hovering danger does not trouble them. Soon it is time to change guard. I roused the next man, and the sergeant comes in and takes his place on the bed. I wonder if other people find a weight in responsibility. [sic] Many talked to me of the danger [sic] of the cavalry service-only one ever named this other word, which is much the heavier. The men have no responsibility, and are at rest; the sergeant, lately so anxious, had made his report, performed his duty, and has no more responsibility; he now sleeps as soundly as the others.

The man on guard will be relieved of his [watch] in an hour or two, and he will lie down and slumber too. But I hear the distant barking of dogs, and start up at the sound, for we have learnt to observe the movements of our own cavalry at night by this sign. Every house keeps half a dozen curs, and they yelp frantically when a body of horse is passing. I open the door softly and peer out. The moon sheds a dim light through the clouds, disclosing the long line of road and distant woods toward Paris. The sentinel stands motionless under a tree by the road side. "Allen, do you see anything?" "No, sir." "Did you hear that barking?" "Yes, sir." Watch whether is sounds again at any other house, and if it is coming toward us." We listen long but hear nothing. It must have been a chance disturbance there. I lie down again, consoling myself with the thought, that I am at least warm and dry. The geese make a tremendous cackling behind the house. Rome was saved by a flock of geese, and why shouldn't we be. The sentinel is watching the road in front; it will be better if I go out and inspect the rear.

Thus the time passes till I post the next man on guard, and thus the night wears away, till at 4. A. M. I rouse the last one. Soon after I hear sounds about the house, for the contrabands rise early, then come signs of breakfast, then the grey light of morning, and with it the voice of our host and a warning that his wife is up and breakfast almost ready. It is a right good breakfast, and we start as soon as it is done, repass the factory, travel over a couple of miles of muddy road, and come in sight of Paris.

There are brick houses in view, four church spires, large trees and a courthouse; but we discover no Confederate flag. In another moment we have entered, and going up the main street. The first man stops and looks at us, so does the second and the third. The moment a man catches a glimpse of us he seems to freeze fast to the sidewalk and lose all power of himself, save that of staring vacantly at the Yankee cavalry. We seem to be riding up an avenue of these staring, frozen images. The red brick courthouse has a little square around it and forms a natural halting place. I ride up and ask one of the frozen if there is any Confederate officer in the town. He says "No," in a frightened way, "they all retired this morning, a couple of hours ago." This relieved me of my flag of truce. We find that two of our wounded men have been removed to Memphis, and the third is too low to bear moving. The doctor, with the physician who has been attending him, starts off to see him, and I draw my men up to the fence and let them dismount. My…education has made me much more particular in " deportment" than volunteer officers generally are, and my squadron, when on duty, generally bears the same appearance….These townspeople are there fore very much astonished to see a man left on guard with his horse, and perfectly amused when he takes his sabre and marches steadily up and down the street, and I hear one whisper, "Perhaps they be United States reglars." [sic]

In a few minutes there is quite a crowd of congealed citizens around us, all staring solemnly in icy silence. They say nothing to us or to each other, but steadily stare. I feel their looks crawling down my back and round my sides, and turn which way I will, there is no shaking them off. I have faced the eyes of many an audience, but never such as this. They neither smile nor frown, nor agree nor disagree; but have a vague, stupid look of frightened wonder, as though we were dangerous serpents escaped from a travelling menagerie, which they can see for nothing at the risk of being swallowed alive.

It is best to be cool and comfortable under all sorts of circumstances, so I take out my pipe…strike a light. Picking out the most sensible man near me, I commence a conversation complementing them on the appearance of their little town, which is more southernly neat than I expected to find. Some men then come up and hand to me the little effects of our dead soldiers, and give many assurances of their kindness to our wounded. The doctor this time comes back, and we start immediately on our return. For some miles I march rapidly, curbing the ambulance horses to their utmost, for there is no saying but the rebel cavalry may return and amuse themselves by a pursuit. Then we drop in to our previous slow gait, and calculate that we shall reach camp by sunset.

