Thursday, October 31, 2013

10/31/2013 Tennessee Civil War Notes

31, Destruction of Confederate Quartermaster supplies and Lizzie Whitehouse's bordello

Two Great Fires! Commissary and Quartermaster's Stores in Danger! A House of Crime Destroyed!

At half-past eleven o'clock, smoke was observed issuing from the basement of the furniture establishment on Main street, east side, between Main and Court streets, occupied by Messrs. Churchill & Winston. The stock of furniture being owned by M. L. Duncan, a resident of Cincinnati, it had come under the notice of Mr. Jackson, the receiver of the Confederate States….

The wind blew a moderate breeze; it was unsteady, and sometimes directed the flames and flying masses of fire towards the Confederate States quartermaster's premises in the DeSoto Block, on Madison, then in the direction of Specht's confectionary and other stores on the south side of Madison street. Men were soon on every roof both on Main and Madison streets, and at the various windows, keeping shingles and framework from catching fire. At one instant the house on the corner of the alley below Madison on Main, was on fire in the roof, from the flying fragments, but a timely application from an engine stream saved it. The fire had now spread to the large hardware establishment of McCombs & Co., at the corner of the street, and to the auction rooms of Gilbert, Andrews & Co. next door north. These three houses extended clear back to the alley, and though much effort had been made in getting out goods, yet some $50,000 of stock remained in the hardware store, while the auction store, in which were many sewing machines, was so far cleared as to reduce the loss to probably $1,000.

Above these stores were Norman, Wilson & Co.'s office, a daguerreotype establishment, and other rooms and offices. The whole was one mass of building, owned by Mr. Brinkley, and uninsured. These were the very first large business houses ever erected in Main street, and their erection was regarded as an improvement of a very enterprising character. The whole corner of Main and Madison streets was now a mass of towering flame, so hot that it was impossible to stand opposite to it in Main street, and the windows of the quartermaster's room and the rooms above, in the DeSoto Block, were all on fire…So dangerous, however, appeared the situation of the whole of the Court Square and all that portion of Main street corner than every article of furniture and business was moved from the following places.

[list with losses follows]

On Madison street the stores in the quartermaster's office, the effects in O. C. Boone's cotton factor's office, the President and Treasurer's offices of the Little Rock railroad, were wholly or partially removed, but the gallant exertions of the firemen, as remarked above, saved the building….

When the fire had so far got under as to prevent any great fear on its spreading further, a shout was suddenly heard among the already excited people: "Howard's Row is on fire!" For a moment the news appeared to stun the immense crowd of people. There was an absolute silence, arising from doubt and astonishment. During this moment of silence the fire bells struck up a new alarm. Immediately the crowd took up the cry, "Howard's Row is on fire," and hundreds broke into a run for that spot.

Another fire, and a very formidable one, was indeed found to be raging in the rear of Howard's Row. The entire upper story of the building, the property of Isaac Bolton, and formerly occupied by him as a slave jail and mart, but for some time kept by "Lizzie Whitehouse" as a house of ill fame, was a mass of devouring flame. Next door to this house was the tenement formerly occupied by A. H. Hise as a hide and flour store, but for some months used for the storing of C. S. commissary stores. Large amounts of sugar, flour, biscuit, bacon, meal, and other articles, were in store. The upper story contained some ten thousand boxes of candles. The excitement among the crowd became greater than ever. The first fire was near the C. S. quartermaster's office; this was next door to the C. S. commissary's store house. Could these coincidents happen without design? Such was the question asked in the crowd. There appeared to be no desire to save the house, where the fire was devouring, as a fiend swallowing up his prey. It was an abode of evil, a habitation of crime. Blood stained its walls, and guilt was connected with its every memory. There McMillan, six years ago, had met with a bloody death; there pollution, that shuns the day had, since that time, celebrated its orgies. "Let it burn," was the voice of the people; but a great desire existed to save the food of our brave soldiers that was lying in the next house. It was resolved it should be saved. As if by one impulse, merchants, draymen, bankers, deck-hands, lawyers, laborers—men of all degrees of social life—impulsively rushed into the building, and soon reappeared, carrying boxes of candles, sacks of meal, sides of bacon, and rolling tierces of rice and hogsheads of sugar. It was a sight to see and remember—hundreds toiling until the perspiration rained down their faces. When a large portion of the stores had been removed the roof of the burning house fell in. this brought the level of the flames below the roof of the storehouse, and as there were two brick walls between the inside of the burning house and the commissary stores, the danger was at an end and the work of removal ceased. Without a stream of water or a hand to hinder their progress, the flames were left to consume the house of lust and crime. The blackened and tottering walls alone remain….It is with great thankfulness we say that among the roaring of the flames, the fall of articles thrown from windows, the crash of falling walls, the rush of the crowd, and the rapid movements of the engines, we did not hear of one serious accident.

Memphis Daily Appeal, November 1, 1861.



31, The trial of Mrs. Buchanan, Miss Winnie Buchanan, James Buchanan, and William Buchanan in Nashville

Recorder's Court.

The most important feature of yesterday's proceedings was the trial of Mrs. Buchanan, Miss Winnie Buchanan, James Buchanan, and William Buchanan, "charged with disturbing the peace of one Mistress Doyle, by violent and abusive language and words calculated to provoke a breech of the peace." M. M. Brien, Esq., appeared for the defence, and the City Attorney conducted the prosecution.

The first witness called was Mrs. Nicholas Doyle, who said she lived opposite the barracks on College Hill, and testified that on Sunday evening, about three weeks ago, the above-named defendants hurrahed for Jeff. Davis, and said that Col. Morgan was to be made Governor of Kentucky—that she (the witness) was to be tarred and feathered and ridden on a rail—that witness replied she would not be tarred and feathered so long as Governor Johnson was here—that they replied that "Governor Johnson was played out," and that one of them was to kill Governor Johnson—that Mrs. and Miss Buchanan called her a d____d Union woman—that one of the boys waved a rebel flag in presence of all the defendants, etc., etc.

Mr. Nicholas Doyle being called, testified in substance the same as his wife, and in addition that they had called him a d____d Union pup, and his wife a d____d Union slut, threw rotten apples at them, and threatened violence toward them, unless they would leave the place, because of their Union sentiments.

Several witnesses were examined for the defence, who testified that the defendants had removed from their residence near Doyle's three weeks ago on Tuesday [October 28]; that witness (William Gallimore) was raised in the family, and had never seen a flag of any description in the house, or in the hands of Mrs. or Miss Buchanan; never heard Mrs. or Miss Buchanan swear or use language such as that imputed to them by witnesses for the prosecution; never saw apples thrown by any one at the house of Doyle.

Lieutenant Buchanan, an officer in the Federal army, testified that he had made the acquaintance of Mrs. Buchanan and family some two months ago, and had visited them frequently, spending an hour or more at each visit. Gave them an excellent character; believes them to be all Union people; can tell a Union lady when he meets her in the street; they appear more sociable and agreeable than secesh ladies.

Mr. Brien asked permission to examine Miss Winnie Buchanan. Mr. Smith objected. Recorder overruled the objection.

Miss Winnie testified that she had never heard her mother use such language as that imputed to her; denied the expressions imputed to others in her presence, and denied that a rebel flag was ever seen in her hands, or waved by any of the persons named, in her presence.

Marshals Chumley, Wilkinson, and Steele, were examined, and testified that they had known the defendants many years, and had always considered them quiet and orderly people—unusually so.

Mr. Smith submitted the case without argument.

Mr. Brien insisted that the witnesses for the prosecution could not be believed on account of their contradictions—that they were evidently angry with defendants, and desired to persecute them. After some further remarks, he submitted the case to the judgment of the Recorder, who discharged all the defendants….

Nashville Dispatch, November 1, 1862.



        31, Federal Foraging in Bledsoe county; and entry from the diary of John Hill Ferguson, 11th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Fitts Crossing Bledsoe County, Pikeville, co Seat Saturday 31st

Last night was wet cold and rainy all night until light this morning it cleared of[[f] and today was pleasant The trees on the mountain were white this morning suposed [sic] while it was raining in the valley it was snowing on the mountain but dureing [sic] the day we learned that it sleeted [sic] on the mountain the most of the night, and froze on the trees which resembled snow.

About 10 o'clock A. M. the teams were hitched up and we started out to hunt forage. Leveing [sic] our things in camp and some of the boys back to guard them about 5 miles up the valley[1] we came to a house belonging to one Mr. Robinson, a reb, at least he was said to be my his neighbors

Robinson was not at home. And as he was a batchler [sic] of corse none of his family were there. Only quite a number of mulattos said to be his children they were living with the darkies [sic] in Logg [sic] huts. One a young wemen [sic] of 20 or 21 said to be his daughter was remarkable [sic] good looking and intelegent [sic]. I inquired of her where Mr. Robinson was. She said he had moved away up north and took his furnatur [sic] with him and left the darkies to take care of his things I inquired whither [sic] he was a Secesh or a Union man She said she would leve[sic] that for us to judge that made me satisfied that he was a reb So I had no simpithy [sic] for him or his property. When we first stoped [sic] we only found one crib with about 3 waggon loads of corn and plenty of hay stowed away in different places on exemining [sic] the house we found 200 or 300 bushels of corn stowed away up stayrs [sic]

While some of us were loading up the Waggons [sic] the balance [sic] of our co. and those belonging to the 60th went down and katched [sic] all the chikins [sic] and gees [sic] and shot the ginney [sic] hens and killed about 30 head of Big Hoggs and some sheep. I do not think there was much left on the place

We did not see but one horse on the place and that was stiff one of the darkies claimed it as his and said it wag given to him by one of our cavalry the wagon master took it and tied it behind one of the wagons and brought it along also

The neighbors around said that Mr. Robinson had not moved away, but was around some where not far  & concealed and he had also concealed his horses waggins [sic] farmuter [sic] in some out of the way place where we would not be likly [sic] to finde [sic] it

We got back to camp a little before dark and skinned [sic] 2 hoggs [sic] in our mess we had 3 but give the poorest one away to the teamsters ass [sic] they had no chance to get any for them selvs [sic]. as we are going to start early in the morning to our regt we have sit up and fryed [sic] a good suply [sic] to take  in our havor sacks tomorrow I might say before closing that there are several family by the name of Robinson around close in the same neighborhood all kinsfolk and all welthy [sic] and secesh to the back bone although [sic] this country is mostly union there are no scools [sic] there children has to send them of[f] to some city

John Hill Fergusson Diary, Book 3.



31, Destruction of U. S. S. Dave Hughes and barge on Cumberland River

CLARKSVILLE, November 1, 1864.

Steamer Dave Hughes, with barge loaded with Government stores, was burned yesterday afternoon 15 miles above this post by guerrillas,

I. P. WILLIAMS, Captain and Assistant Quartermaster.

Lieutenant S. H. STEVENS, Acting Assistant Quartermaster, Nashville, Tenn.


The Dave Hughes was a light-draft boat, valued at $5,000 to $7,000, and was chartered by me some time since.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. H. STEVENS. Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Quartermaster.

Very respectfully,

J. L. DONALDSON, Brevet Brig. Gen., Chief Q. M., Department of the Cumberland.

Brigadier-General WHIPPLE, Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff.

Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 26, pp. 604-605.

[1] Probably the Rabbit Valley, Hamilton county.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


10/30/2013 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        30, An Act to amend the law respecting Bowie Knives and other weapons

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, That all laws forbidding the importation, manufacture, selling or giving away of Bowie Knives or other weapons and all laws prohibiting the carrying of pistols, Bowie knives, or other weapons, openly or unconcealed, be suspended during the existing war.

EDWIN A. KEEBLE, Speaker of the House of Representatives

EDWARD CHEATHAM, Speaker of the Senate

Passed October 30, 1861.

Public Acts of the State of Tennessee for 1861-1862, p. 26. [1]



30, Lieutenant Andrew Jackson Lacy, Eighth Tennessee cavalry, letter to home in Jackson county

State of Tennessee

Davidson Co

October The 30th 1862

Dear Mother, Brother, and Sister Affectionate Wife [sic]

This morning I seat my self to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at this time and with regard to your feelings hope that these lines will find you all well.

We are now 7 mi from Nashville near the Franklin railroad. Wee [sic] are the pickets of the Southern army. At Murfreesboro I was on picket day before yesterday with 15 men. Wee taken sick 3 prisinnors [sic] They were French men. Me and Capt Woolsy went a few days ago in sight of Nashville with 30 of our company. Wee could see their fortifications [sic] around the citty [sic]. Our regiment has been all around Nashville. Wee had a fight on the 20th of this inst. Wee was attackted [sic] about sunrise on the north side of Cumberland river 8 m [sic] from Nashville, near the Gallatin Pike. We had 594 men. The Fedderals [sic] had some near 3,000 men infantry and cavalry. Wee was over powereet [sic] and had to retreat. The like to a surrounded [sic] us. You can't imamagin [sic] how the bullets did whistle around our heads. Our Co [sic] all escaped except [for] F Runnels and one of the Rectters [sic].[2] They was captured by the Yankees. Wee have plenty of fun and wee have hardships anought [sic] to make up for it. Wee have had beds of snow to lay on. Wee ride night and day half fed. Wee only have about 50 men out of 96 able for duty at present.

