Tuesday, April 1, 2014

4.1.2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

1, "A Wife whipper"

A Wife Whipper.—For distinguished bravery in whipping his wife, Hugh Gilmore was yesterday admitted by the recorder into the employment of the city, an honor for which many respectable gentlemen are earnest candidates. He will be boarded and lodged at the city's expense for over three weeks. Brave Hugh!

Memphis Daily Appeal, April 2, 1861.



   1, The course of martial law in Federally occupied Murfreesboro, excerpt from the diary of John C. Spence

....Soldiers parading the streets; the cavalry men on horse back galloping in and out of town, without having much object in view.

The Military Gov. Parkhurst and provost marshal O. C. Rounds now duly installed, commence business.

The provost marshal has set to in a vigorous manner to put things strait [sic] and restore the union. [sic]

About the first thing that is done of any importance is to send out files of men all over the town for the purpose of searching the houses of citizens for guns and amuntion [sic] and any thing [sic] else that has the appearance of danger in the way of shooting. In these searches many little things of value disappeared, and nothing was said about it.

They looked in drawers, trunks, and boxes, and in fact, even in every thing: Kitchens, smoke houses, pantrys [sic], and cellars. In these rounds they collected a great many old guns, some without stocks, some with locks, and now and then a fine rifle or shot gun, [sic] would be found which was favorite guns of the owners. [sic] Among their collection of fire arms, short pieces of gas pipe was brought in. Suppose it looked, to them like it might shoot.

...all the fine guns was [sic] boxed up by the Provost and shiped [sic] home as trophy [sic] from the south, captured from the rebels.

The next thing men are arrested for some pretended cause. Some are put in jail for safe keeping, and some are sent to the penitintiary [sic] at Nashville without knowing the cause.

They claim that all citizens are disloyal to the U. S.; therefore, it was necessay [sic] that they should take an oath before they would be permitted to do any thing or go about and then they must carry a pass.

And, for this purpose, the gov. [sic] and provost marshal manufactures [sic] an oath to suit the occasion. [sic] Such a thing had never been in existence as to swear a man to allegiance who had been born and raised in the country. [1]

* * * *

Should a squad of cavalry go in the country and meet with a small skirmish, and any one of them get hurt or killed -- in this case a number of citizens nearest were ordered to be arrested and brought to town and placed under guard in the court house and kept there for some time. Not unfrequently, a lot would be sent to Nashville to the Penitintiary [sic] and undergo a confinement there for a time. When they did get released...they had to enter in a bond and security for their future good conduct, frequently approved by A. Johnson, military gov. of the state.

The matter of taking an oath then were but fiew [sic] that would submit, unless as a matter of necessity. All felt too independant [sic] for that.


Spence Diary.



        1, 1862 - Amphibious attack upon C. S. A. gun positions on Island No. 10

At Island No. 10, Colonel George W. Roberts, commanding the 42nd Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, led a raiding party against the Confederate battery No. 1, on the Tennessee shoreline. Colonel Roberts' force consisted of five boats, manned by crews of the U. S. S. BentonSt. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburg, and Mound City, who transported a detachment of 50 men from Company A of Roberts' regiment. Assuming a chevron attack formation at 11:00 p. m., and hidden in the wake of the gunboats, the party, according to Roberts' report: "approached the battery in such silence with muffled oars, that we were less than 10 yards distant when the sentinels at the guns discovered us. They cried out in great surprise, fired twice on our boats, and ran away. We landed in good order and with great expedition, the rear boat falling to the right and left of the center of the advanced line, and at once commenced spiking the guns....

The work was done with perfect coolness...as rapidly as possible, for the rebel gunboat Grampus had taken alarm at the sentinels, and was standing toward us. I did not go on board to return until I had first personally inspected every gun.

....Every gun in the battery except one (dismounted and lying in the water) was spiked by our party....

The object of the expedition thus being accomplished, we took to our boats and returned without any loss whatever."

Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 22, pp. 707-708.



Reports of Flag-Officer Andrew H. Foote, U. S. Navy.

UNITED STATES STEAMER BENTON, Off Island No. 10, April 2, 1862.

GEN.: Last night an armed boat expedition was fitted out from the squadron and the land forces at this point, under command of Col. Roberts, of the Forty-second Illinois Regiment. The five boats comprising the expedition were in charge of First Master J. T. Johnson, of the Saint Louis [sic], assisted by Fourth Master G. P. Lord, of the Benton; Fourth Master Pierce, of the Cincinnati; Fourth Master Morgan, of the Pittsburgh, and Master's Mate Scoville, of the Mound City, each with a boat's crew of 10 men from their respective vessels, and carrying in all 100 men, exclusive of officers, under command of Col. Roberts.

At midnight the boats reached the upper or No. 1 fort, and pulling directly in face, carried it, receiving only the harmless fire of two sentinels, who ran on the discharge of their muskets, while the rebel troops in the vicinity rapidly retreated, whereupon Col. Roberts spiked the six guns mounted in the fort and retired with the boats uninjured.

The commanding officer represents all under his command, from their coolness and determination, as being ready to perform more hazardous service had it been required to the fulfillment of the object of the expedition.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. H. FOOTE, Flag-Officer.

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


Excerpt from the Report of Thomas A. Scott, Assistant Secretary of War, relative to the attack upon Confederate gun positions on the Tennessee shore at Island No. 10 April 1, 1862.


* * * *

Yesterday a little expedition was agreed on for last night, to capture sentinels and spike all the guns in the upper fort of the enemy on Tennessee shore. It was intrusted by Col. Buford, commanding, to Col. Roberts, of the Forty-second Illinois, with 40 picked men of his regiment. Commodore Foote furnished five small boats, with crews from gunboats to row them. They left the Benton at 6 p. m., and remained among the timber in neighborhood of fort until about 11 p. m., when they came into the river in front of the fort and moored right upon it, driving away sentinels, who fled in the darkness after first fire. Col. Roberts and his men spiked with flies all the guns in position, and left without the loss of a man; a capital success and most valuable to the flotilla for coming operations, as the position of the fort was difficult to reach, and contained some heavy 84-pounders.

* * * *

Yours, very respectfully,

THOMAS A. SCOTT, Assistant Secretary of War.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 8, p. 124.



        1, 1863 - Thoughts on the progress of the war and life in the camp of the 24th Wisconsin Infantry near Murfreesboro

Camp near Murfreesboro, April 1

Dear father,

….You ask me whether "I keep up good heart &courage as well as good health," When I was at camp on Mill Creek [sic] near Nashville sick I felt very despondent, all I could hear was, that the condition of affairs was more against the North now, than it was this time last year, that the "so called Democrats" were coming into full power once more, and their first act will be to arrange a treaty of peace with the rebels, of a nature dishonorable to the North also that the free states were almost in a state of rebellion against the "Lincoln Government" [sic] such were the remarks that I would hear on all sides. All of which tended to discourage me, so that at that [sic] time I felt that we were but one step from defeat, that the time spent by us already down here, our marches & were so much time wasted, that we were throwing away our time & endangering our lives all to no purpose, that after the South bid fair well to have their own way, and I was almost ready to join in with others & "cry peace." I was evidently "deep in the blues." On New Years day [sic] "Wish you happy New Year!" seemed rather "behind the times" then. How different, one year before. Then [sic] I was at a party at Spring Green; now what a change! In the midst of a battle [sic], wounded men lying in the fence corners or under the trees; every house full, & still the "thunder of cannon and musketry," promised more yet [sic] for the surgeons [sic] knife. Would the battle never end! [sic] I compared the two New Years & heartily wished myself at home. "But the darkest hour is just before daylight." So grandmother Whitside used to say. Now [sic] I think the prospect grows every day brighter. By the aspect of affairs in England I don't think the South need hope for interference very soon in that quarter. The Copperheads [sic] seem to be fast "playing out" despised both North & South. Things look altogether more business like. The soldiers feel more cheerful as the war seems more likely to have an end gradually approaching…You ought to see our Brigade. Great pains is [sic] taken to have things neat & tidy, the streets between the tents & parade grounds are swept clean. The tents are almost every day raised and aired thoroughly. The Brigade Headquarters, & numbers of the officers [sic] tents [sic] are surrounded with evergreens arranged in order. Little green flags hoisted over the Commissary Departments. The battle flag, (which for the right wing of the army isred [sic] as many with as many white stars on it, as the number of the Div.' [sic] Ours has three stars, being the 3d Div. Each Brigade carries one, & on the stars is printed the number of the Brigade. Ours is the 1st.) This flag is fixed on a liberty pole, & every morning the band has to play when the flag is raises, & every night on taking it down. You ask me what kind of man our chaplain is? [sic] I am sorry I can't say much for him. He is a Roman Catholic [sic], plays poker, smokes his cigars, drinks his whiskey, looks out for the mail, and perhaps once a month makes a speech that dont [sic] amount to anything after all….If a man has influential friends to manage for him, by placing a "Rev." before his name, he can get a commission aschaplain [sic], lives well, does nothing, draws a captains [sic] pay, & thus is simply aiding to increase the national debt, besides giving the soldiers a wrong opinion of Christianity. I doubt that you can find a Christian man, in our whole regiment. Although this does not tell well for the Reg[iment], it is nevertheless true. We have between 300 & 400 men in our Reg[iment]. I was over yesterday to see the 3d Wis. Battery & had a pleasant time….

Silsby Correspondence, April 1, 1863.



        1, Francis Miller, Female Soldier


Camp Near Memphis, Tennessee

March 18, 1863

Editors Bulletin:

The following biographical sketch of one of America's bravest daughters, I deem worthy of a place in your columns. Upon the arrival of the 90 Illinois, more unanimously know as the "Irish Legend," at Lafayette, Tennessee, I became acquainted with some facts in the history of a lady connected with the regiment that exceed anything in romance, the wildest works of fiction. Her name is Francis Miller. She resided in Chicago, Ill., and has a father and two brothers in the Union army, and she determined to make the fourth of her family that were willing to offer up their lives in defense of our country. Acting on this patriotic impulse, she donned her brother's pantaloons and presented herself in the costume of a young gent of the Ton [sic], at the office of a recruiting officer, and, as required for the ranks (plenty for commission) came in very slow, she was received readily, and no questions asked. She was assigned to a company in the _____ Regiment, Illinois Volunteers, but did not remain long in it until her sex was discovered and she was mustered out of service. She was not discouraged however, for the next day she visited on Captain _______, who was making up a company for the 90th Illinois. To him she expressed her desire to serve her country in the field, and as he required a few more to fill up his company he gladly received her. She did her duty in this company – and did it well – stood guard, drilled, and, in fact, did all that is required of any soldier in active service. She was an apt scholar, and soon learned the details [?] of camp, and excelled her masculine comrades in the manual of arms. She would frequently go up in the city with her mess mates on "sparking expeditions," and being remarkably good looking, it is needless to say, that the ladies with whom she associated thought that "Frank" was the most charming young man in the army.

She had thus enjoyed the pleasures of male costume for six weeks, when her former Captain visited Camp Douglas, and recognized "Frank" as the girl in boys clothing that had duped him so clearly in getting into his company. He immediately reported her to Col. O. Miran, commanding the 90th, who summoned her to his tent. On her arrival, he [gestured to a chair(?)].She seated herself and the Colonel interrogated her as follows:

What is your name, young man?"

"Frank Miller."

How old are you?"

"Eighteen, sir."

"Well, my lad, do you think yare able to carry a knapsack?"

"I think I can sir," was the modest reply.

After a few more questions the Colonel told her that he was aware of her sex, and that she would have to be mustered out of service. This news fell like a thunder clap to her ears. She tried to convince him that she would make as good a soldier as any in his command, but in vain did she plead; the Colonel was immovable.

She was mustered out of the service for the second time but not yet satisfied with military life. She married and excellent young man, a "member of her mess," and remained with the regiment ever since. She was with the regiment at Cold Water when Van Dorn made his celebrated raid on Holly Springs. Learning the Van Dorn raid had taken place and that he was moving on the 90th at Cold Water, she immediately threw her petticoats aside, put on a jacket and [pantaloons(?)] and shouldered a musket and took her place in the ranks by the side of her husband. When the rebels made their appearance, all eyes were turned on the "petticoat warrior" – as the boys called her – to see how she looked, in this, her first appearance before the enemy; but she was so firm and resolute that she made the most of them ashamed of themselves. She fired two volleys into the rebel ranks with the coolness of a veteran. The rebels, seeing that the "Irish Legend," was made out of sterner material that the 101st"retired" in true Southern style. The 90th is now quartered at Lafayette, Tennessee. "Frank" is still living in union with her husband, is loved and respected by the entire regiment, and declares that "she is for the Union of State, union of heats, and the union of all loyal men and women to put down this rebellion.


Co. B., 14th Ill. Infantry

Memphis Bulletin, April 1, 1863



April 1-2, 1864, Federal Reconnaissance and scouts about Bull's Gap, Strawberry Plains and Morristown

KNOXVILLE, April 2, 1864.

Maj. Gen. W. T. SHERMAN:

Gen. Stoneman reached Bull's Gap, and his cavalry is scouting beyond that place. The enemy have all gone beyond Jonesborough and probably beyond the Watauga. Scouts report that Longstreet's main force is moving to East Virginia, only about 3,500 men, mostly cavalry, being left to protect the salt-works. I will know the facts in a few days. Longstreet was with his troops at Bull's Gap while I was at Morristown last week, he having returned from Virginia. Upon learning we were advancing he also brought back a division of infantry, which was then en route for Virginia. The rebels have destroyed the bridge beyond Bull's Gap and Greeneville, and have carried off the telegraph wire, but have not injured the track as far as learned. I will occupy Bull's Gap with infantry, and scout the country above with cavalry, but will not injure the railroad until I get further instructions from you. I will have all preparations made to carry out your plans.

J. M. SCHOFIELD, Maj.-Gen.

LOUDON, April 2, 1864.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE OHIO, Strawberry Plains, April 2, 1864.

Brig. Gen. T. J. Wood, Commanding Third Division, Fourth Army Corps:

GENERAL: Gen. Stoneman went yesterday with a division on a reconnaissance to Morristown. To-day he is at Bull's Gap, and possibly beyond. The result of his movement will determine whether any other force may be required to complete what is to be done on that line. No news from below.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. D. COX, Brigadier-Gen., Chief of Staff.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, pp. 225-226.



        1, 1865 - "These bushmen have been troubling the Southern citizens very much." An entry from the Diary of Eliza Rhea Anderson Fain

The boys came down today. Kyle, Nick Mc, Sam Fain and Mr. Pinkerton. They were out on a scout Friday night in Caney Valley-were fired on by bushmen. All escaped unhurt. I feel so thankful when a kind Providence directs the balks aimed at them in another direction. These bushmen have been troubling the Southern citizens very much. I fear they may be permitted to go on by the Federal Government until our men shall become desperate and turn upon the Union folks with a feeling of desperation. They have been restrained by our Government and female influence. Women of the South have generally urged our Soldiers to do right but they are beginning to feel entreaty will be useless.

Fain Diary.


[1] It seems Spence and his compatriots had forgotten about secession, that those who could not or would not swear allegiance to the Union were enemies of the Union.

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: