Friday, June 3, 2016

Notes from Civil War Tennessee, June 3, 1861-1865.

Notes from Civil War Tennessee,

June 3, 1861-1865.





          3, Report on Voter Intimidation in Nashville on the Eve of the June 8 Secession Vote and Tennessee's Interference with Kentucky's Commerce

Tennessee.-A short time ago a gentleman of Davidson county addressed two written questions, anonymously, to the Union & American, the leading disunion organ at Nashville. The questions, in substance, were: First, Will the Union men be allowed to discuss publicly the issued in this canvass?, and, Secondly, Will they be allowed to vote in the election? The editor published the questions, and, with considerable circumlocution, gave the author of them and the community distinctly to under stand that both privileges would be refused! [sic] He knew that it was the determination of the Vigilance Committee and the armed and organized troops at their command to crush out Union speaking and Union voting, and he didn't think it worth while to attempt to disguise the notorious fact. The Union speaker would be shot upon the stand in Nashville, and a Union voter, if such a one there be, will be shot at the polls. Nevertheless, the canvass is called a free canvass; and the election will be called a free election; and when the election is over, the disunion authorities will proclaim that all must bow before the majestic power of the popular will. It would really seem as if, when innumerable Vigilance Committees are daily and nightly at work throughout Tennessee expelling Union men and their families from the State, they might venture to permit such as shall be left on the 8th of June to exercise the right of free suffrage, but no, they are afraid, that, notwithstanding the driving of thousands into exile and the turning of the whole artillery of the late Union press of the State against the Union party, secession would still be voted down unless the polls should be girt with secession bayonets.

Tennessee is now upon a war footing. Unquestionably she menaces the Union men of Kentucky, In pursuance of an understanding with the Kentucky secessionists, she stand ready to aid them at any moment in carrying the secession cause in this state by fire and steel. She has called out 65,000 men, and she has 34,000 on drill every day. These 34,000 men are armed with Maynard's rifles, and Sharp's rifles, the Minie ball being used for all of them. A considerable number of the arms were furnished from Montgomery, and 12,000 sabres are from Georgia. Cannon are cast as rapidly as possible at two establishments in Nashville and one in Memphis. Five millions of dollars appropriated by the Legislature for the arming of the State and all the county courts are exercising the authority given them by the legislature to levy whatever tax the please upon the respective counties of the support of the families of volunteers. Twelve or fifteen thousand troops are encamped at Union City, on the immediate border of Kentucky, and seven thousand on the Nashville railroad almost on the Kentucky line, ready to be precipitated upon Louisville at any time at the shortest notice.

In the meantime, Tennessee, having made all these formidable preparations for whatever may ensue, has commenced seizing Kentucky boats and cargoes upon the Mississippi river. Twenty or thirty Louisville steamboats, bound up from New Orleans, have been seized at Memphis by order of Gen. Pillow. Everyone that comes to that point is seized. If any boat attempts to pass, she is brought to by heavy batteries and compelled to remain. Our State can no longer send a boat down the Mississippi and expect her return. Our commerce upon that mighty thoroughfare is annihilated. And yet not a disunion organ or disunion man breathes a world of complaint or remonstrance. When two or three of our boats were brought to at Cairo under order of the U. S. Government, and, after the taking out of a few articles contraband of war, permitted to go upon their way, or disunionists seems ready to burst with fury and yelled forth a thousand fierce interrogatories as to whether Kentucky would submit for even a day too such atrocious interference with Kentucky commerce. They were for rushing to arms at once and sweeping the U.S. troops and the U. S. authority at once from the Illinois bank at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi. But now, when Tennessee goes a hundred degree further than the U. S. authorities at Cairo have dreamed of going, when she obliterates our whole commerce from the face of the Mississippi, when she brings her batteries to bear upon our boats and takes possession them and keeps possession of them assigning no reason whatever except that such is her own good pleasure of the good pleasure of the miserable vain and strutting despot[1] who is at the head of her military affairs, our disunionists are as dumb as if they had been born without tongues and as submissive as if they had been born without souls.

It seems to us that our people can have no great difficulty in rightly appreciating those miserable disunion politicians, who, whilst approving the utter confiscation, by Tennessee, of the whole of our Kentucky commerce and all of our Kentucky boats upon the Mississippi river, think it a most shocking and horrid and awful thing that there should be the slightest interference, by any power whatever, with the transportation to Tennessee of contraband articles from Kentucky upon the Nashville railroad. In the name of Heaven, which is the more important-the seeping our entire Mississippi commerce from existence or the stopping of a few bacon hams and barrels of flour upon the Nashville railroad?

Louisville Daily Journal, June 3, 1861. [2]

                    3, Tennessee War Tax explained

City Hall, Nashville, June 3, 1861.

In reply to the numerous inquiries to the War Tax, levied by a recent act of the Legislature, I will state that it amounts to 8 cents on the hundred dollars' worth of property.

In other words, a man must own taxable property to the value of ten thousand dollars, in order to pay eight dollars war tax; or property valued at five thousand, to pay four dollars; or property valued at one thousand to pay eighty cents of taxes; or a hundred dollars' worth of property, to pay eight cents. The man of small means, or possessed of a small amount of taxable property, will scarcely feel the additional tax levied for military purposes. A man worth one hundred thousand dollars in taxable property, would pay eighty dollars [sic] of additional tax.

Very respectfully,

A.   Nelson.

Nashville Union & American, June 4, 1861.




          3, "A reign of terror prevailed for three days…" The aftermath of Morgan's May 1 raid on Pulaski

Since the 1st of May our town has been a military camp, having been taken violently by the Federals of the 2nd of May. On account of Morgan's enthusiastic reception by the inhabitants the enemy came in town like demons belching forth oaths too bad to repeat. A reign of terror prevailed for three days, our court-yard which was beautified with grass & forest trees was first destroyed, the trees being skinned by the cavalry horses & the grass trampled down by them, the stores then were broken open around the square, & shops of every description were rifled of their valuables. Mr. Manning who owned a small jewelry shop & by his work upon watches maintained his family principally lost all his valuable instruments, Mr. Scoggin, a good [sic] man & favorite in town, who owns a drugstore, had his store ruined [sic] by the brutal soldiery, all suffered around the square in one way or another. In a different parts of the town, the soldiery entered ladies private apartments, & demanded whatever they wished. I was forced to submit to much [sic] which I scorned myself [sic] afterwards, the only consolation being the hope that the gallant Southern band might one day repay the deeds of the hostile foe. Mr. Ballentine's family suffered most. I visited them during their distress & heard them relate their troubles as they accumulated. Fifty armed [men?] rushed into the hall at one [sic] time, demanding in loud tones a negro [sic] which they suspected the family had harbored. Mrs. Mason, daughter of Mr. B.s, [sic] who was in her room above stairs hearing the loud voices, rushed down the stair-way standing proudly defiant before the infuriated mob demanded of them why [sic] they were there. They answered: "We want that negro [sic]" She replied, we know nothing of a negro [sic] belonging to you. Told to in words of eloquence that they had proved to her since their entrance into the town the character of their mission south-abolition of slavery. But not until the room (in which they suspected the negro [sic] to be concealed) was thrown open to their view did they hush their boisterous clamor. Mrs. B's private premises were over-run, the strawberry bed, cistern & fine flowers being greatly injured. Many of the citizens at their approch [sic] sought safety in concealment. Those who succeeded in eluding their grasp the most conspicuous being Mr. Wm. Martin, have since courted the tyranny which, at first appalled [sic] them. He, finding the Federals in pursuit of him sought shelter in a magnolia tree which shows conspicuously [sic] in his mother's garden. I do not know how he feels toward the tree which have him shelter, but it seems to me I should regard it with a holy reverence [sic]. One of our citizens found a cozy retreat in his wife's wardrobe, which however proved less [sic] secure than the sacred tree. He was found & forced to terms by the relentless foe. After the three days of terror, a garrison was firmly [sic] placed over our town which has encamped upon the square ever since rendering it an unfit place of resort by the ladies, all of whom adhere closely to their rebel principles. The commander Col., Mundy of the 23rd Kentucky finding some noble spirits who refused to yield to his despotic sway, chose to banish them from their homes, contrary to their wishes. The names of those summoned before his majesty are as follows. Ref. Mr. Mooney, Mr. Sheperd, Mr. Winstead (a member of Capt. Flournoy's Co. who came home to recruit his health) Dr. Sumpter, Dr. Edmunson, Dr. Abernathy Major Tom Jones, Mr. Brannan, Mr. Flipin, Mr. Frazier. The three latter accepted his terms I stayed at home, the others refusing, were doomed to exile, the just fate [sic] which he deemed their desert for their rebellious [sic] sentiments. Major Jones paid Owen a visit & fount after much persuasion [sic], a certain leniency in Gov. Andrew Johnson which mysteriously to us, allows him freedom [sic] such as it is.

Diary of Martha Abernathy, entry for June 3, 1862 .[3]

          3, News from Nashville on the Situation in Middle Tennessee


From the Memphis Appeal.

A gentleman who left Nashville about ten days ago, and arrived at Memphis yesterday with great difficulty, gives us some later details than we have before had from that quarter. He says that on the 16th  [April] instant there were but 3,500 troops in and around the city, 800 of which were immediately in the corporation, and the rest in the suburbs. There was, in addition, one regiment at Murfreesboro, and another at Shelbyville, all belonging to Gen Mitchell's division.

