Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 30 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

30, U .S. S. Lexington destroys storehouse used as a base by Confederates on Cumberland River and and intelligence report on strength of Confederates near Harpeth Shoals
OFFICE MISSISSIPPI SQUADRON, Cairo, Ill., January 30, 1863.
SIR: In obedience to your order, I proceeded up the Cumberland River with the gunboat Lexington to Nashville, Tenn., and returned to this place last night [January 29]. Meeting with a transport that had been fired upon by artillery 20 miles above Clarksville, I at once went to that point and, landing, burned a storehouse used by the rebels as a resort and cover. On leaving there to descend to Clarksville, where I had passed a fleet of thirty-one steamers with numerous barges in tow, convoyed by three light-draft gunboats under Lieutenant-Commander Fitch, the Lexington was fired upon by the enemy, who had two Parrott guns, and struck three times, but the rebels were quickly dislodged and dispersed.
I then returned to Clarksville and, agreeable to the arrangement already made by Lieutenant-Commander Fitch, left that place at midnight with the whole fleet of boats, and reached Nashville the following night without so much as a musket shot having been fired upon a single vessel of the fleet. Doubtless the lesson of the previous day had effected this result.
From the best information to be had, it appears that the rebels have a number of guns with a considerable covering force extending along Harpeth Shoals, a distance of some 8 or 10 miles. This force can readily operate upon both the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers. Besides these guns the enemy also has several pieces about Savannah on the Tennessee. No steamer should be permitted to run on either river above Forts Henry and Donelson without the convoy of a gunboat.
Lieutenant-Commander Fitch has not at present an adequate force to protect Government transports upon the two streams, and I would suggest the propriety of sending him the Lexington. Her heavy guns have great effect with the rebels, and while they will fire upon vessels immediately under the howitzers of the light-draft gunboats, they will not show themselves where the heavier gunboats are. I have no doubt, with the aid of the Lexington, Captain Fitch will be able effectually to protect all the Government vessels in those rivers. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. L. PHELPS, Lieutenant-Commander. 
Captain A.M. PENNOCK, U. S. Navy, Fleet Captain and Commandant of Station, Cairo, Ill. 
NOR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pp. 21-22.




30, Report of Maj.-Gen. Rousseau regarding conditions in Middle Tennessee

[Ed. note: The Report of Major-General Lovell H. Rousseau regarding conditions in Middle Tennessee at the end of January 1864 is remarkable inasmuch as it speaks to the effects of military rule in the area. The report provides a rare and striking glimpse into the social circumstances and change rendered by two years of war and military occupation.]

HDQRS. DISTRICT OF NASHVILLE, Nashville, Tenn., January 30, 1864.
Brig. Gen. W. D. WHIPPLE, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Dept. of the Cumberland:
GEN.: I think it proper I should report to you touching affairs in this district generally, and I do so.
The troops are generally under good discipline and very well drilled; far better than I expected to find.
They are well equipped and in good condition, excepting of course the Fifth Tennessee Cavalry, Col. Stokes, and a few others who are neither well drilled, disciplined, [n]or equipped.
It is proper for me to remark here that two battalions of that regiment will never be of service together, and I shall press upon Governor Johnson the suggestion of the general commanding the department to separate them.
Generally matters go on pretty well between the military and the people in the district, but with some exceptions. They have not gone so well at and about Gallatin. At other posts in the district there has been no real cause for compliant, the post commanders having been vigilant in suppressing the rebellion and just in their treatment of the people.
I call especial attention to the admirable administration of affairs in his command by Col. Henry R. Mizner, Fourteenth Michigan Volunteers, at Columbia. His troops, generally led by Maj. Thomas C. Fitz Gibbon, a very efficient and gallant officer, have captured, I believe, more armed rebels than he has men in this regiment.
The disposition of the people to return to their allegiance is general and apparent. I think that eight-tenths of the people of this district desire the restoration of civil authority and the old Government, and will say so when the proper occasion is offered. I have conversed with most of the leading and influential men of the district, and think I am not deceived.
The change is very marked and decided, and the general commanding himself would be surprised to see it.
The disorders and confusion incident to the war have caused great suffering, of which they are heartily tired, and are desirous of peace on almost any terms.
The negro population is giving much trouble to the military, as well as to the people. Slavery is virtually dead in Tennessee, although the State is excepted from the emancipation proclamation. Negroes leave their homes and stroll over the country uncontrolled. Hundreds of them are supported by the Government who neither work nor are able to work. Many straggling negroes have arms obtained from soldiers, and by their insolence and threats greatly alarm and intimidate white families, who are not allowed to keep arms, or who would generally be afraid to use if they had them. The military cannot look after these things through the country, and there are no civil authorities to do it.
In many cases negroes leave their homes to work for themselves, boarding and lodging with their masters, defiantly asserting their right to do it. It is now and has been for some time the practice of soldiers to go to the country and bring in wagon-loads of negro women and children to this City, and I suppose to other posts. Protectionists are granted to some slaves to remain with their owners, exempt from labor, as in case of Mrs. Buchanan, relative to Secretary E. H. East, whose letter on that subject is forwarded with Thos. Gen. Paine has adopted the policy of hiring slaves to their owners by printed contracts, made in blank and filled up for the occasion, which, though a flagrant usurpation, I have not interfered with his action on that and many other subjects, preferring to submit such matters to the consideration of the general commanding the department, which I shall do in a separate communication forwarded at the same time this goes. Inclosed I send you blank contract used by Brig.-Gen. Paine.
Officers in command of colored troops are in constant habit of pressing all able-bodied slaves into the military service of the United States.
One communication from citizens near McMinnville on that subject I have already forwarded you. Many similar complaints have been made.
This State being excepted from the emancipation proclamation, I supposed all [these] things are against good faith and the policy of the Government. Forced enlistments I have endeavored to stop, but find it difficult if not impracticable to do so. In fact, as district commander, I am satisfied I am unable to correct the evils complained of connected with the black population, and, besides, I am not without orders or advice from department headquarters. At best, the remedy would be difficult to find, and I suppose can only be furnished by the restoration of civil authority. By proclamation Governor Johnson has ordered elections in March of civil officers.
I desire to call attention to another matter. From impressments, legal and illegal, and from thefts, there are very few horses, mules, or oxen left on the farms, and the few that are left are almost worthless. At present there are many large farms without one serviceable work beast on the place. The farmers are afraid to purchase because of repeated impressments. Every mounted regiment that goes through the country takes what it pleases of stock, &c., and pays what price, or none at all, it likes. Between the loyal and disloyal no discrimination is made. Unless an order be made preventing future impressments and protecting the farmers, little or no crops will be produced.
When the civil authority shall be restored, assurances of protection from department headquarters to all persons who would take the oath of amnesty prescribed in the President's proclamation, in my opinion, would induce the community almost in a body to voluntarily take that oath and seek the protection of Government. At present that proclamation is of little practical utility amongst the people, as there is no person appointed by whom the oath should be administered, no place or time fixed for that purpose. It would seem that some importance should be attached to the administration of that oath to produce the effect designed, and should not be (as oaths heretofore) lightly administered.
The policy of seizing houses in Nashville in which to place commissary and quartermaster stores is bad for the Government and unjust to the people; it is done at an enormous expense, as rents average high here and the Government cannot afford to take a loyal man's store-house without paying him a fair compensation. A very small portion of the rents thus paid would be sufficient to erect temporary buildings, which would furnish ample room for all such stores. Several quite extensive buildings of the character indicated have been erected and others are nearly completed, but it would certainly be better if all Government stores were kept in Government buildings, as it would save expense of labor in handling the stores and placing them in and taking them out of upper sorties of houses, as well as of money in rents.
The building of the Northwestern Railroad is progressing pretty well. The following is a report of the present condition of the road:
From Nashville: Road in running order, 34 miles; ready for grading and iron, 20 miles.
From Tennessee River in this direction: Ready for iron, 18 miles; grading yet to be done, 6 miles.

Col. Innes, First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics, reports that he requires two more negro regiments, [with] which, in addition to some 300 of McCallum's men (he understands is ordered to report to him, and that if the quartermaster will send forward the iron he can get one or two more engines to send to the Tennessee River), he can finish the road ready for business in sixty days. Fifteen hundred tons of iron for that road left Pittsburg for this place three days ago. I shall endeavor to supply Col. Innes with the forces he desires as soon as it may be done.
The Fourteenth Michigan (Col. Mizner) is re-enlisting, and will soon probably go on furlough as veterans. Other troops will have to fill their place.
The road to Columbia, including bridges built, was repaired by men principally under my command. Some time since, as you were informed at the time, I sent a regiment of colored troops to guard at small bridges and to erect stockades. This I thought necessary, as squads of the enemy were going through the country and might interrupt transportation by the destruction of those bridges. When Gen. Ward's brigade, now ordered to the front, shall leave here, there will not be enough troops to guard the railroad between this and Murfreesborough and the supplies at this point. There will then be but four regiments left here-the Thirteenth Wisconsin, Seventy-third Ohio; one of them must be sent on the railroad toward Murfreesborough.
The Thirteenth Wisconsin has re-enlisted and will soon go home, thus leaving two regiments of infantry and Col. Galbraith's battalion of cavalry to guard this place. It seems to me that now one of the two regiments at McMinnville could be spared from that point-Twenty-third Missouri Volunteers-to this place, thus leaving Col. Gilbert, the more efficient of the two, in command of the post. It is hoped that the bridge now being built by him will be finished by the time the Twenty-third Missouri starts for this place, if you think it should be so ordered; but even the addition of that regiment will not afford a sufficient guard for the supplies here. I have telegraphed on this subject to-day. The Eighth Iowa Cavalry is on the line of Northwestern Railroad, and Gen. Gillem thinks it is needed there.
Respectfully submitted.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. II, 267-270.


Friday, January 27, 2012

January 27 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

27, Recorder's Court.
…William Smith…and his wife Mollie, got into a dispute, which led to their arrest. From the elder Mrs. Smith, mother of Bill, we learn that Bill found Mollie at Emilia Street's, fell in love with her, and after a short courtship, and an explicit understanding that the frail Mollie would never again visit "Smoky," Bill determined to make "a decent woman of her," and married her. Matters progressed smoothly for a time, when Mollie decamped; Bill found her at Martha Carson's, persuaded her to return home, and she complied. The following day she took away some of her clothes, and was about carrying off a second lot, when Bill "smelled a mice," and down Gay street after her, and with more physique than prudence, he brought her back to the paternal roof, where a considerable fuss ensued, which was o­nly stopped by the arrest of both parties. Bill was fined $10 and costs—Mollie $1 and costs. In justice to Mollie we should say that she acted like a dutiful wife in Court, in trying to get her Billy off as light as possible.
Nashville Dispatch, January 27, 1863.


27, "A Salt and Battery"
A grocer, on Front row, had a pet joke, which he has been in the habit of getting off at least once a week for some months past. He offers to give a two hundred pounds of salt to a man who will carry it the length of his store, without setting it down. He always wins the wager, for the man who carries the salt will have to set it down at last. It was a mere catch in the words of the proposition. A darkey [sic] came up with him yesterday, however. He went into the store, looking unusually green, and soon was picked out for a victim of his joke. Coffee [sic] shouldered the "Salina," and after carrying it down through the store, hung it up on a hook [sic], thereby winning the sack fairly, as he never "set it down" at all. The merchant paid the forfeit, and then offered to give a monstrous cheese to the darkey [sic] if he could butt it off the top of a barrel with his head, when it was set up edgewise. The negro [sic] did not wait a second invitation, but ran a tilt at the "Western reserve" immediately. The cheese was spoilt [sic], the centre of it being soft and decayed. The human battering ram went clear through it, and was the most damaged looking customer afterward you ever saw. He withdrew his forces in dismay.
Memphis Bulletin, January 27, 1864

January 26 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

26, "Big Raid by the Mackerel Brigade." A juvenile gang in Memphis

Some of the members of this celebrated gang of pilferers and thieves made a raid on Saturday and Sunday nights, on the store of S. P. C. Clark & Co., and D. O. Gibson, north side of the square. They broke the windows and took out good of considerable value. They broke the windows and took out goods. They levied quite a contribution on Clark's splendid stock of hats, abstracting goods to the value of one hundred dollars, besides putting him to considerable expense repairing the damage done to the windows. It is time that band of petty thieves was broken up. 
Memphis Bulletin, January 26, 1864.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 25 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

