Tuesday, November 18, 2014

11.18.2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        18, A Confederate Fast Day sermon in Knoxville

Fast Day.-The day was set apart by the President's proclamation was observed more general than any similar occasion within our recollection. With on accord the people rested from business and labor, and large numbers participated in religious worship which was performed in nearly every church of the city. There wee very few violations of the rules of propriety, the temptations to err being measurably removed by the closing of bar rooms, where many are wont to pass the idle hours of ordinary holidays. We have word that the ministers were unusually earnest in their appeals, and congregations seemed to sympathize deeply in the invocations for him addressing of Heaven on our cause. It is our purpose to publish brief sketches of some of the sermons on the occasion, commencing with that of the Rev. Mr. Butler, rector of St. John's [Episcopal] Church-an eloquent discourse upon the theme: A people's Christianity their sure and Only Basis of Permanence and Strength.

His text was selected from Genesis 18:32-"And He said, I will not destroy it, for ten's sake."[1] The mighty truth that the world belongs to God, and the folly and wretchedness of opposing God's purposes, were considered as introductory to the question-How far is the world's life in accordance with the fact that it is God's world? The discord and the bitterness and the oppression of nations-the world's sensuality and shame, its ignorance, superstition, and all its catalogue of vices-tell us with terrible emphasis that the prayer of Christ is not yet the prayer of the world: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." Yet this discouraging truth is relieved by the knowledge that all these must pass away, but "not one jot or tittle of God's word shall fall." Between the dark and damning realities of sin that we behold around us to-day, and that glorious consummation which God has revealed to us, we recognize the reason of every step of the progress in the principle embodies in the text—"I will not destroy it for ten's sake." God has thrown into the current of the world's life a regenerative power-the power of Christianity-and the process of its desecration and decay is checked-the work of dissolution is stayed. Whether this truth is rightly received or wretched and perverted, it is nonetheless the truth of God that the Christianity of the world is the word's safety After some beautiful and appropriate illustrations, the rector proceeded to the day's services. We know, he said, that all fear has its roots deep down in godlessness – we know that the strife that is pouring it's its tide of wretchedness and blood over our land is the godless, inhuman, brutal crusade that has ever stained the page of civilizations. We know that by the blessing of God upon the restless spirit of our people, every blow that our foes have dealt us has recoiled with ten-fold fierceness and destruction upon their own heads. And we know that if we maintain this spirit, and ever look to God for the result, that result will not be uncertain.-Our enemies have "taken the sword" and they will "perish by the sword." They have "sown the wind" and they will "reap the whirlwind." They have lighted a blaze that will scorch and wither much that is fair [words illegible] and good within our own borders; but which the winds of heaven will blow back upon themselves, and its fiery tongues, kindling into seven fold fury-the hand of man shall not quench it. For it is eternally true that "every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labors."

But (proceeded the speaker) there is one thing that we do not know. When the flames of war shall have expired; when those whom that battle and the pestilence have spared shall have reunited to their homes and firesides, now ten-fold more precious for having been defended even to death; when time shall have begun to heal wounds deeper and more full of anguish that those which steel and shell have made; when the shot-ploughed battle-fields shall have hidden their redness in garments of peaceful verdure; when the hand that pointed the cannon guides the plow; and the head that planned campaigns shall employ its comprehensive sagacity in directing, with pure and lofty patriotism, the channels of a nation's weal, shall we then be a righteous people or a godless people?

If, as a people, we shall realize that we are God's people-if we take or successes and lay them, with devout thankfulness, upon the altar of Christianity-if our men go from camp back to their various accustomed places of life and labor with the honest resolve by the help of God to be men of God-if the earnestness and liberality that have been volunteered in the defence of our social rights shall be earnestly employed in succoring our rights in the Church of Christ-if the hands and the hearts of the women as our land shall engage in Christ's work as heartily as they are now engaged in patriotic work-if our Christianity shall keep pace with and hallow the material prosperity that is obliged to fall in our lot-then a bright and unparalleled day of Divine blessing is before us. We will be the chosen instrument of God for working out higher and nobler problems of Christianized society than have ever yet been committed to man. God has accumulated within our borders the material for a people mightier in Christianity and mightier in political and material strength, (the last, let it never be forgotten, only mighty elements of ruins without the former) than the world has ever seen; and it remains for us to say what part we shall take in this consummation.

