Saturday, December 20, 2014

12.20.2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        ca. 20, Afflicted Confederate soldiers arrive in Murfreesboro, excerpt from the diary of John C. Spence

About the twentieth of the month, a large number of sick soldiers was [sic] sent forward from Nashville and other places to this hospital. This being the first introduction of hospital services at this place. All ever on the go and anxious to see who could render the most aid to the sick, having quite a store room of clothing. [sic] As fast as the soldiers would come they were washed and a suit of clean clothes were put on them. A comfortable bunk assigned them, and upon the whole, a hospital did not appear so bad after all.

The meal times were regular and of the best that was to be had. A long table was spread with a clean cloth, plates, knives, and forks, and other necessary things to set off, and a plenty [sic] to attend the wants of the soldiers. In fact, it was not far behind a second rate Hotel, and all felt a patriotic feeling for the comforts of the soldiers. If there was a chance for a man to get well, he had it there.

Spence Diary.

        20, "Thanks."

The corporation of the city of Nashville return their sincere thanks to the Rev. W. Hooten, who lives on the line of the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad, for two car loads of wood, for distribution to the poor of the city, which as been received at the Work House. Fuel and provisions are much needed and will be than fully received at the Work House.

Nashville Daily Gazette, December 20, 1861.

        20, "Selling Fire Crackers."

A law of the cooperation of Nashville attaches a heavy and just penalty to selling fire crackers. The law is violated now quite extensively, for it really seems that every boy in town has for the past few days carried his hat, picket and boots crammed full of these abominable little red baby-wakers and throw them around without regard to consequences. Officers of the city inform us that they will today begin the rigid reinforcement of the law against fire cracker vending. Look out.

Nashville Daily Gazette, December 20, 1861.[1]

        20, "Pork."

This article, we have heard, has still an advancing tendency in our market. Ten dollars gross has been paid for some weeks past, but we saw it refused by one of our farmers for hogs in the pen.

We are told that one reason for the upward tendency (if not actual advance) is in Government agents bidding against each other. They are paid a commission on all they buy, and hence are anxious to buy all they can. Such competition should not exist, it is injurious both to private consumers and the Government.

Beef cattle are selling at 3 cents on foot...Glen & Carr are Government purchasing agents. F. M. Bruce & Co. Government packers.

Clarksville Chronicle, December 20, 1861.

        ca. 20, Afflicted Confederate soldiers arrive in Murfreesboro, excerpt from the diary of John C. Spence

About the twentieth of the month, a large number of sick soldiers was [sic] sent forward from Nashville and other places to this hospital. This being the first introduction of hospital services at this place. All ever on the go and anxious to see who could render the most aid to the sick, having quite a store room of clothing. [sic] As fast as the soldiers would come they were washed and a suit of clean clothes were put on them. A comfortable bunk assigned them, and upon the whole, a hospital did not appear so bad after all.

The meal times were regular and of the best that was to be had. A long table was spread with a clean cloth, plates, knives, and forks, and other necessary things to set off, and a plenty [sic] to attend the wants of the soldiers. In fact, it was not far behind a second rate Hotel, and all felt a patriotic feeling for the comforts of the soldiers. If there was a chance for a man to get well, he had it there.

Spence Diary.

        20, Capture of Trenton

Reports of Col. George P. Ihrie, U. S. Army, of capture of Trenton [December 20th. 1862] and skirmish at Railroad Crossing, Forked Deer River.

SAINT LOUIS, MO., December 31, 1862.

COLONEL: I herewith submit an official report of the saving of two Government trains, with heavy mails and very large amount of private money on board, and the recapture of the town of Humboldt, Tenn., by United States troops, over whom I had assumed command, together with subsequent Official proceedings directly connected.

About 1 p. m. of the instant I learned the progress of the regular passenger train from Jackson, Tenn., to Columbus, Ky., with a guard of infantry, on which I was a passenger (under orders from the general commanding the department) was impeded by from 400 to 600 Confederate cavalry strongly posted, with a section of artillery, on the north side of the main branch of Forked Deer River and commanding every approach to the river from the south side, and that brisk firing was then going on between this force and the bridge guard of Companies H and I, Captain Harts and Shockey, One hundred and sixth Illinois Infantry, inside a block-house under the railroad bridge.

The train being immediately backed, with the view of returning to Jackson, I sent word to the officer commanding its guard, suggesting he "should dismount his command from the cars and go to the support of the bridge guard," which he did not do. After running back about 5 miles, a negro [sic] on horseback came galloping up the track and informed the conductor that a large force of cavalry was in our rear burning and tearing up the track. A quarter of a mile farther we saw the track on fire and several men in butternut clothes otherwise destroying in, and on a hill close by some cavalry, partly concealed by trees and underbrush.

