Tuesday, December 31, 2013


        31, Governor Isham G. Harris' letter to General A. Sidney Johnston explaining failure to arm soldiers and fortify Nashville


Nashville, Tenn., December 31, 1861.


DEAR SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of a letter of 25th instant. Upon its receipt I immediately appointed energetic agents to collect laborers in this and adjoining counties to construct the fortifications near Nashville, but I must say that the response to my appeal for laborers has not thus far been as flattering as I had wanted and expected. I shall have within a very few days some 200 negro men at this work, and hope soon to increase this number to 500 or 600. Telegraphed you the same day your letter came to hand, asking how many laborers you thought necessary, about what length of time they would be employed, and what engineer would supervise and control the work, answers to which would have aided me in securing the laborers, but have as yet received no reply.

I fully appreciate the exigencies by which you are surrounded, and, as I have heretofore. I shall continue to use every effort within my power and all resources at my command to strengthen your position and to secure the country from invasion. In order, however, that the present resources of the State may not be overestimated, it is proper that I give you at least an approximate idea of them and some of the difficulties which I encounter at every step.

Tennessee has now organized and in the field, in addition to some independent companies, fifty-two infantry regiments and one battalion, nine battalions of cavalry, and two regiments of artillery. Volunteer companies are now in camp, under orders to move to rendezvous, sufficient to form six additional infantry regiments and two battalions of cavalry, making the whole force about sixty-six regiments. This force, large as it is, is drawn almost entirely from two divisions from the State, the unfortunate political dissensions in East Tennessee, with near one-third of the voting population of the State, having almost paralyzed that section, but I am pleased to state that these divisions and dissensions are rapidly disappearing, and I hope soon to see a united people in Tennessee, when we may reasonably expect re-enforcements from that section; but with the immense tax upon the population of Middle and West Tennessee to make up the force already referred to I do not hope for any considerable number of volunteers from either of these divisions, unless it be upon pressing emergency, when I feel assured that a patriotic response will be made by almost our whole people to meet such emergency.

But the difficulty is not, nor has it been, in obtaining men. The inadequate supply of arms has been and is the chief obstacle which I encounter in promptly furnishing to you any reasonable number of re-enforcements. With the greatest possible energy it takes time to collect and repair the private arms of the country, and this is the only means, I have of arming the force now called to the field. I have spared neither effort, pains, nor expense in expediting the work, and yet it has been and is impossible to proceed with it rapidly.

In furnishing arms to the large force above referred to the State has heretofore drawn from the hands of her citizens their most effective private arms. Almost every gun that we get at this time must necessarily pass through the hands of the smiths before it is fit for service, and in this connection it is well to remark that Tennessee, less fortunate than some of her sister States, had not United States arsenal or depository or arms within her limits from which her troops might have been supplied; that but comparatively a small number of her force have been armed independent of the State, and that upon assuming connection with the Confederate States all of her contracts for the manufacture of arms and other materials of war were assigned and transferred to the Confederate Government.

I am sure, general, you will appreciate and make due allowance for the difficulties that lie in my way in the works of arming the forces of Tennessee under these circumstances. I trust I shall be able, with the inferior arms of the country, to arm the volunteers now in, and that many will hereafter come into camp.

Very respectfully,


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, pp. 811-812.



        31-January 2, 1863, Battle of Stones River[1]

After the Confederate disaster at Ft. Donelson in February, 1862, the two antagonists remained relatively inactive, the only real action being in the form of raids by Union forces that bombarded Chattanooga in June, and Confederate raids led by Joseph Wheeler and Nathan Bedford Forrest in July and August. Confederate commander Braxton Bragg made plans to invade Kentucky from his base in Chattanooga and from Knoxville. The invasion was a success, but ended in a calamitous reverse for the Confederates at the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, on October 8, 1862. Thereafter Confederate forces retreated to Knoxville in East Tennessee. Bragg then moved his headquarters to Murfreesboro and his army to Middle Tennessee. Federal General W.S. Rosecrans, despite Confederate attacks on his lines of communications and supply, amassed large stockpiles of supplies and equipment to fuel an anticipated struggle with the Army of Tennessee under General Bragg. Rosecrans did not want to give Bragg a chance to take Nashville and so regain that vital railroad center.

While Murfreesboro was still under Confederate control, President Jefferson C. Davis visited that Middle Tennessee town. Afterwards, however, Davis ordered a large contingent of the Army of Tennessee to Vicksburg, a move which would weaken Confederate forces in Middle Tennessee. Guerrilla raids and cavalry skirmishes continued throughout the autumn of 1862. It appeared as though the two Armies would wait until the spring of 1863 before becoming engaged in a decisive battle. As tensions mounted in Middle Tennessee, Confederate forces attacked Federal supply lines in West Tennessee in a successful effort to temporarily slow the Union advance upon Vicksburg. The Army of Tennessee and the Army of the Cumberland slowly jockeyed for position in Middle Tennessee.

General Bragg situated his troops at strategic points along the Stones River at Murfreesboro. From these points he could attack Rosecrans on the roads leading out of Nashville. Late in December Rosecrans moved his troops out of Nashville and began a deliberate advance toward the Army of Tennessee at Murfreesboro. He planned to march to Chattanooga after defeating Bragg. This he would do, but not until July, 1863.

When Bragg learned of the Federal army's movements, he prepared for battle and reinforced his line of defense along the Stones River. During the night of December 29, Confederate Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler made damaging raids against Rosecrans communications and destroyed most of their supplies for the forthcoming battle. Despite his boldness, however, in the end it didn't matter and did not positively affect the outcome of the battle for the Southern cause.

