23, Confederate Orders No. 3 forbidding impressing of civilian property without written orders
ORDERS, No. 3. HDQRS. WESTERN DEPARTMENT, Murfreesborough, Tenn., February 23, 1862.
Under great necessity temporary possession may be taken of wagons, teams, and other property of our citizens for the use of the army; but this authority can be exercised by chiefs of the army alone.
It is positively prohibited to any officer to seize, take, or impress property of any kind except by written order of the commanding general or division commander, and this authority must be exhibited to the party from whom the property is taken.
Officers or soldiers violating this order will be arrested, proceeded against, and punished as plunders and marauders.
By command of Gen. Johnston:
W. W. MACKALL, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 903.
23, The Army of the Cumberland Celebrates Washington's Birthday in the Nolensville environs, and military news from Middle Tennessee
OUR TENNESSEE LETTER.
Special Correspondence of the Inquirer.
Nolinsville [sic], Tenn,, Feb.23, 1863.
The Twenty-second in the Army.
Washington's Birthday, coming as it has this year, on Sunday, has bee duly celebrated this day (the 23d), throughout the Army of the Cumberland. At sunrise this morning there was a general explosion of cannon, which was kept up for more than half an hour, [emphasis added] causing almost a perpetual roar, as of constant thunder. Intermingled with this was also the sharp, quick report of the rifle and musket, testifying to the enthusiasm of individuals. At noon came another salute from the artillery and at sunset the dress parades, followed by the evening salutes, formed an imposing scene, and gave to a looker on an idea of the veneration in which the name of America's first and best patriot is held by those of the present day. At the head-quarters of the different officers, too, was the occasion properly commemorated. Every tent was gaily decorated with flags and streamers, while those regiments which were fortunate enough to have among them a band were enlivened by the performances of numerous patriotic tunes, while in many of the regiments glee clubs have been formed, and the national anthems were sung with much spirit and feeling.
There was one fact, however, which was particularly noticeable. The vast difference in feeling which has existed between the Unionists and Secesh would make it seem that there could now be no unity of feeling between them upon any point, yet that, at least, upon one matter there is such unity, one who closely watched the proceedings in this section of the country, yesterday, must be satisfied. The Rebels, as you probably are aware, claim that Washington was of the South and with the South, and that to Southerners alone should his name be held dear. Acting upon this profession, while in our own camps the day was being properly observed, the Rebels, where a sufficient number could meet together, were intent upon the commemoration of the same object.
Of the movements of the army in this section I can say but little. First, because there are but few movements being made; and, second, because those few are mostly of a secret nature, and any information given concerning them is declared contraband, and consequently prohibited. The main body of the enemy is still encamped in front of Murfreesboro', where they have, since the fight, been undergoing a most rigid course of drill and disciplination. [sic] The front remains comparatively quiet, though hardly a day passes without a skirmish between our scouting or reconnoitring parties and those of the enemy. On the 21st, the One-hundred-and-first Indiana regiment of infantry, while out on a scouting expedition, were attacked by a large number of Rebel cavalry, when a brisk fight ensued, which lasted some twenty or twenty-five minutes; but the gallant Hoosiers finely sent Secesh howling from the field. Our men, as soon as warned of their danger, took position in the edge of the place of heavily-timbered ground, which rendered it necessary for t he enemy to approach them in front, and across a large open field or common.
Owing to the fact of our troops being thus sheltered but one man was wounded, though Lieutenant-
Colonel Doan came near losing his life, a bullet having passed through his coat within two inches of his left side. The enemy lost in killed and wounded some six or eight men, besides quite a number of horses killed and captured.
Brigadier-General James B. Steadman [sic] has lately been placed in command of the Third Division, Fourteenth Army Corps….
General Cook's Brigade was yesterday [22nd] placed on board of several steamers and sent to the town of Carthage, about one hundred and ten miles above Nashville.
This movement was rendered necessary from the fact that the enemy have lately found means for crossing the Cumberland at that point, are constantly procuring supplies from Kentucky through this means. This will probably soon be stopped. There have been rumors afloat to-day to the effect that there had been another fight at Fort Donelson, but there has , as yet, been no confirmation of the report, and from the Captains of some of the steamers which passed there day before yesterday [21st] I have been unable to learn that there were any Rebels near that point. General Rosecrans' report that Vicksburg had been captured has not yet been confirmed, and the army, or rather the men of which this army is composed, are naturally anxious to hear from that point.
On Thursday last [19th] twelve men of Company B, Second Minnesota Regiment, under command of Orderly Sergeant Holmes, were sent as guard to a foraging train. When some three or four miles from this place they were attacked by one hundred and thirty-eight Rebel cavalrymen. ; but seeing their danger in time the boys of the Second sheltered themselves in some old buildings nearby, and after a fight of nearly an hour succeeded in driving off the foe, having killed, wounded and taken prisoners seventeen of their number, besides capturing five and killing eight of the enemy's horses. The cavalry were a portion of the Fifth Alabama Regiment, and were of Dick McCann's command. Sergeant Holmes, together with each of them under his command, has since received the highest praise for gallant conduct during the fight, from their Division Commander. Three of the men were slightly wounded, but will recover in a few days.
Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1863.
23, 1864 - Skirmish at Calfkiller Creek
Ed. One account of the trouble at Calkfiller Creek tells of the cruel and inhuman treatment of Federal prisoners of war by Champ Ferguson and other guerrilla leaders in the vicinity, and the retribution taken by Stokes and the Fifth Cavalry on February 23, 1864. A detachment of the Fifth Tennessee Cavalry was attacked on Calfkiller Creek by a large force of guerrillas on the 22d, and a severe engagement followed. According to one rare Federal account:
Three or four soldiers were killed in the action, and nineteen others were taken prisoners and deliberately murdered after they had surrendered and given up their arms. The heads of some of the unfortunate prisoners were riddled with balls, one man receiving seven bullets. On the 23rd pickets of the 5th were attacked, and Wilcher, a vidette, a noble young soldier, captured, carried a short distance and cruelly murdered. Colonel Stokes, on hearing of the savage mode of warfare practiced by Champ Ferguson and other guerrilla chiefs, issued orders to take no prisoners. A desperate contest commenced, in which our loss was seven or eight killed and but a few wounded and that of the guerrillas not less than a hundred killed [added] and a large number wounded. Captains Blackburn and Waters, in command of a detachment of the regiment, attacked Huhges [sic] and Ferguson on Calfkiller Creek, and one of the severest battles ensued, in which several were killed on both sides, Ferguson badly wounded and the guerrillas put to flight....This victory was won by Capt. Blackburn and his men.
Report of the Adjutant General, p. 442.
James B. Jones, Jr.
Tennessee Historical Commission
2941 Lebanon Road
Nashville, TN 37214
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