In conclusion, the speaker urged that the time has come for every citizen to be a Christian, and every patriot to be a Christian patriot. But if, said he, instead of this, we shall, upon the restoration of peace, only plunge into the world with new zest, and follow with unrestrained activity the leading of ambition, and wealth, and fashion, and show, and pleasure, and lust; if we forget that we belong to God-if we forget that we belong to God- if we forget that nations exist solely for the purpose of working out the problem of Christ's Church on earth-which simply means to bring the world into its true position as God's world-then, in the midst of our unheard of prosperity, we shall one day split again upon the rock of godlessness. God grant that this may not be so; but that for the humble faith and the Christian spirit and the Abrahamic pleadings that will this day ascent to the Throne of Heaven, He will not destroy us for the ten's sake, but make us a Christian nation, and so a strong and permanent, and blessed nation, by making every one of us Christian people. The humblest spirit in Christ's Church is a mightier bulwark of defence to our country than a godless statesman with the intellect of an archangel. He serves his country best who serves his God best.

We have selected sketches of other eloquent sermons delivered on Fast Day, which we are compelled to postpone, owing the heavy demand upon our columns.

The Daily Dispatch, November 18, 1861.[2]

        18, Shortages of meal in White County

....I don't know what we and everybody else are to do for meal. The whole neighborhood has been going 8, 10, and 12 miles mill [their grain]. That was bad enough, but now it is worse, for the soldier have pressed those mills.

Diary of Amanda McDowell.

18, Newspaper report on crime in Nashville

Burglaries and Robberies.

On Saturday night [15TH], between the hours of 10 and 11 o'clock, some ten or twelve persons, most of them dressed in Federal uniform, and five or six of them armed with muskets and bayonets, stopped in front of the dry-goods store of Mr. G. Haury, on Jefferson street, between Cherry and Summer, and demanded admission, which Mr. Haury refused. They then stated that they had come by authority to search for arms, and the door still being closed against them they proceeded to break it open, using their bayonets and muskets for that purpose. Mr. Haury called for help from his neighbors, and Mrs. Haury beat lustily upon a drum kept in the house for that purpose; but before any assistance could reach the house (all his neighbors being in bed,) the scoundrels had broken the wooden bar which secured the door on the inside, forced open the lock, and entered the store. The drawers and shelves were examined, when the neighbors began to come to the rescue, and the robbers, thinking they were getting into a tight place, seized several pieces of goods, and ran off, carrying with them more than two hundred dollars worth, and perhaps a ball or two, as several shots were fired by the soldiers and the neighbors of Mr. Haury.

Mr. William Fay, also living on Jefferson street, called upon us yesterday morning to relate his grievances. It appears that he manufactures and sells tobacco and segars, his store being close to his residence, but not adjoining. Week before last his little store was broken open, and a large amount of property stolen, by soldiers evidently, as in crawling through the panel which they had broken out some of their buttons had been torn off, and were found inside the shop door early next morning. On Friday week, about midnight, Mr. Fay and his wife were awakened by a noise as some one trying to break open their shop door. Mr. Fay jumped out of bed and saw a considerable body of cavalry on their horses and regularly armed, which he supposed to be a patrol, and concluding he must have been mistaken, again retired to bed. In a few minutes he again arose and looked out the window, when he distinctly saw men in cavalry uniform, with their rifles and sabres, handing out bundles of tobacco and segars to those on horseback. He called to them to desist, and they threatened to shoot him. His wife went to the window and screamed to loud that the watchman heard her at the railroad depot, but they continued their plundering until they had nearly emptied the shop, when they mounted their horses and rode off. Mrs. Fay, we regret to say, has been very sick ever since the occurrence, and narrowly escaped with her life.

On Sunday [16th]  night the clothing store of Mr. John Swan, on Union street, was broken open and robbed of more than a thousand dollars' worth of goods. The burglars effected an entrance from the rear of the house, leaving nothing behind them by which the smallest clue can be obtained as to the perpetrators of the deed. The police are on the watch, however, and may possibly wake up a portion of the gang one of these days.

A young man named Stevens was robbed on Sunday [16th] night of ninety-odd dollars, under the following circumstances: he was going home a little after eight o'clock, when four men dressed in uniform stopped him and inquired why he was out so late. He informed them it was only a little after eight, and that he though he could remain out until nine o'clock. They stated that they had orders to arrest all citizens found out after eight, and requested him to accompany them to headquarters. They conducted him to a retired spot near the Chattanooga depot, when they halted, drew their pistols, and demanded his money, which he handed to them, and after admonishing him to return in silence, they disappeared.

Nashville Dispatch, November 18, 1862.

        18, "Rebel Specimen of Integrity."

The following order, by the Rebel leader of a mounted corps of horse thieves and house-burners, teaches Union men some wholesome lessons:

Headquarters, Forrest's Cavalry Corps

Athens, [Tenn.] Sept. 28, 1863

General Order [sic] No. 80[3]

I Notice is hereby given to all citizens who have been forced to take an oath of allegiance to the Federal Government, and in consequence thereof have fled the country and left their homes, that all such oaths and obligations are only binding so long as the Federals hold the country. All such citizens are advised to return to their homes, be quiet and peaceable; the Confederate authorities will not molest them.

II. All citizens aiding or abetting the Federals, pointing out Southern men, to have them oppressed and persecuted, or guiding or piloting them through the country, will, when arrested, be tried and later hung as spies and bushwhackers.

II. Notice is given to all prisoners captured at Vicksburg that they have been exchanged; and are expected to rendezvous, and rally again around their flag. Our army has been recently victorious at Chickamauga-capturing 6,000 prisoners, 2,600 stand of small arms, and 41 piece[s] of artillery-the enemy flying from the field leaving their dead and wounded in our hands. Your are relieved from all oaths and obligations to the Federal Government, of every character and kind, and will be unmolested in returning to your respective commands. As brave soldiers and Tennesseans, you are called upon to join you commands with delay.

N. B. Forrest, Brig. Gen. Commanding Forrest's Cav. Corps

Forrest releases all rebels from the obligations of the Federal oath, and pardons their reasons for violating it. What an assumption of Divine power by a Memphis livery-stable keeper, and negro trader! But he did not need to grant them pardon, for nine-tenths of them had no intention to observe the oath when it was administered.

All citizens who made demonstrations in favor of the Union cause, upon the arrival of our forces, are to be shot or hung as spies. This the murderers and scoundrels have been carrying out. We should profit by their example and at least imprison rebel spies, and this city is full of them, both male and female spies. Let us send these spies and mail-carriers to prison; and after hearing the evidence in each case. Let us send those of the male persuasion North, and those of the female gender South!

The notice given to prisoners captured at Vicksburg, that they have been exchanged is simply a lie, [sic] and this Memphis negro-trader knew it when he issued his order. They had not then been exchanged, nor have they yet been. There were [sic] then, a balance of more than forty thousand in our favor. This forcing of their paroled prisoners into ranks, under a false pretence [sic], shows to what extremes they are driven for the want of men and honor. [sic]

Brownlow's Whig and Independent Journal and Rebel Ventilator, November 18, 1863.


[1] God told Abraham that He will punish Sodom, "because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave." Abraham protests that it is not just "to slay the righteous with the wicked," and asks if the whole city can be spared if even ten righteous men are found there. God replies: "For the sake of ten I will not destroy it."

[2] As cited in PQCW.

[3] There is no record of this order in the OR.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-770-1090 ext. 115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


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