Our informant states that a few days before he left the "cotton agent" of the Washington despotism proceeded out to Major Tucker's plantation, some distance from Nashville, on the Murfreesboro road, and stole about twenty bales of cotton in the name of his government, and hauled it to the city. It had been concealed and was discovered by him. But little of this staple however, had been obtained by the Federals since their occupation of Middle Tennessee..

The bogus military governor, Andrew Johnson, has been reduced to the necessity of keeping an armed guard at his door all the time, as a protection to his person. He had issued orders to allow no citizen to appear on the streets after nine o'clock P. M. , and on the night of the f5th instant the public square was filled with parties under arrest, who had violated the despotic order. He has also established a detective policy some of whom dogged the footsteps of our informant with much importunity. The Chief Detective is an unscrupulous Yankee scoundrel, who several years ago occupied the same position at Washington City.[4]

Johnson has been attempting for more than a month to raise a full regiment as a body guard, but has so far succeeded in getting only about eighty Dutchmen to volunteer in that dirty capacity.

The rigor of the despotism continued to grow more severe. The Nashville Banner had been suppressed for refusing to publish abolition sentiments and versions of affairs in general.

Jas. T. Bell, late editor of the Gazette who was arrested some weeks since, had been released after his giving bond to remain in the city.

On the day before our informant left, the news reached Nashville, that Capt. John Morgan was moving upon the city from Lebanon, with a force of  1500 cavalry. Great consternation prevailed among Johnson and his minions in consequence and the full available Federal force was kept under arms all night in anticipation of an attack. [5] About 300 cavalry were kept around Johnson's premises, as a special force to resist any demonstration that might be made upon him. The despot himself is said to have been very much terrified, and had his clothes packed and his papers put up preparatory to a rapid hegira in case of such a necessity.

The people of Nashville are represented to as positively being more hostile in their feelings towards the Lincoln Government than ever. The flagrant outrages of Johnson's minions have exasperated and embittered them beyond the description of words, and they earnestly look forward to the day when swift retribution will be visited upon their persecution by the advancing legions of a triumphant Confederate army.

The Courier (Natchez, MS), May 3, 1862.





          3, Mule drive captured on Gallatin Pike

NASHVILLE, June 3, 1863.

G. GODDARD, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.:

Drove of 175 mules on Gallatin pike captured. Guerrillas crossed the Cumberland at 12.30 p. m. to-day. Stated they would be at Lebanon before dark, where Wheeler would be met with his cavalry division. Cavalry sent from here on both sides of river in pursuit, but have not overtaken them.

R. S. GRANGER, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 384.

          3, "…I experienced a disagreeable sensation, like screwing up my back…." Fremantle's observations on the Army of Tennessee

3d June, Wednesday.-Bishop Elliott left for Savannah at 6 A. M., in a down pour of rain, which continued nearly all day. Grenfell came to see me this morning in a towering rage. He had been arrested in his bed by the civil power on a charge of horse-stealing, and conniving at the escape of a negro [sic] from his master. General Bragg himself had stood bail for him, but Grenfell was naturally furious at the indignity. But, even according to his own account, he seems to have acted indiscreetly in the affair of the negro [sic], and he will have to appear before the civil court next October. General Polk and his officers were all much vexed at the occurrence, which, however, is an extraordinary and convincing proof that the military had not superceded the civil power in the Southern States; for here was an important officer arrested, in spite of the commander-in-chief, when in the execution of his office before the enemy. By standing bail, General Bragg gave a most positive proof that he exonerated Grenfell from any malpractices.

In the evening, after dark, General Polk drew my attention to the manner in which the signal beacons were worked. One light was stationary on the ground, whilst another was moved backwards and forwards over it. They gave us intelligence that General Hardee had pushed the enemy to within five miles of Murfreesboro', after heavy skirmishing all day.

I got out of General Polk the story of his celebrated adventure with the -- Indiana (Northern) regiment, which resulted in the almost total destruction of that corps. I had often during my travels heard officers and soldiers talking of this extraordinary feat of the "Bishop's." The modest yet graphic manner in which Gen. Polk related this wonderful instance of coolness and bravery was extremely interesting, and I now repeat it, as nearly as I can, in his own words.

"Well, sir, it was at the battle of Perryville, late in the evening--in fact, it was almost dark when Liddell's brigade came into action. Shortly after its arrival I observed a body of men, whom I believed to be Confederates, standing at an angle to this brigade. and firing obliquely at the newly arrived troops. I said. 'Dear me, this is very sad, and must be stopped; so I turned round, but could find none of my young men, who were absent on different messages; so I determined to ride myself and settle the matter. Having cantered up to the colonel of the regiment which was firing, I asked him in angry tones what he meant by shooting his own friends, and I desired him to cease doing so at once. He answered with surprise, 'I don't think there can be any mistake about it; I am sure they are the enemy.' 'Enemy!' I said; 'why, I have only just left them myself. Cease firing, sir; what is your name, sir?" "My name is Colonel --, of the -- Indiana; and pray, sir, who are you?"

"Then for the first time I saw, to my astonishment, that he was a Yankee, and that I was in rear of a regiment of Yankees.-Well, I saw that there was no hope but to brazen it out; my dark blouse and the increasing obscurity befriended me, so I approached quite close to him and shook my fist in his face, saying, I'll soon show you who I am, sir; cease firing, sir, at once.' I then turned my horse and cantered slowly down the line, shouting in an authoritative manner to the Yankees to cease firing; at the same time I experienced a disagreeable sensation, like screwing up my back, and calculating how many bullets would be between my shoulders every moment. I was afraid to increase my pace until I got to a small copse, when I put the spurs in and galloped back to my men. I immediately went up to the nearest colonel, and said to him, 'Colonel, I have reconnoitered those fellows pretty closely--and I find there is no mistake who they are; you may get up and go at them.' And I assure you, sir, that the slaughter of that Indiana regiment was the greatest I have ever seen in the war."

It is evident to me that a certain degree of jealous feeling exists between the Tennesseean [sic] and Virginian armies. This one claims to have had harder fighting than the Virginian army, and to have been opposed to the best troops and best generals of the North.

The Southerners generally appear to estimate highest the northeastern Federal troops, which compose in a great degree the armies of Grant and Rosecrans; they come from the States of Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, &c. The Irish Federals are also respected for their fighting qualities; whilst the genuine Yankees and Germans (Dutch) are not much esteemed.

I have been agreeably disappointed in the climate of Tennessee, which appears quite temperate to what I had expected.

Fremantle, Three Years, pp. 83-86.





          3, "Lewd Pictures"

The display of highly colored daubs and photographs of naked women, obscene groups, etc., in the windows and upon the stands of our stationers, booksellers, and news dealers has become most noticeably common and deserving of public attention and censure. We have long been accustomed to see such, upon a larger plan, hung about the walls of grogshops, club rooms, and places visited only by the male sex, but when they are to be introduced into the street windows and compiled into albums, it is certainly carrying the thing a bit too far-altogether too far. Such pandering to vitiated taste is at least unbecoming many of those who have been guilty of the practice, and in our opinion the city ordinance, prohibiting the publication or sale of obscene books, would apply as well to the sell of obscene pictures.

Memphis Bulletin, June 3, 1864.




          3, Poem, "Lookout Mountain," by Alon. D. Austin

Where Lookout's summit proudly rise

Bathed in the blue atherial [sic] skies,

And glorious immortality

O'er space illimited [sic] by gaze

To yearn for woodland's misty haze

And dream of sad reality


Again I see the bayonet's gleam

On Chickamauga's deadly stream.

The flashing red artillery

The dread battle's sulphur's glare,

The charging shout of loud despair,

Midst the death shots rattling fearfully


How Mission Ridge and Lookout glow,

With camp-fires of the haughty foe;

And rebel flags fly tauntingly

But Grant is marshaling his host

To drive the traitor from his post

He swore to hold, so vauntingly.


Hark, 'tis the bugler's sound I hear!

Ring through the valley shrill and clear,

In wild free notes of harmony.

And now the rattling drum and fife,

It is the signal for the strife,

The strife which leads to victory.


Up o'er yon craggy rock, steep,

The dreadful crash of battle sweep,

And surges on remorselessly,

And now the rebel legions flee,

Before the banners of the free.


Borne by the brave resistlessly,

Bright beams the sun o'er Lookout's brow,

Its rock-ribbed caverns silent now;

And water falls dash musically.

No more the bugles sound will wake

The echoes o'er sweet Luvih lakes [?]

Reposing ever peacefully


Far, far below the shinning plain

Now blooming into life again

Beside the noble Tennessee.

And gallant sons and daughters fair,

Will bless their freedom over thee,

The land of liberty.

Chattanooga Daily Gazette, June 3, 1865.


[1] Gideon J. Pillow

[2] As cited in PQCW.

[3] There is no corroborative evidence to independently verify these terrorist acts in Pulaski to be found in the OR, although that would be expected.

[4] William Truesdail, Chief of Army Police.

[5]The informant had no way of  knowing, but it was actually 325 cavalry on a raid into Federal territory. It reached Lebanon where the Confederate population welcomed them with shelter, food and whisky. They got drunk and when Federal forces arrived on May 5, Morgan's raiders were completely, humiliatingly and unalterably routed, Morgan even losing his favorite horse, a mare, "Black Bess."


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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