Friday, May 20, 2016

Notes from Civil War Tennessee, May 20, 1861-1865.

Notes from Civil War Tennessee,

May 20, 1861-1865.






          20, Confederate Secretary of War L. P. Walker to Governor Isham G. Harris relative to twelve month enlistments for Tennesseans and provision of muskets

 WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Montgomery, May 20, 1861.

His Excellency ISHAM G. HARRIS, Governor of Tennessee:

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that four regiments are required for the Confederate service to be raised in Tennessee, and which will be armed by this Department with muskets, and should Your Excellency desire it, will arm four other regiments with the country rifle, they will be also received into the Confederate service. The general rendezvous of the first four regiments will be Union City, but as to the last four, when they shall be organized, Your Excellency's proposition will be considered as to a point of rendezvous for them. Col. Churchwell is here, and has assured this Department that he has now a regiment ready for service. If this be so, and if it be agreeable to Your Excellency, one of the four regiments named to be armed with muskets may be that he has mentioned, in which event the rendezvous of that regiment may be made Knoxville instead of Union City.

Considering the importance of instant action in the organization of these forces as a check to the threatening attitude of the enemy on the north banks of the Ohio River, and to impart a greater feeling of security to the citizens of Tennessee, I have consented to exercise the discretionary power with which this Department is invested, and to relax the general rule exacting service for the war, and to receive the whole of these regiments for twelve months only, trusting to their patriotism to re-enlist if the exigencies of the war at the and of that time should demand it. But to prevent any misunderstanding hereafter, in the event that the general rule should be applied to Tennessee as elsewhere, I wish here to say it cannot have escaped Your Excellency that our enemies of the North, through their Executive at Washington, have made proclamation for enrollments for three years and enlistments for the war, thus indicating their determination for a prolonged contest, and a firm resolution to prepare fully for that result by the conversion of their forces from raw militia and volunteers into trained and disciplined regulars. To the effectiveness of these troops thus inured to the battlefield your Excellency will perceive they will add economy of administration through the movement. Their calculation is that often heretofore made and notably practiced by the Cromwellians against the Cavaliers.

It is supposed that at first our impetuosity and superior dexterity in the use of arms will cause the earlier victories to lean to our side, but that trained discipline and the solid phalanx will finally prove triumphant. Nor will it be denied that the heaviest relative expense of an army is demanded during the year of its enrollment and general equipment. Therefore, for us to disband each of our regiments at the end of twelve months' service would be to entail upon the Government the largest yearly expenditures and to keep our armies constituted of raw recruits, while the enemy were constantly diminishing their relative expenditures and advancing more in every element that constituted effectiveness. Under these circumstances it is plain we should conform our periods of service in the field, as we have been doing from the first, to those of the enemy, and thus at all times leave to our forces the advantage of their original superiority. I send herewith a circular copy of the general rule adopted. I have ordered the requisite number of muskets to arm four regiments to be sent to Your Excellency; but they are sent with the distinct understanding that they are not to be distributed to any other troops than those indicated, and not to them until they are duly organized and mustered into the Confederate service by a Confederate officer. This duty will be assigned to Lieut. McCall, now at Nashville.

This rule is universal and cannot be relaxed under any circumstances. The Government must see to the husbanding of its resources as to arms, to their effective use, safe-keeping, and proper return, and Your Excellency will excuse the repetition that these troops must be organized into regiments and duly mustered into service before they receive their arms. Your Excellency will doubtless appreciate the reasons that have led me to suggest the ordinary country rifle for four of the regiments named. Our lines of operation have recently become widely extended, as Your Excellency is aware, and the demand for arms so great since the accession of the border States, adopting our flag, that considerations associated with controlling public interests and the success of the war in which we are engaged call for the practice by this Department of the wisest discretion in regard to the distribution of our military provisions in these respects, consisting chiefly of muskets. The necessity for this course on the part of the Department becomes still more apparent from the fact that our manufactories of arms are not yet fully established. It therefore occurred to me that as many of your citizens were known to be habituated to the use of the rifle, and that weapon was common among them, four regiments might be formed and armed from the country, each man furnishing his own instrument; and I must confess I have never yielded implicit credence to the prevailing idea that the musket is a superior weapon to the rifle. Such may be the case with the improved minie gun, but even the ordinary rifle, in the hands of the brave Tennesseeans [sic] and Mississippians, saved and won the battle of Buena Vista during the Mexican war, as it did in the hands of Carolinians at the battle of King's Mountain during the Revolution--in both instances with sad havoc to the enemy. There can be little doubt, I apprehend, that with a large portion of our inhabitants among the mountains the rifle would always prove more fatal and successful on the field of battle, than the most improved muskets in any other hands than those of veterans.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, pp. 103-105.

