Thursday, January 2, 2014

1/1-2/2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes




1, 1863 - Confederate prisoners and Federal wounded arrive in Nashville from the battle of Stones River; an entry in the diary of John Hill Fergusson, 10th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

January 1st Fort Negley Nashville Tennessee in 1863, Thursday 1st day fine and plesent [sic] Last Night cold with frost at one occlock [sic] today we mustered for pay, inspector Barret of Co. D rummers [sic] of all kinds a float today in regard to the battle still raging at Murfreesboro: in the afternoon we seen [sic] what we supposed to be a body of rebel prisoners coming in. N. Fancher, Joseph Blacmon and My Self went [a]cross to the Murfreesboro pike to see them and Learn what new we could from the field of action in the advance a train of waggans [sic] and ambulances came in with wounded men than a Squad of rebels [sic] prisoners Said to be 325 they ware [sic] guarded by about 4 companys of the 42nd Ills they ware [sic] a miserable set of men they had no uniform they ware [sic] dressed in every Stile [sic] imaginable yet they ware [sic] generly [sic] big raw boned Stout men Some Seemed very well satisfied that they ware [sic] taken prisoners Some said we would get well flaged [sic] this time: that Bragg would be in pusesion [sic] of Nashville by tomorrow night that they would not have long to lay in prison Some said they did not expect to spend new years in Nashville although [sic] they expected to be in it soon afterwards I was more taken on with the actions of the citizens than any thing els [sic] as I thought it was a good time to gudge [sic] from appearance the rail [sic] feelings that existed in the people the men generally kept in groups by them selves, when a soldier would step forward they would be silant [sic] or change there [sic] Subject: the wemen [sic] showed more clearly the party which they favored Some young Ladies would say" they would have turkeys prepaired [sic] for bragg [sic] and his army when he came to Nashville: while other young Ladys would crowd around us whare [sic] we stod [sic] to get all the news they could in regard to the welfair [sic] of the union Army Some would make the remark that the ware [sic] a dirty degraded Set of people but they could not expect anything better is the believed [sic] they ware [sic] cursed for the cruel deeds they ware guilty[?] of: the road was lined with  wounded men coming in Some  had there [sic] heads dun [sic] up with there [sic] handkerchief; The Ladys [sic] who ware [sic] friends to the union Soldiers would walk out and inquire into the nature of there [sic] wound and how the battle was likle [sic] to go and would simpthise [sic] with the poor sufferers and would call them cowards and trators [sic] and every thing but gentleman they would inquiar [sic] if they ware [sic] hungery [sic] if the ware  they would give them some thing to eat we lerned [sic] that our Left wing was in Murfreesboro but could get no information in regard to which army was most likely to be victories [sic] we ware [sic] informed that our army was reinforced by 30,000 just arrived from Kentucky: we are also informed we also hard it reported that Stanly [sic] went around in the rear of the enemy and destroyed some rail road bridges which will sertenly [sic] be a great injury to the rebels in recovering suplys [sic] and reainforcements [sic]; if the report is true: our pickets captured a suspesious [sic] cittizen [sic] today going out to the rebels learning in his pusession [sic] a draft of fort Negley and a letter to bregg [sic] saying if they drive the yankies [sic] at Murfreesboro [sic] the cittizens [sic] can surprise and take fort Negley the man was delivered up to General Mitchel there [sic] he was taken to the States prisen [sic] our first guard was dubled [sic] and the regt fell in at 1/2 after 9 and stood ½ hour we ware [sic] formed in Line again under arms at 3 in the morning we defy all the cittizens [sic] and all the rebel army combined to take Nashville are drive [sic] us from our poseation [sic] in fort Negley I expect more favorable news tomorrow.

John Hill Fergusson Diary, Book 2.



        1, 1864 - A civilian assess the cost and results of war in Middle Tennessee

The last year 1863 has passed off. Leaving many thousands with aking [sic] hearts, mourning the loss of their dear friends, Fathers, mothers, sons, & husbands, many that have been slain upon the bloody battle fields & have died, Many that have sickened and died in Prisons, hospitals and Camps. History cannot record the greater distruction [sic] occasioned by this unnatural & wicked war[.] What disgraceful suffering has been produced by this unnecessary war, no one living ever will be able to give a good picture of its consequences & disruptions. The widows are seen every day beging [sic] to get back their property that has been forced from them by the ruthless hand of the soldiery leaving them & there [sic] little ones in a state of suffering, Midnight robberies & on the high ways [sic] are the order of the day in every part of the country committed in every neighborhood & everyday. Commited [sic] by soldiers belonging to both armies & Robers [sic] that don't belong to any army, trafficking trading unlawfully hiring negroes to steal mules & horses & carry them off to those robing [sic] traders, Appears to be the order of the day[.] they have and are draining the country of all the Mules & leaving us without any chance to live. O how long will divine providence permit such a state of affairs to continue[?]

Diary of Nimrod Porter, January 1, 1864.



1, 1865, Emancipation Day parade in occupied Memphis

The pageant of our colored population yesterday was susceptible of a similar duplex aspect. There may have been some ludicrous things, some foolish things some absurd things about the procession yesterday. Men who are so fearful of the bugaboo of negro [sic] social equality and amalgamation-so apprehensive of the blacks surpassing the whites in intellectual and industrial pursuits that they fear to deal justice to the negro [sic], and cannot see that the true interest of Tennessee lies in wiping out the effete institution of slavery, encouraging the emigration hither of free white labor and frankly, according with the policy of Government and the will of the nation, doubtless saw such to ridicule in the exhibition of the humble callings pursued by the blacks, their parade of school children, and their display of benevolent organizations, as well as their speeches, prayers and singing.

The man who ascertain...their law abiding character, their loyalty to the Union, their wish to educate their children, their profound gratitude to God, saw more than laughable or absurd incidents. He saw a race rising from ignorant, imbruted chattelism to manhood. He saw them...not thirsting for revenge...not dreaming of lying in idleness, but with prayers...hymns...cheers for Lincoln, expressions of intense regard for Union soldiers, and...exhorting each other to manful lives and honest labor.

Memphis Bulletin, January 2, 1865.



January 2-April 28, 1862 correspondence relative to the expulsion of William G. "Parson" Brownlow and family from the Confederacy

[Without date. Entered "Received January 2, 1862".]

