Thursday, January 30, 2014

1/30/2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        30, Skirmish at La Vergne[1]

Report of Capt. J. H. Wiggins, Arkansas battery, including skirmishes at La Vergne December 26-27.

FEBRUARY 10, 1863.

In compliance with General Orders, No. 6, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part borne by Wiggins' battery in the fights before Murfreesborough.

On the evening of December 26, [1862] the enemy advanced upon La Vergne, and one section of the battery was advanced, under Lieut. [J. W.] Calloway, to engage the enemy. During the engagement that evening we lost 3 horses and had 2 men wounded. That night the section under Lieut. Calloway retired about a mile, and one section under Lieut. [J. P.] Bryant was left in La Vergne on picket.

On the morning of the 27th, Lieut. Calloway, with his section, was ordered to the front to engage the enemy again, while Lieut. Bryant, with his section, was posted on a hill to the left of the pike and in rear of La Vergne, to relieve the retreat of Lieut. Calloway. The battery retired to Stewart's Creek that evening, engaging the enemy by sections alternately. Loss that day, one horse. One section, under Lieut. Bryant, was left on picket at Stewart's Creek until Monday morning, the rest of the battery retiring to the rear.

On Monday, the 29th, we retired to our lines In front of Murfreesborough, firing in the same manner as at Stewart's Creek, and moved with the command to the right and encamped until midnight [the 29th], when, in compliance with orders from Gen. Wheeler, took Lieut. Calloway With a section of guns and moved with the command on the Lebanon pike and north of Old Jefferson, where a camp of the enemy was attacked [30th], and the battery fired about a dozen; then moved on with the command by way of La Vergne and Nolensville, but had no other engagement until Wednesday [31st] evening, when the enemy was attacked and the battery engaged two hours. Lost 1 man wounded, 1 horse killed, and several horses wounded.

On Wednesday (31st), one piece of the section which was left behind was taken out by Lieut. Bryant, by order of Gen. Bragg, with Gen. Breckinridge's division, and was engaged in the action that day. Total loss, 3 men wounded, 4 horses killed, and several more wounded. The stock was very much exhausted, not having been unharnessed in six days.

The officers and men all bore themselves well and with coolness. Sergt. A. A. Blake especially displayed much gallantry.

Respectfully submitted.

J. H. WIGGINS, Capt.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. I, pp. 965-966.



        30, Skirmish at Nolensville

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Report of Brigadier-General Jefferson C. Davis, U. S. Army, commanding 1st Division.

HDQRS, 1st Division, Right Wing, 14th Army Corps, during the Stones River Campaign and relative to the skirmish at Nolensville on December 30, 1862. Report filed January --. 1863.

* * * *

On the morning of the 30th the division moved forward and took position on Gen. Sheridan's right, about 300 yards south of and parallel to the Wilkinson pike, in which position it remained until 2 p. m. A few companies of skirmishers thrown to the front in a skirt of timbered land soon found those of the enemy, and for several hours a brisk skirmish was kept up with varying results. About 2 p. m. the general commanding ordered a general advance of the whole line. This the enemy seemed at first disposed to resist only with his skirmishers; gradually, however, as both parties strengthened their lines of skirmishers, the contest became more animated. Our main lines steadily advanced, occupying and holding the ground gained by the skirmishers until about half an hour before sunset, when the enemy's position was plainly discerned, running diagonally across the old Murfreesborough and Franklin road.

The enemy's batteries now announced our close proximity to their lines. Carpenter's and Hotchkiss' batteries were soon brought into position and opened fire. Woodruff's and Cartlin's brigades by this time felt the fire of the enemy's main lines, and responded in the most gallant manner. Post's brigade, moving steadily forward on the right, after a most obstinate resistance on the part of the enemy, succeeded in driving his skirmishers from a strong position in our front, forcing them to retire upon his main lines. Night soon brought a close to the contest.

* * * *

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. I, p. 263.



