Wednesday, July 17, 2013

7/17/2013 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

17, 1862 - "Let us give our troubles into His keeping…." Martha Abernathy's letter to her husband after his banishment from Pulaski by Federal authorities

My dear Husband,

In parting with you, I feel that without the aid of the Spirit I should be wholly unable to bear up under so [sic] a trial [sic]. Let us give our troubles into His keeping, & feeling that we have acted according to principle, I know He who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb will surely shield us from harm. Chastening even worse than this may come, but if it does 'twill be for our good. Taylor says there are virtues to cultivate under all circumstances. It is my duty & shall be my pleasure to find out what are appropriated & needful on the present occasion. Self-denial is one; patience another fortitude another, & just now above all others prudence [sic]. In the midst of this gloom hope speaks & tells me it will not be long ere this trial will be over. Bear up my dear one, & let not anxiety about me & the little ones wear you away. I shall, in cherishing your memory, make it my chief care to see to the welfare of our children & as far as possible protect them from any calamity, which my rashness may bring upon them. My time shall be spent in thinking of you, & praying for your welfare. Be careful of your health as far as you can, consistent with duty [sic], & when in your lonely hours, give pine to see us & to know our condition think that God who cares for His own will watch over us, & in all trouble, if we rely upon him will surely shield us from harm. O dearest One, I feel sad to see you so distressed to leaving your little lambs. I know the parting is next to death but be consoled with the thought that you are right, I that your action this day [sic] will be an invaluable legacy for the dear little ones. If you never return how proudly will I speak to them of this act [sic], & I will teach them to love you & to cherish your memory for it. It will teach them to prize above all other things earthly, an untarnished name. You say you want me to train them for usefulness here & for Heaven hereafter. Be assured I'll remember your request & with Heaven's help, will do all I can to make them lovers of truth & right [sic]. Give your heart to Our Father, so that living or dying, you may reach the reward which is in store for all who abide by His will & who obey His precepts. Pray for me! O I need your help in this trying hour. Good-bye, I hope, wait & pray [sic].

Your affectionate wife,


Diary of Martha Abernathy




17, General Orders, No. 75, relative to free Negroes and Mulattos in Memphis

Headquarters, District of Memphis

Memphis, Tenn. July 17, 1863

I. All idlers, vagrants and persons without lawful occupation or means of support, found within the District of Memphis after ten days from this date, will be arrested and confined at hard labor in Fort Pickering.

II. All owners of slaves within the District of Memphis must, within twenty days, report to the District Provost Marshal the names, age, and description of such slaves.

III. Every free negro [sic] or mulatto, and every contraband within the District must, with[in] twenty days enter into the employment of some responsible white person, who will be required to report names, age, and description of such from negroes [sic] or contrabands and nature of contract, to the Provost Marshal of the District.

IV. All negroes [sic] and mulattos failing to find service or employment with some responsible white person, will immediately remove to the contraband camp, under charge of Chaplain Fiske, Superintendent of contrabands.

By order of Brig. Gen. James C. Veatch

Memphis Bulletin, August 16, 1863.




17, 1863 - Governor Isham G. Harris's last proclamation to Confederates in Tennessee[1]

To the People of Tennessee!

The Constitution Tennessee requires the qualified voters of the State to elect a Governor, members of the General Assembly, and representatives in Congress, on the first Thursday in August next.

This duty can be performed with proper effort on your part, regardless of the attempt of arbitrary and lawless power to prevent it.

There is scarcely a county in the State where a large number of citizens may not assemble at some precinct, and cast their votes for Governor, one congressman from each Congressional district, and Senator and Representative in the State Legislature. It is vitally important that you do so, and in doing so that you act with perfect harmony, casting the whole vote for some good and true man, for each position some man who is already outside of the enemy's lines or who will immediately come out to avoid arrest.

The importance of perpetuating your State Government through the regular constitutional channels is too apparent to require argument. I need only suggest to you the means of holding the election and making the proper returns.

There will be a military force in your county on the first Thursday in August to protect you in holding the election, and by which you can send out the returns.

This law puts it in the power of any three freeholders to pen and hold the election, if there is no officer present, whose duty it is to do so.

You will seal up the returns in the Governor's election and direct them to the Speaker of the Senate at Athens, Tenn.,

The other returns you will seal up and direct to the Secretary of State at Athens, Tenn.

The failure to return copies of poll books to the courts of your respective counties does not vitiate the election within the Federal lines. Where it may involve parties participating in the election, the poll-books need not be returned to the courts.

You will send the returns to the Secretary of State by the military force which will be in you county on the day of the election, or by the members of the Legislature elect, or such other mode as you may see proper to adopt.

Isham G. Harris, Governor of Tennessee

Chattanooga, July 17, 1863

Memphis Bulletin, October 1, 1863.


[1] That this was indeed Harris' last proclamation is mute, but it may well be the final proclamation he made in Tennessee.

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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