Saturday, September 6, 2014

9.6.14 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        6, "Cutting It Fat."

Some of our merchants, not greatly troubled with some conscientious scruples, are now reaping a golden harvest. It may be reasonably expected that those of them receiving their goods by way of a short [cut] across the line dividing Dixie from Nod [sic], would increase their prices to suit the nature of the case, but our citizens were hardly prepared to see them demanding a profit of 200 per cent. Whenever the margin of profit gets to be wider than Broad street, it has ceased to be reasonable, and does not deserve to be very liberally encouraged. The spirit of extortion will soon be crushed out, if wearers and consumers will firmly resolve to buy no article whatever until absolutely compelled to do so. Wear patched garment, take additional care of your old hats, bonnets, boots and shoes, live on cheaper food, do anything within the bounds of decency to obviate the necessity of buying a dime's worth from any one you have reason to regard as an extortioner. Nashville is not altogether...of that class of heartless individuals, who would wickedly mock at the calamity of their neighbors, if it but enables them to pout gold in their purses. Or people know them, and should now and forever avoid them, as they would [not enter] a house on fire or a city visited by the plague. [1]

Nashville Daily Gazette, September 6, 1861.

        6, "Soldier's Aid Society."

An adjourned meeting of the Montgomery Soldiers' Aid Society was held on the Courthouse on Monday the 2d inst. President McCulloch was in the chair, and all other officers present, except one, Vice-President and the Treasurer. [sic]

All the districts, but two or three, were represented, and reported, but the reports from all save one, Pea Ridge, were informal and incomplete and therefore no publication of them will be made until they can be furnished complete.

The reports were very favorable as they went, and showed that the people were fully alive to the importance of the work, before the, and determined to carry it through.

A letter, from Robertson county, was read giving assurance that the people there would cooperate actively with us, in the work.

The President stated, also, that he had written to parties in Stewart county, urging them to bring the matter before their people. A vote from Miss Mollie Ward, of White Hall, in district No. 3, tendering, on part of herself, and some friends, a box of supplies for our soldiers was read to the Society.-Further supplies are promised from the same generous source.

Mr. John F. Barnes, who arrived here, a few days ago, from our regiment in Virginia, made by request of the society, a full and interesting report of the location, health, wants, prospects, &c., of the regiment. Mr. B. was sent here, by Col. Forbes, to take charge of any supplies going to the regiment, and to take forward men left behind; and will start back on the 16th inst.

After a stirring speech by Hon. A. Robb, and some remarks by Judge Wisdom, [sic] and others in behalf of the objects of the Society, they adjourned to meet again at the court-house, next Monday, at 11 o'clock A.M., at which time reports, it is hoped, will be made from every district in the county.

T. McCulloch, Prest.

Chas. M. Hiter, Rec. Sec'y.

Clarksville Chronicle, September 6, 1861.



        6, News scarcity in Nashville

In these piping times of war and confusion, few people have a more difficult task to perform than the City Editor. The reader expects to see his department filled every day, no matter what happens, but if nothing happens?—what then? No one will commit suicide or murder, fight a duel, or do any other foolish or diabolical act, from which a paragraph may be made. Even a drunken man is a rare occurrence now, and even this miserable pittance is snapped up the Provost Guard, instead of the Police, thus depriving us of an item and the city Treasury of a fine. The haunts of the "frail fair ones" are as quiet as graveyards at midnight, and in public houses the stillness is only broken by the sound of the billiard balls. Yesterday a horse threw his rider, but he fell in such manner as to avoid even a scratch. Had he broken a leg or an arm, or his neck, something might have been said about inexperienced riders venturing upon fiery steeds, etc., etc., and perhaps a heart-rending obituary might have followed. A dog was run over, but the little fellow picked himself up and ran off unharmed. We went to the work-house, but nothing had "turned up."  At the Recorder's office all was quiet. Squire Southgate had nothing exciting on hand. The grape-vine was not in working order. The telegraph wires have been out of fix since the storm played thunder with them, and every one we meet has a very improbable story to tell, which he is ready to vouch for, of how "Morgan captured two prisoners yesterday in Kentucky," how he took a train the same day in Alabama; how he was seizing horses in Tennessee, and at night we are told at the theatre that "John Morgan's got yer Mule" [sic]—the mule that quiet and inoffensive country gentleman lost in camp some time ago. The reader will therefore make charitable allowances for any lack of local items.

Nashville Dispatch, September 6, 1862.

        6-7, Racial conflict and soldier rioting in Nashville; the "Bloody Tenth" runs amuck

On Saturday night [6th] a dense crowd assembled at the theatre. All that part of the auditorium set apart for white people was crowded at an early hour, so that standing room could scarcely be obtained, when a number of privates in the Tenth Ohio occupied the negro gallery. Before the first act was over, that part of the house also became crowded; and at the fall of the curtain some of the negroes left their seats and were passing through the crowd, when some soldiers seized them and knocked them down. In ten minutes every negro had been badly beaten and elected from the house, some of them being thrown entirely down the stairs, from the top to the bottom. As the last one disappeared, quietness was again restored. No alarm was visible in the lower part of the house, and when the band had finished their performances the curtain rose, and the play proceeded without interruption.

Leaving the theatre, several members of the Tenth repaired to Smoky Row, where they soon came in contact with the Provost Guard. After considerable disturbance with them, they committed some depredations on houses in the neighborhood, which were finally brought to a close by a volley from the guard, wounding one of the disturbers in the leg, and enabling the guard to arrest others.

On Sunday morning the soldiers resumed their attacks upon the negroes—this time displaying their pugnacious propensities especially against those negroes dressed in Federal uniform. On the Square, Deputy Marshal Steele probably saved the life of one negro by advising him to take off his coat, when the soldiers around him tore it to atoms, having previously knocked the negro down several times to make him take off his clothes. On Deaderick street they caught another negro in uniform, and literally stripped it off him, leaving him to escape well covered with bruises and only partially with rags. Another negro in uniform was caught on Gay street. At their request, he very wisely took off his military coat, when the soldiers tore it to shreds and threw it in the street. Two or three other cases occurred during the afternoon, but no material damage was done.      

On College street,some members of "The Bloody Tenth," as they said, got into a fight with some other soldiers. Rocks and fists were freely used, and blood flowed copiously, when an officer rode up and put a stop to further bloodshed. All things considered, such disgraceful proceedings were never before witnessed in Nashville, and we hope never to be compelled to witness a repetition of similar riotous conduct.

In Edgefield many depredations were committed, but no personal injury inflicted, that we have heard. Several stores were broken open—among them a liquor store, from which all the whiskey was taken, and we are informed that everything about the premises afterwards destroyed.

Nashville Dispatch, September 9, 1862.



        6, "Disgraceful Riot in South Nashville-Two Houses Fired."

A most disgraceful riot occurred yesterday in a disreputable locality near the ruins of the old Asylum, in South Nashville. About two o'clock p. m., a party of soldiers, twenty or more in number, entered a house of ill-fame where beer was kept for sale, and demanded as much beer as they could drink, without offering to pay for it. The women refused to adhere to this unreasonable proposition, whereupon the dastardly men assailed them, and were in turned pitched into by the beer-venders, who manfully [sic] stood their ground until the base rogues resorted to the torch to subdue them. They set fire to the beer saloon and a house adjoining, both of which were occupied by the women, Ellen Gallagher, Mary Murphy, and Ann Coffin. The former building was totally consumed, but the flames were extinguished before the other was damaged materially. The rioters would not permit the inmates to remove any article of furniture from the house, but some one of their own number took a certain sum of money from the burning wreck. On the approach of the guard, the crowd rapidly dispersed and only six of the rascals were secured, Their names are James K.P. Harris, D. Post, and Joseph, Gregory, of the Third Ohio Cavalry, and Pat Kelly, Wm. Wallace, and Ed. Shelby, of the Fifth Michigan Battery. They were safely lodged in the Penitentiary, Every exertion is being made to apprehend the remainder of the scamps, and they will hardly escape. While no tears will be shed over the loss of such a notorious brothel, it is but just that the perpetrators of the incendiary act should meet with the severest punishment. Such an example of crime, if uncorrected, will lead to dangers innumerable and appalling.