* * * *

It is now five o'clock, and we are two miles from camp. My horse has been going almost uninterruptedly for ten hours, and I am promising him a good bed of leaves and a long night's rest, when, through the trees, come two troopers riding on a gallop. They pull up, and hand me a letter from the colonel: "Captain (it says), your squadron is detailed to guard the bridge at Holly Fork; you will take all proper measures to defend it is attacked, and will remain there until relieved by some other squadron."

"Did you see anything of my men?" I say to the messengers. "Yes; they were saddling up, and will be along soon." I may as well keep on; they may be bringing me a fresh horse, and then I can send this one back by these men. In half an hour I find the man who leads us on to a wrong road. He tries a cross-cut, and the cross-cut leads to a field. We must turn the ambulance round and retrace both errors. It is a vexatious in the extreme, to have thus additional load put on my willing horse after two such days' work; and besides, the squadron may have passed while we were wandering about here. I curb my impatience as I can, and at length we reach the road. There, plain enough, is a cavalry trail, freshly made since we turned off, and it tells it own story-the squadron has gone by.

"Captain," says the doctor of the ambulance, "must you go back?"

"Yes, doctor, I suppose I must."

"Thank you, doctor; is there anything left in yours?"

"Yes; some hard biscuit and dry beef. I will put them in for you." And the doctor transfers them from his haversack to mine.

"Now, Bischoff, rollup the buffalo [robe]; quid's the word; we must go back to within seven miles of Paris, and the sun is setting."

"Good-bye, captain" calls the doctor as I start. "I hope you won't be hurt to-night."

"I hope not doctor; good-bye. And now, Bischoff, for the squadron and Holly Fork."

Nott, Sketches, pp. 56-74.

            6, Bill collecting in occupied Nashville

A Cool Dun – Since the occupation of Nashville by the Federal army, many incidents of an amusing nature have occurred, among which the cool impudence of the following is not the least interesting. It is a dunning letter from a bank in the interior of New York, to a Nashville banker, a copy of which has been handed us:

March 17, 1862

Dear Sir: Please accept my hearty congratulations on your return to the Union and on the growing supremacy in your State of that "old glory," the stars and stripes, and permit me to suggest as an appropriate commemoration and celebration of the happy event, the payment of that little balance of $72.59, which you have owed me since the fifth of May, 1861. Don't send "Secesh" scrip, as it will not pass her


_________  ____________

Memphis Appeal, April 6, 1862.

            6, "We love our country, our injured and suffering land!" Ladies of Memphis' sixth ward volunteer for nursing duty at the Overton Hospital

Help for the Overton!

We love our country, our injured and suffering land! It must be saved or we are lost indeed. It must be saved or we become slaves of the vilest system of tyranny that ever triumphed in its wicked designs. Woman is powerless in many respects to aid in its defense, but "she hath done what she could" is the highest praise and most grateful tribute that can be inscribed to the memory of those who have done what they could. If those who have fallen in defense of our rights are uncared for, neglected, or suffer for proper attention, it weakens the faith and unnerves the arm of those who are still bravely struggling for its accomplishment, and may deter many from pledging their all in its support. It is our imperative duty, as it should be our highest privilege, to devote ourselves in this way. Therefore, in consideration of the great amount of sickness and suffering at the Overton, and the advancing season, when we may expect a still greater increase; and further, in consideration of the sudden and emergent calls which have been made—compelled to be answered by transient and inexperienced nurses, and creates such inconvenience and confusion; and lastly, in consideration of a great and eventful battle, which may sadly and suddenly overwhelm us with its helpless victims. Therefore, we, the ladies of the sixth ward, in order to secure greater system, uniformity and concentration of interest for the poor sufferers at the Overton, do pledge ourselves to furnish daily, the requisite number of nurses for one ward of this hospital—bringing with us the necessary provisions of the sick-room. At the same time we earnestly call upon our gentlemen friends of the sixth ward, to form themselves in a similar association, to watch by night, in the same ward of the hospital. We feel assured that no argument is necessary to induce them to co-operate with us, in this labor of love, humanity and patriotism!