It was now evident to every one we were caught in a well-laid trap, and the train and passengers in imminent danger of being captured. During this time several officers and citizens (passengers) remarked to me "the want of a head" and suggested I should "take command," which I declined to do on the ground of being a staff officer.

The train was now run forward to a stockade guarding some trestle work, and garrisoned by Company K, One hundred and sixth Illinois Infantry, where we found a construction train, with guard of infantry commanded by Col. John Rogers, Seventh Tennessee Infantry, which had preceded us from Jackson and which had just returned from the bridge, having been fired at six times by the Confederate artillery. As the firing was still going on at the bridge I was surprised to find that this train guard had not gone to their relief after having been in sight of them. At the stockade all was confusion and "the want of a head" apparent. The senior line officer present (Colonel Rogers) was utterly at loss what to do, and admitted his inexperience and incompetency to some of the passengers, who now again came to me and asked to "take command," which I again refused, but said I would advise with the senior line officer present, and going to him so informed him. At this juncture several came to me and whispered he (Colonel Rogers) and his regiment were Tennesseans without experience-had just run away from the bridge and were not reliable. I noticed the enemy were following us up pretty close to our rear, and at once decided to assume command. I so informed him, in which he cheerfully acquiesced, obeying all my orders to the best of his ability until we were out of danger.

I now ordered some officers on leave of absence to duty; dismounted the train guard; ordered the one company at the stockade to remain with the trains, which were to follow us, as a guard; threw out one company in advance as skirmishers, and proceeded with the balance up the track to relieve the garrison in the block-house by dislodging the enemy. About 1 ½ miles from the railroad bridge I found a wagon road crossing miles east of the railroad bridge where the enemy were posted. I here ordered two companies to support the skirmishers, all to proceed cautiously up the track, taking advantage of the ditches and timber, and to engage the enemy. With the rest I struck off to the east on the wagon road to turn their left flank, and reached the river just in time to save the wagon-road bridge, which had been fired; crossed over; pressed a citizen residing there into service as guide; threw out another company as skirmishers, and made all haste down the right (north) bank of the river, to find the enemy had fled, dropping some clothing and cartridge-boxes filled with cartridges in their hasty retreat, and the garrison relieved with both trains up to the bridge.

On being informed they had taken the road to Humboldt, Tenn., 3 miles distant, and up the track, I re-enforced the two block-house companies with the one stockade company, and ordering the trains to keep well closed up and near us as possible, started up the track in pursuit, finding two short trestle bridges slightly burned and cut.

It was now getting dark, and on nearing the town we saw several houses on fire, and could easily distinguish the hostile cavalry riding about by the light of the flames. Cautioning the men to extreme silence and stealthfulness I divided my command in three columns, holding one company in reserve on the track, two columns to strike off to the right of the track to encircle the town and to open fire on reaching the vicinity of the houses, one column to the left, to open fire if the enemy attempted to escape in that direction. In quarter [sic] of an hour the right column opened in a lively manner, causing the enemy to scamper in the direction of Trenton, Tenn., and to forget some of their plunder.

The town of Humboldt was recaptured, and three stentorian cheers from the reunited command rung out upon the night air and pealed upon the unwilling ears of the disappointed and baffled Confederates.

The railroad north and south was immediately picketed, and one of my staff ordered to obtain information from the citizens about the wagon roads and the country, with a view to making a map. Colonel Rogers was ordered to take his regiment and occupy the fort which commands the whole place and vicinity, and instructions generally given that "in case of an attack, all to rally in the fort." The two trains soon came up, the damage to the trestle bridges having been easily and speedily repaired, and all were saved and safe.

These good results were the more gratifying as they were accomplished with but 1 wounded on our side. The Confederate loss was 2 killed and 4 wounded. About an hour later I was astonished to learn that Colonel Rogers had not only willfully disobeyed my order by abandoning the fort and camping his regiment in the safest part of the town, but had failed to inform me of the same, thereby endangering our lives and risking the capture of my command. In consequence of this insubordination (bordering closely upon cowardice), and apprehensive of his influence upon his regiment, reported to me at the stockade as unreliable; cut off as we were from all communications, without supplies, without artillery, and hemmed in by a cunning, bold, and watchful enemy, with six or eight pieces of light artillery, who, if he attacked us at all would attack us next morning at daylight, I deemed it prudent to take no notice of his unprecedented conduct at the time, but directed Lieut. Col. E. M. Beardsley, One hundred and twenty-sixth Illinois Infantry, with his battalion of five companies, to occupy and hold the fort, and ordered up the three companies left at the bridge to re-enforce him.

The next day and night (December 21) I endeavored to get couriers through to Jackson for a section of artillery and one company of cavalry as scouts, but all failed.