While the two Armies bivouacked a few miles each other in apprehension of a battle during the evening hours of December 30, soldiers from one army began to sing as their band played. The opposing army reopened with its own music and a "battle of the bands" raged until one of the bands began to play "Home Sweet Home." In a scene of poetic irony, soldiers of the two Armies began to sing together in a paradoxical manifestation of unity before killing one another en masse the next day.

On December 31, 1862, the Battle of Stones River began as the Rebel army charged the Yankee forces sending them into the dense cedar thickets to surrounded the erstwhile cotton field upon which the battle would take place. The noise of battle was so intense than many Rebel soldiers stuffed cotton in their ears.

Federal forces were initially driven back, but finally stopped the Confederate advance at their line at the Nashville Pike. General Rosecrans ordered his troops to engage the advancing rebels and regain every inch of ground lost to the Confederate onslaught. Nevertheless, Bragg believed that Rosecrans would withdraw on New Years Day. Because of this unwarranted assumption Confederate forces did not attack on New Year's Day, 1863. When Bragg found the Federal army still in position on the Nashville Pike the next day, he renewed his attack. This initiative drove the Federals back until the Confederate advance was halted by what was then the largest concentration of Federal artillery ever gathered in combat. At the Stones River the Confederate advance ground to a halt, decimated by canister fired from Yankee cannon. While both sides claimed victory the Confederates retreated from the field. The fighting ended. Bragg had learned that Rosecrans had received reinforcements and realized at the end of the fighting on January 2 that his men were no match for the more fire power and abundantly supplied of the Army of the Cumberland. Casualties were high for both sides: of 34,732 Confederate troops, 9,239 were killed, wounded or missing (26%); the Union losses totaling 9,220 killed, wounded or missing out of 41,400 troops (22%). Rosecrans occupied Murfreesborough and Bragg retreated to Shelbyville and Tullahoma for the winter and spring of 1863. A major Federal initiative would not begin until June, 1863, in the Middle Tennessee, or Tullahoma, Campaign which drove Bragg to Chattanooga.[2]



        31, Action at Tiptonville, warehouse and other properties burned by U. S. N. as retaliation for Confederate guerrilla attacks on River boats[3]

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Report of Lieutenant-Commandeer John G. Mitchell, Commanding 7th District Mississippi Squadron to Acting Rear-Admiral S. P. Lee, from the U. S. S. Sibyl, March 5, 1865, relative to the burning of warehouses at Tiptonville, December 31, 1864:

* * * *

On the 31st of December last, on the way down [the Mississippi] river, [I] stopped at Columbus, Ky., where I was informed by Colonel MacArthur, commanding post, that at the transport Silver Moon had reported that in landing at the wood yard at Tiptonville, she had been fired upon by fifteen guerrillas from behind the wood pile near the warehouse, and only saved the vessel from capture by immediately backing out into the stream. As General Veatch and staff were on board and wished to reach Memphis as soon as possible, I did not stop to investigate the affair myself, but ordered up Captain Sears, instructing him, if he found the fact to be as stated, to burn the balance of the wood pile, also the warehouse and store on the bank of the river.

I have not received any report from Captain Sears in regard to the execution of that order.

The statement that Mr. [J. D.] Davis makes through his agent, that "no boat had been fired into by guerrillas or others at Tiptonville since the war commenced," is substantially untrue.

Tiptonville has always been regarded as a dangerous place ever since I have been on the river, on account of the disloyalty of the people, and from the fact that the country in that vicinity has been continually infested with guerrillas, and no steamer would land there without the protection of a gunboat.

In July last [1864] the steamer St. Patrick was decoyed into the landing by some citizens on shore, and an attempt was made bay the notorious rebel Cushman and his command to capture her. Until the steamer landed they [the guerrillas] were concealed behind this warehouse belonging to Mr. Davis, and had not the U. S. S. Huntress come up at the time, they would have succeeded in capturing her. An account of this case can be found by reference to the log of the Huntress.

Had I not been away from the Eighth District at the time, I should have burned the houses, such being the custom of the squadron in similar cases. I am considerably surprised that the two officers of the Huntress, who were present at the attempted capture of the St. Patrick, should have indorsed the false statement of the citizens of Tiptonville.

I am satisfied that the commanding officer of the New Era did just as I should have done under the circumstances in the present case

* * * *

Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 27, pp. 8-9.


Excerpt from the communication of S. P. Lee, Acting Rear Admiral, Commanding Mississippi Squadron, dated March 22, 1865, from the U. S. S. Blackhawk then at Mound City, Illinois:

Rear-Admiral Porter's General Order No. 2 directs that any vessel that may be fired on by guerrillas or other persons, will do all the damage in her power to repress the outrageous practice of guerrilla warefare [sic].

Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 27, p. 8.



        31, 1865 - Racist Paternalism and the Freedman in East Tennessee; An Extract from the Diary of Eliza Fain

Amongst all the nations of the earth, so far as I can learn, there is towards the African race the felling you are unmixed with any other race[4] and are an inferior people. A boy named Hill [a former slave] who had once been one of my family as a servant had been here during part of the Christmas holiday. I felt kindly disposed to him and anxious for him to do right, I had given him much counsel in what way he would act to secure his friends. I told him to be kind and obliging in his manner to everyone, to be a good boy and try to do right. Cousin Annie Poats with her little children Fannie, Walter, Nannie and Ellie with Dick to drive got into the wagon go to town. I told Hill to go and open the gate for Dicky but this not suiting the young man's pleasure I had to speak harshly to him before I could get him to go and when he did he went to the first gate and came back. I was provoked as he had been here for several days and I had fed him and was willing for him to be with his mother but I just told him he had to go, that I would put up with no such conduct as that about me. Poor mortals what will become of them  I cannot see.