Hon. JEFFERSON DAVIS, President of the Confederate States of America:

The undersigned begs to lay before your excellency the following statement and accompanying documents:

He had for reasons that need not here be stated opposed the secession of Tennessee and was while the question was pending and undecided before the people of the State a zealous advocate of the Union; but after the ordinance of secession had been confirmed by the vote of the citizens of the State and the permanent constitution of the Confederate States had in like manner been adopted the undersigned with others who had become prominent by reason of their opposition to those measures voluntarily addressed a communication to Brig.-Gen. Zollicoffer in which they pledged themselves to use whatever influence they might possess to promote the peace of East Tennessee and obedience to the constituted authorities, State and Confederate, on the part of her people. That pledge was made with a sincere determination so far as the undersigned was concerned to fulfill it according to its letter and spirit, and he has done so. And while Gen. Zollicoffer remained at Knoxville with his command the undersigned and all other law-abiding citizens were protected; but after his departure he soon became convinced that the undersigned and his family were in danger of violence from the soldiers stationed at that place under the command of Col. William B. Wood. Certain of those soldiers were in the daily habit of coming to the residence of the undersigned, flourishing their knives, pointing their muskets at the windows and uttering threats to take his life. The undersigned firmly believes that the soldiers were incited to act in that manner by his bitter personal enemies who sought to make the military the instrument of their private revenge. However this may be he and his family believed that his life was in danger and that his presence at home imperiled instead of securing the safety of this wife and children. He therefore yielded to the entreaties of his friends to leave home for a time and he consented to do so the more readily as he had business in adjoining counties which needed his attention. He accordingly left his home and during his absence heard of the late burning of the bridges on the railroads in East Tennessee and also heard about the same time that he was charged with complicity in that crime and outrage. The undersigned knew that the most intense excitement prevailed in the country, that the passions of the citizens and soldiery were fully aroused; and his knowledge of the history of mankind in the past taught him that in such seasons of high excitement the innocent and the guilty would suffer together. Prudence therefore dictated that he should for a time-until the passions of men should have time to cool and reason to reassume her sway-conceal himself that no occasion should occur for violence to his person.

The undersigned asserts his entire innocence of the several charges which have been invented by his enemies. He has not since the date of the letter to Gen. Zollicoffer before referred to done aught inconsistent with the pledge it contains. He has not furnished guns to men in arms against the Confederate States as has been untruly charged by some of the newspapers in the country. He had no knowledge of the project to burn the bridges whatever and here declares that had such a design been communicated to him he would at once have given information of it to the proper parties. In a word he has done nothing which malice itself could strain into a crime against the laws of Tennessee or of the Confederate States. Nevertheless he did for the reason before stated secrete himself where he believes he was perfectly secure from discovery. While he was thus safely concealed he was informed that John Baxter, esq., who was on a visit to the city of Richmond applied to the War Department for permission to the undersigned to leave the territory of the Confederate States.

He is informed further that after an interview with your excellency and the Secretary of War a letter was written by the latter to Maj. Gen. George B. Crittenden a correct copy of which is submitted herewith marked A, and thereupon Gen. Crittenden directed a letter to be sent to the undersigned a correct copy of which marked B accompanies this statement. The undersigned relying upon the promise of a passport into Kentucky and the protection of a military escort which it contains and trusting to the good faith of your excellency, the Secretary of War and Gen. Crittenden immediately upon its reception left his place of concealment, returned to Knoxville and within the time appointed called at headquarters and obtained a renewal of the promise of the passport and escort. This occurred on the afternoon of the 5th instant. The morning of the 7th was fixed upon for the departure of the undersigned from Knoxville. Before that time arrived he was arrested upon a warrant for treason issued by R. B. Reynolds, commissioner, &c., a correct copy of which marked C is herewith submitted, and bail and an examination having been refused was confined in the common jail of the county.

The undersigned has been always opposed in politics to your excellency; has resisted with his whole strength the revolution which your excellency is now conducting; but at no time has political prejudice or party feeling caused him to believe that you will sanction what he is compelled to denounce as a gross breach of faith. He has not permitted himself to believe that you would direct the military authorities to make a promise and after that promise had been accepted and acted upon would permit another set of authorities to violate it. He appeals to you as the executive of a Government representing twelve millions of people to protect the honor of that Government against so foul a stain. This application is the last resource left to the undersigned. Immediately after his arrest he addressed the note marked D to Gen. Crittenden and received in reply the note marked E.

It is unnecessary to add that the warrant issued by the commissioner contains no charge of treason. The publication of a newspaper however objectionable its matter might be cannot amount to treason. The undersigned has therefore no reason to fear the result of a judicial investigation of his conduct; but bail thought offered for any amount has been refused him. He has been subjected to close confinement in an uncomfortable jail while weak health and in fact suffering from hemorrhage of the lungs. Until very recently he has intended to continue a citizen of the Confederate States but the events of the last three weeks have convinced him that the laws can afford no protection to himself or family. He now desires to withdraw himself and family from the jurisdiction of those States. He makes this application not as a petitioner for any grace or favor but as a demand of right and with full confidence that the public faith will in the premises be observed.

Respectfully, &c.,


[Inclosure A.]

WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, November 20, 1861.

Maj.-Gen. CRITTENDEN, Cumberland Gap.

DEAR SIR: I have been asked to grant passport for Mr. Brownlow to leave the State of Tennessee. He is said to have secreted himself fearing violence to his person and to be anxious to depart from the State. I cannot give him a formal passport though I would greatly prefer seeing him on the other side of our lines as an avowed enemy.

I wish however to say that I would be glad to learn that he has left Tennessee and have no objection to interpose to his leaving if you are willing to let him pass.

Yours, truly,

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

[Inclosure B.]

HDQRS., Knoxville, Tenn., December 4, 1861.


SIR: The major-general commanding directs me to say that upon calling at his headquarters within twenty-four hours you can get a passport to go into Kentucky accompanied by a military escort, the route to be designated by Gen. Crittenden.

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

A. S. CUNNINGHAM, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

[Inclosure C.]

DECEMBER 6, 1861.



J. C. Ramsey, C. S. District attorney for said district, having made oath before me that he is informed and believes that William G. Brownlow, a citizen of said district and owing allegiance and fidelity to the Confederate States but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil and not having the fear of God before his eyes, did willfully, knowingly and with malice aforethought and feloniously commit the crime of treason against the Confederate States by then and there within said district and since the 8th day of June last publishing a weekly and tri-weekly paper know as Brownlow's Knoxville Whig; said paper had a large circulation in said district and also circulated in the United States and contained weekly divers of editorials written by the said Brownlow which said editorials were treasonable against the Confederate States of America, and did then and there commit treason and prompt others to commit treason; by speech as well as publication did as aforesaid commit treason and did give aid and comfort to the United States, both of said Governments being in a state of war with each other. You are therefore commanded to arrest the said Brownlow and bring him before me to be dealt with as the laws directs.