Nashville Daily Press, September 7, 1863.


"THE RIOT." – We yesterday received the following note in correction of an error in our report of the riot which took place in South Nashville on Sunday evening last. The mistake alluded to did not originate with us, of course. We gladly exonerate the two soldiers by publishing the communication


Mr. Editor: Allow me to correct a statement that appeared in this morning's Press, in connection with the fire in this vicinity yesterday. Messrs. Harris, Post and Gregory, of the Third Ohio Cavalry, who were arrested on suspicion of being the incendiaries, did not go near the buildings in question until they attracted a crowd, as they are abundantly able to prove.

On the representation of this fact by Lieut. Garfield, the officer in command, they were released this morning. They have just come from the front for the purpose of getting horses, and it seemed that they should fall victims to the zeal of the soldiers who serve their country by fifty or a hundred miles from the rebels. Hoping you will do them the justice to publish this, I remain yours,

J. Linselsy

Nashville Daily Press, September 8, 1863.

        6, "Religious."

It surely gratified our good citizens to observe that the ministerial and Sabbath-school service in our churches were yesterday partially revived. In the noble effort to reinstall the sacred observances of the day we are charged to keep holy, we trust there will be no relaxation until every church and Sunday-school shall have been placed on its wonted basis of free, undisturbed operation. Nothing is so potent to elevate and give character to a community as the manifestation of an abiding interest in the welfare of its temples of God; when this is wanting, as our people know by sad experience, all dignity and comeliness, as a city, and all charitableness and purity of conduct as a people are utterly inexistent. [sic] The several churches open for worship were well attended and a fair proportion of the little ones resumed their places at the Sabbath-schools.

We listened to the morning discourse, at the Cathedral, of Archbishop John 'Baptist Purcell of Cincinnati, who is paying a transient visit to the Department of the Cumberland. The distinguished prelate was heard by an immense congregation of both Catholics and Protestants....As a sermon addressed to the reason and not a pretentious fulmination of pulpit oratory, it was received with breathless attention. The Archbishop in advocating the divinity of Christ and contending for the trueness of the Catholic faith, spoke with convincing force and pathos-employing the illustrative facts of sacred history, almost unadorned by any of the arts of rhetoric. He impressed his hearers as a divine of practical dealings with Scripture, and a logical enforces of sacred truths. The musical exercises of the morning included several sublime compositions, which were sweetly rendered by the members of the choir and the organist, Prof. Charles Schoppeiroi. The lecture delivered by the Archbishop, in the evening, was attended by another large concourse of all denominations. We regret that we could not be present. Archbishop Purcell's mission to this Department is one of observation in behalf of the comfort of the sick and disabled soldiers. His visits to the various hospitals have proved satisfactory in all respects, we believe, He is expected shortly to return to his labors in Cincinnati.

Nashville Daily Press, September 7, 1863.



        6, Skirmish at Readyville

SEPTEMBER 6, 1864.-Skirmish at Readyville, Tenn.


No. 1.-Col. Thomas J. Jordan, Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry.

No. 2.-Col. George G. Dibrell, Thirteenth Tennessee (Confederate) Cavalry, commanding brigade.

No. 1.

Report of Col. Thomas J. Jordan, Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry.

HDQRS. NINTH PENNSYLVANIA CAVALRY, Murfreesborough, Tenn., September 6, 1864.

SIR: Agreeably to orders from Gen. Van Cleve I proceeded with my command (the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry, 550 men) at 1 a. m. on the McMinnville road in search of a rebel column commanded by Dibrell. At break of day I discovered the encampment of the enemy at Readyville, and at once made dispositions for attack, and the moment that it was sufficiently light I ordered Maj. Kimmel to charge the enemy with four companies, while Maj. Appel, with three companies, deployed as skirmishers, was ordered to strike the left flank of the enemy at the same moment that the saber charge under Maj. Kimmel should attack the right. Maj. Longsdorf supported Maj. Kimmel's charge with three companies. At fifteen minutes before 5 a. m. the charge was ordered, and the men went gallantly into action. The enemy were 1,800 strong, 1,200 of whom were armed, the remainder were recruits. In ten minutes the enemy were in confusion, and in an hour Dibrell's brigade was a mass of fugitives. The action began at Stone's River, at Readyville, and the flying enemy pursued to Woodbury, five miles.

We captured 130 prisoners, 200 horses, 200 saddles; also a large number of Enfield rifles, all of which I ordered to be destroyed, as I had no means of transporting them to a place of safety. The enemy lost 25 killed and about 100 wounded. My own loss was 1 man killed, 6 wounded, and 5 missing. I also lost 18 horses killed and disabled during the charge.

Too much praise cannot be awarded to Maj. Kimmel, Maj. Appel, and Maj. Longsdorf, for their gallantry in this action.

Amongst my wounded are Lieut. Thomas W. Jordan, Company H, very severely in two places; and Lieut. W. M. Potter, slightly through the right arm.

All my officers and men behaved in the most praiseworthy manner.

Respectfully reported.

THOS. J. JORDAN, Col. Ninth Pennsylvania Veteran Cavalry.

No. 2.

Excerpt from the Report of Col. George G. Dibrell, Thirteenth Tennessee (Confederate) Cavalry, commanding brigade.

HDQRS. DIBRELL'S BRIGADE, Greenville, S. C., October 19, 1864.

For the information of the major-general commanding I respectfully submit the following report of my operations since I left the command at Sparta, Tenn.:

* * * *

After my scouts in advance having reported that they had seen a large cavalry force pass down the Readyville and Murfreesborough pikes, and a consultation with officers of the different commands then with me, and owing to the large number of unarmed men with us, we decided not to attempt to cross the railroad near Murfreesborough, as the Yankee papers of that morning stated our forces were retreating south of Columbia, but turned up the Readyville pike, intending to move to the vicinity of Tullahoma, and if possible cross the railroad and join the main force, and in case we were satisfied you had gone to the Tennessee River we would likewise move across the mountains and endeavor to make our way out. Traveling on until 12 o'clock at night, we encamped between Readyville and Woodbury, placing out pickets all around us, with orders to move on at daylight next morning. Just as we were about moving the enemy, supposed to be 800 strong (Ninth Pennsylvania and mounted infantry), about half mounted, the others dismounted, having surprised and got between our pickets (who were of Maj. Wright's command, of Gen. Robertson's brigade) and our camps, came charging upon us. I used every effort to rally the men, but owing to the large number unarmed, quite a stampede took place and it was with difficulty that they could be rallied and checked. After stopping them I determined to make for the mountains, and did so, recrossing the Caney Fork below Rock Island, where all the stragglers came in. Our loss was 2 killed, 2 seriously wounded and left, and 61 captured, making a total loss to us of 65 men and about 50 horses. We killed 10, wounded 25, and captured 8 of the enemy. They admitted in their published accounts their killed and wounded 35. Eight of their dead they left on the field.

* * * *

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. I, pp. 495-496.

Excerpt from the Report of Brig. Gen. Horatio P. Van Cleve, U. S. Army, commanding U. S. Forces, Murfreesborough, Tenn., of operations during Wheeler's raid, relative to the skirmish at Readyville

HDQRS. U. S. FORCES, Murfreesborough, Tenn., September 6, 1864.

MAJ....information was brought to me last evening that a rebel force coming from Lebanon had taken the Las Cassas [sic] road and were moving eastward. Supposing it to be a part of Wheeler's force...[I] [i]mmediately notified Col. Thomas J. Jordan, who had opportunity arrived with his regiment, the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry, of his movement, and, notwithstanding his men were weary from a long march, he [on the 6th] did not hesitate to start instantly in pursuit. He overtook them this morning at daybreak at Readyville, charged and utterly routed them, driving them pell mell [sic] through Woodbury, killing 25, wounding many, and capturing 130 men and 200 horses, with equipments.

* * * *

Col. Jordan made the attack with 550 men with drawn sabres....

H. P. VAN CLEVE, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 38, pt. II. p. 504.

Comment on the skirmish at Readyville by Lucy Virginia French

....Yesterday (6th) Coffee's men came flying back past here [McMinnville]--it seems that Dibbrell with 1200 was between Readyville and Woodbury. They were surprised and run into by some of ...[the] 9th Penna [sic] and they say the "new recruits got stampeded and stampeded the rest."...I felt sorry for those young boys--they started out only a day or so previous in such fine spirits. All the command have gone to Sparta....

War Journal of Lucy Virginia French, entry for September 7, 1864.

        6, "An Affair at the 'Iron Clad.'"

Sunday evening a young man, whose troubles are not unfrequent, by reason of his festive disposition, suffering from some real or fancied wrong - real, perhaps, knocked at the door of a well known house of ill-fame, styled the "Iron Clad." The call was answered by one of the frail ones of the house, who inquired, "who's there?" The reply, "It's me" [sic] in familiar tones, caused her to open the door, which was no sooner done that she received in the face an overpowering shower of asafoetida from a syringe in the hands of the outsider. Overcome by the fragrant drug she turned to retreat, and in so doing received a brisk fire in the rear, from the same battery, after which the enemy retreated in "disorder." Her screams brought her fallen sisters and some visitors to the scene. But the perfume was so strong, they were soon obliged to leave, not, however, until most of them had became infected by it. There were strange oaths, and stranger doffing of clothing, it is said, and many of the garments, it was found necessary to bury. The victim, no doubt, suffers as if a polecat had attacked her. We learn that since the affair occurred, persons passing the premises indulge in the mysterious demonstration of squeezing their nasal appendages between their digits, so peculiar is the atmosphere surrounding them. The cause of this singular outrage is best known to those concerned.

Memphis Bulletin, September 6, 1864.



        6, Court Martial of Frank B. Curley



Washington, September 6, 1865.

I. Before a military commission which convened at Nashville, Tenn., December 2, 1863, pursuant to Special Orders, No. 321, dated headquarters Department of the Cumberland, Nashville, Tenn., November 30, 1863, and of which Col. John F. Miller, Twenty-ninth Indiana Volunteers, is president, was arraigned and tried-

Frank B. Gurley, citizen.

CHARGE: Murder.

Specification.-In this, that the said Frank B. Gurley, not being lawfully in the service of the so-called Confederate States, but being banded together with certain other citizens for the purpose of killing, robbing, and plundering Federal soldiers and loyal citizens of the United States, did feloniously shoot with a revolving pistol and kill Brig. Gen. Robert L. McCook, an officer in the service of the United States, without any provocation whatever, and while the said Brig. Gen. Robert L. McCook was lying sick and helpless in an ambulance. All this in the vicinity of the town of New Market, Madison County, Ala., and on or about the 5th day of August, A. D. 1862. All this in time of war.

To which charge and specification the accused, Frank B. Gurley, pleaded not guilty.


The commission, having maturely considered the evidence adduced, finds the accused, Frank B. Gurley, citizen, as follows:

Of the specification, guilty.

Of the charge, guilty.


And the commission does therefore sentence him, Frank B. Gurley, citizen, to be hanged by the neck until he is dead, at such time and place as the general commanding may order, two-thirds of the members of the commission concurring in said sentence.

II. The proceedings, finding, and sentence of the military commission in the foregoing case of Frank B. Gurley have been approved by the general commanding the Department of the Cumberland and forwarded for the action of the President of the United States, who directs that the sentence be carried into execution.

By order of the Secretary of War:

E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.



Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War, with recommendation that the proper military authorities at Nashville be ordered to cause the arrest and execution of this murderer, who is now at large, it is believed, somewhere in the State of Tennessee. Under a misapprehension, he is understood to have been, within a short time, exchanged as a prisoner of war, and has thus regained his liberty. This, however, does not at all exempt him from the operation of the death sentence then and still hanging over him. The murder of Gen. McCook by this man was one of cowardly and cold-blooded atrocity, and no pains should be spared to enforce the forfeiture of life which the sentence has declared.

J. HOLT, Judge-Advocate-Gen.

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 8, pp. 741-742.


[1] By September 1861 conditions were such that civilians were feeling the pinch and profiteering was common.

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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