Fairn Diary.


[1] A plethora of secondary works deal with the Battle of Stones River. It would be necessarily redundant and even presumptuous to document the large battle here. For that reason it is only necessary to summarize the conflict here. There are a total of 307 reports on the battle.

[2] See map of the Battle of Stones River, OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. I, p. 916.

The following Tennessee units, part of Cheatham's Division of Polk's Corps, fought at the battle of Stones River: 1st, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 13th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 24th, 26th, 28th, 29th, 45th 47th, 51st, 84th, 154th Senior Tennessee Volunteers, Scott's Tennessee Battery, Captain T.J. Stanford's Light Battery.

For reports relative to some of the Tennessee units that fought at the Battle of Stones River see: OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. I, pp. 728-730, 748-749, 717-719, 714-716, 720-721, 805-807, 821-822, 823-824, 882-885, 890-891.

[3] Referenced in neither OR nor Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee.

[4] Yet she decried "racial amalgamation" earlier during the war. See her diary entries for September 20, 1863, March 13, 1864

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


Saturday, December 28, 2013

28, Desperate need for weapons at Fort Donelson

HDQRS., Fort Donelson December 28, 1861.

His Excellency President DAVIS,

Richmond, Va.;

SIR; This will be handed you by Col. Bailey, of one of the Tennessee regiments stationed at this post. The exposed position of this command and the impossibility of obtaining arms here has induced us both to make an effort to secure them at Richmond. Knowing the difficulties we all labor under on this score, permit me simply to state that I feel deeply solicitous about our condition on the Tennessee and Cumberland, and believe that no one point in the Southern Confederacy needs more the aid of the Government than [these] points. Col. Bailey will be presented to you under such auspices as will, I am sure, command for him your especial consideration.

With every assurance of the highest consideration, and the hope that a complete restoration to health will enable you to meet the heavy demands on your time,

I remain, respectfully, your obedient servant,

LLOYD TILGHMAN, Brig.-Gen., C. S. Army, Cmdg. Defenses Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers.

OR, Ser.. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, pp. 245-246.



        28, A tête-à-tête between enemies prior to the battle at Stones River

An Incident of the Battle of Stone's River.

Correspondence of the Nashville Dispatch.

Camp at Murfreesboro', Feb. 9, 1863.

I was thinking every scene of the late tragedy played by the armies of the Cumberland and Mississippi had been shown in some way or other; but there remains one to which I was an eye witness, that gives distinction to no particular character; yet, for its novelty, (as such is generally a constituent of tragedy,) is somewhat interesting. On the 27th of December, our army arrived at Stewart's Creek, ten miles distant from Murfreesboro'. The following day being Sabbath [28th], and our General being devout, nothing was done, except to cross a few companies on the left as skirmishers, our right being watched by the enemy's, as well as ours; both extending along the creek on opposite sides. Despite of orders, our boys would occasionally shut an eye at the Confederates, who were ever ready to take the hint. This was kept up until evening, when the boys, finding they were effecting nothing at such long range, quit shooting, and concluded they would "talk it out."  When the following occurred:

Federal (at the top of his voice)—Halloo! boys, what regiment?

Confederate—Eighth Confederate.

Fed.—Bully for you.

Confed.—What's your regiment?

Fed.—Eighth and twenty-first Kentucky.

Confed.—All right.

Fed.—Boys, have you got any whisky?

Confed.—Plenty of her.

Fed.—How'll you trade for coffee?

Confed.—Would like to accommodate you, but never drink it while the worm goes.[1]

Fed.—Let's meet at the creek and have a social chat.

Confed.—Will you shoot?

Fed.—Upon the honor of a gentleman, not a man shall. Will you shoot?

Confed.—I give you as good assurance.

Fed.—Enough said, come on.

Confed.—Leave your arms.

Fed.—I have left them. Do you leave yours? 

Confed.—I do.

Whereupon both parties started for the creek to a point agreed upon. Meeting almost simultaneously, we (the Federals) were, in a modulated tone, addressed in the usual unceremonious style of a soldier, by [:] Confed.—Halloo, boys!  how do you make it?

Federal—Oh! bully, bully!

Confed.—This is rather an unexpected armistice.

Fed.—That's so.

Confed.—Boys what do you think of the Proclamation?

Fed.—We think it will suit a nigger and an Abolitionist, but not gentlemen.

Confed.—Now your heads are level.

Fed.—Boys, are you going to make a stand at Murfreesboro?

Confed.—That is a leading question; notwithstanding, I will venture to say it will be the bloodiest ten miles you ever traveled. 

Thus the conversation went on for some time, until a Confederate Captain, (Miller, of Gen. Wheeler's Cavalry,) came down, requesting an exchange of papers. On being informed we had none, he said he would give us his anyhow, and wrapping a stone in the paper, threw it across. Some compliments were passed, when the Captain suggested, as it was getting late, we had better quit the conference; whereupon both parties, about twenty each, began to leave with, "Good by, boys;" "if ever I meet you in battle, I'll spare you."  So we met and parted, not realizing we were enemies. My God, when will this unnatural war have an end!—when shall friend cease to seek the life of friend, and mankind once more realize the blessings of peace?

Eighth Kentucky.

Nashville Dispatch, February 21, 1863.



        28, C. S. A. attack on Federal wagon train between Knoxville and Chattanooga

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Itinerary of the Second Brigade, Second Cavalry Division (Army of the

Cumberland) From return for December 1863, the Ninety-eighth Illinois, Seventeenth Indiana, and detachments of the Fourth Michigan and Third U. S. Cavalry Regiments were attached to this command, Col. Eli Long commanding, relative to the attack on a Federal wagon train, December 28, 1863:

* * * *

December 28, Gen. Wheeler, with 1,500 rebel cavalry and some artillery, attacked a wagon train, moving to Knoxville from Chattanooga, and escorted by infantry, convalescents, &c. Col. Long at once mounted the small portion of his command not on duty (less than 150 men) and charged the enemy, whose ranks had been broken by the infantry escort, scattering them in every direction. Pursued one column of 400 or 500 men several miles and captured 121 prisoner, including 5 officers and many stand of arms. Wheeler lost several killed and many wounded; among the latter, 2 colonels.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 435.


"Wheeler's men had said while going up that 'Wheeler was H-ll on Wagons' and they would get all the sugar and coffee we had."

Courier Station East Tennessee

January 1st 1864

Dear Father

I am still doing courier duty and am as well as usual --- it is a clear cold and windy day --- The ground is frozen quite hard….I have been out to the wood pile chopping wood. I came near freezing my ears off, too. The people in this country use fireplaces altogether -- don't know what a stove is hardly, they are about 50 years behind the times-but they are clever and hospitable and UNION [sic] through and through. A man by the name of Burton brought us a basket-full of cold chicken biscuit, cake and pies this morning as a present. It came very acceptable to the boys -- we gave him a lot of coffee and sugar a great handy [sic] for a person to have in this country. Some families here have a son in the Federal Army and one also in the Rebel Army. It is no uncommon thing to see a father staunch Union and a son a strong rebel. It is a bad thing to make the best of it, when one army holds the country awhile and then the other. It gives the little neighborhood jealousies and spites a chance to revenge each other. Great time to settle old scores. There are always enough mean ones you know to take advantage of such things on both sides. Makes a very unpleasant State of Society. We have not been disturbed yet at our station. There was a large train of wagons went up the valley to Knoxville last Sunday.[2] Wheeler, who has been raising "ned" with us all the time at Cleveland, heard of it and the wagons were only guarded by about 250 infantry, thought he would have a Nice Time [sic] and get some sugar and coffee for his boys. So he came on after it with about 1500 cavalry and 3 pieces of artillery. The train passed on the same road as the courier line is on, but Wheeler came up the valley road east of us about 1½ miles only. Two little boys from that valley came running over early Monday morning to tell us that the rebel were swarming up the valley (it's a good thing to be among your friends) We saddled up and moved upon a hill nearby where we could see a ½ mile in any direction and staid there all day expecting every minute to see a company of Rebels come dashing after us. We didn't ask any odds of them. They couldn't catch us anyhow-but they didn't come-for they had plenty of fish to fry. Instead of 250 men with the train we happened to have between 4 and 5000 and Col. Long[3] at Calhoun had 500 Cavalry. A dispatch had gone thro' telling him Wheeler was coming. So they were ready for him. Wheeler's men had said while going up that "Wheeler was H-ll on Wagons" and they would get all the sugar and coffee we had. Well-when about 2 miles from Charleston Wheeler saw the train and ordered a charge, the Rebels yelled and plunged forward each man trying to be first. But presently crack! crack! whiz! bang! A line of smoke 200 yds long rises from the grass on their left and the cedars on their right-ah! my boys what makes you falter! Why don't you go on and sweeten your coffee-they halted amazed, fired a few shots, whirled their horses, run back a quarter of a mile, and formed in line of battle. Their Artillery they thought would be up soon and the wagons would be theirs-but Fate was against them. The artillery was stuck in the mud and didn't come at all. The infantry were moving slowing upon them and at that moment Col Long with his gallant little 500 were seen with sabres drawn-coming up like the wind-at the command Charge! Boys Charge! The Infantry gave way and Long was upon them like an avalanche, cutting thro' their line and in their rear the work of death commenced, in 15 minutes we had 140 prisoners and had killed 30. The rebels were flying from the field in every direction terror stricken and helpless they threw away over 400 guns. Wheeler only had 40 men with him when he went back, the rest were scattered. He was never so badly whipped before or so badly misinformed-in fact he got his foot in it sure. Prisoner say he is superseded-they haven't bothered us since….

Potter Correspondence.



        28, Duel North of Memphis

Fatal Duel.- The Memphis Argus, of the 29th [December 1864] has the following:

We learn from a very reliable source, that yesterday morning (28th) a duel was fought about three miles from the city, the principals in which were gentlemen well known to our citizens as worthy gentlemen. The origin of it we cannot give. We have been put in possession of three or four reports concerning it, any of which may be true: we, therefore refrain from giving any. The fight took placed on the Randolph road, three miles north of the city, and the weapons used were shot guns at twenty paces. Mr. James Simpkins and Mr. James Stutts neighbors of many years standing, after stepping off the required distance turned and fired simultaneously with fatal effect. The first named received four buckshot, the second twenty-four, causing death to ensue for both almost instantly. Both the gentlemen were looked upon by their neighbors as excellent citizens and loving husbands and kind and indulgent parents. The sad event shrouds the neighborhood of its occurrence and gloom and brings mourning to families among whom for years all has been happiness and joy. Mr. Holst of the firm Holst & Co, of this city, went out with the necessaries for their internment last evening.

Daily Picayune, January 4, 1865.

[1] Meaning unknown.

[2] This was the 27th of December, 1863. Whether or not Colonel Long or Lt. Potter had the date wrong is not known. Long's report was closer to the event than Potter's letter, thus giving greater credibility to the 28th as the date of the affair.

