Sunday, January 5, 2014

1/5/2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

January 5, 1861, "The Effect"

The idea of coercive measures by the Federal Government is having its natural effect upon the Southern mind. All hope of final adjustment of our national troubles being abandoned, the people of the South are preparing for the performance of their next highest duty – resistance to coercion or invasion. By despatches published this morning, it will be seen that the people of Florida, Georgia and Alabama have taken possession of the forts and other military establishments within our borders, and are otherwise preparing for the exercise of that highest of all rights – the right of self-defense. To this evident determination upon their part to defend themselves and their institutions, every true Southern heart will respond a cordial Amen. If collision at arms be inevitable, be the God of Battles upon the side of right, justice, and the South.

Nashville Daily Gazette, January 5, 1861.



5, 1862 - A ride over the Stones River battlefield; an excerpt from Colonel Beatty's diary

I ride over the battlefield. In one place a caisson and five horses are lying, the latter killed in harness, and all fallen together. Nationals and Confederates, young, middle-aged, and old, are scattered over the woods and fields for miles. Poor Wright, of my old company, lay at the barricade in the woods which we stormed on the night of the last day. Many others lay about him. Further on we find men with their legs shot off; one with brains scooped out with a cannon ball; another with half a face gone; another with entrails protruding; young Winnegard, of the Third, has one foot off and both legs pieced by grape at the thighs; another boy lies with his hands clasped above his head, indicating that his last words were a prayer. Many Confederate sharpshooters lay behind stumps, rails, and logs, shot in the head. A young boy, dressed in the Confederate uniform lies with his face turned to the sky, and looks as if he might be sleeping. Poor boy! What thoughts of home, mother, death, and eternity, commingled in his brain as the life-blood ebbed away! Many wounded horses are limping over the field. One mule, I heard of, had a leg blown off on the first day's battle; next morning it was on the spot where first wounded; at night it was still standing there, not having moved an inch all day, patiently suffering, it knew not why nor for what. How many poor men moaned through the cold nights in the thick woods, where the first day's battle occurred, calling in vain to man for help, and finally making their last solemn petition God!

Beatty, Citizen Soldier, pp. 210-211.


A look at the Stones River Battlefield 16 years after the fact
An East Tennesseans description of the Stones River battlefield sixteen years after the fact.

On the 5th the regiment [Third Tennessee Cavalry] was ordered to Murfreesboro', and arrived just after that sanguinary conflict had ended. Dead men and horses were piled in heaps over the field, while here and there could be seen detachments of men burying the dead. The air was foul with the stench, notwithstanding the cold weather. In the cotton field, along the fences where shrubbery had been standing and other bushes and trees, the limbs were made white almost like shreds of cotton from being splintered and torn by the balls. It appeared as if it had been impossible for anything living to survive through the hail of deadly missiles which had been passing over the field. To the right, in the woods, great trees where cut down, splintered and torn by connon [sic] balls, while their trunks, near the ground, were left bare and bored into holes by rifle balls.

Knoxville Daily Chronicle, May 10, 1879.



5, Skirmish at Lawrence's Mill

JANUARY 5, 1864.-Skirmish at Lawrence's Mill, Tenn.

Reports of Col. Oscar H. LaGrange, First Wisconsin Cavalry, commanding Second Brigade, First Cavalry Division.


CAPT.: I have the honor to report that the forage detail, Second Brigade, to-day attacked the enemy's picket at Lawrence's Mill, 5 miles east of Mossy Creek, and captured 12 men with their arms and 9 horses, without loss.

Very respectfully,

O. H. LAGRANGE, Col., Cmdg.


CAPT.: I have the honor to report that the scout to Lawrence's Mill has just returned, bringing 1 lieutenant and 11 men prisoners. The battalion reported at the mill had not been stationed there, but at Hunt's Mill, 1 ½ miles from Lawrence's, and had removed before we arrived, leaving a picket, most of which was captured. The nearest rebel force is reported to be at Panther Springs...

Very respectfully,

O. H. LAGRANGE, Col., Cmdg. 2d Brig.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 66.

5, 1864 -  A love letter from an unknown Federal soldier writing from Nashville, Tennessee, to Ettie.

Nashville Tenn Jany 5th 64

Friend Ettie

I believe I am not indebted to you by way of letter, but for your kindness to me I will write you a few lines. It is quite cool Weather [sic] here now and some snow upon the ground but not enough to make sleighing. I wish I were in Hillsdale today I think I would call around to friend Ettie and go out a Sleighing. I get lonesome sometimes and I not know what to do, if I ever get out of the Service alive I am agoing [sic] to settle down and get married.

What a novel Idea that is, perhaps you will not believe it but I am not joking. I am not quite an old Bach yet but I fear I will be before long.

If you know of some good looking amiable young Lady that wish to change her situation in life, just mention the fact to her, and tell her there is a Soldier in the Army that wishes to marry in less than two years after his time expires in the Army.

On New Year's day about one o-clock I received a verry [sic] nice gift which I appreciated verry [sic] much. It was the only gift that I received, and on that account realize its worth. You have my heartfelt thanks for your kindness and remembrance of a Soldier. Enclosed you will find the likeness of your unknown Correspondent which you will please accept, with the kindest regards.

I am yours verry [sic] truly

Civil War Love Letters.[1]



5, 1865 -  Skirmish near McMinnville

No comprehensive reports filed.

TULLAHOMA, January 6, 1865---12 m.


The rebel leader Lyon, recently from Kentucky, passed through McMinnville yesterday [5th] evening with about 800 men, two pieces of artillery, a small wagon and ambulance train. They had a skirmish with Capt. Cain, at McMinnville, and captured some of his men. They crossed the railroad between Decherd and Elk River bridge at 2 o'clock this morning, and passed around Winchester, right and left, in two bodies….

R. H. MILROY, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 45, pt. II, p. 527.


[1] As cited in: [Hereinafter cited as: Civil War Love Letters.]

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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