R. B. REYNOLDS, Commissioner, &c.

[Inclosure D.]

NOXVILLE, December 6, 1861.


I am now under an arrest upon a warrant signed by Messrs. Reynolds and Ramsey upon a charge of treason founded upon sundry articles published in the Knoxville Whig since June last. I am here upon your invitation and promise of passports; and claiming your protection as I do I shall await your early response.

Very respectfully,


[Inclosure E.]

KNOXVILLE, December 7, 1861.


SIR: Your note stating that you were under an arrest upon a war rant upon a charge of treason, &c., has been handed to Gen. Crittenden. He desires me to say in reply that in view of all the facts of the case (which need not be recapitulated here for you are familiar with them) he does not consider that you are here upon his invitation in such manner as to claim his protection from an investigation by the civil authorities of the charges against you which he clearly understood from yourself and your friends you would not seek to avoid.

Respectfully, yours, &c.,

HARRY I. THORNTON, Aide-de-Camp.


Resolved by the Gen. Assembly of the State of Tennessee, That the conduct and treasonable movements of Andrew Johnson, Horace Maynard, Emerson Etheridge and such others of our public men as have expatriated themselves from our State are regarded as alien enemies of our people and the infamy and turpitude of whose offenses win the sovereign contempt and prefect indignation of all good and loyal citizens, as well as the just punishment of the law in such cases made in provided.

--Found among W. G. Brownlow's papers.


WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, Va., January 3, 1862.

Capt. G. H. MONSARRAT, Knoxville, Tenn.

SIR: In reply to your letter of the 29th ultimo the Secretary of War directs me to say that Brownlow is to be escorted out of the country by a military force sufficient to protect him from violence in accordance with the pledge given by Gen. Crittenden.

In relation to the abuses mentioned the Secretary expects you to be vigilant and energetic in suppressing them. Col. Leadbetter who commands on the line of the railroad and the adjacent country will give you particular instructions.


A. T. BLEDSOE, Chief Bureau of War.


KNOXVILLE, TENN., January 3, 1861.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War, Richmond.

SIR: Mr. Attorney-Gen. Ramsey the other day in the Confederate court cited an article written and published in the Knoxville Whig before the State went out as the grounds of his arrest of Brownlow for treason. The attorney did it no doubt to justify his act of arrest under the peculiar circumstances, but it has startled the community with a new and gave question which should be understood at once.

It is the purpose of the Government to arrest and try for treason gentlemen who may have expressed hostility to the Southern cause before the State was formally voted out? You may rest assured if this is understood to be the policy it will be sure to involve us in renewed trouble. The reports of great excitement about the Brownlow affair are greatly exaggerated; indeed are almost wholly without foundation in fact. There is not a gentleman in or out of the army who after learning the facts of the case does not fully indorse your noble sentiment: "But that even the most dangerous enemy however criminal should escape than that the honor and good faith of the Government should be impugned or even suspected".

I may say with truth that all disinterested parties regard the arrest and imprisonment of the men under the circumstances as shameful and it has done more injury to the fair name of the Confederacy than a thousand Brownlows are worth. He is said to be now in a sick and dying condition. I pray you will telegraph and insist on a safe-conduct for him and his family at once across the lines and everybody else that desire to leave. It this were done it would be worth 10,000 men to the Southern cause.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


P. S. --I inclose the paper containing the original article of Brownlow; also two copies of the Attorney-Gen.'s organ referring to the matter.


[Inclosure No. 1.]


[From the Knoxville Register, December 7, 1861.]

William G. Brownlow was arrested yesterday upon a charge of treason on a warrant ordered by the C. S. commissioner and drawn up by the district attorney. He was committed to jail. His trial will come up in due course before the Confederate court-perhaps next week. The rumor of an order from the War Department for his safe conduct to the North in the last two days has created intense excitement throughout this country, especially among those who have friends and relatives now languishing in prison on account of his teachings.


[Inclosure No. 2.]


[From the Knoxville Register, December 13, 1861.]

Why is this ringleader of all the Toryism and devilment in East Tennessee dealt with so leniently and others not half so guilty punished extremely? We insist upon it that all who have been apprehended and are now in prison ought to be released without further trouble. They have only done what Brownlow, Johnson, Nelson, Maynard, Fleming, Trigg and others who were leaders in trying to ruin the country told them to do. And now why keep any others in custody? Why weary the troops in hunting them out and bringing them to justice? Justice should be meted out to all alike; and if the principal leader is not only released but furnished a safe escort it should so be exercised to others. We should invite Johnson and Maynard home and promise them safety while they may be disposed to remain among us and learn all the details of the Southern movement. The brave men who see that Brownlow gets safely out could certainly see that Johnson and Maynard came safely in.

But seriously we have no desire to see any man-not ever Mr. Brownlow--pull Tennessee hemp or that of Missouri, nor yet that of Kentucky. But we do think that the least punishment that should be inflicted ought to be a residence at Tuscaloosa until the war closes; and then the enviable gentleman can go over by himself and see Abe Lincoln and abide with him forever. Can it be that any officer or soldier will be pleased to carry out such a tormenter as Brownlow--conduct him safely out who has all time been seeking the ruin of every secessionist and the whole Southern Confederacy, who would "rather be in hell than with such a bogus government?" Can it be that those brave men who have left all that is dear to them to defend the country will feel themselves honored by safely conveying their most inveterate enemy over to Lincoln to do them still more damage, or will they not rather feel like they have lost more than half they have fighting for in this State? East Tennessee has been a heavy expense to the State and to the Confederate Government in consequence of the teaching and leading of Brownlow and others; and now to let him go in peace seems to be the height of folly or we cannot see right. It will cool the ardor of many a soldier and cause the community to lose confidence in the hope that they entertained of the speedy independence of the South.

We have nothing to controvert with those at the helm of affairs but we think that we can safely say that our friends at Nashville and Richmond have been led astray and badly hoodwinked by those from East Tennessee who are better friends to Unionism or Toryism than to the Southern interests. It has been said in the ears of authority that Brownlow was so secreted that he could not be found. But no true Southern man believes a word of that in this part of the country. He could have been picked up in three days at any time during his absence by a deputation of ten soldiers. The only wonder is that it was not done. It may be well said that enemies with fair faces have dictated and have been heard and listened to instead of those who have been faithful to the cause of the South through thick and thin. The enmity and trouble amongst Union men in East Tennessee is not rooted out, it is only covered up; while the heat with some honorable exceptions is increasing and waiting and hoping for Lincoln to send over his army, and they will "pitch in".


