Sunday, June 29, 2014

6.29.14 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        29, General Pillow's Order and Proclamation

Major-General Pillow, having given order that whisky and tobacco should be supplied to the soldiers under his command, has issued a proclamation recalling the order. He says that he had no doubt the military board would ratify his action, as he knew the soldiers to be gentlemen and used to plenty of whisky and tobacco. The board disagree with the general.

Boston Daily Advertiser, June 29, 1861. [1]



        29, Colonel Marcellus Mundy, in charge of the U. S. Army Post at Pulaski, to Governor Andrew Johnson relative to secessionist ministers and the execution of SPECIAL ORDERS No. 6 in Pulaski and Giles County

Revt.[sic] Wellburn Mooney, Brooker Shapard, Dr. Jas. A. Sumter, Dr. Charles C. Abernathey and Robert Winstead, Citizens of Giles County who have been active participants in the rebellion as far as urging the enlistment of soldiers in the rebel army and furnishing them with money, arms and outfits--who have industriously circulated reports calculated to aggravate the already inflamed minds of their Country men, keep alive false hopes and check returning loyalty, and who sympaythse [sic] with the rebellion to such an extent as to not only forget by endanger if not destroy the interests of their own people--having been duly notified on the 12th day of this month by the Commandant at this post, that the United States could no longer brook treason in any shape under her flag--and warned, that by ten o clock [sic] of this day they should determine whether they would return to their allegiance to the Federal Government or travel into their prefered [sic] Country and aid their friends who so much need them, having decided that their conscientious scruples [sic] prevented them from taking the oath of allegiance. It is ordered that Captain [Henry G.] Twyman with an escort of twenty mounted scouts conduct them carefully and safely to our lines and deliver them under a flag of truce to any officer of the rebel army that may be met with, together with a Copy [sic] of this order and a request from the Commandant of this Post, that they be so disposed of as to benefit their cause more by deeds then words [sic]--They are allowed to carry with them into the land of their choice their families and property and should they return within our lines except as prisoners of war they will be dealt with as spies-- This disposition has been made of the above named gentlemen because the Commandant has conscientious scruples against taxing the Federal government for their support--

I gave Major Jones[2] further time. He is allowed forty eight hours from Monday, June 30, to place himself beyond our lines. As the offense of Major Jones is one of peculiar inquiry for Civil Courts I am little disposed to let him take the oath which by fair inference may wipe out the record against him. It will not do to leave him here free and untromeled [sic] as justice must be equal handed. The execution of the above order has had a salutary effect-- Many are coming forward voluntarily to take the oath. General I pray for the success of our cause & I am wearing out in my efforts-- unless I can be relieved here soon and ordered to some more congenial post, I shall be compelled to resign or go into the ground....

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 5, pp. 519-520.


        29, Letter of John A. Ritter, 49th Indiana Volunteers

June 29, 1862 from Camp Cortrell, Tenn.

Camp Cortrell Ten [sic]

June 29 1862

Dear Margarett [sic]

I will devote a few moments lesure [sic] in corresponding with you. This is Sunday evening. I have just taken a nap on my cot and feel verry [sic] much refreshed. I am in good health better than I have enjoyed for a long time. I have regained my usual strength. I have not been confined to my bed at any time, I wrote you a letter from Barbeville[3] [sic] that I had not time to finish. I do not now know where I left off but I will not try to resume the same subject. We were cut off from all mail communication and til with in a few days pass [sic] we have been almost lost [entirely?] with out news. Our mail maters [sic] were ordered by Gen Morgan to Williamsburg and it had to be ordered back and it took some time to make this change but the mails has [sic] come at last. I Recd two letters from you one the 5th the 17th. I need not say that I was glad to get them. I also recd a lot of papers that let us in to some doings of the world. We sometimes think that it will not belong the war is over but at other times we are led to think that it may be some time before the war will close. We are anxious for a spedy [sic] but Honorable termination But if the things are to be fixed up for a short time to be soon involved in strife the thinking part of the army is to let it continue, the final result of this strife I have never entertained a doubt but the length is [uncertain?].

You wish to know what to do with the money you have on hand. I am hardly able to advise you. The Paoli Bank or any of the free Banks I think not a verry [sic] safe institution. They are based on state stocks. It is time that there is an individual liability of the stock holders but most of the Bonds of the Southern States I think will depriciate [sic]. The Bank of the state would be safer. I will have Some more money to send home soon that is if the paymaster get sober longe [sic] enough to pay us off. We have four months pay due us tomorrow. The paymaster has been here for two months are more and has made one payment. He is a whiskey soaker and should be [dismissed?] from the service. Liut [sic] Barr [?] will be sent to take the money to Jeffersonville. It will be expressed from Jeffersonville to you. The health of the Reg[iment] is improving verry [sic] fast. We have over 400 for duty now and there are lots of men at home that are abler to be in camp than many that are here. Some that are at Lexington are well and loafing around town. There is an order for all the soldiers & offices to report them selves in 15 day. That will stir out lots of them and if they do not turn out they will have to suffer the penalty. Some never left home to do any service. Others have stood to the [____?] [pipe?] every day. Faucett has come up to the Reg[iment]. He is mending verry [sic] fast. He is not reported for duty yet. He does all that he is able. I shall always be under many obligations to him for the many Kind offices that he has done me. My interest has been his interest and he has watched over me and when sick nurst [sic] me like a child. Col Ray still absent from the Reg[iment]. We have not herd [sic] from him since he left Lexington. Liut [sic] Col Keigwin is in command. The offices and men have the utmost confidence in Keigwin as an officer. As for the money you have on hand do the best you can. I would not like to loose it but that is a [____?] to [men?]. The Bank of the State I expect will be the safest institution at Bedford[____________________?].

We had a good sermon from Brother Hancock. He is [______?] and respected by all. The Tenesees [sic] have fell verry [sic] much in love with him. Gen Carter & Lady attended his meeting do day. Mrs. Carter is a fine sociable lady. She says that all the Carters are clever good folks. I told her that the cleverest woman that I ever saw was name Carter. We have Gen Carter Col Carter & parson Carter with us. All Brothers. The Gen & the parson are verry [sic] prominent men in Teneses.[sic] Parson is a presbyterian [sic] so is the gen. The Tennisee [sic] women flock in to see their men since we have crossed Cumberland mountain.

Since we have began to [_____?] our health there seams to be new life in the camp. All joy mirth & life. I have never witness a grater change. The dull drag of camp life seams to be considrably [sic] mellowed [_____?] We had one deth [sic] in our Reg[iment][iment] to day. The first one for some time. A man from Crawford county. There is meeting to night. I will close for the present. Did you get the letter I sent from Boston I want you to get stackhouse [sic] to settle with Cal Fitts. I wrote you from Boston about it have the claim secured and I do not care about the money [____?] Did you find a note on Cal for 20.00 payable to Sam Wilson with a [___?] of $16 dollars.

J A Ritter


*  *  *  *

Ritter Correspondence.



        29, Skirmish at Decherd and destruction of railroad at Tracy City and Tantalon

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Report of Col. John T. Wilder, Seventeenth Indiana Infantry, commanding First Brigade, during the Middle Tennessee Campaign, June 23-July 7, 1863, relative to the skirmish at Decherd and destruction of railroad lines at Tracy City and Tantalon, June 29, 1863.

HDQRS. 1ST BRIGADE, 4TH DIVISION, 14TH ARMY CORPS, Camp near Duck River Bridge, July 11, 1863.

When we started again up the Cumberland Mountains, [29th] on the Brake field Point road, I determined to break the road, if possible, below Cowan. When partly up the mountain we could plainly see a considerable force of infantry and cavalry near Decherd. We moved forward to the Southern University, and there destroyed the Tracy [City] Railroad track. From there I sent a detachment of 450 men, under Col. Funkhouser, of the Ninety-eighth Illinois, to destroy the railroad at Tantalon, and went forward myself in the direction of Anderson, intending to strike the railroad at that place. Col. Funkhouser reported to me that three railroad trains lay at Tantalon, loaded with troops, and my scouts reported two more trains at Anderson. Both places being approachable only by a bridle-path, I deemed it impossible to accomplish anything further; besides, the picket force left at the railroad, near the university, were driven in by cavalry, who preceded a railroad train loaded with infantry. They were now on my track and in our rear. I collected my force, and determined to extricate them. Leaving a rear guard to skirmish with and draw them down the mountain, I started on the road toward Chattanooga. When about 8 miles from the university, during a tremendous rain, which obliterated our trail, I moved the entire command from the road about 2 miles eastward into the woods, leaving the rear guard to draw them forward down the mountain, which they did, and then escaped through the woods and joined us, some not coming up until next morning [30th].

~ ~ ~

J. T. Wilder, Colonel Seventeenth Indiana Infantry

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, p. 461.



On the night of the 30th June [sic], about 1,500 cavalry made an attack upon Decherd, a railroad station on the Nashville and Chattanooga railroad, 13 miles this side of Tullahoma. We have the particulars from a lady who was there and witnessed it all. It was intended to be a monster destruction of railroad cars, engines, and property, but it was a failure. They did not catch the trains, Notice of their approach had been given and everything was kept out of their way. The telegraph operator remained at this post until they came into the place.-He then hurriedly snatched up his apparatus and a gun and a cartridge box that happened to be in the half of the hall of the house. He made his escape by a back way to a place of concealment. The Yankees, in their rambles about the place, came near him, when he fired and killed one-thought to have been a captain. He immediately made his escape and joined a party of soldier-about 29- who were guarding the water tanks of the railroad. There were attacked by the Yankees and had to give way. They retired to a thick woods near by where, from their concealment, they fired on the villains for nearly an hour.

The enemy burned up the depot and destroyed one of the tanks, but did not do other serious damage. They failed to find the government supplies which were stored there. There were a few ladies in the place, whom they threatened and tried to bully to make them tell where the Government stores were, and how many Confederate troops were at several points nearby, but failed. They all left about midnight.-Confederacy.

Knoxville Daily Southern Chronicle, July 4, 1863.



        29, Excerpt from a Bolivar school girl's diary relative to a skirmish in Bolivar[4]

During this long delay[5] we have seen trouble and joys rise and fall successively. General Forrest's entrance into our little village flushed [us] with victory. His retreat causing sadness to fall upon every body's [sic] spirit. He was in the yard during the whole skirmish. Bullets were whizzing above and below us, burying themselves in and burrowing the ground. One shattered a paling near where Ma was standing. Houses, twenty three in number were burnt the stores were sacked, the merchants' chests were blown and hammered to pieces. The Confederates went South, and lately have had a large battle. It was a victory, but oh so dearly bought. Of Company E Captain Tate, Charly, Neely and Billie Hardy killed. Dashiell Perkins wounded. Adjutant Poe was killed. These were all that I knew. Charly Neely's death was indeed a sad one. Idolized by his family, he was a gallant soldier, noble boy and a constant christian [sic].

Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress, June 29, 1864.




[1] As cited in PQCW.

[2] Thomas Jones, a member of the Provisional Confederate Congress.

[3] Barbourville, Kentucky.

[4] The OR has no mention of any skirmish in Bolivar involving Forrest or any of his command for either May or June 1864. Nor does Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee indicate any such fight. Forrest was apparently in Bolivar in late April and/or early May 1864, as the documents below suggest. There might well have been a skirmish in Bolivar of the kind Fentress describes in her diary. Taking into account the date of the entry, June 29, 1864, and the brevity of her words, it might well be that she was referring to a skirmish sometime between April 23 and May 2, 1864. Unfortunately there seems no other evidence to corroborate the skirmish dramatically recorded by Ms. Fentress. Forrest's retreat from West Tennessee after his raid is not well documented in the OR. See: OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, p. 545; Vol. 38, pt. IV, p. 110; Vol. 39, pt. II, pp. 8-9.

[5] Her last entry was on May 9.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-770-1090 ext. 123456

(615)-532-1549  FAX


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