HDQRS. VOLUNTEER AND CONSCRIPT BUREAU, Shelbyville, January 25, 1863.
Col. BRENT, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.:
To-day I have worked through six brigades; will continue the work to-morrow. Col. Biffle's regiment has moved north in the field work, and will to-morrow rake this county from near the enemy's lines south. I have made provisions with Gen. Wharton to cover the movement and protect the command. Gen. Forrest is present and informs me that Dibrell's regiment is on the way through Marshall County to Fayetteville. I have sent a courier for him and will order him directly to the starting-ground to sweep the four corners of the counties referred to in my dispatch yesterday. I will then sweep* over Williams and Maury. I applied to Gen. Cheatham for an officer to carry forward my instructions to Tullahoma and place the details from that corps under working orders, but he declines allowing even for that temporary service any officer that I think equal to the work. I cannot put that duty on one in whom I have not full confidence. I see no alternative but to come forward myself, but it would have greatly advanced my work if he would have allowed me the use of a satisfactory officer. If I had the corps of Lieut.-Gen. Hardee under working orders I could see my work going on satisfactory. The general may rely on my doing all that it is possible to accomplish.
GID. J. PILLOW, Brig.-Gen., C. S. Army, and Chief of Bureau.
OR, Ser. IV, Vol. 2, p. 371.
HDQRS. VOLUNTEER AND CONSCRIPT BUREAU, Shelbyville, January 26, 1863.
Col. CAMPBELL, Principal Assistant for Middle Tennessee:
Col. Avery has instructions to sweep the county of Lincoln, arresting stragglers, absentees, deserters, and all men liable to the operations of the conscript law and bring them in to you. Having performed that duty, you will hold him in hand and use his command as actively as possible in gathering up stragglers and conscripts in the counties of Franklin, Lincoln, Giles, Lawrence, and in that portion of North Alabama laying along the Tennessee line within the counties above indicated. I will put a working force in the other counties myself....
* * * * 
GID. J. PILLOW, Brig.-Gen., C. S. Army, Chief of Bureau.
OR, Ser. IV, Vol. 2, p. 374.
*Ed. note - Pillow's use of the verb "sweep" here indicates that the term "conscript sweep" is appropriate.

25, Foraging expedition from Irish Bottom to Evans' Island

JANUARY 25, 1865.--Expedition from Irish Bottom to Evans' Island. Tenn.

Report of Col. John A. Shannon, First U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery.

HDQRS. FORAGING EXPEDITION, Irish Bottom, Tenn., January 28, 1865.

SIR: I have the honor to report that in accordance with instructions received from Maj. Smith, acting inspector-general, Second Brigade, Fourth Division, Twenty-third Army Corps, I proceeded to Beaver Dam Bottom on the 25th instant, and did not find the cattle there. I then moved on down the river and did not find them until I got to Evans' Island, where the cattle were on the island, and the water and ice running in the river so bad that the men in charge could not get them off. I found Lieut. Wiley M. Christian in command of the First Tennessee; he had three commissioned officers and eighty-six men. Upon ascertaining the fact that the cattle could not be moved immediately I sent to the Beaver Dam for Capt. Murphy and his fifty men to come and take charge of the guard and cattle. Capt. Murphy had two commissioned officers with him. I then left orders for Capt. Murphy to bring the cattle up to the Beaver Dam as soon as practicable, and as he then had six commissioned officers and 136 men, I thought that that was a sufficient guard for 192 cattle (the number I found there), and I took the responsibility upon myself to order the cavalry to come on and report to Col. Hawley, as ordered.

Lieut. Christian accounts for the absence of his men in this way, i. e., that when he started from Knoxville he had to leave the sick there, bringing only sixty-eight men with him, but that they are getting better and are rejoining their command; he now has eighty-six men, and he knows of six that had started from Knoxville and would be there by this time. I apprehend, that if the present cold weather continues and the ice continues to run in the river as it now does, that the cattle cannot get off the island, and having consumed the forage there it will be exceedingly difficult for them to live.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN A. SHANNON, Col., Cmdg. Foraging Expedition.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. I, p. 10.

January 24 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

24, U. S. Army fights small-pox
General Orders, No. 4
Headquarters U. S. Forces
Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 24, 1864
I. *** All cases of small-pox, citizens or soldiers, will be promptly reported to Acting Assistant Surgeon A. D. White, at his office, in the Bostick house, a large brick building on the Charlotte Pike, by whom they will be conveyed to the small-pox camps and treated.
The unchecked spread of this disease necessitates this regulation, which will be strictly enforced.
Commanding Officers and Surgeons of Regiments will be held responsible for its execution in their regiments
By command of Brig. Gen. R. S. Granger
Nashville Dispatch, January 29, 1864.


January 24, 1863, "Our informant states that they 'stuck them as if they had been hogs.'"
It is reported that the negroes employed as cooks, etc., o­n the steamboats recently captured near the shoals by the guerrillas, were butchered in the most brutal manner by their captors, who dragged them aside and cut their throats. Our informant states that they "stuck them as if they had been hogs." And yet these rebels talk of the horrors of negro insurrections, while they perpetrate atrocities which wild Congoes or Fejee cannibals never exceeded. Why if anything could inflame the slaves to insurrection, it would be the cowardly and barbarous murder of these fellows o­n the Murfreesboro road, and at Harpeth Shoals. 
Nashville Daily Union, January 24, 1863.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Confederate official complains to Richmond about failure of conscription in East Tennessee

23, Confederate official complains to Richmond about failure of conscription in East Tennessee
Hon. Ben. Hill, C.S. Senate
DEAR SIR: As you were on your return home from Congress last September I was so fortunate as to fall in with you and have a hasty conversation upon the state of affairs in East Tennessee, and the proper course to be pursued in this department. On that occasion I was pleased to find your mind open to the truth and capable of comprehending our peculiar political and social condition. As I was taking leave of you (as the train neared New Market, where I stopped) you told me that you would address the President directly upon the subject, which I have no doubt you did. I then hoped much from your action in the premises; but other counsels prevailed. Effects have followed causes, and developments have established the correctness of what I then told you was the condition of East Tennessee. I would not now trouble you with the affairs of East Tennessee if I did not feel constrained so to do by a sense of duty. It is to the calm, conservative patriots that the country must look, in this her darkest hour of trial, for deliverance. As such I have ever looked upon and now address you.
That I may the more clearly present and enforce my present views, I beg to recall to your remembrance the substance of the views expressed in the conversation referred to. On that occasion you will remember that I predicted disaster from the proposed conscription of East Tennessee. I told you that the people of East Tennessee were misrepresented and misunderstood, that there was but one single legitimate argument in favor of conscription, and that was that the men of East Tennessee were as much bound to fight for our independence as our own volunteers or the men from any other section, and that in view of moral obligation they were entitled to no peculiar exemption, and in that view the soldiers in the service had the right to feel that all should fare alike; but that being said, all was said. The end and object of the war are to preserve American institutions in their purity, defend the principles of the American Constitution, and as the only means of doing that, establish the independence of the Confederacy-whip Lincoln and his followers. To do this we must husband all our resources and bring out all our available strength; that if we found within our borders a section where the people were not politically with us, yet not our open, active enemies, it was the duty of our rulers to rise to the exigencies and importance of the occasion, take men as they were, and not as they should have been, and use them for the furtherance of the great end to be attained-the gaining of our independence-in such spheres as they could be made useful, and not with any narrow, contracted policy of political proscription decapitate or convert. I told you that East Tennesseeans, as you and I, had to be devoted to our Government, created by our State and Federal Constitutions. In the opening of the political struggle preceding the Revolution...all conservative men rallied around their institutions of Government, adapting the one word Union as the comprehensive indices by which was originally meant our constitutional Government as composed of our State sovereignties and Federal sovereignties as created by our constitutions, and under the ruling cry of Union formed a party, and as such party prepared to resist all political encroachments upon our institutions.
After Mr. Lincoln's first proclamation many of our best men, believing that the call for troops was only to defend the Capital against attack as threatened in the imprudent speech of Mr. Secretary Walker, again rallied to the cry of Union. And the[n] began the separation of friends in East Tennessee. At the time the separation was slight; on the stump the discussion became bitter. The breach was widened and culminated in the proposition to dismember our State. That passed away, and the great wrong to the people by the Union leaders was here committed of again rallying as a party under the cry of Union for the purpose of preventing men who had advocated the separation of the State from the Federal Union from being elected to office. Step by step (many steps taken in consequence of the rashness, not to say wickedness, of the men who claimed to control South whole counsels in East Tennessee) the people were led on until as a whole they took what they felt they had the right to take, the ground of neutrality, so far as active hostilities were concerned. This I tell you was the actual condition of East Tennessee when it was proposed to enforce the conscript law.
I told you that they would turn their strength against whichever Government attempted to force them from their position; that if the effort was made to enforce the conscript it would ruin us and greatly damage the Confederacy; that we would get no soldiers; that it would cause a stampede to Kentucky in part and a hiding out in the caves and mountains, and in the end the destruction of our section; that where we would get one man as a recruit we would send three to Kentucky and require the withdrawal of two soldiers from the army to protect East Tennessee; that we would send 10,000 men to Kentucky to the Federal lines clamoring for assistance to recover for them homes, from which they claim to have been driven; and that in all probability another effort would be made to invade East Tennessee. What I then predicted is now in part the history of this unhappy country. If you will require a report from the enrolling officer at Knoxville you will find that he has not added to the strength of the Army. He has not mustered into service as many men as have been taken from the ranks to hunt up conscripts and guard exposed points, the guarding of which has been rendered necessary by the excitement incident to this false move.
In addition to this a raid has been made upon our railroad, and every day the enemy receives full information of the state of our forces, and unless you can get the President to interpose and arrest the evil every man of the old Union party will leave. The expenses of the department are very heavy, an officer for every district in each county, any number of braided and brass-buttoned gentlemen who ought to be with their commands taking their ease as recruiting officers, besides the soldiers that are detailed to police the county and hunt up conscripts. It is now apparent to all (except a special few whose notions of a cleansing of the political sanctuary urge to seize upon the opportunity to drive from the country all who are not active political friends) that the effort to conscript East Tennessee is not only a failure, but a disastrous calamity to our cause. East Tennessee has been regarded as one of the most important sections of the Confederacy, not only on account of her geographical position and her connecting railroads, but on account of her stock and grain. Our Union men of East Tennessee did more to further our cause in 1861 by the supplies furnished than they could have done had they been zealous secessionists and in the Army, and so in 1862, though greatly interfered with by the State draft. And so now we need the labor of the farmers of East Tennessee upon their farms more than we need their unwilling service in the field, could we even get them into the Army. They are willing to work, and under the influence of Gen. Smith's proclamation of last spring were beginning to become interested in the success of our cause, as it gave to them so advantageous a market freed from the hitherto almost overpowering competition of Kentucky and the Northwestern States. When Governor Harris attempted to enforce his draft in East Tennessee last spring a fearful stampede commenced and was in steady progress. Gen. Smith by his proclamation stopped the execution of the law and invited the people to return. They did so by the thousands, not only those who had crossed the lines as citizens, but some who had entered the Federal service, some of whom are now in our Army as willing volunteers. Although the evil is in part beyond our reach, much can yet be done. If the President will under the act of Congress suspend the enforcement of the conscript law in East Tennessee and by his proclamation invite all East Tennesseeans to return to their homes, restoring them to citizenship and assuring them that during the present struggle they should [not] be required to enter the Army against their will, upon condition that they devote themselves industriously to the cultivation of their farms, all who have not yet left home will remain, all who are out in the caves, mountains, &c. (and their name is legion), will at once return, and so will every man in Kentucky who is not in the Federal Army, and all in the Army who can get a good chance to desert.
Nine-tenths of the producing labor of East Tennessee is white labor, hence, when by conscription or stampeding the men subject to military duty leave, the labor of East Tennessee is gone. There are within our borders at this time thousands of families left without any male members capable of labor. These helpless women and children are to become a charge upon the public, for whatever may be the sins of their husbands and fathers the Southern people cannot deal cruelly with them. Acts of vengeance to our women and children we must leave to our enemies with which to blacken the pages of history.
I commend to your consideration the views here so hastily and imperfectly expressed, and beg of you to interest yourself in behalf of East Tennessee. I of course do not expect my plan to be literally pursued. If any of my suggestions are adopted, all I desire is, all I seek to do is, to get before the President the true state of things in East Tennessee, relying upon his superior judgment to devise the mode of relief. Please excuse my intrusion and the length of my letter. I am not in the habit of inflicting such penance upon public men.
I am, sir, yours,
OR, Ser. IV, Vol. 2. 368-370.
*Ed. note - Robert McKinney Barton, 34th (Confederate) General Assembly representing Hancock, Hawkins, and Jefferson counties. His home , "High Oaks" was in Hamblen County. During the war he served in Abingdon, VA, as head of railroads.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Governor Isham G. Harris, for real and lampooned

