Tuesday, October 8, 2013

10/8/13 Tennessee Civil War Notes

8, 1861 - Report on the Texas Rangers in Nashville

The Texas Rangers.

On Thursday morning, the first division of a Texas regiment, under the command of Col. B. F. Terry, arrived in our city. They have come from the far off South, and, altogether, we regard them as one of the finest regiments we yet have seen. It is their purpose to provide themselves with horses at this point, and then to await orders for service in Kentucky. Some of the finest horsemen in the world are in this regiment. The son of Col. Terry, who, undoubtedly, is the best rider we have ever seen, can pick up from the ground, any small object while his horse shall be going at full speed—a feat peculiar to Texas horsemen.

The colonel commanding—who was at the battle of Manassas, greatly distinguished himself by his heroic daring—is looked to with the fondest devotion by his men—brave and experiences as he is. We predict that this regiment, armed as they are—to exult as victors, or, in death to be laid low—will perform a part which shall be marked in the history of this revolution.

There are, at present, four companies encamped at the fair grounds near this city, each containing one hundred and sixteen men—all armed with six-shooters, double barreled shot-guns, and bowie-knives. They are also provided with saddles, bridles, and horse equipage generally.

The remaining six companies are now on their route, and will arrive at this city in a few days. When such a regiment as this, armed and equipped as it is, shall enter the field, the unprincipled myrmidons of Abraham Lincoln will fall like grain before the reaper's scythe. We welcome these sons of the far West, to the hospitable soil of Tennessee, and we shall bid them God speed to their destiny in Old Kentucky.—Nashville Banner.

Memphis Daily Appeal, October 8, 1861.





To the Editor of the Nashville Dispatch

The Dispatch of Friday (3rd) gives copious extracts from the letter of Dr. Lieber as to what constitutes guerrilla or partisan warfare, and to what extent it may be consistent with the laws of civilized warfare; and why, when carried beyond that point, it should be opposed and condemned by all good people. The main points set fourth also in the Union of Saturday (4th).

The discussion is of a nature to benefit both parties in the present strife, and the antecedents of Dr. Lieber makes his testimony good for reference in all countries, in Europe as well as at home, and for all time.

There is a consequence of the practice, not stated in the extracts, but which will have a terrible practical effect in the South in a certain contingency.

If the Confederate government countenance the practice beyond what Dr. Lieber's[1] letter concedes as justifiable, for the reason merely that it is convenient now [sic] in harassing the Union armies and people, then a precedent will be established which may work fearful effects hereafter.

The contingency referred to is the event of the defeat of the Confederate armies, in which case, the Confederate government would have no existence. If the organized Confederate armies be dispersed and the soldiers still keep up the spirit of resistance, they will scatter themselves in armed bands all through the Southern country. If there be no Confederate government, as in this case, there cannot be, there will be, for these soldiers, no war department or treasury department with their various sub-departments – no pay department to pay the soldiers, no commissary department to feed them, no quartermaster's department to clothe or transport them or to supply and feed horses; in fact no source of any supply whatever for these roving bands. They must therefore be self-sustaining, living principally on their friends, and issuing forth occasionally to attack their enemies.

Their friends, therefore, will bear the chief burden, and so long as their resistance continues they will have no other dependence, excepting the little that they may seize on the occasions when they sally forth against citizens at peace with the established government.

How long it will be before these friends are thereby impoverished and how often they will be subjected to annoyances beyond patient endurance, it is difficult to judge -- and all to what good end?

It behooves us all then, not knowing what the final result may be, to put this whole matter of partisan [sic] or guerrilla, warfare on the footing that all civilized nations recognize as legitimate, and to oppose its going further. In this case it will cease with the cessation of war, and both parties, the victors and the vanquished, will be enabled to adjust themselves to the new situation at once.

Whereas, if for temporary advantage, either party encourage lawless practices on the part of the partisans, these will become so firmly fixed, as a habit, that robbery by banditti will be usual, and friends and foes will be apt to suffer alike.

Guerrilla fighting is at best but a cowardly and mercenary practice. If people be impelled by patriotism to take up arms in whatever cause they espouse, there is now, certainly, sufficient opportunity on either side to do it in a regular way. But that may expose the coward to the [illegible] of battle, and interfere with a thief's disposition to plunder, and so the coward and thief is [sic] inclined naturally to guerrilla life.

Nashville Dispatch, October 8, 1862.





The Great Natural Clairvoyant, Physician and Life Reader,

Office, Greenlaw's Block, Main St., Bet.[ween] Union and Gayoso Sts., Upstairs

Can be consulted by Ladies and Gentlemen on all things pertaining to the past, the present and the future. The mysterious lines which nature and fate have traced in the face of all human being, are to her an open book, from which she predicts: Inheritance, Voyages, Marriage, Law Suits, Recovering Lost and Stolen Goods and Mental and Physical Disease.

MADAME JAMES has mastered all the science embraced in the glorious gift of prophecy, and has astonished her many thousand visitors from the ranks of the most respectable citizens, by revealing the Past, Present, and Future! [sic]

Unlike the many who flaunt their serric [sic] powers before the public, she invariably gives satisfaction to all who may consult her, and all acknowledge the truthfulness of the revelations made to them.

