Tuesday, March 4, 2014

3/04/2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

March 4, 1862 - An East Tennessee Woman Blames Northern Misinterpretation of the Bible as the Cause of the Civil War. An Extract from the Diary of Eliza Rhea Anderson Fain

~ ~ ~

Our servants (whom many have felt it was their duty to educate and train in the nurture and admonition of the Lord) have been neglected at the unceasing upbraiding of conscience. O how many tears have Christians of the South been caused to shed on account of this unjust interference. When we think that they have been instrumental in entailing upon the South slavery; we cannot refrain from giving vent to our feelings and exclaiming they know not what they do. Our Bible which is so precious has made the way clearer. Methinks had the Bible reader of the North not perverted his misunderstanding and conscience by the influences of a higher law we might this day have been the most prosperous nation upon the earth. The South was willing, yea anxious to have the slave granted the privileges of moral improvement and of moral elevation. Had the North cooperated with the South in this great work without trying to throw the firebrands of discontent and murder amongst us what a beautiful home of peace, industry and plenty would we today have shown to the world. May the will of our Father in heave be done-all is in his hands.

Fain Diary.



4, A visit to the Murfreesborough Battle Ground

On the 4th of March, 1863, we visited the battle ground of Murfreesborough, and in company with a Federal officer, traversed about five miles in extent, of the ground upon which the hostile armies contended-first in the fields and then in the woods, among the cedars and timbers where much of at the hard fighting was done. No man at a distance, who only reads the newspaper accounts of that hard fight, can form any idea of the number of dead horses and mules upon the ground. Their names were legions, estimated at fully 3,000. We found them often piled up one upon another-some shot through the body, some through the neck, others with heads and legs off. But all were in a wonderful state of preservation, lying on the field more than two months.

The trees were peppered with bullets for miles-the twigs cut off, and many trees were cut off by cannon balls, at points ranging from five to thirty feet from the ground. Large trees of size sufficient to make saw-logs, where the cannon balls struck them fairly they passed clear through, and we could see daylight through as we rode along. Even cannon balls were to be seen among the lines, and shells that failed to explode. In other instances we saw pieces of shell upon the ground and we handled them.

Now comes the sad and sorrowful part of our narrative. The graves of the slain in battle were to be seen in every direction, in untold numbers. The head-boards of single graves indicated who many of the tenants were, giving names, regiments and places of residence when living. Many of them were buried in the cotton-fields, and others in the opening in the woods where they were killed. In many instances ditches were dug, and our guides informed us that from one hundred to one hundred and fifty were crowded into a ditch. The dirt upon many of them was, of course, only a few inches deep, and in a few instances hands and feet were sticking out. The most fearful evidence of slaughter was to be seen in front of where General Rosecrans massed his artillery-say one hundred and twenty guns. There lay the horses and mules piled on each other, and in the distance and beyond them were the graves of dead rebels.

We could but feel sad as we passed over this terrible battle ground, and in the bitterness of our souls denounce the bad men of the South who had caused all its waste of life [sic] and treasure! We felt an unutterable degree of sympathy for the poor fellows that had been conscripted and forced into the war, but none for those who had volunteered [sic] and gone in for their own accord-looking upon their graves and the long trenches holding their bodies, we felt that these thousand of Southern rebels, in open and wicked rebellion against the United States, and villainously sought and mournful but justly found their rights-not in the "territories," [sic] but in the cotton-fields and cedar thickets of a State they had assisted in forcing out of the Union at the point of the bayonet and in opposition to the oft-repeated wishes of majority of the real people.

We gazed with wonder and astonishment upon the devastation and ruin of the surrounding country, and of a rich country, once in a high state of cultivation. Fences all gone; houses burned down; graves of number slain [sic]; live stock and grain all consumed; and the horrors of war looking one full in the face! We could but think of a new version of an old rhyme-

"Could we with ink the ocean fill;

Were the whole sky a parchment made,

Were every stock a quill,

And every man a scribe buy trade-

The sea of ink, the paper sky,

The scribes of old would not suffice

To write the Southern Rebel

Treason, murders and lies

Brownlow's Whig and Independent Journal and Rebel Ventilator, January 16, 1864.

4, Admonition to Potential Officers of African-American Soldiers in the Volunteer State

The Colored Troops in Tennessee. Captain R. D. Mussey, commissioner for the organization of colored troops in East and Middle Tennessee, issued a circular from Nashville on the 15th ultimo, the concluding section of which is as follows:

"X. No person is wanted as an officer in a colored regiment who 'feels that he is making a sacrifice in accepting a position in a colored regiment,' or who desires the places simply for higher rank and pay. It is the aim of those having this organization in charge to make colored troops equal, if not superior, to the best of white troops in drill, discipline and officers. It is more than possible that colored troops will hereafter form no inconsiderable portion of the permanent army of the United States, and it should be the aim of every officer of colored troops to make himself and his men fit for such an honorable position.

"It can be no 'sacrifice' to any man to command in a service which gives liberty to slaves, and manhood to chattels, as well as soldiers to the Union."

Another message in this circular declares that "should incompetent or bad men find their way accidentally into one of thee regiments, they will be weeded out immediately.

The Liberator (Boston, MA) March 4, 1864. [1]



March 4, 1865 - Letter expressing support for Federal Home Guard units in Coffee County

Maj Gen Thomas

Having received an information that an order was about to be issued disbanding the Home Guards in this country organized by the order of Maj Gen Milroy we the undersigned citizens of the County and members of Home Guard Companies beg to respectfully petition you in behalf of the further continuance of said organization, and to request that no order be issued at this time interfering therewith Coffee County 7th and part of 11[the] districts.

Since the organization of this company our neighborhood has been remarkably quiet. Bushwhackers and Robbers have almost entirely disappeared and People feel a degree of security they have not felt before in three years. We therefore request that we be allowed to continue our organization until the militia of the State shall have been organized believing such a policy the best that can be pursued for our community at the present time.

[One hundred forty seven names are signed to this petition.]

Blood and Fire, p. 114.


[1] TSL&A, 19th CN

[1] TSL&A, 19th CN

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


No comments: