3, The Parable of the Patriotic, Self-sacrificing Tennessee Plantation Mistress
A Noble Woman.
We overheard a conversation some few weeks since, which threw light upon the character of our fair countrywomen. A lady, young and beautiful, a graduate of one of our most popular Female Colleges, married the choice of her heart. They have a large plantation and a strong force to work it. He felt it to be his duty to lead a company of his neighbors and friends to the field of war to meet the invaders of our homes. But she was in such a condition that he hesitated to go from home, and for a time she was not quite willing that he should leave her.
After some deliberation and consultation with friends, however, she said she earnestly desired him to go. ["]But who will take care of the plantation?"
"I can do it myself."
"You will need at least an overseer?"
"No, I can manage better than any overseer we are likely to procure."
"You must not be left alone."
"No, I will get some sensible woman for a companion. That is all I need or wish."
"What if you are disturbed or insulted?"
"I can shoot as well as my husband."
"What if your servants rebel against your authority?"
"There is no danger. They love me too well, and if need be I can make them fear me."
"Then you really wish your husband to go?"
"I do not like to be separated from him. It is a terrible trial, but some must go. And between submission to the North and the short separation from my husband it is easy to choose. I can't go and fight but I can stay and take his place on the plantation while he is gone. Let him go and do his duty. I will stay and do mine."
Tennessee and all the South is full of just such women. They can and will, to a great extent, take upon themselves the cares and labors of the loved ones who have gone to the camp, so far at least as business is concerned. Why will not our sisters in the churches do the same, so far as practicable, in the labors of the church and the Sabbath School? Much or most that is to be done in the school they can do as well or better than anybody else. Try it sisters. Try it at once. Don't let your school disband or if it has done so, don't let another Sabbath pass till you gather it again. Don't wait for some one else to begin. Begin yourself, by going at once to the others who will help you, and secure the hearty co-operation of all. These times of trouble and distress are no time to neglect the duties of religion. When the dampness of death broods over the land the light of religion is more needful than ever. Take your places, then, at once, my sisters in the Lord. Fill up, at once, the ranks left vacant by our brethren who have gone to defend you and the "other loved ones at home" from horrors worse than death. Don't let the cause of God, at home, suffer from their absence any more than the good lady referred to above intends to let the interest of her noble husband suffer in his absence.
A. C. D.
Tennessee Baptist, August 3, 1861.
3, Letter from Confederate soldier Moses Joseph Nichols to his father David H. Nichols in Cookeville, expressing contempt for Yankees and desire to do battle
Aug. 3, 1862
I again avail myself of an opportunity which I am always glad of. Happy am I to inform you that I have the consoling privilege of sitting beneath the shade of Tennessee Oaks while I endeavor to communicate with my friendship [sic] to you with quick steps and glad hearts, we put our feet to Tennessee soil on the 27th ult. [sic] All glad to find enough uninvaded ground to strike camp on, also to find water pure and cool. We find the weather to be much more pleasant here than in Miss. The weather, water and people seem so delightful that we feel like we have emerged from a land of despair to a land of felicity.
A great change has taken place among the Tenn. troops, they were thought to be the bravest species in Virginia, South Carolina and Miss., but since the moved they all seem to frown with madness and bravery [at?] the thought of enemy being among our friends and relatives is sufficient to prompt every country loving man to action amediately [sic]. Here we are within one hundred miles of home, but for fear of being troubled by the cannon [of the] invaders of our state we dare not visit home and friends. They are wickedly infesting our vicinities, destroying privet [sic] property and like roaring lions they are traversing Tennessee, seeking whom they may devour. They even rob poor helpless women and children of their provisions and leave crying infants reaching their weak hands for bread. What is to be done with the Murders [sic] of women and children? It recurs [sic] to all at once that they should be treated likewise. This is a thing hard for us to endure without vigorously rushing forward and snatching them from their positions, as an eagle does her prey. We are expecting to have Gens. Buel [sic] and Mitchels [sic] supplies cut off in a short time, when it will be that we will liberate Tennessee. [sic] After we get them cut off from their beef and crackers, they will fail to get backers and we will drive them off as a shepherd drives his herd, only we will be a little rougher than they usually are. We will generally order them out of our premises and if they fail to respond fairly we will slightly [sic] put our bayonets to them and push them Northward until they strike their own soil. And when they are convinced that we are getting in good killing spirits they surely will get cold in their cause as some has already gotten. [sic] Before we get done with them we will make them men of consideration and cause them to think seriously on the subject of war. The whole Northern army consists of poor deluted [sic] scoundrels, who cares [sic] for nothing but money and something to eat. Lincoln has made another call for troops, but finds them slow to act. They have found out the grilling shame by which the hirelings were dragged into the field. If he gets them at all he will have to raise their wages. All that we have to do now to achieve liberty is a general forward movement with sabers in front pointing at the hearts of those Godforgetting [sic] invaders, who so much hate us and who curl the lips of derision at Southern rebellion, let us be co-workers in this struggle and add golden feathers to our gleaming laurels which we have so vigorously won on gory fields of battle. If the victories we have gained heretofore is [sic] not sufficient to prove our intentions, the beholders is hard to convince, it ought to prove [to] all at once that we will die fighting for freedom, rather than be conquered by so unworthy cohorts. Independence is a thing worth working for, and we must work with the whole heart and have spirits. [sic] If we accomplish our design and unless consolidated forces ______________, [sic] it will take years to effect peace. The thing has to be settled some way in a short time, or we will have a debt hanging over us for ages, but the debt is nothing compared with the object of our design. We had rather have a debt hanging over us through life than be brought under the tyranical [sic] laws of the North. We will take death before subjugation, and debt before Northern laws. There cause [sic] must be an unjust one and they can never complete there [sic] boasted determination, which they so clamorously difused [sic] among nations. In the outset they boated of things they cannot stand up to, and are this day sorry that they bragged so strenuously of their power and ability. A few more good overthrows such as those at Manassa, [sic] Shiloh, and Elkhorn and Richmon [sic] and many other points will [weaken] their line so much that it will be hard for them to form a line of battle. After we get our conscriptions in the Field [sic] they had better make their wills, for they must surely die, or flee from our soil with celerity. They have already been running from their post at several points, which fulfills our passage from the Scripture, (the guilty fleeith when no one persueth) [sic]. They have no human regard for civility, but go in for a wicked contest entirely, and one thing is certainly true, if they do not change their notions they will undoubtedly fall into oblivion without mercy. At their downfall we will endeavor to thrive and enjoy freedom. The Glittering Moments [sic] of Southern liberty is [sic] fast building[,] the day is near at hand for us to reap our reward on earth, which will be pure satisfaction through life, and cause has proven to the world to be truly just. Nations abroad looks [sic] on us as soldiers laboring for our just deserts. England and France are expecting us to be successful in the outcome not long from this day. We will be free from the North and Northern oppression. There is enough at stake to call forth all friends of liberty to working for their country and firesides. The soldiers all seem to be on the right side of the question. While there is [sic] some men in the dungeon of unionism, in a few days we will complete the work in Tenn. [sic] and free the people, as well as those portly [sic] fellow who could not muster up courage to take their own part in the National struggle. Good for Nashville in a short time. [sic]
Father we are near enough for you to come to see us by land, and I want to see you so much as ever. I want to see you particularly at this time. Try to come soon and I think you will never regret the trip.
Stock is in fine demand at present, beef is worth 10 c[ents] per lb., horses are selling very high since the army came in. A drove of beef cattle would pay very well if you could get them cheap.
Mother I would love to see you and Grandmother, and all the children, but I rather you would not come to camp for this is no place for women. Wait a while [sic] and we will get a change to visit you.
This leaves us all in good helth [sic] and fine spirits. Give my best love and respects to all inquiring friends. Tell them all to write and be sure to write soon, giving the news in general.
I am dear Father, Mother and Grandmother, your dutiful son and will ever remain so.
Moses Joseph Nichols
W. P. A. Civil War Records, Vol. 3, pp. 121-123.
3, Coffee County Claims
August the 3d 1863
Manchester Coffee County Tenn.
To his Excellency – Governor Andrew Johnson of Tenn.
Dear Sir if it will not be too great a trespass upon your time I desire you to inform me of the proper mode of getting Duplicates against the united States Government for private property taken for public uses by unauthorized person in the 'Service of the united States from peaceable Citizens[.] there is quite a number of Such cases in Coffee County[.] the people has [sic] been Severely robed [sic] in my neighborhood of their Stock and provision and in a majority of cases of unauthorized persons that could not give receipts without criminating themselves[.] the people of this Country is generally poor there being but few Slave holders in it and they are generally all loyal to the old government[.] I can Speak with certainty in regard to my own district[.] there [sic] is 45 voters in it and 44 of them is union men and as Sutch [sic] they expected and ask the federal they expect and ask the federal Authorities for the benefit of that paragraph in the Constitution of the united States that expressly Says that private property Shall not be taken for public use without Just Compensation[.] [sic] I will Say to you that my Neighbors and fellow Citizens has put Several thousand Dollars of Sutch [sic] claims in to my hands for collection and I want to know how to proceed to get them adjusted and the Commanding General at Manchester though & excellent Man Cannot [sic] give me the desired information as to who will be entitled to pay nor what kind of a tribunal will adjust Sutch [sic] claims but Sent Some of my papers up to General Rosencrantz [sic] but they have not returned and I concluded you General Rosencrantz [sic] but they have not returned and I concluded you could inform me on this Subject[.] I will inform you that the people is [sic] all willing to give the government a Set [sic] off their war tax when they have been robed [sic] of their property[.] I petition you excellence to write to me what Certificates of Indebtedness against the united [sic] States Government [sic] can be negotiated at in current funds groceries or provisions in Nashville[.] As early & answer [sic] as practicable is desired from your excellency[.] by Complying with the above requests by you will confer a great favor upon the under Signed [sic] and many good loyal Citazens [sic] of Coffee County who will ever feel grateful to your Excellency for So [sic] kind a favor[.]
