Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 5 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

    December 4, 1861, Presidents of the ET&G and the ET&VA RRs threaten CSA with cessation of railroad service in East Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, EAST TENN., December 4, 1861.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN Secretary of War, Richmond:

DEAR SIR: With great respect for you individually, and an earnest desire to serve the Confederate States to the extent of our ability with our lives and our property, we notify you that unless certain unbearable evils are at o­nce corrected we shall cease to run any trains o­n the roads of which we are the presidents o­n and after the 15th instant. We are forced to this position from considerations entirely unavoidable o­n our part. The military, influenced by no more patriotism than ourselves, have for days past, and without the least necessity for so doing taken possession of the running of our trains, ordering them out in the face of incoming trains, thereby endangering the lives of all o­n board and hazarding the property of individuals and the company. Moreover, the Quartermaster-Gen. has assumed to dictate tariffs for Government freights at such ruinous rates as will in a short time break down every railroad company in the south. Without boring you with a detail of the multitude of good and sufficient reasons for the course we adopt, we will just say that while we are held responsible for the lives and property in our charge in the management of these roads, the movements of the trains and the control of the finances of the company are ordered by men incompetent, irresponsible, and reckless-maybe very good military men, but certainly very bad railroad managers. We are unwilling longer to assume such responsibilities or to sacrifice whatever reputation we may have by continuing identified with roads so controlled. For eight months now we have labored night and day (with the halter of the Lincolnites around our necks and our lives and property in jeopardy) as good, true, and loyal citizens for the Confederate States, and do not consider that we are any the less loyal now in placing these responsibilities in your hands. The burnt bridges are in a very forward state of rebuilding, and will give others you may send here to take our places but little trouble to complete. We also advise you to send here good engine runners and machinists. Our men cannot be kept here much longer in present condition of things, feeling that their lives are constantly in the hands of an inconsiderate and reckless soldiery.

Respectfully, yours,

C. WALLACE, President East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad Company.

JNO. R. BRANNER, President East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad Company.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pp. 227-228.




4, Skirmish on Franklin Pike near Holly Tree Gap

DECEMBER 4, 1862.--Skirmish on the Franklin pike, near Holly Tree Gap, Tenn.

Report of Col. Robert H. G. Minty, Fourth Michigan Cavalry.

HDQRS. FOURTH MICHIGAN CAVALRY, Camp Rosecrans, Tenn., December 4, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to hand you the following report of my scout on the Franklin pike this day:

At 7.30 a.m. I marched, with 302 officers and men. When 8 miles from Nashville, I met the enemy's pickets, which were driven, by Companies I and L, as far as the junction of the Wilson Creek and Franklin pikes (9 miles from Nashville), and then some 2 miles down the Wilson Creek pike. Here I recalled the two companies, and, leaving D company at the junction, moved forward on the Franklin pike. About 2 miles out, we again met the enemy's pickets (about 70 men), and drove them before us through Holly Tree Gap (6 miles from the junction), and to within about 1 mile from Franklin. No obstruction of any kind has been placed in the gap, which is naturally one of the strongest positions I have ever seen.

Two bridges have been destroyed on the road, one about 3 miles north of the gap, the other about 2 1/2 miles south. Wagons can pass both by taking the fields east.

One of the rebels was wounded by a carbine ball in left shoulder. We met with no loss. I returned to camp at 8 o'clock p.m., having ridden about 45 miles.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBT. H. G. MINTY, Col., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. 1, pp. 29-30.



4, Federal scouts in search of and skirmishing with Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry

HDQRS. SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tennessee, December 4, 1863.


Be on the alert-scouts well out. Telegraph any information immediately to these headquarters, and if line is cut, communicate with Gen. Tuttle and Gen. Grierson at La Grange.

S. A. HURLBUT, Maj.-Gen.

(Same to commanding officers at Germantown and Collierville.)

LA GRANGE, December 4, 1863.

Maj.-Gen. HURLBUT:

There are five regiments, with artillery, in the column that threatened us this morning, and have gone west.

J. M. TUTTLE, Brig.-Gen.


December 4, 1863.

Brig.-Gen. TUTTLE, La Grange:

If you think it advisable to move infantry, send Morgan toward Moscow. I will notify the posts at Moscow, Collierville, and Germantown.

S. A. HURLBUT, Maj.-Gen.

HDQRS. SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tennessee, December 4, 1863.

COMDG. OFFICER, Collierville:

Five rebel regiments, with artillery, are moving west from vicinity of La Grange, our forces following.

S. A HURLBUT, Maj.-Gen.

(Same to commanding officers at Germantown and Moscow.)
MOSCOW, TENN, December 4, 1863--3.40 p.m.

Gen. TUTTLE, La Grange, Tennessee:

The enemy are falling back toward La Fayette, on State Line road. Our men are following sharply, still fighting. Have driven them 2 miles.

Col. Morgan has arrived. The enemy are destroying railroad and trestles. Gen. Lee is in command. Chalmers and Ferguson, with from 4,000 to 5,000, are with him; probably not more than 4,000. This information is gained from prisoners. They have four pieces of heavy artillery.

Col. Hatch is suffering intense pain, but the surgeon thinks his wound is not fatal.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. SCOTT BELDEN, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Second Brigade Cavalry.

LA GRANGE, Tennessee., December 4, 1863.


Result of scout north not satisfactory. Officer was no farther then Van Buren, 7 miles from Saulsbury. Says Forrest has three regiments and battalion, about 2,000 men, three cannon and thirty wagons. That he crossed at Bolivar on ferry. Says he is going to Jackson to stay all winter. Mizner at Saulsbury to-night, and will start for here at daylight. He will have to come on now, I suppose, and by the time he gets to Grand Junction you can be ready to give him such orders as may be thought best. You will know about affairs west by that time, unless there is a great necessity for him; then I think he ought to stay at the east end of road. Hurst, at Grand Junction, says his pickets have been fired on since dark. Don't know what he means. He is investigating it.

J. M. TUTTLE, Brig.-Gen.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee, December 4, 1863.

Brig. Gen. A. J. SMITH, Columbus, Ky.:

GEN.: I send you the following just received from a sure hand.
It may be that the figures are exaggerated somewhat, but they are substantially correct.

As soon as I can get the front cleared I will turn on these brigands. Gen. Forrest has, I think, gone up there from Saulsbury with from 300 to 500 men.

Your obedient servant,

S. A. HURLBUT, Maj.-Gen

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, pp. 335-336



4, "Sunday;" Nashville civilians pressed to work upon fortifications

In consequence of a rumor that soldiers were pressing citizens to work on fortifications, and of the desire to get within sight on hearing the guns, but few gentlemen attended church on Sunday. Those who remained at home perhaps did well, but those who neglected their religious duties to gratify their curiosity were furnished with spades and picks as fast as they arrived outside of town. We did not hear of a man being molested on his way to church, or from there to his home.

Nashville Dispatch, December 6, 1864.



4, Report of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U. S. Navy, transmitting information of the capture of arms and ammunition which had been crossed over the Mississippi at mouth of Obion River


SIR: Lieutenant-Commander J. G. Mitchell reported under date of 28th ultimo that 55 boxes of arms, etc., had been taken across the Mississippi on the night of the 25th ultimo from the mouth of the Obion or Forked Deer River for the use of the enemy, but that he had arrested the principals in the affair and would communicate further particulars.

On the 29th ultimo he reported that Brigadier-General Shaler, commanding at Columbus, had informed him on the 26th ultimo of the intended crossing of these arms, 13 wagonloads, which the enemy designed transporting from Dyersburg, in Gibson County [Lauderdale or Dyer County], Tenn., on flatboats down the Obion River, and that 16 more wagonloads were on the way, which would be brought up if the first attempt was successful.
Lieutenant-Commander Mitchell immediately requested General Washburn to dispatch a party of cavalry to cooperate with him.
I enclose a telegram from Lieutenant-Commander Mitchell, dated 2d instant, reporting capture and destruction of the arms (except 50 revolvers) which the enemy succeeded in crossing, as reported above, by the cavalry force. With the arrangements made with General Washburn and the additional precautions taken in guarding the river at the point designated, he expects to be able to prevent the crossing of the additional 16 wagonloads.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully,

S. P. LEE, Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding Mississippi Squadron. 

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy. 

P. S.--I require an active patrol of the river, not to be defeated by known previous arrangements, to cover landings of steamboats by gunboats, which would give facilities for crossing at other points.

S. P. LEE, Acting Rear-Admiral. 


U. S. S. SIBYL, Off New Madrid, December 2, 1864.

With the exception of 50 revolvers, all the arms (850 stands) the ammunition, and medicine that crossed the Mississippi at mouth of Obion River on Friday night last have been captured by a cavalry force under the command of Colonel [P. J.] Yorke, sent by General Washburn, at my request, to cooperate with me. Unfortunately, the arms were destroyed, the roads being so bad they could not be brought in.

J. G. MITCHELL, Lieutenant-Commander, Commanding Eighth District.

Rear-Admiral LEE, Mound City. 

NOR, Ser. I, Vol. 26, pp. 757-758.

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