Which is reallly the more, intentionally or unintentionally,
satirical? Why?  How do you rate Harris on the basis of these newspaper
items? Arf, arf!!!

This will be on the test! [Please be sure to point out typos for extra credit.]

       October,25, 1862,  "What if I did take $2,000,000 of the School Fund?
That's nothing, many a man has stolen more than that and died
respectable." A Lampoon of Isham G. Harris's speech at Murfreesboro

Our friend, Mercer, of the Nashville Union, has a spiritual medium
reporter, through whose agency he obtained the following speech of
Ex-Governor Isham G. Harris, at the Confederate muster at
Murfreesboro, on Wednesday, Oct. 15, in advance of all other papers,
which is no doubt all correct "in my mind's eye, Horatio."
We arrived at Murfreesboro, according to promise, at 9 o'clock, A.M.,
precisely, and being attired in a full suit of "butternut" with an
old-fashioned seal-skin cap, took a seat on the stand without any
molestation whatever. Gov. Harris appeared on the platform, erected
for that purpose, at half-past ten o'clock; he was welcomed with loud
cheering by the crowd which numbered about one thousand persons. Most
of the audience belonged to some military company, and the flags were
variously inscribed: "Possum Hollow Guards," Rutherford Jayhawkers,"
"Rattlesnake Invincibles" and the like expressive and euphonious
titles. Governor Harris wore a splendid suit of white linsey breeches
a good deal worn, adorned with a patch of black cloth on the left
knee, and another of red flannel in the rear, a vest of green-curtain
calico flowered with pink, and, a graceful butternut roundabout, the
right sleeve being pieced out with blue linsey. A pair of cowhide
shows, without socks, leaving an interval of six inches between their
tops and the hem of his pantaloons, completed his classic, graceful,
and highly picturesque costume. After a series of bows he began:
Ladies and Gentlemen: In looking over this mighty assemblage,
announced but a few days by the public press to convene at this place,
my breast swells with emotion which can find no adequate expression in
words. As well might I attempt to describe in an address the wild
upheavings of a volcano, when the chained Titan rises from his long
agony of three thousand years, and thrusts his hand of flame
throughout the crate of Mount Aetna, while Sicily trembles to its
centre, as to essay on this occasion to do justice to the glorious
enthusiasm in the cause of independence which now fires with noble
rage the breasts of Southern people. [Tremendous cheering, during
which the Governor took a drink of "old Robertson" (whisky made in
Robertson county,
Tennessee, said to be the finest in the state)  from a gourd
bottle in the hands of Andrew Ewing. ] We are going to recapture
Tennessee and retake Nashville.
That's so! This sort of peregrination over hills and hollows isn't
what I expected, it don't agree with my constitution, and by ___ I am
not going to stand it [Shouts of "Bully for you, old fellow!"] I want
to get back to that splendid Capital, and I am going to d it or burst
my boiler! [Long applause!] What if I did take $2,000,000 of the
School Fund? That's nothing, many a man has stolen more than that and
died respectable. I was out of funds and bound to have the money, and
I've spent it, too, but I'll pay it back when I'm Governor of
Tennessee – won't I Andy? [Yes, yes, you will, Isham!] My friend, Andy
Ewing, says I will, and who knows better than he? Many is the toddy we
have swallowed together, and often as we have walked the streets,
mutually supporting each other, we have been forced to exclaim with
the Pslamist, "United we stand, divided we fall' [Tremendous applause,
and another swig from the gourd]. My enemies are always accusing me of
making a "midnight Treaty." Well, wasn't I your Governor, and wasn't I
elected to protect your interests, and if I believed it was to your
interest to make a treaty with Jeff Davis, would I a right to do it?
Answer me that. [Shouts of Yes! Yes! During which the governor took
another heavy pull at the gourd.] Laze and gem'men (hic), And Johnson
says I made a secret treaty (hic) d__n Andy Johnson! I'll make as many
se'treaties [sic] as I want to! I'll make hive hun'erd [sic] thousand.
If anybody says I shan't make se'treaties [sic]  I'll shoot him
through the head. 'At right, Andy Ewing? Ain't I con'st'utional?
[Exactly so!] Andy Ewing says I'm right – who says Andy Ewing's a
liar? (hic) Anybody say it? [Cries of 'No! no! no!] Well, you'd better
not say it, for I've got five Alabama regiments to settle if you dare
say it. I'm for free principles, free discussion, free stealing, free
religion, and free whisky! I'm ruining my constitution and health
forever by exposure to the weather and lying out, Bill Stokes's
jayhawkers keep me dodging like a didapper [?] all the time. Last
night I slept in a tobacco barn, the night before in a sheep-pen, and
three nights before that among the hazel bushes. Your folks are
grumbling about losing a little forage, What's that, I'd like to know,
to the loss of my salary, my position, my rank, my official
importance, my wine parties and whisky? I used to be drunk all the
time, and now I think I'm lucky if I can press whisky enough to get
drunk once a week. "My sufferings is intolerable," as a great man once
said. I want to see Nashville. I want to see beer-shops and
groggeries, and billiard rooms, and Forrest's faro-bank, and the
race-track, and those jolly old cusses of the Methodist Publishing
House, who offered to publish a Confederate Bible for me that hadn't
the Ten Commandments in it. They told me the Ten Commandments were
played out, and behind the times. I want to see the stately palaces on
the Square, looking like big houses, which had come out from
Cincinnati on a bust, and the little shops around them, which look
like delegates that had come up from the country towns to persuade
them to settle and make themselves at home. [Another tremendous drink,
which emptied the gourd.] And Ewing, you're a dog. You've been
drinking (hic) out of my gourd! You're a d___d Lincolnite. Laze and
Gem'men, I'm for free religion! Lincolnites have locked up all my
preachers in Nashville, and conshequently [sic] religion is all played
out. It's awful to thin (hic) Nashville's got no relilgion [sic].
Felleer-citizeds [sic] Let's go and give Nashville more religion
[sic]! [Just here a cloud of dust was seen in the distance, out of
which a bare-headed courier soon burst at full gallop, and dashing up
to the crowd announced that Colonel Stokes was approaching with ten
thousand cavalry, all riding horses bigger than elephants. The militia
tumbled over the benches and scattered in all directions; several
young ladies, who sat on the plat form representing the seceded
States, in attempting to jump down go their calico hitched on some
planks, and with their dressed completely reversed, swung back and
forth in the air kicking and squalling. Crises of "Bill Stokes is
coming" There's General Negley!" "That's Andy Johnson!" filled the
wood in all directions. The last we saw of Governor Harris he was
fighting with a big nigger [sic] for a sorrel mule, which he want to
impress for the occasion.
Louisville Daily Journal, October 25, 1862.