          20, Enthusiasm for war in Middle Tennessee, excerpt from the diary of John C. Spence

The Confederate army are still increasing. At Camp Trousdale, from the best information, are all in good health and spirits are kept close at drill every day -- the friends of the boys are making visits every week to them, taking them clothing and boxes of something to eat. So, war is not such a bad thing after all? They have no fears, are satisfied they can whip [sic] two Yankees [sic] to one and would not wish to engage a less number. Being in a war camp has a tendency to make men courageous and defiant and may add somewhat devilish [sic].

Spence Diary.

          20, "He told them, among other things, that Jeff. Davis and the Governor of the State ought to be hanged and would be hanged…" Senator Andrew Johnson's speech in Cleveland, Tennessee

AN INTREPID SENATOR,- The Washington National Republican of Saturday says: "We have heard reliably from Senator Johnson as late as last Monday [20th], when he was sixty miles west of Knoxville, on his canvass of the State, which votes on the 8th of Junes upon the question of secession. Mr. Johnson and his friends were, at that date, hopeful. The passage of the ordinance of secession by the legislature proves nothing, as that body have been for secession since the start. At Knoxville the Union men were as firm as ever. The nomination of a Union candidate for Governor, Mr. Campbell, by the convention presided over by William H. Polk, brother to the late President, has given animation to that cause. The election of Governor comes in August.

The style of Mr. Johnson's canvassing may be judged of from the commencement of his speech at Cleveland, Tennessee, where threats against him had been largely indulged in. He told the crowd that he 'did not come here to be shot but to shoot,' that if there was to be a fight, he and his friends were ready for it, and he preferred to finish up the fighting before making his speech. Nobody coming forward to fight, the intrepid Senator proceeded to speak, and by the time he had finished, nineteen-twentieths of the audience were with him. He told them, among other things, that Jeff. Davis and the Governor of the State ought to be hanged and would be hanged, at that not distant period when the Judicial power of the Government would be brought to bear upon them."

Atlantic Democrat, May 25, 1861.

          20, A New York Newspaper's Assessment and Conjectures About Tennessee

TENNESSEE. The territory embraced by this State in mean length is four hundred miles, and the mean breadth one hundred and fourteen miles, containing an area of territory of 44,000 square miles, and embracing a population of 1,146,000, of which 167,000 are liable to military duty. In regard to the present crisis, Tennessee has not directly severed the bonds which bind that State to the Union. But it has adopted a military league made between its Governor and three Commissioners of the Confederate states, in which it is agreed that all the force of the State shall be employed to assist the confederated rebels. The Legislature has also adopted a declaration of independence, and has permitted the people to vote on it, which they will do on the 8rh of June prox. The State is at present without effective military arms, and some inconveniences may arise before it can send an effective force into the field. At present a considerable force from this State, under the command of Major General Pillow, is assembled at Memphis, and north twenty miles along the bank of the Mississippi. This force, it is reported, is co-operating with a large force from Arkansas, whose ultimate design is to besiege Cairo, Illinois, now occupied by United States troops.

The New York Herald, May 20, 1861. [1]






          20, Skirmish on Elk River

Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee.

          20, "'Blood Hound' Harris"

Another of the Lebanon prisoners [May 5] is Captain W. H. Harris of the 1st Tennessee rebel cavalry. This man has acquired an unenviable reputation as a brutal and inhuman persecutor of Union men throughout the state, and it will afford gratification to not a few who have been the victim of his beastly passion to know that he is on the high road to retribution. During the rebel reign of terror, this Harris was employed to hunt down Union men, drive them and their families from their doors and desecrate or destroy their homesteads and property. Some of the men thus hunted, unable to cope with him in strength, took the redress of their wrongs into their own hands and visited it upon his plundering and murderous followers. Unwilling to brave the danger he had incurred manfully, he resorted to a mode of warfare which even a Comanche would scorn, and with brazen impudence promulgated the following notice in the public newspapers; (Cut from the Nashville Gazette of Dec. 1st, 1861.)


We, the undersigned, will pay Five dollars per pair for fifty pairs of well bread Hounds [sic], and Fifty Dollars [sic] for one pair of thorough-bred Blood Hounds that will take the track of a man. The purposes for which these dogs are wanted is to chase the infernal cowardly Lincoln bushwhackers of East Tennessee and Kentucky (who have taken the advantage of the bush to kill and cripple many good soldiers) to their dens and capture them. The said Hounds must be delivered at Capt. Hanner's Livery Stable by the 10th of December next, where a mustering officer will be present to muster and inspect them.

E.W. .McNairy, W. H. Harris

Camp Comfort, Campbell Co. Tenn. Nov. 16

And yet this cowardly man hunting with bloodhounds, Harris, is one of the [illegible] of Tennessee! What would be their verdict upon a Union Officer who should advertise for blood hounds to hunt up the male and female traitors and "bushwhackers" of Murfreesboro? Truly, their lamentations would out vie poor old Jeremiah, and their indignation turn into red hot wrath. But they can lionize and cheer, throw boquets [sic] and kissed to "Blood Hound" Harris with a sanctimony and grace which [they] deem irresistible. What an astonishing degree of chivalry [sic] this rebellion is developing among the people of Tennessee!! Kisses and tears for "Bull Dog and Blood Hound" Harris-May kind heaven avert the deserved retribution for such crimes against humanity.

Murfreesboro Union Volunteer, May 20, 1862.

          20, A West Tennessee woman's concerns about the future

It has rained incessantly since last night. All day rain, rain, it will keep the rivers up to float the Yankee gunboats, and stop our farmers' ploughs and perhaps injure the wheat crops. I feel gloomy and depressed-nothing is more calculated to cast a cloud over us than a rainy day. But when we feel that a rainy day is bad for our country on the brink of ruin, Oh! How sad our hearts feel, none but who suffer can tell.

We are ever inclined to murmur at God's providence. We must be patient and prayerful, never losing faith in Our Father for He doeth all things well.

The scarcity of provisions in the South makes it a fearful thing to think of our crops of grain failing. Our enemies have ever boasted that they "will starve us out," and if our bread crops fail they will succeed. Salt is not but thirty dollars a sack and scarce at that. Heaven only knows how we will manage to save our meat another Fall [sic], but there is time enough to grieve over that. Let us get our Army through the Summer before we dread the Fall. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

Estes' Diary

          20, Mrs. Belle Reynolds; Rank and Marital Discord

The Woman Major--A Row in the Family.

We have appropriately chronicled the fact that Gov. Yates has commissioned as Major in one of the Illinois regiments with Gen. Halleck the wife of a Lieutenant, who had shown both courage and devotion to the cause of humanity among the sick and wounded on the field in and after the battle of Pittsburg Landing. …the Cincinnati Times tells us something further of her and the consequence of her appointment:

"I am sorry to inform you that there is at present some apprehension of a domestic difficulty, originating out of the late commission of a female to the rank of Major in the United States army.

"This worthy lady, whose bravery and Samaritan kindness to our wounded soldiers on the battle-field of Shiloh has won her the love and esteem of an appreciating public, and who has been promoted to rank by a grateful government is, I fear, about to fall victim to that most dreaded of delusions--jealousy. This lady is at present holding her headquarters on board one of the hospital steamers now lying at Pittsburg Landing, anxiously awaiting for the expected battle, to again render that comfort and aid known only to exist in the presence of angels and the attentions of lovely woman.

"But what is most unhappy in the case of this lady Major is, that her once adoring and loving husband, who now holds the rank of Lieutenant, insists on being made a Colonel, and gives as a reason that his wife now commands him, from the virtue of her rank--being a Major--and that this is directly contrary to the original understanding existing between them at the day of their nuptials.

From this protest of the Lieutenant I fear that all law abiding wives will hold up their hands and exclaim, "Oh! the brute."

Chicago Times, May 20, 1862.

          20, Some cases before the Police Court of Nashville

Police Court.

Mr. Conolly, dressed in Federal uniform, but presumed to be "a camp follower," as he failed to give a clear account of himself, was mulcted in $12.75 for being drunk and disorderly.

John Smith (not the real veritable John, but a man named White, who had the audacity to assume that highly respectable name) was found by the Police in the Market, sleeping off the effects of the bad whisky he had imbibed. Costs of lodgings $10—of court $2.50--$12.50.

Ann Brown and Mary Lyons have had a slight misunderstanding. Mary devoted Sunday evening to "calling Ann everything she could lay her tongue to." Ann would have resented the base insinuations immediately, had not Martha Carson and Miss Dunn prevailed upon her to abstain from "soiling her fingers" by contact with Mary's hair. On Monday morning Mary renewed her attentions to Miss Brown, threatening to have her put in the work-house, when Ann remarked that "she might as well go there for something as for nothing," and accordingly left her room, went into the street, and before you could say "Jack Robinson," Ann had inflicted a blow upon Mary's cranium, caught her by the hair, and had her lying in the dust, crying for mercy, which being extended, both were brought before the Recorder, and fined $8 each….

Nashville Dispatch, May 20, 1862.

20, Account of Major Morgan's company of Cherokee Warriors visit to Knoxville

Cherokee Warriors in Knoxville.

From the Knoxville Register.

Our streets were enlivened yesterday by the arrival of a large company of Cherokee warriors, from the mountainous regions of North Carolina. These "children of the forest" have been enlisted in the Confederate service my Major Morgan, third Tennessee Regiment. The company already here numbers about one hundred and thirty, and we learn that Major Morgan expects to raise a battalion composed partly of these Indians, who, we predict, will do good service with their unerring rifles, under the lead of their gallant major. This officer, we must say, deserves the highest praise for his indefatigable zeal and energy, as displayed in the enlistment of so many valuable recruits from the aboriginal population.