[3] Eli Long.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


Saturday, December 21, 2013

12/21-25/2013 Tennessee Civil War Notes

21, The character of war in East Tennessee and resistance to the Confederate draft in Nashville

From Tennessee.

Intestine [sic] war, with savage ferocity on the part of the rebels, now rages in Tennessee. The statements are confused and doubtless exaggerated, but too much is true.

The city of Nashville was in high state of excitement on the 6th, and on the following day an attempt was made to draft the citizens into the army. The indignation of the people was intense. A riot broke out in the Fourth ward. Four policemen were shot dead. The mob rushed to the Capitol to attack Governor Harris, who fled to Memphis. On the same day, 2,500 men from Louisiana passed the city for Kentucky, carrying a black flags embellished with a skull and cross bones. They were mostly armed with shot guns.

On the 1st of this month a band of Union men from Williamsburg, Kentucky marched.

Atlanta Democrat, December 21, 1861.



21, Confederate States Commissioner's Court in Knoxville

At the session of the Confederate States commissioners court at Knoxville on Tuesday last, several gentlemen voluntarily came forward and took the oath of allegiance to the  Confederate government. Among them, we learn,, were Alfred Cross, formerly clerk of the court of Anderson county, and Col. Whitson, late postmaster at Clinton, in the same county,. The Register says that many of the Union men have declared that when it came to be a war between the North and the South, for the fanatical purposes on the part of the northern government of carrying out the abolition doctrines of Hale, Sumner, Horace Greeley, and old John Brown, they would be found among the foremost in the ranks to defend the South.

Memphis Daily Appeal, December 31, 1861. [1]



        21, Report of attempted smuggling by a pro-Confederate woman

Breach of Faith.—We were yesterday officially informed of a violation of her word on the part of a lady who recently applied to the military authorities for a pass to go beyond the Federal lines. The lady represented herself as the wife of a Confederate officer who was stationed at Murfreesboro', and said she desired a pass with the view only of seeing her husband, as it might be a long time before she would again have an opportunity. The authorities at first declined to give the necessary permit, but the lady pleaded, and pledged her honor not to take with her anything but her own necessary clothing, and give no information. On these conditions the pass was given, and the lady accompanied beyond the lines, when suspicion was aroused that all was not right, and a lady and gentleman were sent after her; the party entered a dwelling-house on the roadside, where the lady's baggage was searched, and was found to consist of numerous pairs of boots and shoes, blankets, seven dress patterns, and other contraband articles. The lady was then accompanied to a private room by the lady official, and her person searched, when a large number of letters were found concealed in her under clothes around her waist. After taking from her the letters and contraband clothing, she was permitted to depart. We regret much that any lady should be even suspected of such conduct; it is calculated to do much harm, and cannot be productive of any good. A word of honor should be kept inviolate.

Nashville Dispatch, December 21, 1862.



        21-22, Advance and Retreat: Federal Foreces at Rutledge; Blain's Cross Roads, Tenn. "I never felt such cold water…but after I got used to it I got through first-rate. "

Mon. Dec. 21st 1863

…I will try to give you some idea of what we have been doing since the rebels left us at Knoxville. We left that place on the 7th of this month. The 9th Corps taking the Rogerville Road & our Corps the road toStrawberry Plains. We left Knoxville about noon, the weather was very pleasant for marching, the road was frozen & we made pretty good time till we came to the Holston River about the middle of the afternoon. There was a good ford & there was no choice to cross but to wade. This wasn't a very delightful job you may know, with the thermometer near 0 and nearly ¼ of a mile to wade with the water nearly to our belts in some place. There was no help for it however & the boys stripped & plunged in. I never felt such cold water…but after I got used to it I got through first-rate. The current was very swift but the crossing was made without any accident I believe & when we reached the opposite bank we started again without drying our clothes but we soon got warmed up and by night we were all right again….Next morning we resumed our march & reached the Plains about noon. The rebels had burned the railroad bridge, so that the cars could not cross in single file. It looked a little risky & some of the boys would not undertake it at all, but preferred walking 3 miles down the river to a ford. We were 2 or 3 hours crossing but all got safely over & marched about 3 miles where we caught up with our advance & went into camp…Next morning we started again & marched pretty hard till the middle of the afternoon. We came up to the 9th Corps & went into camp 2 miles from Rutledge, where we laid for several days…marching orders came one night 11 o'ck…The mud was deep & it was so dark that we couldn't see to pick our way at all. As soon as we halted, we unstrung our knapsacks and went to work carrying rails and building a barricade across the valley. We finished it by daylight and after breakfast we were ordered out to the front. Our Brigade-the 44th & 104th Regiment, 14th Battery were stationed on the right of our line in a large cornfield. We built another line of railworksby piling rails on the fence with one end on the ground. We were drawn up in line of battle behind this & had hardly fixed ourselves when our advance line of battle on the left held their ground in spite of all the efforts of the Johnny's to drive them. They were drawn up across a level field in fair view from where we were and you can't imagine how anxiously we watched them as the rebs charged on them-time and again without breaking their line. They were armed with 5 shooters & kept up a continual volley, which forced the rebels to retreat without accomplishing their object. I forget what regiment it was, but I think it was an Indiana Regiment. They were brave fellows at any rate. After this, they fell back, though they kept up a lively firing all day. We laid quiet till evening. The rebels got a battery in position on a hill to the right of us & commenced shelling us. They were in good range & made us dodge for a while but we soon got pretty well used to it and didn't mind them at all. We were rather too low for them to do us much damage or else they didn't want to drive us out till morning, which is most probable I think, for none of the shells bursted. I suppose they were only trying the range & expected to give us fits next morning but our old Gen. was too sharp for them. After dusk we were ordered to build good fires as though we were going to stay all night & we slipped off quietly & marched back to Rutledge. We reached there about midnight and laid down in the mud & tried to sleep but it was so cold that most of the boys preferred staying up by the fires. Next morning we started again & reached this place about noon. We got dinner and a little mail, the first we had seen since thesiege commenced…

Bentley Letters.