        30, Skirmish and capture of supply train at Jefferson

Report of Capt. T. H. Mauldin, Third Alabama Cavalry, Wheeler's brigade, including skirmishers December 26-January 5.

FOSTERVILLE, TENN., February 19, 1863.

COL.: The Third Alabama Cavalry was engaged in skirmishing with the enemy on December 26,27,28, and 29, 1862, from La Vergne to Murfreesborough, Tenn.

On the 30th, was present at a skirmish near Jefferson, La Vergne, and Nolensville.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. I, p. 961.


Excerpt from the report of Major-General Joseph Wheeler's report of January 29, 1863, relative to the skirmish and capture of a supply train at Jefferson:

New Fosterville, Tennessee, January 26, 1863.


* * * *

By daylight on the 30th we had reached Jefferson, and son after met a [Union] brigade train, with all the equipage of one brigade. We attacked vigorously, drove off the guards, and destroyed the train, baggage, equipage, &c., also capturing about 50 prisoners. We then proceeded toward La Vergne, and captured a party of Federals out stealing and gathering stock, and soon after overtook and captured a small foraging train.

* * * *

OR, Ser. I, Vol. Vol. 20, pt. I, p. 958.



        30, Newspaper report on the condition of the Confederate Army at Tullahoma after the Battle of Stones River


Tullahoma is a melancholy place. It is a little wayside depot, with a few squalid huts, a few framed housed and cottages, and a great many body lice-just now. It was once a famous locality for maple sugar and gin cocktails. Devilish little of both "at last advises." Camps, soldiers, and snow now predominate. The ground is covered with snow. It flies through the crevices of this tent, even as I write. A motley tent this, I tell you -- made out of a Brussels carpet and a coffee sack. Four of us occupy it and pass our time in martial meditations fancy free. Lord, if the General could only hear us! However, we regard this situation as a good one because it isn't likely to bring us into a fight shortly. Fighting, since Murfreesboro, is at a discount....

That Murfreesboro business was bloody, you can yet see the traces of it. An empty sleeve now and again, or two crutches, or a face with a big patch on the side of its head. But the boys are in good spirits, never saw them better. I meet many an old friend, "Well, how goes it old boy?" says he, "Sorry you were not with us down there, but-better luck next time Jolly old fight!" For endurance, personal daring and enthusiastic onset it has not been equaled since the time the war began. Here's a health to its heroes!"

(signed) "BUSTEMENTE"

Chattanooga Daily Rebel January 30, 1863.



        30, Skirmish with guerrillas at Dyersburg

JANUARY 30, 1863.-Skirmish at Dyersburg, Tenn.

Report of Col. Oliver Wood, Twenty-second Ohio Infantry.

HDQRS. UNITED STATES FORCES, Trenton, Tenn., February 4, 1863.

SIR: I respectfully send you the following report of the skirmish at Dyersburg, of the forces under my command, with [W. A.] Dawson's guerrilla band:

The expedition, consisting of 100 of the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, under Capt.'s Burbridge and Moffitt, and 38 of the Twenty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, under Lieut. Whitehead, left this place at 2 p. m. January 30, in three detachments--the right, under Capt. Burbridge, taking the Newbern road; the center, Capt. Moffitt, the Dyersburg road; the left, Lieut. Whitehead, with mounted infantry, taking the Chestnut Bluff road--with orders to concentrate at Dyersburg as soon as possible.

Capt. Moffitt was the first to arrive at Dyersburg, and found the enemy posted in a house at the west end of the bridge across the Forked Deer River. The rebels had been in this position for some time during the day, skirmishing with a detachment of the Third Michigan Cavalry, under Capt. Quackenbush, to prevent them from crossing the bridge. It was near midnight when Capt. Moffitt arrived, and, finding where the enemy was posted, ordered his men to charge, which they did in gallant style, Capt. Moffitt leading the advance, completely routed them, killing 2, wounding 4, and capturing 17, when the rebels broke and fled in every direction. Capt. Moffitt was severely wounded in the thigh. This was the only casualty on our side. Capt.'s Bubridge and Quackenbush and Lieut. Whitehead arrived soon after with their commands, and were sent in different directions in pursuit of the fugitives. The country was completely scoured for several miles in every direction, and every ferry destroyed on the Obion and Forked Deer Rivers that could be found. The search was kept up for three days, when I ordered it discontinued, the men and horses being nearly worn down from hard service and exposure. We captured in all 30 prisoners, 25 horses, and 28 guns, of all kinds, calibers, and descriptions.

Every officer and man did his duty faithfully and with alacrity. Were I to personate [sic], duty would compel me to name every officer and man of the command. One incident will illustrate the temper of the men. Lieut. Whitehead, commanding the mounted infantry, swam his command across a branch of the Forked Deer rather than march 2 miles to a ford, fearing that he would be behind time. Many of the horses failed on the march, and I allowed the men to take the captured horses and remount. I have taken charge of the horses that had given out on the march and brought them to this place.

I regret to state that Lieut. Neeley, Third Michigan Cavalry, was accidentally, and, I fear, mortally, wounded in the thigh. The surgeon thinks there is but little hope of his recovery.

I left three companies of the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, under the command of Capt. Burbridge, at Dyersburg, to watch the movements of the rebels and report to me. If Dawson shows himself, we will soon be on his track.

Respectfully, yours,

O. WOOD, Col., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I. Vol. 24, pt. I, p. 335.



        30, U. S. S. Lexington destroys storehouse used as a base by Confederates on Cumberland River and intelligence report on strength of Confederates near Harpeth Shoals

OFFICE MISSISSIPPI SQUADRON, Cairo, Ill., January 30, 1863.

SIR: In obedience to your order, I proceeded up the Cumberland River with the gunboat Lexington to Nashville, Tenn., and returned to this place last night [January 29]. Meeting with a transport that had been fired upon by artillery 20 miles above Clarksville, I at once went to that point and, landing, burned a storehouse used by the rebels as a resort and cover. On leaving there to descend to Clarksville, where I had passed a fleet of thirty-one steamers with numerous barges in tow, convoyed by three light-draft gunboats under Lieutenant-Commander Fitch, the Lexington was fired upon by the enemy, who had two Parrott guns, and struck three times, but the rebels were quickly dislodged and dispersed.

I then returned to Clarksville and, agreeable to the arrangement already made by Lieutenant-Commander Fitch, left that place at midnight with the whole fleet of boats, and reached Nashville the following night without so much as a musket shot having been fired upon a single vessel of the fleet. Doubtless the lesson of the previous day had effected this result.

From the best information to be had, it appears that the rebels have a number of guns with a considerable covering force extending along Harpeth Shoals, a distance of some 8 or 10 miles. This force can readily operate upon both the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers. Besides these guns the enemy also has several pieces about Savannah on the Tennessee. No steamer should be permitted to run on either river above Forts Henry and Donelson without the convoy of a gunboat.

Lieutenant-Commander Fitch has not at present an adequate force to protect Government transports upon the two streams, and I would suggest the propriety of sending him the Lexington. Her heavy guns have great effect with the rebels, and while they will fire upon vessels immediately under the howitzers of the light-draft gunboats, they will not show themselves where the heavier gunboats are. I have no doubt, with the aid of the Lexington, Captain Fitch will be able effectually to protect all the Government vessels in those rivers. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. L. PHELPS, Lieutenant-Commander.

Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pp. 21-22.



        30, Capture of Confederates near Tennessee River near N&NW Railroad

CHATTANOOGA, TENN., January 30, 1864.

(Received 3 a. m., 31st.)

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Gen.-in-Chief:

The report regarding Corinth was received from prisoners by Col. Miller. I do not consider it reliable. Brig.-Gen. Gillmer reports having sent parties out from the line of the Northwestern Railroad as soon as he learned of the rebels crossing the Tennessee River, and having returned with Lieut.-Col. Brewer, 2 captains, 3 lieutenants, and 20 men as prisoners. Work on the road is progressing favorably.

GEO. H. THOMAS, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. II, p. 264.



        30, Report of Maj.-Gen. Rousseau regarding conditions in Middle Tennessee

The Report of Major-General Lovell H. Rousseau regarding conditions in Middle Tennessee at the end of January 1864 is remarkable inasmuch as it speaks to the effects of military rule in the area. The report provides a rare and striking glimpse into the social circumstances and change rendered by two years of war and military occupation.


HDQRS. DISTRICT OF NASHVILLE, Nashville, Tenn., January 30, 1864.

Brig. Gen. W. D. WHIPPLE, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Dept. of the Cumberland:

GEN.: I think it proper I should report to you touching affairs in this district generally, and I do so.

The troops are generally under good discipline and very well drilled; far better than I expected to find.

They are well equipped and in good condition, excepting of course the Fifth Tennessee Cavalry, Col. Stokes, and a few others who are neither well drilled, disciplined, or equipped.

It is proper for me to remark here that two battalions of that regiment will never be of service together, and I shall press upon Governor Johnson the suggestion of the general commanding the department to separate them.

Generally matters go on pretty well between the military and the people in the district, but with some exceptions. They have not gone so well at and about Gallatin. At other posts in the district there has been no real cause for compliant, the post commanders having been vigilant in suppressing the rebellion and just in their treatment of the people.

I call especial attention to the admirable administration of affairs in his command by Col. Henry R. Mizner, Fourteenth Michigan Volunteers, at Columbia. His troops, generally led by Maj. Thomas C. Fitz Gibbon, a very efficient and gallant officer, have captured, I believe, more armed rebels than he has men in this regiment.

The disposition of the people to return to their allegiance is general and apparent. I think that eight-tenths of the people of this district desire the restoration of civil authority and the old Government, and will say so when the proper occasion is offered. I have conversed with most of the leading and influential men of the district, and think I am not deceived.

The change is very marked and decided, and the general commanding himself would be surprised to see it.

The disorders and confusion incident to the war have caused great suffering, of which they are heartily tired, and are desirous of peace on almost any terms.

The negro population is giving much trouble to the military, as well as to the people. Slavery is virtually dead in Tennessee, although the State is excepted from the emancipation proclamation. Negroes leave their homes and stroll over the country uncontrolled. Hundreds of them are supported by the Government who neither work nor are able to work. Many straggling negroes [sic] have arms obtained from soldiers, and by their insolence and threats greatly alarm and intimidate white families, who are not allowed to keep arms, or who would generally be afraid to use if they had them. The military cannot look after these things through the country, and there are no civil authorities to do it.

In many cases negroes [sic] leave their homes to work for themselves, boarding and lodging with their masters, defiantly asserting their right to do it. It is now and has been for some time the practice of soldiers to go to the country and bring in wagon-loads of negro women and children to this City, and I suppose to other posts. Protectionists are granted to some slaves to remain with their owners, exempt from labor, as in case of Mrs. Buchanan, relative to Secretary E. H. East, whose letter on that subject is forwarded with Thos. Gen. Paine has adopted the policy of hiring slaves to their owners by printed contracts, made in blank and filled up for the occasion, which, though a flagrant usurpation, I have not interfered with his action on that and many other subjects, preferring to submit such matters to the consideration of the general commanding the department, which I shall do in a separate communication forwarded at the same time this goes. Inclosed I send you blank contract used by Brig.-Gen. Paine.[2]

Officers in command of colored troops are in constant habit of pressing all able-bodied slaves into the military service of the United States.

One communication from citizens near McMinnville on that subject I have already forwarded you. Many similar complaints have been made.

This State being excepted from the emancipation proclamation, I supposed all [these] things are against good faith and the policy of the Government. Forced enlistments I have endeavored to stop, but find it difficult if not impracticable to do so. In fact, as district commander, I am satisfied I am unable to correct the evils complained of connected with the black population, and, besides, I am not without orders or advice from department headquarters. At best, the remedy would be difficult to find, and I suppose can only be furnished by the restoration of civil authority. By proclamation Governor Johnson has ordered elections in March of civil officers.

I desire to call attention to another matter. From impressments, legal and illegal, and from thefts, there are very few horses, mules, or oxen left on the farms, and the few that are left are almost worthless. At present there are many large farms without one serviceable work beast on the place. The farmers are afraid to purchase because of repeated impressments. Every mounted regiment that goes through the country takes what it pleases of stock, &c., and pays what price, or none at all, it likes. Between the loyal and disloyal no discrimination is made. Unless an order be made preventing future impressments and protecting the farmers, little or no crops will be produced.

When the civil authority shall be restored, assurances of protection from department headquarters to all persons who would take the oath of amnesty prescribed in the President's proclamation, in my opinion, would induce the community almost in a body to voluntarily take that oath and seek the protection of Government. At present that proclamation is of little practical utility amongst the people, as there is no person appointed by whom the oath should be administered, no place or time fixed for that purpose. It would seem that some importance should be attached to the administration of that oath to produce the effect designed, and should not be (as oaths heretofore) lightly administered.

The policy of seizing houses in Nashville in which to place commissary and quartermaster stores is bad for the Government and unjust to the people; it is done at an enormous expense, as rents average high here and the Government cannot afford to take a loyal man's store-house without paying him a fair compensation. A very small portion of the rents thus paid would be sufficient to erect temporary buildings, which would furnish ample room for all such stores. Several quite extensive buildings of the character indicated have been erected and others are nearly completed, but it would certainly be better if all Government stores were kept in Government buildings, as it would save expense of labor in handling the stores and placing them in and taking them out of upper sorties of houses, as well as of money in rents.

The building of the Northwestern Railroad is progressing pretty well. The following is a report of the present condition of the road:

From Nashville: Road in running order, 34 miles; ready for grading and iron, 20 miles.

From Tennessee River in this direction: Ready for iron, 18 miles; grading yet to be done, 6 miles.

Col. Innes, First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics, reports that he requires two more negro regiments, [with] which, in addition to some 300 of McCallum's men (he understands is ordered to report to him, and that if the quartermaster will send forward the iron he can get one or two more engines to send to the Tennessee River), he can finish the road ready for business in sixty days. Fifteen hundred tons of iron for that road left Pittsburg for this place three days ago. I shall endeavor to supply Col. Innes with the forces he desires as soon as it may be done.

The Fourteenth Michigan (Col. Mizner) is re-enlisting, and will soon probably go on furlough as veterans. Other troops will have to fill their place.

The road to Columbia, including bridges built, was repaired by men principally under my command. Some time since, as you were informed at the time, I sent a regiment of colored troops to guard at small bridges and to erect stockades. This I thought necessary, as squads of the enemy were going through the country and might interrupt transportation by the destruction of those bridges. When Gen. Ward's brigade, now ordered to the front, shall leave here, there will not be enough troops to guard the railroad between this and Murfreesborough and the supplies at this point. There will then be but four regiments left here-the Thirteenth Wisconsin, Seventy-third Ohio; one of them must be sent on the railroad toward Murfreesborough.

The Thirteenth Wisconsin has re-enlisted and will soon go home, thus leaving two regiments of infantry and Col. Galbraith's battalion of cavalry to guard this place. It seems to me that now one of the two regiments at McMinnville could be spared from that point-Twenty-third Missouri Volunteers-to this place, thus leaving Col. Gilbert, the more efficient of the two, in command of the post. It is hoped that the bridge now being built by him will be finished by the time the Twenty-third Missouri starts for this place, if you think it should be so ordered; but even the addition of that regiment will not afford a sufficient guard for the supplies here. I have telegraphed on this subject to-day. The Eighth Iowa Cavalry is on the line of Northwestern Railroad, and Gen. Gillem thinks it is needed there.

Respectfully submitted.


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. II, pp. 267-270.




[1] At times verification for an event is found incidentally in reports covering larger time frames and other actions. 

[2] Not found.

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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