The battalion has gone into camp at Flint Hill, and have name their ground "Camp Oe-con-os-to-ta," in honor of the distinguished Cherokee chief of that name, whose remains lie buried on Major Morgan's farm, at Citico, in Monroe county. Other companies of whites and Indians are desired to fill up the battalion to six companies. They will go into immediate active service.

Philadelphia Inquirer, May 20, 1862.[2]





          20, Skirmish[3] at Collierville

MAY 20, 1863.-Skirmish at Collierville, Tenn.


No. 1.-Col. John M. Loomis, Twenty-sixth Illinois infantry, commanding brigade.

No. 2.-Col. R. McCulloch. Second Missouri Cavalry (Confederate).

No. 1.

Report of Col. John M. Loomis, Twenty-sixth Illinois Infantry, commanding Brigade.

COLLIERVILLE, May 21, 1863.

SIR: The attack of yesterday evening was made on picket post Nos. 4 and 5, directly in our front, in three columns, by different roads, and of larger forces than I supposed last night. Cavalry and infantry supports arrived at the line before the enemy were out of sight of the next post, but, as they scattered in the woods, our cavalry did not overtake them. Neither post was surprised. The guard fought well, and held their posts too long to be able to retire, they being surrounded. My force at these two posts was 15 men and 2 non-commissioned officers. My loss was 1 killed and 9 missing. The balance did not come on, but held the vicinity of their post until they were re-enforced. I am not aware of the damage to the enemy, though some is reported. I can attach no blame to the officers or men of the guard. All were at post, and in proper order. They discovered the enemy at once, and made such disposition as the officer in charge thought best. Duration of attack probably not fifteen minutes. The guard fired an average of three rounds.

The lieutenant in charge of the left wing of the picket guard, who spends the whole tour of the guards on its line, was at post No. 3, and saw the affair, and speaks in praise of the conduct of the men, as do the citizens who saw the fight.

JOHN MASON LOOMIS, Col., Commanding Brigade.

No. 2.

Report of Col. R. McCulloch, Second Missouri Cavalry (Confederate).

SENATOBIA, MISS. May 21, 1863.

GEN.: The enemy advanced yesterday from Collierville, 1,000 strong, to Coldwater; returned in the evening. Capts. White and [W. H.] Couzens sent Lieutenant [Z. D.] Jennings with 10 me as far as Collierville; here the lieutenant killed 2 and captured 10 Federal prisoners. Arrived here this evening.


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pt. I, p. 425.

          20, Skirmish at Salem

MAY 20, 1863.-Skirmish at Salem, Tenn.

Report of Col. Edward Hatch, Second Iowa Cavalry, commanding Cavalry Brigade, Sixteenth Army Corps.

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY BRIGADE, LaGrange, Tenn., May 20, 1863.

CAPT.: I have the honor to report that the scout sent out this morning, consisting of two companies Second Iowa Cavalry and two companies Sixth Iowa Infantry, found the enemy, about 300 strong ([W. R.] Mitchell's, Sol. [G.] Street's, aid others), at Salem. A skirmish ensued and the enemy fled, and, being freshly mounted, got away from our men. One horse was killed on the rebel side. No loss on ours.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

EDWARD HATCH, Col., Commanding.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pt. II, p. 424.[4]

          20, The imprisonment of Mollie Hyde as a Confederate spy

MILITARY PRISON, Alton, Ill., May 20, 1863.

Col. W. HOFFMAN, Commissary-Gen. of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.

COL.: I have the honor to report that another female prisoner, a Miss Mollie Hyde, of Nashville, Tenn., has been sent to this prison "for spying and other misdeeds," to be confined during the war or until released by competent authority. She was sent here by order of Gen. Rosecrans.

I have the honor to be sir, with much respect, your obedient servant,

T. HENDRICKSON, Maj. Third Infantry, Commandant of Prison.

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 5, pp. 684-685.

          20, "…they want a man spank in rank now and you no they will not let them come home Martha…." Letter of Corporal W. C. Tripp, Company B, 44th Tennessee Infantry, in camp near Wartrace, to Martha A. Tripp. [Enclosed in the same envelope was the poem, "The Soldier's Farewell"]

May the 20 1863 Camp near Wartrace

Dear Wife I seat my self on a rock to drop you a few lines to let you no [sic] that I am well at this time I hope these few lines will find you all well and doing well I have nothing to rite [sic] to you we had orders to bee [sic] ready to march at a moments warning but hit [sic] was then contered [sic] Martha I received your kind letter dated the 15th of May which gave me great satisfaction to hear that you was [sic] all well the Boys [sic] is all well as common We are all working very hard now we drill two hours in the four part of the day and too in the late part of the day and rest ten minutes between the two hours tho [sic] i [sic] doo [sic] fiteing [sic] on hit [sic] every day but you dont [sic] deserve hit [sic] come and see. Martha you rote [sic] that you Seen [sic] a heap of friends a robbing bees i [sic] wish I could come home to help you[.] But there is no chance for me to come home now they want a man spank in rank now and you no they will not let them come home Martha come up a Saturday if you can if John Smith come up with the waggon [sic] fetch the children if you can for I want to see them tell Martha Smit to come with you and all the rest that can come fetch me one pair of sock [sic] I believe that is all I want if you come in a waggon [sic] you will have to start very soon as you want make hit in a day

