Monday, July 8, 2013

7/8/2013 Tennessee Civil War Notes

8, Memphis Military Protection


There are three fortified posts in Memphis, Tenn., the positions for which are indicated by the following.-

A. Breastwork, two hundred yards long, on a high bank commanding the river, composed of cotton bales, two bales in height. It is simply a row of bales running parallel with the river, with no side or rear defenses.

B. A three gun battery, open in the rear.

C. Four gun battery, made of sand, open in the rear, and very roughly made.

Besides these the principal streets leading to the levee are barricades with cotton bales and sand bags, which has created considerable dissatisfaction and petitions have been presented to the Common Council to have a carriage way made through them.

There are not more than two thousand soldiers at present stationed at Memphis, a large body of the troops having gone to Virginia.

They have also there two pieces of Bragg's battery and a thirty-two pounder.

There are no men in camp opposite Memphis on the Arkansas side, as some of the prints have represented. Until you reach Randolph, fifty miles above, there are no more bodies of troops. Fort Harris, about half way between these towns, is deserted. Randolph is fortified.

New York Herald, July 8, 1861. [2]



8, Entreaty to Major-General Ambrose Buell from Pillow family or special temporary suspension of hostilities

COLUMBIA, July 8, 1862.


I am exceedingly anxious to send for my brother's family, now in Mississippi. Gen. Negley refers me to you for permission, which I shall be much obliged to have.


HDQRS., Huntsville, July 19, 1862.


It would give me pleasure to grant your request, but until your brother can himself return to Tennessee under that protection which all loyal citizens of the United States are entitled to you will, I think, agree with me, on reflection, that it is best his immediate family also should not return; I mean those who naturally look to him for protection and with whom he should communicate.


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, pp. 107, 183.[3]



8, Nashville prostitutes loaded on Idahoe [sic]

The steamboat Idahoe was at Branch Lick Wharf, yesterday afternoon, receiving as passengers a number of cyprians, who were bound for some northern port, under the late orders of the military authorities. At five o'clock there were upwards of a hundred on board and they still continued to come. Amongst them were the most degraded of their class. The boat was to have left last night, and we suppose she got off.

Nashville Daily Union, July 9, 1863



8, "Departed."

The commotion amongst the ladies [who] dwell in suspicious places was inconceivably great yesterday. Squads of soldiers were engaged in the laudable business of heaping furniture out of various dens, and then tumbling their disconsolate owners after. Many very affecting scenes of abdication from long occupied domiciles took place. But they were not allowed to enact them all on terra firma; a boat was chartered by the Government for the especial service of deporting the "sinful fair" to a point where they can exert less mischief, and about forty of them took passage. Where they will be sent, is not stated in the order enforcing the exodus. A variety of ruses were adopted to avoid being exiled; among them, the marriage of one of the most notorious of the cyprians to some iniquitous scamp. The Provost Marshal didn't regard the separation as wicked or unchristianlike, so he compelled the artful daughter of sin to take a berth with her suffering companions, and she is on her way to banishment. This course toward bad women will have a salutary effect upon the morale of the soldiers in this Department – at least we hope so.

Nashville Daily Press, July 9, 1863.



8, "Execution"

Robert T. Gossett and Oliver [Obed] C. Crossland were executed on Friday [8th] under sentence for killing Depew and others in October last.

Nashville Dispatch, July 10, 1864.



We published, on Monday, a description of Robert T. Gossett and Obed C. Crossland, condemned by a military commission here on the 8th of July, for murder. The sentence was carried out yesterday morning. We append a description of them, and a few incidents:

Robert T. Gossett, a citizen of Springfield, a small village on the Edgefield road, about thirty miles north of this city [Nashville], formerly belonged to the 24d Tennessee Rebel Infantry, was a strong built man, dark complexion, dark hair, dark hair and eyses, and a heavy black moustache. He was sent here in the early part of February, charged with the murder of Mr. Depew, James Mattux and B. F. Binkley, in October last. He was found guilty. He protested his entire innocence, and to last hoped for a pardon from the President.

He was in good spirits and did not seem to fear his fate. On Tuesday last [5th], he stood at his cell door, apparently taking to himself. He said: "To-day is Tuesday, to-morrow is Wednesday, the next day is Thursday, and the next is Friday." "Yes," said the guard outside, "and the next day is Saturday."  "I can't see it," answered Gossett.

Obed C. Crossland was a citizen of Jackson county, Tenn. He was 40 years of age, though he had the appearance of a man of 60. His height was about five-feet six inches, his hair, once black, now sprinkled with gray; gray eyes and of slender build. He was received here in January last, since which time he has been in close confinement. He was charged with the murder of two brother, James and William Ridges, sometime during the summer of 1863, and found guilty of the crime. He also protested his entire innocence. He seemed much distressed, and dreaded his fate. He had no the self-possession and confidence that Gossett exhibited, perhaps in consequence of leaving a family. His manner was cowed and sullen, saying but little. On Wednesday night he told an officer that he believed that if there was a hell that he was going to it. On Friday morning, however, he said that he was ready to die and believed he would go to heaven.

The gallows was erected in the yard and but few witnesses were admitted. At a quarter past 10 the guard came in and took a position around the scaffold. A few minutes after, the condemned men were marched in, their arms bound and bareheaded. They walked with a firm step and mounted the fatal platform with composure. After the ropes were passed over their heads and their legs and their legs pinioned, their sentence was read to them, and Gossett was first asked if he had anything to say. He spoke in a low town and said in the substance that he was an innocent man; that he never murdered those men, and knew noting about it. He was ready to die, but he died as innocent as the babe unborn.

Crossland was then asked if he had anything to say. He also asserted his entire innocence, and that he was not in the vicinity when the murder was committed, and knew nothing of it till it was done. He said that he had witnesses that could have proved him innocent, but he could not get them. A brief prayer was then made by the Rev. Mr. Woodward, Chaplain of the 31st Wisconsin V. I. During the prayer a communication was hanged to the officer in charge of the execution, and it was painful to witness the keen attention that Gossett gave to the document. Perhaps the unfortunate man fancied it was his reprieve. After the prayer was concluded, the Chaplain bade them both good bye. They both expressed the belief that they would meet in Heaven. The fatal cap was drawn over their heads, and at half past ten the drop fell. Crossland died almost instantly-his neck being broken by the fall. The fatal noose around Gossett's neck did not slip up close, his neck was not broken and the unfortunate wretch died of strangulation. He was a powerful man, and after hanging eight minutes the convulsive heaving of his broad chest showed that he clung to life very tenaciously. After handing fifteen minutes the attending surgeon pronounced life extinct, they remain suspended for twenty minutes, and were then cut down, and placed in the plain coffins prepared for them.

Of their guilt, there was no doubt, as a number of witnesses swore positively that they were guilty of the alleged murder. It was also proved that Gossett, after shooting one of his victims, told a comrade that he "always stuck a pin in a dead fly to see if he was dead," and then ran his bowie-knife through his victim's foot, who lived long enough to tell of the occurrence. Mercy, to such men, is worse than useless, as the world is bad enough without their presence.-Nash. Press.

Chattanooga Daily Gazette, July 17, 1864.[4]











[1] While this article seems to indicate a map accompanied it, no map has been found.

[2] PQCW.

[3] See also: OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. III, pp. 640-641.

[4] TSL&A, 19th CN.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


No comments: