Saturday, November 22, 2014

11.22.2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

James B. Jones, Jr.        22, Tales of Brave Spouses in Knoxville

The Noble Wives of Knoxville.

The Chicago Journal says that after Parson's [sic] Brownlow's paper was suppressed by the rebels, he still persisted in defending the flag of the Union, until at length it became apparent to his friends that it could no longer be of any service to keep it flying. They also saw that he was jeopardizing the life of all his family, and finally prevailed on him to take it down. His wife, on perceiving what he was about to do, forbade him. "No," said Mrs. Brownlow, "your hand shall never strike the American flag. If it must come down, I will take it down myself. That act shall never be written of Parson Brownlow-and she then reluctantly drew down the flag.

When Parson Brownlow's Stars and Stripes no longer tossed the folds to the breeze, there still waved another American flag at Knoxville. It was that of Mr. Williams. He was a bold, brave, true man-and had quietly but firmly attached and defended the flag on its standard at his house-top. His premises were closely watched by the rebels. They saw him depart one day for a far two or three miles distant, and immediately prepared for their work. Some horsemen were detailed to take the flag down. Mrs. Williams saw them coming and stepped to the door with a loaded rifle in her hand. When within hearing, "Halt" she exclaimed with the firm voice of a sentry" Halt!" and pointed the rifle into their midst. They all halted a moment and conversed together. Non dare advance. One by one they turned and rode away. Up to a late date that flag remained unfurled.[1]

The Scioto Gazette, (Chillicothe, OH) November 26, 1861. [2]

        22, Self-emancipated Slaves at Fort Pickering, Memphis


Among the other disadvantages under which we labor is that of the negroes. The rebels, of course, have no scruples on this head, but, in accordance with their system of considering them as property, put them to their full use as animals. The National Government, on the other hand, treat them as human beings, and are, consequently, put to considerable expense, trouble, danger and inconvenience-for, as there are Benedict Arnolds and Jeff. Daviess among the whites, so there are spies among the blacks, and the utmost vigilance is needful to prevent these ostensible refugees from giving intelligence to the enemy. Indeed, so debased has the "divine institution" made many of the men thus rescued from slavery that they are just as willing to betray their saviors as their oppressors.

Close to Fort Pickering, Memphis, and on the banks of the Mississippi, the National Government has formed a camp for the contrabands, which our Artist, Mr. Lovie, sketched lately.[3] He says that they are employed in labor about the fort, which they perform willingly enough-but accustomed to work only under the lash, they do not seem to understand to labor freely, even though paid a pro rate for what they do. With firm overseers, they however, contain material, which, with judicious culture , may be elevated and made more useful as free laborers than as slaves.

Frank Leslies Illustrated Newspaper, November 22, 1862

        22, A letter from John Kennerly Ferris to his wife in Coffee County

Camp before Chattanooga

Sunday evening, November 22, 1863

2 o'clock

Well Mary,

This is another beautiful Sunday for the season and might be pleasantly spent by me with you, but every thing is monotonous here. There seems to nothing here to please the fancy of us who are bound but should be free. The Yankeys [sic] are very busy just now, shelling some waggons [sic] of ours that are going up the Mountain, and although the shells burst right in sight of here, it is such a common occurrence that I do not even raise up to see them-let alone go out of my tent. They throw shells in sight of our Camps everyday and sometimes in them, and our men do the same by their so that the fire of a cannon or the report of an exploded shell is no more noticed in this army than the crowing of a cock at home.

Not withstanding, this is a monotonous place. There is a move, perhaps of some great importance, going on here, if we could understand it. A good many of our troops have in the last few days gone on top of Lookout Mountain and, perhaps, over it for aught we know, and some seem to be moveing [sic] to our rear, for what purpose we do not know but suppose the Enemy is trying to flank us on our left.

We have a strong force gone into East Tenn....They say we will get Tenn. back, they think as far as Nashville but no farther....I do hope this may soon prove true.

I have just at this moment learned that we have to move from this Camp this evening. But I suppose it is only for a short distance but far enough to put us to a good deal of trouble, for we have a good brick chimney to our tent, which we will lose, and its loss to us will be of some importance. But if we only knew that we would stay any length of time where we are going, we could soon build another. But we may move every other day for a week. Something is going to be done here soon, but what I am not able to say, but I think that one Army of the other will have to fall back soon. Should our Army fall back, a great many of our men will desert-a thing they are now doing to some extent but not like the will if we start back towards Atlanta, Geo. [sic]

The Civil War Diary of John Kennerly Farris.

        22, "WAR PICTURES – No. 1" United States Military Road System in Tennessee, some details of its operation, a lesson in modern military logistics

The Military Railroad System

The Immensity of the Military Railroad System in the South-The Government Workshops and Manufactories in Nashville-Graphic Description of the System, by our Special Correspondent.

* * * *

Nashville, Tenn. Tuesday, Nov. 15, 1864.

Few persons, even of those in the highest military stations, are acquainted with the gigantic efforts which have been called into requisition to sustain our armies occupying this portion of the Southwest. The results thus far have fully met the expectations of the most sanguine.

It will be remembered that Nashville was first occupied by National troops in February 1862. The Confederate forces, before retiring from the city, destroyed everything in the shape of machinery for manufacturing purposes, stores, etc.-but most particularly did the retreating armies employ themselves in making complete their work of destruction in the shops and manufactories attached to the Nashville and Chattanooga and the Tennessee and Alabama Railroad, which had been of the most vital importance to the railroad system of this section. And eminently so in assisting the progress of the rebellion. Everything in the shape of locomotives and rolling stock was, of course, removed, and has since served our enemies in those districts of Dixie not penetrated by the warriors of the Imperial Republic.

You will at once perceive that everything necessary to the running of the road above mentioned must be replaced. A short time after Gen. Buell arrived in Tennessee a few locomotives and a small number of cars were produced, and at the close of August trains ran between Nashville and Stevenson upon one raid, and between Nashville and Huntsville upon the other, in less than four weeks after Gen. Bull's retrograde movement took place, and the railroads above referred to were necessarily abandoned in consequence. The entire length of these roads within four miles of Nashville were in the possession of the enemy until the battle of Stone [sic] River. A few cars subsequently were daily run to and from Murfreesboro. A little over a year ago we located our army at Chattanooga, and less than one year ago trains were run through from Nashville to Chattanooga. Let me compare the military railroad system of one year ago with to-day:

Chaos is no more! [sic]

There are now about fifteen hundred miles of road, employing eighteen thousand men, as mechanics, engineers, blacksmiths, conductors, brakemen, laborers, &c. The rolling stock consists of 271 engines and 2,000 cars, while the buildings erected within the past year, and occupied by this particular branch extends several miles-a detailed description of which I shall give below. I will add, however, that these buildings are built upon the most improved plan of wooden structures, all of which are guarded day and night, and protected against fire by a multiplicity of rotary engines, steam fire-pumps, cisterns, &c., &c.

All this is, in a great measure, owing to the sagacity and zeal of Gen. McCullum, Col. J. C. Crane and Mr. Anderson, to whom the country at large is greatly indebted. To Col. Grane must the highest honors belong, for the existence of this stupendous transformation. His is the executive eye, and to him almost entirely belongs the credit of bringing about this great change. Great credit, however, is also due to Gen. McCullum; Mr. A. Anderson, and the Commander-in-Chief- of the Military Division of the Mississippi, who together with Col. Crane, have shown to the world a new feature in the art of war, namely, building a railroad which shall keep pace with an advancing army, and each evening deliver the necessary supplies for the coming day.

The expenses incident to the running of the military railroads in the Division of the Mississippi, including the purchases of material and the payment of employes [sic], reached the astonishing sum of $2,200,00 per month.

Below I give a detailed description of Col. Crane's department, the result of a visit which I made on Tuesday last [November 8].


