Monday, March 4, 2013

3/4/13 TCWN

 4, Taking "Gnashville;" the letter of the Vanity Fair war correspondent
From N. Y. Vanity Fair. War Correspondence—Letter from M'Arone.
Gnashville, Tenn., March 4.

Dear Vanity:  Here all is serene.

I am happy.

It is a fine thing to be a great man.

Send me some money

In short, I have taken the town,
and it is a bully place.
here is maidens....

And jewelry stores....

The maidens smile, and the jewelry stores open rich,

forYours truly,


P.S.—Later.—I have just been taking a walk. I never go out, now, without a brass band to march ahead. My staff follow, the rear brought up by a young lieutenant of light quadroons, whom I have mentioned heretofore. He wears green gloves, and leads a black and tan terrier.
The pageant is imposing.

Now, I am willing to bet that you think the brass band is sent to march ahead in my honor.
You err.

I permit the musicians to play in front of me, in order to honor them.

And, seriously, they deserve it.

They have rendered me great assistance. They have assisted me in taking this place-----
And whoever renders McArone assistance, immortalizes himself.
It was o­n a mild but effulgent day in February. The sun shone humidly upon the icy mountains and shovels that leaned against the farm fences. Beautiful feathery frost work traceried the glasses of my telescope, and lovely icicles depended from the cows and sheep that ruminated upon a thousand hills.
I then marched o­n Gnashville with a single brigade, headed by this band.
The people welcomed us with coffee and cakes, and fruits. Every man who had anything to sell was enthusiastically loyal to the Union.

At Gnashville an old man came out. He was a faro pimp. Some relative of Floyd, I believe.
"Try not to pass," this old man said; "the sky grows gloomy overhead  The Southern fellers is mighty spry."
"Get out of this," was the reply.
I then entered the town. An enormous army of rebels had a strong position in a lager beer saloon. They were determined to conquer and to die. We advanced in circular squares with a hole in the middle—a new manoeuvre—and like all great modern military movements, an invention of my own.
As we neared the foe, I saw, at a glance—my perceptive organs are marvelous—that they were all educated and talented men—jeunes gens d'esprit, such as have rendered Tennessee famous---

So I directed the band to play. Music is impressive.

The band played. It played selections from Tannhauser.
Now, these rebel gentlemen could have stood fire and steel. They could have stood the roar of cannon and the rattle of musketry. They could have stood a storm of grape and cannister, host and shell.
But they couldn't stand the Tannhauser.

The "Music of the Future" was too much for them. It was worse to their ears than the Music of the Union.

They scattered and fled. Gnashville was ours!

All the brass instruments of the band were rifled, and they had a tremendous range. The foe were completely routed. Which made it bad for the foe.

I had just learned a lesson. I thought I knew too much for that; but I was mistaken....for the first time in my life.

For safety, I had imprisoned the rebel general, Bushrod Johnson, and some other prisoners of war, in an open lot near Fort Donelson . They were permitted to retain their horses, by way of courtesy. Now, would you believe it, they let down the bars o­ne night, a week or so ago, and escaped!
This teaches me never to imprison men in an open lot again.

I learn from my agents that the rebels intend to make a powerful stand somewhere down South. At any rate, they are all taking steps, now, in that direction.

But we shall see.

There is o­ne man o­n this continent, who can overcome all disorder and confusion. The man with eagle eye, the large heart, the firm brain and the steady hand....

To him the nation looks to day....

And he will not disappoint the nation's hopes.

Greater than all other, the Hero of Two Worlds towers, serene and far above the empyrean. His head is lifted to the white cloud phantoms that float in the zenith, and his spectral finger points darkly down the lurid sunset horizon of the South. A mighty army kneels at his feet. The American Eagle screams him a fierce welcome. The sun of liberty gilds his noble brow, and the murky shades of rebellion flit and fade to nothing as he comes....

You know him. His name is.... McArone
Daily Constitutionalist [AUGUSTA, GA], April 18, 1862.

4, A visit to the Murfreesborough Battle Ground

On the 4th of March, 1863, we visited the battle ground of Murfreesborough, and in company with a Federal officer, traversed about five miles in extent, of the ground upon which the hostile armies contended -- first in the fields and then in the woods, among the cedars and timbers where much of at the hard fighting was done. No man at a distance, who only reads the newspaper accounts of that hard fight, can form any idea of the number of dead horses and mules upon the g round. Their names were legions, estimated at fully 3,000. We found them often piled up one upon another -- some shot through the body, some through the neck, others with heads and legs off. But all were in a wonderful state of preservation, lying on the field more than two months.

The trees were peppered with bullets for miles -- the twigs cut off, and many trees were cut off by cannon balls, at points ranging from five to thirty feet from the ground. Large trees of size sufficient to make saw-logs, where the cannon balls struck them fairly they passed clear through, and we could see daylight through as we rode along. Even cannon balls were to be seen among the lines, and shells that failed to explode. In other instances we saw pieces of shell upon the ground and we handled them.

Now comes the sad and sorrowful part of our narrative. The graves of the slain in battle were to be seen in every direction, in untold numbers. The head-boards of single graves indicated who many of the tenants were, giving names, regiments and places of residence when living. Many of them were buried in the cotton-fields, and others in the opening in the woods where they were killed. In many instances ditches were dug, and our guides informed us that from one hundred to one hundred and fifty were crowded into a ditch. The dirt upon many of them was, of course, only a few inches deep, and in a few instances hands and feet were sticking out. The most fearful evidence of slaughter was to be seen in front of where General Rosecrans massed his artillery; -- say one hundred and twenty; guns. There lay the horses and mules piled on each other, and in the distance and beyond them were the graves of dead rebels.

We could but feel sad as we passed over this terrible battle ground, and in the bitterness of our souls denounce the bad men of the South who had caused all tis waste of life [sic] and treasure! We felt an unutterable degree of sympathy for the poor fellows that had been conscripted and forced into the war, but none for those who had volunteered [sic] and gone in for their own accord -- looking upon their graves and the long trenches holding their bodies, we felt that these thousand of Southern rebels, in open and wicked rebellion against the United States, hand [sic] villainously sought and mournful but justly found their rights -- not in the "territories," [sic] but in the cotton-fields and cedar thickets of a State they had assisted in forcing out of the Union at the point of the bayonet and in opposition to the oft-repeated wishes of majority of the real people.

We gazed with wonder and astonishment upon the devastation and ruin of the surrounding country, and of a rich country, once in a high state of cultivation. Fences all gone; houses burned down; graves of timber slain [sic]; live stock and grain all consumed; and the horrors of war looking one full in the face! We could but think of a new version of an old rhyme --

"Could we with ink the ocean fill;

Were the whole sky a parchment made,

Were every stock a quill,

And every man a scribe buy trade --

The sea of ink, the paper sky,

The scribes ofd sticks would not suffice

To write the Southern Rebel

Treason [?] murders and lies

Brownlow's Whig and Independent Journal
and Rebel Ventilator
, January 16, 1864.

4, Taking the oath

A number of rebels come to Nashville daily and take the oath of amnesty. Some of them take it with 'wry faces.' The fact is, they are like the fellow that, on a wager, eat [sic] the crow. They can 'eat crow; but d____d if they have a hankering for it!

Nashville Daily Union, March 4, 1864.

Why is today the day soldiers hate the most? Because it's "March Forth!"

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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