Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March 6 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

6, "Gayoso Block."

The large range of buildings on Main street between Gayoso and Beal, known as the Gayoso Block, has bee appropriated to the purpose of a hospital under the name odd the Gayoso Hospital. We looked over the interior yesterday and found it had to be a model institution. The building has been arranged for the purpose to which is to be applied by Surgeon J. E. Quider, U. S. A.; the Superintendent being the accomplished chief of the hospitals in this department Surgeon Irwin. The rooms are large, well lighted and ventilated and have high ceilings. The wards are furnished with beds to the number of seven hundred, that being the number of patients the establishment will accommodate. A dumb waiter ascends from the kitchen to each floor; the kitchen itself is admirable arranged for the working and other duties to be performed there, and like the whole place from ground floor to the roof as clean as soap, water had had work can make it. There is a well furnished common dining room, offices, dispensary, and rooms for officers, assistants, and nurses. On the roof are tanks to which water is driven by forcing pumps from the basement; from these every floor, and the bath closets, are amply supplied. In one room a platform is fitted up to receive a melodion [sic], and for seating the choir at divine service on Sundays. The orderly and methodical arrangement of the beds, furniture, utensils, materials for the e sick, show that an intelligent and [illegible] mind been busy directing and overseeing all. The Gayoso Hospital is yet scarcely in active operation; it will be devoted to the wounded, and is well supplied with the trimmings for surgical operations. Dr. Quidor is surgeon in charge; He has been selected for his profound professional knowledge and his personal experience. He has obtained celebrity for the peculiar and wonderful art with which he saves limbs in cases where amputation is usually deemed inevitable, and for scientific invention which have obtained the approbation of London Journals and home scientific periodicals. His efforts will be seconded by an able corps of assistant and nurses who have been sent from Indiana by the Sanitary Commission. Twenty-five ladies of the glorious order of St. Florence Nightingale have arrive, and they will be the soother of the suffering; angels of mercy hovering round the bed of pain, supplying the place of absent wives and mothers, and whispering words of peace to the parting soul; hastening recovery by their cares and telling the dying of a triumph bought with the blood of the Son of God. A visit to a hospital is usually a melancholy occasion; in this instance it was not so. Skill and kindness are so happily combined, and the rules for the government of the place drawn by Dr. Quidor are so excellent that we are sure in Gayoso the sufferer will have all that talent, benevolence and care can bestow.

Memphis Bulletin, March 6, 1863.

6, Excerpts from the diary of Mary L. Pearre

Seven days have passed since I wrote. Ruth, poor little darling came near dying. We sent for her Father. He has not come yet. She is convalescent now. Mag is also getting well. Have been about half sick myself. Caught cold sitting up at night and having to be out doors so much in the day time.
Had company every day & several night. Bob C. came here again this week. I read Vallandigans [sic] speech to him. Took me over an hour. I don't like to read aloud, felt my voice tremble when I began. Was a little embarrassed. Bob is a flatterer. This is quite palpable in his conversation. Says women should be educated. Taught to reason to think and above all should cultivate a fondness for reading. I agree with him, yet I told him that a woman that thought & reasoned to an extent was unhappy, that they find they have to feed too much on mere "husks." The outward world that they hide within their hearts do not agree. If I had read less, imagined less & educated my mind for the practical instead of the ideal in life, I would have been better adapted for the prosaic existence that appears to be mine. That is my fate so far.

Yet I threw away (I fear) my hope of earthly happiness & must wait until the troubled heart moans itself unto the rest which knows no waking.

I do not feel so unhappy, personally I am growing indifferent, yet my heart bleeds in every pore for my country & my friends.

I heard the booming of cannon yesterday. Bro. Robert, I expect, was in the fight. We have heard nothing from it, only that our boys fell back. They have been fighting at Vicksburg. We gained the victory.

* * * *

The bright sun of American peace and liberty I fear is extinguished. A fearful home is all we profess. A hope we will gain our independence. (A Negro War) [sic] how hateful the thought. I wish they were all in their native land beyond the sea. God only know if slavery be right. Yet all men were certainly not born equal. If so they surely would have obtained their rights before now. I am a half fatalist [sic]. Naturally cannot help it. Have never read any works tinctured with that belief. If I had four years since, what would I have been now. [sic]

Heaven help me. I am strange enough as I am.

