Friday, February 28, 2014

27, News from Tennessee; an excerpt from the New York Herald

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A despatch received at St. Louis yesterday from Fort Donelson, says that a boat just arrived from Clarksville reports the evacuation of Nashville. The Union citizens of that place sent a boat to Clarksville, which towed one of our gunboats for their protection. The rebels, with Governor Harris, retreated to Murfreesboro'. And the latter worthy, it appears, burned all the State documents before leaving. General Grant has declared martial law over West Tennessee, with the understanding that when a sufficient number of citizens of the State return to their allegiance, and show a desire to maintain law and order over the territory, all military restrictions shall be withdrawn.

Postal facilities are now extended to Clarksville, and the mail bags will follow the flag of the Union into Tennessee.

The Murfreesboro' papers contain a fierce war speech of Governor Harris. The previous rumors of Governor Harris' desertion of the rebel cause in its extremity, may have originated in a statement made in Chicago by parties who arrived from Fort Donelson, to the effect that General Grant had an interview with Governor Harris near Clarksville, and that the Governor stated that, if General Grant would cease hostilities for three days, he would have the American flag floating from every fortified place in Tennessee.

The more recent accounts, above alluded to, however, go to show that Governor Harris remains unchanged in his treasonable sentiments and purposes.

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New York Herald, February 27, 1862.



27, "Interesting Incidents and Details of the Fort Donelson Victory."


The Correspondent of the New York World furnishes the following:

On the Sunday morning after the surrender, Major Mudd, of the Illinois Cavalry, had been out scouting to see if the road out from the camp. Returning he met for or five men in citizen's dress, whom he hailed, and, on being told they lived but a short distance from the place, passed on. He had hardly gone twenty steps before the cowardly miscreants turned and shot him in the back. He had just strength enough to ride into camp, where at all accounts he was dangerously ill.

The rebels at Donelson had a line of telegraph from one side of the fort to another, so that they could send from one wing to the other (three miles) instantaneously. What causes some surprise, too, is the fact that they were able to learn more about the fight at Norfolk and Richmond than at Cairo, notwithstanding that a squad of our cavalry could have cut their wire running up the west bank of the river to Clarksville..


One of the grandest sights of the whole siege, and which only comes once in a century, was the triumphal entry into the fort on Sunday morning.

Not only did the whole camp pour out, but the wounded and the teamsters, not indeed always shouldering muskets but carrying them in the ranks, poured into the fort from three sides in regular order; marching over to the main fort, a brigade at a time stacking arms, and after a few minutes survey filling out for the next brigade. The sight from the highest point in the fort, commanding a view of both river and camp, was imposing.

The Boston Herald, February 27, 1862.[1]



27, Chattanooga Daily Rebel editorial on the state of affairs in Middle Tennessee

The Situation in Tennessee. – We have news from Nashville. By a careful computation of reliable parties there are fifteen thousand inmates of Federal hospitals in that city, with a tendency to increase. There are at present forty-two large hospitals, and all are crowded to overflowing. Besides these are boarding houses, which are also full of officers, either sick or wounded.

A late letter to the Cincinnati Gazette, says "the condition of the army of Middle Tennessee cannot be said to be very hopeful, or promising; officers in the greatest abundance are all on leave, and as for the soldiers, why the hospitals are stuffed with them."

The citizens of Nashville suffer greatly from the overbearing insolence of the enemy. Now that Andrew Johnson has been stripped of the power that is [sic] been perfectly overshadowed by the military he has become especially kind and courteous. He is, it is generally believed, trimming his sails to suit the Northwestern breeze. He offers his assistance freely to "his suffering fellow-citizens," and professes to be very much aggrieved by the brutal course of the Yankee officers. Fire wood is very scarce, and the poor would suffer, but the bond between the rich and the poor, who are true and loyal, has dissipated all distinctions of formality, and one Southern family helps another, freely and at all times.[2] [emphasis added.]

"The families of our soldiers are not in want. Mitchell, the commandant of the post, is represented as a Kansas ruffian out and out. The "daily dirty Union" is preaching the most foul and extreme abolitionism. There are only one division and two or three battalions of cavalry now in the city besides artillerymen and bands employed on the fortifications, numbering in all about ten thousand men. Eight thousand more are at Franklin, and the main body near Murfreesboro'.

[Chattanooga Rebel, 27th ult.]

Daily Morning News, March 2, 1863.[3]



27, Engagement at Middle Fork of Pigeon River at Hodsden's house

No circumstantial reports filed.

First Cavalry Division, commanded by Col. Edward M. McCook, Second Indiana Cavalry.

From Returns of January 1864.

* * * *

January 27, at daylight Campbell's (First) brigade was advanced across Middle Fork of Pigeon River at Hodsden's house, driving the enemy from their strong position west of Big East Pigeon to the east bank of the latter fork, Col. LaGrange's (Second) brigade being sent to the left on Stafford's road, which intersects Fair Garden road about 2 miles from Fair Garden. Enemy's new position was a strong one in the timber, and with their largely superior numbers (being two divisions Morgan's and Armstrong's, under command of Gen. Martin, chief of cavalry) they made stubborn resistance to the advance of the division, but they were steadily driven with great loss, and at the intersection of the Stafford and Fair Garden roads detachments of Second and Fourth Indiana Cavalry, led by Col. LaGrange, completed the rout that had already begun by a dashing saber charge, capturing two 3-inch rifled Rodman guns, the battle-flag of Gen. Morgan, his body-servant, and a large number of prisoners, and sabered several of the cannoneers and supports. The regimental colors of the Thirty-first Indiana Volunteer Infantry and a silk American flag in the possession of the rebels were also recaptured. Morgan's rebel division was thoroughly broken, routed, and dispersed. Division captured 112 prisoners, 11 being commissioned officers, 2 of the latter being regimental commanders. The enemy left a large number of dead and wounded in our hands, and their loss must have been over 350. Our casualties, 28 killed and wounded; no troops but those of the division were engaged.

* * * *

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, pp. 34-35.



27,"A Salt and Battery"

A grocer, on Front row, had a pet joke, which he has been in the habit of getting off at least once a week for some months past. He offers to give a two hundred pound of salt to a man who will carry it the length of his store, without setting it down. He always wins the wager, for the man who carries the salt will have to set it down at last. It was a mere catch in the words of the proposition. A darkey [sic] came up with him yesterday, however. He went into the store, looking unusually green, and soon was picked out for a victim of his joke. Coffee [sic] shouldered the "Salina," and after carrying it down through the store, hung it up on a hook [sic], thereby winning the sack fairly, as he never "set it down" at all. The merchant paid the forfeit, and then offered to give a monstrous cheese to the darkey [sic] if he could butt it off the top of a barrel with his head, when it was set up edgewise. The negro [sic] did not wait a second invitation, but ran a tilt at the "Western reserve" immediately. The cheese was spoilt [sic], the centre of it being soft and decayed. The human battering ram went clear through it, and was the most damaged looking customer afterward you ever saw. He withdrew his forces in dismay.

Memphis Bulletin, January 27, 1864.

[1] PQCW

[2] Delusional – class distinctions were alive and well.


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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