Saturday, February 8, 2014

2/8/2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes


        8, Destruction of Memphis & Bowling Green Railroad bridge over Tennessee River near Fort Henry by U. S. N.

U. S. Gunboat Carondelet

Fort Henry, Tennessee River, February 8, 1862.

Sir: I have just returned from destroying the bridges of the Memphis and Bowling Green Railroad (up this river), where I was instructed to proceed by General Grant on the 7th instant. Colonel [J.D.] Webster, with other officers, and two companies of sharpshooters, accompanied me to do the job.

We found the place deserted by rebel troops, who left their tents, wagons, etc., some of which we brought here.

* * * *

Most respectfully, your obedient servant

H. Walke, Commander, U. S. Navy

Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 22, p. 575.



        8, "My anxiety about Frank is intense;" apprehension about the future in Nashville

Nashville Feb 8th 1862

Dear Bettie

I received your letter of the 2nd this morning. I am glad to hear Rebecca is well but sorry Mr Kimberly is suffering with rheumatism. I have nothing to write you this week dear Bettie but painful news. Fort Henry has been taken by the Federal troops with a loss on our side of three or four killed and eighty taken prisoners. Our men retreated in good order, saved their guns I am glad to say, instead of throwing them away as in the disgraceful stampede of Fishing Creek. Our field pieces however we were obliged to leave. My anxiety about Frank is intense. He is at Fort Donelson (11 miles from Fort Henry) where a desperate battle is hourly expected. It is thought they may now be fighting there. The battle must be a hard fought and decided one but it is believed we have the force and bravery concentrated there to be victorious. That we may have, and I pray God that we may repulse them or Nashville is gone. Nashville is thought by many of our most reliable people to be in imminent danger. If they come and we can't defend ourselves we are prepared to welcome them to a pile of ruins, our people would immediately fire every place that could afford them quarters or in any way benefit from them. If they come I hope to be able to entertain a large number. I would with pleasure give each a cup of coffee and I think it would be the last any of them would ever drink. I think Nashville [is] in great danger and have wished very much to send your portrait together with the two of Henry to Chapel Hill, but Mr. Sehon advised me not to do it, as it could not be done but with great difficulty, and probably in the present disturbed and burdened State of the roads they could not reach Chapel Hill safely.

I can think of nothing but dear Frank and his danger. Ma is nearly crazy about him and on her account I have to appear hopeful but I feel more gloomy than I have ever felt about the war. It is seriously believed that Gen Johnston will soon order from Nashville to some safer point all the Government Stores, the Quartermasters stores, the Ordnance and Commissary's, when of course Mr. Sehon will have to go. But I should regret that only on account of the circumstances being such as to render it impossible to retain the supplies in Nashville. As far as I am personally concerned I would thank Heaven that I could leave Nashville to go any where upon the face of the habitable globe that I could board until the war is over and we can go to housekeeping. As long as Mr. Sehon is in the Army and may any moment have to leave it is useless to think of commencing housekeeping. I have been so dissatisfied that Mr. Sehon determined to risk it and rent a house, but on mentioning to some of his friends his expectations, he was told [by] men of influence & other officers that it would ruin him in the estimation of the officers in the Army, that it would look to them as though he was determined to settle down with no expectation of being ordered away. He told me this but was still willing to do any thing to make me feel satisfied. Of course I say nothing more about housekeeping as I will never do any thing that will make me feel that my course has done my husband an injury, but daily I become more restless and dissatisfied. In comparison with myself I consider you blessed in having a home of your own. I would I assure you joyfully exchange circumstances for the war.

You ask if your enema [sic] is safe. Yes perfectly and if you are willing to trust it by express I will send it to you. Tell me in your next about the vaccine matter. I do not know that there is any in Nashville, but I will try to get some from one of the physicians."

Your affectionate sister

A.[nnie] M. S.[ehon]

Kimberly Family Correspondence





        8, Federal hospital improprieties exposed in Nashville

Military Hospital No. 6.

The following communication makes some statements in reference to the above named Hospital which ought to be investigated. Of course we know nothing of the truth of the charges, but as the Hospital is a public institution, and the author has left us his name, as a responsible person, the matter ought to be looked into:

No. 6 Hospital, Nashville, Tenn.

Thursday, Feb. 5, 1863.

Mr. Editor:--With your permission, and through the columns of your paper, (in behalf of the Nurses, and part of the Wardmasters in the above named Hospital,) I would ask the proper authorities: What is the cause of the said Wardmasters and Nurses having to subsist wholly upon "bread and coffee, and bean or vegetable soup, with an occasional piece of meat which is simply warmed—not cooked—through?"

 In the soup the Nurses occasionally find a "bean," which affords considerable gratification to the finder, while others feel slighted.

It is folly to describe the wrong doings connected with this Hospital; but an examination by the "proper Authorities" will find, to their utter astonishment, that the Nurses—"soldiers"—are not getting as good nor substantial living as the negroes that are loitering about the kitchen, doing little or nothing and getting their regular sleep, while the Nurse is obliged to lose sleep and do considerable disagreeable work, and live principally upon bread and coffee.

 What becomes of all the "Potatoes," "Butter," "Eggs," "Onions," "Canned Oysters," "Apples," and a whole host of other things too numerous to mention? All of these things are seen coming into said Hospital, and having a fair opportunity of knowing that the Nurses do not get any of them, nor do the sick get the half.

Will not some kind "Authority" attend to this matter? Forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

One Interested.

Nashville Daily Union, February 8, 1863.



        8, Editorial relative to the deprived population of Nashville

The Poor of Nashville.—Before this unrighteous war burst like a storm-cloud over our once happy land, one source of [illegible] pride to the citizens of Nashville, was the proud fact that the poor and needy of our now war-torn city were always kindly remembered and generously succored in the dreary season of winter. From time immemorial, the noble duty of seeking out and ministering to the wants of the poor has been performed by our less ill-favored townsmen with a cheerfulness and fidelity which no terms of praise can quality. Who does not remember the herculean labors of the lady managers of our Orphan Asylum, and the disinterested charity of our societies, churches, and business men, in times when kind words and good deeds, were more potent than the physician's skill to save life and health? Were Nashville depending alone upon her boast of charity for a warm corner in the heart's affection of posterity, she would have no cause to envy the rest of the world—she still would glitter and shine the brightest orb in the firmament of good deeds. As it is, the very angels will applaud the acts of godliness to which the hearts and fortunes of our citizens have contributed, and of which the suffering poor were the objects.

In these unfeeling times, when the war god has obliterated in man almost every fine feeling and noble thought, and self reigns with an iron rod in the hearts of many, it is peculiarly gratifying to note that the poor, whom we "always have with us," are not altogether forgotten. With the half or most of our population, fled, an embargo upon trade existent for a year past, the idleness of the remaining populace, and the consequent undermining of fortunes, the indigent class of our community has been largely multiplied; and, necessarily, the provision for their relief this winter is much more limited than in former times. Then, the generosity of our fellow citizens, prosperous themselves and actuated by feeling, was taxed amply enough to embrace every case of actual privation; now, that the home contributions,--from the causes specified,--are insufficient to meet the demands of hunger and nakedness, outside bounty must be sought, and therefore the hand of comfort cannot reach all who are deserving. But we believe the united efforts of private persons and the civil and military authorities have resulted in keeping the demon of starvation from our midst. Every want has not been supplied, it is true, but those whose conditions were most aggravated have experienced relief. If we consider the present extraordinary crisis of Nashville, with its high prices of provisions, even a partial relief of the distress among the humble classes must have enlisted the most strenuous exertions. Hence, the agents in this work of mercy deserve our highest commendation and the grateful remembrance of every good and true citizen.

The passing winter will be preserved in the memory of the people of Nashville as the synonym of care, vexation, and hard-living. While the wants of many have been made public and satisfied, scores of families, who formerly delighted in their ability to render assistance to the poor on all occasions, have been reduced to the most painful extremes. Around hearthstones not long ago the glowing pictures of happiness and plenty, may now be seen gathered shivering, hungered children, and parents racked with anguish, straining their heart-strings to resist despair; larders always heretofore plentifully filled, now scarcely afford a single meal, and the anxious father despondingly awaits the return of uncertain to-morrow to provide a morsel for his little ones.

This is no fancy sketch; the biting coldness of this week gives it a painful and vivid realization; and observation, if not experience has prompted us to present it here. Fearful, indeed, is the responsibility weighing upon the authors of this accursed war whose fury is yet unabated. Sincerely do we pray for the return of peace with its reinstatement of industry, of trade, of commerce and their thousand attendant blessings.

Nashville Daily Union, February 8, 1863.




        8, Scout near Maryville[1]

FEBRUARY 8, 1864.-Scout near Maryville, Tenn.

Report of Maj. Joseph B. Presdee, Second Indiana Cavalry.

[MARYVILLE, TENN.,] February 8, 1864--9 p. m.

COL.: In pursuance to orders, I took charge of a scouting party toward Sevierville.

I scouted on the Knob road as far as the house of Mr. Rogers, about 18 miles from Maryville and on the main Sevierville road, 2 miles beyond the crossing of the Knoxville road, also about 18 miles from Maryville. I also scouted the country between these two roads, but heard nothing of the enemy with the exception of 4 stragglers. There were 26 at Wyland's Mills yesterday, and 100 within 3 miles of Mr. Goddard's (7 miles from Maryville) on Saturday, stealing horses and committing other depredations. These last came in by the Knob road. None of them appear to have come farther on the main road than the Knoxville crossing, however.

About 150 or 200 went on the Knoxville road (I think on Saturday [6th]) toward Knoxville, returning at night with 14 or 15 Federal prisoners, said to be a picket-post captured near Knoxville.

Very respectfully,

J. B. PRESDEE, Maj., Cmdg. Second Indiana Cavalry.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, pp. 391-392.



        8, "To Liquor Dealers" -- General Orders No. 7

The attention of Liquor dealers is called to the following:

General Orders, No. 7

Headquarters U. S. Forces

Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 8, 1862 [sic]

I. Until further orders all establishments for the sale of liquor, wholesale or retail, are permitted to re-open on giving bond, with good security, not to sell to officers, soldiers, or Government employees [sic], to observe faithfully all Military Police regulations that are now or may be issued by the Commandant of the Post, and to report all violations of the same coming to their knowledge.

Every house giving such bond will be taxed ten dollars [sic] per month, which tax shall constituted a fund for the maintenance of a special detective police force, to aid in the strict execution of the orders regulating the sale of liquors.

This bond will be given to the Provost Marshal, who shall determine the amount, and furnish the holder with a bonded copy of instructions to be conspicuously posted in his place of business.

This order shall not be construed to open the sale of whisky.

By command of Brig.-Gen. R. S. Granger.

Nashville Dispatch, February 11, 1864.




        8, "FROM NASHVILLE." The Aftermath of Hood's Failed Invasion

Effects of the War on Tennessee-Destruction of Property Through Hood-Restitution -- Death's Doing Since Dec. 15-A Good Sanitary Exhibit for 1865-A Parting Word.

Nashville, Tenn [sic], Sunday, Jan 29, 1865.

The citizens of Nashville will long remember Hood. The sense of the injuries inflicted on them and their city by his recklessness and folly will have more than a passing poignancy. Before Hood came on his quixotic errand, the condition of the city was anything by seemly and desirable. It had long ceased to challenge praise from visitors of the ground of its beauty. The marring hoof of war had trodden too deeply for that. But it retained, in spite of three or four years incessant trampling of iron heels, many bright signs to show what it had been in it palmiest day. A number of its fairest edifices, lying without and around the city, had been but slightly touched by war's deforming fingers. And though the citizen, as speaking to the stranger of Nashville now, and contrasting it with Nashville as before the war, sighed as some old Trojan, exclaimed, "Ileum fit" [sic] might do, there were yet attractive points, here and there, to greet the eye, and give assurance that the city's former claims to admiration were not placed a little too high.

Hood's coming, and the effects it brought, made the little remnant less. The huge gaping trench and rifle-pit cordon around the city, stands a hideous disfiguration. It will stand thus for long, for these ghastly cuts, like those upon animate bodies, require time to cure. Right through many a smiling yard and fruitful garden, as the summer showed them, these remorseless gulches too their way, the fences on every side being town down, and wept in to aid and finish the defences. Houses on the outskirts stood in all directions, and stand yet, bare of post or picket, as if a fence were thought a superfluity, and the people loved to have all things in common.

Many fences were carried away by the soldiers and burnt for fuel, on the biting cold days just before the battle. It was a "military necessity" for which it would be hard to blame the brave fellow who were shivering on the icy ground, and found nothing else to warm them. Even a part of the cemetery fence as demolished, as all would have been by the troops in their strait, had not the most energetic measures been restored to, to protect it. Hood's forces around the city kept fuel from getting into it, and hence the pressure. A considerable section of Nashville, adjacent to the cemetery, is lying fenceless to-day.

Outside of the city limits, the havoc and desolation are more strikingly seen. Not only are the fences utterly swept away, but in many instances houses are burned or partially demolished by shells. From a stand-point half a mile beyond Fort Negley, and in the direction of the Franklin Pike, along which the most desperate fighting of the two days took place, the eye takes in numbers of houses that once lay nested in the bosom of tasteful shrubbery or rich forest growths, now denuded and bare as if planted in the heart of some Western prairie. I rode out to the house of Mrs. A. V. Brown, two miles and a half from the city, and just beyond the first line of rebel rifle-pits. The pits remained just as the rebels left them, and very artistically finished structures they were. They ran in front of Mrs. Brown's house, which, with the fences around it, were not molested, though reported at one time burned. A strong rebel guard kept the premises from harm, and the family did not leave the house during the battles, nor while the rebels lay around. It is marvelous that the fast-falling shells from our forts and batteries did the house no injury, while others in its vicinity were dismantled. It has been Mrs. Brown's singular good fortune to find protectors in both belligerents during all the rebellion. The sister of Gen. Pillow and the widow of one of our former Cabinet officers, her relations, added to her amiable and benevolent character, and the charms of her hospitable home, have seemed to make loyal and rebel rival each other in acting toward her the part of friends and guardians. Mrs. Ackland's house, also, one of the most elegant in Nashville, situated just within our lines, and the headquarters of Gen. Wood during the battle of the 15th and 16th of December, enjoyed similar immunity. Some others near the battle-ground, and with shot and shell flying all around them, had an equally fortunate escape.

The destruction of property, however, was immense all around the city. It would be hard to write down the sum accurately in figures. Greater values were absorbed and sunk through the last abortive struggles of Hood than the rebellion ever inflicted on the State before. A good deal of these parties will seek to recover from the Government. Where private property was taken from Union citizens for the purposes of the Government, a claim may be put in, and a competent tribunal will decide how far restitution shall me bade. It will be a slow process, and a difficult one, to decide truly between the many and conflicting claims which by and by will press upon the proper court. This will prove one of the troublesome sequels to the rebellion. The greater matter settled, however, the lesser ones will adjust themselves in due time.

The number of deaths in the various hospitals here since Dec. 15, is a trifle under 1,300, far the greater part have been wounds received in battle. The soldier's cemetery contains a total of 11,500 of our heroic men, who devoted life for the country-a number equaling the entire population of many pretentious towns. This is but a fraction of the stupendous necrology that this dire rebellion has written up; and what an appalling picture does war present looked at in this aspect. To counterbalance this, the gains from the struggle must be great indeed. And they will be. Given the death of slavery alone, as the fruit of these frightful throes, and who will say that all these sacrifices have not been amply repaid?

The Winter [sic] mortality among the black people and the enlisted soldiers in colored regiments is large. It has averaged for this month and part of December, twenty deaths a day. Fifteen of these are from contrabands, about five from soldiers. The cold weather is hard upon the half-clad, half-fed and half-housed blacks, who have sought the asylum of the city in crowds. With all the considerate aid the Government can give them the condition of many is wretched enough. Freedom however, they sigh for, and will have when attainable; any lowly and suffering lot as freeman, in preference to slavery, though the chains may sit easily in some exceptional cases. The colored soldiers have good care in the hospitals provided for them. The numbers brought in wounded show how gallantly they performed their part in the recent battles. But wintry exposure in the field, affects them more than it does those of the more fortunate race. They suffer more from sickness proportionably [sic], and sickness seizes them with [a] stronger and more tenacious grasp. Field service, however, in the sultry season deems to harm them less. Their claim to being good soldiers, to rendering signal service to the cause they love to fight in, is established beyond dispute.

The Sanitary Commission's work for this department during the year ending Jan. 1, 1865, deserves a glance. The number of articles distributed among our soldiers in hospitals and in the field, for this period reached the total of 1,021, 433-one bushel, one pound, one gallon, and so on being counted as one article. There were disbursed 150,000 pounds of canned fruit, 114,655 pounds crackers, 72,823 pounds condensed mils, 35,446 bushels of potatoes, 25,484 bushels of onions, 36,397 bottles of wine and liquors, 51,854 gallons of pickles, and other articles of highest value to the needy soldier, on a like liberal scale. The streams of the people's show, have continue to flow to with the steady and unimpeded current. It is one of the most marvelous spectacles that the eye has witnessed. It is a splendid record that will challenge praise from the coming ages, in behalf of a great Christian people, whose sentiments and acts proved them worthy of the trust which God devolved upon them.

Your correspondent, assigned to another department, closes with this letter the series addressed to the Times from Tennessee, but of fifty-two letters written since June of 1863, not one has failed to reach its destination, nor to appear in due time to afford perchance a transient interest to some of your many readers. A twenty months' observation from a very interesting standpoint has enabled me to aid a little, I hope, in illustrating certain phases of the war, its effects on the border states, and especially Tennessee, the steadiness with which the great principles involved in the issue have advanced, and the sure and probably speedy triumph to crown the struggle for Union and Freedom. It has been pleasant to speak words of hope and good cheer in regard to the brightening future through the columns of a paper which, and has been, in full accord with the grand progressive movements of the age, and has hopefully stood by the righteous cause of nation unity and a sorely tried Government in the darkest hours. The worst danger is overpast [sic]. The nation will live. Its path, like that of the just, will grow brighter and brighter. And to have contributed something to his august and inestimable result, will be to the humblest helper a life-long glory and joy.

C. V. S.

New York Times, February 8, 1865.

[1] Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee refers to the town as "Marysville."

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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