Overland Trip to Mexico-Studying Spanish Under Difficulties-In the
Halls of Montezuma-Interview with the Emperor and Empress-Confederates
in Mexico-Invitations to come to Mexico—Inducements-Commodore
Maury-Commissioner of Civilization-The Lands Intended for
Emigrants-The Climate-The Products-Coffee Culture-Fruits-A Home of
Beauty and Fragrance-Ice in the Distance-Among the Ruins of the Old
Haciendas-What Produced the Ruins-Former Buildings-Prominent
Confederates Colonizing-Growing Prospects-Lazy Mexicans-"Mexican
Times"-Governor Allen of Louisiana on the Tripod Situation of Cordova.
Through the kindness of Mr. George W. Adair, of the firm of Clayton,
Adair & Purse, we are permitted to make the following extracts from a
letter recently received from Hon. Isham G. Harris, Ex-Governor of
Tennessee, who is now at Cordova, Mexico. The letter is highly
Cordova, Mexico, Nov. 12, 1865
George W. Adair
My Dear Sir – I lingered near Grenada, endeavoring to arrange some
business matters, until the fourteenth of May. In the morning of the
fourteenth I embarked, some six miles east of Greenwood, and set sail
for the trans-Mississippi, the party consisting of Gen. Lyon, of
Kentucky, myself, and our two servants. We navigated the backwater for
one hundred and twenty miles, and on the morning of the twenty-first,
just before daylight, I crossed at the foot of Island No. 75, just
below the mouth of the Arkansas river; proceeded westward as far as
the backwater was navigable, and on the morning of the 23d I left my
frail bark, bought horses, mounted the party, and set out for
Shreveport, where I hoped to find an army resolved on continued
resistance to Federal rule; but before reaching Shreveport, I learned
that the army of the Trans-Mississippi had disbanded, and scattered to
the winds, and all the officers of rank had gone to Mexico
Having no further motive to visit Shreveport, I turned my course to
Red River county, Texas, where a portion of my negroes and plantation
stock had been carried some two years ago. I reached there on the
seventh of June; I was taken sick and confined to my bed for a week.
On the fifteenth of June, with my baggage, cooking utensils and
provisions on a pack mule, I set out for San Antonio, where I expected
to overtake a large number of Confederate, civil and military,
officer, en route for Mexico. Reached San Antonia the twenty sixth,
and learned that all Confederates had left for Mexico some ten days or
two weeks before. On the morning of the twenty-seventh, I started to
Eagle-Pass on the Rio Grande-the Federals holding all the crossings of
that river below Eagle Pass. I reached Eagle Pass on the evening of
the thirtieth, and immediately crossed over to the Mexican town of
Pledras Negras. On the morning of the first July, set out for Montery
[sic]; arrive there on the evening of the ninth. Here I overtook Gen
Price and Ex. Go. Polk, of Missouri, who were starting of the city of
Mexico the next morning, with an escort of twenty armed Missourians.
As I was going to the city, and the rip was a long and dangerous for
me to make alone, I decided to go with the, though I was literally
worn out with over fifteen hundred miles of continuous horseback
travel. I exchange my saddle horse, saddles, etc., for an ambulance;
but my two mules to it, gave the whip and lines to Ran, bought me a
Spanish grammar and dictionary, too the back seat, and commenced the
study of the Spanish language. We made the trip at easy stages of
about twenty-five miles per day, and reached the city o f Mexico on
the evening of the ninth of August. The trip was one of the longest,
most laborious and hazardous of my life, but I will not tax your time
or mine with its details, many of which would interest you deeply if I
was there to give them to you.
Our reception upon the part of the Government officials here was all
that we could have expected or desired. We were invited to an audience
with the Emperor at the Palace, the far-famed Halls of the Montezumas.
At the time fixed, we called and were most kindly received by the
Emperor and Empress, and were assured of their sympathy in our
misfortune, and of their earnest hope that we might find homes for
ourselves and friends in Mexico. The Empress was our interpreter in
the interview. She speaks fluently the French, Spanish, German, and
English languages, and is in all respects a great woman.
We overtook at the city of Mexico, Gen. Magruder, Commodore Maury,
Gov. Allen, of La.; Judge Perkins, of La., Gove. Reynolds of Missouri,
and Gov. Murrah and Gov. Clark of Texas, with many other and lesser
Confederate lights. On the 5th of September the Emperor published a
decree opening all of Mexico to Immigration and colonization, and
Commodore Maury and myself and other Confederates were requested to
prepare regulations to accompany the decree, which we did, and which
were approved by t he Emperor on the twenty seventh. The decree and
regulation offer very liberal inducements to immigration among which
are a donation of public lands at the rate of six hundred and forty
acres to each head of a family, and three hundred and twenty to each
single man, a free passage to the country such as are not able to pay
their own expenses, freedom from taxation for one year, and from
military duty for five years, religious toleration, etc.
Commodore Maury has been appointed Imperial Commissioner of
Colonization, which makes his authority in the matter of colonization
second only to that of the Emperor. Gen. Price, Judge, Perkins and
myself were appointed agents of colonization, and requested to examine
the lands lying upon and near the line of railroad, from the city of
Mexico to Vera Cruz, for the purpose of determining whether they were
suited to American colonization. We are engaged at this time in the
discharge of that duty. We find in the vicinity of this place the most
beautiful, and all things considered the best agricultural country