The following communication from a Memphis lady, is clipped from the Bulletinof a recent date:


The president of the United States has set apart to-morrow as a day of thanksgiving for our great success. We in our simplicity, supposed that the loyal people of Memphis would be pleased to participate in such a service, and so suggested. This mere suggestion has called forth the following significant epistle, which we subjoin without comment:

Editor Bulletin: You call attention to Lincoln's appointment of a day of thanksgiving for the successes which have blessed our cause, and you hope the day will be properly observed. By "our cause," you mean the Union cause.

I wonder how you think the people of Memphis can thank God for the successes of the Union Abolition cause. You pretend to think that a great Union sentiment has sprung up in Memphis, because you say that upward of 11,000 [?] persons have taken the oath of allegiance. Let me tell you, if they have taken it, they did not do it of their own free will and they don't feel bound by it; they had to take it under a military despotism; and don't feel bound to regard any oath forced upon them in that way.

Do you believe that any preacher in Memphis will appoint service in his church at Lincoln's dictate? Let one dare to try it, and see how his congregation will stand it. They know better. They know [illegible] the people of Memphis give thanks [illegible] [illegible] disasters with sincere hearts. I [illegible] don't rejoice at Union victories, as they call them. The women of Memphis will stick to the Confederate cause like Ruth clung to her master in love, and say to it "where thou goest I will go. Where thou live I will live, where thou does I will [illegible] of there will I be buried.

But where are your great successes. Your own papers say that Lee brought off a train of captured spoils twelve miles on, and that Morgan destroyed seven or eight million dollars worth before all Ohio and [illegible] could stop him. Pretty dear success, this. Still I won't rejoice over it at Lincoln's dictation. But wail President Davis' day comes round. Perhaps by that time Meade may get another whipping, and if you don't see rejoicing and thanksgiving, then you may well declare that you and you officious local fail to accede [?] that it exists in Memphis. Now you won't publish this, perhaps because it don't suit you. You can say the reason is because I don't put my real name on it. You can do as you please about it. I choose to sign my name:

Mary Lee Thorne

Staunton (Virginia) Observer, December 22, 1863.[2]


        22, Nathan Bedford Forrest's situation report

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF WEST TENNESSEE, Jackson, December 22, 1863.

Maj. Gen. S. D. LEE, Cmdg. Cavalry, Army of Mississippi:

GEN.: I am perfectly satisfied that the enemy will move on me with a large force in a few days. I do not think it will be more than three days before they will begin their programme, which is not yet fully developed.

My opinions is (from all reports) that they are concentrating at Corinth and LaGrange, on the railroad, and at Fort Pillow and Union City. I write, therefore, to ask you to be prepared to aid me at short notice, and when they move on me, to have you move on them on the railroad. I will move round them and join you in the destruction of the road, and will drive out cattle sufficient for our use. I have only about 3,000 armed men, and they, in gathering up the balance of commands, are much scattered. I will gather up everything possible and be prepared for the moment.

I have 1,200 men now out in Mississippi after arms. I hope they have gotten them and that they will be here in a day or two. I have arranged to send communications to you through Capt. Higgs, commanding my scouts. Would be glad to know when you can make a stand of couriers so that I can communicate with you promptly. I suggest some point at or in the neighborhood of Salem.

In view of the present condition of affairs, I respectfully suggest that you be prepared to move at once or as soon as you are advised of any movement from the railroad in this direction, if you have not already done so, in accordance with my previous requests.

I have been anxiously expecting a letter from yourself or from Gen. Johnston for some days, and ask that you will write me by return courier, so that I can know exactly what do depend on. I still think that if you and Roddey would move in here, we can whip anything they may send against us, and I hope that you will come; at any rate, I shall confidently rely upon your co-operation against the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.

Will dispatch Gen. Roddey again; have already done so, and rely upon his joining me.

I have instructed the courier if he finds any of your command, to forward this dispatch and remain at Salem for an answer. If he finds none, he will go with it to your headquarters. I will order a guide for your courier to Salem, to remain there for your answer, and suggest that you duplicate your dispatches, sending them by different men, so as to insure my getting one of them.

Have ordered Capt. Higgs to send one of his best scouts to Salem, to remain there for your reply. If you can possibly come and aid me in breaking up this move of the enemy, it will give us 10,000 men, infantry and cavalry, by the 1st of April. You are aware that with my force of raw, undrilled, and undisciplined troops it will not do for me to risk a general engagement with a superior force. I have been gathering up the cattle and will, I fear, have to abandon them unless I can get your assistance.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

N. B. FORREST, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

One courier will deliver this; another will be at Salem to receive a reply. I suggest that your answer be duplicated, one of which send by the bearer of this, and the other forward by your own courier to the man waiting at Salem. Between the two we shall be certain of a reply.