* * * *

Diary of Mary L. Pearre

March 6, 1863

 "SANITARY ARRANGEMENTS." Editorial approval of street cleaning initiative in Memphis

We have taken occasion to point out in our columns, within a few days past, the importance of cleaning the streets, alley and gutters of the city from the pestilential matter accumulated upon them, a measure necessary to the health of the city.  We are gratified to find that others, in a situation more competent than ours to give effect to their perceptions of what is necessary, have directed their attention to the importance of taking precautions to present the city being the victim of pestilence or epidemic during the coming hot weather.  A perusal of the proceeding of the Council, which we publish this morning, shows that Gen. Veatch, whose vigilance has not failed to observe the necessity of proper precaution, and whose kind care has induced him to take decided action in the matter, has called up o­n the city Council to take steps for having the city streets well cleaned, and has offered to supply the necessarily labor required to do the work. In accordance with his recommendations Council has divided the city not districts, and appointed gentlemen of its own body to superintend the work. We presume the labor will immediately be commenced. We have heard it said that there is no occasion for haste in this matter; that if we wait a month the loose and putrefying soil that now makes the streets disgusting from its rottenness,[1]  will be dried up by the heat of the sun, and will be no longer the eye-sore and obstruction the nuisance to walkers and riders it now is, and that the mounds of filth from houses, stores and shops that now encumber many places in the streets, and all the alleys, is all that requires removal.  These persons would have the vile deposits of the gutters, and the sides of the streets thrown into the centre of each street, to "round it up." The passing carriage will press it down, and the sun dry its surface - then all is well fixed for the Summer. Whether this be a satisfactory way of doing the business, it is for medical men to say.  There are plenty of competent gentlemen, in the various hospitals of the city, who can authoritatively pronounce upon this question. It appears to us that the filth thus thrown together in the middle of the street, is as liable to give off its miasmatic influence there as elsewhere except insofar as unhealthy fermentation, and consequent exhalation of miasmatic gases may be impeded by the decreased supply of moisture at times when dry weather pervades. Even if a decrease did then occur, every rain is sufficient to penetrate beneath the surface at a time when the temperature was high, would be a new occasion for the engendering and throwing of injurious exhalations.  But even in fine dry weather the evil will not be suspended. Rotting and pernicious particles in the form of dust, would be whirled in the air by every breeze, and tossed into it by every footfall and by the wheel of every passing carriage. The proposal to cleanse the city streets, and to do it without delay, while the filthy soil is plastic and easily removed - is an excellent o­ne, and citizens generally will feel grateful to Gen. Veatch for his active and practical interference in the matter.  We take the liberty of hinting that every citizen ought to co-operate in this good work by attention to the cleansing of his own outhouse, yards, and entrances.

Memphis Bulletin, March 6, 1863.
[1] added emphasis

6, "Colored Church and Ball-Rooms"

A few days ago we devoted a paragraph to the colored population, in which we stated that the churches have of late become sadly neglected. Various reasons are assigned for this, one of which is, that the boys and girls [sic] are afraid to turn of on Sunday, because many of them have been pressed into Government service in their Sunday clothes and compelled to work in them. This might be obviated by procuring passes exempting those attending church from being pressed on Sunday. Such passes would readily be given by the Commander of the Post. But that is not the reason; there are others more cogent: namely, the bad example of negroes from the free States, and contrabands.

Hundreds of these may be seen upon the streets all day Sunday, when the weather is fine; and when rainy they may be found congregated in the various lodging places, devoting the day to dissipation, debauchery, gaming, etc. A heavy responsibility rests upon our colored preachers at this time; they might and ought to be materially aided by the military, if the latter feel disposed to consider that the morals of the negro are worth preserving, and believe that religion has precisely the same effect upon them as upon white people, viz: in making and keeping them honest, sobers, industrious, and well conducted in all respects.