On the morning of the 22d, learning the Confederate cavalry were still in Trenton, and my command having been re-enforced by a battalion of infantry, I ordered what supplies we had obtained by foraging to be cooked, intending to make a circuitous night march upon Trenton and to attack it at daybreak the next morning.

About 5 p. m. I placed Colonel Rogers in arrest by order of Major-General Grant; directed him to report I in person to the commanding officer at Jackson for trial by court-martial, sending the commanding officer at Jackson a copy of the charges, &c., to be forwarded to your headquarters. I informed you by telegraph of what I had done, and why I did it, the same evening. About 6.45 p. m. Brig. Gen. I.N. Haynie, U. S. Volunteers, arrived and relieved me at 9 p. m. from command. Half hour [sic] after the arrival of General Haynie I received from Brig. Gen. J.C. Sullivan, U. S. Volunteers, commanding the District of Jackson, Department of the Tennessee, the following telegram:

JACKSON, [December] 22, [1862].

Colonel IHRIE:

General Haynie has at least 1,000 men. I have ordered up artillery. I can spare no more men, as Bolivar may have to be re-enforced. I think the rebels are leaving.

JER. C. SULLIVAN, Brigadier-General.

To which I made the following reply:

HUMBOLDT, December 22, 1862-7.15 p. m.

General SULLIVAN, Jackson:

Don't want more men. Never asked for more men except some cavalry. Nothing but starvation would have got me out this strong fort. Haynie arrived half hour ago.

GEORGE P. IHRIE, Colonel, Commanding.

At 7.30 p. m. of the 23d December was surprised to receive a telegram from you informing me General Sullivan had preferred charges against me for assumption of authority. At 8 p. m. I was astonished and confounded by being arrested by General Haynie, in accordance with the following telegram:

JACKSON, [December] 23, [1862].

Brigadier-General HAYNIE:

By order of General Grant you will immediately place Col. George P. Ihrie under arrest and order him to report at Holly Springs.

JER. C. SULLIVAN, Brigadier-General.

I immediately telegraphed you twice to know whether or not General Grant had authorized General Sullivan to have me arrested, to which I have received no categorical answer. I am yet at loss to understand this strange proceeding. Colonel Rogers reported himself the morning of the 23d December to Brigadier-General Sullivan, the officer commanding at Jackson, as directed, and was by him released from arrest and returned to duty with his regiment. Considering the man's inexperience and incompetency and utter unfitness for the command of anything military, to say nothing of his insubordination, and, I'm afraid, cowardice, I could not see that the exigency of the service required his release; and believing such offenses (aggravated in this case by the circumstances of our position) to be destructive of all order and discipline, and if allowed to go unpunished certain to render inefficient and uncontrollable any army in the world, I deemed it my duty to prefer charges against Brigadier-General Sullivan, a copy of which was duly forwarded to you. The few Official papers rendered necessary by my assumption of command on the 20th December I inclosed to General Sullivan to be forwarded to your headquarters.

I herewith inclose you my order, issued on being relieved from command by Brigadier-General Haynie, U. S. Volunteers.

I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEORGE P. IHRIE, Colonel and Aide-de-Camp, U. S. Army.

P.S.-I add my telegram to the general commanding the department announcing the result:

HUMBOLDT, December 22, [1862].

Maj. Gen. U. S. GRANT, Oxford, Miss.:

The troops under my command, after some brisk skirmishing, recaptured this place day before yesterday little after dark, driving out the Confederate cavalry and causing them to drop some of their plunder. We also saved two of our trains. The road is cut up to Union City in numerous places and telegraphic communications with Columbus is destroyed. If I had had a single piece of artillery I should have fought my way to Union City.

GEORGE P. IHRIE, Colonel, Commanding.

SAINT LOUIS, MO., December 31, 1862.

SIR: I herewith report to you that the officer commanding United States troops at Trenton, Tenn., at the time it was attacked by Forrest's Confederate cavalry, selected the worst possible place for defense, the railroad depot, entirely and easily commanded from two different points, only about 200 yards distant, and situated on the western edge of the town and on low, flat ground. It seems to have been his studious care to save the town at the expense of the surrender of his command. Trenton is built like most of the Southern towns you have visited-a brick court-house I the center of a square surrounded by houses. Had he taken up his position in this court-house and barricaded the streets leading to it, through the faces of the square, with cotton bales the Confederate artillery never could have reached him, except through the houses of their friends. Here he could have held out one, two, or three days, when he would have been relieved by the arrival of our troops, as I had made arrangements to make a night march upon Trenton the day I was relieved by General Haynie. I will only add when his position for defense was made known to me I could hardly believe it, and felt mortified I the extreme.

I come now to even a more painful subject. On reaching Columbus, Ky., on the night of the 29th instant, via Hickman, Ky., I found the commanding officer there even worse stampeded than was the commanding officer at Jackson. It would be ridiculous but for the serious results; as it is, it is akin to being disgraceful. In the conscientious discharge of my duty I recommend he be removed from his command, as unfit for the important position, in consequence of being too easily scared.

I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEORGE P. IHRIE, Colonel and Aide-de-Camp

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. I, pp. 562-567.

        20, Capture & recapture of Humboldt

Report of Col. Jacob Fry, Sixty-first Illinois Infantry, of recapture of Humboldt and Trenton.

BENTON BARRACKS, MO., January 17, 1863.

I herewith transmit a report of the raid of General Forrest, of the rebel army, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and the attack on Trenton and Humboldt, on December 20:

Some eight days previous to the attack I received a telegraphic dispatch from Major-General Grant giving information from Major-General Rosecrans that Forrest was moving with his force toward the Tennessee River, and ordering me to be on the lookout. I immediately dispatched a detachment of the Second West Tennessee Cavalry to look after the enemy and watch his movements. I also prepared this place for defense by throwing up earthworks and digging rifle-pits on an elevation completely commanding the depot and other public property. These were completely on the 17th in a most secure manner, of sufficient capacity to hold it against Forrest's entire command.

On the 15th news was received that Forrest was crossing the Tennessee River at Clifton, immediately east of Jackson. Colonel Ingersoll, chief of cavalry on General Sullivan's staff, ordered Colonel Hawkins, of the Second West Tennessee Cavalry, with all his effective men to join his force, the Eleventh Illinois and 300 of the Fifth Ohio Cavalry, at Lexington. This order was promptly obeyed by Colonel Hawkins.

On the 17th [18th] Colonel Ingersoll met the enemy near Lexington, and after a very sharp engagement was repulsed, with a loss of some men and two pieces of artillery. The same day General Sullivan telegraphed to know what my available force was at Trenton. I replied that I had about 500 available men, with three pieces of artillery, not more than sufficient to hold the place if attacked.

The next morning I received an order from General Sullivan for the whole of my force to move to Jackson (with two day's rations), reserving only the convalescents for guard duty, and to notify the citizens that they would be held responsible for any damage to the railroad or other public property, which order was promptly obeyed.

The last of the troops left Trenton on Friday morning, the 19th, at 3 o'clock (a portion having had to wait for the train from Union City with troops also ordered from that place to Jackson). As the troops had been ordered from Trenton I was compelled to abandon my rifle-pits and to concentrate what force I had at the depot.

On Thursday evening and Friday morning I had the depot platform (some 150 by 40 feet) barricaded with cotton-bales and other stores and armed all the convalescents that were able for duty.

On Friday morning I learned that a wood train passing Carroll Station was fired into by the enemy and considerably injured. During the day a train arrived from Columbus and remained overnight, having on board some 60 or 70 soldiers returning from hospitals. This I also armed.

On Saturday morning the train was ordered to Jackson, leaving about 20 of these men, representing fifteen different regiments.

On Friday evening (the 19th) Colonel Hawkins returned from the Lexington flight and reported that he did not see more that 800 of the enemy, and that he saw no artillery except the two pieces taken from our forces. This news gave us renewed hopes. Our stockade was secure against any force of cavalry or infantry unless accompanied by artillery. Forrest's demonstration toward Jackson with a portion of his force was merely a feint, his main object being Trenton and Humboldt and the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, with a view to cut off General Grant's supplies.

Learning from my scouts on Friday morning (the 19th) that the main force of the enemy was moving toward Trenton I telegraphed to General Davies, at Columbus, to send me re-enforcements, with one battery of artillery, if possible, as I expected an attack hourly. To this dispatch I received no answer. On the arrival of the train at noon I learned from Ex-Governor Wood, of Illinois, that when he left Columbus that morning a regiment of infantry was disembarking. I again telegraphed to General Davies for re-enforcements, with a battery of artillery, stating that my force had been ordered to Jackson and that I had nothing left but convalescents. To this he replied that he had no men or artillery to spare.

On Saturday morning I learned from scouts that Forrest had encamped at Spring Creek with his entire force. I telegraphed this fact to General Sullivan. General Haynie, then in command at Jackson, answered that General Sullivan was in the field and asked the distance and direction to Spring Creek. I answered 20 miles, and that the enemy would approach from the east. The wires were cut soon after, and I had no further communications with Jackson.

Under these circumstances I was determined to make the best possible defense, and collected the convalescents, stragglers, fugitives, and other soldiers until I got together a force of about 250 men. This was the condition of things up to noon on Saturday, and I felt confident of holding the place against every force except artillery. Twenty-five sharpshooters, under command of Lieutenant Allender, of the Second West Tennessee Cavalry, were placed on a brick building across the street, the top of which was well protected by a parapet wall about 3 feet high.

