Friday, November 1, 2013

11/1/2013 Tennessee Civil War Notes

November 1, 1861, Memphis Safety Committee petitions Jefferson Davis for permission to announce amnesty in return for allegiance of ex patriot Tennesseans in Kentucky

MEMPHIS, TENN., November 1, 1861.

To His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS, President C. S. A., Richmond, Va.:

SIR: We beg leave respectfully to call your attention to the military operations now in progress in Northern Kentucky and the eastern portion of this State, and to submit to the Government at Richmond some suggestions as to the policy which we think should be adopted in reference to those persons (in each one of the sections mentioned) who have been misled and induced to assume an attitude hostile to the Government of the Confederate States. Our acquaintance with the people, together with the local and political influences which have operated to seduce them from their proper allegiance, enables us probably to present the subject in a clearer light than it has heretofore been submitted. Your excellency is perhaps apprised that a large portion of our fellow citizens in East Tennessee who have for some time past been greatly disaffected to our Government have of late signified their loyalty to the South by taking the oath of allegiance. Many of these, who had already fled from their homes and gone into Kentucky to assist in maintaining what is called the neutrality of that State, have now returned and joined the Army of Tennessee, having been assured that their property and former position would be restored to them. This policy, we think, if continued, will bring back to our support all who have left the State. There are, however, some yet who doubt whether or not they will be permitted to enjoy this immunity from arrest and punishment, who are in consequence banding themselves with those who are unfriendly towards us. We therefore wish to obtain authority from your excellency to say to them, that if they will lay down their arms, return to their homes, and become good and loyal citizens, they will be protected in the enjoyment of all their rights, alike with every one who submits to the authority of the Confederate Government. We are informed that a large body of this class of men are now assembled in the State of Kentucky, near the Tennessee line, who declare their intention of maintaining the neutrality of the former State. Knowing that this illusion will soon be dissipated, and fearing that they will by some means be induced to join the Federal forces, we are exceedingly anxious to make every effort to bring them to our support. We therefore desire to urge upon your excellency the importance of giving them such assurances of protection as will effect this object. Some of our most reliable and discreet citizens will visit Richmond for the purpose of conferring with you in relation to this matter, and can explain the reasons which induce this communication in a more full and satisfactory manner than we have written them.

Hoping that your excellency will take this suggestion under careful advisement, we have the honor to be, yours, very respectfully,


We would respectfully request and urge upon your attention the fact that such has been the exasperation and vituperation of political parties and the prejudices of and against the present officers in command, that all proclamations heretofore issued by said officers have failed to have the due conciliatory effect, and that some direct communication from the head of the Government at this particular time would effect the most desirable results.










Safety Committee, Memphis, Tenn.




I concur in the within suggestions, believing that it will be both right and politic to give the assurance sought to all of those misguided citizens who will in good faith return to their homes and declare their loyalty to the Government.



J. E. R. RAY,

Secretary of State.

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 4, pp. 497-498.




1, Excerpt from Special Order No. 4, relative to Confederate conscripting on the Cumberland Plateau

Head Quarters Army of Middle Tennessee [sic]

Murfreesboro, Nov. 1, 1862

*  *  *  *

VI. Brig. Gen. Forrest will furnish the requisite number of men to Gen. Jones on demand, for the purpose of enforcing the Conscript Act in the counties of Jackson, Macon, Overton, Putnam & White.

*  *  *  *

William B. Bate collection



1, Report relative to confiscation of civilian arms in Nashville

We copy the following infamous order from the Nashville Union, of Sunday. It is a fair specimen of a number which the dirty sheet contains. Comment is unnecessary –

Murfreesboro Banner

Headquarters U. S. Forces

Nashville, Oct. 25, 1862

Special Orders, No. 20 EXTRACT

I. Twenty-five dollars reward will be paid for the discovery and information of any arms or munitions of war concealed in violation of Special Orders, No. 19.

II. Any slave giving reliable mention of arms shall receive military protection.

By command of Brig. Gen. Negley

Chattanooga Daily Rebel, November 1, 1862.



1, A story "which deserves at least an humble place in the history of this war."

Capture of Turkey.

