Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 23 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

   23, Fraternization with the enemy and Federal camp life in the Chattanooga environs, excerpts from the letter of Bliss Morse to his mother

Dear Mother:
* * * *
We came off picket this morning and had a very pleasant time until it rained this morning. Our Brig. went out with us. Our boys talked and swapped papers with them also traded coffee for some of their tobacco.

Our lines are very near to each other where we picket – the banks of Chattanooga creek described the lines of our pickets.

At night every fifth man is sent down to the water's edge. It is…deep and rapid now. As o­ne of our boys went down to the waters edge he saw a reb sitting o­n a log across the stream. It was moonlight. He (the reb) halloed out "are you a vidette? Yes. Well, so am I." Two of them swam across the creek the other night, and many more of them would like to come in, judging by their actions, as they will come down and hang around the lines looking very wishfully over in to the "promised land." Our batteries shelled the rebels in the P. M., soon we heard firing in their rear and some shots during the night. All at o­nce their tents began to look rather thin….Last Monday we moved camp….It would have been quite a sight to all of you to see the Regiments moving around, - as we had to take our materials along with us. Some carried bedsteads, window sash[es], cracker boxes, pieces of sheet iron and everything you can imagine to make tents comfortable….We have pitched our tents…We have a chimney of brick to which we have sheet iron stove that we manufactured and can do our cooking o­n it – beside bake pies, cakes, and beef if we get any flour top use. We have a table to write o­n and burn a "slit" light for candles, also sleep three in a bed. Our rations are more plenty and regularly issued yet I have held my own in flesh….

Diaries of Bliss Morse



23, Brigadier-General Gideon J. Pillow's report on Confederate recruiting and conscripting activity in West Tennessee and Middle Tennessee


Gen. S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector Gen.:

Col. [R.V.] Richardson's command, 1,500 strong; Col. Bell's, 600 strong; Newsom's command, 600; Wilson's, 300 strong; Kizer's, 400 strong, making an aggregate of 3,300 men, all cavalry and raised in West Tennessee under my orders, constitute the nucleus of a division of cavalry which I want your authority to organize. These organizations will all soon be swelled into full regiments, and every man of them has been brought from within the enemy's lines and raised by the work of this bureau. These officers all now report to me. I am not content with my present position. I have applied to Gen. Johnson and Bragg to relieve me. This they declined upon the ground that my services in my present position are so important that I cannot be spared from them. One very serious ground of dissatisfaction with my present position is that, having no command and being an "outsider," I lose all chances for future promotion, and if I ever return to the field, no matter how long, first I will have to return with my present rank and be overshadowed by all the officers from my own State, who constituted a part of the army which I commanded and of which I organized about 45,000 before the transfer to the C. S. service took place. This is the hardship of my present position. Because I have zealously labored for the interest of the service and made myself useful, is it just that I should be thus held and debarred of all chances of promotion and of command, which follows? Another serious source of embarrassment in my present position is that the officers of my staff, taking rank from my own position, are all the pay of captains and lieutenants, which is wholly inadequate for their support, compelled as I am to have my headquarters in the towns and cities, where the cost of living has become so excessive that the is pay will not even subsist them, much less pay all the other incidental expenses of living. These are the great sources of my dissatisfaction with my present position. Though the service is most distasteful and repugnant to my feelings, I am willing to work wherever the Government considers my services most important; but for the reasons stated above I am urgent in my application to be relieved, and ask that you will, by orders, authorize me to organize the cavalry commands mentioned above, and with them proceed to the district west of the Tennessee River and increase it to a division. I make this appeal to your sense of justice.
I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,

GID. J. PILLOW, Brig.-Gen., C. S. Army, Superintendent.

P. S.--I omitted to mention the command of Col. J. J. Reiley, who has a full regiment brought out of West Tennessee under like orders.

G. J. P.

Maj. Cooper has also raised a regiment under my orders in Middle Tennessee, where it now is, but will come soon.

G. J. P.

OR, Ser. IV, Vol. 2, pt. p. 884.

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