Friday, April 20, 2012

April 20 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

April 20, 1862
 20, The Bank of Tennessee and the United States Court in Nashville
The Nashville Union, of April 20, has these items:
"We are told that the Bank of Tennessee, and perhaps, the other banks, have removed their deposits and all their specie into the Southern Confederacy. If this be so, it is a gross outrage o­n the rights of the depositors, and the officers should be held strictly accountable. Let it be investigated forthwith. The amount placed in the Bank by depositors amounted, according to its own report, to the enornmous sum of $8,865,000. Have the people been robbed of all this by an institution favored with the peculiar privilege by the State?
The April Term of the United States Court for the District of Tennessee will commence o­n Monday (to-morrow) the 21st inst. His Honor Judge Catron, who is now in the city, will preside. It will doubtless be o­ne of the emost deeply interesting Courts ever convened in this country."
New York Times, April 27, 1862.


20, Elvira Powers' visit to the Refugee Home in Nashville
Visited the Refugee Home this P. M. As I entered one room, a woman was bustling about in a great passion, and picking up a few personal rags, while ordering her son to get up and they would find a place to stay where shouldn't be "set to do niggar's [sic] work!"
She was a healthy, strong woman, and had been repeatedly requested to make her own and son's bed, and assist in sweeping or cooking for the numerous inmates. Indeed, I think she had received a gentle hint that it might be as well to see that her son and herself hand clean linen as often as once in two or three weeks, and that the use of a comb occasionally would not detract from personal appearance. But she had her own peculiar ideas, obtained from living under the domination of a peculiar institution, and didn't fancy being dictated to in the delicate matter of her personelle. [sic]
Upon entering what is called the lecture-room we saw several families and parts of families, which had within two hours arrived on the trains from Alabama or Georgia.
I found that some of these snuff-dipping, clay-colored, greasy and uncombed ladies "from Alabam and Gorgee," [sic] are as expert marksmen as any of our northern exquisites, as the deposit the 'terbaker' juice most beautifully into and around any knot-hole or crack in the floor, and while they are at a distance of several feet. Its wonderful how they do it -- I am afraid I should never be able to learn.
We approach one woman who is standing by a rough board bunk, upon and around which are several children overcome by the fatigue of travelling [sic]. She, unlike the generality, is neatly dressed in a clean dark calico and sunbonnet, and wears a cheerful and intelligent look. She informs us that these are all her children -- six of them, that her husband is in the Union army, only a few miles out, that he had sent for to come here, and she expects to see him in a few days. She cannot write, for she hasn't been to school a day in her life, and she says: --[sic]
"An' that thar's suthin' you people hev' up north, thet we don't. Poor folks that, hev' a chance to give thar children some larnin'; but them that owns plantations down our way don't give poor folks a chance. Larnin's only for rich folks. But my children shan't grow up to not know no more nor that father nor thar mother, ef I kin'help it. Ef this war don't close so's to make it better for poor folks down har, well go north. Thar's a woman what kin' write, 'she adds with an admiring glance to the other side of the room, 'an'she's writin' a letter for me to my husband.'
We glance that way, and see a youngish woman, whose entire clothing evidently consists of one garment, a dress which is colored with some kind of bark. She sits in conscious superiority, scarcely deigning to notice up, as we approach, while he is carefully managing the writing with one eye, while her head is turned half way from it, so that the ashes or coal, from the long pipe between her lips, man not fall upon the paper. Her air and manner are evidently intended to be regal, for isn't she the woman "what kin'write!" [sic]
At a little distance sat a hale, broad-shouldered, stalwart men, who looked as if he were able to do the work of half a dozen common men, who inquired of us, where "'Hio [sic] was -- if 'twas in Illinois' -- and whether if he went to either of those places he would be "pressed into the service." In reply, we informed the gentleman that "Ohio was not in Illinois," but if he went to either, he would probably have to stand his chance of being drafted, together with other good loyalists -- with the physicians, lawyers, editors, and ministers. He did not reply to that, but his look spoke eloquently.
"For a lodge in some vast wilderness,--
Some boundless contiguity of shade
Where war and draft not come."
Miss Ada M., the Matron of the Refugee Home, was, in our room this eve, and said that she was yesterday preparing some sewing for some young Misses, who were conversing earnestly about the Yankees. Finding their ideas rather erroneous with regard to that class of people, she made a remark to the effect that she was one herself.
"Why, you aint a Yankee?" [sic] exclaimed a Miss of fifteen dropping her work in bland astonishment.
"Yes, indeed, I am," was the reply.
"Why," said the girl, with remarkably large eyes, "I've allays hearn [sic] tell that the Yankees has horns, and one eye in the middle of their foreheads!" [sic]
Powers, Pencillings, pp. 54-59.

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