As a Physician, Madame James can, in a Clairvoyant state, tell you your disease and its cause, and point out how to cure the most obstinate case. Diseases that have for years baffled all medical skill, insanity, Dropsies, Affections of the Liver, Consumption in its various forms, Nervous complaints, Rheumatic affections, inflammatory and acute Cancers, Melancholy, loss of Memory, also all complaints peculiar to females. Madame James pledges to cure, and other complaints of long standing too numerous to mention. Testimonials of persons who had nearly lost their sight and hearing and are now in perfect health, will be produced. Invalids and those who are despairing from long course of treatment by regular diplomatic Physicians, don't defer giving Madame James a call.

Memphis Bulletin, October 8, 1863.




8, 1864 - A visit to the State Penitentiary in Nashville

Visited the Penitentiary….

Found it would be impossible to visit the military prison without a pass, with which we had neglected to provide ourselves. [We] [w]ere obliged to wait some little time for someone to accompany us, and in the meantime two ladies and a gentleman from the north, made a welcome addition to our part.

While waiting at the door, saw a party of about fifty Butternuts marched up close to the door, two by two, by a captain. They were halted and rations of bread and meat were dealt out, the first they had to eat in twenty-four hours. They were deserters, some from Forrest's forces. Saw a paper signed by two of them saying they were very anxious to be employed here by Government. They were marched away, and those wishing to go, will be sent north.

"We have in that yard about three hundred bushwackers [sic] and guerrillas," said the communicative guard.

"Ah, and what do you do with those?"

"Well, we just stretch their necks for them a little," said he, with a self-satisfied smile, and with a motion of the hand and neck as if in imagination he saw one in that very interesting situation.

"Just as you did Mosely the other day," we said.

"Yes, ho! He was a splendid looking fellow, fine features, well formed, black hair and whiskers, and straight as an indian!" [sic]

This Mosely was a guerrilla, who used to lay in wait by roadsides and kill the drivers of stray Government teams, burn the wagons, sell the horses or mules, and pocket the proceeds. He was hung a few days since.

There are now about one hundred and six in the Penitentiary property, six or seven for life, and "the best men they have," and five or six are given the limit of the law short of that, which is twenty-one years.

We passed into the prison yard, the door was barred behind us, and we made the round of the workshops. First we entered the rooms where the native cedar was made into little fanciful pails and cups, in which the red cedar was dove-tailed into the white in wavy and curious patterns. I purchased one of these only about three inches in height. Various things for use such as pails, tubs, bureaus, tables, stands, large chests-nice for furs-and wardrobes are also manufactured from this beautiful red color.

It seems so strange to look at the men and know that they must work on in silence [sic], hour after hour, day after day, and year after year with a bar upon their lips[2]. Of course to a woman it seems such a terrible punishment to keep one's tongue still. Isn't it horrible? I should thing one's tongue would cleave to the roof of the mouth after a little.

Then we went to into the tobacco factory and saw "the weed," from the time when the leaves are rolled and tied, to the pressing of the same, and the baking, to that when it is turned out "ter-bac-ker,"-a delicious cud for certain animals who are blessed with two feet, but which those with four never permit to pass their dainty lips.

"How is it about the health of those who work here all the time?" was the query.

"Good," the overseer replied emphatically. "I was but sixteen when I first engaged in the business-was slender and weakly, but in a year's time was strong and well."

This does not prove, however, that he might not be just as well, if a carpenter or machinist, and his labor have been of some befit to the world, instead of the reverse. Wanted to lower his self-respect a little by telling him so, but didn't.

We saw also the narrow cells where they sleep. One cell was only occupied, by a maniac. He was chained by the foot, and standing in the open door with hands behind him. We were cautioned not to go within a certain distance. His position indicated that his hands were folded or carefully crossed, but we found afterward that he held a club in his right hand. He watched us in silence with lowering eyebrows and hanging head, apparently measuring the distance between himself and us, with his small, black, malignant eye.

"Cannot I speak to him" inquired one of the ladies.

"Yes, you can, but I wouldn't advise you to," said our attendant. "You'd likely be sorry for it if you do. He never speaks to anyone unless spoken to, but that easily angers him."

It seems that for years he was a captain on the Mississippi River, where he acted on the proverb that drowned men tell no tales with those whose purses he thought worth his care. He afterward became a highway robber on land. His term of fifteen years expired about a week since, and they have been trying to get him transferred to the Insane Asylum, but the officers of said institution object to receiving him on account of being made insane while here. He has been so dangerous that he has been chained constantly for four years. They dare not go near enough for him to get hold of one, and his foot is pushed within his reach. Kindness they say only makes him worse-treating those worst who show him favors.

Powers, Pencillings, pp. 102-106.




        8, 1865 - Miscellaneous post war news from Nashville

~ ~ ~

A terrible murder occurred in Nashville on the 2d. James Garrison shot his wife deliberately six times, emptying the contents of his navy revolver, causing almost instant death. Cause, jealousy.

~ ~ ~

The Boston Post gives the city of Nashville a very bad name, as follows: "The morals of Nashville, Tenn., are said to be shocking. The courtesans are reckoned by the thousands." The Press and Times adds: "This is leaving a little truth with a great deal of misrepresentation. The number of prostitutes here cannot, from the best accounts, exceed five hundreds.["]

~ ~ ~

A portion of the 3,000 copies of the governor's message of Tennessee ordered to be printed in German for the use of the Senate, is understood to be for use in Germany, on account of the large space devoted in this State paper to the importance of encouraging immigration into Tennessee.

Macon Daily Telegraph, October 8, 1865.


[1]Lieber wrote the rules for civilized warfare. 

[2]Apparently these "bars" were attached to strings and tied behind the convict's head, with the bar placed over his mouth, much like a horses' bit. This made it difficult, if not impossible, to speak.

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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