Tuesday, February 25, 2014

2/25/2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes



25, 1862 - "Our army surgeons, prescriptionists [sic], hospital stewards, nurses, and the attendants of all classes, fled at the approach of the Federal transports, and left us entirely alone to whatever fate might befall us." A Convalescing Tennessee Confederate's Impression of the Federal Occupation of Nashville from the Ensly Hospital

When Fort Donelson fell into the hands of the Federal troops, I was lying in the hospital at Nashville, sick from a severe attack of pneumonia. It was a large and commodious brick building, two stories high, situated near and fronting the Cumberland river, and had but recently been converted into what was known as the Ensly Hospital.

My cot on which I was lying was near a window, which commanded a fine view of the river, as the transports crowded with troops came up the river, within sight of the city. As the transports approached the city, the troops wearing the blue uniform, with their banners flying, the Stars and Stripes proudly floating in the breeze from the mast-heads of all the vessels, the bands playing Yankee Doodle, and various national airs, presented quite an imposing appearance. As the steamers rounded in for the landing, all the bands on board struck up Dixie, and filled the air with music for several minutes.

As soon as the troops disembarked they took immediate possession of the city, with, of course, the hospitals and sick included. Everybody fled from the hospitals who were able to do so before the Federal troops entered the city. Our army surgeons, prescriptionists [sic], hospital stewards, nurses, and the attendants of all classes, fled at the approach of the Federal transports, and left us entirely alone to whatever fate might befall us. We were all too sick to make even an effort to escape, but contented ourselves the best we could under the circumstances, and remained.

Sentinels were immediately placed inside and around the hospital, one at the entrance of the stairway, at the foot of the stairs on the ground, another at the top of the stairway on the inside, near the entrance to my ward. These sentinels were relieved from guard duty every two hours. We were not left long without attention, for the ladies of Nashville came into the hospital at once, took full charge of the sick, and soon made us feel very comfortable and as though our own mothers had suddenly appeared in our midst; they soon materially improved our condition in many respects, and made strenuous efforts to have us removed to their private residences, but the Federal authorities would not allow it, and we had to remain in the hospital.

*  *  *  *

John M. Copley, A Sketch of the Battle of Franklin, pp, 14-16.[1]



25, Letter of James Vascoy, 12th Indiana regiment, to his parents[2]

grand junction tenn

febarary 25, 1863

Deare fother and mother it is with the gratest pleser that I seat to leet you know that we are well for whitch we are glad. I was to see aron [his brother] this morning he is better he was seting up  I think he will be able for duty in a few days you need not be uneasy about him the helth of our redgment is not very good at this time there is about thirty in the hospital there is some in camp that is Sick Hampton Johnson is in the hospital he has bin   for a long time he is getting beter there has twenty six of our redgment dyd since we left indianaoplis for of our company one of them was taken up by one of his friends that come after him and took him home there was too taken up some time ago and the man got as far as Memphis and stopt to stay over night he went to bed with seventy seven dollars and he was found dead next morning with his money taken and the too corps is there[.] o what will this world come to the wickedness of our nation is grate at this time and there must be a change before this war will close but I think that the peopel  begins to see the one thing well fother I see the need of living in redines for death at all times I see men falling nerly evry day but I think that I will get home save but I cant tell but one thing surtin if I fall I expect to fall in sight of hevin I am far from home and in an enameys land I feel that I hav afriend that is [with us when] were in trouble and if we put our trust in him he will bring us off more than conker [conquerors] threw him who has dyde for our sins and I thank him for praying parents and my prares is for you that as you nere the tombyou may feel that you are nering a ritch reword in heven trubels never come but where we shall enjoy each other society forever well I think if I due get home I will know how to appreciate the privledg that I once enjoyed but I dont feel dischouredg but I feel willing to stay in defence of our country that first duty is for a soldier to discharge his duty to his god and then to his country well as for war news I expect you know more about that than I due but I don't think that it can last long the wether is worm here it is raining very hard at this time and we go on picket to day we hav not got our pay yet there is fore months pay due us that last of this month well I must close for this time and pry for your children that we may make a famely in heven where parting will never come I wont you to write to me as soon as you get this no more at this time

I remain yore child Jacob to his mutch respected fother and mother will vanscoy mary vanscoy

Vanscoy Correspondence.[3]



25, Ambassador Baron von Gerolt protests registration of Prussian citizens into Memphis enrolled militia


Washington, February 25, 1864.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

SIR: I have the honor to inclose a copy of a note yesterday's date from Baron von Gerolt, together with its printed accompaniment, and will thank you to enable me to comply with his request for information concerning the true meaning of the general order (No. 2) of the military authority at Memphis to which he refers.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,



WAR DEPARTMENT, February 29, 1864.

Respectfully referred to the Gen.-in-Chief for report.

By order of the Secretary of War:

ED. R. S. CANBY, Brig.-Gen. and Assistant Adjutant-Gen.


PRUSSIAN LEGATION, Washington, February 24, 1864.

Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State of the United States, Washington:

SIR: His Majesty's consul at Saint Louis, on the application of several Prussian subjects residing at Memphis, Tenn., has sent to me the inclosed general order (No. 2) of the military authority at Memphis of January 30 last, by which, according to article 2, it seems the subjects of foreign governments have to be enrolled in the military service of the militia, or will be required to leave the District of Memphis, &c.

As I have reason to doubt whether it was intended to apply this article to aliens residing in the District of Memphis, I would feel obliged to you by being informed of the true interpretation of the aforementioned order on this subject.

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, your obedient servant,


[Slip (printed) inclosed was cut from a newspaper. It is a publication of General Orders, No. 2, headquarters First Brigade Enrolled Militia, District of Memphis, dated Memphis, January 30, 1864, filed with S. 531, Hdqrs. of the Army, 1864.]

OR, Ser. III, Vol. 4, p. 136.



25, Correspondence relative to the exchange of Captain Shadrick Harris, Third East Tennessee [U. S.] Cavalry

OFFICE PROVOST-MARSHAL-GEN. OF EAST TENN., Knoxville, Tenn., February 25, 1865.

Bvt. Brig. Gen. W. HOFFMAN, Commissary-Gen. of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.:

GEN.: I have the honor to call you attention to the case of Capt. Shadrick Harris, Third East Tennessee Cavalry (Union), now held by the rebel authorities under the following circumstances: He was enrolled as a conscript by them, but never ordered to report. After entering our service he was captured in the Sanders raid more than two years ago. He was tried by the rebel authorities for desertion and sentenced to be shot. The sentence, however, was not carried into execution, but he has been confined in irons ever since until recently at Columbia. Capt. Frank Battle is now held by us at Fort Delaware as a hostage for him. I am informed by the father of Capt. Harris that President Lincoln has authorized Capt. Elliott, who was sentenced to be hung at Nashville this month, to be exchanged for Capt. Harris. Gen. Echols, commanding Department of West Virginia and East Tennessee, has proposed the exchange of Capt. J. P. Sheffey, Eighth Virginia Cavalry, for any officer of our army in their hands of equal rank. I earnestly recommend that the exchange of Capt. Harris for Capt. Shaffey be effected if possible, or, if that cannot be done, that some arrangement may be made by which Capt. Harris may be treated as a prisoner of war. I commend his case to you as one of peculiar interest and hardship. I am well acquainted with his family. They are among the best Union citizens of this country.

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

L. S. TROWBRIDGE, Lieut. Col. Tenth Mich. Cav. and Pro. March Gen. of East Tenn.

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 8, p. 120.


[1] John M. Copley, A Sketch of the Battle of Franklin, Tenn.: With Reminiscences of Camp Douglas. (Austin, Tex.: Eugene von Boeckmann, 1893), pp. 14-16. [Hereinafter: Copley, Sketch.] Electronic Edition. As cited in: http://docsouth.unc.edu/copley/menu.html.

[2] All spelling and punctuation original.

[3] As cited in "Merrill Proudfoot and Stanley J. Folmsbee, "Three Yankee Soldier Brothers in the Battle of  Chattanooga: Three Letters," East Tennessee Historical Society Publications, No. 35 (1963), 100-105. [Hereinafter cited as: Vanscoy Correspondence.]

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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