A squad of 6 men were [sic] placed in a building that commanded another street to fire from the windows. All officers in the breastworks were placed in positions where they could be most serviceable. Scouts, who were watching the movements and approach of the enemy reported them within a few miles and that they would be upon as soon.

At about 3 o'clock they made their appearance and charged our position in two columns. When within 100 yards of the sharpshooters a deadly fire was opened on them from the advance posts, the men in the stockade following the example. In a very short time both columns were repulsed with considerable loss in killed and wounded. They then moved rapidly out of range of our guns to the right and left, completely surrounding our position, we supposed for a charge on all sides at once, a maneuver for which we were fully prepared. Instead of this they planted a battery of six guns on an elevated position southeast of the stockade. Two of these guns were inside of our own earthworks, one howitzer on the southwest and one on the north and commenced shelling our position. Sixteen shells were fired, on passing through the depot, near a large quantity of ammunition, but did not explode. At this time they could have leveled the stockade, depot, and all in thirty minutes, and probably killed and wounded a large portion of our men, while we could have done them no damage, being armed only with old guns, without bayonets, and therefore unable to make a charge.

Seeing that we were completely in their power, and had done all the damage to them we could, I called a council of officers. They were unanimous for surrender. Had there been the least chance, or had the cavalry continued the fight, we should have held out; but as we could do nothing it was deemed prudent to surrender and save the lives of the men.

The question of surrender was one of time only. They would have had the place, without the loss of another man, in thirty minutes. The terms of the surrender were "unconditional," but General Forrest admitted us to our paroles the next morning, sending the Tennessee troops immediately home and others to Columbus under a flag of truce.

* * * *

Of the taking of Humboldt, also under my command, I know but little. All the effective men were withdrawn to Jackson. The sick and convalescents blew up and burned the magazine and then surrendered. I am informed that at that time of the surrender the highest officer present was a corporal of the Eighty-first Illinois Infantry.

The loss of the enemy, from the best information we could obtain from themselves, was 17 killed and 50 wounded. Our loss was 1 killed (a private of the One hundred and twenty-second Illinois Infantry), but none wounded.

The enemy burned the depots at Trenton and Humboldt and all the stores on hand that they could not carry away.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JACOB FRY, Col., Commanding.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. I, pp. 561-562.

        20, Skirmish at Railroad Crossing, Forked Deer River [see immediately above]

        20, Reconnaissance, skirmish near Rural Hill

DECEMBER 20, 1862.-Reconnaissance to Rural Hill, Tenn.

Report of Col. Robert H. G. Minty, Fourth Michigan Cavalry.

HDQRS. FOURTH MICHIGAN CAVALRY, Camp Rosecrans, December 20, 1862.

SIR: In accordance with others received from Gen. Stanley, I marched at 9 this a. m., with the Fourth Michigan Cavalry, 322 men; Fourth Ohio Cavalry, 200 men; First Ohio Cavalry (couriers), 24 men; total, 546. At the village of Spring Place I met the division of infantry and reported to Gen. Palmer. I then took the advance, throwing out the usual advance guard and flankers; under orders from the general, halted at Stewart's Ferry until the column closed up. I sent Capt. Gotwald with the Fourth Ohio on the Silver Spring road in advance of a brigade of infantry. They had orders from Gen. Palmer to return to camp by the Lebanon pike. With the Fourth Michigan I proceeded to Rural Hill, on the old Statesville road. About half a mile east of Rural Hill the advance guard came across a small squad of rebel cavalry, who fired and retreated at a gallop, leaving a haversack and a cartridge box on the road. The only information that I could gain of the enemy was that Col. Scot, with his regiment of cavalry, had been camped at Oak Grove, with a picket at Rural Hill, but they were withdrawn last night, and a rumor that Kirby Smith had moved to this (west) side of Lebanon, but fell back east of that place the day before yesterday. I returned to camp at about 7:30 this p. m. The Fourth Ohio I have not heard from since I detached them on the Silver Spring road in the morning.

R. H. G. MINTY, Col., Cmdg. Fourth Michigan Cavalry.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. I, p. 54.


Camp near Nashville, December 20, 1862.

Maj. LYNE STARLING, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.:

MAJ.: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding, that I left camp this morning about 8 o'clock (various causes producing an hour's delay), and marched with my whole command to Stewart's Ferry, on Stone's River. From that point Col. Hazen, with the Nineteenth Brigade, with Col. Minty, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, proceeded to Rural Hill, and Col. Enyart, with part of the Fourth Ohio Cavalry, to Silver Springs. Both these officers report to me that they found no enemy, though the rebel pickets had occupied both places until Thursday last, when, it seems, they were withdrawn. No considerable force could be heard of by either, except that Col. Minty learned, upon what seems good authority, that Scott's cavalry are stationed at Oak Grove. Col. Minty's advance had a slight skirmish with a small force 1 ½ miles beyond Rural Hill, without any consequence beyond the flight of the enemy. I will add that my impression is that on day before yesterday, or, perhaps, yesterday morning, the rebel forces were withdrawn from the regions we visited to-day, and that no considerable force has been there lately.

Very respectfully,

J. M. PALMER, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. II, p. 212.

NASHVILLE, December 20, 1862.

Maj.-Gen. THOMAS:

Gen. Stanley reports Col. Minty, who commanded the cavalry reconnaissance, has returned. He went beyond Rural Hill; saw only running scouts. Kirby Smith's forces were at Lebanon three days ago, but have moved back. The scouts did not get to the pike. Get scouts out in all directions, and find where they crossed, and telegraph in.

BYRON KIRBY, Second Lieut. Sixth Infantry, Aide-de-Camp.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. II, p. 212.

        20, March from Nashville to Stewart's Ferry, Stones River [see December 20, 1862, Federal reconnaissances from Stewart's Ferry on the Stones River to Silver Springs, below]

        20, Federal reconnaissances, from Stewart's Ferry on the Stones River to Silver Springs [see December 20, 1862, "Reconnaissance, skirmish near Rural Hill," above]

        20, A brief description of Camden, [Benton County] Tennessee

Today we marched through Camden. Camden is one of the most miserable looking places I have seen. Its houses are almost all tumble down concerns only one or two good houses in town. It is a village of about 600 inhabitants.

Alley Diary

        20, "I send the two Mrs. Smiths to Nashville, who will give you all the information." Local women provide military intelligence

GALLATIN, December 20, 1862.

Col. J. P. GARESCHE, Chief of Staff:

One of my scouts reports meeting Mrs. B. F. Smith, wife of scout now in Nashville. She came through Hartsville yesterday evening; no enemy there. Passed through Rome the day before; no enemy there or in the neighborhood. About 200 at Alexandria. Left the neighborhood of McMinnville last Wednesday; none there but conscripts. Two weeks since was within 5 miles of Murfreesborough; large body there, waiting an attack. Soldiers and citizens say they will not advance this way in large force. All along the route people were preparing for the Yankees, praying for them to come quickly and save them from the conscript law. I send the two Mrs. Smiths to Nashville, who will give you all the information. Col. Hall reports this morning that he saw signal lights on the hill beyond Hartsville at 3 o'clock this morning. Gen. Reynolds sent out a cavalry reconnaissance this morning. They have not returned. Lieut.-Col. Riley sent out cavalry pickets yesterday afternoon toward Lebanon. They went within 3 or 4 miles of Lebanon. Encountered no rebel pickets or scouts. Saw a white man and negro, both of whom told the same story, that there was some infantry in Lebanon, and they supposed about 400 or 500 cavalry there the day before. The infantry fell back the same evening. They did not know what became of the cavalry.

GEO. H. THOMAS, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. II, p. 212

        20, Newspaper report on native Federal cavalry in West Tennessee

SOUTHERN CAVALRY. – A letter dated November 3d, from Bolivar, Tennessee, to the Chicago Journal, gives the following account of the conduct of two regiments of Southern cavalry[2], now in Gen. Grant's army:

General Grant has received the acquisition of two regiments of cavalry, enlisted from the country around about its present theater of action. They are men whose attachment to the old flag forbade their casting their destinies with the Southern Confederacy. Being isolated from those with whom they could have acted, they maintained a strict and studied neutrality.

The bounds of this rebellion know no neutrals. If friends, they must fight in the cause; if enemies, they must suffer conscription and confiscation. When impressed, those persons endeavored to escape, and when reclaimed, they suffered tortures and personal indignities; some had their heads half shaved, and others had their ears cropped. Outraged in various ways, but not intimidated-truer to their higher instincts than to personal ease, the never rested until by stealth or by the accidents of war they escaped to our lines. Burning with revenge, they eagerly sought the occasion to organize in district regiments under the old flag.

Our army had waited long for a movement, and felt eager to go forward and wipe out the forces which opposed the restoration of peace and national dominion. These new regiments were among their number, and none more eager for the advance. As the army moved on, they knew the statements of every settler-whether he was at heart rebel or true. They spared the homes and property of right-minded men, but dealt signal vengeance upon the plantations of rebels. They razed the houses, burn the cotton-fields, and set the iron heel of power upon the necks of traitors. It is presumed that no route over which our army has passed presents such scenes of desolation as from this place [Bolivar] to La Grange. When they were fully organized and well drilled, they said to our men, "You Northern fellows are too good-humored-you neither know the country nor the men you have to deal with. The hate of these Secesh devils is hotter and redder than h—l. We know them, and know where their property is. We will show you how to treat them. You must make them fear you before they can respect you."

When the movement commenced, squads of these men straggled from the ranks and commenced destroying.-They set the torch to houses, outbuildings, fences and cotton fields ripe for the pickers. It cannot be expected that our own men, goaded by the loss of comrades, by wounds and privations endured, abstained wholly from participating in these acts. The officers did much to connive at their work, but in the excitement of the moment were unable to restrain the men.

The longer our Western boys remain in the field the more formidable do they become. Victories on every field, they cease to respect an embittered and vagabond foe. Their love of country know no abatement and the determination is to wipe out the last vestige of rebellion in the valley of the Mississippi. I might same something of future plans and movements, but this would not promote any good work. The friends of the Union may rest assured that we have a force equal to any emergency, and they are moving like an avalanche southward.

Morning Oregonian (Portland, OR) December 20, 1862.


        20-January 5, 1863, Carter's Raid into East Tennessee

DECEMBER 20, 1862--JANUARY 5,1863.-Carter's raid into East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.


December 29, 1862.-Passage of Moccasin Gap, and capture of Confederate on the Blountville road.

          30.-Capture of Confederate at Blountville.

       30.-Capture of Union, Tenn., and destruction of the railroad bridge across the Holston River.

          30.-Capture of Carter's Depot, and destruction of the Watauga railroad bridge.


Report of Maj.-Gen. Horatio G. Wright, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Ohio, with congratulatory messages.[3]

CINCINNATI, OHIO, January 7, 1863.

GEN.: I have just received a dispatch from Maj.-Gen. G. Granger that the cavalry force of about 1,000 men which he sent to East Tennessee on the 21st ultimo, by my order, under the command of Brig. Gen. S. P. Carter, to destroy the East Tennessee Railroad bridges, &c., has been heard from. Gen. Granger has just received a dispatch from Gen. Carter at Manchester, Ky., on his return, stating that on the 30th ultimo he entirely destroyed the Union and Watauga Bridges, with 10 miles of railroad. Five hundred and fifty rebels were killed, wounded, and taken prisoners. Seven hundred stand of arms and a large amount of flour, salt, and other rebel stores, also a locomotive and two cars, were captured and destroyed.

A brisk skirmish took place at the Watauga Bridge and another at Jonesville. We lost but 10 men. This expedition, as characterized by Gen. Granger, has been one of the most hazardous and daring of the war, attended with great hardships and privations, owing to the almost impracticable nature of the country, the length of the route (nearly 200 miles each way), and the inclement season. The important results of this expedition can hardly be overrated, severing, as it has, Virginia and the Southwest; and Gen. Carter, his officers and men, deserve the thanks of the country. Great credit is also due to Maj.-Gen. Granger, under whose immediate supervision the expedition was fitted out, and whose long cavalry experience was a guarantee that nothing tending to its success would be neglected or forgotten.

H. G. WRIGHT, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt I, p. 86-87.

Report of Brig. Gen. Samuel P. Carter, U. S. Army, commanding expedition.

LEXINGTON, KY., January 9, 1863.

GEN.: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the expeditionary force to East Tennessee, which was intrusted to my command.

Although a movement on East Tennessee was proposed as early as November 25 last, it was not until December 19 that arrangements were completed and the necessary order given for the movement of the troops. It was hoped that the force to be sent on this hazardous, but most important, expedition would have been much larger than that which the commander of the department felt could be detached for such service when the final arrangements were made. My original design was to have divided the force into two columns, and strike the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad at two points at the same time, distant 100 miles apart, and, by moving toward the center, have completely destroyed the road for that distance; but, on the junction of the different detachments, I found that the number was too small to risk a division, and I was reluctantly compelled to keep them united, or within easy supporting distance during the whole of my operations.

* * * *

[All action from December 20-28th, 1862, took place in Kentucky and Southwestern Virginia.]

....The enemy, deterred, by the resolute advance of our brave men, fled from [Estillville, VA] toward Kingsport, East Tenn. (as I afterward learned), without firing a gun. A rebel lieutenant and several soldiers, with their arms, were captured on the south side of the gap, on the Blountville road.

During the remainder of the night we moved forward, as rapidly as was practicable over unknown roads, picking up rebel soldiers by the way. Owing to the darkness of the night, a portion of the command lost their way and became separated from the main body. A small force of rebel cavalry, which was hovering about our rear, killed a sergeant of the Second Michigan and captured two others who had wandered from the road.