The being religious [sic] and regularly attending church does not necessarily deprive them of innocent amusements - indeed, it adds to their ability to enjoy rationally the social gatherings they so much delight in - their balls and parties, which were formerly conducted in the most unobjectionable manner by our Nashville boys, [sic] but many of which have the past winter degenerated into places of assignation, drunkenness and general disorderly conduct. So low, indeed, had they become, as we are credibly informed, that few of our Nashville girls and boys [sic] would attend them.

On Wednesday last [4th] we were informed that the colored gentlemen of Nashville were to give a ball on that night at the City Hotel, to which no "disreputable" contrabands of soldiers were to be admitted, and we determined at once to be there to see how things went on. The following is a copy of the neatly printed ticket: - "Cotillion Party, to be given at the City Hotel, on Wednesday, March 4th, 1863. James Thomas and K. Douglas, Managers. Music by Bill Porter's String Band. No Ladies admitted without a Gentleman. Admission, $1."

The bell had just tolled the hour of 9 p.m. as we wended our way across the Square, and in fifteen minutes thereafter we introduced ourselves to Mr. Thomas, whom we found guarding the entrance. Bill Porter had just seated himself upon his elevated seat, and while tuning his violin (a valuable one, by the way", was informing an impatient youth that no fashionable ball commences before 9 or 10 o'clock. Bill had two assistants - a second and base, and discoursed music sweet, eloquent, and spirited, and all being in readiness for the dance Bill called out -

"Gents will please take of dar has, and put 'em in dar pockets, or somewhar else. Better put 'em in yer pockets; I see some white gentlemen here. [Bill has considerable native humor in him, which he occasionally dispenses gratuitously.]

The sets were formed, and all stood looking at Bill with eager anxiety, waiting for the command - "First four right, and left - Back to your places - Bal an ce [sic] - Turn your partners -Swing corners and do it good - Ladies chain - Half promenade," etc. to the end of the chapter, when Bill told them to "Promenade all," but before he had well got them n motion, he called out - "Swap partners, an' get better ones," adding, "You mustn't dance all night with one lady bekas shes putty. [sic]

During the dance and afterward, we had an opportunity of seeing and observing nearly all in the room. There were nearly one hundred present, male and female being about equally represented; all, or nearly all, were dressed in their best, and all [sic] were clean. The boys [sic] were generally neatly attired; only one being clad in that extravagant style so universally adopted by negro representatives upon the stage; the one alluded to had on a neat black suit, with a full bosom ruffled shirt of the largest dimensions, extending out in front several inches, and flapping upon the right of his breast, on the left lappel [sic] of his coat he wore a white satin ribbon, of large dimensions, not less that sixteen inches in diameter. The girls [sic] wore dresses of every conceivable variety, but white skirts prevailed, with bodies (or waists [sic] , or whatever they may be called) of all shades, from drab to black, and generally of silk. Some two or three wore their hats, and one wore a wreath of artificial flowers....the best dancer was Lizzie Beach; she was dressed in white muslin, without any ornaments but a neat pin, she is tall, graceful, and danced an infinite variety of steps - enough to astonish an Elsaler, but all in good time, and modestly executed. She had for a partner a boy [sic] in military overcoat, who seemed well up in the Terpsichorean art, but was scarcely a match for Lizzie, we would like to see them with the floor to themselves, and would expect a rich treat.

Time wore on, and several steles were danced, when Bill requested the boys [sic] to "Treat your partners, all you boys that's got money; and you that hasn't, run you face [sic] Them that hain't got no money, nor a good face, can try if there's a lady that'll have pity on 'em, and dance the next [sic] quadrille. The aristocracy then retired to supper, and the remainder kept up the dance.

The refreshment table was extremely neat, and well filled with all the delicacies the market affords, and up to the hour our leaving, there was naught hut incessant mirth prevailing, echoed by the "had-had, ha-a-a - hui!" [sic]

Nashville Dispatch, March 6, 1863.

James B. Jones, Jr.
Public Historian
Tennessee Historical Commission
2941 Lebanon Road
Nashville, TN  37214
(615)-532-1550  x115
(615)-532-1549  FAX

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