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


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