Wednesday, April 30, 2014

4.30.14 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        30, Sallie Gannaway Jamison[1] to Camilla Jamison in Murfreesborough
War with all its horrors, is upon us. I hear and think of but little else. 'This the greatest calamity that could befall us. Who dreamed that we would ever come to this? The United States! The star country! The model government -- by which other nations endeavored to frame theirs,-but I fear the star has sunk, -- her glory has departed... All is confusion, -- no telling what the future will be; but 'tis the privilege of the Christian to stand all of this as the sun amid the flying clouds of heaven, calm and serene; -- trusting not in any mighty warriors as brave army but in the Lord of Hosts. The ladies are highly excited in some places, quite patriotic. I expect we are all intensely southern in feeling about now, believe in withdrawing our patronage from the North and encouraging home manufactory exclusively, but none that I have heard of have proven this faith by their work so prominently as out neighbor Mrs. Morton. She has made herself and all of her daughters three home-spun [sic] dresses apiece, and she (the old lady) to show that she intends carrying out her principle to the letter wore one of them to town the other day... There are two military companies preparing for service. Mr. Donnell [a school master] is Capt. Of one, and has almost given up his place in the school; doesn't pay much attention to it... He said he was glad Ada didn't go back [to school], that he didn't expect to be there in two weeks himself. The excitement has gotten into the school, and the girls are making make the military clothes. Miss Searey is President of a company of ladies who are making military clothes. I guess the girls had all better be at home, for I don't expect they are doing much good studying.
Robert D. Jamison Papers, TSL&A

        30, Excerpt from a newspaper report on threats of the Chattanooga Vigilance Committee and admonitions of Federal reprisals in kind
~ ~ ~
The following is from the Nashville Patriot of recent date:
We learn from a gentleman of veracity, direct from Chattanooga, that the Vigilance Committee of that place recently held a meeting and determined to put to death fifteen or twenty of the prominent Union men of that vicinity upon the approach of the National army.
Most certainly the approach of the Federal army to Chattanooga or anywhere else will not be prevented or retarded by any such hellish device as that. Our armies will assert and exercise the rights of war. If it be found that the  Vigilance Committee are really determined, in the event of the marching of our troops upon their place, let that number or twice that number of prominent rebels of Nashville or some other city be seized and sternly held as hostages for the safety of  the threatened victims. If the rebels will insist upon making this a war of barbarism, a war of extermination, a war shocking to the  moral sense of the world, they have unquestionably the power to do so, but the consequence, whilst terrible on both sides, would  be far most terrible to their  own,
Never in all the history of hostilities among nations, was any war prosecuted on higher and juster and nobler and more merciful principles than this has been on the part of the United States. Our Government and our people have alike seemed to bear in mind the great truth, that, whilst the legitimate object of the war is to preserve the greatest country of the age against the most atrocious rebellion of any age, it still a war of brethren.
Louisville Daily Journal, April 30, 1862. [2]

        30, Favoritism in the execution of Confederate conscription in Union county[3]
The following unique letter was handed us by Capt. Webb, of the Enrolling Office of this Department;
UNION COUNTY, April 30, 1863
To Col. Blake, Comeding Cornscripts and so fourth:
Now Sur, I beg leeve to make a few remarks. Are the cornscripts ov ower cownty liable and ordered to be arrested. And delivered over at Knocksville to who has the collection ov them. Are the cornscripts officers aloud to seez one man and send wurd to anuther to cleer out and hide hisself? And then Kernel ar we kumpelled to have rollin officers who send men and buoys ove the mountings, telling the young men not yet 18 that the C. Gov. had abanderud ages under 18, and was ketchin corncripts by weight. And by this they have actery sceered off sum who ar not 17 years old-one in particler Elber Dawl, near me wus told that ef he weighed 124 lbs, he sertinly must go into the service of the C. S., and that nite he left for Ky., and is over thar now. We has in this cownty every enrollin offiser for the very wust cort of Likninite, & every one relatives ov the Cheerman or Cownty Court Clerk & this clerk was Thornberg's 1st Lieut. & the Cheerman is no better. Can we not have these stowt young men cauld into the servis or let them run off as sum ov them will do & have men over, 45 appointed or appint ower justices ov the peas & uther persins exempt from Concript this would at once put amazingly formydable foarce ov young men into the field & leave them who now have nuthin to do offishally to attend to the enroaling clerks sheriffs justices & other exempts. I have ritten to Congress asken them to pass a kempulserry law on the cownty coarts to make up the rollin officers entirely ov the exempt whether you have the power to change the appointments I know not, but this ere you can do, put them into the army a foarce the cownty courts to make other appointments for the pressant incumbenters in moast of the cownties in East Tennessee is a burlesk on the military but I kno that we has sum very good uns if I can get an order I will arrest a phew bad men & who ar lyin out steling everything in thar reach I have extended my few disjointed remarks much further than I espceted at first yours truly
We are inclined to believe that the publication of the foregoing patriotic letter will result in important reforms in the enforcement of the Conscript act, and we accept in advance the thanks of Col. Blake for the invaluable suggestions presented.

Knoxville Daily Register, May 21, 1863.

        30, Elvira Powers remarks on the progress of her contraband students at the Refugee farm[4]
The aptness of the pupils, as a whole, is really surprising. Some have learned the alphabet, I am told, in three days, and others in a week.
It is said that all northern people who visit the school, very soon fall a victim to that fearful disease, known by the southern chivalry and northern copperheads, as "niggar [sic] on the brain." And I will confess my belief that were I to teach in this school very long, I might become so interested in some of my pupils I should sometimes forget that they were not of the same color as myself, and really believe that God did make of one blood all nations of the earth.
They present every shade of color from the blackest hue to a fairer skin than my own. It is often necessary to find out who the mother is before you know whether the person is white of black. The age [of the student body] varies from four to thirty.
The progress of some is really astonishing. One little black girl of seven years, and with wooly head, can read fluently in the Fourth Reader, and studies primary, geography, and arithmetic, who has been to school but one year. I inquired if any one taught her at home, if she had not learned how to read before that time. "Oh, no, I learned my letters when I first came to school, and I live with my aunt Mary, and she can't read. She's no kin to me, and I haven't any kin, but I call her aunt."
Perhaps she never had any, or is related to Topsey, and if questioned farther, might say she "'spects she grew." A boy about twelve, who has been to school but nine months, and who learned his letters in that time, reads in the Third Reader and studies geography. Some are truly polite. The first day of my taking charge of one of the division, a delicate featured, brown-skinned little girl of about nine years came to me and said with the sweetest voice and manner: --
"Lady will you please tell me you name?"
I did so, when she thanked me and said: --
"Miss P_____ can you please hear our Third Reader this morning." It was not an idle question either, for the school is so large that now, while two of the teachers are absent, from illness, some of the classes are each day necessarily neglected. And so eager are the generality of the pupils to learn, that most of them are in two or three reading and spelling classes at the same time.
One might now not only exclaim with Galileo, "The world does move," and we move with it. For though but a little time since the negro dared to say :I think," lest the master might exclaim,-- "You think, you black neggar [sic]-never you mind about that, I'll do your thinking for you." But would instead, say 'deferentially, with bent head and hand in his wooly hair, "Wall, massa, I'se been a studyin' about dat dar," is now learning to stand erect and confess that he does think; as well as learn to read and write.
One of the more advanced pupils told me that her father taught her to read and write before it was safe to let anyone know that he did, or that he could himself read.
Powers, Pencillings, pp. 61-63.

        30, A Report on Female Confederates in Knox County.
Four She Devils.
A short time since, in the North-eastern corner of this county, and near the Union county line, the wife of a villian [sic] at Camp Chase, two single girls of another family and a rebel Negro woman, dressed themselves in rebel uniform and caps, and visited the house of a Union lady and frightened her all but out of her life, making threats and cutting up generally. This was beautiful conduct for – we will not say ladies [sic]-but for females. The authorities must erect a female prison [sic] here for all such, and when done, we move that these gallant rebels in breeches [sic] must be sent for. The only blunder they committed was in not having with them a negro man [sic] instead of a woman!
Brownlow's Knoxville Whig and Rebel Ventilator, April 30, 1864

        30, Arrest of women for "rejoicing over the death of Lincoln."
On that morning, Mollie was carried away to Tullahoma – she and Mrs. McMillan having been arrested by order of Gen. Milroy on the evening of the 29th (Saturday). The charge was "rejoicing over the death of Lincoln." It seems that Mollie heard some days before that she had been reported for that at Lewis head-quarters, by a boy who came up with her from Woodbury. She had gone to Mrs. Grizzel's (where the boy lived, he was a bound boy) to attack him about it-he denied it all until he was black in the face, and said it was a Mrs. Boyd (who also came up with them,) who did the reporting – saying that she heard Mollie tell Jane Morford after they had gone to bed – that "When she heard Abe was dead she waved a Secesh-flag!" The Commandant of the post hated M. because she and other rebel girls had declined calling on Miss Sullivan because she drove out with him! Consequently, with Lewis personal pique and Clift persuasion [sic] – her case sent to Milroy – who sent for them. Seven armed men (!!!) [sic] were sent under an officer to arrest her! One, lone woman! The Lieut. Mollie says, looked ashamed of the array, and quite plagued when she quietly remarked that "really it was amusing to think she was so formidable – she had never though of it before." Everything was raked up against her that could be-as it was merely a case of personal pique and they pounced on the first excuse they could get to arrest her. The day Mollie and Mrs. McMillan went to Grizzell's to give the boys some of their mind about his lying, there was a woman there – a Mrs. Bell who went on in their presence to bewail her lot – she was a prisoner and so ill – threatened by the Yankees, and she cried and sobbed wonderfully over her troubles. When M. and Mrs. Mc. Rose to leave this woman came forward – shook hands with them – and told M. "she hoped she would have no further trouble" etc. Mr. And Mrs. M. had said nothing – but as soon as they were gone-what does she do but ups and reports [sic] to the powers that be – and old Miss Boyd, a tale-bearing woman as Wash calls her was hurried in, and M. arrested! After the ladies were taken off – the greatest efforts were made by Lewis to get evidence against Mollie but he failed. They even sent for old Mrs. Long – way on the road away down the road to Woodbury – as well as for Jane Morford but both of these evidenced for instead of against her. It was a all a made up thing – the old spy had not caught up and body and had been here a month, she was not getting her rights as to pay, she thought – consequently the little reports concerning M. and Mrs. Mc. Were magnified into a few mountains of falsehood and conjecture and sent flaming to Milroy. Lewis having a personal pique at Mollie caught at it as a god-sent [sic], and to gratify his own malice determined to put it thro [sic]. He did his best – and that proved one of the best of failures. Milroy's' scout, John Lee, who was to take them down to Tulahoma [sic], boarded sometimes at Henderson's – Mr. H. is M's friend and from him Lee was prepossessed in her favor – he was melted down too – when he saw them all crying at Mrs. Myers when M. left – going up the Ambulance just after he had put her in – he looked up in her face and said with a smile "Never mind Miss, I'll bring you back in a day or two, or my name is not John Lee." And it was principally to his reckon so that M. was indebted for her release – for he had great influence with Milroy and tho [sic] there was no evidence against M. worth 5 cents. Lee had to tell Milroy it wasn't worth a d__n or that discriminating officer would never have seen it. They are indebted to Captain Can for a quiet good word in their favor tho [sic] he claimed no credit for doing anything and for kind words to themselves. What he did, was done for their sakes alone and not for no interested motive. [sic] Joe Clift on the contrary had an interest of his own to subserve – and yet in doing this, he also served them. He did them the great favor to tell them exactly how they would be treated and dhow they must act, which was of the greatest benefit. Said he "There is no evidence you of any account it seems for Col. and Mrs. French's letter – no need for you to lay the case before Rousseau – at present – they will try to scare you with Camp Chase – and [the] Nashville Penitentiary but don't you give way an inch – stand your ground – don't say much – be pleasant – give Billings rope and he'll hang himself." Clift was getting up evidence against Billings and Milroy himself for abuse of their office as they had had him arrested for disobeying orders and he wanted M. to give him all Billings irrelevant questions and talk to her, which she put in writing for him. I will get M. to vie me a written statement of the whole affair – I mean to use it some day. Armstrong wrote down to Milroy – I wrote to Mollie, and on the way they came home – Armstrong was going around with a petition getting all the "Loyal Ladies" to sign it – except the Clifts. I was out in the yard in the evening when I saw the Col. Come around the bluff – and a lady with him, I knew the rebel dress-the grey dress and grey hat and plumes – it was Mollie! I had spent that afternoon – or the most of it writing a letter to Milroy – a long mile document [sic], and the Col. was going down to Tulahoma [sic] in the morning to see if he could not get the ladies released….But, as it turned out this was not necessary, they were at home. M. and I like to have never gone to bed that night – she had so much to tell me and so many funny things to say about those fools Gen. & P. M. of Tulahoma [sic].
War Journal of Lucy Virginia French, entry for May 10, 1865.

[1] Sallie Gannaway Jamison is not identified, but may have been a cousin in Ohio.
[2] As cited in PQCW.
[3] All spelling and grammar original.
[4] Powers had agreed to teach negro children at the "Refugee farm", or the "Eweing farm" on Friday, April 22, 1864. See: Powers, Pencillings, p.58.

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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