A military operation, involving a large amount of strategy, was reported to us the other day, which deserves at least an humble place in the history of this war. It seems that Buck, the well known porter at the Capitol, combining a desire for speculation, with a taste for ornithology, had invested divers and sundry dimes and quarters, which he had accumulated, in the purchase of several specimens of the popular domestic fowl known as the American Turkey, intending, doubtless, to reap a handsome per centage on their original cost, when their bodies should reach the proper degree of corpulency, and the blockade should render the purchase of even a turkey-buzzard, let along a simon-pure turkey; an impossibility. The plan and conception, so far as we are able to judge, were good, were faultless. We do not care indeed, as newspaper correspondents say, we do not feel authorized, to state the precise number of the turkeys purchased, but, we are not violating any confidence reposed in us, as the same wise men would say, in stating that at least an approximation to the true number may be attained by thrice counting the digits of one hand. Alas! for the uncertainty of all human speculation; the turkeys suddenly vanished. Their owner went one morning full of hope to feed his biped flock, and like Joseph and Simeon "they were not." who can blame Buck for uttering several words not to be found in the celebrated Theological Dictionary, published under his name! His fowls had been foully dealt with. His suspicions were directed immediately to a squad of soldiers quartered in a neighboring house, for he knew how fond college boys and soldiers are of turkeys; and obtaining the proper authority, he immediately instituted a search. The soldiers manifested a most laudable interest in assisting Buck, unlocking clothes-presses, trunks and valises; opening bureaus, looking into quart bottles, and under carpets, and, in fact, in every place where the abducted individuals would be most likely to be—not found. Buck wanted to go up into the loft, through a trap-door which he by chance espied. His military friends remonstrated; they assured him they were not there; that nobody but citizens of the United States could go up there; that turkeys were not citizens of the United States, and, of course, were not up there; and that, finally, by the Dred Scott decision, Buck was not a citizen, any more than the turkeys, and of course he couldn't go up. Besides, who ever heard or read, in ancient or modern history, of turkeys being cooped up in a garret? "Think of that, Master buck!" Buck insisted; they remonstrated; he fumed, they roared, until finally he vowed to summon the war department to the spot, and then they yielded. Buck jumped up on a table, and pushed up the trap-door, when mirabile dictu, two of his biggest turkeys, who had been put out as pickets, peeped down in his face, and demanded the countersign! He gave it, and they "gobbled him up;" that is, they invited him to come up and reclaim his prisoners. He did so, although we grieve to say, that, close confinement, bad diet, military voracity, and sundry sales, had reduced their number to only five.

Nashville Daily Union, November 1, 1862.



1, A loyal Shelbyville resident requests exemptions from Federal conscription for Damascus and William, two slaves

Shelbyville Ten.

Novr. 1 1863.

To His Excellency

Govnr. Andrew Johnson

Dear Govnr.

I find published in the "Union" of Friday--the order of the War Department in relation to enlisting soldiers of color--and I find one clause that includes if "necessary" the servants of loyal citizens--[1]

I do not object to the enforcement of the order, when the servants of the loyal citizen are willing to enlist--but I very much doubt the policy in those cases where the servants prefer staying with their masters--

But I write to you particularly to procure for me protection against the recruiting of my two servants Damascus and William--Of course I mean their impressment or being compelled to go in the army. If they voluntarily [sic] go into the army--I would not say a word--but [it] is to guard them against being compelled to go that I write to you--they wish to stay with me.

The policy of the Administration in regard to the arming of colored persons is fixes--and therefore we cannot alter it--but these servants of mine, have stayed with me all the time during the troubles--they are faithful, honest, trustworthy--absolutely necessary [sic] for my comfort and convenience--if taken away I do not know how I would supply their place--and I would be compelled to break up Housekeeping--"Damascus" is my Hostler and Blacksmith--and William is my body servant and House man--

If in you power my Dear Governor, [you will] furnish me such protection as will free them from "involuntary service" in the army--at least until all the "colored servants" of the "Secesh" and their "sympathizers" have been exhausted.

The fear I have grows out of the fact that a "recruiting station" is located at our town--and the officer being desirous of speedily filling up the ranks--may take all the colored persons indiscriminately--

I do not wish to come in contact with the "Recruiting Officer" and therefore ask your aid.

If you have no power in the matter will you be kind enough to direct me to the proper authority--with such recommendations as will accomplish my wish.

It is the first application I have as yet made to the Government in regard to my own matters--other than the exchange so kindly procured for me when held as a prisoner by the Confederate Authorities[2]--

Hoping to hear from you soon

I remain Govnr. Very Truly Yr. friend

Edmund Cooper

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, pp. 446-447.




November 1, 1864, Patrol and skirmishes at Union Station

NOVEMBER 1, 1864.-Skirmishes at Union Station, Tenn.

Report of Col. John W. Noble, Third Iowa Cavalry, commanding brigade.

HDQRS. SECOND Brig., SECOND DIV., CAVALRY CORPS, Memphis, Tenn., November 3, 1864.

SIR: In compliance with your instructions I have the honor in regard to the affairs of the 1st instant, in which the Tenth Missouri Cavalry met with a considerable loss, that on that day the patrol, required by special instructions, was detailed from said regiment and consisted of forty men and two commissioned officers. The officers were Lieut. Norman and Lieut. Miles Reilly. Having crossed Wolf River the patrol drove three scouts of the enemy to Union Depot and beyond, arriving at the depot between 9 and 10 o'clock. At this point Lieut. Norman, being unable to learn anything of the enemy in force, took fifteen men and proceeded to patrol toward Somerville, leaving twenty-five men at Union Depot under Lieut. Reilly, who was particularly cautioned to be on the alert, and not allow himself to surprised. After Lieut. Norman had been gone some time (it was about 11.30 o'clock) a band or company of rebels suddenly appeared on Lieut. Reilly's right flank as he was in line, and charging upon him with shots and yells put him to flight. There were not over fifty or sixty rebels, according to the best information I can get, and there was no cause for Lieut. Reilly leaving his post. His men have heretofore proved themselves brave soldiers, and they were well armed and in line. Their officer fled and carried his men with him. The rebels pursued and captured the most of this party. At once investing themselves in the clothing of the men captured, the enemy turned in pursuit of Lieut. Norman and his party. The lieutenant returning was warned of the fact that Lieut. Reilly had left Union Station, and the rebels were there. He left the main road with the intention of crossing at an upper ford of Wolf River, but had gone but a little way when the rebels came in sight, but being in our uniform, our part retained its fire. The enemy charged, and although some shots were given in return, it was not until Lieut. Norman had reached the adjoining woods that he was able to make any resistance. At this point he dismounted his men and did the best he could to hold his ground, but the enemy now numbering between 80 and 100, the lieutenant retreated and succeeded in getting off some of his men, but very few of his horses, &c. The alarm reached me at camp about 1 o'clock, and taking with me seventy-five men of the Tenth Missouri, I went at once to the scene of the skirmish, ordering seventy-five more to follow from the Fourth Iowa. I picked up a number of stragglers and some horses, but could find nothing of the enemy, who had fled with his prisoners several hours before, moving toward LaGrange. After crossing over the country to the LaGrange road, as night was setting in and I deemed further pursuit hopeless, I returned.

* * * *

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN W. NOBLE, Col., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. I, pp. 884-885.




[1] According to the editors of Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, fn. 1, p. 447, the "fifth clause of General Order No. 329 stipulated that 'enlistments may be made of slaves without requiring the consent of their owners,' if enough Negroes, slaves of Confederates, or slaves with consent of their owners have not been mustered within thirty days." See: Nashville Union, October 30, 1863.

[2] Cooper was arrested by Confederate authorities for reasons unknown and released after an exchange had been approved, as the following correspondence represents:

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 21, 1862.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

SIR: The writer of the inclosed letter, Hon. Henry Cooper, of Shelbyville, Tenn., is judge of one of the judicial district of Tennessee appointed by Governor Johnston. His brother, Edmund Cooper, who is a prisoner in the rebel hands, is one of the first lawyers in the State and one of the best and most influential men known to me. Turner [S.] Foster at Camp Chase in one of the persons arrested by Governor Johnston at Nashville. Knowing how all your time is occupied I content myself with submitting the letter of Judge Cooper and will call to-morrow to receive such answer as you may be pleased to give.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,



NEW YORK, October 20, 1862.

Hon. E. ETHERIDGE, Washington City.

DEAR SIR: I hope you will not think me troublesome but I wish you to do me a favor. My brother, Edmund Cooper, is a prisoner in the hands of the rebels and I wish to procure his release. The United States have in prison at Camp Chase Turner S. Foster, of Nashville, who writes me that if he can be paroled he can effect an exchange with the rebel Government of my brother for himself. Will you be kind enough to see the Secretary of War whether or not such an arrangement can be made. I would come to Washington myself but I am here with my family, cut off from my means of support, and feel it to be my duty to husband what few means I have left. If I can be of any service in carrying out my object I will come at any cost. I hope you will be able to effect the parole of Mr. Foster to let him to and effect the exchange he desires. I know I am troubling you too much, but I assure you should opportunity ever offer there is nothing I would not do for you. My brother has been and would still be of great advantage to the Federal cause our State if at liberty to work for it. Direct any communication for me to care of Thomas Eakin, New York.

Very truly,


OR, Ser. II, Vol. 4, pp. 639-640.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, October 27, 1862.

Adjutant-Gen. THOMAS.

GEN.: Direct the commissary of prisoners to release Turner S. Foster, a rebel prisoner at Camp Chase, on his parole to procure the release and exchange of Edmund Cooper, a citizen of Tennessee, now a prisoner in the hands of the rebels.

Yours, &c.,

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 4, p. 657.

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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