Wednesday, September 3, 2014

8.26.2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

    26, Inflation in Jackson environs and Southern optimism

Went to town. Wanted to get my negro shoes. [sic] Got 8 pair. Everything is scarce and high. The north are [sic] straining a point to wipe the South out. They have numbers, better armed navy, &c. The South resolved never, never again to let the Stars and stripes [sic] float over them. So far, the South has had decidedly the advantage in fighting & heaven smiling upon us, we will conquer….

Robert H. Cartmell Diary



        26, Temporary occupation of McMinnville by Federals

HDQRS., Decherd, August 26, 1862.

Gen. THOMAS, McMinnville:

Keep your position at McMinnville, but make nothing like a permanent establishment. Be always ready to move at a moment's notice. That Bragg is this side of the river with a large force is beyond all question; it is hardly probable that it is merely for the purpose of demonstration, and we must be prepared to concentrate promptly. Of course the passage of so large a force across the mountains is difficult, but not so much so as you would suppose from the road you took. The Therman road is very good and the mountain quite easy of ascent. The descent on this side is easy enough by four roads, all diverging from Altamont, the first going by Beersheba to McMinnville, the second by Hickory Creek to McMinnville or toward Manchester, the third also to Manchester and to Decherd by Pelham, and the fourth to Cowan. The Beersheba road is excellent for a mountain road.

* * * *


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, pp. 426-427.


How true it is now that "we know not what a day may bring forth." I am saddened by looking over my record of yesterday. Then I was rejoicing that we could again have an opportunity to "catch our breath"--now the iron clamps are down on us again. This day is a type of the strain of suspense we are in all the time. This morning we heard early that the "Southerners were coming in upon every road," and the news made our heats beat with hope and exultation. The Col. went to town--in an hour or two I saw some 15 men flying out the road in groups, some of whom I thought were Federals. "Ah!" thought I, "the Southerners are coming." I did see some Federals flying I am positively certain. But about 11 o'clock the Col. came back saying that the Yankees were coming in and looking at the road that runs along the base of the mountain, I saw like another "sister Anne" "great clouds of dust"--made by the returning marauders. Soon after a small body of the "blue" cavalry passed out in the direction of Murfreesboro.-Some citizens came into town shortly afterwards reporting that these same cavalry were badly scared,--and it is thought they "saw Southerners" on the mountain and "retired,' These men said also that Nashville is taken by the Confederates--Nashville, Clarksville, and Gallatin. But how can we know? Just such a state of turmoil, and such a hey-day for Rumor, [sic] I have never seen.

War Journal of Lucy Virginia French, entry for August 26, 1862.



        26, Accidental killing of a Union Lieutenant in occupied Nashville

MELANCHOLY DEATH. – On Wednesday (26th) evening last, Lieut. Shelly, of the First Middle Tennessee, was instantly killed at the camp of his regiment, by the premature discharge of a gun. A private returned from guard duty, while placing his gun against a tree near the tent of Lieut. Shelly, cause the accidental discharge of the piece and the ball, too sure in its random aim, penetrated the heart of the young and hopeful officer. He was interred yesterday with all the honors due his rank. In this rude stroke of fate the friends of the deceased have our earnest sympathies.

Nashville Daily Press, August 28, 1863




A good many foolish people hate rats. We do not. We rather like them. We mention this not to be considered exceptional members of the class of foolish people, or as a proof of superior sagacity, but as an apology for saying something about a species of very useful animals that are abused both verbally and in print, a great deal more than they deserve. There are a half a dozen sorts of rats, all belonging to the family of rodents, a class of mammals distinguished by the chisel shape of the incisor teeth. The largest rats in the world are found in Bengal and on the Cormandel coast. They have a body thirteen or fourteen inches long, a tail from fourteen to eighteen inches long, and full grown one of them will weigh three or four pounds. In this country there are found six varieties of rats. The black rats, poor fellow, now nearly extinct, with their short, soft fur, dark backs, lead colored bellies and brown feet; they came to this country in the 16th century, from Europe and are pretty, timid, and active. The grey or Norway rat, which was brought to this country about the time of the Declaration of Independence, and is now the most common variety, was originally brought from Central Asia to Europe, through Russia. It is larger, fiercer, and more voracious than the black rat. The Chinese rats, which are colored black, white and brown, like guinea pigs, and have bluntish [sic] heads, large ears and long black whiskers, are now common in South America and Mexico. They are the prettiest and most easily tamed of the rat kind. On wealthy rat fancier in New York has several hundred pets of this sort. They are so tame that they will come at his call and like to be fondled.

The wood rat of the Gulf States is a very mild and docile variety, living mostly on fruits, roots and grain. The bush rat of the far west is a light brown chap with white feet. The cotton rat is of reddish brown the side being lined with dark brown. It is very pretty, active and easily tames. The common grey rat is so powerful and fierce and prolific, that it drives out all other sorts from its vicinity. It is intelligent and can be trained to perform many tricks, but its quarrelsome disposition makes it difficult to tame. A gentleman of our acquaintance has a female rat that he carries about in his coat pocket, and it is so thoroughly domesticated that it makes no efforts to escape. He has trained it to defend his pocket, and no watch dog can more faithfully guard his master's premises than it does the contents of the pocket.

Through frequently living in filthy localities, rats take great pains to keep themselves clean and their fur smooth. Their prehensile tails can be used for almost all the purposes of hands, and this makes them, when tame, very amusing. Rates are wonderfully prolific. They have young when they are six months old, and produce five or six litter of 12 or 13 ratlets [sic] each every year. The progeny of a pair of rats will thus be much over a million within three years. This prolificness [sic] would make them a great scourge, if their lives were not devoted to useful labor, but rats are very useful. They are the only scavengers we have in Memphis. Even in cities where thorough sewerage removed a vast amount of the decomposing matter that would other wise case disease – rats are indispensable. If there are only one hundred thousand rats in Memphis, and this is a very low estimate, then it take at least two hundred and fifty bushels of food every day to support them, and this food is almost wholly of such vegetable and animal matter as would otherwise be decomposed and generate disease.

Memphis Bulletin, August 26, 1864.

        26, State Reorganization and Federal Conscription in Tennessee

A Draft in Tennessee

For nearly two years a class of outspoken rebels and copperhead politicians have been abusing Andrew Johnson, and swearing that he did not desire the reorganization of our State Government. According to them, the people were "ready, willing and waiting" to be organized and Gov. Johnson was the only obstacle in the way. Now, practical measures are being taken to place the State in its original and true position, these croakers are all in a buzz, and advise people not to attend the Convention in September at Nashville, which, as is well known, was called for the express purpose of looking to restoring to the people those rights of which the rebels have deprived them.

The Nashville Press, edited by a man recently tried before a military; commission on a charge of encouraging desertion, a few days since sneered at the proposed convention, and advised its style of Union men not to attend. Why is this? Why are the friends of the Union and the Administration loaded with abuse on a charge of delaying State reorganization? And then why is it these gentlemen frown down all efforts to bring about that condition of things, which they profess to desire so much? Let us look at it. There [are a] number of gentlemen around Nashville, who have had permits of every grade, who have influence at headquarters contracts-in a word, who have everything they desire in the way of protection and privileges, from a Government which they have immeasurably injured-and yet they are not required to make any return to the Government for its liberty. Is it not plain that there men do not want reorganization because they have got a good thing as it is, and the government has not. They have what they desire, and the Government does not receive what it needs. When reorganization comes this thing will be changed. These men who swear they are loyal will be required to fight or to skedaddle for the Southern Confederacy, or for Canada.-There is a rich harvest of stout soldiers in Nashville for Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam needs them, and Uncle Sam must have them. We have ever contended that Tennessee was more loyal than Kentucky; The draft is to be enforced in Kentucky; then why not in Tennessee? It is as much the duty of Tennesseeans to fight for their Government as the citizens of any State.

Then Union men, lets go to Nashville in full force. Let us give those Middle and West Tennessee gentry our opinion on this subject. Let us announce to our Government that we can stand the enrollment of the militia and a draft, and that we intend that our wealthier portions of the State shall do it. There has been swearing enough down that way to have a little fighting.

Chattanooga Daily Gazette, August 26, 1864. [1]




[1] GALEGROUP - TSLA 19TH CN The reproduction of this article shows the year 1864, yet the identification for the article has the date of February 7, 1865. It appears most likely the year is 1864, however.

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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