[Inclosure No. 3.]


[From the Knoxville Register.]

We do not desire to be understood as attaching an undue or extravagant importance to the discharge of Brownlow from the custody of the Confederate authorities. The writer of this has known this individual for years. He is in few words a diplomat of the first water. Brownlow rarely undertakes anything unless he sees his way entirely through the millstone. He covers over his really profound knowledge of human nature with an appearance of eccentricity and extravagance. If any of our readers indulge the idea that Brownlow is not smart in the full acceptation of the term they should abolish the delusion at once and forever. Crafty, cunning, generous to his particular friends, benevolent and charitable to their faults, ungrateful and implacable to his enemies-we cannot refrain from saying that he is the best judge of human nature within the bounds of the Southern Confederacy.

In procuring from the Confederate authorities a safe-conduct to a point within the Hessian lines he has exhibit the most consummate skill. Absenting himself from the immediate vicinity of Knoxville--hiding at a point where he was concealed from the observation of any one save his particular friends, within easy communication with the military commanders at the Knoxville post--he succeeded in foiling the Confederate authority at every point. By a hypocritical appeal to Southern generosity against what he chose to term "mob law" he succeeded in concealing his real whereabouts just long enough to accomplish his real purposes. Time was all he wanted. Cajoling the authorities here with the idea that "he was doing nothing" his emissaries were dispatched to Richmond. By a species of diplomacy and legerdemain Secretary Benjamin is induced to believe that Brownlow forsooth is quite a harmless individual. The move was made, the blow was struck and the shackles fall from the person of Brownlow. Brownlow was triumphant and Benjamin outwitted. In fact we do not know whether to laugh or get mad with the manner in which Brownlow has wound the Confederate Government around his thumb. That Brownlow is now laughing like the king's fool in his sleeve we doubt not for a moment.

The pledge to convey Brownlow within the Hessian lines has been made by the head of the War Department of the Confederate States; and even if this promise was procured by fraud and misrepresentation as we have heard intimated yet it must be fulfilled to the exact letter. In giving Brownlow the promise the Confederate authorities have committed in our opinion what has been so often characterized as worse than a crime--a blunder. That all the authorities in this case acted in good faith we do not and will not doubt; that they have been outwitted and overreached diplomatically we can affirm with equal truth. Brownlow!--God forbid that we should unnecessarily magnify the importance of this name; but there are facts connected with the character of the man which a just and discriminating public would condemn in us did we not give them due notice. In brief Brownlow has preached at every church and school-house and made stump-speeches at every cross-road and knows every man, woman and child and their fathers and grandfathers before them in East Tennessee. As a Methodist circuit-rider, a political stump-speaker, a temperance orator and the editor of a newspaper he has been equally successful in our division of the State. Let him but once reach the confines of Kentucky with his knowledge of the geography and the population of East Tennessee and or section will soon feel the effect of his hard blows. From among his old partisan and religious sectarian parasites he will find men who will obey him with the fanatical alacrity of those who followed Peter the Hermit in the first crusade. We repeat again let us not underrate Brownlow.



[Knoxville, Tenn.,] February 15, 1862.


I am glad to learn that you are in command of this post and I hope you may be continued while it is my lot to remain here under guard in prison. As you are no doubt aware I have not able to write for several days; and this hasty letter I indite while propped up in bed. But I write to give you an account of my treatment by those associated with you and preceding you.

I think I may venture to say by way preliminary that I am not prone to utter complaints but usually exercise a good degree of patience. For the first five weeks of the last seven that a guard has been placed around and in my room I have voluntarily given them three meals in each day, seating them at my table with my family, considering it no hardship as I knew most of them to be Union men forced into the service. When even a different class of men were selected who took possession of my library and office where my two sons sleep; when I say this was seized upon and turned into a guard-house, rocking-chairs broken to pieces, carpet ruined and books damaged; when my coal and wood were taken and consumed though dear and difficult to procure; and when I have furnished their guard-house candles all the time though none are to be had in the market I have not complained. When your predecessor, Col. Leadbetter, has refused my son John the privilege of collecting debts due me from the clerks and sheriffs of surrounding counties which they are ready and anxious to pay me and which in my broken-down condition I really need to live on I have uttered no words of complaint. When for several days past out of a family of thirteen in number only my wife, my son John and two negroes were off the sick list; when both the mumps and measles were introduced by armed sentinels standing day and night in my room and at my doors I have not uttered even a single word of complaint. When my house and especially my passage and front portico have been shamefully abused by these sentinels disfigured with mud and tobacco I have submitted in silence though conscious of the bad treatment given me. When we have all been kept from sleep by the walking, talking, singing and swearing and by a change of these guards every two hours; when they have rudely rushed into my bedchamber as they said to get warm I have submitted without one word of complaint. I have felt that there is a better day coming for me and my family if I am not assassinated which is threatened me on every hand. I have and I still have confidence in the final success of the principles for which I am to suffer these cruel indignities; and hence I have been silent.

But last night when my wife attempted to close and fasten a back door by which my bedroom is entered and it the only fastening to my room in the rear of the building she was insultingly notified by the sentinel, a drunken secessionist, that it must stand open all night and that such were his orders from Capt. Cook to whose company he was attached. She told him that it could not and should not stand open; that there were three other sick persons in the room besides me and one of them a little daughter with fever; and she accordingly closed it upon him and locked it expecting him to break it down.

Of this treatment, Col. Vance, I do complain and especially as threats are made that the door shall be kept open to-night. My appeal for relief is to you. To your predecessor, Leadbetter, I can make no appeal for he never had a gentlemanly emotion of soul in his life; and if he were capable of such feelings he is the willing and malicious instrument of a villainous clique here of most corrupt, vindicate and despicable scoundrels-of whom John H. Crozier, J. C. Ramsey and W. G. Swan are chief.

There is no call for this double guard around me. It is done to oppress me and my family. My wife and children are treated as prisoners; and all marketing is excluded from the house by a military order not to allow any persons to my door or yard. I hope for the honor of the Southern character that no other private family within the eleven seceded States is subjected to such an ordeal. Certain I am that such tyranny and oppression, such outrages and insults, will never diminish my esteem for the old United States Government or increase my respect for the Southern Confederacy. Feeble as I am ready and anxious to go beyond your lines as it will relieve my family of this oppression. If I cannot be removed in accordance with the pledge of your War Department I am willing nay desirous to go back to jail if that will secure the repose of an afflicted, insulted and outraged family.