Memphis Daily Appeal, April 6, 1862.

            6-7, Battle of Shiloh

Having gathered his forces at Corinth, Mississippi, with those of P. G. T. Beauregard and Leonidas Polk, General A. J. Johnston slowly moved is army northward. At the same time, U. S. Grant marched to Pittsburg Landing, or Shiloh, just to the north of the Confederate Army. Grant planned his attack without building a suitable defense. The Confederates struck on April 6.

After a day of heavy but confused fighting, General A. S. Johnston was killed and the Federal forces were close to complete defeat. During the night of April 6-7, however, reinforcements for Major-General D.C. Buell's Army of the Ohio and Major-General Lew Wallace's' division arrived. With the resumption of the battle at dawn on the 7th the tide turned. By evening the Confederate army withdrew back to Corinth, with the Union army too exhausted to pursue. Heavy losses were sustained on both sides: 13,000 out of 63,000 Union troops engaged and 11,000 out of 40,000 Confederates killed and wounded. The sobriquet "Bloody Shiloh" [3] is appropriate. [4]

There are a total of 229 reportson the battle of Shiloh in the OR. [5] There are likewise volumes written about the battle. The reader is urged to consult them and numerous secondary works for details on the fight.

Confederate President Jefferson C. Davis believed the South, despite the mortal loss of General A. S. Johnston, had won a major victory. His letter to the Confederate Congress of April 8 expressed that optimism:

APRIL 8, 1862.


The great importance of the news just received from Tennessee induces me to depart from established usage, and to make to you this communication in advance of Official reports:

From telegraphic dispatches received from Official sources I am able to announce to you, with entire confidence, that it has pleased Almighty God to crown the Confederate arms with a glorious and decisive victory over our invaders.

On the morning of the 6th instant the converging columns of our army were combined by its commander in chief, Gen. A. S. Johnston, in an assault on the Federal army, them encamped near Pittsburg, on the Tennessee River. After a hard-fought battle of ten hours the enemy was driven in disorder from his position and pursued to the Tennessee River, where, under cover of his gun-boats, he was at the last accounts endeavoring to effect his retreat by aid of his transports. The details of this great battle are yet too few and incomplete to enable me to distinguish with merited praise all of those who may have conspicuously earned the right to such distinction, and I prefer to delay my own gratification in recommending them to your special notice rather than incur the risk of wounding the feelings of any by failure to include them in the list. Where such a victory has been won over troops as numerous, as well disciplined, armed, and appointed as those which have just been so signally, routed, we may well conclude that one common spirit of unflinching bravery an devotion to our country's cause must have animated every breast from that of commanding general to that of the humblest patriot who served in the ranks. There is enough in the continued presence of invaders on our soil to chasten our exultation over this brilliant success, and to remind us of the grave duty of continued exertion until we shall extort from a proud and vainglorious enemy the reluctant acknowledgment of our right to self government. But an all-wise Creator has been pleased, while vouchsafing to us His countenance in battle, to afflict us with a severe dispensation, to which we must bow in humble submission. The last lingering hope has disappeared, and it is but too true that Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston is no more. The tale of his death is simply narrated in a dispatch just received from Col. William Preston, in the following words:

Gen. Johnston fell yesterday at 2,30 while leading a successful charge, turning the enemy's right, and gaining brilliant victory. A minie-ball cut the artery of his leg, but he rode on till, from loss of blood, he fell exhausted, and died without pain in a few moments. His body has been intrusted to me by Gen. Beauregard to be taken to New Orleans, and remain until directions are received from his family.

My long and close friendship with this department chieftain and patriot forbids me to trust myself giving vent to the feelings which this sad intelligence has evoked. Without doing injustice to the living, it may safely be asserted that our loss in irreparable, and that among the shining hosts of the great and the good who now cluster around the banner of our country there exists no purer spirit, no more heroic soul, than that of the illustrious man whose death I join you in lamenting. In his death he has illustrated the character for which through life he was conspicuous-that of singleness of purpose and devolution to duty. With his whole energies bent on attaining the victory with he deemed essential to his country's cause, he rode on to the accomplishment of his object, forgetful of self, while his very life-blood was fast ebbing away. His last breath cheered his comrades to victory; the last sound he heard was their shout of triumph; his last thought was his country's; and long and deeply will his country mourn his loss.


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, p. 298-299.


The Battle on the Tennessee.

Editors Appeal: En armende for my brusqueness at the Gayoso as I passed you, and in compliance with your request, I send you a brief and hurried account of the battle of Shiloah [sic], more glorious than Taylor's victory, when Davis, Quitman, M'Clung, Bradford, Hays and brave lamented McCulloch, led Yankees to victory.

Allow me, however, in justification of myself, to premise that I am worn out in body and mind and therefore unable to render the battle in minute detail.

Early yesterday morning I approached the field of battle, and was directed by our gallant Sam Tate (himself hurrying on) to the nearest point of attack, while the thunder of artillery, and tempest of musketry rose on the air, I galloped through an old hurricane four miles north-east of Montery [sic], where all the elements had spent their powers as a grand prelude to the storm on which the fate of empire now hangs.

In striking contrast with all that is horrible and sublime, the blue birds were singing their Sunday morning anthems, and the landscape seemed wedded to the quiet sky. But you are impatient of prevailing weakness and eager for facts.

I find myself on the left wing of our forces in Col. Bates' command. His men are fighting against overwhelming odds, and falling like autumnal leaves around him. A battery to his right pours a terrific fire on the foe and seems the last hope of our poor fellows who are charging to the cannon's mouth—they waver, fall back, seem almost cut to pieces; the gallant colonel falls (shot in the thigh) but not as you have it, killed. I thought the day already lost and fell back to a place of safety with a full determination to remain in the rear, but encountering Gen. Cheatham's division, and some gallant fellows whom I had seen on another battle field, my anxieties got the better of my discretion; I galloped along the lines and give more flattering accounts than I ought.

The different companies shout as I give the news; and Lieutenant Col. Tyler cordially exclaims: "I will gladly give my life to save this wing."; Poor fellow!; the next time I saw him, his gallant form was stretched in an ambulance—his cheek blanched that never blanched in danger, and his brow contracted in agony. He had received a horrible wound in the thigh. God grant it be not mortal.

They are in the hail of grape and musketry, which had riddled our left wing before reinforcement. Col. Smith's regiment is almost decimated, but close like the air over their wounded and dying at each belch of the Vandal's cannon.

Stephens' and Douglas' regiments are on the left, obeying the order of our gallant, great, but unpretending "Frank"—"Drive them into hell."In this charge Capt. Rogers fell wounded—and poor John, of the gallant 6th, paid the price of liberty.

Alas!; Alas!; for these regiments!

Like Bates' and Smith's, they are completely riddled; and though they have forced the enemy from his position, they cannot long stand against overwhelming numbers.

Hark! what shout is that in our rear?; Whence those martial orders, re-echoed from officer to officer?; Halt!; Halt!; Dress!; Forward, march!

Breckinridge, far as the eye can reach along the hills, leads on his martial host.

Already the enemy's left are retiring on his gunboats—has given way—his center shaking and shouts of victory pierce the air.

But I could only guess at what transpired beyond my own little sphere.

Suffice to say our gallant leaders, Beauregard, Bragg, Johnston, Gladden, Polk, Ruggles, Chalmers, Hindman, Cheatham, Bowen, Clark, Breckinridge, Loring, Wood, Slaughter and Hardee, were charging a line three miles in length of a desperate and determined foe.

That they whipped them at every point, and at night fall, are masters of the field.

I subjoin a list of killed and wounded, with whom I came in contact on the field and in the hospitals.

I could give you more of the killed; but, alas, while the wounded could furnish me their names, thousands on the bloody field had left their glorious names only to their children.

God defend them, and heaven's heaviest curses fall upon those misers who are hoarding gold while many of these heirs of poverty and a noble name are without food or raiment!

I was so fortunate as to capture two Federals, whom I brought to your city as the first fruits of the 6000 taken by our brave boys on the field.