This is by far the immensest [sic] establishment of the kind in the country-perhaps the world. I shall endeavor to give you a fair view of its exterior and interior, realizing the fact, however, that no such picture can urge the imagination to a proper conception of its vast proportions.

The locomotive and machine department is under the efficient superintendence of Mr. E. P. Benjamin, and employs three thousand men. The main building is two hundred feet long and eighty wide, and is in process of extension, its projected extreme length to be 450 feet. The upper part of this building is used for rebuilding and repairing locomotives and tenders, and is called the erecting floor. This spacious room will accommodate thirty-four engines at a time. Really, the shop has not yet built a new locomotive: but every piece of machinery necessary in the construction of an engine or locomotive with the exception of the wheel tire, has been turned out. Captured and crippled locomotives find their way into this shop, and in a few weeks steam out as good as new. The foreman of the locomotive-ship pointed out to me a magnificent-looking engine which had been elevated from a worn out boiler. [sic] Everything about the structure had been manufactured in this shop, except the boiler and driving wheels. While I think of it here, nothing is manufactured by the Government, the foreman informed me, which involves a loss, except a steam whistle. These can be bought cheaper than they can be manufactured, and the manufacturer of them in whose has been discontinued in consequence. During my stay upon the erecting floor, I saw a locomotive moved from one track to another, the performance of which required two men and lasted just half an hour. The locomotive was raised by an apparatus called a hydrostatic jack, placed upon a substantial track, and transferred from one track to another.

Adjoining this huge building is the machine shop, which is over two hundred feet long, filled with the most improved machinery of the age, up stairs and down. There are some very fine machines down stairs, including a marine lather, for turning heavy shafting; a lather for truck axles; a compound planer, for all kinds of light planing; two hundred planers; drill press, for all sorts of light and heavy drilling; heavy drill press; large lathe, for turning locomotive flying-wheels-turning two at a time; slotting machines, used for horizontal planing; and two boring mills. In the upper machine shop are five bolt-cutting machines, capable of doing the heaviest of work; cotter and key-seating machine, self-feeding; several gear-cutting machines; six drilling machines; large boring and turning mill; large hydrostatic press, for putting car wheels on axles; two large driving-wheel lathes; seven planing machines; two milling machines, and twenty lathes, all sizes and descriptions. The entire machinery is new, and of the most improved pattern, and is chiefly from the well-known establishments of William Sellers, Philadelphia; Bament & Dougherty, Industrial Works, Philadelphia; Putnam Machine Company, Fitchburg, Mass.; Lowell Machine Company, Lowell, Mass: John Paishley, New-Haven, Conn., and others.

The machinery of the whole, establishment is run by two horizontal engines of three hundred horse-power. These engines were formerly in the Memphis Navy yard. After the breaking out of the rebellion they were removed from Memphis and placed in the gun-factory erected in this city by the enemies of the country, for the manufacture of small arms. The engine and fire-room is a perfect parlor, over which towers a chimney 120 feet in height, the brick used in its construction having been taken from old houses which were torn down for that purpose.

One of the most perfect and completely arranged blacksmith shops is connected with the locomotive and machine department. The foreman of the shop, Mr. Duncan Livingstone, pronounces it the completest workshop of the in the country. It is about two hundred feet in length and eighty in width, and employs nearly two hundred of the best blacksmiths that could be found, all of whom receive from three and half to ten dollars a day. There are four forges which are blown by steam. By an invention of one of the employes of this shop, the ashes and coal-dust is carried off by the same blast which blows the fire, making the forge present a clean appearance at all times. Every variety of heavy work as well as light is turned out here.

Connected with this department is a foundry, in which all kinds of work are turned out. There are also carpentry and pattern shops, in which the woodwork for the locomotive and tenders are manufactured. There is also an immense storehouse, nearly two hundred feet long, containing an endless variety of everything used upon a locomotive and railroad, such as axes, shovels, picks, ropes, lanterns, oil-cans, stoves, lamps, batting, &c., &c.

A "round house," which is to be the largest in the country, is in process of construction, which, when completed, will have sixty stalls, and will be so constructed that one hundred locomotives maybe accommodated at a time.

One of the most durable structures is a water-tank, which has just been finished. It is 75 feet long and 25 feet long, cut out of solid rock (for the reader will recollect that Nashville is situated on a rock,) and done by negroes [sic]. The existence of this tank is a wonder, and is entitled to higher rank than a multiplicity of renowned structures which loom up in a greater advantage.

Within a few steps of the workshops, connected with the locomotive and Machine Department, are the commodious lodging houses and dining halls for the men connected thereto. There are some forth houses in all, many of which are over two hundred feet in length. In addition to these are at least a hundred negro cabins, the entire collection making quite a respectable town. I will conclude by saying that the duties of three thousand men in this department is to keep two hundred and seventy-one locomotives in good repair and complete running order.


The car department, only second in proportion to the locomotive and machine department, employs at present fifteen hundred men, under the superintendence of Mr. George Herrick formerly of the New York and Erie Railroad. The chief duty of the employes [sic] of this department is to keep in good repair three thousand freight and baggage cars, and will build two hundred of the former and six [hundred] of the latter during the coming Winter. [sic] Every inch of iron, brass and wood work, including the painting and upholstering, is performed here.

The main building of the car department is two hundred and two feet long and eighty wide, and is solely used for the manufacturing and repairing of cars. At present, Mr. Herrick is having a headquarters car built for Gen. Thomas, which, for convenience and elegance, is the finest affair I have ever seen. With the exception of the ornamental work, this model combination of house and carriage is complete. It is an iron-plated vehicle, fifty-feet in length and of the usual width, containing a kitchen, dining saloon [sic] sleeping apartment, wash-room, and water closet, and office. Nothing could be more complete, while the upholstery and ornamental work is recherché. A car of the same description is also being manufactured for Gen. McCullum. Mer Herrick has also transformed half a dozen superb cars, which were capture a long time ago upon the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, late hospital carriages, which must elicit the hearty appreciation of many a poor fellow whom may yet require the necessity of testing the mode of conveyance. This car is intended to run up to the battle-field, and is so arranged that the wounded never leave their mattress from the time they are placed upon it upon the battle-field until they are removed to their cots in the hospitals at Nashville. The cars are all ventilated by an invention of the manufacturer, and when empty present an incomprehensible mass of network, composed of iron and India-rubber. Each car will accommodate 30 badly wounded. The hospital train always follows the passenger train, and the utmost care is taken to guard against accidents; and I will state here, that since the commencement of running these improved hospital carriages, no soldier had sustained the slightest injury. There are attached to the Car Department a blacksmith's shop, brass and iron foundries, and paint, glass and upholstery shops, besides a spacious storehouse. The blacksmith shop is upon the same order as the one in the locomotive and machine department, except that it does not employ so many hands. This shop, in connection with the iron foundry, manufactures all the iron work and castings used about a baggage or passenger car and engines. The brass foundry turns out all the articles of this metal required about cars and engines, all of which are handsome specimens of excellent workmanship. Every ounce of dust and dirt is saved, and all the sweepings of the foundry, and washed out like gold dust. The pain, glass and upholstery shops employ about a hundred hands, who are kept constantly at work at their various trades. The employes in the car department are so amply accommodated with lodgings as those at the locomotive and machine shops.


I almost forgot to mention that this establishment has just turned out a sort of hermaphrodite affair, which is called a "gunboat car." It will accommodate twenty men inside, who can keep off with the Minie rifle two hundred of an attacking party with out fear of injury. Armed with the Spencer rifle, a much greater body of men could be driven off the twenty soldiers inside. Upon the top of the car may be placed a six-pounder, which could be used with effect upon a retiring party.


The carpenters' department occupy building a short distance from those above described. There are about five hundred men employed in this department, under the superintendence of Mr. Nagle. This squad of men are engaged solely in building, and are already the founders of a large town.


The hospital, provided for the reception and care of all who may become sick, or who may receive injuries in any of the departments of Col. Crane, or who may be wounded upon any of the railroads, consists of a pretty collection of houses about two hundred yards to the west of the workshops. Without extending this subject, I will say that it is complete in every particular, it is under the superintendence of Dr. Fargnarharon [?], a genuine Union man, of Gallatin, Tenn., who has sacrificed thousands of dollars during the progress of the rebellion. He is ably assisted by Dr. Stemmerman, and other, including Dr. Sheffield, Professor of Homeopathy. At present there are less than a hundred patients; there are accommodations for four hundred.


A spacious freight house occupies the premises of Col Drane, used chiefly for the storage of freight enroute South. It is six hundred and seventy five feet long [sic], and nearly one hundred wide.


It must be remembered that a large number of the clerks and other employees of the Quartermaster Department, are enrolled and liable to be called out at any time, not only in the defence of the city, but to assist in the protection of stores and depots in any section of the Military Division of the Mississippi. Col. Crane has organized and commands a brigade of infantry, and has armed and equipped them, and built an armory, which is two hundred feel long by eighty wide. Most of the men composing this brigade are picked, nearly all of whom have seen from three months' to three years' service. The brigade has already been called into the field of action and can be ready for service at an hour's notice.


I cannot close without saying a few words more in relation to Col. John C. Crane, the efficient and accommodating Quartermaster who is at the head and front of this immense railroad fabric. Col. Crane is one of those extraordinary young man, who, despite his great responsibilities of this office, the continuous annoyance that must necessarily exist where so many employes are congregated, bears all who seeming ease. His office is at all hours besieged with a crowd of men, each of whom brings his story of grievance, or request for favors, to all of which he listens with kind attention, tendering such advices as his judgment suggests as most likely to subserve their interests and the welfare of the Government. Every spike, every hall, every foot of timber, every pound of metal used in the shops and on the road, must be property accounted for, as well as every dime of the $2,200,000 which is monthly expended.

Col. Crane entered the service as a private soldier in the First Missouri Cavalry, but he was shortly after selected for a more prominent position-one more fitting his ability. He was instrumental in having the first Western regiment of cavalry accepted by the War Department in 1861, and at that time was offered the command of the regiment, but refusing it, became its Quartermaster. Early in 1862, he was appointed a Captain and Assistant Quartermaster, and ordered to report to headquarters Army of the Potomac, and during the Maryland campaign rendered good service. By the devotion to duty, &c., he has fairly won his present rank.

Col. Crane has been relieved, and ordered to report to Cincinnati as "Inspector of the Quartermaster's Department," a position [in] which he will no doubt [serve] all with credit to himself and the department.

Benjamin C. Truman

New York Times, November 22, 1864.

        22, "Juvenile Precocity"

Last night Coroner Coleman was called upon to hold an inquest upon the body of John Phillips, aged 14 years, who was killed about 7 o'clock last night by Oliver Morton, aged 12 years, a son of Dr. Morton. From what we can learn on the subject, some person had stolen some cigars from the Commercial Hotel, and John Phillips accused Oliver of taking them, calling him a "d____d thieving son of a _____," at which Oliver drew his pistol, and shot John, the ball taking effect in the lower part of the breast bone, passing through the lungs, and lodging in the back, causing death in a few minutes. A verdict in accordance with the above facts was rendered.

Nashville Dispatch, November 23, 1864.


[1] The narrative of Mrs. Williams was told later and with Parson Brownlow's daughter defending the flag, as told in Major W. D. Reynolds Miss Martha Brownlow; or the Heroine of Tennessee-a truthful and graphic account of the many perils and privations endured by Miss Martha Brownlow, the lovely and accomplished daughter of the celebrated Parson Brownlow, during her residence with her father in Knoxville (1864). Either Major Reynolds appropriated the story or it had by 1864 become East Tennessee Unionist folklore.


[3] Not found.

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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