Friday, February 7, 2014

2/5/2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

 5, "Tennessee -- Which Way, North or South?"

[The following communication we print simply because it presents in very concise form the considerations the actuate the secession party, and we would be pleased to publish as clear a statement of those on which the Union party base their intended action. Let it not be supposed, however, that because our paper is perfectly independent of politics, we are willing to allow its becoming the battle-field of politicians, though we are willing to permit private citizens of known repute and influence to discuss in it the best course for the city and State to adopt in the present crisis. We by no means indorse or condemn the sentiments of any communications on social or political questions, which a sense of the duties of a paper induce us to make room for. To do so would be impossible in us, as our paper is coaduced [sic] by men holding different views on almost every subject now agitating the public mind.]

"Union men" among us claim that they too are for Southern rights, or rather for constitutional rights to the South. They agree that "our rights have been encroached upon, that the spirit of aggression stalks rampant through the Northern States against our institution of slavery, and that those States have willfully, deliberately and knowingly violated, and persist in violating, the compact of union between us and them." They allege that they will boldly and uncompromisingly assert our rights, repel Northern aggression, defend and protect the institution of slavery, resist and overcome the violations of the constitution so persistently continued by the North. They claim the suffrages of Tennesseans for their candidates to the convention, on the pleas that they will be consummate all this "in the Union," peaceably, if they can, forcibly, if they must. They say they will secure our rights "in the Union," even if they had to drive the violating Northern States out of it. This is easily even though so defiantly said, but how is it to be done?

It is a fact that does not admit of question that the North is very largely predominant in numbers, in votes, in political strength. To gain the ends aimed at, "in the Union," peaceably, it will have to be through the ballot box. To do this the Northern people will have to conquer their prejudices, violate their now diseased moral sense, resign their protective system, yield the advantages they have so readily and perseveringly worked to endure, and abdicate the power which they, as well as we, know they possess. Will they do so? Perhaps temporarily, to avert the present storm of Southern indignant resistance, they may make concessions but it is not in human nature long to resist the exercise of power which one adverse section, largely dominant in political strength, has over another. It is evident, therefore, that the view of the Unionists of peaceable attaining then maintaining the rights of the South "in the Union" must fail; for appealing to the ballot box the North will largely outvote us, and then tell us complacently, "the majority rules." It is entirely sectional, we know, but then it is "in the Union."

The next move, then, of our Union friends is to "fight for our rights in the Union." Now, though this is the very thing we all depreciated -- the very thing that secession, if it is possible at all, will prevent -- yet, in adhering to the programme of these loyal Unionists, we must meet it. Civil war -- that horror of horrors -- which with this people, would be an agency of convulsion such as the world has never seen, would be the result. But we must encounter it; "we must have our rights in the Union" -- they cannot be achieved peaceably, therefore, we must fight for the "in the Union" -- that is the sine qua non with our Union friends, and is the reply to all argument, to all circumstances, to all exigencies. Peace or war, whatever betide; success or defeat, advantage of disadvantage, hope or despair, strengthening our enemies and weakening ourselves whether reason approves or condemns, it must be "in the Union!" The Unionists tell us, then, the North must be driven out of the Union -- but they won't go, they are too strong for us to do that; in fact, that majority that defeated us at the polls is again apparent, and in our appealing to arms, they, having the government in possession through that majority, turn our own arms against us and overpower us in the name of the constitution we ourselves have invoked as the aegis of our rights.

But our Union friends are even worse at fault than such poor policy shows. That Union they would cling to so desperately, no longer exists. Separation between the North and South is an accomplished fact. And now the question for every Tennessean to decide is, "which way should Tennessee go; North, in company with those who hate, revile and would destroy slavery or the South, with sister States identified in interest, institutions and feeling?" There is no evading the issue. No reflecting man can evade the issue. No reflecting man can evade the question. It simply is "which way, North or South?"


Memphis Daily Argus, February 5, 1861.



        5, "Flag Presentation."

Wednesday [5th] was quite a gala day in town in virtue of the ceremony of the presentation of a fine flag to Col. Qualres' regiment (the 42nd Tenn.) and one to Capt. Hubbard's company, of that regiment.

The first was made and given to the regiment by the Young Ladies Juvenile Relief Society of this city; the other was the personal gift of Miss Nannie Garland, of our town. In compliment of whom Capt. Hubbard's company is named-the "GARLAND GREYS [sic]"-

Before 11 o'clock a large concourse of ladies and gentlemen had assembled at the Public Square to witness the ceremony, and about 12 o'clock Col. Quarles' regiment came into town-600 or 700 strong-and took position on the Square. After some brief evolutions they opened ranks, and received the ladies composing the Society, and the interesting ceremonies of the day were entered upon.

Hon. G. A. Henry[1] appeared upon the portico of the Bank of Tennessee, and taking the regimental flag in his hands proceeded to present it formally, on behalf of the Society. His speech was chaste, forcible, eloquent -- just such as he makes. He reviewed briefly the animus that incites each party in this contest, the magnitude of the interests involved in the conflict, and the certainty, from all precedent, of our triumph, if we shall prove true to ourselves. In delivering the flag, he appealed to the Tennesseans and Alabamians, by all their past valor and historic glory as soldiers, to stand by, and defend it till the last man had fallen!-This portion of his speech was eloquent and impressive in the extreme, and the loud and prolonged cheers of the soldiers, fully attested their resolve to bring their flag out of battle, covered with glory, or to die under it! [sic]

Lieut.-Col. Walton received the flag, in behalf of the regiment, in one of the neatest and most appropriate little speeches we ever listened to. It was a model effort of the kind-alternating with strains of eloquence and humor, that took the crowd along with every word.

This being over, Company A-the "GARLAND GREYS [sic]"-was marched out of the ranks, and Hon. G. A. Henry proceeded to present them, on Miss Garland's behalf, the beautiful flag that her fair hands had wrought. After a merited compliment to her (and he did not say half enough,) he appealed to both their gallantry towards woman, and their patriotism, toward country, to defend that flag till every arm was rigid, and every heart still, in the palsy of death!

The flag was received by Capt. Hubbard, on behalf of his company, in a brief, but pointed and forcible speech. After a courteous acknowledgment of the compliment paid the company, in the gift of the flag he uttered, for himself and his company, their pledge that it should never trail nor be dishonored till the last man of the Garland Greys had found his final discharge on the field of battle!

These ceremonies were very interesting throughout, and when they were concluded, loud calls were made for Col. Quarles, but he excused himself, saying that notwithstanding his previous calling (i.e. Lawyer) he intended to make no more speeches till this war was over-that till then, action [sic], not words-thesword [sic], not the pen, was the rule of his life. After all the speaking was done, the regiment was put through a pretty severe course of drill by Col. McGinnis, which proved of great interest to the lookers-on, and then took up the line of march for camp.

Clarksville Chronicle, February 7, 1862.




        5, Gideon J. Pillow Arrives in Clarksville

"Gen. Pillow."

This distinguished leader arrived here on Wednesday night, and it was reported that he had come to take command of this post, but we presume that this is not so, since his services would be too valuable at points where active hostilities are imminent, to allow of his remaining here.

The withdrawal by Gen. Pillow of his resignation,[2] which he tendered to the War Department about a month ago, is a source of gratification to every one.

Clarksville Chronicle, February 7, 1862.


[1] Gustavus Adolphus Henry (1804-1880). A Kentuckian by birth and education (Transylvania University 1825) he served in the Kentucky legislature from 1831 to 1833 before moving to Clarksville in 1833. In Clarksville he developed a law practice and several commercial and civic concerns, including the establishment of two insurance firms and aiding as a trustee of two private schools. He served too as a senior warden and vestryman in the Episcopal church in Clarksville.

In politics he was a Whig, and soon became the leader of the Tennessee Whigs. Henry served as a Whig elector in the 1840s and the 1850s and was elected to the state house of representatives in 1851. In 1853 he became the Whig candidate for governor running opposite Democrat Andrew Johnson. Johnson won by a slim 2,000-vote margin.

As the crisis of disunion approached he favored a more rational course than secession. He helped form the Constitutional Union Party and pushed John Bell for President. Bell won his home state and no others.

With secession he followed a characteristic Whig pattern, at first opposing secession but reversed allegiance with the threats of a Northern onslaught of the southland. In May 1861, Governor Isham G. Harris, in an endeavor to solicit other Tennessee Whigs, selected Henry as a commissioner to meet with Confederate leaders and enter the Volunteer State into a so-called "military league" with other southern states. This was prior to secession, and in the ensuing month Tennesseans endorsed by a large majority the coupling of the state and the Confederacy. Henry, the "Eagle Orator," then was chosen by legislators as one of the state's two senators.

As one of Tennessee's Confederate senators Henry was consistent in his presence and tirelessly supported President Davis. Like other Tennesseans in the Congress, he was an "ultra-nationalist," and ironically had little sympathy for the state rights position, said to be a cause for secession, voiced by some from the Deep South. He took an active role in the construction of Fort Henry, possibly to the point of interfering with military activities.

His letter of October 16, 1861, from Nashville to General A. Sidney Johnston in Bowling Green, KY, indicates his interest, perhaps even interference with military matters:

Governor Harris has sent, or rather ordered, today one company of artillery to Fort Donelson. Cannot one regiment be ordered there from Hopkinsville immediately? The distance is about 30 miles, over a turnpike most of the way and a good dirt road the balance. It seems to me there is no part of the whole West so exposed as the valley of the Cumberland. The river is in fine boating order and rising quite fast. If Paducah is not to be attacked, so as to hold the enemy in check, he can, unimpeded, destroy the rolling mills on the river now manufacturing iron for the Confederate States, the railroad bridge at Clarksville, and otherwise do incalculable mischief. I have written to General Polk on this subject, but it occurs to me the army at Hopkinsville is not subject to his order, and therefore I address you.

Dixon has not yet had time to mount his 32-pounder guns, nor has the artillery company ordered from here left Nashville. I suppose it may reach Fort Donelson tomorrow night.

Excuse my anxiety about this matter, for I think the danger is not only great, but that there is no time to be lost to avert it.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 4, pp. 453-454.

Likewise, his letter to Johnston from Clarksville of November 1, 1861:

I returned home last night from Forts Henry and Donelson, where I went in company with Major Gilmer. Fort Henry is in fine condition for defense, the work admirably done, and Major Gilmer thinks, and the first regiment Colonel Heiman, the Tenth Tennessee, the very best I have seen in the service. They are healthy, and in fine discipline. I am glad to make this report, and to say the information I gave you lately was based on an untruthful representation, made by the major of that regiment, who was force to resign his position. I now think from a personal inspection it is one of the best regiments in the Tennessee line.

Fort Donelson is in very bad condition. No work has been done of any account, though Lieutenant Dixon, a young officer of great energy, will soon I hope, have it put in a fine state of defense, unless Major Gilmer shall determine to fortify Line Port instead. He and Dixon were to go to-day to inspect that point and to determine which position would be fortified. I left them last night at 10 o'clock at Dover. Dixon returned yesterday from an expedition down the river, where he had gone to blockade it by sinking old barges in the channel. Two were sunk at Line Island, and six at Ingram's Shoals, some 10 miles below. Captain Harrison, an old steamboat captain, familiar with this river, concurs with Dixon that the work is effectually done. They think it will be impossible for gunboats to pass Ingram's Shoals even when the water is 10 feet higher than it is now. It seems to me the guns at Donelson, if well manned, would be amply sufficient to defend this river against the Lincoln gunboats. Though Donelson is unfortunately located on the river, it certainly possesses great natural advantages against a land attack. A succession of deep ravines nearly surround it, including 10 or 15 acres of land thickly lined with trees in the right place, which, if felled with the tops outward, would protect it against cavalry, the approach of artillery, and almost of infantry. This is my military opinion. I rather think it will be supported by Major Gilmer's.

[P.S.] Dixon reported the gunboats insight when he finished their work at Ingram's Shoals and came up the river.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 4, pp. 496-497.

His letter (most likely to protect his sons) to General Joseph E. Johnston soon after he took command of the Army of Tennessee is illustrative:

December 29, 1863, Richmond, VA Tennessee Confederate Senator Gustavus. A. Henry wrote to General Joseph E. Johnston, in Dalton, Ga.

We are all greatly rejoiced to know that you are in command of the Army of Tennessee.

I discover from my correspondence you posses the entire confidence of this whole country as you do mine. I know you have had some serious annoyances heretofore, and have sympathized with you in your troubles, but I am glad to know they are at an end and look forward to your future career as one of great usefulness to your country and of increased reputation to yourself.

My own opinion is, you acted right in your intercourse with General Bragg, and though at the time I thought you ought to have assumed command of the army, so anxious was I for you to be in that position, I now see the delicacy of you position forbade your ding otherwise than you did. It was not only right but also highly honorable.

Now, general, you are looked to by us all to redeem Tennessee, and whoever does that great service will, in my opinion, have the honor of putting an end to the war. You could in Tennessee increase your army 30,000 men, and at least 20,000, and at least 20,000 of the Kentuckians here. Such at least is the testimony of the Kentuckians here. That being done, the enemy will not send another army to invade Tennessee. I do not believe they can raise another. Of the draft for 300,000 men, only 50,000 were actually sent to the army, and many of these have deserted. Whip the invaders before your, and you will break the power of the enemy and secure the independence of our country.

I have two sons in you army, and I hope and believe you will find them to be good soldiers. One was on General Bragg's staff in the inspection department with the rank of major. The other is on Cheatham's staff with rank of captain. I commit them to you most cheerfully. The country looks to for your great results.

As the war proceeded and Confederate military ranks attenuated, he introduced a bill to draft all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 60. He likewise proposed impressing all slaves if military chieftains called for them and in favor of repudiating two-thirds of the paper money. He urged a Confederate offensive into northern turf and, after 1862, that great numbers of Confederate Army forces be sent into Tennessee to recover the state from Federal occupation forces. He favored the idea of appointing Robert E. Lee as the supreme commander of all Confederate forces, an action he believed would help eliminate the tendency to disunity then prevailing. During the war he continued to be heard frequently as the "Eagle Orator." For example, on one occasion, when he spoke in Richmond, President Davis remarked that Henry demonstrated"eloquence as inspiring as the notes of the bugle sounding the charge when the hosts are about join in battle."

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, pp. 878-879.

With the conclusion of the war Henry returned to his law practice in Clarksville. While he was not active in politics he did engage in some organization work with the Democratic party. At the age of 70, in 1874, he was picked as chairman of the state Democratic convention. He died on September 10, 1880, at his Clarksville home, Emerald Hill, and was interred in Greenwood Cemetery.

[2] Pillow was fond of tendering his resignation. His skills at improperly constructing earthen work fortifications were certainly exceeded by his skills at resigning. See: OR, Ser. I, Vol. 3, pp. 317-318, Vol. 7, pp. 309, 320; Vol. 52, pt. II, pp. 256-258. Pillow would be among the first to resign his command and abandon Ft. Donelson as it was surrendered to the Federal forces under U.S. Grant. He is noted more for vacuous bluster than military acumen.

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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