16, Report on Female Participation in Forrest's Raid on Murfreesboro
Capture of Murfreesboro'.
The Women in Battle.
The Bristol (Tenn.) Advocate gives some interesting particulars of the capture of Murfreesboro' by Col. Forrest. It says:
...Never were soldiers hailed with more enthusiastic expressions of gratitude and exultation than were the Confederate soldiers hailed by the citizens of the town. Numbers of them, including not a few ladies, joined in the bloody conflict, and with pistols and everything else with which they could fight, assisted in dealing dismay and death upon the hated invaders of their homes and their rights.
It was yet early in the morning when our forces commenced the attack, and many of the ladies of the place could not be restrained from rushing into the streets, with disheveled hair and in their sleeping attire, cheering our soldiers, and when any would fall, or were wounded, they would clasp them in their arms, assisting in heaving them to their houses and ministering to them as to delivering angels, and when our officers would remonstrate, telling them that they were in danger from the shots of the enemy, they would reply that the Lord would defend them and that it was no greater peril than that to which their gallant defenders were all exposed. ...
The Knoxville Register also contains some particulars of the fight. It says:
As Colonel Forrest's command was marching through Cannon county, on their way to Murfreesboro', the citizens crowded the thoroughfares, cheering our gallant men with every demonstration of joy. The ladies everywhere were particularly enthusiastic. Some of the citizens of Cannon had been arrested and were confined in prison at Murfreesboro'. The ladies besought our men, with tears in their eyes, to rescue their husbands and fathers from the hands of the tyrant. One little girl ran up to that old patriot and soldier, Captain Haney, of the 1st Georgia cavalry, and wringing her hands, implored him to bring her father back to her again. The old man turned to her, with his whole soul beaming in his face, and exclaimed, while the manly tear started to his eye, "I will, my daughter! I will!" The result proved the truth of his words. ...
As our little army went dashing into Murfreesboro', awaking the echoes by the rattling of their horses hoofs "o'er the stony streets," the whole population were aroused from their slumbers, and rushed to their windows, balconies, and verandas, with every demonstration of delight. Ladies could be seen kneeling in postures of thankfulness to Heaven for the day of their deliverance. As the morning advanced and as the fight thickened, the same fair ones were in the streets in spite of the whistling of the balls and rain of lead, administering to the wants of our soldiers, filling their canteens with water and their haversacks with an abundance of provisions. Unheeding the shots from the enemy's guns, they thought only of the comfort of their gallant champions. One lady received a ball through her dress, whilst another had her parasol shot from her hand, the ball passing within two inches of her jeweled fingers. Such heroism has never been known in the annals of war, and will illuminate to the remotest generation the history of our glorious land.
Natchez Daily Courier, August 16, 1862.
16, "The Women of the South"
The soldiers of the Confederacy, although fighting in the noblest cause, and for the highest stake that men ever battled for, have during the long and unequal conflict had much to dispirit them. Half fed and illy clad, they have been compelled to endure the rigor of a winter campaign in a climate to them alike unnatural and inhospitable. They have had to encounter the exhausting heat of a southern summer, deprived of all the appliances which secure either health or comfort. While their enemy has been bounteously provided with all the material of war, with all the medical science forwards to save life or alleviate suffering, with all that money and access to the markets of the world could supply to make war easy; the southern patriot shut out from all sources whence could come any such assistance, has had to struggle on through the gloomy series of hardships and sisters which have hitherto characterized this war, to him supported only by the indomitable fortitude with which the justice of his cause and the magnitude of the interests involved could give him. But amid all the trials of the doubtful struggle he has had one unifying sound of cheer -- the sympathy which the noble daughters of the South have extended to the defenders of their land -- it is not to much to say that but for the heroic spirit -- the self-sacrifice -- the generous devotion which they have displayed, the fight would ere now have been ended and lost. Every impulse of the southern heart has been fired, every manlier characteristic of the Southern Nation has been strengthened by the conduct of their women.
The chivalry they have inherited from Knightly ancestors -- the holy love they bear to wife, to mother and to sister -- they duty which they owe to those who have nursed them through the pangs of wounds and sickness and cheered them with high and holy encouragement upon the toilsome march , and ever on the eve of battle, have appealed to those emotions which once aroused, make men invincible.
Let the soldiers who survive this contest devote a life-long gratitude to the glorious being who deprived themselves of comforts to administer [?] to their necessities, and when the sound of war is hushed, and our people remember its terrible dangers only as visions for pride and thanksgiving, let the Confederacy not forget the accord, in highest honors, to show who, when its existence was a matter for doubt with its most unflinching defender, did so much to redeem it.
The Vidette, August 16, 1862. *
*Note: - "The Vidette" was the newspaper of Brigadier-General John Hunt Morgan which was published, in this case, in Hartsville, Tennessee, when Morgan had occupied the town. Other issues were published in other towns in Tennessee and Kentucky. There are but few of this occasional publication extant. Provided through the courtesy of Mr. Fred Prouty, Executive Director of the Tennessee Wars Commission in Nashville, Tennessee.