Aaron Tripp sends his love to you and remembers you I must bring my few lines to a close by saying good by [sic]


"The Soldiers Farewell"

1. Oh fare you well my darling

So fare you well my dear

Dont [sic] grieve for my long absence

whilst I am a Volunteer

2. It has been my misfortune

A Volunteer to be

So stay at home my darling

And dont [sic] you grieve for me

3. I will stay at home contented

But live a lonesome life

For I long to see the time come

To be a soldiers wife

4. I am a going to Pencecola [sic]

To tarry for a while

To leave my true love far away

For about five hundred miles

5. See how she rings her lily white hands

How mournful she does cry

You will go and join the army

And in the war you will die

6. You will be place in the center

And there you will be slain

My heart will burst asunder

If I never you see you again

7. To see poor soldiers bleeding

Is a dredful [sic] site to see

So fare you well my darling

And dont [sic] you grirve [sic] for me

8. Cannon roar like thunder

The bullets swiftly fly

The drums and fifes are beating

To drown the death like cry

9. We will charge upon those batteries

We will turn their wheels around

Shout shout your Victory

All over the Southern ground

10. We will rout them

We will scout them

We will scout them from our shore

Our captain is as brave a man as ever commission bore


          20, Sergeant Oakley, Fourth Tennessee Infantry, and Lieutenant-General Polk at the battle of Murfreesboro


The following extract from a long letter addressed by a young officer at Shelbyville, Tenn., to a friend in Richmond pays a just tribute to the character of General Leonidas Polk, while it commemorates the gallantry of the color bearer, Sergeant Oakley, of Colonel McMurray's regiment, the 4th Tennessee, as exhibited at the battle of Murfreesboro' on the 31st of December last:

"Yesterday I had the honor to ride around the camps with Lieut. Gen. Polk and General Cheatham, who were on a grand inspecting tour. The camps all looked in fine order, the guns bright and the men in the very best spirits.

Gen. Polk, after questioning Col. McMurray about the condition of his regiment, said where is the color bearer? Sergeant Oakley, a young man about eighteen or twenty years old, stepped out in front of the whole regiment, dressed in common butternut jeans; with real modesty and unaffected manner he took his cap. Gen. Polk, ungloved his hand and said: ;I must shake hands with you,' and then raising his hat, said with great feeling and real martial eloquence, 'I am proud to uncover in the presence of so gallant a man.' The effect was tremendous and a shout rent the air.-This young Oakley at the battle of Murfreesboro' advanced his colors some two hundred yards in front of his regiment under a terrible fire. A battery was playing upon the regiment, and it was uncertain whether it was our battery or that of the enemy. This color bearer advanced in front, displaying his colors in a conspicuous manner, so as to stop the firing if they were friends, or to make it more intense if they were enemies. The increased severity of the firing which immediately followed determined that doubt and showed them to belong to the enemy. He then deliberately resumed his place in the line. We silenced their battery and drove back the opposing column. The high compliment which Gen. Polk paid him made that young man as proud as a king. It was an honor greeter than the Star or Garter. He and his whole regiment will fight until the last man falls."

T. F. H.

Macon Daily Telegraph, May 20, 1863.

          20, Scout to Lavergne from Murfreesboro, blankets, shirt, drawers, sweet cakes, decomposed Confederate soldier from Battle of Stones River; letter of George Kryder

Camp near Murfreesboro

May 20th, 1863

Dear wife,

I take this present opportunity to write a few lines to you know that I am well and hearty and hope these lines may reach you all the same. I rec'd. your letter of the 12th day before yesterday and was glad that you were well but sorry that Lillie was not well. Tell her she must not fret for me for I can not come any sooner than if she would not fret.

I put my clothes and Henry's in a box and expressed them to Centerton and Henry has written to Trimmer's folks to take his out there. I sent one overcoat and two blankets and a shirt and pr drawers 2 pr. socks and l pr of saddlebags and a few little notions with a few of our Lincoln sweet cakes (crackers). I put a few newspapers in and little red memorandum book that I got that I got out of a Secesh store at Hartsville, Tenn. and two pr of glove. Henry did not send anything but overcoat and two blankets. Our clothes are not particularly marked but his coat has a pocket in and mine has not, but mine is shot through the back, and my bright colored blanket has one hole burned through and the dark one has got a K branded between the black stripe and the end, and his has H. H. S. on.