that I have ever seen. The climate is delightful, never hot, never
cold, always temperate, always pleasant. The soil richer and more
productive than the best of the prairie lands of Mississippi in the
Okalona country, yielding large crops of corn, barley, rice, tobacco,
sugar cane and coffee, with all the fruits of the tropics and the best
that you ever tasted. You can raise two crops of corn on the same land
each year. The usual mode of farming here is a crop of corn and a crop
of tobacco, on the same land, the corn ripening always before time to
plant tobacco, and ten miles from here, in the direction of the coast,
you strike as good a [word obscured] country as can be found in the
The most profitable crop here is coffee, you plant about six hundred
or seven hundred trees to the acre, it begins to bear at two and
produces a full crop at four years old, you can always calculate
safely on an average of two pounds to the tree, though there are
instances of a tree's bearing as high as twenty-eight pounds. The tree
is hardy, and will live for as long as five hundred years. It takes
about as much labor to cultivate and put into market as an acre of
coffee, as it does an acre of corn in Georgia.
The coffee plantation, with its shade of bananas, figs, oranges,
mangos and zapotes [sic], with the walks fringed with pine apple, all
in full bearing, is the richest and most beautiful spectacle upon
which my eyes have ever rested. I have inspected [?] six hundred and
forty acres, about ten miles from here, where I propose to surround
myself with eh coffee plantation, in the midst of which I will nestle
down, constantly inhaling the odors of the rich tropical fruits and
gaudy colored and fragrant, tropical flowers, in an atmosphere of
perpetual spring, yet turning the eye of the Northwest, you constantly
behold the snow capped peaks of Orezrijba [?] and the Popocatapreti
[?], from which I can draw my ice at all seasons of the year.
There are about thirty Confederates now here all of whom will locate
their lands and commence the work of settlement within a week of ten
The place where we begin the first colony was highly improved and in a
high state of civilization a hundred years ago. The extensive ruins of
what was once magnificent structures show that these Hacienda were
highly productive and the homes of wealth, luxury and refinement, but
about fifty years since slavery was abolished in the State of Vera
Cruz and the proprietors of these magnificent estates left the country
with the large fortunes the had amassed. The church seized lands and
allowed them to lie idle and go to ruin. The buildings on these places
must have cost from one hundred to five hundred thousand dollars. The
church held the property for about five years since when it was taken
by the Government and the Government now sells it to us for
colonization at one dollar per acre in quantities of six hundred and
forty acres for each head of a family and twenty dollars each single
man on a credit of one, two, three, four and five years. This is the
beginning of the first Confederate colony in Mexico. Among those who
propose to settle immediately are Gen Price and Gen. Shelley from
Missouri, Judge Perkins of Louisiana, and myself. The resources of
this country are such as to insure fortune to the energy and industry
that has usually characterized our people. The wonder is that they
have been permitted to remain undeveloped so long, but this is the
most indolent, lazy and worthless population on earth. * * * * *
Will many people of the Southern States feel inclined to seek new
homes or will the follow the example of Lee, Johnston and others?
Mexico presents the finest field that I have ever seen for the
enterprise of our people, and now that slavery is abolished in the
South, hired labor can be much more easily procured here and made more
profitable than any part of the United States. I do not propose
however to urge or even advise an one to come, I only propose to give
them facts and leave them to decide for themselves as I have done for
myself, such as feel inclined to come will be received with open arms
and cordial welcome. But enough of this.
Where is Forrest, and what is he doing? And where and how is every
body else? For I have heard from none of our friends since I left
Give my kind regards to Mrs. Adair, Robbin, Jack and Forrest, and kiss
Mary for me, and tell her that it would give me great pleasure to have
a romp with her this evening.
Write me fully and do your best at penmanship, so that I may be able
to read the greatest part of the letter. I sent you a copy of the
Mexican News, an English newspaper edited by Gov. Allen, about a month
ago. I hope you received it, though there was very little of interest
in it, except that it shows the fact that we have started an American
newspaper at the city of Mexico. I neglected to say to you that this
place is situated on the line of railroad from Vera Cruz to the city
of Mexico; seventy miles west of Vera Cruz. The railroad is now in
operation to within eighteen miles of this place, and all the distance
to the city of Mexico is under contract and the work rapidly
progressing. It is a few hours' run by rail from here to Vera Cruz;
fro Vera Cruz it is three days by steam to New Orleans, and fro New
Orleans it is three or four days by rail to Atlanta, so you see that
we are still neighbors, even if you should remain in Georgia. The road
is owned by an English company, but is almost entirely in American
My health is excellent, and I feel that it cannot be otherwise in this
charming climate. Direct your letter to me at Cordova, Mexico, and in
conclusion, let me beg you to excuse this horrid and disjoined letter,
as it was written in the midst of a crowd, half of whom were
continually talking to me and compelling me to talk to them.
Very truly your friend,
Memphis Daily Appeal, December 15, 1865

       Dec. 7, 1864 -  Speech of Governor Isham Harris's Speech to Hood's
army as it approached Nashville
GOVERNOR ISHAM G. HARRIS'S LAST.- The following proclamation, issued
by Governor Harris, was picked up on the battle-field, in front of
Nashville, on Saturday last. From what has occurred in the past few
days, it is evident that the Governor was slightly mistaken in his
TENNESSEE, DEC. 7, 1864.
TENNESSEEANS: The Confederate army is here for the purpose of driving
the invader from our soil, and relieving you from the rule of the most
absolute and lawless despotism – planting on the dome of your capital
the flag of the government of your choice, and securing to you the
protection of law and civil government.
For near three years the rod of the tyrant has been over you. While
the hired minions of a wicked despotism have outraged every right,
laid waste to our farms, burned our houses, stolen our property,
murdered our citizens in cold blood, dragged to loathsome prisons our
people, suppressed the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press,
exacted the most odious and disgusting oaths, and heaped every insult
that malice could invent upon our mothers, wives, sisters, and
daughters, and even now in the wantonness of their supposed power,
they coolly debate the mode of apportioning our lands between our
salves and their vandal soldiery, whose hands are yet red with the
blood of our gallant sons.
We have driven the enemy in confusion to your capital, and now stand
before the bristling fortifications which surround dit. He can, must,
and will be driven from this last stronghold, and beyond the limits of
our State. We are here for the purpose of redeeming and protecting
Tennessee or finding graves upon her soil. There is no fate so
revolting to freemen as the degradation of tyranny and oppression.
Let none doubt or hesitate as to the ultimate success of our cause.
There is not an instance in the history of the world where ten
millions of people, occupying such an area of country, with such soil,
climate, and resources as ours, have been conquered.
The subjugation of such a people, deeply resolved upon their
independence, has never been, never can be accomplished.
Under the providence of God our fate is in our own hands; our generous
soil and genial climate has exploded the idea that we can be starved
into submission. Our fields are teeming with abundant supplies, while
our resources in arms, ammunition, and all the munitions of war are
sample and fully equal to our necessities, and we have to-day within
the limits of the Confederacy, a million of men capable of bearing
The independence of our young republic is as certain as the inevitable
decrees of Him who determines all things in favor of the just and
We have all the resources necessary to its achievement; it is only a
question of time, perseverance, and endurance. If there is manhood
enough in the country to deserve free government; we must, we will be
free. But he is unworthy of free government who will not fight for it;
unworthy of independence who will not defend it with his life.
I trust there is no citizen of Tennessee so lost to himself and a
proper sense of duty to a country as not to prefer death in any form
to a life of dishonor, degradation, and political slavery. There can
be no end to this struggle while there is a hostile foot upon our
soul; no peace while the arrogance of unlicensed despotism seeks your
degradation and enslavement. The distinct issue is independence or
Our glorious old regiments which volunteered at the beginning of the
war have proudly borne the banner of the country over many a
hard-fought and bloody field, and added new luster to the high
character of the State by their chivalrous and noble deeds of daring;
but the hardships and exposures of the camp and the casualties of the
field have sadly diminished their numbers. They return to you after an
absence of near three years, with their time-honored, war-worn, and
battle-tattered banners, and appeal to you to join them and their
gallant comrades from our sister States, and aid in the glorious work
of driving the vandals from Tennessee and planting our flag upon the
banks of the Ohio.
No higher or holier duty ever devolved upon man than that of instantly
responding to this appeal; you owe it to the country, to your gallant
brothers who have so long maintained this struggle for your
independence; you owe to yourselves, your wives, your children, to the
memory of the gallant dead and to the cause of civil and religious
I appeal to you by every consideration dear to freemen; by your
personal honor; your love of liberty; the safety of your families; the
protection of your property; your political equality, and your
national independence. I appeal to the old and to the young, to every
man who can carry a musket or wield a sabre, to rise up in the majesty
of your power, put forth your whole strength, fill those old regiments
to the maximum, and strike for your independence, your altars, and
your homes; strike like men who deeply feel the gross wrongs they have
and strike like men who know their rights, hazard; [sic] strike like
men who have [will live as] freeman than live as slaves.
Under the acts of Congress, all able-bodied white men between the ages
of eighteen and forty-five are made Confederate soldiers. The
President has ordered you to the field. It is important that both to
yourselves and the country that you report at once. By doing so you
come as volunteers, and have the right of selecting the infantry
regiment with which you will serve, while, if you delay, under orders
of the military authorities you will be conscribed, arrested, and
assigned for duty to such Tennessee regiment as they may think proper.
I trust you will not allow Tennessee to lose the proud name of the
"Volunteer State."
Those between the ages of 17 and 18, and 45 and 50, constitute the
reserve corps of the State. The President has ordered your immediate
enrollment and organization; ;you have the right to organize
yourselves into companies of not less than sixty-four men; by the
election of company officers, proper officers will be assigned to the
duty of organizing those companies into regiments, &c. Your failure to
enroll yourselves in the reserve corps renders you liable to be
conscribed and placed in the regular service. Enroll and organize at
once; the arms are here for you, and your services are necessary to
the defence of you State, you families, and your homes.
I appeal to those who are improperly absent from their commands to
return without a moment's delay, and by a full and faithful discharge
of duty in the future, redeem the error of the past.
I am authorized by the commanding General to assure you, that all who
voluntarily return to duty before the first of February next shall be
fully pardoned for past offences, while those who have to be arrested
and brought back to their commands will be charged and tried for the
crime of desertion.
To the speedy and successful accomplishment of these ends I earnestly
invoke the zealous cooperation of the patriotic fathers, fond mothers,
and fair daughters of the State, upon them the country must rely in a
great measure for that moral support, without which our efforts can
never be entirely successful. Let no one, whose age or conditions
excludes them from actual service in the field forget or neglect the
high and sacred duty which devolves upon them of laboring within their
respective sphere, earnestly and zealously for the promotion of our
cause, upon the success of which depends all that is dear to an
enlightened, free, and brave people.
From the beginning of this bloody struggle you have presented the
sublimest spectacle of civil and religious liberty and national
independence. You have not only generously fed and clothed, but your
example and influence has nerved the heart and arm of the soldier in
the field. Continue to fan the flame of patriotic ardor and determined
and uncompromising resistance to oppression. Send every man to the
from who is capable of bearing arms; give neither countenance or
shelter to those who would shrink from the contest and linger at home
when duty calls to the field.
Much as you have accomplished and much as you have suffered, your
duties have not ended, nor can your efforts cease until we have massed
all our available resources, and concentrated all of our powers. This
done, we may confidently look forward to an early day when the invader
will be driven in confusion from our territory: the independence of
the Confederate States acknowledged by the governments of the
civilized world, and our gallant soldiers disbanded and returned to
the comforts and endearments of home and the pursuits of peace.
Isham G. Harris, Governor of Tennessee.
Louisville Daily Journal, December 23, 1864.