N. B. FORREST, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, pp. 853-854.



        22, 1863 - Brief summation of the Battle for Knoxville, East Tennessee under occupation; letter of Oscar D. Allen

Knoxville, Tenn, Dec. 22, 1863

Dear Cousin it is with grate pelasure that I seat myself to try ao write you a few lines I recived your letter Sum time ago and was glad to hear from you I will tell you the reason I did not write sooner We was cut off from Communication 20 days and it was no use to write

We have had a heavy old time with the rebs but we Cleand them out and left a good many of them in the ground at the Battle of Knoxville the rebs made a Charge on Burnside and our men throed Shels on them with there hands and kild about 200 rebs or more in 15 minits and we only lost one or two the blood stood in great pudels on the ground

Well Hetty East Tenn is just blue with yankes We are living Sum better now but I did see the time when brand bread went buly The rail road is open now and we can git pelnty of evey thing that we want Well Hetty I have a notion to join the reglars for three years longer they git $400.00 but I belive I wonte for this is reglar anuf for me and to mutch so O I all most forgot to tell you that I am well except for a bad Cold We was payed the other day and I sent Sixty dollars home by the state agent Well I must close and go and git my grubyours with respect

Direct to Knoxville, Tenn. Oscar D. Allen

Co. I 118th Regt. OVI

1 Brig 2 Division 23st A.C.

Write Soon Good By for this time

Brackney Family Papers



        23, Federal logistic and patrol difficulties on the N&C Railroad

NASHVILLE, December 23, 1863.

Brig.-Gen. WHIPPLE:

The roads has [sic] failed me for the last three days, in consequence of accidents; forage is short in front; sent 4,000 sacks to-day. Torpedo taken up last week on the road, which fortunately did not explode, but one of our best engines thrown off the track yesterday near Decherd by rail being taken out. The road is not sufficiently patrolled, and especially between this point and Murfreesborough; men from station to station should meet every two hours.

J. L. DONALDSON, Quartermaster.

CHATTANOOGA, December 23, 1863.

Maj.-Gen. SLOCUM:

Direct patrols along the railroad to be more vigilant and meet between posts every two hours; accidents are getting numerous; one of our best engines thrown off track yesterday night near Decherd by rail being taken out. Torpedo taken up last week, which fortunately did not explode.

W. D. WHIPPLE, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 474.



        23, "The Price of Milk"

The military order fixing the price of milk is likely to deprive us of this important article entirely, unless our dairymen are allowed to receive at least as much for their milk as will enable them to pay expenses. We respectfully submit the following facts given us by one of our leading dairymen, to the consideration of Gen. Miller and the Military Board. Before the war, the price of milk was forty cents a gallon, the price of feed being from $3 to $15 per ton. The price fixed by the Military Board, is 60 cents per gallon, while the price of bran per ton is $60, oats and hay scarcely to be had at any price. The dairyman alluded to above has thirty cows, which at this season of the year yield less than twenty gallons of milk per day, the actual product of last week being $70, while the actual cost of feeding amounted to $85 to say nothing of labor, board of hands, wear and tear of materials, etc. Unless the Board make some change, we are informed that dairymen will be compelled to sell out their stock, and retire from the business until feed can be procured at more reasonable prices.

Nashville Dispatch, December 23, 1864.



        24, Merger of Southern Mothers' Hospital and Overton Hospital in Memphis

Overton Hospital.—The southern Mothers' hospital was yesterday joined with that of the Overton, the latter building now containing the whole of the patients of the two institutions. Dr. Currey, of the Southern Mothers, continues to perform his duties at the Overton. The consolidation was made by order of the general in command, and was effected under the personal superintendence of Dr. C. H. Martin, the supervisor of hospitals. The ladies will give their kind aid as before the change.

Memphis Daily Appeal, December 24, 1861.



        24, Christmas Eve Dance and Military Executions in Confederate Murfreesboro

An Account of Two Very Different Scenes—A Ball and an Execution.

A letter from Murfreesboro', Tenn., dated the 26th ult., gives an account of two scenes of camp life—a ball and an execution. The writer says:

On Christmas Eve [1862] the officers of the First Louisiana and Second Kentucky regiments gave a ball at the Court House in Murfreesboro', which proved a magnificent affair and complete success. The beauty and fashion of this little city and many distinguished officers were present. The decorations were exceedingly handsome. Among them I noticed four large "B's" constructed of evergreens: "Beauregard and Bragg, of La.;" "Buckner and Breckinridge, of Ky." Over the windows were the names, "Pensacola," "Donelson," "Shiloh," "Santa Rosa," and "Hartsville," all enwreathed with cedar. Conspicuous were numerous United States flags—Union down—trophies belonging to Gen. John H. Morgan, furnished for the occasion by his lady. New Year's Eve will be celebrated by another ball to be given by the officers of the 9th and 9th [sic] Kentucky regiments and Cobb's Battery. Truly the grim soldiers feel fond of laying aside their stern occupation for the smiles of fair ladies. I hope they may not experience another Waterloo; but instead, when begins the "sound of revelry by night," may the beauty and chivalry enjoy themselves without interruption from the cannon's opening roar.

In strong contrast with such scenes comes the announcement of five military executions in one day—one by hanging, the rest by shooting. The first was a spy, a traitor, and a thief, named Gray. The crime committed by the other four was desertion. It was my duty to witness the execution of one of the latter. As the brigade was being formed on three sides of a square, the clouds grew dark and heavy as if the very heavens frowned upon the bloody deed about to be enacted. The troops remained in one of the heaviest rain storms I ever remember, until the prisoner was brought in the centre of the square, riding in a wagon, followed by a hearse. After bidding a few friends adieu, he, with a firm step, without kneeling or being blindfolded, faced the firing party composed of one lieutenant, one sergeant, and fifteen men—twelve of the guns were loaded with balls and three with blank cartridges. At 12 o'clock Lieutenant B. gave the command "ready!" "aim!" "fire!" when the prisoner fell dead, pierced by eleven balls. Some of these men were arrested after an absence of six months. I would advise all deserters who may be skulking around the cities of the Confederacy, to return while Gen. Bragg offers them pardon.

Savannah [Georgia] Republican, January 10, 1863.[3]



        24, "Nothing is safe, no help is anywhere…" the emolument of war in Maury County, an excerpt from the diary of Nimrod Porter

Gen. Croxton's headquarters is in our house, with his whole brigade camped all over out yard, lots, lane and everywhere they can get near enough a fence to keep them in wood. With reluctance the Gen. Ordered the provost guard to station out their guards all around the house, but it only gave the guards a better opportunity for marauding than the common soldiers, and they made the best of it. They took all the apples out of the cellar. They broke the weatherboarding [sic] off the house for fires, burnt the yard fences, went in our smoke house and took the meat. They cooked the last old gobbler and all the chickens over a fire in the yard.

They even took the boots off the blacks [i.e., slaves]. Considerable fuss over that. They should not rob the blacks.

Last night they took all black Sukey's[4]money, all my corn and what little oats I have left.

There is great tribulation in the country, stealing horses, mules, hogs, breaking in houses. The soldiers are very insulting and impose on everybody, stealing and encouraging the blacks to steal and do every manner of rascality. Nothing is safe, no help is anywhere for our unfortunate condition. All, all that we have is nearly gone. How will we live? What will we eat?

I wish there was a river of fire a mile wide between the North and the South that would burn with unquenchable fury forever more and that it could never be passed to the endless ages of eternity by any living creature.

Is there no hope for this dying land?

Tomorrow is Christmas day, a bitter one for us, black or white. A grey fox ran under the kitchen walk. I shot it for dinner. We have a little parched corn.

Diary of Nimrod Porter, December 24, 1864.



        25, Memphis churches on Christmas day

The Churches.—The adorning of the churches with evergreens has not been done to the same extent this year as it was last. Grace church, Episcopal, on Hernando street, makes the best appearance. The altar window is surrounded with green, and a cross hangs in the window. On each side the altar is a large shrub. The altar rails are wreathed, and the font and reading desk are very gracefully decked with wreaths of green, intermixed with scarlet berries. The front of the gallery is decked with festoons and garlands, and the pillars with wreaths. The fair ladies of Grace have displayed much taste. Calvary church, Episcopal, has a large shrub on each side of the altar. The altar rails are handsomely festooned, the crown of each festoon being of magnolia leaves. The font and reading desk are very tasteful, being of ivy intermixed with berries. There is not a large amount of adornments, but what there is, is attractive from the good taste and gracefulness displayed. At the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Roman Catholic, we found no other Christmas ornament than a simple wreath of green, suspended in artistically arranged curves above the grand altar.

Memphis Daily Appeal, December 25, 1861.



        25, Citizens of Savannah fend off Confederate guerrilla attack

CORINTH, December 26, 1862.

Maj. Gen. U. S. GRANT, Holly Springs:

My scouts are in from east of Tennessee River; left Waynesborough and Clifton yesterday. At former place are about 500 Mississippi cavalry; at Clifton, about 100. At Old Town a large lot of hogs are collected in charge of Robertson's cavalry. Yesterday the citizens at Savannah had a fight with some of Robertson's company; wounded 2 and took 6 prisoners, which the scout brought here. Some of my cavalry crossed to-night to help through. In Wayne County are some 200 armed Union men, whom the Mississippi cavalry have been sent to put down. At Old Carrollsville Forrest has his trains and what he has captured. A good regiment of cavalry could capture the lot, or a force up the river from Fort Henry could catch then. Men from Clifton who saw Forrest cross say he did not cross over 3, 500 men. No movement of Bragg that I can discover. Jeff. Davis in Chattanooga last Sunday; Johnston with him.

G. M. DODGE, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. II, p. 488.



        25, "The SOthern [sic] girl with Homespun Dress:"


O yes I am a Sothern [sic] girl, and glory in the same

And boast it with far grater [?] pride than glittering wealth [?] her fame

I envy not the northern girl, her robes of beauty rare,

The diamonds grace her snowy neck and pearls bedeck her hair



Hurrah, hurrah for the sunny south so dear,

Three cheers for the homespun dress the sothern [sic] Ladies war [sic]


This homespun dress is plain, I know

my hat palmetto too

But then it show what sothern [sic] girls

For Southern rights will do

Wee [sic] sent the braves of our land to battel [sic] with the foe

And Wee [sic] would lend a helping hand

We love the South you know





Now northern girls are out of date

And since old Age's blockade

We Sothern [sic] girls can be contented

With goods at sothern [sic] made,

Wee [sic] scarce to wear a bit of silk

A bit of northern lace

But make our homespun dress

And wear them with warm [?] grace.





This southern [sic] land [is] a glorious land

And is a glorious cause

So hear three cheers for southern rights

And for the Southern boys

We've sent out sweetheart to the war

But dear girls never mind your soldier lad will not forget

The girl he left behind




A soldier is the lad for me

A brave heart I adore

And when the sunny earth is free

And fighting is no more

I'll choose me then a lover brave

from out the gallant band

And the soldier lad I love the best

Shall have my heart and hand




And now, young man a word to you

If you should win the fair

go to the field where love calls

And win your lady there

Remember that your brightest smiles

Is [sic] for the true and brave

And that our tears fall for the one

That fills a soldier's grave



Chattanooga Army Bulletin December 25, 1863.


[1] As cited in PQCW.

[4] Unidentified.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX