Sunday, January 19, 2014

1/19/2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

19, Newspaper report on Nashville working class opposition to secession

Union Sentiment

We copy from Brownlow's Knoxville (Tenn.) Whig the following expressions of the public feeling at the South on the secession question:-The workingmen and mechanics of Nashville have held a large and enthusiastic meeting, at which they adopted the following resolution:

Resolved, that we, the workingmen, citizens of South Nashville, feeling as we do and undying love for the Union as it came to us from our fathers, cemented with their blood and tears, do here, in this sacred edifice, consecrated to the God of love, solemnly pledge ourselves to support the Union, the Constitution and the laws, determined that no power on earth shall rob us of our birthright as American citizens; and we do here most earnestly invoke the aid of Him who rules the storm, to enable us to stand firm in the breach prematurely made by our deluded sister, South Carolina

Philadelphia Inquirer, January 19, 1861.



        19, Skirmish near Woodbury

JANUARY 19, 1863.-Skirmish near Woodbury, Tenn.

Report of Capt. Thomas D. McCelland, Third Ohio Cavalry.

HDQRS. SECOND BATTALION, THIRD OHIO CAVALRY, Camp near Readyville, Tenn., January 20, 1863.

SIR: In accordance with instructions, the Second Battalion, consisting of Companies E, F, A, and D, reported to Col. W. B. Hazen, commanding Second Brigade (January 10, 1863), and were marched to this place a distance of 12 miles. Our time since has been fully occupied in patrolling and scouting, with and occasional skirmish with the enemy's pickets and scouting parties until yesterday we had entire quite a brilliant little affair with a portion of Morgan's command, under Col. Hutcheson. About noon, picket firing was heard to the front. The colonel commanding ordered me to send out and see what it meant. I made a detail from Companies E, F, and A, consisting of 44 men, under command of Lieut. Hansey, of Company F, and Lieut. Clark, of Company E. They found it to be our vedettes firing on some rebel cavalry, who had come within range, and upon receiving their fire retreated. Our party followed them, and, after proceeding within 2 miles of Woodbury, came upon the enemy's pickets, driving them in. At this time they discovered a party of the enemy charging on them in their rear. Lieut. Clark, who was in command of the rear, immediately wheeled his men, and poured into them, from his carbines, a galling fire, and then drew sabers and charged them in fine style, scattering them in all directions, killing 2, wounding 1, and taking 10 prisoners, with no loss on our side except 2 horses wounded. The enemy was not in force in front and on the flanks. A retreat was ordered, the prisoners being sent forward under a guard; the party was divided equally, each lieutenant taking command of a party. One formed a line and held the enemy in check, while the other fell back, and vice versa, by which means they succeeded in bringing their prisoners in without loss. The enemy followed to the pickets, and quite a skirmish ensued, without loss on our side.

Permit me to offer a suggestion. Morgan's brigade is scattered from McMinnville to Woodbury, one and two regiments in a place. Now, in my opinion, with an adequate force of cavalry, and probably some artillery, his command could be taken in detail and routed completely.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Capt., Comdg. Second Battalion, Third Ohio Cavalry.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. I, pp. 985-986.



        20, Skirmish at Tracy City

No. 1 Report of Lieut. Col. William B. Wooster, Twentieth Connecticut Infantry

No. 2. Reports of Col. Joseph M. Sudsburg, Third Maryland Infantry.

No. 3. Report of Capt. John F. George, Second Massachusetts Infantry.

No. 1.

Report of Lieut. Col. William B. Wooster, Twentieth Connecticut Infantry.

HDQRS. TWENTIETH CONNECTICUT VOLUNTEERS, Cowan Station, Tenn., January 22, 1864.

COL.: I have the honor to report that on Wednesday, the 20th instant, the post at Tracy City, commanded by Capt. Andrew Upson, Twentieth Connecticut Volunteers, and garrisoned by Company B of said regiment, commanded by Second Lieut. Theodore Jepson and a company of Tennessee cavalry, almost entirely unarmed and not mounted, and known as Capt. Tipton's company, was attacked by rebel cavalry numbering from 100 to 150 men, a portion of which force is known as Capt. Joe Carter's cavalry.

This force came through Altamont, about 10 a. m. of that day, and 2 mounted men dressed in Union uniforms rode rapidly up to the house of Capt. S. P. Tipton, then absent from his command and at his home in Altamont, and cried out, "Capt., the rebels are coming." As soon as he emerged from his house he was shot and instantly killed by the men that called to him. This force also killed at Altamont a private in Capt. Tipton's company by the name of David Franklin. They arrived at Tracy City about 1 p. m. The picket on the road over which they passed was from Capt. Tipton's men. The sentinel discharged his piece, but so rapid was the movement of the force that no alarm reached the camp until the whole force rode in. The point of entry was from the rear of Howard and Benham's store, and immediately, as the head of the column passed to the front of the store, they fired on the sentinel then on duty, mortally wounding David B. Powell, of Company B, Twentieth Connecticut Volunteers, who was sitting near the sentinel. Many shots were fired by the sentinel and those in and about the store. Repulsed here, the force rapidly moved to the railroad depot, some 40 rods distant, where Capt. Upson then was with a guard of three men. This placed the whole rebel force between Capt. Upson and his command. He at first attempted to join his command, but seeing his position, he threw down his pistol and surrendered, and as he did so was several times shot at, two balls taking effect and seriously wounding him, one having passed through his left lung. While this movement was being enacted, Lieut. Jepson formed his command in the stockade near the store. The rebels formed in line of battle, under cover of an elevation of ground on the right of the stockade, and also under like cover in rear of the railroad depot, and still another portion farther to the left and in rear of the engine-house. In these positions they were completely sheltered, so as to render our fire from the stockade quite ineffectual, while they, from their concealed positions and behind trees, continued to fire at our forces in the stockade without damage. Lieut. Jepson deemed it inexpedient to advance any portion of his force from the stockade, as by so doing he would be exposed to a cross-fire from the rebels and endanger the capture of his whole force. In this position the officer in command of the rebel forces dispatched a flag of truce by a citizen with the following proposition for surrender:

TRACY CITY, TENN., January 20, 1864.

Lieut. JEPSON:

SIR: Capt. Upson, with 10 of your men, are now in my possession. If the remainder of your command will surrender at once, without further, bloodshed, the entire command shall be at once paroled and permitted to retain all their personal effects.

By order of Gen. Wharton:

W. S. BLEDSOE, Maj., Fourth Tennessee Cavalry.

This proposition was promptly declined by Lieut. Jepson. Soon another proposition was sent in like manner of the first, offering to leave the command unmolested provided they could be permitted to take the goods from the store near the stockade. This too, was rejected. Two other propositions for surrender, having in view the possession of the store (the evident object of their raid),were sent in and declined. Under cover of the depot, the engine-house, and the buildings covering the coal-chutes men were advanced, and each was fired and totally consumed.

The stockade, erected long since, was built with reference to a defense of the store and buildings in the immediate vicinity of the store, and is so located as to afford no protection to the buildings that were burned.

Six men were captured with Capt. Upson, all of whom were stripped of overcoats, blankets, and money, and forced to take a parole administered to them under threats of death as the penalty of refusal.

The rebels remained in position until dark, when, fearing re-enforcements from Cowan, by the cars which had been stopped and sent back during the afternoon, they left, resting that night about 7 miles from Tracy City, near the house of David Nunley. They then passed in the direction from which they came (near Altamont) toward White County, where I have reasons to believe a rebel force exceeding 500 can be assembled. During this assault but 3 of Capt. Tipton's men could be found. All had fled to places of supposed safety, and are again slowly returning to Tracy City.

Three of the rebel cavalry are known to have been wounded.

The officers and men of the Twentieth Connecticut Volunteers there engaged exhibited great coolness and determination to do their whole duty.

I have the honor to be, colonel, your obedient servant,

WM. B. WOOSTER, Lieut. Col., Twentieth Connecticut Volunteers, Cmdg. Post.

Col. SAMUEL ROSS, Cmdg. First Brigade.

Addenda.-At the time of the attack on Tracy City on the 20th instant the force consisted of 2 commissioned officers and 72 enlisted men from the Twentieth Connecticut Volunteers and Capt. Tipton's cavalry (1 officer, 73 enlisted men) none of which are armed-except some half-dozen with squirrel rifles-none mounted, and none of the slightest service.

At the time of the attack I was at Anderson, and Col. Sudsburg sent Capt. George with a detail of 100 men, who proceeded by railroad to a point near Tracy City, where he threw out a line of skirmishers and advanced to the place, arriving about 3 a. m. on the 21st instant. Finding matters there quiet, he at once returned with his command to Cowan. Col. Sudsburg then detailed Second Lieut. Gould and 43 men from the Third Maryland Volunteers to proceed at once to Tracy City to remain until further orders. With this force I proceeded to Tracy City, and disposed of the same in such manner to add materially to the strength of the position. I placed 1 sergeant, 2 corporals, and 12 men at an important bridge on the railroad about 1 mile from the place. I placed William W. Morse, captain Twentieth Connecticut Volunteers, in command of the post in place of Capt. Upson, wounded. This addenda is made pursuant to instructions from division headquarters.

WM. B. WOOSTER, Lieut. Col. Twentieth Connecticut Volunteers, Cmdg. Regt. [sic] [Indorsement.]

HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION, 12TH CORPS, Decherd, Tenn., January 23, 1864.

Respectfully forwarded, with recommendation that the troops be withdrawn from Tracy City, as I cannot see the public necessity of guarding a private trading establishment and coal mine.

SAML. ROSS, Col. Twentieth Connecticut Vol. Infantry, Cmdg. First Brig.

No. 2.

Reports of Col. Joseph M. Sudsburg, Third Maryland Infantry.

COWAN, January 21, 1864.

Our force at Tracy City was attacked yesterday afternoon by a mounted force of about 150 men. The force made a most determined resistance, being summoned three times to surrender. Capt. Upson is shot through the body, and, it is feared, mortally wounded, and quite a number are missing. Capt. Tipton's cavalry are nearly all missing. They burned the depot and other buildings. The re-enforcements which I sent last night have returned, and I now send a detail of 50 men to permanently re-enforce the post, under command of Lieut.-Col. Wooster. I also sent a surgeon to the wounded. The rebel force is supposed to be Murray's gang from the vicinity of Collins River.

JOSEPH M. SUDSBURG, Col., Cmdg. Post.

HDQRS. THIRD REGT. MARYLAND VOLUNTEERS, Cowan, Tenn., January 21, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit to you report of Capt. J. F. George, Company E, Second Massachusetts Infantry. I have sent to-day 1 commissioned officer and 50 men of my regiment for re-enforcement to Tracy City.

Gen. Knipe, with whom I had an interview some days ago, informed me that Tracy City was not under my command, but under Lieut.-Col. Wooster, Twentieth Connecticut. Lieut.-Col. Wooster not being able to support the post at Tracy City from his regiment, of which the headquarters are in Tantalon, I considered it my duty under existing circumstances to act from here.

I would respectfully request further instruction.

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

JOSEPH M. SUDSBURG, Col. Third Maryland Regiment, Cmdg. Post.

No. 3.

Report of Capt. John F. George, Second Massachusetts Infantry.


SIR: I have the honor to submit to you the following report of the expedition sent by your order under my command to Tracy City on the evening of the 20th instant:

The expedition, consisting of details from the Third Maryland, Fifth Connecticut, and Second Massachusetts (in all about 100 men and 1 commissioned officer, Lieut. Clary, third Maryland), under myself, proceeded about 8 p. m. up the railroad, where we found a train awaiting us. The men were immediately put upon the car, and we proceeded toward Tracy City till within about 4 miles of the town, when we slackened the speed of the train. When within three-fourths of a mile from the trestle bridge which crosses Gizzard Creek, about a mile from the town, and which is somewhat over 150 feet long, the men were disembarked and skirmishers thrown out about 60 paces in advance of the main body, and the command was cautiously advanced toward the bridge. Having learned from the inhabitants of a cottage near by that no firing had been heard and no enemy seen in that vicinity, and that our pickets were posted on their farther side of the bridge, I left a corporal and 10 men in an unoccupied stockade, near the southern end of the bridge, and proceeded across, but found no pickets on the other side.

Thus we were in fear that the enemy had captured them, as well as the troops in the down. I then proceeded cautiously, keeping the skirmishers well advanced, till we reached a small trestle bridge about 300 yards from Tracy City depot, when I halted and sent 10 men across to ascertain who were in possession of the town, and by whom was the stockade then occupied. These men soon returned, reporting that the town and stockade were in our possession; and I thereupon advanced into the town and occupied the stockade, in which latter I found about 40 men and a lieutenant of the Twentieth Connecticut Infantry, it then being about 1 a. m. I found, on investigation, that about 3 p. m. a body of guerrillas, about 100 in number, had made a dash into the town, coming in from two opposite directions so suddenly as completely to surprise the pickets and outposts. The captain (Upson) of the Twentieth Connecticut commanding, who was within the depot at the time, having with him about 15 unarmed men, immediately started for the stockade (about 200 yards distance), but being cut off before reaching it was shot, after throwing down his revolver in token of surrender, and taken prisoner, together with about 15 of his men. Close to the stockade was a log building occupied as a store by a certain Benham. The rebels made a dash for this, and shot 1 of the men of the Twentieth Connecticut who was standing in the door-way, seriously wounding him. The store-keeper, who was within, immediately closed the door and fired with his revolver upon them from the window, wounding 2 of the band.

Upon this they returned toward the railroad, thus giving our men an opportunity to enter the stockade, Connecticut. The enemy then, after deploying along the edge of the woods surrounding the town, sent in under flags of truce four separate summons to surrender, which being refused, they proceeded to set fire to the depot, engine-house, and some buildings connected with the coal works. They paroled and set at liberty 10 of their prisoners. Of the remaining, nothing has been heard. A man named Kennedy, who owns a house in the place, and who was arrested several nights before on suspicion of being a spy, but who effected his escape, is supposed to have guided this rebel party into the town. I remained with my command in the town till 8 a. m. of the 21st, when, seeing no signs of the enemy in the vicinity, and accordance with your orders, I embarked my command on board the cars and returned to Cowan, where I arrived at 12 m.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. F. GEORGE, Capt. Co. E, Second Massachusetts Infantry, Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, pp. 97-102.


Two weeks have passed since I wrote in my weekly (and often weakly) "record of current events." The most notable affair that has happened during that time was a "rebel raid" into Altamont and Tracy [City]...[o]n the morning of the 20th Jan....The rebels proved to not to such true rebels--they were, it is said, Geo. Caster's men--a guerrilla party--they were, bent on paying off some scores upon these "bushwhackers" on the other side that must have been ruling and ruining everything here all summer, and then doing what damage they could at Tracy [City]. They had a small fight out there--a Yankee captain and Lt. -they were all killed--the depot fired upon, etc. but no great amount of damage done. When a reinforcement was sent up from Cowan--the "rebs [sic]" were off. Great excitement is said to have existed among these mountaineers for some time--indeed it seems not to be quieted yet [February 7]. A Yankee Capt. is said to have been placed over Tipton's men--who will carry them where they will see some service. Many of the men who were instrumental in the sacking of this place [i.e. Beersheba Springs] last July, have met their reward. One of them used to dash about here wearing little Minnie Kennel's hat, was cut so by one of his compeers at a frolic for "talkin' indecent to his wife"--that he died soon after of his wounds.---

War Journal of Lucy Virginia French, February 7, 1864.


COWAN, January 20, 1864.

Lieut. Col. H. C. RODGERS, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.:

I received information from a reliable source that a force of rebel cavalry, supposed to be 200 strong, made their appearance at Tracy City at 5 o'clock a. m. to-day and attacked our post there. I have sent immediately two officers and 100 men (infantry) with the train to support our force at Tracy City, when necessary.



OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. II, p. 156.


Excerpt from Reports of Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Cumberland, of operations January 1-April 30.

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:

* * * *

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

* * * *

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 7.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


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