I am, very truly, &c.,



KNOXVILLE, February 27, 1862.


Satisfied upon reliable information that my personal safety forbids my going out of this Confederacy by way or Richmond I ask the justice to allow Maj. Monsarrat to send me through the lines either over Cumberland Mountains or via Nashville. I prefer the latter as I am not yet well enough to undergo the fatigues of traveling on horseback.

Very respectfully, &c.,



RICHMOND, VA., March 1, 1862.

Maj. MONSARRAT, Knoxville:

You are authorized to send Brownlow out of Tennessee by the Cumberland Mountains or any safe road.

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.


HDQRS., Knoxville, March 3, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

SIR: Your telegraphic order [of 1st instant] to transmit Doctor Brownlow out of Tennessee by "Cumberland Mountains or any safe road" was received on Saturday. This morning I sent Doctor Brownlow in charge of Col. [H. Casey] Young of Gen. Carroll's staff with a guard of ten men to Nashville and thence to Kentucky. I did not deem it safe to send by any of the mountain passes.

With great respect, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

G. H. MONSARRAT, Capt., Cmdg. Post.


HDQRS. WESTERN DEPARTMENT, Huntsville, March 7, 1862.

Lieut. O'BRIEN, Third Tennessee Regt. [sic]

SIR: Gen. Johnston having just learned that you have brought Doctor Brownlow to Wartrace as a prisoner expects you to return him to his home or release whim where he now is as he may elect.

W. W. MACKALL, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.



In obedience to the others of the Secretary of War of the Confederate States the officers in charge of W. G. Brownlow will conduct him under a flag of truce to the most convenient and practicable point of the lines of the enemy and deliver him over to the Federal authorities.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Crittenden:

POLLOK B. LEE, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.


Mrs. W. G. BROWNLOW, Knoxville.

MADAM: By Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith I am directed most respectfully to inform you that you and your children are not held as hostages for the good behavior of your husband as represented by him in a speech at Cincinnati recently, and that yourself and family will be required to pass beyond the C. S. line on thirty-six hours from this date.

Passports will be granted you from this office.

Very respectfully,

W. M. CHURCHWELL, Col. and Provost-Marshal.


KNOXVILLE, TENN., April 21, 1862.

Col. W. M. CHURCHWELL, Provost-Marshal.

SIR: Your official note as provost-marshal for East Tennessee ordering myself and family to remove beyond the limits of the Confederate States within the next thirty-six hours is just received and I hasten to reply to it. My husband as you are aware is not here to afford me his protection and counsel; and being well nigh in the evening of life with a family of dependent children I have to request as a matter of indulgence that you extend the time for my exile a few days longer as to leave within the time prescribed by your mandate would result in the total sacrifice of my private interests.

I have to request the further information what guarantee of safety your passport will afford myself and family.

Yours, &c.,



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE, Knoxville, Tenn., April 22, 1862.

Gen. S. COOPER, Richmond, Va.:

I have directed Brownlow's and Maynard's families to leave East Tennessee. I wish them to go via Norfolk. Can they pass that way?

E. KIRBY SMITH, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.




MADAM: At your request the time for your leaving to join your husband is extended until Thursday morning next. The route will be via Kingston and Sparta. Your safety will be the soldiers sent along for your protection to the lines of the enemy.

Very respectfully,

W. M. CHURCHWELL, Col. and Provost-Marshal.



Maj. H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

SIR: Names of the following persons to go to Norfolk: Mrs. Eliza Brownlow and three children, Miss Mary Brownlow, Mrs. Sue C. Sawyers and child, John B. Brownlow. This office has had no communication with Mrs. Maynard since notifying her but understand she leaves this morning. No application has been made for passport. No officer has yet reported to go to Norfolk. Will be sent to Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith's headquarters for instructions as soon as he reports here.


[W. M. CHURCHWELL, Col. and Provost-Marshal.]



Lieut. JOSEPH H. SPEED, Twentieth Regt. [sic] Alabama Volunteers.

SIR: The major-general commanding directs that you proceed from this place to-morrow morning in charge of the following-named persons: Mrs. Eliza Brownlow and three children, Miss Mary Brownlow, Mrs. Sue C. Sawyers and child, John B. Brownlow, Mrs. Maynard and three children, whom you will take to Norfolk, Va., to be transported thence to the enemy's lines. You will show them all proper attention on the way thither and protect them against offensive intrusion. After arriving at Norfolk you will report to the commanding officer and request that just prior to their embarkation a careful examination be made of their luggage and persons for letters or papers of a treasonable character. If any such should be discovered you will detain Mr. Brownlow and bring him with you upon return to Knoxville when you will report to these headquarters.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.



Knoxville, April 25, 1862.

The following-named persons are allowed (in charge of Lieut. Joseph H. Speed) to pass out of the Confederate States Government by way of Norfolk, Va.: Mrs. Eliza Brownlow and three children, Miss Mary Brownlow, Mrs. Sue C. Sawyers and child, John B. Brownlow.

W. M. CHURCHWELL, Col. and Provost-Marshal.



Just received. The persons are here. Lieut. Speed reports this order is from Gen. Kirby Smith. I will detain the party here. Please telegraph me if I shall send them to Fort Monroe.



RICHMOND, April 28, 1862.

Maj. Gen. BENJAMIN HUGER, Norfolk, Va.:

The Brownlow family which has been sent to Norfolk by the commanding general of the Department of East Tennessee for the purpose of being transported to the enemy's line will be sent by you to Fortress Monroe.

By order of the Secretary of War:

A.T. BLEDSOE, Assistant Secretary of War.

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 1, pp. 919-931.



January 1, 1863, Skirmish near Clifton

Report of Lieut. Col. William K. M. Breckenridge, Sixth Tennessee Cavalry (Union), of skirmish near Clifton, January 1, 1863.

SALTILLO, January 2, 1863.

SIR: I have just received your dispatch of the 1st instant. I sent you a dispatch on the night of the 31st December, giving you the incidents of that day. On the morning of the 1st, a very short time after sunrise, our pickets were driven in by Forrest's advance. We first made an effort to form on a hill, which is shown in diagram,[1] but the timber was so thick that we could not get a line to do any execution. I then fell back to the foot of the hill, leaving some men to skirmish with them until others were formed. About this time I received information that it was Forrest's whole force. I then changed position, forming company in the rear of company to get them all off without exposing our rear. It would have been all right had it not been that one of the companies that was in the rear did not receive the order to fall back until they were exposed very much to the enemy's fire. The first order failing to reach them, from some cause that I do not know of, I sent another order to fall back, which reached the commander of the company while the enemy were demanding a surrender of the whole command; in the mean time the enemy were making an attempt to surround the company, which being perceived they galloped off, losing about 6 men as prisoners. We killed 6 and wounded some others of the enemy. We made our retreat on the Decaturville road, to the right of the enemy, getting in their rear to annoy him all we could. We found that his rear was moving at a very rapid rate and followed them within a short distance of the river, and found that they had been advised that their rear was followed. I did not deem it prudent to follow farther. I propose to reconnoiter the country in the vicinity of Clifton again, and will remain till I hear from you. If you send the artillery we can use it to good advantage.

The above hasty report is respectfully submitted.

W.K.M. BRECKENRIDGE, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. I, p. 590.


CORINTH, January 3, 1863.

GENERAL: Forrest escaped across the river at Clifton at 7 a. m. January 1, having traveled all the time since his fight, and immediately attacked my cavalry. They kept him from the river until night, when they found they were surrounded by a very heavy force and two pieces of artillery. They cut their way out down river and got into his rear next morning. Forrest commenced crossing that night, his men on rafts, his horses swam. The cavalry attacked again the 2d, and this morning he had everything across by 10 o'clock. I could not reach him with my forces, but sent forward all the mounted men I could raise, with one section of artillery. They will get to Clifton to-day. No gunboats in the river. Heard nothing from Sullivan's forces. Our cavalry have lost considerable in killed and wounded, but not many prisoners. They took several of Forrest's men. I have just returned.

G. M. DODGE, Brigadier-General.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. I, p. 551.



        1, Skirmish at La Vergne

Report of Lieut. Col. William H. Dickinson, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, including skirmish at La Vergne, January 1.

HDQRS. FOURTH MICHIGAN CAVALRY, Camp near Murfreesborough, Tenn., January 8, 1863.

SIR: In compliance with an order of Col. Minty, commanding First Cavalry Brigade, I submit the following report of the troops under my command since my separation from the main body of my regiment at the cross-roads near Stewart's Creek, on the Murfreesborough pike, December 31:

I remained there, by Col. Minty's order, with two pieces of artillery and four companies of the Fourth Michigan Cavalry, viz.,: Companies A, D, G, and L, until the morning of January 1, when I was ordered by Col. Burke, of the Tenth Ohio Infantry, to move with my command in the direction of La Vergne, to engage the enemy who had attacked our baggage train. On arriving within three-fourths of a mile of that place, we found the enemy attacking and burning our train. I immediately ordered a part of my men to dismount and protect the two pieces of artillery under my command and the other to attack the enemy from the left. After a brisk fire of about half an hour, the enemy retired, leaving 15 killed and carrying off 15 wounded.

I was then ordered by Col. Innes to patrol the pike between Stewart's Creek and La Vergne, both day and night, until January 4, when, by Gen. Stanley's command, I escorted Quartermaster Dudley's train to Nashville and back here, where I arrived on the evening of the 7th instant.

On January 2, two prisoners were brought in by our pickets, whom I turned over to Capt. Ward, of the Tenth Ohio, commanding detachment at Stewart's Creek. Inclosed you will find a report, made by Lieut. Eldridge, who was for a few days in command of a separate detachment.


W. H. DICKINSON, Lieut.-Col., Comdg. Fourth Michigan Cavalry.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. I, pp. 628-629.



1, Skirmish at Stewart's Creek

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Report of Lieut. Col. Joseph W. Burke, Tenth Ohio Infantry, of operations December 31-January 22, 1863, relative to the skirmish at Stewart's Creek, January 1, 1863.

HDQRS. TENTH OHIO VOLUNTEERS, Murfreesborough, Tenn., January 28, 1863.

* * * *

On January 1, I was re-enforced by four companies of the Fourth Michigan Cavalry, under Lieut.-Col. Dickinson, and a section of Company D, First Ohio Battery, under Lieut. Newell.

Rebel cavalry threatened the post during the day, and their advance guard was twice repulsed by my pickets and reserve. Concluding not to attack at Stewart's Creek, this force, consisting of Wheeler's, Wharton's, Buford's, John H. Morgan's, and McCann's rebel cavalry, with two pieces of artillery, passed on toward La Vergne, where they attacked Col. Innes, First Michigan Engineers, at 1 o'clock. I apprised Col. Innes of the movements of this force at an early hour.

About 1 o'clock a squadron of affrighted negroes [sic] came charging at full gallop from Murfreesborough toward Stewart's Creek, and with such impetuosity and recklessness that over 100 passed the bridge before I could check the progress of the main cavalcade. They were dismounted and some of them ducked by my men. This was the advance of what seemed to me to be the whole army-cavalrymen with jaded horses, artillery and infantry soldiers, breathless and holding on to wagons, relating the most incredible defeats and annihilation of the army and their respective regiments, came streaming down the road and pouring through the woods on their way toward the bridge. In vain did my small guard stationed on the road try to check this panic. Officers drew their revolvers, but the fugitives heeded them not.

My regiment was in line of the hill-side, and I promptly fixed bayonet, marched at double-quick to the bridge, and drew up a line before it, sending out, at the same time, two companies, deployed as skirmishers, on the right and left, to prevent the passing of the creek by fording. The fugitives crowded in thousands, and at one time pressed closely up to the bayonets of my men. I ordered the battalion to load, and determined to fire if the crowd did not move back; seeing which, many took flight back toward the front. At this critical moment I was rendered most valuable assistance by Lieut. Rendelbrook, Fourth U. S. Cavalry, and his men, who were stationed at the bridge with their camp and train.

To him I assigned the duty of getting the stragglers into line, and nobly did his men execute his orders. Riding through the panic-stricken crowds, the cavalrymen drove them into a field, where a good line was formed, and every straggler taken and made dress up. When I had a regiment formed in this manner, I assigned it officers and marched it across the bridge, stacked arms, and rested it. In this manner I secured over 4,000 men. I must mention here the fact that the prominent movers in the panic were the quartermasters in charge of trains. There was only one who behaved with anything like courage and coolness-the quartermaster of the Pioneer Brigade.

Later in the day I was notified by Col. Innes that he was attacked fiercely by rebel cavalry; that a demand for surrender had been made twice, and asking to be re-enforced. I promptly dispatched four companies of the Fourth Michigan Cavalry and the section of artillery (Rodman guns) to his assistance, and ordered them to move up at a trot, holding my own forces ready to support them.

After the lapse of two hours, during which the cannonading of Col. Innes' stockade was kept up by the rebels (hearing the report of each gun), Mr. Reily, a citizen, made his escape through the rebel lines, bearing a dispatch from Col. Innes requesting me to re-enforce him, and the astonishing information that the troops I sent up under Lieut.-Col. Dickinson were on their way back to me without having fired a shot, and the rebels were burning the trains.

I quickly decided to save the trains and leave the bridge to the protection of the regiments of stragglers, and set out at a rapid pace for La Vergne with my own command. I met the section of artillery returning, as well as part of the cavalry. I ordered them to fall in behind me, and sent in a strong support of infantry to the guns.

The scene on the road was indescribable. Teamsters had abandoned their wagons and came back mounted on their mules and horses; wagons were packed across the road, and many capsized on the side of the pike; horses ran wild through the woods, and, although men were allowed by me to pass as wagon guards, there were none at their posts. They had left the road and were bivouacking in small parties in the woods, evidently careless of the fate of the trains.

The woods toward La Vergne were filled with small bodies of rebel cavalry, which were quickly dislodged by my skirmishers and driven off. I reached Col. Innes at La Vergne at 7 o'clock, and assisted him in arranging the trains and forwarding them to Nashville.

I detached four companies of my regiment, and Lieut.-Col. Dickinson's command, and sent them back to Stewart's Creek at daylight next morning [January 2d], remaining myself at La Vergne, collecting supplies from the trains, gathering in cattle abandoned by our men, and sending them to the front.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. I, pp. 654-656.



1, "Notwithstanding the Yanks are such near neighbors, we have had a house full of Rebels all day…." An entry from Belle Edmondson's diary, Shelby County

January, Friday 1, 1864

'Tis New Year, a happy one to our household. Lieut. Spotswood and Eddie came last night. Poor Eddie is greatly in need of clothes.

I do not think we will have much trouble in out Gen'ling [sic] the Yanks. I have $50. G.B. [?] left I intend to devote to that purpose. It is very cold, all nature is robed in Ice.

Notwithstanding the Yanks are such near neighbors, we have had a house full of Rebels all day, four of Henderson's Scouts-Lieut. S. Eddie, Jim & Elb Jeters. Nannie and I went in the buggy over to the smugler's [sic], Joe White, to see if we could not get some things there for Eddie, failed, bro't [sic] Lute some soap-almost froze to death-got home at dark, all just finishing dinner, had a splendid time tonight. Our Armys [sic] all seem to be Status Quo. God grant successful may be the termination of 1864-oh! my savior I have buried the past-guide and leade [sic] me from temptation. After you, my God, then I live for my Country-God bless our leaders in Dixie.

Diary of Belle Edmondson[2]



1-14, Cavalry patrols at Mossy Creek, skirmish at Dandridge on the 14th

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the January 1864 Itinerary of the First Division, Cavalry Corps, commanded by Col. Frank Wolford, First Kentucky Cavalry relative to events at Mossy Creek, January 1-14, 1864:

January 1, First and Second Brigades remained at Mossy Creek, doing heavy picketing until the 14th, when we moved to Dandridge, 12 miles and went into camp, after skirmishing with the enemy about 1 mile from town. The Third Brigade still at Buffalo Creek, on north side of Holston River.

* * * *

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 54.



1-February 29, Scouting, Confederate desertion rate, flat-boat destruction and anti-guerrilla actions in Middle Tennessee; excerpts from the Report of Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas

Report of Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Cumberland, of operations January -February, 1864.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Chattanooga, Tenn., March 10, 1864.

GEN.: I have the honor to report the operations of my command for the months of January and February, 1864, as follows:

From the 1st until as late as the 20th of January, no movements of any consequence took place. Small scouting parties of both cavalry and infantry were sent out from time to time to watch the movements of the enemy, but failed to find him in any considerable force in our immediate front.

….Desertions from the enemy still continued numerous, averaging 30 per day, nearly all of whom wished to embrace the terms of the President's amnesty proclamation, which, with Maj.-Gen. Grant's Gen. Orders, No. 10, of [December 12, 1863,] headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, had been freely circulated within the rebel lines for some time previous.

On the 20th of January Gen. G. M. Dodge, at Pulaski, Tenn., having ascertained that a force of rebel cavalry, under Roddey, was constructing flat-boats, and hiding them in Little Bear Creek, Spring Creek, and Town Creek, and also that one of Roddey's regiments was foraging on the north side of the Tennessee River, he immediately informed Gen. Grant of these movements of the enemy, who directed me to organize an expedition at once of sufficient force to drive Roddey away from where he was reported to be, and to destroy all boats and material that might in any way be used by the enemy in crossing the Tennessee River….

Brig.-Gen. Gillem also reports having sent out parties from along the line of the Northwestern Railroad, and their having returned with Lieut.-Col. Brewer, 2 captains, 3 lieutenants, and 20 men as prisoners.

A party of guerrillas, numbering about 150 men, attacked Tracy City on the 20th, and, after having three times summoned the garrison to surrender, were handsomely repulsed by our forces.

Col. T. J. Harrison, Thirty-ninth Indiana (mounted infantry), reports from Cedar Grove, 21st instant,[3] that he had sent an expedition of 200 men to Sparta, to look after the guerrillas in that vicinity. They divided into five parties, concentrating at Sparta. Having passed over the localities of Carter's, Champ Ferguson's, Bledsoe's, and Murray's guerrillas, his (Harrison's) force remained on the Calfkiller five days, and during that time killed 4, wounded 5 or 6, and captured 15, including a captain and lieutenant, 30 horses, and 20 stand of arms.

~ ~ ~ *

February 7, Col. William B. Stokes, Fifth Tennessee Cavalry, reports from Alexandria, Tenn., that, in pursuance to orders, he had recently scouted in the vicinity of Sparta after certain bands of guerrillas infesting that neighborhood, and had succeeded in killing 17 and capturing 12, besides 20 horses and mules. Another force, under Col. McConnell, succeeded in killing 23 and capturing 40 of the same gang. Col. Stokes ascertained that, when concentrated, the guerrillas in that section of the country will number 600 men, finely mounted….

~ ~ ~ *

OR, Ser. 1, Vol. 32, pt. I, pp. 6-9.





