Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 10 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

 10, A Connecticut-Tennessean offers support to the Confederacy
NEW HAVEN, CONN., April 10, 1861.

MY DEAR SIR: I am a native of Tennessee, the stepson of the Hon. John Bell, of that State; the brother-in-law of Capt. John Pope, of the topographical engineers, the relative of Mrs. Mary McRee, in whose husband's company you served as lieutenant. I enter into this personal detail that I may, in some degree, prove to you that my connections are respectable, and that my statements and propositions may be received with some confidence. From present indications war seems to be resolved upon. If this dead contingency should arise, I can, without the slightest difficulty, raise and equip from this city two companies of 100 men each to serve under your command, every man a Democrat, upon whom you can rely. I have an independent fortune, and do not ask pecuniary assistance from any quarter. I o­nly ask from you that you will receive these companies and grant for the war commissions to such officers as they may elect. I am a lawyer by profession, a graduate of Yale College, served in the Mexican war, was present at the siege of Vera Cruz and the battle of Cerro Gordo, and o­n account of my health have resided in this city for the past six years. Mr. Toombs is acquainted with my family, and will, I doubt not, assure you of its respectability; but I believe you know my mother, Mrs. John Bell, whom you have met in Washington.
With my most ardent wishes for your personal welfare, and for your successful administration amid the difficulties and embarrassments which encompass you,

I remain, with great personal esteem, most respectfully, your friend,


OR, Ser. IV, Vol. 1, p. 216.


10, Lieutenant-General Leonidas Polk suggests stiffening security at military hospitals to decrease desertion rate of the Army of Tennessee
Gen. S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector Gen., Richmond, Va.:
It has been said that "hospitals are the leaks of armies," and our experience justifies the truth of the remark. In this army, ever since its organization, efforts have been made to devise a remedy for this evil, and we believe we have accomplished it as far as in the nature of things it is practicable. Our system has been in operation for several months, and works admirably. Before its introduction the wastage was enormous. It is not as perfect as we think it could be made, but it is a very great improvement on the old condition of things.
It is as follows:
Each corps has its own hospitals, which are devoted exclusively to the use of its own sick. Take the hospitals assigned to my own corps, for example. These are established at Rome and Atlanta, Ga. Every day the sick of my corps, now at Shelbyville, who require hospital treatment are sent down to one or the other of these hospitals. Rations are provided for them on the cars, and a surgeon detailed to accompany them. For better security, they are placed under the charge of an officer, with a detail as a guard, whose duty it is to accompany them to the hospital, to see that they neither escape nor are left by the way, and who turns them over to the commanding officer of the post where the hospital is established. This commanding officer has been detailed from the corps, with an adequate detachment, to take charge of the hospital post. It is his duty to receive the men sent down for treatment, to enroll them as apart of his command, and to be responsible for their safe-keeping and proper care while under his orders. So soon as they are sufficiently convalescent for light duty, they are put to squad or company drill, for the sake of the exercise, and, when competent for field service, they are sent back to their commands in the corps under an officer and a guard, as they came down. It will be perceived that, by this mode of proceeding, these men are always in hand, and in the hands of officers belonging to their own proper corps. These officers make returns of their commands to corps headquarters tri-monthly, and their number and condition are thus known to corps headquarters. It will be seen also that the loss of men through the hospitals under this system is next to impossible, and that the parties most interested in their speedy recovery are those who are charged with looking after them. It will be seen also that they are much more likely to receive sympathy and special attention, because they are in the hands of their own corps and among their friends. Abuses, too, are much more likely to be corrected, for the reason that they are more likely to be known, and the power to correct them is at hand.
Such is the system we have inaugurated, and which has been for the last two months in operation in its substantial details. We have found it, as I have remarked, to work admirably and to cure the evils of the old system. If it were to be continued, I would suggest one change, which I regard as important to a high degree; it is, that the surgeons taking care of the sick in the hospitals report to the medical director of the corps directly, just as the surgeons taking care of the sick in the field do. I see no good reason why this should not be done, and there are several why it should be. The authority of the officers of the corps over its men is never removed, and the responsibility of taking care of these men is where it ought to be, and those whose they are and who are most interested in their recovery. This arrangement would not abridge the authority of the army surgeon-general in the least, as the reports of the corps medical director would be made directly to him, just as the reports of the commanders of the corps are made to the general commanding the army in reference to matters purely military. If the medical director of the army is not satisfied with the management of the medical director of the corps, he can, through his medical inspector, have the evils corrected. But I regret to see that an order has been issued from the Adjutant and Inspector General's Office at Richmond declaring that corps, army, and department commanders are excluded from having anything to do with the general hospitals, and , therefore, all our plans for the benefit of the sick are overthrown at a blow. This order is No. 28, March 12 [1863] Paragraph V. I have respectfully to submit that , in my judgment, this is not expedient or wise. It goes back to the old system, which has worked badly, and lost us, by desertion or otherwise, a large number of all who have been sent to our hospitals. I desire respectfully to place these views before the Secretary of War, and to ask that we be permitted to manage our hospitals in the manner I have above indicated.

* * * *
 L. Polk, Lieut.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, 747-749.



10, a trip from Fairmont to Lebanon; excerpt from a Confederate woman's diary
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After trying for three weeks to get a conveyance and escort to Lebanon, Mr. Dick Malone at last said he'd risk the consequence and take me. I went over April 10 [1863] with Margart [sic], Leila and 7 trunks - taking most of the wearing apparel of the family that had been saved from the fire, to try to save it. Imagine my consternation to come right on the rear guard of a column of Yankees, numbering 3,000. Mr. Malone's. coolness and address saved our trunks and pockets from being rifled. He offered the keys and insisted that an officer should examine the trunks; but, they told us to drive out to the side of the road and they would pass. They wheeled the columns and went back to Murfreesboro. This was ten miles from L.[ebanon]. We rode on and in 4 miles met the Southern Pickets. [sic] This then was the cause of the [Yankees'] sudden return [to Murfreesboro]. - Wheeler was certainly in Lebanon with 6000 men and had torn up the Railway at 2 points the night before, taking a number of prisoners, capturing the mail and doing them great damage otherwise. Words fail me in speaking of the unexpected pleasure of meeting my dear Husband in L.[ebanon] after an absence of 3 months, during which we had met such painful vicissitudes of fortune. When I had last seen him, I was almost dead and he was in eminent danger of being captured that he had to leave me.

Journal of Bettie Ridley Blackmore

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