The night after I sent you the other letter we were called up at 12 o'clock to go on a scout with one day rations to march at half past one. No one knew where we were going till about daylight. We found ourselves at Lavergne, but no rebels were there but Brigade that Sam is in is laying there. We halted about an hour and then went about 5 miles on river and stood picket till the next day we were relieved and we came back to Lavergne and we were there two nights and one day and I went and seen Sam and he can not speak out loud yet and I had quite a chat with him and then we came back and our Co. went on picket and yesterday we moved camp. We were too far from water. Now we have it close by.

You heard that it as the 3rd Ohio that was taken prisoners. That was true but it was the 3rd Ohio Infantry. There has been none of our Reg. taken since the 20th Jan when they came pretty near getting me.

I am glad you got my picture all right. I have not sent any papers since those first ones for there has not been much news lately. You said there was a button off my coat and want to know whether you shall come and sew it on. I guess not. I think if you would see the patch that I put on my knee you wou1d think that I could sew on my own buttons.

When I was in Lavergne Sam told me where Ezra is. He is in the 1st Indiana Battery, 2nd Brigade, 14th Division, l3th Army Corp., Gen. McClernard commanding, Milliken's Bend, La. and he also told me Catherine's address is Etna Green, P.O. Kosciusco, Ind.

May 21st. I am not as well this morning. The reason is yesterday I ate some walnuts in the forenoon and then ate some greens for dinner and they made me sick and I vomited them all up but it will be all right in a day or two. Henry does not feel as well as common on account of diarrhea.

Day before yesterday we got orders to turn our clothes over. They are to be taken to Nashville and stored there for the summer, but I think it is the best that we sent ours home for if they should get lost, I would blame no one but myself and if they should get home safe, I know they will not rot as they did last year. I will try and send you some more papers. The news from Mississippi country is favorable and the Rebs are getting discouraged.


George Kryder

George Kryder Papers




          20, Railroad accident at the Elk River bridge

Railroad Accident in Tennessee.

Cor. Cincinnati Commercial.

Elk River Bridge, Tennessee

May 20th, 1864.

About 8 o'clock this morning a terrible collision took place in the curve of the deep cut immediately south of Elk River Bridge, between a train from the south, loaded with prisoners and wounded from Resaca, and a train from the north, loaded with forage, and a portion of the 2d Ohio. Three soldiers of Company I, Captain T. A. Stevenson, were killed outright, and nine or ten wounded

It is alleged that the accident was caused by the train from the south running out of time, and at the reckless speed of thirty or forty miles per hour, on this very dangerous part of the road. There is no doubt of the fact that the conductor and engineer both jumped from the train and skedaddled as soon as they discovered that a collision was inevitable and have not been heard of since. No blame is attached to the managers of the train from the north, who succeeded in bringing it to a stand before the blow was received. The two locomotives and tenders were badly smashed, the standing train; being knocked back fully fifty yards, and running one platform car completely on top of another, on which the soldiers were sleeking on sacks of corn. Between these cars were the killed and wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Ewing, Captain Stevenson, and Lieutenant Johnson, of the Heavy Artillery, were conspicuous in their exertions to extricate the sufferers from the wreck.

By two o'clock, P.M., the road was clear, and the trains commenced running as usual.

Memphis Bulletin, May 31, 1864.[5]


Railroad Accident in Tennessee-Licking County Soldiers Killed.

Elk River Bridge, Tennessee,

May 20, 1864

About 3 o'clock this morning a terrible collision took place in the curve of the deep cut, immediately south of Elk River Bridge, between a train from the south, laded with prisoners and wounded from near Resaca, and a train from the north, loaded with forage, and a portion of the 2d Ohio Heavy Artillery. Three soldiers of Company I, Captain T. A. Stevenson, were killed out right, and nine or ten wounded….

~ ~ ~

…four were sent back to Murfreesboro, and placed under the care of Surgeon Turney. The others wee slightly injured, and went on with the command. The dead were decently buried in  box  coffins, with the honors of war, just over the hill about 150 yards north-west of where the accident occurred, south of east, in range of with four graves….The religious services were conducted by the Rev. A. L. McKinney, Chaplain of the 71st O. V. I. The headquarters of this regiment are now at this place, and every assistance possible was freely given the sufferers by both officers and men.

It is alleged that the accident was caused by the train from the south running out of time, and at the reckless speed of thirty or forty miles per hour, on this very dangerous part of the road. There is no doubt of the fact that the conductor and engineer both jumped from the train and skedaddled as soon as they were discovered that a collision was inevitable and have not been heard of since. No blame is attached to the managers of the train from the north, who succeeded in bring it to a stand before the blow was received. The two locomotives and tenders were badly smashed, the standing being knocked back fully fifty yard, and running one platform car completely on to of another, won which the soldiers wee sleeping on sacks of corn. Between these cared were the killed and wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Ewing, Captain Stevenson, and Lieutenant Johnson, of the Heavy artillery, were conscious in their exertions to extricate the sufferers from the wreck.

By 2 o'clock P. M. the road was clear, and the trains commenced running as usual.

W. J. Hawthorn.

Newark Advocate, June 3, 1864. [6]

          20, More counterfeit money in Nashville

Counterfeit one hundred dollar greenbacks have made their appearance in this city. They are much better executed than the counterfeit twenties, and are well calculated to receive those who do not scrutinize them closely.

Nashville Dispatch, May 20, 1864.

          20, "Love in the County Jail."

Mel. Zachary is becoming desperate-desperately in love; the longer he remains in limbo the more ardent his devotion to his "dearest Mary." Read how eloquently he pleases his cause:

Nashville, May 17, 1864

Dearest Mary: -- Hoping that your eyes will light on these few lines now being traced by this trembling hand, and hoping that Providence will crown my feeble efforts with at least a kind consoling word of hope. Alas! thou, the idol of my heart, the adored of my only love, truly and tenderly do I love you and I hope I am not too unworthy of being loved in return. Although in bondage, I hope I will one day be at liberty; then, I trust, I will realize my only thoughts and wishes. Yes, I will then devote my life and all I have to your welfare, and hope that ours will be the union of souls which conjoin forever, and springing from a mutual perception of everlasting bliss, our walk through life will be strewn with choicest roses, uninterrupted by the thorns of misfortune. Oh! I long to be with you, to gaze upon those bright orbs of dazzling kindness; but alas! I must stop, and call cruel Fate, and the answer I find is as follows:

                               Like some lone bird without a mate,

                               My heart is weary and desolate;

                               I look around, and cannot trace,

                               One friendly smile, or welcome face,

                               And in crowds I am still alone,

                               Because I cannot love but one.

Hoping to hear a favorable response, I remain your devoted lover,

Melville Zachary.

Nashville Dispatch, May 20, 1864.

          20, "Hanging of Hugh Fraley[7]-Suicide"

At twenty five minutes past two o'clock yesterday, Hugh Fraley, a native of Ray county, East Tennessee, suffered the extreme penalty of the law, in the yard of the Penitentiary near this city. Fraley had been tried by a military commission, and found guilty of bushwhacking, and murdering Union citizens and was sentenced to be hanged on Friday May 20, between the hours of ten and five. Upon our arrival at the prison, we found every available spot which could afford a view of the awful scene, crowded with spectators, both soldiers and citizens, and among them we regret to say, were a number of females. In the centre of the Penitentiary yard was a gallows constructed of pine, and from its center bung the fatal cord, with the noose already made to receive the neck of the unfortunate man. Around the gallows were a file of soldiers with fixed bayonets. Two o'clock and a quarter past, a procession is seen to emerge from the prison doors. In the centre is seen a young man, clad in butternut clothing; he is about twenty-five years old, tall and slim, with slight moustache and imperial and long black hair. In his hand he carried a back slouched hat, as firm and erect he ascends the steps of the gallows. Unmoved he listens while his spiritual adviser, the Rev. Dr. Wharton, delivers a brief but impressive address to the assembled multitude, and at its conclusion he advances to the edge of the scaffold and speaks as follows: "Gentlemen-I am about to die for a crime of which I am innocent. As to the charge of my being a guerrilla, I never was one, and have never shed innocent blood; but if there was ever a true Rebel soldier I am one. That's all I have to say." Stepping back upon the drop, he let his hat which hitherto he had held in his hand, the officer in charged pinioned his limbs, and the white cap was drawn over his head. Then the noose was adjusted about his neck, and for a moment all was still, even the throng who had crowded the roofs in the vicinity of the prison, and who hitherto were cursing for position and place, were hushed. As the executioner slowly descended from the scaffold, a quick blow from an axe in the hands of the guard severed the rope which held the drop, and the body of Hugh Fraley hung dangling in the air. The fall was too short, for the neck was not broken, and the convulsive struggles of the unfortunate man were painful to witness. At precisely twenty five minutes past two the drop fell, and after the body had hung fourteen minutes, life was pronounced extinct, and the body was cut down and placed in a find coffin for burial.

Fraley was captured in White county, Tennessee, in December 1863, by a detail of the 39th Indiana and 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry. He was detailed by Gen. Wheeler to act as guide, and was sent to Pikeville to parole twenty-eight Federal soldiers who were in [the] hospital there. According to his statement, he held a commission as captain in the Confederate service at the time of his capture.

As if to add to the culmination of horrors on this 20th of May, a Federal soldier, confined for some misdemeanor within the walls of the penitentiary, cut his throat from ear to ear with a razor, and lay, as we left, a ghastly, bloody object outstretched upon the stones of his prison.

