Saturday, August 27, 2011

August 26 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

26, Skirmish at Cumberland Iron Works
AUGUST 26, 1862.--Skirmish at Cumberland Iron Works, Tenn.
Reports of Col. William W. Lowe, Fifth Iowa Cavalry.
SIR: On the 25th instant, at about 1. 30 p. m., I received a dispatch from Maj. Hart, commanding at Fort Donelson, stating that he was being attacked. I immediately started over with all the cavalry force I could collect without delay and arrived at the fort about sunset. I found that the enemy had been repulsed by Maj. Hart's command, as stated in his report, to which I beg leave to refer you. It then being too late to make any move that night I immediately took steps to make everything secure and awaited the movements of the enemy. Nothing being heard from him during the night I started the next morning at daylight with 120 men of my regiment to ascertain his whereabouts and strength. At a point known as the Cumberland Iron Works he was found to be in strong position. I at once had a few men dismounted to act as skirmishers, who speedily drove in the pickets, and, following up with two companies, it was soon ascertained that most of the enemy's force were dismounted, and using, at a distance of from 10 to 20 yards, the muskets recently captured at Clarksville. A 6-pounder was also brought to bear upon us, and finding it somewhat annoying I ordered Company B, under Lieut.s Summers and McNeely, to charge and take the piece. This was done in the most gallant style, the piece being upset and the Carriage broken to pieces and rendered perfectly useless. Parts of Companies A and L, under Capt. Lower and Lieut. Gallagher, were started forward to the support of Company B, while Company D, under Capt. Baird, was held in reserve. The enemy's cavalry was at once put to flight, but finding that with cavalry alone the infantry could not be dislodged from their hiding places, I reformed my command in an open space and waited for more than an hour for his appearance. Failing to draw him out, and both men and horses suffering much from fatigue and want of food, I returned to Fort Donelson. During the skirmish all behaved with the utmost coolness.
I lost in killed 1 officer [Lieut. Summers] and 3 men; wounded, 1 officer [Lieut. McNeely] and 13 men, of whom 6 were captured, and 5 men captured who were not wounded. The enemy's loss is not known.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
FORT DONELSON, September 2, 1862.
I now have reliable information that the loss of the enemy in fight of Tuesday, 26th, at Cumberland Iron Works, was 35 killed and wounded. I have twice made a reconnaissance beyond the Iron Works. All is going well; am almost ready. Can I be furnished with a small amount of secret-service money? I have some valuable spies who ought to be paid. Answer at once.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. I, p.39.
Ed. note - Cumberland Furnace is the subject of Tennessee Historical Commission historical marker no. 3 E 4, in Dickson County. It was established in 1790 and was operated during the Civil War by A. W. Van Leer.


26, Skirmish at Harrison's Landing and skirmish at Thatcher's Landing

HDQRS. U. S. FORCES, Poe's Tavern, August 26, 1863--8 p. m.
Capt. J. R. MUHLEMAN, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.:
Col. Funkhouser met 30 of the enemy at Harrison's Landing this morning, this side of the river; attacked them, killing 3 (1 of them a lieutenant) and capturing 2 privates. The prisoners report that the Chattanooga Rebel of this morning reports the fall of Charleston. They say further that it reports the defeat of Lee by Meade. I give these as prisoners' reports. May God grant their truth. They report further what, if true, is important to us: that the enemy opposed to us are all moving toward Atlanta.
This morning I sent a forage train to Thatcher's Landing, and with the escort a section of artillery. A few shots were fired across at their works, when a general stampede took place. All the fords and crossings are occupied by a few regiments of the enemy with a few guns, with light works. They have for the past few nights sent small parties across to capture some of our men, to gain information. They are reported to be poorly informed of our purposes and force.
A very reliable report reached me this evening that on yesterday the advance of Burnside's forces reached Kingston, and after a short engagement thrashed Forrest. I am now making 2,000 pounds of flour per day. The condition of the command was never better.
Very truly,
W. B. HAZEN, Brig.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. III, p 176.


24, "SOMETHING ABOUT RATS;" A public health issue in Memphis
A good many foolish people hate rats. We do not. We rather like them. We mention this not to be considered exceptional members of the class of foolish people, or as a proof of superior sagacity, but as an apology for saying something about a species of very useful animals that are abused both verbally and in print, a great deal more than they deserve. There are a half a dozen sorts of rats, all belonging to the family of rodents, a class of mammals distinguished by the chisel shape of the incisor teeth. The largest rats in the world are found in Bengal and on the Cormandel coast. They have a body thirteen or fourteen inches long, a tail from fourteen to eighteen inches long, and full grown one of them will weigh three or four pounds. In this country there are found six varieties of rats. The black rats, poor fellow, now nearly extinct, with their short, soft fur, dark backs, lead colored bellies and brown feet; they came to this country in the 16th century, from Europe and are pretty, timid, and active. The grey or Norway rat, which was brought to this country about the time of the Declaration of Independence, and is now the most common variety, was originally brought from Central Asia to Europe, through Russia. It is larger, fiercer, and more voracious than the black rat. The Chinese rats, which are colored black, white and brown, like guinea pigs, and have bluntish [sic] heads, large ears and long black whiskers, are now common in South America and Mexico. They are the prettiest and most easily tamed of the rat kind. On wealthy rat fancier in New York has several hundred pets of this sort. They are so tame that they will come at his call and like to be fondled.
The wood rat of the Gulf States is a very mild and docile variety, living mostly on fruits, roots and grain. The bush rat of the far west is a light brown chap with white feet. The cotton rat is of reddish brown the side being lined with dark brown. It is very pretty, active and easily tames. The common grey rat is so powerful and fierce and prolific, that it drives out all other sorts from its vicinity. It is intelligent and can be trained to perform many tricks, but its quarrelsome disposition makes it difficult to tame. A gentleman of our acquaintance has a female rat that he carries about in his coat pocket, and it is so thoroughly domesticated that it makes no efforts to escape. He has trained it to defend his pocket, and no watch dog can more faithfully guard his master's premises than it does the contents of the pocket.
Through frequently living in filthy localities, rats take great pains t keep themselves clean and their fur smooth. Their prehensile tails can be used for almost all the purposes of hands, and this makes them, when tame, very amusing. Rates are wonderfully prolific. They have young when they are six months old, and produce five or six litter of 12 or 13 ratlets [sic] each every year. The progeny of a pair of rats will thus be much over a million within three years. This prolificness [sic] would make them a great scourge, if their lives were not devoted to useful labor, but rats are very useful. They are the only scavengers we have in Memphis. Even in cities where thorough sewerage removed a vast amount of the decomposing matter that would other wise case disease – rats are indispensable. If there are only one hundred thousand rats in Memphis, and this is a very low estimate, then it take at least two hundred and fifty bushels of food every day to support them, and this food is almost wholly of such vegetable and animal matter as would otherwise be decomposed and generate disease.
Memphis Bulletin, August 26, 1864.

No comments: