Saturday, May 18, 2013

5/18/13 Tennessee Civil War Notes

18, Paranoia, panic, fear of a slave rebellion and the Committee of Safety in Memphis


Flight of Four Thousand Citizens-Fears of Slave Insurrections.

From the Cincinnati Gazette:

A few months since, and the city of Memphis was enjoying an immense growth. In the rise of her real estate, the erection of splendid buildings, token of advancement she more nearly realized than any city on the Lower Mississippi, the vast strides our own city has made characteristic of her growth. That was Memphis under the Government of the United States-Memphis, loyal to the old flag.

The change that has come over that city in the short period that has intervened since the opening of the rebellion, has been a most marked one.-The change has been total. The present state of affairs there would do credit, as a supplementary page of history to follow the days and doing of Danton and Robespierre.


Memphis to-day "out-Herod's Herod," and surpasses the Gulf cities in animosity and deadly hatred to all loyalty to the Government. As a consequence there has been a wonderful Hegira from her midst. Every northern bound steamer and car has been heavily freighted with sons of the North, fleeing from tyranny in its worst form.

It is estimated that from four to five thousand have thus left Memphis, many of them under circumstances of imminent peril. A Committee of Safety has it daily sessions. It is made up of Mr. Titus, a prominent business man. They cause any they choose to be brought before them, and after a nasty ex parte examination, they give a decision from which there is no appeal. Up to this time their mandate has been, an order to leave the city on the first train or boat North.-There is reason to believe that they will soon make it death to be unfavorable to the kingdom of Jeff. Davis.


WE are put in possession a voluminous array of facts, bearing on this point, from several of our former citizens driven out of Memphis. They represent the state of [?] as growing more and more rabidly hostile every day. All business is at a stand still, other than that which belongs to military outfit. Only one regiment from Middle Tennessee has gone to Virginia, and in this a Memphis company found a place. A military rendezvous has been established at Randolph, 75 miles north of Memphis, where there are about 3,000 men, well equipped, with a battery of 32-pounders, sent thither from Charleston. The town of Randolph consisted of about 700 people, and many of them have now left for refuge elsewhere. The bluff is high, and the battery commands a wide sweep of the river. These troops are those gathered to await orders from Montgomery.


The city is filled with alarms and excitements. Says one informant:-"Hundreds of women in Memphis never lay their heads upon their pillows at night without dreaming of insurrection. On every public alarm the fire bells are rung, and this brings the entire population into the street. A few nights since, a rumor spread that a large body of troops were coming Southward from the Ohio, and a fearful scene of excitement filled Memphis for hours. The fire bells rang furiously. The numerous mounted patrols dashed to and fro. Women shrieked. Mothers clasped their children to their bosoms in frantic agony-All was confusion and its greatest terror lay in the doubt whether an insurrection on Southern soil or an invasion of Federal troops."

Philadelphia Inquirer, May 18, 1861.[1]




18, "When will the day of peace come?" Mrs. Estes reflections upon the war

I attended Church today, heard a sermon by Rev. Gillespie, the minister of my childhood.

The dear friends of my childhood are scattered and gone, some to the grave, but mostly like myself have linked their fortunes with another. Yet I meet with many in our old church who are dear to me and bring back the days of my girlhood. The happiest of these I spent with my lover often wandering side by side for hours, all unconscious of the rapidly flying hours. Ah! We dreamed not then of such a time as this, that after years of labor and toil for success in life, the rude hand of war would come upon us and blast our brightest hopes. It is not a wonderful providence that we cannot see into the future? If we could have seen this dark hour we could not have been so happy with all my dear husband's care and struggles to establish himself in his profession, we have been as happy as is allotted to mortals.

I hope we may again be settled in our home with our darling around us. That will be a happy day for us. May we not forget to thank the Lord.

This has been another beautiful Sabbath. The last Friday was appointed by our President [Davis] as a day of fasting and prayer. I did not mention it in the proper place because I did not know of it, not having received any paper that gave us the information. I have no doubt many were like us, as all mail communications are quite irregular. But we pray that Our Father will hear the prayer of those who met to humble themselves before Him. Oh!! That God would say to the destroying Angel that is passing over us, "Cease, thus far shall thou go and no farther." When will the day of peace come?

Estes's Diary, May 18, 1862.




18, Skirmish on Horn Lake Creek

MAY 18, 1863.-Skirmish on Horn Lake Creek, Tenn.

Report of Capt. Arthur M. Sherman, Second Wisconsin Cavalry.


May 18, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to submit this my report of the result of the expedition under my command, which left our camp at 1 p. m. To report to brigade commander, Col. Moore, Twenty-first Missouri Infantry.

I received instructions to proceed upon the Hernando road 10 or 12 miles with 75 men, and dispatch 25 men by the Pigeon Roost road to intersect the Hernando road and form a junction with me again, and, if the enemy were discovered in any force, to hold them in check, and report the fact to brigade headquarters.

After proceeding some 4 miles beyond Nonconnah, the advance discovered two pickets and gave chase. After running half a mile, one of them abandoned a United States horse and saddle and fled into the woods, the horse falling into our hands. We proceeded then near unto Horn Lake Creek, and discovered a picket of some 8 or 10 men, who seemed reluctant to abandon their post; whereupon I halted my command, without showing its strength, and advanced Lieut. Showalter, with 20 men, for the purpose of charging them, after becoming convinced they had no reserve to support them; but, if such should be the case, to feint being unsupported, and fall back and draw them out. He advanced upon them, they retreating beyond Horn Lake Creek. He discovered at this time a squad on his right and left, which he immediately engaged, they as soon giving way, and returning into the timber. He immediately communicated to me the facts of his engagement, whereupon I advanced with one-half of the 50 men I had left, the 25 sent by the Pigeon Roost road not yet having overtaken us. About the time or a little before my arrival to the front, the enemy had all fled and abandoned their post.

It being now nearly dark, and my men without either food or blankets, I decided to return to camp.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

A. M. SHERMAN, Capt., Commanding Company L, Second Wisconsin Cavalry.

P. S, I met one of our spies coming in from Hernando, who reported Gen. Chalmers' presence there with 400 men, and that Maj. [G. L.] Blythe is this side with 300 men.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pt. II, pp. 144-145.




18, "Relief Meeting;" assisting war refugees in Nashville

In pursuance to a previous call, a number of prominent citizens of Tennessee assembled at the office of the Secretary of State at ten o'clock yesterday morning, and organized by the election of Hon. David T. Patterson, President, and John M. Gant, Secretary.

The President announced the object of the meeting to be, to devise some means for the relief of those families who have been driven from their homes by the devastations of the war, and are temporarily residing in this division of the State. After a short time spent in mutual consultation, the Hon. Horace Maynard Offered the following resolution which was unanimously adopted:

Resolved [sic] That the President, Secretary Jos. S. Fowler, Gen. Alvin C. Gillem, H. Maynard, J.R. Dullin, S.C. Mercer, and J. M. Hinton, be a committee to receive clothing, provisions, money, and other means for the benefit of the many refugees now in this vicinity and constantly arriving; and see that the same are properly disbursed; also to provide temporary shelter and employment for such as are destitute in respect to either.

After the adoption of a resolution requesting the city papers to publish these proceedings, the meeting adjourned.

David T. Patterson, Pres't.

John M. Gaut, Sec'y.

Nashville Dispatch, March 18, 1864



18, Report on status of mopping up exercises in Purdy environs

EASTPORT, May 18, 1865.

Maj. Gen. GEORGE H. THOMAS, Cmdg. Department of the Cumberland:

Your dispatches of the 18th are received. Moreland's regiment of cavalry Roddey's brigade, is being paroled at Iuka to-day. The Nineteenth Tennessee Cavalry is now at Corinth to be paroled. A number or irregular bands have surrendered at this place. There are, however a number more gangs that infest Northern Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee, in the vicinity of Purdy. I sent notice too all bands to surrender, and unless the demand is complied with I shall mount all the men possible by using train mules and hunt them down as outlaws. Using mules is the only way I have of keeping up a mounted force by which to keep the country quiet. I send dispatch this day received from Mobile. The line is now completed via Decatur.

EDWARD HATCH, Brevet Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. II, pp. 830-831.






[1] See also: Bangor Whig & Courier, May 21, 1861 and North American and United States Gazette, May 18, 1861.

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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