J. W. R.

[partial list of killed and wounded follows.]

Memphis Daily Appeal, April 8, 1862.

Particulars on the death of General A. S. Johnston by Governor Isham G. Harris

Shilough [sic] Battlefield

Apl 6th 1862

Col Wm Preston

Dear Sir

In answer to your verbal inquiry as to the circumstances surrounding Genl. Albert Sidney Johnston immediately preceding his fall. As you are aware, I was acting as volunteer aid to Genl Johnston on the field.

He was upon the right wing where the enemy being strongly posted made an obstinate stand. As you remember, our troops, after a long and desperate struggle wavered for a moment when Genl Johnston rushed in front of the line of battle, rallied the troops ordered and led the charge. The enemy fell back between a fourth & one half mile, when the firing became very heavy on each side. Our advanced position exposed our troops to a raking fire of a battery of the enemy on our left. The last order the Genl gave was to direct me to "order Col Statham of Mississippi to charge that battery." I immediately delivered the order and rode back to the side of the Genl, said to him "Genl your order is delivered and being executed" just at this moment the Genl sank down in his saddle leaning over to the left I instantly put my left arm around him pulling him to me saying "Genl are you wounded?" He said "yes and I fear seriously." Capt Wickham being on his left & I upon his right we held him upon his horse until we guided his horse from the crest of the hill to the ravine, where we lifted him from his horse, laid him upon the ground. I took his head in my lap. He never spoke after answering my question though continued to breathe for 25 or 30 minutes. Immediately after dismounting the Genl Capt Wickham sent for the surgeon. I sent a soldier to bring any staff officers he could find to me. [After] some 10 or 15 minutes yourself and other members of the staff arrived. As to what occurred [sic] after this time you are as familiar as myself.

The country will mourn his death as a national calamity.


Isham G. Harris

Notation of Governor Harris regarding the death of A.S. Johnston at the battle of Shiloh[6]

            6-7, Excerpts from Federal reports relative to the treatment of the wounded at field hospitals at Shiloh

Surgeon Robert Murray, U. S. A., Medical Director of the Army of the Ohio:

On the morning of the 6th, I was at Savannah, and being ordered to remain there, I occupied myself in procuring all the hospital accommodations available in that small village, and in directing the preparation of bunks and other conveniences for wounded. In the afternoon, the wounded were brought down in large numbers....our medical and hospital supplies were...left behind. I ordered the surgeons to take with them their instruments, hospital knapsacks filled, and with such stimulants and important medicines as could be carried on horseback. I...arrived at Pittsburgh Landing at 10 A.M. I found the main depot for the wounded established at a small log house near the river....The wounded were being brought in very rapidly and in large numbers....The only house in the neighborhood was a log hut, fifteen by thirty feet, and the few tents which had been pitched were already filled. We sought General Grant, and obtained his order to press into our service any men that could be found, and to take possession of any tents that we could find and have them pitched....During the remainder of the day and night of Monday (April 7)

The wounded were conveyed to hospitals in Savannah aboard steamships and hospital ships, most notably the City of Memphis. In Savannah nearly every building had been expropriated for use as hospitals. Many of the steamships had been:

....fitted out by governors of states and by some of the local sanitary committees caused much irregularity [in moving the wounded to Savannah]. They sought to receive wounded from their own states, received very reluctantly, or declined to receive, wounded from other states or Confederate wounded, no matter how uncomfortable they were on shore....many unnecessary operations [were] performed by the amateur surgeons on board these boats.

....I arrived when the second day's fight (April 7) was half over, and found some five or six thousand wounded to be provided for, with, literally, no accommodations, or comforts, not even the necessaries of life, no bedding, no cooking utensils, or table furniture, not even cups, spoons, or plate, or knives and forks, no vegetables, nor even fresh beef....It was incessantly raining, and the mud was very deep; it was impossible to obtain tents enough to shelter the wounded, or straw for them to lie upon. The battle was raging a mile and a half in procured to act as police for the hospital depots, and as nurses, cooks, and attendants, were from the panic-stricken mob who had sought safety on the banks of the river, and, these men, it was impossible to keep at work....We could not get teams [of horses], and not men enough to carry hay to the tents, except in very insufficient quantities. We were, also, very short of medical officers; the whole command averaged little over one to a regiment. Much of the time of the few we had was occupied in procuring food and attendants for the wounded, and even in pressing in details of men to bury the dead, who were left for days unburied about the hospital depots. Many of the wounded were not even dressed before they were sent off....By the sad experience of this battle, I am confirmed in the opinion of the absolute necessity of the addition to the medical department of a sufficient corps of medical purveyors....also...there would be a large number of enlisted hospital attendants....

* * * *

Nearly one thousand of the Confederate wounded fell into our hands, and I am happy to say that our medical officers and men showed them the same attention that they did our own. Indeed, the men were more ready to nurse and to attend to the wants of the wounded of the enemy than to our own men. I regret to say, that they showed the utmost apathy and indifference to the sufferings of their fellow soldiers, and were, with difficulty, forced into doing them any service, while their curiosity and wish to converse with the wounded Confederates, in some measure, overcame their inertness.

As the enemy advanced on Sunday [April 6], they took charge of many of our wounded, and some were sent back to hospitals near Corinth....all testify to the kind treatment which they had received from the surgeons on the other side.

But one instance of mutilation was reported to me. A Confederate soldier was found with his throat cut; but, as one of our colonels claimed to have taken a battery, and to have cut off the head of a gunner with a knife which he wrested from another rebel, this was perhaps the man. Our dead were buried by our own men, as were also the dead of the enemy, and I have heard of no instance of mutilated bodies being found.....

* * * *

It is remarkable that the conical balls extracted, both from our own wounded and Confederates, were, in almost every instance, bent and twisted, and, in some cases, spilt. They must be made of softer material than the European minie balls; or, probably, owing to ours being molded not pressed.

R. Murray, Surgeon, U. S. A.

Medical Director of the Army of Ohio

Medical and Surgical History, Appendix to pt. I, pp. 37-39.


Excerpt from the Report of Surgeon George H. Hubbard, U. S. V.

Most of the wounds were from the conoidal musket ball, and from long range; but there were many wounds, also, from shells and musket balls at short range. The men were carried down the Tennessee [river] on transports as rapidly as possible....Amputations were performed on the field....Chloroform was freely used with only unpleasant results....Chronic diarrhoea [sic], the natural consequence of an inactive life and full diet, was the prevalent disease, and proved fatal in a large number of cases. I was myself a sufferer from this disease from March to June, and became so much debilitated that I was ordered by Surgeon Charles Paducha, to enlarge the hospital accommodations there.

Medical and Surgical History, Appendix to pt. I, p. 42.

            6-11, Expedition from Greeneville into Laurel Valley, NC

Military forces sometimes served a law-enforcement function, as the following indicates. Most of the action occurred in North Carolina, but the expedition originated in Tennessee.

APRIL 6-11, 1862.-Expedition from Greeneville, Tenn., into Laurel Valley, N. C.

Reports of Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith, C. S. Army, with congratulatory letter.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE, Knoxville, Tenn., April 17, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of an expedition sent by my order into a portion of the State of North Carolina known as Laurel Valley, lying near the Tennessee border, and in the vicinity of Bald Mountain:

A detachment of troops, composed of three companies of the Forty-third Tennessee Regt. [sic], Lieut.-Col. Key commanding, moved from the town of Greeneville, in this department, on the 6th instant, arriving on the 7th at a point on Bald Mountain which had been occupied as a camping ground by a party of outlaws, who had decamped two days previous to that time.

On the morning of the 8th our force moved down into Laurel Valley, a district long known as a general resort and hiding place for outlaws, who have been accustomed to send out from this point marauding parties into the adjoining counties of Tennessee and North Carolina, greatly annoying the people in those sections.

