Thursday, April 5, 2012

April 5 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

5, Description of Tennessee River loyalists "Home Guards."

A letter from the Tennessee river, contains the following paragraph about the loyalists who have appeared on the Tennessee river:

This invaluable class is composed--according to a careful analysis made by an eminent chemist on the spot--of ten parts unadulterated Andy Johnson Union men, ten of good lord good devil-ites, five of spies, and seventy-five scalawags, too lazy to run, therefore disqualified for service in the Secesh army, and too cowardly to steal on their own responsibility, but willing to be enrolled as "Home Guards," so as to plunder their neighbors under the Union flag.

Chicago Daily Tribune, April 5, 1862




 5, Sack of Palmyra, Tennessee, by U.S.N.

SMITHLAND [KY], April 3, 1863

Just received telegram from Captain Hurd. Was engaged at Palmyra. Mr. Foutty badly wounded. Rebels in force there with battery. His machinery slightly disabled. I leave in ten minutes for Palmyra with all the boats. Will whip them out. I have no time to complete my written report; will send it soon as possible. 

Please hurry up our other boats. We need them now. Plenty fun in other river [sic], as I understand no troops to be convoyed Tennessee just now. I believe General Rosecrans has concluded not to send any.

LeRoy Fitch,

SMITHLAND [KY], April 6, 1863

Captain Fitch [and] I found the enemy in force at Palymyra last evening. Foutty is seriously wounded. My machinery is crippled. Come up with the Lexington as soon as possible.

J.S. Hurd

LeRoy Fitch

SMITHLAND [KY], [April] 6, 1863

Have returned from Harpeth Shoals; river all clear just now. Enemy left Palmyra for Beatstown [Betsy Town] [sic] Landing; got their batteries in position, heard of our approach, and left in haste for Charlotte. Found a few stragglers in Palymyra; killed two or three; burned the town; not a house left; a very bad hole; best to get rid of it and teach the rebels a lesson. Landed a Beatstown [Betsy Town] [sic] with infantry and cavalry from Clarksville; pursued the rebels 6 mile back; it was not prudent to follow them farther. Sent the fleet o­n up to Nashville under convoy of Brilliant, Robb, and Silver Lake. Remained at Beatstown [Betsy Town] [sic] Landing with gunboats Lexington, Springfield, and o­ne transport till infantry returned near 10 p.m.....

LeRoy Fitch, Lieutenant-Commander

Navy OR, Ser. 1, Vol. 24, pp. 74-75.

USS Silver Lake (right)
[USS Silver Lake]

CLARKSVILLE, April 4, 1863--12 m.

Brig.-Gen. GARFIELD, Chief of Staff:

....Report of cannon in direction of Palmyra is now heard. Think the gunboats are coming up. ....

WM. P. BOONE, Cmdg. Post.

NASHVILLE, April 4, 1863.

Brig. Gen. JAMES A. GARFIELD, Chief of Staff:

The boats fired into at the Iron Pike Shoals were fired at by two 6-pounders and about 200 rounds of musketry, 60 yards distance. 


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 208.

General O. M. Mitchell

Robert B. Mitchell

Excerpt from the November 25, 1863 Report or LCDR LeRoy Fitch regarding operations in the Ohio, , Cumberland, and Tennessee rivers, August 23, 1862-October 21, 1863, relative to the sack of Palmyra, April 6, 1863:

As soon as I reached Smithland and had coaled, I received a dispatch from Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Hurd, saying the fleet under convoy had been attacked by batteries at Palmyra, and that his vessel, the 
St. Clair, was disabled.

I got underway immediately and move dup. arriving at Palmyra the afternoon of the 6th of April. 

I landed opposite and sent a detachment o­n shore, in charge of Acting Master [James] Fitzpatrick, with orders to burn every house in the place, and not to allow the men under his command to remove or pillage a single article.

The order was carried out fully.

Just after the boats landed several stragglers broke out of their concealments and ran; he fired o­n them, killing o­ne and wounding another.

I was opposed to the wanton destruction of property, but in this instance I deemed it justifiable, for it was o­ne of the worst secession places o­n the river, and unarmed transports had been fired into from door and windows of the houses.

I would here remark that the summary manner in which the people of Palmyra were dealt with had a very good effect, for I do not think there has been a steamer molested o­n the river since.

The [rebel] battery at Palmyra was withdrawn o­n my approach, and moved up to Harpeth Shoals, so I followed o­n up after it, taking with me cavalry and infantry from Clarksville, to get in the enemy's rear, if possible; but, again the battery; was removed, this time to the interior where it remained.
Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pp. 316-317.
USS Lexington


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