Nashville Dispatch, May 21, 1864.


A bushwhacker by the name of Fraley, tried and condemned by a Military Commission, was hung yesterday at the Penitentiary. He was, we believe, from White county in this State. He met his unfortunate end with calm courage and composure.

Nashville Union, May 21, 1864.

          20, An ex-Confederate soldier assaulted by Federal soldiers

Another Outrage. – On Friday [20th] afternoon a gentleman named George Armstrong, residing about twelve miles from Nashville, in Williamson county, was attacked and severely injured by four [Federal] soldiers, without the least provocation. From all we can gather upon the subject, it appears that the four men above alluded to went to Armstrong's house, and inquired for him. They were told he was in the field at work, when the men went toward where he was. On meeting the soldiers, Armstrong greeted them in his usual polite manner, when one of the soldier inquired of Armstrong if he had ever been in the Confederate Army. Armstrong replied that he had. They then asked if he did not want killing, one of the at the same time striking him on the forehead with a club, making a frightful gash, knocking him to the ground and stunning him. The soldiers then mounted their horses, one of them firing his pistol before leaving, but happily missing his aim. An investigation has been instituted, and it is probably the parties may be brought to justice, as it is known to what regiment they belong. No attempt was made to rob the house, or to molest any other person than Mr. Armstrong.

Nashville Dispatch, May 22, 1864.




          20, Restoration of civil government in Madison County and assessment of the result of civil war by Robert H. Cartmell

Heard the Court house bell ringing this morning....The object...was for a meeting of the citizens to take into consideration the New Order [sic] of things & [to] organize a civil government. The war is over [sic] & may date its end when Genl. Lee surrendered....By this war the South has lost all, gained nothing. It would have been wise in her never to have begun it. How many lives lost, millions upon millions [of dollars'] of property lost, all for nothing but a fate most abject and humiliating.

Robert H. Cartmell Diary.

          20, Observations made by an ex-Confederate soldier from the Army of Tennessee while on his way home to his home in Dyersburg

....This morning found us on the train in sweetwater [sic] valley. We arrived at Chattanooga about 12 oclk [sic]. [sic] every [sic] important place along the entire route is strongly fortafied [sic] with strong block houses and guarded by U. S. troops White and Coloured [sic]-on arrival at the Depot we were ordered off the train and marched up near the center of town and halted where we drew one days [sic] rations of bacon and hard bread and sit [sic] and stood about until 5 oclk [sic]. [sic] when we were marched to the Depot and pretty soon got aboard the Cars [sic] which left for Nashville about 8 oclk [sic]. [sic] and run out about 9 miles and switched off and halted for the night

Arthur Tyler Fielder Diaries.

          20, An Ohio corporal's observations on the end of the war in Middle Tennessee

Christiana, Tennessee

May 20, 1865

I received your last letter this evening, and was very happy that you are all well….

Nothing much is new except that we see a lot of Rebels on their way home. You should see them, they are as filthy as pigs and full of lice. There is talk that we many not remain in Tenn. any more than 15 days. I believe it too…

Some of our men captured a Rebel who was fishing at the River here and we sent some of our men to look for another one, perhaps his brother, and if they capture him they will get 100 dollars…

Miller Correspondence




[1] TSL&A, 19th CN

[2] See also: Newark [NJ[ Advocate, May 23, 1862.

[3] According to Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee this was an affair.

[4] There was indeed guerrilla activity in and around Clarksville, some of which had resulted in the taking of Clarksville in August 1862 (see above) In a letter to the Chief of Staff in Nashville dated August 1, 1862, Major W.H. Sidell, Acting Assistant Adjutant General of the Fifteenth U. S. Infantry, spoke of Military Governor Andrew Johnson's determination to keep Nashville safe from Rebel assault. He added the following post script concerning the presence of guerrilla bands near Clarksville. His note is interesting in that it points out class differences between the poor and rich in regard to support for guerrillas.

P. S.-Gen. Mason writes Governor Johnson by letter received to-day and sent to me that there is no doubt of the organization of guerrilla bands near Clarksville, and that the wealthier part of the population is disloyal and humbler classes the reverse; that it would be difficult to raise a cavalry regiment there, but there are sufficient horses belonging to the secessionists to mount as many men as needful. He wants Governor Johnson's order to "possess and occupy" the horses.

Gen. Mason says he has but 250 men near Clarksville, on the opposite side of the river. He says further that he is advised by Col. Bruce that he has sent 400 men to Russellville.

I am, respectfully,

W. H. SIDELL, Maj., Fifteenth U. S. Infantry, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, p. 243.

[5] As cited from the Cincinnati Commercial, May 20, 1864.


[7] Captain J. F. Fraley, Fourth Tennessee Cavalry [C. S. A.]. See OR, Ser. II, Vol. 8, p. 421.


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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