Friday, November 16, 2012

November 16 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

16, GENERAL ORDERS, No. 70, providing death for committing depredations 

HQ Left Wing, 16th A.C., General Orders No. 70 by Brigadier-General G.M. Dodge:

The burning or destroying of any property, or any of the products of the country, is a positive detriment to us and a loss to the United States Government; therefore it must be stopped. The burning of cotton-gins, cotton, and everything else, is strictly prohibited. Any of the troops detected in any of these depredations will have meted out to them the extreme penalty of the law, which, in case of burning, pillaging, or robbing, is death. This order will be read at the head of every regiment and battery of the command, and every officer is commanded to aid in carrying it out.

By order of Brig. Gen. G.M. Dodge

OR, Ser. 1, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 171.




November 16, 1863


Knoxville, Tenn., November 17, 1863

The first engagement of any consequence between our forces and those of Longstreet, in the retreat to Knoxville, took place yesterday [16th], at Campbell's Station – a little collection of houses o­n the Kingston road, where it forms a junction with the road to Loudon.

During the night of Sunday, the rebels made three different charges o­n our position at Lenoir, with the intention of capturing the batteries o­n the right of our position' but every o­nset was met and repulsed. In the morning, our troops again took up the march in retreat, and the rebels pushed our rear-guard with so much energy that we were compelled to turn a train of wagons, to obtain the mules to aid in getting away the artillery. Its destruction was necessary, as otherwise we would have been compelled to abandon it to the enemy. o­ne piece of artillery, which had become mired and could not be hauled out by the horses, fell into their hands.

The rear was brought up by General Ferrero's division of the Ninth corps, and as the progress of the wagon-trains in the advance was necessarily slow, but easy duty devolved upon that portion of our column. To check the impetuous pursuit of the rebels was indispensable to the safety of our main body, as well as the wagons, which, in addition to the baggage, carried the subsistence for the march. The result was, that a series of heavy skirmished ensued along the whole line of the retreat. As we approached Campbell's Station, where it was feared the enemy would endeavor to throw a force upon our flank, from the direction of Kingston, the division of Colonel Hartrauft was marched through the timber until it came upon the road leading from that point. In a short space of time, the wisdom of the precaution manifested itself; for the rebels soon made their appearance, but too late to execute their object. Colonel Hartauft skirmished with them, and fell back slowly, fighting as he came. The rebels, at o­ne time, made an effort to flank him, but failed. In this endeavor, they approached so close as to fire a volley directly at him and staff. A brigade of cavalry, under Colonel Biddle, gave material assistance in checking the enemy.

General Burnside, finding that the enemy were pressing him so closely as to endanger the trains and extra artillery, which, at the head of the column, still "dragged their slow length along," determined to come into position, to give them battle, and, pending it, to enable the wagons to get well in advance. Accordingly he selected positions for the artillery o­n commanding eminences to the right and left of the road, which at this point runs through a valley whose slopes are under cultivation, and consequently cleared of timber. The ground chosen was, in fact, a succession of farms, commencing at Campbell's Station, and flanking either side of the road for a distance of two miles.

Our guns were in position some time before noon, but it was near that hour when the fight became warm. General Ferrero, in falling back o­n the Loudon road, came in advance of Colonel Hartrauft, and defiling to the right, (it would be to the left as he marched, but facing the enemy, it was the right,) took up his position in line of battle. Colonel Hartrauft, whose flank was now reenforced by a detachment of General White's command, under Colonel Chapin, came in [the] rear of General Ferrero as he passed the fork of the road, and, marching to the left, came into position o­n the southern slope of the valley, Colonel Chapin still holding his position o­n the flank. A consideration of the whole movement will show with what admirable position each regiment and brigade came into line of battle. Indeed, the evolutions o­n the field at Campbell's Station have seldom been excelled in beauty and skill in coming into position, as well as in the succeeding manoeuvres, the commands o­n both sides, Union as well as rebel, exhibited a degree of discipline which at o­nce betrayed the veterans of many a battle-field. Our troops here found an enemy not unworthy of their steel, in the hands of Longstreet. Insignificant as the present fight may appear in comparison with others of this war, it certainly will rank among those in which real generalship was displayed. Every motion, every evolution, was made with the precision and regularity of the pieces o­n a chess-board.

The rebels, finding the disposition of our troops to be o­ne which offered battle, readily accepted the gage thrown down to them, and it was not long before their main body was seen advancing from the timber at the end of the clearing in two formidable lines. o­n they came, alternately surmounting the crests of the little knolls in beautiful undulating lines, and disappearing again into the hollows beneath. Our forces opened at long-range; but still they pressed o­n, heedless of the shower of bullets which whistled all around them, until they reached a position apparently suitable to them, when they began to return the fire. The rattle of musketry soon became quite lively, and continued for upward of an hour, when it was discovered that, while they had thus engaged us in front, a heavy force was menacing us o­n both flanks. The steady music of the volley-firing was not mingled with the intermittent shots of the skirmishers, who pushed out upon us from the woods o­n either side. Our troops fell back and the rebel lines closed in a semi-circle. Still advancing, still pouring in their volleys with the utmost deliberation, the enemy came o­n, and at length apportion of their column quickened into a charge. Our troops gave way, not in confusion, but in steady line, delivering their fire as they fell back, step by step, to the shelter of the batteries.

Quick as lightning our guns now belched forth from the summits of the hills above. Shell and shrapnel, canister and case, whichever came readiest to hand in the ammunition-chests, were hurled at the serried ranks of the rebels. Our gunners could distinctly see the swathes which their missiles cut in those regiments advancing in solid mass. Benjamin, Roemer, Buckley, Gettings, Henshaw, all had full pay upon the foe with their pet guns.

As might be expected, the rebels gave way under this severe fire, but in admirable order, and, falling back again to the cover of the timber, which, in addition, was beyond ordinary range, made their disposition for the renewal of the attack. Heretofore they had fought without artillery. They now bought three batteries into position, and opened from the troops of the knolls, while the infantry deployed upon our flanks o­nce more.

It was now late in the afternoon, the trains had obtained a good start o­n the road, and so far, General Burnside had obtained his object. It was unnecessary, therefore, to hazard, in his present position, the result of the attack to which the rebels were returning with renewed vigor, while a better position was afforded in his rear. He accordingly fell back about half a mile, to another series of commanding hills, where our batteries against came into position, and the fight was renewed. The second engagement, like the first, was marked by the same stubborn fighting o­n either side.

Our forces contested the ground successfully until night terminated the battle, and left them in their chosen position. As the end for which General Burnside had given battle was attained, namely, the checking of the enemy's progress, until our trains were out of danger, and as he was not desirous of risking another engagement until he reached the fortifications at Knoxville, the retreat bean o­nce more, and it is reasonable to suppose, as the enemy gave no pursuit until the morning, that they were unaware of the movement, and expected a renewal of the fight o­n the ground of yesterday.

Despite the briskness and energy with which the fight was carried o­n, our loss is very small. It will not exceed three hundred, and General Burnside estimated it as low as two hundred.

The enemy have lost far more in comparison – the result of the severe artillery fire to which they were exposed; and o­ne thousand is not far from their number .

I cannot finish my account without alluding to Colonel Chapin's brigade, the Twentieth –third corps, which fought with distinguished valor, and which, though not so long in the service as many of the veteran confreres [sic] has well earned a place by their side.

Rebellion Record, Vol. 8, pp. 189-190



16, 1863,  "Do you suppose I'd sell a d----d rebel a chicken-I'd see you in hell first. You've stole all my chickens." Confederate Soldiers Encounter East Tennessee Unionist Women


The Tory Women of East Tennessee.


One of the editors of the Hendersonville, N. Carolina Times, who is East Tennessee with his regiment, writes to that paper:


To give an idea of the social status of the ladies of this section, as well as the estimate they place upon the protection afforded by our troops, I will trouble the reader with an incident that occurred yesterday:


Being at leisure, Lt. Col. B., Maj. S., and I, went out chestnut hunting. After canvassing the immediate neighborhood of our camps for some time, and having become tired, we entered a grass plat near a large chestnut tree inside a field. Discovering no chestnuts on the tree, we lay down on the grass, thinking to rest a few minutes and proceed on our journey. We had not observed that we were within twenty paces of a house, within whose walls resided living people-I mean, though we had observed the house, we had not recognized the fact that it was inhabited. But, we were not long in being made cognizant of that fact, for we had scarcely taken our seats than we were greeted by a sharp female voice, with the expression:


"Oh! I'll be with you, you cowardly, sneaking rebel sheep stealers."


We felt a little confused for a moment, when turning in the direction from whence the voice came we observed a huge female advancing with masculine step, and plainly indicated something of an extraordinary character, though we were unable at first to know what it was. We kept quiet though I must confess I felt an inclination to "fall back," for I have a natural and uncontrollable horror of being in the presence of and enraged virago. But we had delayed retreating till it was too late to do so, and the lady opened on us with a vim that showed that she was not lacking in earnestness.


"What are you doing here-plundering my property, you rebel thieves?"


We were astounded and shocked at the suddenness and vehemency of the attack. But at length Maj. S. took courage to reply:


"Madam, were are not troubling anything."


"The hell you aint!-right here in my yard, ready to steal my chickens-every thing I've got," retorted the woman.


By this time she had arrived within a threatenhing distance of us. I noticed that she was mad with rage, while fire seemed to flash from her eyes.


"We were only looking at that chestnut tree, to see if there were any chestnuts on it," replied the Colonel.


"And you was going to steal my chestnuts, was you?-get out o' here, or I'll thrash the yeth[1] [sic] with your carcasses!"


At this juncture I suggested that we should withdraw from the premises, but the other gentlemen thought proper to ascertain the lady's political notions before doing so.


"Oh don't be alarmed, madam, we do not mean to trouble any of your property," said the Major, good naturedly.


"Alarmed!-do you suppose I'd be alarmed at such trifling skulks[2] as you 'uns are –you rebel chicken stealers," quickly retorted the woman.


"Speaking of chickens-we will pay you any price you may name," said the Major.

"Do you suppose I'd sell a d----d rebel a chicken-I'd see you in hell first. You've stole all my chickens."


The Major endeavored to convince the old woman that we did not steal chickens, sheep, and so on-that we meant no harm by being on her premises. But she persisted in her declaration that we were the vilest of the vile. She announced herself a zealous advocate of "Linkum," and the Union.


Her attitude being still more threatening, and manifesting a decided disposition to assume the offensive, to a house that was a little distance off, to borrow an axe we suddenly became impressed with the importance of retreating.


A day or two previous to the occurrence above related, I went into the country some three of four miles, to visit a sick soldier who had been left at a private house. On the way I observed a small chestnut tree, quite fill of chestnuts. I concluded it would "pay" to fell it, and sent private H., who was with me. He rode off, but soon returned with the statement: "The gal won't let me have it." 'Well," said I, "lets both go down, and I think we can persuade her to let us have it." We soon arrived opposite the house and alighted-went to the door and knocked. We repeated it two of three times before we were heeded. At length in came a sprightly looking lass.


What business have you got here, sir?"


I took off my hat (still standing on the steps) and bowing as politely as I could, said: "Only to borrow an axe an hour, to fell a small chestnut tree."


"Give him the axe over his head-he's a chicken stealing rebel," cried a female voice in an adjoining room.


I felt abashed, and was considering what I should say next, when H., thinking I was getting in a "close place," came to my assistance, and stepping past me into the house, remarked to the young lady:


"You're mistaken; the Dr. don't steal chick-


"Pop him over the head with the poke stick Liz; you know that's they way Jimmie told you to treat the rebels when they come about" cried the female voice in the adjoining room. Just at this moment I observed Liz spring to the chimney-place and gather up what H. called a whopping big poker stick, and raising it in a striking position I suddenly concluded I did not want any chestnuts, and skedaddled, double quick-jumped over the fence and into my saddle, and quickly found my spurs touching my sides, while he gently bore me away from the scene of action. Just as I sprung from the door, I heard a loud report, which H. says was the result of the poker stick, hitting the shutter, when thrown by Liz at his person!


These Lincolnite women, down on the river, are fighting stock; and I must say I would rather do without chestnuts a great while than to come in contact with one of them again.


Fayetteville Observer, November 16, 1863.

[1] Nineteenth-century East Tennessee vernacular for "earth."

[2] Most likely meaning something like "bums" or "thieves." It is defined only as a verb, "to skulk."




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