Tuesday, February 25, 2014

2/20/2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

20, Brigadier-General John B. Floyd's report

NASHVILLE, February 20, 1862.

The gunboats landed at Clarksville yesterday at 3 o'clock. The bridges here were destroyed this morning. I am still attempting to get trains off, but the difficulties are immense. The troops will all leave here to-day.

JOHN B. FLOYD, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 894.



20, Letter from William Epps Newell[1] in Clarksville to his daughter Sallie Ann Newell then visiting friends in Mississippi

Clarksville, Tenn.

Feby. 20th, 1862

The day after the arrival of the Federal Gun Boat at this place

My dear Daughter-

I write by Mr. T. D. Leonard of this place, who has charge of the remains of an officer of the Confederate Army, who was killed at the Battle at Fort Donaldson, [sic] on the Cumberland River, two miles below Dover. He is taking it to Marshall County in this state. The wife of the officer is also in attendance. I do not recollect their names. This letter is directed to be mailed at some place where the mails are being carries South. I do not know when the mails will be rec'd. [sic] again at this place from any direction.

At the commensement [sic] of the Battle at Fort Donaldson [sic] the Citizens of this place commensed [sic] moving from Town in every direction and are keeping it up to this time. Not more than half of the Families [sic] have remained.[2] (Mrs. Jones is here and probably will remain.)

Many amasing [sic] insidents [sic] and so many sad, has transpired during the excitement. Majr. [sic] Bailey's, Mr. Faulks and Judge Kimbles's families have moved to the Country.

As to a correct statement of the Battle, [sic] as yet it is impossible to arrive at the facts. The fighting commensed [sic] on Thursday and was kept up until Sunday morning almost without ceasing. From the best information I can get, our killed does not exceed 300 and the wounded from 700 to 1,000 whilst the enemy's top in killed must reach several thousand, probably 7,000 and their wounded as many as many in proportion to ours. Our force was 15 or 20,000 and that of the enemy at least 75 or 80,000 according to their own report, and from the best calculation we can make they have in the field, at all their posts and in their navy, between 6 and 700,000 men, but with all the advantages they had in the fight at Dover, our forces drove them back and wound up each day's fight with a victory until Saturday night, when the demonstration of their overwhelming numbers were known to our Generals. At 2 o'clock Sunday morning they held a Counsel of War [sic] and in consequence of our soldiers being worn out for want of sleep and nourishment, they agreed to surrender, Floid [sic] and the most of his birggade [sic] making their escape. Pillow and his Staff [sic] also escaped.

The number of our officers and soldiers taken prisoners are between 8 and 10,000, among whom are Jas. E. Bailey, & W. A. Quarles, both of whom are Col's. [sic] and a great many other of our town and county. Mr. A. Robb was mortally wounded and brought home and died in a fiew [sic] hours after his arrival.

You can't imagine the sad appearance of our City. All the dry goods merchants have left except the Coulters. Goods are enormously high and very scarce, Calico [sic] selling at $1.00 per yard. Brown sugar is selling today at 20 [cents] pr. pound, and all other Southern products about in proportion.

(Soph is just recovering from the measels [sic] and Rosie, Lela, Jonnie and Tommie are just takin [sic] it and are quite sick and fretful. The balance of us are well.)

Enclosed you will find Commander Foote's proclamation to the Citizens of our City.[3] You can judge of the grace we take it. (Your Mama and the children send their love to you, Uncle and his family.) If I meet with an opportunity I will send you some money. Nearly all we have is in Southern tind.[4] [sic] and I fear will be of little or no use to us here much longer. I will try and make the best disposition of it I can. I do not know when if ever I can leave Tennessee, nor do I know but that it is about as good a place as we could find at present. We will write to you every opportunity. Say to your Uncle Henry I will write to him soon.

My love to him and the children and for your self the affection of your Father.

W. E. Newell

W. P. A. Civil War Records, Vol. 3, pp. 116-117.



20, Modish Memphis

Stylish Memphis.—A correspondent of the New Orleans Crescent writes to that paper as follows: Visiting Memphis a few days ago, for the first time in ten years, I was greatly surprised at the expansion of the place and its stylish improvements, as well as at the great amount of military and civic business transacting. The quantity of sugar and molasses there is positively tremendous; the whole landing is covered, and the streets and warehouses fairly glutted with the saccharine. Of course, you understand this—the blockade and the gorge of the railroads [are responsible]. The draymen of Memphis are getting rich under the sweet pressure. They get five and sometimes as high as ten dollars a load for hauling sugar from the landing to the Charleston depot, such is the anxiety of shippers to get ahead of each other. The shinplasters and checks of Memphis are various as those of New Orleans. Brass dray checks appear to be the favorite circulating medium. The Planters' Bank shinplasters it from five dollars down to five cents. And you will smile to hear that the clipped bills and checks and the omnibus tickets of New Orleans are as good currency as any in Memphis. At least I took them and passed them without trouble. These are bully times. From the Crescent City to the Bluff City, and eve.n up to the very gates of Cairo, every man appears to be his own banker.

Memphis Daily Appeal, February 20, 1862



            20. Lewis county guerrilla chief Lewis Kirk's conscript sweep in Maury county

A Guerrilla Brute.

Refugees from Maury County report that a most deplorable state of affairs exist in that county. A band of rebel cavalry is scouring the country, led by one Capt. Lewis Kirk, of Lawrence county. He has forced numbers of gray-headed Union men, fifty and sixty years of age, into the rebel army, and now holds in confinement several of the oldest and most estimable citizens of the county, because they refuse to take up arms. One brave old man told him that if he would give him a chance, he would take up arms for the Federal Government. This Kirk was formerly a blacksmith, we are informed, and a noted bully in Lawrence county. He was in jail at Columbia for near three years, for murdering Mr. Westmoreland of Giles county, without provocation, and in cold blood. When the rebellion broke out, he sent word to Governor Harris that if he would get him out of jail he would join the rebel army, and he was let loose. He is now fighting for "Southern Rights" against "Lincoln's myrmidons."

Nashville Daily Union, February 20, 1863.



            20, Nashville Fire Company No. 1 sells "Rough and Ready" to Cairo, Illinois Fire Department

Engine No. 1.—Some of the old members of Nashville Fire Company, No. 1, yesterday parted with their old machine with many regrets, having sold it to "Rough and Ready" fire company of Cairo, Illinois, for the paltry sum of $800. This, we believe, is among the last remnants of the old Volunteer Department. The machine should be followed to the boat by a procession of mourners over the happy past, and on returning from the funeral, the members should wet their whistles and dry their eyes in the old hall—the scene of so much jollity and discussion, merry dances and social parties.

Nashville Dispatch, February 20, 1863.



            20, Juvenile gangs in Germantown, Nashville

The Juvenile Warriors.—We are informed that the juveniles of Germantown have organized two parties who have frequent fights though these seem to be of a more harmless character than some of the others. They have some cavalry, and we are informed that the rebel commander has recently captured a number of prisoners, three horses, and several wooden guns and bayonets. The prisoners were paroled, the horses placed in hospital, and the guns handed over to the ordnance department.

Nashville Dispatch, February 20, 1863.



            20, U. S. N. Reports Illegal Cotton Speculation by U. S. Army Officers

U. S. S. PEOSTA, CAIRO, February 20, 1864.

SIR: When I stopped at Clifton, Tenn., on my way up the Tennessee River, on the evening of February 16, 1864, the commanding officer at that place, Major Murphy, of the (I think) Fifth Tennessee Cavalry, informed me that some of his captains owned cotton near the Tennessee River in the neighborhood of Florence and Waterloo, Ala.

The impression left upon my mind by the conversation between us was that some of his officers were taking advantage of their position and power to speculate in cotton, in direct violation of the laws of Congress and the General Order No. 88 of the War Department, issued March 31, 1863.

I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant,

JAMES W. SHIRK, Lieutenant-Commander, Commanding Seventh District.

Rear-Admiral DAVID D. PORTER, U. S. Navy,

Commanding U. S. Mississippi Squadron.

NOR, Ser. I, Vol. 25, p. 768.



20, Report on Schools forContraband Children, Middle and East Tennessee

Office Chief Superintendent Contrabands

Nashville Tenn. Feby. 20th 1865

Brig. Gen. A. Johnson

Military Governor State of Tennessee Nashville Tenn.


I have the honor to submit the following report of Schools for Colored Children in this District:


There is a number of small pay Schools here sustained Exclusively by the Colored people of which I cannot at present give any full report. In a week I shall have information as to their number, the terms of tuition &c[.] At present I speak of Schools sustained wholly or chiefly by benevolent Societies. Of these there are four (4)

(1)            One in the 1st Baptist church (colored) on Martin St

(2)            One in Capers Chapel.

(3)            One near Fort Houston.

(4)            One at the Contraband Camp

School No. 1 is under the auspices of the "North Western Freedmens [sic] Aid Commission" (Head Quarters Chicago Ill.) under the Superintendence of Mr. Hubbard. At this school there are One Hundreds (100) pupils Enrolled with an average attendence [sic] of about Eighty (80). Two (2) Teachers are Employed. The school is partially self-sustaining.

School No. 2 is under the Auspices of the "United Presbyterian Society" of Southern Ohio. This School was begun in October 1863 in two (2) Churches of this city and has been in operation most of the time since. The number of pupils then varied from 200 to 550. There are present Eight Hundred (800) pupils Enrolled. The attendance varies from 350 to 500. Two Hundred (200) pupils are reading. Fifty Seven (57) writing. Twenty five (25) studying Arithmetic and there is some instruction in Geography &c but no classes as such in these branches for want of sufficient accommodations.

At present there are Six (6) Teachers, and two (2) moor are expected shortly. At this School since its Establishment over 550 persons beginning with the Alphabet, have learned to read[.]

Schools Nos. 3 and 4 are under the Auspices of the "Pennsylvania Freedmens [sic] Relief Association" Mr. W. F. Mitchell Superintendent[.] The average attendance in these Schools is Three Hundred (300). Industrial Schools are connected with both and there are One Hundred (100) children who can sew, and are making garments from raw materials. Four (4) Teachers are engaged and two (2) more are coming.


A School is to be started here today (Monday the 20th inst.) under the auspices of the "American Millennial Freedmens [sic] Commission" (Head Quarters in Boston)[.] Four (4) Teachers are on the ground and two (2) more expected. There are in Edgefield from 500 to 600 Colored families who have agreed to fit up the School-House [sic] and furnish fuel &c[.]

There are Schools at,

Murfreesborro'[sic] Stevenson and Huntsville

Under the Superintendence of Mr. W. F. Mitchell above named.

At Murfreesborro' [sic] there is an average attendence [sic] of Two Hundred (200) pupils with three (3) Teachers[.]

At Stevenson there are One Hundreds (100) Scholars and Two (2) Teachers. One (1) more is Expected [sic].

At Gallatin there is a school under the Auspices of the "Western Association" of Cincinnati Ohio, and as I understand the same association and one or two other are assisting to keep up a School at Clarksville[.]

At Knoxville there is a school with One (1) Teacher and an average attendance of One Hundred (100) pupils[.] Preparations are making for the Establishment of Two (2) Schools at Chattanooga. An average attendance is expected of Two Hundred (200) pupils. There is also a school at Murfreesboro under the auspices of an Indiana Association, of which I have no knowledge but what is above stated.

Below is a tabular statement of this Educational Work

_______          Pupils________________                              Teachers_

Place Enrolled                                    Attending        Present                        Expected            Remarks

Nashville 1     100                  80                   2                     --

 do 2                800                  400                  6                     2

 do 3 & 4         ?                     300                  4                     2

Murfreesborro ?                     200                  3                     --

Stevenson       ?                     100                  2                     1

Huntsville       ?                     100                   1                     1

Gallatin           ?                     100(?)                                      1                     --

Clarksville      ?                     150(?)                                   

Edgefield        --                    100(?)             4                     2                     Opens today

Knoxville                                100(?)             1                    

Chattanooga                            300(?)             2                                             Preparing to open

Totals              2600 (?)                      2000(?)                       26                      8      

This does not include the pay schools referred to above nor the schools in the Regiments of Colored Troops. Each regiment having some educational arrangements under the charge of the Chaplain.

From full conversation with the Superintendents of these Free schools and from my own investigations these needs of the schools are developed.


1st More ample accommodations for pupils and Teachers Especially in Nashville. One of the schools here will have to dismiss Two Hundred (200) pupils soon if they cannot find more room.

2nd Books and stationary. McGuffeys 1st and 2nd Readers[5] are Especially needed.

3d Rations for the Teachers. Rations have been issued to some of the Teachers under an Order of Major General Grant Commanding Military Davison of the Mississippi but the order is not general Enough [sic].

All the Teachers attest the universal desire of these people and their aptitude to receive instruction and it is a significant fact that as soon as they are able to pay for their tuition they leave the free schools and go to pay schools.[6]

I have the honor Governor, to be,

Very Respectfully, Your Obt Srvt.

R. D. Mussey Col. 100th USCI, Chief Supt. Contrabands East and Middle Tenn.

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 7, pp. 478-480.


[1] William Epps Newell was born in 1806. He was Montgomery County Court Clerk when the war broke out. He was too old to serve in the army. He was a wealthy man, owning and operating three iron furnaces in Stewart County, at Blooming Grove, Yellow Creek, and one near Dover. He was likewise a breeder and trainer of race horses. He died in 1867, while training one of his horses. He is buried at Riverview Cemetery in Clarksville.

[2] Clarksville experienced a "great panic" similar to that in Nashville.

[3] Not included.

[4] Most likely "Southern tender."

[5] Standard reading textbooks of the day.

[6] According to the editors of Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 7, p.482, fn 8: "The same day, Mussey wrote to Secretary Stanton urging that 'the Premises and Farm at Gallatin, Tenn., known at the 'Fairvue Estate' belonging to the late Isaac Franklin, a notorious slave trader, be turned over to him, that he might there establish a 'Freedmen's Colony for the infirm and destitute Freedmen of East & Middle Tennessee with special reference to the necessities of Colored Oprhans.'" As cited from Mussey to Stanton, February 20, 1865, Johnson Papers, Library of Congress.

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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