Friday, December 7, 2012

December 7 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

7, “Some puked and heaved at an awful rate.” Sick wheat flour in the 10th Illinois Volunteer Infantry in the Madisonville environs

Dec. 7th 1863, 5 ms [sic] South of Madisonville, Monday 7thMunrow [sic] Co. Maddisonville [sic] Co Seat

A little after day light orders came for our company to report to our regt and be ready to march at 9 o'clock  A. M. when ariveing [sic] at camp we found that some wheat flour has been issued but our company had no time to cook it so we had to carry it along all day with the exceptions of a pint of rather thin mush we have not eat [sic] any thing [sic] today the other companys [sic] of our regt cooked and eat brackfast [sic] off the flower they drawed [sic] and all that eat of it was less or more sick some puked and heaved at an awful rate [sic] the thought at first [was] that it was poisoned but afterwards found out that it was what they call sick wheat the officers advised us not to use ours but throw it away, but we could be advised we were bound to eat it if we died in 10 minutes. So after getting into camp I devided [sic] it out to each man his share some made it in little cakes, placed them on a peice [sic] of board or rail, and sort of dried or tosted [sic] it by the fiar [sic] and some mixted [sic] it up in tin cups and scratched out a little hole in the ashes, poured it in and covered it up with hot ashes and let it cook after the manner of rosting [sic] pitatos [sic] Brother James had a tin plate which him [sic] and myself [sic] used to bake our on some of the boys became very sick and more then heaved but I was not effected [sic] so bad although I felt sick of the stomic [sic]
We marched 15 miles today and camped 5 miles South of Maddisinville [sic] a little town better looken [sic] then most of towns [sic] of the same size. Some 300 rebs cleared out as we advanced.
John Hill Fergusson Diary, Book 3.

7, Shortages, literary dreams and prospects for the future in Warren County, an excerpt from the War Journal of Lucy Virginia French “…and it will be as hard a task as Charlotte Bronte ever undertook--yet I want to make an effort.”

* * * *

The bareness to which we are reduced would have seemed to me two years ago as incredible. We live on wheat coffee, pork, or goat meat, bread--(both corn and wheat,) and we have a few potatoes and turnips, and one cow. When that is said “voila tout,” butter is 1.00 per lb. and eggs 1.50 per dozen. No sugar[,] no molasses, a little dried fruit, and some in cans, but nothing to sweeten it with. Understood Mrs. Julia Argo had gotten in some way two barrels of sugar,--I sent her an offering of 5 to 10 dollars for as many lbs., but she could not let anybody have a pound! Sent me word if she let anybody have it, it would be me, but she would not sell a bit of it. “Well,” I thought, “had I two barrels of sugar, I could not deny a neighbor who wanted a few pounds.” During the past week I have been busy sewing, knitting, etc., it being my wish to get all such work of that kind of[f] my hands by the New Year, when, “if we have any luck,” I would like to commence my study and book-writing. Small advantages have I for this it is true--and it will be as hard a task as Charlotte Bronte ever undertook--yet I want to make an effort. I may fail, or the book may fail (which is more than probable.) yet I must try for two reasons. Darlin’ will never be satisfied unless I do try, and as our circumstances may be poor indeed by the time this infernal war is over, I could not have an easy conscience unless I at least tried to do whatever is in my power to mend them. We have no pleasures to look forward to now--but only duties--henceforth we are not to enjoy, but to labor, and endure. We shall belong to that class of the world’s drudges, who “work that they may eat and eat that they may be enabled to work.” It is a cold and gloomy future--how different from that my imagination pictured two years ago!--yet it must be met, and met with stout hearts too, or we shall faint and fall by the wayside. May heaven help us and out children!

War Journal of Lucy Virginia French.

7, “Recruits Wanted for the McCann Zouaves.”

Thirty or forty Recruits are wanted to complete this company. The company is to be attached to Col. Anglade’s Zouave Regiment, to be armed with the latest and most improved rifles, and will be drilled in the regular Zouave drill; to go into camp immediately.

Person wishing to enlist in this Company may do so by calling on the undersigned, on College street, two doors north of Broad street.

M. O. Brooks, Captain

Formerly of Col. Raines Reg. Tenn.

Nashville Daily Gazette, December 7, 1861.

7, A Union recruiter’s tale of capture and escape in Middle Tennessee [all spelling is original]

Bethel Station Tennessee
December 7th, 1862
Gov Andrew Johnson

Sir I have Been in the Recruiting Service ever since I left Nashville or at best the most of the Time[.] The Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers have fallen and the CeCesh gurellas having got in middle Tennesse it was Impossable for me to reach Nashvill so I was advised by Col Adams of Hamburgh Tenn to Recruit for Col Hurst Reg at Berthel who was making up a Reg by your orders[.] so good many of my recruits are in his Regment[.] I have nearly a company formed now and will have the company completed by christmast if I can but at the present time my hands are tied. During the time I was Recruiting I captured some negroes who had been throwing up breast works for the CeCesh and had been working on a cecesh gun-boat[.] I captured them and turned them over to the government authoraties And a good many Horses a large amount of salt &c which enraged the cecesh against me Trememdeously so They put out Rewards for me from $500 to $1,000[.] So on 2nd day of Nov. while alone on a reconnorting expedtions I was captured by a band of Guerellas on the Tenessee River[.] I then without mercy or Humanity was drged in irons to Columbia Jail where I was striped of my Clothing and hung up three times by the neck, Thence I was Draged to Murphyesborough in Thirty miles of Nashvill and thurst in a cell without any thing to protect myself from the severity of the weather[.] in that dismal cell I had to walk the floor all the times of nights to or I should have chilled to death[.] I thought my time was come[.] stripped naked of my warm clothing and shoes and had to die at last in Jail by the severity of wether Awful indeed[.] Inability seized my mortal frame[.] I was taken out of Jail and Brought before the provost martial to have the sentence of death pronounced against me[.] I was hailed by soldiers as [I] entered the court houst as Thief a rober and Scoundrel[.] Shoot the damed Rascal says one, get out of the way many voices cries[.] Ile shoot Ile shoot[.] god dam his soul hes tured traitor to country and joined the yankees[.] Kill, Kill him[.] They were tumultuous[.] The Excite was quelled by the officers but with great Difficulty[.] I was brough in the court house[.] The charges against me were mad out by one Mr. Cox guerella Captain formerly of Lindon Tennessee a pettifogger lawyer; the charges were as follows. Dr.W. T. Belisle guilty Negro [sic] steeling Horse steeling and infact a great enemy to the southren confederacy a[nd] verry Dangerous to the confedratee cause[.] therfore you will keep him well secured for he is as slick as an eel. but owing to my disablitly I was ordered back in Jail for Three days to be kept by the fire in warm room unitl I would Recruit a litle under a strong guard which was done. I bein Released from cell in prison I soon got accquainted with one Mr. Johnson also a prisoner for aiding you (he so informed me) to organize a Union Meeting in that vicinity. we had Joyful time of it[.] Ile assure you I was glad to see him[.] we conversed nearly all day[.] I found him to be a good union man and a verry enteligent [sic!] one; one that loved his country and appeared to sempathize with me verry much but they seeing such an intimacy existing Between us he was moved to Chattanooga and I was left alone to deplore my awful condition[.] But god would have it on the Second Night I was guared by some North Carolinians who were good Union men Conscriped in service who were Careless about me and who petted [pitied?] me very much and told me they Thought I would [be] Shot or hanged[.] I then Thought it was once or never for me to make my Escape so about 2’O Clock before day when Slumber had taken deep possession of all the guards but one I Broke out two nail above a window sash, Raised the sash and made my escape between the Camp fires into the cedar woods. Though I was barefoot and nearly Naked and the rain was pouring down on me I was happy to Happy to thinke I had escaped a mighty foe; one that sought to take my life because I loved my Country[.] Shivering with cold surrounded with an unfeeling enemy a dark and gloomy night I set out to try to find Nashvill; I traveled till day and found my self in side and surrounded by the CeCesh pickets so I was compelled to lay up all day and being unaquainted with the couintry I traveled three nights trying to pass the picketts and get in to Nashvill[.] Hunger and cold had nearly appointed my end so one morning early I found my self surrounded by the pickets who took me and brought me before Gen. Wheeler at lavern [.] I knew then I would have to do quick work or go up for ninety days so I told Gen. Wheeler that I belonged to that company I came to Nashville with[.] I told him I belonged to Comp C 1st Tennessee Cav and he believed me and perolled but would not let me report at Nashvill but put out of the lines withe orders if I was in his lines any more I was to be shot[.] This please me very much And Skedaddled for Bethel Knowing when they found out the trick the perole woul do me no good[.] so got out of the way[.] So I have stated My Condition to you as it really is[.] I had to tell them that belonged to the army or else death would have been my portion[.] I soon found out Being in the Recruiting service would not release me[.] So you know I was only in the recruiting service as I received the authority from you on the 4th day of June last. So You see my condition at this time. And I wish you to write to me what to do so soon as this comes to hand and you will oblige your obediant Servent

W. T. Belisle MD

Direct you letter to Bethel Tennessee in Care of Provo Martial

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, pp. 89-90.

7, “Merchants' Home Guard.”

The soldierly bearing and correct execution of evolutions, in obedience to orders, by the “Merchants’ Home Guards,” on the occasion of their mustering in, on Monday the 7th instant, in the presence of General Veatch, was deserving of much praise. When the order was given, “Prepare to open Ranks”--”To the Rear--Open Order”--“Front,” the promptness and precision of compliance to the word of command elicited the warm approval and admiration of all who were present. Much credit is due the commissioned officers, Captain Harvey S. De Young, First Lieutenant, J. C. Cohen, Second Lieutenant, David C. Loewenstine. Their first dress parade will take place on New Year’s day.

Memphis Bulletin, December 9, 1864.

7, “Fire Plugs Needed.”

The fire on Wednesday night [7th] proved conclusively that absolute necessity of more fire plugs in that neighbored. The government engine Donelson had out more than two thousand feet of hose, before she could reach the fire from the nearest plug. The recommendation of Chief Engineer Freeman, made some months ago, to have cisterns cut on the high parts of the city, ought to be attended to an once, before a terrible conflagration teaches our city fathers the evils of procrastination.

Nashville Dispatch, December 9, 1864

7-January 15, 1865, Operations of U.S.C.T.

Report of Col. Charles R. Thompson, Twelfth U. S. Colored Troops, commanding Second Colored Brigade, of operations December 7, 1864--January 15, 1865.

HDQRS. TROOPS ON NASHVILLE AND NORTHWESTERN R. R., Kingston Springs, Tenn., February 24, 1865.

MAJ.: I have the honor to transmit the following report of the action of my command during the past campaign:

On the 7th day of December I reported to Maj.-Gen. Steedman, in accordance with verbal orders received from department headquarters, and by his directions placed my brigade in line near the City graveyard, the right resting on College street, and the left on the right of Col. Harrison's brigade, where we threw up two lines of rifle-pits. On the 11th of December made a reconnaissance, by order of the general commanding, to see if the enemy were still in our front. Two hundred men, under command of Col. John. A. Hottenstein, pressed the enemy's picket-line and reserve to their main line of works, where they were found to be in force. The object of the reconnaissance having been accomplished we retired to our position in line by the direction of the major-general commanding. This was the first time that any of my troops had skirmished with an enemy, and their conduct was entirely satisfactory. On the 13th of December, by order of the general commanding, I reported to Col. Malloy, commanding brigade, Provisional Division, District of the Etowah, to make a reconnaissance on the east side of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, to see if the enemy was still in force in that vicinity. The Thirteenth Regt. U. S. Colored Infantry was deployed as skirmishers, and the Twelfth and One hundred Regt.'s U. S. Colored Infantry were held in reserve in line. We advanced from the Murfreesborough pike, with the skirmishers of Col. Malloy's brigade connecting with my left, and drove the enemy's picket and reserves to their main line, after a somewhat stubborn resistance, on the grounds of Mr. Rains. The enemy were there in full force, and sharp firing was kept up as long as we remained there, which was until nearly dark. We retired to our position in line, but not without loss. Capt. Robert Headen, of Company E, Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry, was mortally wounded while on the skirmish line pushing his company forward under a heavy fire from the enemy's earth-works; several men, also, were killed and wounded.

On the 15th; of December, by directions received from the major-general commanding, I moved my command at 6 a. m. to assault the enemy's works between the railroad and the Nolensville pike. So that movement might be made more rapidly I moved the two regiments, which were to be in the first line (the Thirteenth and One hundredth U. S. Colored Infantry), under cover of the railroad bank, and placed them in column of company, side by side, and awaited the opening of the battle, which was to be done by Col. Morgan, on the left. As soon as his guns were heard I moved across the railroad, the reserve regiment (the Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry) passing in the rear through a culvert and wheeling into line charged and took the works in our front. The enemy were evidently expecting us to move to the left of the railroad, as their artillery was moved to meet us there and was not opened on us until we had gained the works and were comparatively well protected. My orders being to await there the orders of the general commanding, my command was kept in the same position during the day, except making slight changes in the direction of the line to protect the men from an enfilading fire. Sharp firing was kept up between the skirmishers, and considerable artillery ammunition expended. The section of the Twentieth Indiana Battery, commanded by Lieut. York, who was wounded, and afterward by Lieut. Stevenson, did excellent execution, and drove the enemy's battery opposing it from their positions which it took to operate against us. During the night we strengthened our rifle-pits and threw up an earth-works for the protection of the artillery, which had been much exposed during the day to the fire of the enemy's sharpshooters.

At daylight on the morning of December 16, indications that the enemy had left our front being apparent, I sent my skirmishers forward, and found the rifle-pits occupied by the enemy's sharpshooters vacant. By direction of the general commanding I then sent the skirmish line to the hill south and about one mile from the one we had taken the day previous. Finding no enemy there the whole command was ordered forward. We marched about one mile and a half toward the south, and then moved in a westerly direction, my left connecting with the right of Col. Morgan's brigade. We halted on the hill east of the Tennessee and Alabama Railroad until the general commanding could communicate with the right of the army. When this was done I was ordered to move to the east of the Franklin pike and connect with the left of Gen. Wood's (Fourth) corps. This was done without material damage, though the enemy opened on us from two batteries on Overton Hill. Immediately upon getting my command into position I reported the fact to Gen. Wood, who said he was about to make a charge, and desired me to support his left. At about 3 p.m. his command started, and after they had proceeded about forty yards I moved. The left regiment (the Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry) was obliged to move about eighty yards in column, as there was a dense briar thicket on the left, which it could not penetrate. After passing this thicket it was my intention to halt the command until I could see what was on Gen. Wood's left and how it would be best to charge the works. The deploying of the Twelfth Regt. at double-quick caused the other regiments to think that a charge had been ordered, and they immediately started at double-quick. Being under a heavy fire at the time, I thought it would cause much confusion to rectify this, so I ordered the whole line to charge. The One hundredth Regt. was somewhat broken by trees, which had been felled. The Twelfth Regt. U. S. Colored Infantry and the left wing of the One hundredth Regt. U. S. Colored Infantry passed to the left of the enemy's works, they making a sharp angle there. This gave the enemy an enfilading and rear fire on this portion of the command. It being impossible to change front under the withering fire, and there being no works in front of them, I gave orders for that portion of the command to move by the left flank to the shelter of a small hill a short distance off, there to reorganize. The right wing of the One hundredth Regt. moved forward with the left of the Fourth Corps, and was repulsed with them. The Thirteenth U. S. Colored Infantry, which was the second line of my command, pushed forward of the whole line, and some of the men mounted the parapet, but, having no support on the right, were forced to retire. These troops were here for the first time under such a fire as veterans dread, and yet, side by side with the veterans of Stone's River, Missionary Ridge, and Atlanta, they assaulted probably the strongest works on the entire line, and though not successful, they vied with the old warriors in bravery, tenacity, and deeds of noble daring. The loss in the brigade was over twenty-five per cent. of the number engaged, and the loss was sustained in less than thirty minutes. While reorganizing my command the troops on the right had broken the enemy's line, which caused them to retreat from Overton Hill. The enemy on Overton Hill was considerably re-enforced during the attack, on account of the firmness of the assault, and which naturally weakened the enemy's left and made it easier for our troops to break their line at that point. Under orders from the general commanding we moved down the Franklin pike, and bivouacked on the left of the army.

December 17, we marched to the north bank of the Harpeth River, opposite Franklin, in pursuit of the enemy. December 18, marched about three miles south of Franklin, where orders reached us to return to Franklin and from there to move to Murfreesborough. We arrived in Murfreesborough on the 20th of December, at about noon, the men completely worn down, having accomplished by far the hardest march that I ever experienced. The rain had fallen almost constantly, and every brook had overflown [sic] its banks and assumed the proportions of a river. The mud was ankle deep, and when we arrived at Murfreesborough over fifty per cent. of the command were in need of shoes. On the 23d of December, 1864, moved from Murfreesborough by rail, and on the 26th of December disembarked from the cars about nine miles east of Decatur, Ala., and moved within a mile of the Tennessee River, near the mouth of Flint River.

* * * * 

On the 5th [January] moved to within four miles of Decatur, where I received orders to move the my old command (the Second Brigade Colored Troops) to Nashville, Tenn. On the 6th of January moved of the terminus of the railroad opposite Decatur and waited transportation. On the 7th sent the Twelfth Regt. off, on the 8th started, for Nashville with the Thirteenth and One hundredth Regt.'s. On arriving at Larkinsville found that the rebel Gen. Lyon had cut the road, and was sent in pursuit of him by Gen. Cruft, who was at Larkinsville. Moved to Scottsborough on the morning of the 9th, and found that Lyon had gone toward the Tennessee River. In conjunction with Col. Malloy's brigade started in pursuit on the Guntersville road. On the 10th overtook Mitchell's brigade and marched to Law's Landing, where, by order of Gen. Cruft, I took post. On the 11th I received orders to return to Larkinsville, as Lyon had escaped across the Tennessee River. Arrived at Larkinsville on the evening of the 12th, and loaded troops the next evening (13th) and started for Nashville, at which place we arrived at 4 p.m. on the 15th day of January, 1865.

The conduct of the troops during the whole campaign was most soldierly and praiseworthy. Before making the assault on the enemy's works the knapsacks of the troops comprising the Second Brigade were laid aside, and after the works were taken, being ordered to go in pursuit, these were left, and without blankets or any extra clothing, and more than one-half the time without fifty good shoes in the whole brigade, this whole campaign was made with a most cheerful spirit existing. For six days rations were not issued, yet vigorous pursuit was made after the rebel Gen. Lyon.

* * * * 

Of the officers of my staff-Capt. Henry A. Norton, Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry, acting assistant inspector general; Lieut. George W. Fitch, Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry, acting assistant quartermaster, wounded by the enemy after having been taken prisoner while taking stores to the command; Lieut. William H. Wildey, Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry, ordnance officer; Lieut. John D. Reily, Thirteenth U. S. Colored Infantry, acting aide-de-camp; Lieut. Thomas L. Sexton, Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry, acting assistant adjutant-general; Lieut. D. A. Grosvenor, One hundredth U. S. Colored Infantry, acting aide-de-camp, who, after having been wounded in three places, took the colors of his regiment from close to the enemy's earth-works, the color-bearer having been killed; and Lieut. R. G. Sylvester, Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry, commissary of subsistence of the brigade-I cannot speak too highly; uniting in the performance of their several duties, and on the field anxious to do the cause service in the most dangerous places, they richly deserve the thanks of the country.

To the glorious dead we drop a tear, and while we cannot but deeply regret the great loss, not only we, their companions, but the country has sustained, we could not wish them more honorable graves. The conscientious, brave, and high-minded Capt. Robert Headen, the gallant Lieut. Dennis Dease, the gentle, but firm and untiring Lieut. D. Grant Cooke, of the Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry, the two former receiving their death wounds while leading their men against their country's and freedom's foe, the latter butchered by the savage enemy while performing his duties as regimental quartermaster taking supplies to his command, we can never forget as friends, and their positions can hardly be refilled.

In the deaths of Lieut. John M. Wooddruff, Lieut. George Taylor, Lieut. L. L. Parks, and Lieut. James A. Isom, of the Thirteenth U. S. Colored Infantry, the service has lost brave and efficient officers, the country patriots, and humanity friends; they all fell close to the enemy's works, leading their brave men.
The loss of the brigade is as follows:

                 Officers.     Enlisted men.       Aggregate.

Killed..............   7             73                      80
Wounded.........12           376                    388
Missing           1                                            1
Total...............19            450                    469
All of which is respectfully submitted.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHAS. R. THOMPSON, Col. Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry, Cmdg. Brigade.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 45,, pt. I, pp. 543-546.

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