2, "Such careless shooting ought to be put a stop to; this is only one of many cases reported to us." A newspaper report on mayhem in Nashville

Robberies and Outrages.

On Saturday night Officer John Puckett discovered some soldiers carrying off a large quantity of china ware, which he justly suspected them of stealing, and went in search of a guard to aid in their arrest, which being procured, they went in pursuit, and succeeded in arresting two of them, and recovering the stolen property, which was found to consist of valuable china sets, sufficient in quantity to fill an express wagon. The prisoners and plunder were conveyed to the office of the Provost Marshal, where the thieves were disposed of as the case demanded, and the property restored to its owner, Mrs. Dr. Hall.

On Sunday night, about nine o'clock, as Mr. Thos. Hale, of North Market street, was turning out of College street, by the Presbyterian Church, on his way home, he was attacked by three men dressed in Federal uniform, one of whom gagged him, another held his hands, and a third searched his pockets, when some person fortunately came near, and the miscreants fled.

As two young boys were walking quietly along the Franklin pike on Saturday, one of them with a board upon his shoulder, some soldiers fired off their muskets pointed towards them, one of the balls cutting off the toe of the shoe of one of the boys, and with it the skin, and another ball went through the plank a few inches from the head of the other boy—a narrow escape in both, the one with his life, and the other with his foot. Such careless shooting ought to be put a stop to; this is only one of many cases reported to us.

From the depot to Whiteside street, on market, the people were kept in a constant state of alarm all night, by the breaking down of fences, firing of pistols, and the most hideous noises. The common centre and cause of all these depredations and breaches of the peace is supposed to be a whisky shop on College street, where the poison is dealt out to soldiers at all hours of the day and night. If the Provost Marshal wishes to know the spot, he can learn it at the Recorder's office. We are also informed that there are other houses in the neighborhood, where stolen property is sold and whisky bought daily and almost hourly. We hope the Mayor will soon be able to make some arrangements with the military authorities which will give security to the persons and property of our citizens.

Nashville Dispatch, December 2, 1862.



2, "All we can do is to sit round the fire, laugh, talk and try to keep warm." Partisan support in one Shelby County Rebel household

January, Saturday 2, 1864

Bettie and Uncle Elum went in town this morning horse-back. I sent $50 to Mr. Armstrong to get Eddie's suite of clothes and other articles which he needs. Poor Soldiers, this bitter cold weather I wish I had money to buy every thing they need-

Lieut. Spotswood went with two of Henderson's Scouts over Nonconnah to Mr. Deadrick's to get them to bring him every thing he needs out-they promised to do so. It has been sleeting all day-three of the Bluff City's called this evening, got their dinner, warmed and went on over Nonconnah. Cousin Frazor came this evening, and we have a house full-they are all Rebels, and we always have room for them if a hundred would come. All we can do is to sit round the fire, laugh, talk and try to keep warm. Bettie and Uncle Elum have not returned yet. I feel very uneasy, as she is to smuggle Eddie's clothes. Tate is out of humor, Eddie is troubled, but I think it will all be right-yet suspense is terrible-

Diary of Belle Edmondson



2 – ca. 22, 1865 - Pursuit and capture of Confederate guerrillas from Liberty to Kingston; evidence of the growth of loyalty to the Union in the region

Nashville, Jan. 28, 1865.

Hon. Andrew Johnson, Military Governor of Tennessee:

On the 2d of January, 1865, I left Liberty with a force of 250 men, composed of a detachment from the 5th Tennessee cavalry, under Captain Exom, a portion of Colonel Murphy's command, and a part of my own, the 14th Tennessee cavalry.

We arrived at Lebanon on the 3d, where we succeeded in capturing the notorious guerilla [sic] Howard, and three of his men, who have for month been a terror to the citizens of Wilson and adjoining counties. We turned our prisoners over to the commander at Murfreesboro; and hearing that there was a small Confederate force in the county of White, I at once proceeded there with my command by way of McMinnville, and succeeded in capturing a few prisoners. I learned in Sparta that Lieut. Revis, with forty-six Confederate soldiers had left there, and were attempting to make their escape across the Tennessee river. I at once selected thirty men, well mounted, but few of who had ever been in a fight, and sent the others to Carthage under command of Capt. Exom. I started in pursuit of the enemy on the 14th, and pursued him across the mountains to Brady's Ferry, on the Tennessee river, where they had crossed over twenty-four men under Sanders, who were immediately captured by a Federal force on the opposite side.

The enemy being apprised of my approach, made a hasty retreat up the Tennessee river for about sixty miles, when we overtook them, the second night [16th? 17th?], near Kingston, on the Tennessee river. I learned that the enemy was camping in a barn, and in order to surprise him, I dismounted eighteen men, surrounded the barn, and brought on the attack, which lasted for some fifteen minutes, the enemy fighting with great desperation, frequently engaging my men in a hand to hand contest in deadly conflict, but, nothing daunted, the brave men under my command fought with a zeal and determination that would have done honor to old veteran troops. I succeeded in capturing the commander, Lieut. Revis, and nine of his men, killed one man, and the remainder made their escape by plunging into the Tennessee river, where it is supposed they were drowned.

My loss was three men wounded. Too much praise cannot be given to the brave officers and soldiers under my command. They all seemed to vie with each other in their acts of daring and bravery….I was out over twenty days with my little command, riding frequently day and night, and succeeded in killing and capturing thirty-seven of the enemy, besides what escaped into the Tennessee river.

I deem it proper to state that my command was kindly received by the citizens, who were willing to give us any information they possessed concerning the guerillas [sic] and robbers; many who had not taken the oath of allegiance expressed a desire to do so, and return to their loyalty to the government, and many of them earnestly requested me to make my headquarters near where the guerillas [sic] are committing depredations, promising every assistance in their power. I will also state that they people in many instances have had their property taken, houses burned, helpless women and children turned out without shelter of food, by men claiming to be Federal soldiers, who doubtless honestly think that to be the best way to bring men back to their loyalty, but from my observations I feel sure that all that is necessary to produce a complete revolution in public sentiment, in favor of the Union, is to assure the obedient that they will be protected, and severely punish those who willfully violate the laws or usages of the Government.

I remain, Governor, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

J. H. Blackburn, Lt. Col. Comd'g 14th Tenn. Cav.

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 7, pp. 441-442.


[1] Not included.

[2] As cited in: [Hereinafter cited as: Diary of Belle Edmondson.]

[3] Mistake in date. 

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


No comments: