Saturday, May 17, 2014

5.17-18.14 Tennessee Civil War Notes

For May 17& 18, 1861-1865

        17, Editorial concerning unsettling conditions in Tennessee
Distress and Terror in Tennessee:
The Louisville Journal says:
We have reason to know that the prostration of business in Tennessee and the consequent depression and oppression of the people are deplorable. We have personal knowledge that landed property in one of the chief cities of that State, for which five thousand dollars was but lately offered, cannot now be sold for five hundred. We doubt whether two hundred in cash could be obtained for it. Men who live in hired houses cannot pay their rents. The payment of debts is to be arrested by legal enactment. Distress is universal. Right in this condition of affairs, the Tennessee Legislature passes a bill to raise five million dollars to sustain the State in its secession. Where a citizen of Tennessee has hither paid a State tax of $100, he is now to be called on by the tax gatherer for certainly eleven-times that amount – probably fifteen or twenty-fold. But such taxation cannot be borne, for the people of the State have not the means of bearing it, and if their lives were at stake, they could not obtain the means. So they must consent to see all their possessions annihilated and their families made beggars and outcasts, or else they will have to set promptly in motion the fiery wheels of another revolution.
As illustrative of the character of the tyranny established over souls in Tennessee, we may mention one circumstance out to the thousands which the Tennessee papers would not dare to mention. One of the first gentlemen of our city, a substantial man whose word none would question, was recently in that state on business. He repeated to us yesterday a conversation he held with a native Tennessean, a Union man, who depreciated secession as a deplorable blunder and a terrible crime. The two gentlemen were alone in a bar room, no other person being probably within a mile of them, yet the Tennessean lowered his voice almost to a whisper as if he fancied the very walls had ears to hear and tongue to repeat.-"Lately," he said, "I thought I was worth eight or ten thousand dollars; now I am worth nothing. I owe a sum of money, and I carefully laid every dollar in my power for the purpose of meeting my obligation and saving my property, but all I had was taken from me. They have raised military companies in; my neighborhood, and, although my opinions  were known, they levied upon me as they did upon others, whatever they pleased, and I had to furnish the required amount or be spotted and pursued – probably be driven  out of the State as an abolitionist."
Daily Cleveland Herald (Cleveland, OH), May 17, 1861.[1]

18, Paranoia, panic, fear of a slave rebellion and the Committee of Safety in Memphis
Flight of Four Thousand Citizens-Fears of Slave Insurrections.
From the Cincinnati Gazette:
A few months since, and the city of Memphis was enjoying an immense growth. In the rise of her real estate, the erection of splendid buildings, token of advancement she more nearly realized than any city on the Lower Mississippi, the vast strides our own city has made characteristic of her growth. That was Memphis under the Government of the United States-Memphis, loyal to the old flag.
The change that has come over that city in the short period that has intervened since the opening of the rebellion, has been a most marked one.-The change has been total. The present state of affairs there would do credit, as a supplementary page of history to follow the days and doing of Danton and Robespierre.
Memphis to-day "out-Herod's Herod," and surpasses the Gulf cities in animosity and deadly hatred to all loyalty to the Government. As a consequence there has been a wonderful Hegira from her midst. Every northern bound steamer and car has been heavily freighted with sons of the North, fleeing from tyranny in its worst form.
It is estimated that from four to five thousand have thus left Memphis, many of them under circumstances of imminent peril. A Committee of Safety has it daily sessions. It is made up of Mr. Titus, a prominent business man. They cause any they choose to be brought before them, and after a nasty ex parte examination, they give a decision from which there is no appeal. Up to this time their mandate has been, an order to leave the city on the first train or boat North.-There is reason to believe that they will soon make it death to be unfavorable to the kingdom of Jeff. Davis.
WE are put in possession a voluminous array of facts, bearing on this point, from several of our former citizens driven out of Memphis. They represent the state of [?] as growing more and more rabidly hostile every day. All business is at a stand still, other than that which belongs to military outfit. Only one regiment from Middle Tennessee has gone to Virginia, and in this a Memphis company found a place. A military rendezvous has been established at Randolph, 75 miles north of Memphis, where there are about 3,000 men, well equipped, with a battery of 32-pounders, sent thither from Charleston. The town of Randolph consisted of about 700 people, and many of them have now left for refuge elsewhere. The bluff is high, and the battery commands a wide sweep of the river. These troops are those gathered to await orders from Montgomery.
The city is filled with alarms and excitements. Says one informant:-"Hundreds of women in Memphis never lay their heads upon their pillows at night without dreaming of insurrection. On every public alarm the fire bells are rung, and this brings the entire population into the street. A few nights since, a rumor spread that a large body of troops were coming Southward from the Ohio, and a fearful scene of excitement filled Memphis for hours. The fire bells rang furiously. The numerous mounted patrols dashed to and fro. Women shrieked. Mothers clasped their children to their bosoms in frantic agony-All was confusion and its greatest terror lay in the doubt whether an insurrection on Southern soil or an invasion of Federal troops."
Philadelphia Inquirer, May 18, 1861.[2]

        17, Divine Services in the Stockade
Another interesting Sunday School was held in the Stockade and also Divine Service. I examined the structure more closely than last Sunday. It is built of heavy logs about three feet in diameter and 15 feet high. Standing upright side by side with the lower end planted firmly on the ground. The sides are hewed perfectly smooth and made to fit closely together. The form is thus. Between each upright timber loopholes are provided to admit the barrell [sic] of a musket. The whole is covered with heavy logs and a heavy layer of earth and considered cannon proof.
Diary of Lyman S. Widney

        18, "When will the day of peace come?" Mrs. Estes reflections upon the war
I attended Church today, heard a sermon by Rev. Gillespie, the minister of my childhood.
The dear friends of my childhood are scattered and gone, some to the grave, but mostly like myself have linked their fortunes with another. Yet I meet with many in our old church who are dear to me and bring back the days of my girlhood. The happiest of these I spent with my lover often wandering side by side for hours, all unconscious of the rapidly flying hours. Ah! We dreamed not then of such a time as this, that after years of labor and toil for success in life, the rude hand of war would come upon us and blast our brightest hopes. It is not a wonderful providence that we cannot see into the future? If we could have seen this dark hour we could not have been so happy with all my dear husband's care and struggles to establish himself in his profession, we have been as happy as is allotted to mortals.
I hope we may again be settled in our home with our darling around us. That will be a happy day for us. May we not forget to thank the Lord.
This has been another beautiful Sabbath. The last Friday was appointed by our President [Davis] as a day of fasting and prayer. I did not mention it in the proper place because I did not know of it, not having received any paper that gave us the information. I have no doubt many were like us, as all mail communications are quite irregular. But we pray that Our Father will hear the prayer of those who met to humble themselves before Him. Oh!! That God would say to the destroying Angel that is passing over us, "Cease, thus far shall thou go and no farther." When will the day of peace come?
Estes's Diary, May 18, 1862.

        17, Summer and Social Life in Confederate Camps in Middle Tennessee
Camp Near Shelbyville,
May 17th, 1863.
It is well that war cannot divest life of all its merry charms. At the same time, we cannot advocate a reckless disregard for the animosities incidental to this trying hour in our national [illegible] Little fear do we entertain, however, that the Southern heart, whose purity and patriotism predominate, shall fall into the error of either extreme. Our association for several months with the people of Tennessee has materially changed the sentiments of many of the latter, not only in regard to our earnestness of purpose, but also in regard to our manner of warfare, which has been represented as most savage and diabolical by Brownlow, Johnson, and other traitors. As proof of this social affiliation, we point to the parties, pic-nics and gatherings which occur frequently in the vicinity of camps. These entertainments are characterized not alone by the delicacy of the viands and sweetmeats, but, if the judgment of some of my (perhaps) infatuated friends is to be relied on, a rarer feast is spread where gazelle eyes and ruby lips and cherry cheeks disport in glorious profusion. A certain degree of license is due their tastes, I must acknowledge in view of their feeling proximity to those batteries of winsome smiles, bewitching glances, and winning graces, but as observer can testify how charmingly Tennessee ladies entertain their gallants. In speaking of pic-nics, May parties, held under the grand oaks, on the moss-covered rocks, these gorgeous halls of Nature, one is naturally led to admire the beauty and the magnificence of the scenery offered at every turn from the river's banks to the picturesque slopes overlooking the sunlit vales. The artist, Summer, had painted for us a rich panorama. From a congregation of time-honored oaks crowning an eminence in front of our regiment where lazy sentinels bask in the sunbeams, a sweeping view commands the outstretched landscape, and holds the Fish Creek, now losing itself in a bed of green, soon to emerge on a reedy path towards the placid current of the river. Beyond this stream, which is a gem-set pencilling in [illegible] pasture, fields and orchards arise in graceful bounty, then gently sloping to the river's brink the scene is lost in a swelling mass of "banks and brass," and mountain verdure. To the left and front the eye can wander and linger long, delightfully, amid fields and forests, houses and meadows. I feel that I cannot do justice to this lovely scene, and when, adding unto its magnificence, a gorgeous sunset heightens and intensifies the glory of the view, I would fain retreat for description behind an expressive shrug of the shoulders and a muttered, "ver plaisant," as that Frenchman did who could only explode a fraction of his pent up admiration in such superlatives a "grand! superb! magnifique!"
Mobile Register and Advertiser, May 24, 1863.[3]

        18, Skirmish on Horn Lake Creek
MAY 18, 1863.-Skirmish on Horn Lake Creek, Tenn.
Report of Capt. Arthur M. Sherman, Second Wisconsin Cavalry.
May 18, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to submit this my report of the result of the expedition under my command, which left our camp at 1 p. m. To report to brigade commander, Col. Moore, Twenty-first Missouri Infantry.
I received instructions to proceed upon the Hernando road 10 or 12 miles with 75 men, and dispatch 25 men by the Pigeon Roost road to intersect the Hernando road and form a junction with me again, and, if the enemy were discovered in any force, to hold them in check, and report the fact to brigade headquarters.
After proceeding some 4 miles beyond Nonconnah, the advance discovered two pickets and gave chase. After running half a mile, one of them abandoned a United States horse and saddle and fled into the woods, the horse falling into our hands. We proceeded then near unto Horn Lake Creek, and discovered a picket of some 8 or 10 men, who seemed reluctant to abandon their post; whereupon I halted my command, without showing its strength, and advanced Lieut. Showalter, with 20 men, for the purpose of charging them, after becoming convinced they had no reserve to support them; but, if such should be the case, to feint being unsupported, and fall back and draw them out. He advanced upon them, they retreating beyond Horn Lake Creek. He discovered at this time a squad on his right and left, which he immediately engaged, they as soon giving way, and returning into the timber. He immediately communicated to me the facts of his engagement, whereupon I advanced with one-half of the 50 men I had left, the 25 sent by the Pigeon Roost road not yet having overtaken us. About the time or a little before my arrival to the front, the enemy had all fled and abandoned their post.
It being now nearly dark, and my men without either food or blankets, I decided to return to camp.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
A. M. SHERMAN, Capt., Commanding Company L, Second Wisconsin Cavalry.
P. S, I met one of our spies coming in from Hernando, who reported Gen. Chalmers' presence there with 400 men, and that Maj. [G. L.] Blythe is this side with 300 men.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pt. II, pp. 144-145.

        17, Union railroad construction, homeguard depredations, Confederate guerrillas and smuggling in the Union City environs; an excerpt from the report of Brigadier General Henry Prince
HDQRS. OF DISTRICT, Columbus, May 17, 1864.
Maj. Gen. C. C. WASHBURN:
GEN.: I have finished the railroad to Moscow, because it is so often difficult to cross the Little Obion, and I can complete to Union City in four days, but am in no haste to begin that part for reasons already given. It is evinced that the road will pay from Union City here if we take the cotton and tobacco which will be offered for freight. My impression is decidedly against taking it, and I shall follow this policy, which is indicated by the orders you have issued for Tennessee, till I receive new instructions from you, if I can. The depredations committed on Union people by the force I sent out under Col. Moore were by the citizens mounted by Gen. Brayman's Special Orders, No. 45. I took away their horses and arms the day after they returned and revoked their permits. They knew the Union people, and selected them for annoyance according to my best information, which is confirmed from all different quarters. There is a force of guerrillas centering at Boydsville on the Tennessee line. Their object is to cover smuggling, I suppose, and I ought to have mounted men to disperse and catch them. A good squadron of cavalry would be very useful here. In the absence of it, I am trying to get up mounted infantry, but my force is limited. I have not latitude for selection or detail of officers, and horses are wanting. The steamer W. W. Crawford is suspected of smuggling.
* * * *
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY PRINCE, Brig.-Gen. of Volunteers.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. II, pp. 34-35.
18, Skirmish with guerrillas north side of Cumberland River near Rough and Ready Furnace
HDQRS. U. S. FORCES, Fort Donelson, Tenn., May 19, 1864.
Capt. B. H. POLK, Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Nashville, Tenn.:
I learned yesterday of a party of guerrillas in camp on the north side of the Cumberland, near Rough and Ready Furnace, commanded by one Hines. I sent forty men after them, but finding they outnumbered us, having over 100 men, did not attack them. Killed 1 of their pickets and returned. I will send out more force to-morrow.
E. C. BROTT, Col. Eighty-third Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Cmdg. Post.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. II, p. 40.

        17, Observations made by an ex-Confederate soldier from the Army of Tennessee while on his way home to the Dyersburgh environs; conditions in Greeneville
....By 6 oclk [sic]. [sic] everything was ready to move but no order was given until about 7 oclk [sic]. [sic] when everything was put in motion for Greeneville. We soon crossed the Nollychucky [sic] River a tolerable wide shallow stream. The road runs through a pretty hilly country though we passed several fine farms with splendid residences-when within half a mile of town we come [sic] to where the yanky [sic] troops were encamped said to be about 2000 about one half of whom were negroes [sic] sort who were nearly all in line clos [sic] on the side of the road where we passed and some of them cursed us as we passed along though we generally said nothing to them. The white and black Yankees [sic] mixed freely and conversed together hail fellows well met [sic]. We passed through Greenville [sic] where white and black of both sexes were mixing freely-The town is rather in bottom being surrounded by hills on every side and is a place of some size especially when the sourrounding [sic] Country is taken into consideration here is the home of Andy Johnston [sic] President of the U. S. we [sic] passed through town about one mile and encamped until further orders., Among the yankies [sic] here there are several deserters from the Confederate Army among them I spoke to.-Evening Clouded [sic] up but awhile after dark Cleared [sic] off-We set up until 10 oclk [sic]. T. W. Jones and myself slept together [sic].
Fielder Diaries.

        18, Report on status of mopping up exercises in Purdy environs
EASTPORT, May 18, 1865.
Maj. Gen. GEORGE H. THOMAS, Cmdg. Department of the Cumberland:
Your dispatches of the 18th are received. Moreland's regiment of cavalry Roddey's brigade, is being paroled at Iuka to-day. The Nineteenth Tennessee Cavalry is now at Corinth to be paroled. A number or irregular bands have surrendered at this place. There are, however a number more gangs that infest Northern Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee, in the vicinity of Purdy. I sent notice too all bands to surrender, and unless the demand is complied with I shall mount all the men possible by using train mules and hunt them down as outlaws. Using mules is the only way I have of keeping up a mounted force by which to keep the country quiet. I send dispatch this day received from Mobile. The line is now completed via Decatur.
EDWARD HATCH, Brevet Maj.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. II, pp. 830-831.

[2] See also: Bangor Whig & Courier, May 21, 1861 and North American and United States Gazette, May 18, 1861.
[3] As cited in:

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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