Sunday, April 27, 2014

4.28.-29.14 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        28, "The performance of divine service is rare in jail." A plea to bring the Gospel to city jail prisoners
A Visit to Jail.
Many of our readers will remember that some two years ago the Appeal took the initiative in calling attention to the horrible state of our city jail. The portion appropriated to the chain gang was especially a dark, noisome division of dungeons, filthy in the extreme, almost deprived of air, and altogether unfit for anything but the receptacle of lost souls in the dominions of man's direst enemy. The upper portion of the edifice was little better, the disadvantages of the place necessarily arising from its ill construction—the result of a plan the grossest ignorance could alone ever atone for having been adopted—were increased by the gloom arising from walls covered with cobwebs and almost innocent of contact with a whitewash brush. A day or two ago, for the first time since Mr. Jackson has filled the office of jailor, we went over the place, and never was our gratification more complete than when we saw the change that had taken place. The chain gang were no longer barred within the confines of dismal and loathsome dungeons, but were in roomy, clean, light and airy quarters, from windows of which there is a splendid view up and down the river. These rooms were formerly the residence of the jailor; Mr. Jackson gave them up to the use of prisoners, so that they might be rescued from the living tomb in which "man's inhumanity to man" had beforetime enclosed them. The whole jail is now clean—every board of the floors is well scrubbed, the cobwebs are banished, the walls are well white-washed, the dreadful stench that used at times to make even the turnkeys vomit, as they themselves have assured us, was nearly imperceptible. The narrow corridors, confined gratings and scanty supply of air, together with the bad sewerage and miserable provisions for some important points of cleanliness, make it impossible that the present building can ever be all that it ought to be in this respect. We were not only impressed with the difference in point of cleanliness and the arrangement of the different articles in the various cells, but also, and to even a greater degree, with the respectful and orderly behavior of the prisoners, which afforded a great contrast from what we have, in former times, seen in the same place. We saw evidences that a firm but kind hand held the rule. We regretted to learn that no systematic effort is made by the religious portion of the public of Memphis to supply the spiritual wants of the prisoners. The weary days pass on, the tedious nights roll slowly by, and the Sunday passes like the rest, except that "the sound of the church-going bell" tells the incarcerated that the followers of him who loves those who visit the distressed that are sick and in prison, are going where they will pray for "all prisoners and captives" whom they rarely help. The performance of divine service is rare in jail. A Sundays since, the Rev. E. E. Porter, of Chelsea, held a service, and there is every reason to believe that it was acceptable to the prisoners. Good order was preserved, and most of the men manifested an attention and reverent demeanor. Mr. Thomas, a colporteur, has visited the prison and promised to supply it with books. We hope the promise will be kept. We respectfully suggest to the religious public, that men who lie in jail for months, and even one or two years, should not be left without religious ministrations. Cannot some effort be made in their behalf? Shall negroes, Indians, and orientals learn from our missionaries the glorious news of salvation, and the poor prisoner in our midst be left to perish in the midst of Christians and churches? Mr. Jackson's assistants in h is important duties are Messrs. J. F. Meyers, A. J. Ward and D. L. Porter, who are kind in their behavior to those beneath their care. We hope the time will come when Memphis will tear down the place in which her prisoners are confined, and rear a building that shall possess the requisites of air, light, comfort and safety, not one of which is secured in the present edifice. In the meantime, we are gratified to find that the present jailor is doing the best for the comfort of his prisoners that the existing miserable abortion of a building will admit.
Memphis Daily Appeal, April 28, 1861.

        28, Imprisonment of East Tennessee Unionists
Gen. S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector Gen., Richmond, Va.
GEN.: I have the honor to report that a portion of the Fourth Regt. [sic] Tennessee Volunteers (Col. Morgan) will leave to-day for Milledgeville, Ga., in charge of Union prisoners. The officer of the detachment is directed to report afterward with his command to the military authorities at Savannah, Ga. In more than one communication Brig.-Gen. Stevenson has reported many desertions from this regiment to the enemy and urged its removal from Cumberland Gap.
Because of this and the general character of the regiment for disloyalty I have thought it best to send it beyond the limits of this department. Being thus removed beyond the influence of friends in the ranks of the enemy it is thought these men may make loyal and good soldiers. I trust my action in this matter will meet the approval of the Department.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 1, p. 886.

        28, "Clairvoyance for One Week Only"
Madame Cora James will be found at her rooms on Second street between Madison and Monroe streets, where she is daily astonishing people of the highest rank by her wonderful predictions by clairvoyance in all things pertaining to the past, the present, and the future. All who wish to learn the final [sic] result of this war, and hear from absent friends, or investigate matters of importance, should avail themselves of this opportunity and come at once. Soldiers. Learn your doom! Don't defer so important a matter. – Madam Cora James' predictions are true and interesting. Rooms at (recently called) Bluff City House.
Memphis Bulletin, April 28, 1863

        28, "A Clergyman Before the Provost Marshal."
Hardly a day passes that is not replete with incidents which take place before Provost Marshal Colonel Smith, which at the same time convince us that no other officer could be selected for District Provost Marshal as good as Colonel Smith. The Colonel makes it as invariable rule to recognize but two classes among those who make applications for favors; they are citizens of the United States and rebels, each of which are treated according to their merits. One day last week a reverend gentleman, whose name we at the present omit made application to Colonel Smith for a pass to go North of the city – we believe Niagara Falls was the future place of his destination – stating that he lived in the State of Tennessee, and owing to the scarcity of food and other necessaries of life, he desired to go north of Memphis.
After Colonel Smith had ascertained the reverend gentleman's name and a few other lading facts (necessary in case a pass was given him) when the following colloquy occurred:
"Are you a citizen of the United State," Col. Smith enquired.
"I am a citizen of the State of Tennessee and have been so for several years," replied Reverend
"Perhaps you understand what I mean by the term citizen of the United States, Col. Smith said, "I mean are you loyal."
"Now, sir," said the clergyman, "I do not understand what you mean by the world "loyal." It is a new word to me as I read the Constitution of the Federal Government. If you wish to know my position as a man I will here reply that I am perfectly neutral, perfectly neutral, sir." Our revened [sic] friend closed his remarks with a gesture that seemed to say I have completely "vanquished you, sir."
Col. Smith rose to his feet, and with a look that indicated he meant business, said "My friend, you are a minister of the gospel, are you not" to which the Rev. Mr. ___replied "That he thanked God he was."
"Well, Sir," continued the colonel, "do you not preach the doctrine that mankind, in order to inherit eternal life or damnation, must obey either God or the Devil?"
"I do," replied the clergyman.
"Now, sir," said Col. Smith, "I am a minister of the Federal law in this district, and as such reach precisely the same principle in relation to law that you do in regard to the gospel. You, sir, must either serve the Federal Government with all your soul, body, and mind, or Jeff. Davis and his hosts. "Which will you do?"
This was putting the matter in a different light from what the reverend gentleman had anticipated, and as a natural consequence was at a loss for a few moments for a reply; he stood speechless, having more the looks of a ghost than a human being. He was startled from his reverie by Col. S. repeating the question. The clergyman relied he could not answer just at that moment, and retired from Col Smith's office a wiser and we hope a better man.
Memphis Bulletin, April 28. 1863.

        29, Skirmish at Yankeetown [White County] [1]
NOVEMBER 30, 1863.-Skirmish at Yankeetown, Tenn.
Report of Lieut. James P. Brownlow, First Tennessee Cavalry. HDQRS. FIRST TENNESSEE CAVALRY, Sparta, Tenn., December 1, 1863.
COL.: Col. Hughs' command, consisting of Murray's, Hampton's, [Hamilton's?] Bledsoe's, Ferguson's, Daugherty's, and other bands, attacked Lieut. Bowman while scouting, on yesterday [29th], and after skirmishing for some time, drove him across the river within 2 miles of this place, killing 4, wounding 1, and capturing 5. I went immediately to his assistance, and drove the enemy (numbering 500) 8 miles, killing 9, and wounding between 15 and 20.
I would take no prisoners. One of the Ninth Pennsylvania was mortally wounded (died this morning), and Capt. McCahan wounded in the ankle. Eighteen scouts, of the Second Michigan, got leave last evening. Send Doctor Green to this place. On account of the heavy picket duty, I would like to have one more company, unless the brigade is coming soon.
Very respectfully,
JAS. P. BROWNLOW, Lieut.-Col., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I. Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 591.

Excerpt from the journal of Amanda McDowell, December 1, 1863
....There are so many about and everything keeps in such a stir. We are having awful times. The Yankees are in Sparta, and it is amusing to hear the tales that are told and to see their effect on the people. Some believe everything they hear. I don't know but can guess at some things....There were two Yankees here last night and they neither looked or talked dangerous. [sic] True they were wounded and disarmed. Bledsoe's men had a little brush at Yankee Town [sic] yesterday and took four or five. (We first heard thirty, but that is the way their grand exploits generally turn out.) Fayette insisted on bringing the two wounded ones here and paroling them....Well! Col. Hughs and a great many have been to Monticello [KY] and captured 100 Yankees, heard the Yanks were here, came back, Bledsoe's [cavalry] went on before, got into a skirmish, got some prisoners, more Yanks came, and they run [sic], got scattered. Fayette...started to meet Hughs at Yankee Town, got with the small squad that had the prisoners and all got mystified and heard all sorts of tales about the fighting, could not find Hughs, come [sic] back by here, was gone an hour or two, when Fayette...came back bringing the wounded prisoners afterwards....The prisoners stayed until after breakfast and departed for Sparta, expressing themselves very well satisfied with their treatment....The whole country is in an uproar. The news is that the Yankees killed some of their prisoners after they had surrendered. The Yanks say that Southern soldiers did so, so we hear....
Diary of Amanda McDowell.

Excerpt from the Report of Col. John M. Hughs, Twenty-fifth Tennessee Infantry (Confederate), including skirmishes near Sparta, Tenn., November 30; at Scottsville, Ky., December 8, and near Livingston, Tenn., December 15.
DALTON, Ga., April 28, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor herewith to submit the following report of my operations in Middle Tennessee.
* * * *
On the 30th November, a fight occurred between the rear guard of my command, under Capt. R. H. Bledsoe, and a party of Col. Brownlow's (Tennessee) regiment [near Sparta, Tennessee]. For the numbers engaged the fighting was very severe. The enemy lost 13 killed, 8 wounded, and 7 captured. My loss, 5 killed.
* * * *
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 575.

        28, The end of the war is accepted by a Madison County farmer
Lizzie came from school this evening says there is news in town. The substance as she gives it, is that there is to be no more [sic] fighting & peace is to be made. If true it would be glorious news, even considering the future is no easy one....
Robert H. Cartmell Diary.

[1] Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee places the date at November 30, yet Brownlow's report indicates that the fight occurred on the 29th. Since Hughs' report was made some five months after the event and Brownlow's account was dated much closer to the day of the skirmish the date of the 29th is held as correct.

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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