Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

     25, "MURDER WILL OUT" by William G. Brownlow

A secret of some importance has been cautiously communicated to this city form Alabama by a man not likely to be deceived. The same facts in substance have been intrusted to a most estimate individual here under the solemn injunction of secrecy for a specified time. There are now three other gentlemen besides ourselves and they are men of high positions who know the facts and have the evidence of them. This stupendous and appalling conspiracy amounts to this:

Johnson, Nelson, Baxter, Temple, Trigg, Maynard, Brownlow and George W. Bridges are to be arrested after the election in June by a military force and taken in irons to Montgomery and either punished for treason or held as hostages to guarantee the quiet surrender of the Union men of East Tennessee.

The facts of his conspiracy against the rights of America citizens together with the names of those concerned in urging it o­n, all, will be left in the hands of reliable, bold an fearless men who will make them public at the proper time. The thousands of Union men of East Tennessee devoted to principle and to the rights and liberties of those who fall at the hands of these conspirators will be expected to avenge their wrongs. Let the railroad o­n which Union citizens of East Tennessee are conveyed to Montgomery in irons be eternally and hopelessly destroyed. Let the property of the men concerned be consumed and let their lives pay the forfeit and the names will be given. Let the fires of patriotic vengeance be built upon the Union altars of the whole land and let them go out where these conspirators live like the fires from the Lord that consumed Nadab and Abihu, the two sons of Aaron, for presumption less sacrilegious. If we are incarcerated at Montgomery or executed there or even elsewhere all the consolation we want is to know that our partisan friends have visited upon our persecutors, certain secession leaders, a most horrible vengeance. Let it be done, East Tennesseeans, though the gates of hell be forced and the heavens be made to fall.

In disclosing this bold and deep-laid plot against the liberties of freemen we have not intended a sensation article. Some may smile at its alleged senseless absurdity but we are not alone in putting forth these facts. We most solemnly implore our friends throughout East Tennessee as they regard our welfare and as they cherish principles for which we are likely battling not to molest any person or property in advance of an attack upon any of us but to hold themselves in readiness for action, action. As yet the conspiracy is o­nly partially revealed, the murder partly out; the mask will be taken off in due time. We are not in possession of the names of any confederates and abettors outside of the limits of East Tennessee though some have been closeted with East Tennesseeans and the details of their plans agreed upon. Again in the name of everything sacred we ask for ourselves and those threatened with us that no more shall be made by our friends toward injuring the person or property of any living man or existing corporation until further developments are made; and then let every brave man act and let all act together. Thanks be to God for the vigilance of some true men and for their promptness in making communications. A Union man of high character who will disguise himself and travel hundreds of miles at his own expense to serve true men to him personally unknown deserves to be immortalized and to live forever.

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 1, pp. 911-912.



     25, Governor Isham G. Harris o­n Confederate strategy for Tennessee

Hon. L. P. WALKER, War Department, Montgomery:

SIR: Your dispatch of the 20th instant was placed in my hands by Gen. Zollicoffer o­n the 22d. I sent Lieut. McCall, of the Confederate Army, to West Tennessee o­n yesterday for the purpose of mustering into the service of the Confederate States such of our West Tennessee regiments as may be willing to enter that service, and think it probable that the four regiments to be armed with muskets will be mustered into service within a day or two. If, however, the whole number shall not be made up in that division of the State, I will make up the deficiency in regiments already formed in Middle Tennessee. I do not think it advisable to station a regiment of Confederate troops in East Tennessee at this time. We have about fifteen companies of the troops of the Provisional Army of Tennessee stationed at Knoxville, and sound policy requires that they should be continued there for the present instead of troops sent from or mustered into the service of the Confederate States. I approve your suggestion as to the use of the sporting rifle with minie-ball, and have no doubt it may be made a highly effective arm for all shooting purposes upon the battle-field. I am taking steps to raise the four regiments called for by your dispatch to be thus armed, and hope to have them ready for the field at no distant day.

Your dispatch is silent as to the subsistence, transportation, pay, &c., of the troops called for. I feel warranted, however, in assuming that these all follow as necessary incidents to the act of being mustered into the service of the Government of the Confederate States, and therefore have given orders to have them mustered in as fast as regiments are found organized and ready. The number of troops stationed at Cairo and above that point o­n the river and railroads, taken in connection with many other indications unmistakable in their character, but unnecessary to be enumerated here, drives me to the conclusion that the settled purpose of the Federal Government is to attempt to descend the Mississippi River with an overwhelming force at an early day, in view of which fact I regard it as a matter of the highest importance to the Confederate States, as well as to Tennessee, that a large force, fully armed and equipped, be stationed in the northwestern portion of this State. We find very little difficulty in raising any reasonable number of men, but unfortunately we have not a sufficient number of small-arms for such force as will be necessary for present purposes. We have been fortunate in securing a sufficient number of heavy guns for our stationary batteries, but have little or no field artillery. We have all the means of supplying this indispensable necessity of the service if I could secure the services of an experienced ordnance officer to direct us in their manufacture and to apply the proper tests when made. If you know of such an officer, whose services can be secured, I shall be greatly obliged to you for the information.

I am informed that there are a number of regiments, armed, equipped, and ready for the field in the States of Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. If this be true, it seems to me that every consideration of prudence and security requires that these troops should be stationed immediately upon the northern boundary of West Tennessee. They will be more healthy, more comfortable, and more cheaply subsisted there than farther South, and if there is to be battle to prevent the invasion of the Valley of the Lower Mississippi it must be fought in the northern part of West Tennessee. I am concentrating such force there as I am able to arm, but such force as I may be able to concentrate there will, I fear, be unequal to the task of driving back so large a column of invaders as will be thrown upon us in that quarter. Indeed, if our forces and energies are not concentrated to meet the enemy at this point--if he should be permitted to lay waste to West Tennessee, flushed as he would be by this temporary success, and strengthened by the possession of Memphis as the base of his operations against the Valley below and the Southern States east of him--I am at a loss to know where the stand can be made to prevent his o­nward march to New Orleans. These suggestions have presented themselves to my mind with so much force that I have left authorized to submit them to you for such consideration as you may see proper to bestow upon them, after which, if you should take the same view of the matter that I have done, I shall be very happy to have your aid in inducing the States names to station their organized troops as suggested.

Very respectfully,


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, pp. 108-109.



25, Skirmish near Woodbury
MAY 25, 1863.-- Skirmish near Woodbury, Tenn.
Report of Col. William C. P. Breckinridge, Ninth Kentucky Cavalry (Confederate).
CAMP HEATH, June 6, 1863.
SIR: In accordance with the other of the general commanding, I submit the following report of the operations of my regiment upon the 25th ultimo:
My picketing required about 90 privates daily, and the pickets were relieved at 9 a. m.
About 10.15 o'clock upon the morning of May 25, when both the old and new pickets were out of camp, I received information from my advanced pickets on the Woodbury road, placed within 1 1/2 miles of Woodbury by order of Gen. [Joseph] Wheeler, through Lieut. Campbell, that a body of Federal cavalry were advancing upon them. I immediately ordered Capt. [T. H.] Hines to take all the well-mounted men of Companies A, C, and E, and re-enforce the picket base, while I moved the regiment from its camp to the Woodbury and McMinnville road. Before Capt. Hines had time to move off, I received information that the enemy had driven in the advanced pickets, cutting off three of them, and were advancing with cavalry, infantry, and artillery, I immediately sent a courier to you with this information, and a courier to the officer commanding my chain picket, running to the Georgia pickets, upon my left, ordering that officer to make pickets fall back upon the roads they were respectively posted upon toward McMinnville, to redouble his vigilance, be prepared to collect his pickets, and send the information to the Georgia pickets. In a few moments I received information that the chain picket had been pierced at two places and part of two posts captured; that a heavy force of cavalry, accompanied by artillery, was rapidly advancing upon the road to Jacksborough, and another force of cavalry advancing upon a country road nearly unused, and which led into my camp. My horses were nearly unfit for service, having been on constant service with very scant rations for several months. My instructions were to fall back, when compelled to retreat, in such a way as to protect the road to Chattanooga.
Upon receiving that information, I ordered Maj. [J. P.] Austin to move the regiment to the junction of the McMinnville and Woodbury and McMinnville and Jacksborough roads. I ordered Capt. Hines to fall back rapidly nearer McMinnville than my camp, to prevent being cut off by any of the numerous roads that intercept the main road between Mrs. Glasscock's and the tan-yard. I ordered Capt. [W. P.] Roberts, with Company I, to scout the country toward, and, if possible, beyond, Jacksborough, and sent a small scout toward Short Mountain. Capt. Hines had scarcely time to obey my order when my camp was entered in four directions. Indeed, the rear guard of Capt. Hines' detachment was cut off, and but for the coolness of Capt. [F. G.] Hill and the few men under him, they would have been captured. I in person collected together the pickets and the men out of camp upon various excuses, and a few with good horses, and re-enforced Capt. Hines. The cavalry force of the enemy was so much larger than my own, the condition of my horses was so deplorable, that it was impossible for me to either check their advance but for a moment at a time or to send a scout around them. To prevent being cut off from the Chattanooga road, to give timely information to you and the Georgia pickets, and to protect my own regiment, were all I could hope to accomplish. The enemy advanced nearly to Mr. Hopkins', are there prepared an ambush for me. Capt. Roberts returned, reporting no enemy at Jacksborough, and that force returning toward Woodbury. Before his return I left scouts in front and upon the left of the enemy, with orders to report every movement, and keep me well informed, while I feel back slowly to the regiment, to prevent the enemy from cutting my command in two. Had I been left without instructions to protect the Chattanooga road, I would have remained close to the enemy, and, when cut off from McMinnville, fallen back toward Smithville. The enemy received, by some Union citizens, information of some movement in his rear, and fell back in the early part of the night, followed by my scouts, who followed him closely to his encampment near Readyville. Whatever information I received, I reported, either in writing or in person or by my adjutant, to you.
I lost 6 prisoners, captured by reason of the poor condition of their horses. The enemy lost 1 killed and 6 wounded, besides several horses.
I need not say how chafed I was that the condition of my regiment prevented me from punishing this advance, as I might easily have done under other circumstances.
I have the honor to be, &c.,
WM. C. P. BRECKINRIDGE, Col., Cmdg. Regt.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 347-348



25, Peace comes to the Cherry Creek community in White County; an excerpt from the journal of Amanda McDowell
There has so much taken place that I shall not try to write it all. But I guess peace is made. That is all I care much for. The soldiers have all come that are alive and able to get here. They say they are not whipped but "overpowered," but I wonder what is the difference. The guerillas [sic] all surrendered but "Old Champ" (and some say another one or two) and he went back and offered to give up but they refused to take him and took him to go back and wait for further orders.....
Fiddles in the Cumberlands, p. 278.


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