I remain your most Obedient and humble Servant
John H. Townsend esqr
Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 310
3, "…I talked a few minutes when him and six of his men came to the door with pistols cocked, and asked me where I was from and what was my business there." Dispersal of guerrillas in, Spencer, Van Buren County
Liberty Tennessee Augt. 5th/1864
Sir I hereby Send [sic] you a report of what I have done Since [sic] I last reported. On the 3d of this Month I received news of Capt. Carter and Champ Ferguson Combining forces and moving in the direction of Tracty [sic] city with the intention of attacking it. I immediately Started [sic] with fifteen men in pursuit of him[.] after traveling Some [sic] Sixty [sic] miles I reached Spencer. I there arrested a man who Seemed [sic] to know where Carter was, and informed me that he had returned from his attack on Tracy City. He informed me that Carter and his men was [sic] then at Hemlock Hollow, which is Twelve miles from Spencer on the Chattanooga Road. I then set my plan to get him. My self and Vannatta disguised ourselves and Started [sic] in the advance. Some [sic] four miles from Spencer where I stopt [sic] to enquaire [sic] after talking a few minutes telling them I was a Southern Soldier and wanted to find Capt Carter, I talked a few minutes when him and Six [sic] of his men came to the door with pistols cocked, and asked me where I was from and what was my business there. I told him that I was from Lebanon and then gave him an introduction to Mr. Smith was Vannatta and told him we wished to Join [sic] him. He then remarked to me to go to the Stable and feed our horses and have dinner[.] As I was unsaddling expecting to have a good time my men came in view of the house[.] Carters [sic] men discovered them, and it was not more than twenty steps to a Swampy thicket where it was impossible or a horst to go throug. [sic] I dismounted my men and pushed through but Succeeded only in hitting one, I captured all their horses and equipment also a large amount of goods that he had captured at Tracy City. I then searched the house [sic] and premises where I found about five wagon loads of arms and ammunition which I had piled and burned [sic] for want of transportation[.] The arms was principally Enfield Rifles, unserviceable and all loaded which made it dangerous when they were burnd [sic] [.] If you will permit those fifteen men to remain with me I will insure that Carter will never mount himself or make another raid[.]
Your Obedient Servt Joseph H. Blackburn, Comdg. Detchmt
Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 7, pp. 76-77.
1865 - 3, "I suppose it is because I will not sneeze when he snuffs." Post Civil War elections in West Tennessee
Election today for members to the Federal Congress. Every voter has to get a certificate from the county court clerk to make him a qualified voter he has to come within the several articles and sections of what is known as the franchise act of the bogus Legislature under Wm. G. Brownlow's administrator of the government of Tenn. The voters at Trezevant, Carroll Co., were as condemned looking assembly of men as I ever saw. They looked as if their conscience condemned them. I think when things get right they will acknowledge their conscience did hurt them. I have no more use for some of them. I have seen his foot. I can vouch for a red-hot secessionist of the fire-eating order but not for me. I suppose it is because I will not sneeze when he snuffs. I have done them all the favours [sic] I could in person & property. The Confederate soldiers, perhaps, have done the same for me. If so, I thank them. But I do not thank them for their disfranchising course, especially their partialities.
 As cited in: http://www.uttyl.edu/vbetts.
 According to fn. 3, p.77, Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol.7, John Vanatta was a DeKalb County farmer and sergeant, Co. L, Fifth Tennessee Cavalry.
 According to fn 1, p. 77, Papers of Andrew Johnson Vol. 7, Blackburn was a cavalry officer who had recently resigned from the Fifth Tennessee Cavalry as Captain and was raising his own regiment. At this point in time he commanded a detachment which would constitute the core of a fully organized cavalry unit by September 1864.
James B. Jones, Jr.
Tennessee Historical Commission
2941 Lebanon Road
Nashville, TN 37214
Tennessee Historical Commission
2941 Lebanon Road
Nashville, TN 37214
(615)-770-1090 ext. 123456