Continuation of letter 30 Oct 1862 [sic]

November 2, 1862

In conclusion of my letter I seat my self this Sabbath morning to drop you a few more lines. Wee are still a doing the best wee all can. I went yesterday to get my horses shod. I went up the Nolensville Pike 2 mi. I would like to see you all this morning. Wee have had news in our caps about the Perryville fight.

Father & Mother, I never saw the sweetness and pleasures of a good home before. I am now in a distant land from you both and I may never return. I want you to remember me and recollect the name of your son, when he may probably be laying beneath the soil of a distant land. I want you to treat Elisasbeth [sic] as well as you can and Elisabeth [sic] treat Father & Mother with respect at all times. Give my best respect to all enquireing [sic] friends and reserve a good portion for your self. [sic] I must close. So no more. But will remain

Your affectionate A. J. Lacy – 3 Lieutenant in Capt Woolsy's Co

When shall wee all meet again

When this you see remember me to my dear friends

Lacy Correspondence.



30, Skirmish at Leeper's Ferry on Holston River

No circumstantial reports filed.

HDQRS. NINTH ARMY CORPS, Near Lenior's, Tenn., October 30, 1863.

Lieut. Second Brigade, Cavalry Division:

COL.: The general commanding corps desires that you will please send immediately one company of your command to the vicinity of Leeper's Ferry, about six miles up the river from the mouth of Little Tennessee River. A slight skirmish has taken place there to-day. You will please resist, or give orders to this command to resist, all attempts on the part of the enemy to cross the river, watching it well on both flanks of the ferry. Any information of importance will at once be communicated to these headquarters.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

NICOLAS BOWEN, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. I, p. 485.


An account of the fighting by a member of the Twenty-seventh Kentucky Mounted Infantry

October 30, 1863, Colonel Pennebaker moved up to Leaper's [sic] Ferry with out brigade. Sent two companies across the river, and beyond Unecia[3] on scout-company D, of the Twenty-seventh Kentucky and one company of the Eleventh Kentucky mounted infantry, Captain Hammer commanding. They were attacked by a brigade of rebels, and after two hours' fighting, Captain Hammer fell back to the river in perfect order, and none of his men hurt. The rebels now began to close in, confident of capturing the two companies, but we began to reach across the river with our long-ranged Enfield rifles, and held them back until Lieutenant-Colonel Ward crossed over with three companies, A, H, and C. We had but one small ferry-boat to cross in. Captain Pulliam with our company, B, got in the boat and started across, and when we were about half-way across, the rebels rushed down and poured a heavy volley into the boat, killing one man. The Captain received order to go back to the shore, which we did under a perfect shower of bullets. The rebels made several bold attempts to captured the companies across the river, but our continued volleys from both sided of the river were too hot for them. On one of their bold attempts t lay hands on their prize, Lieutenant-Colonel Ward, who is always found in the thickest danger, not knowing but he would be overpowered, told the color-bearer, Sergeant John Defever, a young man of seventeen years, to never let the flag fall into rebel hands. When the moment grew more threatening, the Sergeant furled the old worn flag and plunged into the rapid Holston, and while bullets dimpled the water he swam with the flag safe across. About sundown we were by the Eighth Michigan and One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois cavalry. The rebels, thinking we were too many for them, fell back. The companies across the river returned one at a time in a little ferry-boat till all were over. Then we straightened up and went into camp, and we do not think we ever saw a much darker night, and raining very hard, and had been all the evening.

Rebellion Record, Vol. 8, p. 314.



        30, Initiation of Federal anti-guerrilla sweep, Murfreesborough to Shelbyville, Tennessee, to New Market and to Athens Alabama


Nashville, Tenn., October 30, 1864.

Col. CAPRON, Cmdg. Brigade:

COL.: I am directed by Maj.-Gen. Thomas to say that he wishes you to move with your three regiments early in the morning to Athens [AL], via Murfreesborough, Shelbyville, and New Market [AL]. On your arrival report to Brig.-Gen. Croxton. Capture and kill all guerrillas in the country over which you pass. Should you hear of any body of them near your line of march detach a sufficient force to overpower and capture them.


R. W. JOHNSON, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. III, p. 525.


[1] Public Acts of the State of Tennessee Passed at the First & Second Sessions of the Thirty-Fourth General Assembly, For the Years 1861-1862, (Nashville, 1862), p. 26. [Hereinafter: Public Acts of the State of Tennessee for 1861-1862.]

[2] Recruiters?

[3] Unidentified. Possibly Unita in Loudon county.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

10/29/2013 Tennessee Civil War Notes

29, 1862 - Complaints about draft dodgers in Confederate Chattanooga


The attention of our Middle Tennessee readers is directed to the proclamation of Gov. Harris in our paper of to-day, in reference to the conscript law in that portion of the State. The law will be strictly enforced, and none who are subject to it need think of escaping even if they have the desire to do so. Congress, it is true, has passed a law saying that the president may accept all companies, battalions and regiments organized in Middle and West Tennessee before the 1st of December, but whether it will be done rests alone in the discretion of the President, and we learn that he is not disposed to accept any regiments until the old ones are filled . But whether he does or not, that does not authorize men subject to the law to stay out of the army refusing to join either old or new regiments under the expectation that the law is not to be enforced until the first of December. Really there is nothing in the worked conscript to which so many seem to object. By the provisions of the law all men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five are conscripts, that is they are considered in the military service of the country, liable to be put in the field whenever the exigencies of the service require it to be done. The twelve months men who organized under the conscript law, the men who have since joined old or new regiments, and the men who are enrolled are all alike in the military service of the country by operation of laws. There is no such thing as volunteering now in the true sense of the word, although we have been in the habit of using it to distinguish those who go into the army now without being enrolled and required to report themselves to an officer at a camp of instruction. All attempts at evasion of the law will be strictly watched and guarded against. We have heard of some attempts of these sorts which are alluded [to] in a communication signed "A Tennessee Volunteer," and similar ones will be made, but they will be of no avail. The law must and will be impartially enforced, and especially will it not be allowed to screen such enemies of our cause as are mentioned by "A Tennessee Volunteer." We hope that all men liable to military duty will join either an old or new regiment and thus preserve the high character of Tennessee for gallantry and devotion to the cause of our country.

Chattanooga Daily Rebel, October 29, 1862



29, 1863 - A Slave Holder's Contempt for the Negro Exodus to Union Lines. An Extract from the Diary of Eliza Rhea Anderson Fain

~ ~ ~

Poor deluded, infatuated Negroes are flocking to the Northern army from the east, the west, the north and the south thinking they will free them. They are leaving homes of plenty; masters and mistresses within whose hearts are to be found the only true feeling of humanity for the African race to be found in the world (I suppose). They are cuffed, kicked and knocked by the self proclaimed philanthropists of the North. When I think of it. I feel God is letting fill up their cup of iniquity that his judgment may be more severe. I tremble for the North, the fiery indignation of the Lord of hosts seems to me to be gathering blackness every day. They know not what they do.

~ ~ ~

Fain Diary.




29, 1863 - A religious revival in the Cherry Creek community, White County

....There is a big meeting going on not far from Mr. Hampton's and his little son went one night and someone stole his mule bridle and saddle. Mr. Hampton does not believe in the way they carry on their big meetings, and I agree with him. I do not think I am an enemy to religion. I do not want to be, but I do not think if anything in the world requires calmness and deliberation, that is that thing. I think there are hundreds, especially the young, that are carried away by the excitement and understand nothing at all of the doctrines of religion.

Diary of Amanda McDowell.



29, 1864 - General Thomas orders General Milroy to deal with bushwhackers "as you have heretofore dealt with guerrillas."

NASHVILLE, TENN., October 29, 1864--10 p. m.

Maj. Gen. R. H. MILROY, Tullahoma:

Send out at once a cavalry reconnaissance to New Market and ascertain, if possible, the truth of the report that Mead is organizing a guerrilla party at that place or vicinity. If found you will deal with them as you have heretofore dealt with guerrillas.

GEO. H. THOMAS, Maj.-Gen. of Volunteers, Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. III, p. 507.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


Monday, October 28, 2013

10/28/2013 Tennessee Civil War Notes

28, 1861 -  Nashville as a Confederate War Material Manufacturing Center

Affairs at Nashville, Tenn.

Reports of a Gentleman Just Arrived.-Mr. Q. C. DeGrove, late Revenue collector of Nashville, Tenn., whose arrival at Washington we have before announced, furnishes the following facts to the correspondent of the New York Times:

In Nashville the Southern intolerants have organized and put into operation a society which is miscalled "The Committee of Safety. It is the business of these men to spy out and denounce every man or woman suspected of Union proclivities, where upon follows an edict of banishment. If the statements I have recently heard are reliable, and of that I have no doubt, then we may safely say that Nashville, hitherto occupying a position of only minor importance, bids fair to become one of the greatest, if not the greatest, commercial and manufacturing emporiums of the South, from which the wants of the Confederate armies are to be supplied. Already the nucleus of a vast military depot, has been formed there. They are well supplied with material and manufactures of tents and army clothing of every description For their good luck in this line they are indebted in a measure to the North. All the Northern sewing machine companies have agents in Nashville, but since the breaking of the war these gentlemen have not found business transacted under Union securities very profitable, and so they offered their services to the Confederate Government, and work outside contracts to manufacture clothing for the army. They are doing a most extensive and successful business. All the tailors in the city are likewise engaged in making clothing for the army, so that Nashville is the grand ready-made military clothing store, from whence all classes of Southern purchasers are supplied.

The leather dealers and shoe manufacturers of Nashville are also doing a big business. The leather dealers did a neat little thing in the way of speculation just before the war broke out. They bought up immense quantities of leather in Missouri, Kentucky, and Texas. And just about this time they find themselves on the right side of the fence. Large quantities of canvas shoes are also manufactured. There are two large manufactories which turn our immense quantities of saddles, harness, and cartridge boxes. May of the employees in this and other shops are now to the work; but war is a leveler, and necessity compel many who never did a turn before to earn their bread by the seat of their brows.

As to munitions of war, the resources of Nashville, in this particular, are very superior.

There is a powder mill on Sycamore Creek, fifteen miles from Nashville, now in successful operation. Also, a manufactory in the city for percussion caps, where they are made at the rate of two thousand five hundred per day. Rifles and muskets are also manufactured, and there is a large establishment for making bowie knives and swords.

On hundred men are employed day and night at the manufactory for cannon shot and shell.

They are beginning to fortify the place. At Dover, on the Cumberland river, there is a battery fully armed and manned. And at Fort Henry, on the Tennessee river, there is another, and a force of two thousand men, so arranged that, if other of the forts are assaulted or rendered undefensable, they can immediately, on the work of command being given, promptly shift from one fort to the other.

As there is a general impression among our people of the great scarcity of provisions at the South, we will give a few details in this connection which of informant vouches for. There are enough provisions-meat and flour-now stored in the warehoused of Nashville to feed the Confederate troops of Louisiana for at twelve months-the provision dealers having invested largely in this line just prior to the breaking out of the rebellion, with an eye to the present state of things. There is one provision store in Nashville five stories in height, and this mammoth pork house is packed from top to bottom with bacon. There is no scarcity among wholesale provision merchants.

There is one other very important fact in connection with these Nashville statistics which is well worth consideration. The railroad interest of the South having become subservient to those of the Confederate government, all the energies of those most interested have been bent to the task of systematizing, and centralizing the affairs and operation of all the railroad companies through the South, so that some one point should be the nucleus, the heart of all these various interests so concentrated, so that the aggregate capital of the roads may be used separately or as a whole, for any purpose that the Government may indicate; and all the united rolling stock of these roads can at any time be concentrated on any one of them which it is most desirable to be used for Government purposes, or in the even of the others being rendered useless by any of the accidents of war. And the property of the various roads-cars and engines-can at any time be thrown upon any particular road where additional accommodations are needed for transporting troops. To such perfection have they carried this system that any number of Confederate troops can be transported from Manassas to any Southern point, over any one of the railroad, without stopping or changing car.[1]

These details of the present state of affairs in and around Nashville, being obtained from an old resident of that place, and thorough business man, who is accustomed to give his attention to the matters here in discussed, are particularly useful in giving some ideas of the resources of the South. Nashville is a definitely a right arm of the prosperity of the Southern Confederacy. How many hopes for the coming winter [illegible] upon these vast stores accumulated in its warehouses. The loss of Nashville would be a paralyzing blow, in a most vital point, to the interest of the Southern Confederacy. It naturally occurs that we should recognize the growing importance of Nashville, and in some way risks the fact subservient Union interests.

Louisville Daily Journal, October 28, 1861. [2]



28, 1862 -  "Thousands of these heroic spirits are in rags, without a blanket, and numbers of them without a coat." Excerpt from a letter from Confederate Knoxville

From Knoxville—"J. T. G."

Knoxville, Oct. 28, 1862.

Editor Enquirer: Our army is now resting from its recent retreat from Kentucky, recuperating its energies, which have been sadly impaired by the long and tedious circuit they have so recently made, for another march to relieve Tennessee of the Abolitionists. Which way and where they will go, is more than I can say. Their health and spirits are remarkable, when we consider how devoid they are of clothing, hats, and shoes. Thousands of these heroic spirits are in rags, without a blanket, and numbers of them without a coat. I saw one regiment to-day of 450 men, and only 220 of them had shoes—the remainder had not a shoe or covering to their feet. This regiment is not an isolated one—nearly every regiment of Bragg's army is destitute of clothing and shoes in the same ratio. Yet these men, barefooted as they were, have marched from Kentucky over a road, that for rocks has not its equal on the continent, with scarcely a murmur.

Why shoes were not put upon their feet, and clothes upon their backs, while in Kentucky, I cannot say. An intelligent officer tells me, however, that there were shoes and clothing enough burnt up by order of the General commanding to have supplied our whole army….

This morning the snow lay five inches deep upon the ground, so the boys to-day have indulged to their hearts' content in snow-balling each other; and every darkey that had the temerity to show his head received a liberal share.

J. T. G.

Weekly Columbus [Georgia] Enquirer, November 4, 1862. [3]



26, 1863 -  Union anti-guerrilla and anti Confederate conscripting scouts ordered to Bolivar, Jackson environs

No circumstantial report filed.

Excerpt from Special Orders No. 264, October 26, 1863

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 264. HDQRS. SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tennessee, October 26, 1863.

* * * *

II. The Sixth Tennessee Cavalry, Col. Hurst, will move upon Bolivar and Jackson, covering the country east of the Memphis and Ohio Railroad, and suppressing with all necessary severity the guerrilla and conscripting [Confederate] parties south of Trenton. They will draw supplies from the country, giving receipts, to be settled at the close of the war. No plundering or pillaging by men or officers will be allowed. Col. Hurst will report weekly, through the commanding officer at LaGrange, to the chief of cavalry. The men of this regiment will not be permitted to scatter, but will move actively in organized force. All horses fit for Government service will be taken by the quartermaster of the regiment and turned over at once to the quartermaster at LaGrange, and receipts given as above. The people of the country will be informed that they must organize to put down robbers and guerrillas or be subject to the continual presence of force that will; they must co-operate with the National forces.

* * * *

By order of Maj. Gen. S. A. Hurlbut:

T. H. HARRIS, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, pp. 750-751.



28, 1864 -  Brigadier General John C. Vaughn's situation report for Confederate East Tennessee

HDQRS. CAVALRY FORCES, DEPT. OF EAST TENNESSEE, Morristown, Tenn., October 28, 1864.

Maj. Gen. JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE, Cmdg. Dept. of Western Virginia and East Tennessee:

GEN.: Yours of the 23d, inclosing Capt. Earnest's letter in regard to my command pressing horse, &c., came to hand last evening; also yours by Col. Palmer reached me same time. I will rectify all the abuses that have been committed by my men in Capt. Earnest's county, which is Greene County, one of the most disloyal counties in Tennessee. Mr. Earnest[4] was elected a member of the last legislature from his county, and undertakes to hunt up and rectify every little abuse committed by our army. All shall be done that should be done, and I hope to be able to satisfy the parties. Some of Gen. Duke's dismounted men took off some horses from there that I may not be able to return or pay for, but they belonged to men who are in the U. S. Army, or whose sons were all there or out bushwhacking or lying out.

I will make the effort to exchange with the U. S. authorities at Knoxville for your friends. I should like very much to drive the enemy back to Knoxville, as you suggest in your letter by Col. Palmer, and shall watch my chance to do so. You have seen Col. Palmer and had an interview with him, so I need say nothing in regard to his strength, force, &c. The enemy's force consist of the Eighth, Ninth, and Thirteenth Tennessee, mounted regiments, numbering not less than 2,400 men for duty. They have a small regiments or battalion of Kentucky troops, say 250, also the Tenth Michigan, say 250, all mounted; then they have about 500 infantry, new troops, made up here in East Tennessee. They are commanded by Col. Kirk, so you have their force in my front. Total, 3,400, 6 pieces of artillery. They have at Knoxville two negro regiments and one Ohio, say 350 muskets in the Ohio regiment, balance artillery of that regiment. The negroes are variously estimated from 800 to 1,800. Considerable excitement in lower East Tennessee about the movements of Gen. Hood in vicinity of Chattanooga. If Gen. William's forces had co-operated with me and moved to join Hood down through East Tennessee, as they could have done, we could have caused the evacuation of Knoxville I feel certain. If our commissary department does their duty half, they will be able to get out many supplies. You may rest assured that I will do the very best I can for the interest of our cause in this department. Let the call your attention to the fact that my brigade have never drawn an overcoat from the Government; not a single pistol (except 50). We are very destitute of clothing. I think I will be able to get up many shoes for my men down here, as I have procured some leather and am having them manufactured on a small scale. I feel certain you will do all you can for us, so I will not complain, and look forward for many supplied through the proper departments. I will have returns and reports made out and sent forward immediately.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN C. VAUGHN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg. in East Tennessee.

OR, Vol. 39, pt. III, pp. 857-858.


[1] By November 4, 1861, just a week after the appearance of this piece, a difficulty was made apparent in a meeting of railroad company officers in response to criticism that they weren't moving freight fast enough, and were even accused to incompetence by the Confederate government. In truth, however, there was no standard gauge and so it was necessary to unload one train at the terminal of one company's railroad and load again at the depot of another companies railroad. The characterization given to this "systemization" of Southern railroads was little more than hot air.

[2] As cited in PQCW.

[3] As cited in:

[4] Felix W. Earnest (1832-1895), served in the Senate during the 37th General Assembly, 1871-1873, representing Carter, Johnson, Sullivan and Washington counties. In 1861 he was elected to the 34th (Confederate) General Assembly, but owing to military service and the Federal occupation of the state, he did not attend. He served in the Civil War, rising from the rank of private in Company E, 61st Tennessee Infantry, C. S. A., to quartermaster, captain and major. Robert M. McBride, et al, Biographical Directory of the Tennessee General Assembly, Vol. II, (Nashville: Tennessee State :Library and Archives and Tennessee Historical Commission, 1979), p. 257-258. 

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


Sunday, October 27, 2013

10/27/2013 Tennessee Civil War Notes

27, 1862,  Lynching and church; a day in the life a Federal soldier posted in Nashville

Monday 27th the left wing our our regiment on picket left camps at the usual time and relieved the Michigan at 8 oc [sic] last night was very cold…about 10 of our caverly [sic] run about 50 rebel caverly yesterday they found two of our cavelry [sic] hanging to a tree they were captured by the rebels a few days ago they belonged to the 1st Tennessee Cavelry [sic] it is believed they ware [sic] hung tight up when they ware taken prisener [sic] by the rebels and has [sic] remained there ever since as they ware [sic] stiff and cold hanging by the neck when our cavalry found them yesterday. I went to church last night accompanied by N. Pancher, Joseph Blackman and several others I was very much inrested [sic] in the evening service although the preachers complained of being unwell & only preached a short sermon yet the Congeration [sic] seemed to be very much interested I think the text was John 10 & 9 the house was crowded with soldiers: as usual: a report in campt of Bragg and one division of his army being captured by [sic

John Hill Fergusson Diary.



27, The Corrupt "Colonel" Truesdail

The Fall of Rosecrans.

Startling and Scandalous Charges Brought Against him by the Washington Chronicle[1]

[From the Washington Chronicle, Oct. 24]

An octavo volume has just appeared, from the press of Lippincott & Co., of Philadelphia, which is likely to be severely criticized by those who are familiar with the events it professes to record.

That portion of the work which will probably arrest more attention than any other is the police record of the spies, smugglers and rebel emissaries-being, in fact, the narrative of the doings of the "army police' attached to Gen Rosecrans' army. This has been published, also, in a separate and cheaper form, and contains a sketch of the Chief of the Army Police, Mr. Wm. Truesdail. Upon this portion of the "annals" we propose to throw some additional light. As the work is anonymous, the authorship being simply, that of "An Officer," we may canvas it with all freedom. It is possible, and by no means improbable, that, as Mr. Truesdail, though holding no military rank, if familiarly called "Colonel" in the army, he is the "officer" who has written the book. Certainly, no "enemy: of his had "done the thing." The "chief" in his connection with the army, first attracted attention, we believe, while in the employ of General Pope. He was then sort of a sub-mail agent. After the evacuation of Corinth an important command was tendered to General Rosecrans, which included portions of General Pope's Army of Mississippi, and Mr. Truesdail thus came under General Rosecrans' orders. He soon contrived to persuade that general to authorize him to establish an "army police," the ostensible object of which was to capture deserters, arrest rebel citizens and spies, watch the movements of federal officers, &c.. Experience showed, however, that the chief object of the distinguished chief was individual aggrandizement  and gain. Soon after his appointment, he associated with himself one Russell (who, of course, soon became  "Major" Russell, inn police and army parlance) and the power of the "army police" soon began to make itself felt, and its doings talked about; so much so, that complaints about their proceedings were formally made to General Grant; accompanied by a representation that General Rosecrans was countenancing and fostering a brigade of cotton thieves.

An inquiry was instituted, and it was shown that this class of hangers on about General Rosecrans' headquarters were habitually committing depredations on the country around, apparently with the consent of General Rosecrans, and certainly by the assistance of his soldiers. The mode of operations was adroit and cunningly devised. Truesdail would report to General Rosecrans that "Major" Russell had discovered at a certain place-generally twenty or thirty miles distant from our line of pickets-a small band of guerrillas, or a depot of provisions for the rebel army. Wagons would thereupon be sent out under a strong cavalry escort: but they generally returned laden with cotton, instead of with bacon or grain. Very rarely indeed were guerrillas brought in by these expeditions, though sometimes parties would be captured who could not have been guilty of any great crime, as they were invariably released after taking the oath of allegiance. So satisfied was General Grant that the whole affair was a gross abuse that he turned the whole of the operators out of the army.

Truesdail would probably have found  "his occupation" gone had not General Rosecrans about this time been placed in command of Buell's army. The  "chief" no sooner heard of this than he hied him to Bowling Green. He was promptly reinstated as "chief of the army police."

When the Army of the Cumberland arrived at Nashville, "Colonel" Truesdail took a house at the corner of Church  and High streets, and a quiet, and we suspect, a profitable business for a few weeks. By that time his force was fully organized and his ambitions rose accordingly. He removed his office to a house owned by Zollicoffer's daughter, while for his own headquarters he took the elegant mansion of Dr. Jennings, located at the corner of High and Cedar streets, and thenceforth the chief of the army police was second only to General Rosecrans. His detectives had found their way into many private families. The bearing of his officers, alike to loyal and disloyal citizens, was often insulting in the extreme. They would ride through the streets in a manner perilous to life and limb, and carried themselves so offensively that earnest remonstrances were addressed to Governor Johnson, who himself appealed to

General Rosecrans to have the nuisance checked. The General replied that the governor must apply directly to General Truesdail for redress; but that gentleman had long since ceased to be approachable by civilians. He had taken the ground that neither his acts nor those of his agents were to be questioned. Ere long, and without the issuing of any order, the chief demanded and seized all the Confederate money in the banks and bankers' offices at Nashville. The right of the Chief of Police to do that was questioned by Governor Johnson who addressed Mr. Truesdail upon the subject, but received no reply. Elated by his success in this mater, he next contemplated a seizure of the banks themselves and conducting under his own supervision, his "judge advocate" counseling hi thereto. Luckily, before he took the step, he mentions his purpose to the Secretary of State, Mr. East, who gave him "a piece of his mind." Of such weighty, proportions that the discomfited "chief" abandoned that speculation. However,, he consoled himself soon afterward by inaugurating a system of confiscation, which he successfully carried on for months, He was also invested with authority to give passes, which power was withheld from all legitimate commanders. He seized goods; arrested whom he would, on a charge of treason; tried them in his own court, convicted them and sent them to prison and confiscated their property. Indeed, the power of "William Truesdail, Chief of the Police of the Army of the Cumberland" was the talk of the whole army, and a source of regret and mortification to all the general officers, who feared that both the government and the army would lose confidence in their commander when it came to be known that he tolerated such an institution, with such a head, in his army. Soon however, the chief's power was made still more conspicuous and profitable. He assumed the entire charge of the mails, letters, newspapers, &c., to and from the army, farming out this profitable monopoly to his son and a man named Scott, who both rapidly acquired wealth by it.

Again Governor Johnson remonstrated with Gen. Rosecrans about these proceedings, but the general turned a deaf ear to his appeals. It passed, in fact, into a byword that William Truesdail was commander in-chief of the Army of the Cumberland. Wearied with his fruitless efforts to obtain from General Rosecrans a remedy for this evil, and becoming anxious about the consequences if it were permitted to continue, the faithful Governor repaired to this city [Washington, D. C.] and laid out the whole thing before the government. Circumstances at the time were unfavorable for grappling with it, and Governor Johnson returned home disappointed. Truesdail was now in the meridian of his power, and he exercised it unblushingly. He began to boast that he could not be removed, and it was the common talk, especially among officers from Grant's army, who visited Louisville, that he had a hold upon General Rosecrans which would one day destroy the latter. Of course the General's reputation was seriously damaged by these things, for some officers openly charged Truesdail with dishonesty, and Rosecrans with participating in it. The "Annals" overlooks all these facts, and its anonymous author, speaking of Truesdail, says-

["]As may be readily supposed, such an extensive army organization ere long attained considerable notoriety. It marshaled the friends and its enemies in almost regimental numbers. Even in the army it has been most violently assailed, not only by the victims in the ranks, but by officers, whose evil deeds were not past finding out. If any direct charge was made, however, to General Rosecrans, it was at once and fully investigated; and in no one instance has the charge been maintained as affecting the good character of its chief or of his principal aids [sic].The breath of calumny has been even wafted to the President's ears, and the newspapers of last spring contained the announcement that a special commission had been appointed at Washington to investigate the operations of the police of the Army of the Cumberland. Many weeks elapsed, and this was not done. At the solicitation of its chief and his assistants, General Rosecrans then appointed a special inspector, Captain Temple Clark, formerly a member of his staff in Mississippi, and now chief upon the staff of Brigadier Johnson, of Kentucky, to examine into the operations of his army police and make a report.["]

One man, and he ranking only as captain to investigate charges of such magnitude and gravity! The "Annals" does not tell what its author must have known, that Capt., temple Clark was the intimate friend of Rosecrans and Truesdail, and that, on his arrival at Nashville, he so conducted himself in a place of public amusement that Captains Pratt and Garret, of General Mitchell's staff, were, for the honor of the profession, constrained to make charges against him for "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman," and that, when his conduct was about to be officially investigated, an order from General Rosecrans put an end to the proceedings. Was it to be wondered at that Captain Temple Clark made a favorable report. The incidents in the life of a spy or detective policeman must always be interesting, and an organization of such magnitude as the police of the Arm of the Cumberland could not well help discovering many offenders. But what we complain of in "The Annals" is that favoritism and partiality are shown in the selections from the police records. It becomes our duty, as it happens to be in our power, to describe other doing of this great organization. Soon after Chief Truesdail first moved into Zollicoffer's house a negro appeared at the office Governor Johnson, representing that he had run away from his master, and had brought with him a horse valued at $1,000. The Governor ordered him to hand the horse over to the quartermaster, who would return it to the owner, if he was a loyal man. It turned out that "Major" Russell had got possession of the horse, and when the negro presented himself with the Governor's order for the horse to be transferred to the Quartermaster. Russell put him in prison. Remonstrance from Governor Johnson only brought a reply from Truesdail that he obeyed no order except from Gen. Rosecrans. Again, an Irish man, who had lost a limb in the federal service, and whose loyalty was well attested, obtained a permit to take a hundred bushels of potatoes to Nashville for sale. Truesdail seized the potatoes on the plea that the owner was disloyal, and that joint representations of the Governor, and the joint representations of the Governor, the Secretary of State, the Postmaster and the Comptroller failed to recover the poor man's property. With regard to detectives, who, in disguise, entered secession families, they were, of course, generally successful in convicting the persons of disloyal sentiments and practices, and confiscation of their property speedily followed. But not seldom innocent parties suffered by the doings of the police. One case particularly deserves attention. One of Truesdail's detectives called one day upon a lady who was loyal, but who had a son in the rebel army. He represented himself as belonging to the same regiment as her son, adding that he should return in a few days, and that if she would prepare a letter and some under clothing he would convey them to him. She informed him that, although she would not regard such an act as wrong in view of the destitution of her boy, yet, as a loyal woman, she could not send such articles without first obtaining permission from the authorities. The detective's answer was that she would be refused, and her boy would continue to suffer. The temptation was strong, and she packed up an undershirt and a pair of drawers, enclosing a letter. The next day the "army police" took every thing valuable from her home, including nearly $300, which was all she had. She laid the case before Governor Johnson, but he declined to have anything more to do with the organization. This is but one of many cases of the same nature. Mr. Truesdail superintended the pressing of negroes and horses, and too the latter work he was once caught handsomely. He was sending off two splendid animals he had pressed for the cavalry service, but instead of sending them to Murfreesboro he ticketed for St. Louis As his word was law they went safely until they arrived in the department of General Boyle, who seized them and turned them over to the proper authorities.

The "Annals" contain some stories which are true, but a great many which are mutilated, and the handsome part given to the public, as in the case of Mrs. Molly Heydein [?]  . The books in Truesdail's office will show that had certain officer declined giving passes to the handsome widow, she would have committed no harm. But our space is exhausted. Than any army police can do much good; that Mr. Truesdail's spies and detectives procured such valuable information is certain; but such an organization should be held to strict accountability, or it may do incalculable mischief.

The New York Herald, October 27, 1863.[2]



27, Attack on steamer Belle Saint Louis at Fort Randolph

OCTOBER 27, 1864.-Attack on Steamer Belle Saint Louis at Fort Randolph, Tenn.


No. 1.-Col. James N. McArthur, Fourth U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery, commanding post of Columbus, Ky.

No. 2.-Maj. William H. Jameson, Paymaster, U. S. Army.

No. 3.-Col. Loren Kent, Twenty-ninth Illinois Infantry.

No. 1.

Report of Col. James N. McArthur, Fourth U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery, commanding post of Columbus, Ky.

HDQRS. OF THE POST, Columbus, Ky., October 28, 1864.

GEN.: The steamer Belle Saint Louis, coming up, while attempting to land at Fort Randolph at 12 o'clock last night, was attacked by 100 men under Col. Jesse Forrest. Maj. Beeler, of Illinois, and Maj. D. C. Smith, of Minnesota, were killed. Maj. Beeler killed a captain and wounded and captured another. The heroic conduct of Col. Kent, Twenty-ninth Illinois, and officers on board, and Capt. Zeigler, of the steamer, and his crew, saved the boat from capture. One paymaster's clerk was wounded, also 2 of the boat's crew. The wounded prisoner reports that Chalmers was at or near Jackson, Tenn., and that Jesse Forrest's command are flankers of the main force, and that Chalmers intends coming into Kentucky.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES N. MCARTHUR, Col. Fourth U. S. Colored Artillery (Heavy), Cmdg. Post.

Brig. Gen. MORGAN L. SMITH, Cmdg. District of Memphis, Memphis, Tenn.

No. 2.

Report of Maj. William H. Jameson, Paymaster, U. S. Army.

SAINT LOUIS, October 29, 1864.

SIR: I would respectfully report that having completed the payment of the troops in and around Memphis, in obedience to your orders, I left Memphis with the paymasters ordered to report to me, viz., Maj.'s Whiting, Dickson, Beeler, Smith, and Patrick, on the steamer Belle of [sicSaint Louis, on the evening of the 27th instant, on our way to Saint Louis. About midnight the boat landed at Randolph, Tenn., sixty miles above Memphis, for the purpose of taking on some cotton. As soon as the staging had been run out and the deck-hands went on shore, the captain discovered a large number of armed guerrillas rushing toward the boat and immediately gave orders for the boat to be backed out from the bank, but before that could be accomplished eight or ten of the rebels succeeded in getting on board and a large number of rebels on shore commenced firing with musketry on the boat. The rebel who succeeded in getting on board immediately stationed a guard of three men over each of the two engineers who were working the engine and ordered them to immediately land the boat again, threatening them with instant death if they refused to do so. Two or three others at the same time rushed up to the cabin and in a loud tone demanded those in charge to land the boat, and commenced robbing some of the passengers of their pocket-books and money, just at this point, as the boat was again approaching the landing, and we all felt that the boat and all on board were surrendered to the tender mercies of Jesse Forrest (who was said to be in command) and his rebel force, Majs. A. Beeler and D. C. Smith, paymasters, and members of our corps, took their revolvers and boldly approached the two rebels who were at the cabin doors. As they approached one of the rebels shot Maj. Smith, mortally wounding him. Maj. Beeler immediately shot the man who fired upon Maj. Smith, and, mortally wounding him, he then turned his attention to the other rebel. They both fired simultaneously, the rebel falling dead and Maj. Beeler mortally wounded. The rebels for a moment quailed, and, just as the bow of the boat neared the shore a second time, the engineers commenced backing the boat with all the power of the engine, the rebels on board jumping overboard, and amid volleys of musketry fired upon the boat, we were soon backed out of range to a place of safety.

All on board the boat acknowledge that the gallant acts of Maj.'s Beeler and Smith were the means of saving the boat and probably the lives of all on board. We all felt that they had lost their own lives in their successful efforts to save ours, and also to preserve the Government property on board, and we shall always hold them in affectionate remembrance and mourn the loss of two such efficient and gallant officers from our corps. Mr. L. F. McGowan, clerk to Maj. Dickson, was also seriously wounded, his left arm having been broken by a musket-ball, which also passed through the fleshy part of his breast.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. H. JAMESON, Paymaster, U. S. Army.


Washington, D. C.

No. 3.

Report of Col. Loren Kent, Twenty-ninth Illinois Infantry.

CAIRO, ILL., October 29, 1864.

SIR: As the senior officer on board, under orders from headquarters District of West Tennessee, I have the honor to submit the following as a report of the trip of the steamer Belle Saint Louis, from Memphis, Tenn., to this place:

We left Memphis at or about 6 p. m. of the 27th instant with a large number of passengers, including several officers and about fifty discharged and furloughed soldiers. Of this number six were paymasters returning to Saint Louis from payment of troops in the field. They had with them, I was informed by one of the corps, about $40,000. The steamer reached Randolph, Tenn., about 12 o'clock of same night, landed, and proceeded to take on board eight bales of cotton under permit of the military authorities at Memphis, the port from which the boat was cleared. The cotton belonged to one Harris, who was the first to leave the boat. He appeared to hasten at once to the top of the bank and immediately a party of armed rebels, numbering, I should think, at least fifty, rushed toward the boat, discharging their arms, and attempted to get on. Only six of them succeeded, as Capt. Alexander Zeigler, master, as soon as they were discovered, ordered that the steamer be backed into the stream, which was done, leaving the second clerk, Mr. George Atherton, and crew ashore. The rebels on board entered the engine-room at once, ordered the engine to be reversed, and the boat run to the landing. By their knowledge of their duties and their coolness they succeeded in only complying with part of their orders, and kept the boat at a sufficient distance from the shore to prevent others from getting on board. Defeated in their effort these rebels then attempted to reach the pilot and compel him to execute the orders they had given the engineers. But this time the passengers had not only become thoroughly aroused, but most thoroughly panic-stricken. The appearance of the rebels in the cabin and their orders to surrender gave rise on the part of many to the belief that we were then past relief. The only arms on board were pistols in possession of officers, and in many cases these were either with their baggage in the party's room or in unserviceable condition. My first effort upon observing the critical condition of affairs was to see that orders were given not to land the steamer under any circumstances, knowing that under way these rebels on board could be easily disposed of by superior numbers. Maj.'s Smith and Beeler, paymasters, with their pistols, advanced to the forward part of the boat just as the men before mentioned were ascending to seize the pilot. Shots were at once exchanged and Maj. Smith severely wounded, from the effects of which he died on the evening of the succeeding day. Maj. Beeler received a severe wound in the breast, but continued to fight until he had killed one and mortally wounded another. He then was able to return to the cabin and lingered until about noon of the succeeding day. The rebels then observing their failure to capture the boat and being aware of their own danger, escaped by jumping overboard. I do not know whether they succeeded in reaching the shore or not. Mr. L. F. McGowan, paymaster's clerk, one of the engineers sick in his berth, and a negro [sic] were severely, though not fatally, wounded. Maj.'s Smith and Beeler deserve great praise for their bravery and presence of mind. Both had previously served in the line of the army with commendable distinction.

The pilots, S. A. McPheeters, Lewis Moan, and assistant Charles Zeigler stood by the wheel and never flinched, though shots were repeatedly discharged at them. John McBride, engineer, and John Dorris and George Beebe, assistants, never left their posts, even while their lives were threatened. To all the officers of the boat, and these in particular, especial credit is due for a display of coolness and bravery which saved the boat and passengers from capture. Permit me to say that no suspicion of collusion with the rebels, who were a portion of Forrest's command, rests upon Capt. Zeigler or any officers of the steamer. The permit for the boat to land was seen by the Government aide on board, Mr. Peterson, who also gave his consent to have the cotton taken on board. With the exception of Mr. Harris, who was left with the rebels, all are exonerated from blame.

The steamer arrived at Cairo on last evening without further molestation.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. KENT, Col.

OR, Ser. I. Vol. 39. pt. I, pp. 879-882.


[1] Not found.

[2] PQCW.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115