Friday, May 4, 2012

May 4 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

4, Pre-secession difficulties with arms distribution

NASHVILLE, May 4, 1861.

Gen. J. L. T. SNEED:

DEAR SIR: I was sorry I could not have seen you again before I left Memphis. I desired to call your special attention to the fact that Colonel. E. Pickett had drawn 1,000 muskets, State arms, for his regiment of home guards. Home guards are not entitled to draw arms, and Col. Pickett promised me to return the arms to Col. W. R. Hunt, ordnance officer. I hope you will see that this is done without delay. The arms must be returned. Col. Walker drew the same number of muskets, and afterward tendered his regiment for active service. I hope you will see that in reorganizing his regiment that none of the muskets be lost. See Walker and urge him to hold o­n to all his muskets for active service men. Capt. Somerville drew 100 muskets for his company, and you will do well to urge him to take good care of them until he is called into service. Capt. Hunt drew 100 muskets, and since my departure from Memphis changed their purpose, and [they] are now in this city o­n their way to Virginia. These guns will be returned by Adams Express, in charge of Col. W. R. Hunt, of your city. The o­nly remaining company to whom I delivered arms was Capt. Martin's, now in active service in Col. Smith's regiment. I deemed it proper to give you these suggestions. I have every confidence in your sound discretion in managing all these matters. Be sure to take care of the arms until the men are placed in camp for regular training. The military fire is burning finely here, and a number of regiments are being organized for active service. I am satisfied more men will be offered than will be needed. The bill is still before the Legislature, and everything is secret.* It is believed that the action of the legislature will be made public by Tuesday next. Let me hear from you.

Yours, very respectfully,


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, pp. 85-86.

*"The bill is still before the legislature, and everything is secret." O­ne might ask why everything was secret? Was there something that needed to be hidden from Tennesseans? Some fabricated justification for secession where none existed except for the minority of slave owners in the state?  

4, Thoughts on the secession crisis, excerpt from the journal of Amanda McDowell, Cherry Creek community, White County
* * * * 
Little though have I had that I should ever live to see civil war in this, our goodly land, but so it is! The Southerners are so hot they can stand it no longer, and have already made the break. There will be many a divided family in this once happy Union. There will be father against son, and brother against brother. O, God! that such things should be in a Christian land. That men should in their blindness rush so rashly to ruin, and not only rush to ruin themselves but drag with them so many thousands of innocent and ignorant victims! There are thousand who will rush into the fury with blind enthusiasm, never stopping to question whether it be right or wrong, who, if they only understood it properly, would stay at home with their families and let those who started it fight it out.
But the ignorant mass are so easily excited than an enthusiast who can make mountains out of mole-hills and raise a bussie [sic] about nothing can so stir them up and excite that they will run headlong into almost anything that is proposed to them.
They are taking on considerably at Sparta. Have raised a secession flag and are organizing companies at a great rate. Why Christian men who live here in peace and plenty with nothing to interrupt their happiness should prefer to leave their peaceful home and all the ties which bind them to their families and rush into a fight in which they cannot possibly gain anything and inn which they may lose their lives is more than I can see. But, of course, my judgment is not much anyway. But in my feeble opinion they will have cause to repent their rashness.
I do not think the killing of one another is going to better it any, but on the contrary, I fear it will make it worse. God grant that it may not prove so serious a matter as we are all fearing! I say fearing, but I do not fear anything in particular. I can conceive of the horrors of civil war, and I know it is dreadful, but I do not fear that it will hurt me. And for my folks I am not uneasy. I know they will not go into it until they are convinced that it is their duty, and when they are convinced that it is their duty to fight for their country, it becomes me not to interfere with them about it or grieve at their so doing, for I love my country, I think, as well as any who live in it could love it. An although I shudder to think [of] any of them either being killed or killing another yet I should consider it my duty to take it with the best grace possible and when I consider it my duty to do a thing I am generally do it. [sic] I would write a good deal now while I am in the notion, but I do not feel well....
* * * * 
Fiddles in the Cumberlands , p. 46.

4, "…we discovered a negro woman waving a rebel flag."

As we passed a residence on Summer street yesterday, glancing in at a window, we thought we discovered a negro woman waving a rebel flag. It was a mistake, however, as we ascertained subsequently. It was a rebel flag, but it was being used in knocking down cobwebs. We trust that ultimately rebel flags and cobwebs may go together.

Nashville Daily Press, May 5, 1863.

4, "Inspection by the Health Commissioner"
For several days past this officer has been engaged looking into the condition of the streets, yards, open lots, etc., of the city, for the purpose of informing himself concerning the existence of decayed matter and filth, which had come to his knowledge through the reports of those who have interested themselves in the furtherance of the work, to the carrying on of which he has been appointed. According to this gentleman's statement, we are informed that the amount of foul and injurious matter existing in different portions of the city is much greater than at first supposed, even by those who were most capable of judging. The condition of many back yards, and alley leading therefrom, is represented as demanding immediate attention; also the condition of the vacant grounds in the outskirts of the town -- the custom which has heretofore existed of depositing quantities of filth, and not unfrequently the bodies of dead animals in the bayou -- also is represented as eliciting due notice. In one alley alone, just beyond South street, the carcasses of seventeen horses wee found unburied, and rendering the air of the entire neighborhood obnoxious and unhealthful. Nor is this reported as an isolated instance, by any means, of the negligence which has heretofore existed in the removal of filth and carrion beyond the corporation limits, and those whose lookout it is to see to the remedying of this have already; had sufficient notice given to render them punishably; culpable if such negligence continues, and the city police will have their hands full if such parties do not immediately look to the condition of their premise. Mr. Underwood, who has received the appointment of Commissioner, is a gentleman who will not let any instance, such as we have just mentioned, escape his notice, and there is but one course left to every good citizen -- that of immediate observance of the orders which have been issued by Doctor Burke. 
Memphis Bulletin, May 4, 1864.

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