Directing his march through this valley, Col. Key met no regularly-organized force, but his command was repeatedly fired on by parties of from 4 to 10 men, who would then immediately retreat beyond his reach, the country being particularly favorable to this mode of warfare. A portion of the force was deployed on either side of the line of march, the column being thus protected in a measure, and the enemy driven from their hiding places. Owing, however, to the impenetrability of the thickets, few of them could be killed and none captured.

This skirmishing was kept up on the 8th, 9th, and 10th, during which time about 15 of the enemy were killed. The casualties on our side were 3 men wounded-Privates Smith, Morgan, and Higdon, of Company A, the latter two mortally.

On the 11th the expedition returned to Greeneville.

The lieutenant-colonel commanding reports that there seems to be a regular organization among the inhabitants of that portion of the country. The whole population is openly hostile to our cause, and all who are able to serve are under arms.

Lieut.-Col. Key reports the officers and men to have behaved themselves well on this tedious and difficult march, and it is but justice to him to say that he evinced unusual energy and forethought, conducting the expedition in a highly creditable manner.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. KIRBY SMITH, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.


Knoxville, Tenn., April 16, 1862.

SIR: With the hope that the information herein contained may be of service, the commanding general of this department begs leave to call your attention to the condition of affairs in a portion of North Carolina lying near the Tennessee line and in the vicinity of Bald Mountain, known as Laurel Valley.

Repeated depredations having been committed on this side of the mountain by armed parties of marauders from that quarter, the commanding general ordered, about the 5th of this month, a detachment of troops to proceed from Greeneville, in the State of Tennessee, into Laurel Valley, with instructions to put down any illegal organization of armed men that might be found there. These instructions were carried out as far as the circumstances of the case would permit, but as it was impossible to scour the country thoroughly, owing to the thickness of the undergrowth, many outlaws probably remain there. The commanding officer of the expedition reports that there seems to be a regular organization among them, and that the entire population who are able to bear arms are arrayed against us. He reports killing about 15 of them, with a loss on our part of 2 killed and 1 wounded.

Notwithstanding the universal hostility of the people to our cause no private property was molested, except what was necessary for our troops while there.

The commanding general respectfully recommends that some measures be taken by the authorities of North Carolina to put a stop to these depredations.

I am, sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

By order of Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith:

E. CUNNINGHAM, Acting Aide-de-Camp.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, pp. 628-629.


[1] William H. Wisener. See January 9, 1861, "Shall Tennessee Submit?"above.

[2] As cited in PQCW.

[3] The battle could likewise have a less dramatically sanguinary and more scatological sobriquet if a medical report is to be believed. Surgeon J.H. Brinton, U. S.V. indicated that disease, especially diarrhea, was rampant in the Union army just prior to the battle. There is no record to indicate the widespread presence of the disease in the Confederate army, yet it seems most probable that it was likewise as big a problem. It may well have been a deciding factor in the outcome of the battle, although the truth to such assertions is never to be known. According to Brinton:

"The physical condition of the men [in the Union army] about to engage in….[the battle of Shiloh] was unpromising in the extreme. Many of them had been for weeks suffering from the diarrhoea [sic] peculiar to the Tennessee River. This is said to result from the large amount of animal decomposition which takes place on the mussel beds or shoals, a few miles above Pittsburgh Landing....almost everyone drinking the waters of the river suffered from a profuse diarrhoea [sic] which resisted obstinately the ordinary therapeutic [sic] means. These persistent discharges greatly augmented lassitude already resulting from the general malarious influence, and contributed to weaken the most robust." See: The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, (Washington: GPO, 1888) Vol. I, pt. I, p. 29. Perhaps the Shiloh area was where the expression "Tennessee Trots" originated.

[4] See map in OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, p. 177.

[5] OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, pp. 93-627. Other references to the battle of Shiloh can be found in the following series and volumes of the Official Records: Ser I, Vol. 16 pt. I, Vol. 20, pt. I, Vol. 32, pt. III; Vol. 52, part II; Ser. II, Vol. 4.

[6] As cited in: This source does not provide an attribution save to say that Harris' notation is attached to Col. William Preston's report on the battle of Shiloh, OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, pp. 403-405, but it is not found there.


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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