At daylight on the morning of the 30th we reached the town of Blountville, Sullivan County, East Tennessee, surprised and took possession of the place, captured some 30 soldiers belonging to the Fourth Regt. [sic] Kentucky (rebel) Cavalry, in hospital, and paroled them. We were informed that at Bristol, 8 miles distant, there was a large amount of stores, besides the meat of a considerable number of hogs, belonging to the rebel authorities, but as the place was guarded, according to the best information we could receive, by a regiment of infantry, under Col. Slemp, said to be 900 strong, a cavalry force, under Col. Giltner, and a battery, we were reluctantly compelled to leave it to our left and move toward the railroad bridge at Union, 6 miles from Blountville. I accordingly sent forward Lieut.-Col. Campbell with a portion of the Second Michigan, under the direction of Col. James P. T. Carter, of the Second East Tennessee Infantry, toward Union, with orders to take the place and destroy the railroad bridge across the Holston River. As soon as the remainder of the troops, which got separated from us during the night, came up, I moved them rapidly forward in the same direction. When we reached Union, I found the town in our possession, and the railroad bridge, a fine structure some 600 feet in length, slowly burning. The rebel force, about 150 strong, consisting of two companies of the Sixty-second North Carolina troops, under command of Maj. McDowell, had surrendered without resistance, the major himself having been first captured by our advance while endeavoring to learn if there was any truth of our reported approach.

The prisoners were paroled, and a large number of them were that afternoon on their way to the mountains of North Carolina, swearing they would never be exchanged. Their joy at being captured seemed to be unbounded.

The stores, barracks, tents, a large number of arms and equipments, a considerable amount of salt, niter, a railroad car, the depot, &c., were destroyed, and also a wagon bridge across the river, a few hundred yards below the railroad bridge. As soon as the work of destruction was fairly under way, I dispatched Col. Walker, with detachments from the Second Michigan, Ninth Pennsylvania, and Seventh Ohio Cavalry (in all 181 men), the whole under guidance of Col. Carter, toward the Watauga Bridge, at Carter's Depot, 10 miles west of Union. On their way they captured a locomotive and tender, with Col. Love, of Sixty-second North Carolina troops, who, having heard of the approach of the Yankees, had started on the locomotive to Union to ascertain the truth of the rumor.

On reaching the station, about sunset, they found the enemy, consisting of two companies Sixty-second North Carolina troops, estimated by Col. Walker at nearly 200 men, falling into line. Col. Walker gallantly attacked them, and, after a brief but firm resistance, they broke and fled to the wood. The gallant Maj. Roper, of the Sixth Kentucky Cavalry, with two companies of the Ninth Pennsylvania Regiment, under Capt. Jones, of that regiment, made a dashing charge, and captured and destroyed many of their number.

Our loss was 1 killed, 1 mortally and 1 severely wounded, and 2 slightly wounded. The rebel loss was 12 to 16 killed.

Dr. McMillan, of First East Tennessee Infantry, acting brigade surgeon, reports that he dressed the wounds of 13, several of which were mortal. Owing to the darkness of the night, it was impossible to learn with certainly their entire loss. The railroad bridge across the Watauga River, some 300 feet in length, was soon in flames, and entirely destroyed; also a large number of arms and valuable stores. The captured locomotive was run into the river and completely demolished, destroying in its passage one of the piers of the bridge.

The men and horses, especially the latter, were much worn and jaded from constant travel and loss of rest. The alarm had been given; the rebels had the road open to Knoxville, and could move up a strong force to resist us. I also learned that some 500 cavalry and four guns, under Col. Folk, were within 3 miles of us; that an infantry force would be concentrated at Johnson's Depot, 6 miles west of Carter's Station, by daylight; and, further, that Humphrey Marshall, who was at Abingdon, was moving his troops to occupy the passes in the mountains, and thus cut off our egress. It was deemed prudent, therefore, to return.

We left Watauga about midnight, and, after a hard march, reached Kingsport, at the mouth of the North Fork of the Holston River, at sunset on the 31st ultimo. After feeding and resting a short time, and issuing a ration of meat to the men, we were again in the saddle. We passed some 8 miles north of Rogersville, and reached Looney's Gap, in Clinch Mountain, late in the afternoon; passed through without opposition, and about 11 p. m. of January 1 reached a place in the edge of Hancock County, Tennessee, where forage could be obtained, and bivouacked for the night. This was the first night's rest we had been annoyed during the day and night by bushwhackers, but we, providentially, escaped with only 2 men slightly wounded.

Soon after daylight, on the morning of the 2d instant, we resumed our march toward Jonesville, Lee County, Virginia, with the intention of reaching the foot of the Cumberland Mountains, on the Kentucky side, before we halted....

* * * *

Notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather, the severity of the marches, and the scanty supply of rations for no inconsiderable portion of the time, both officers and men bore their hardships without a single murmur or a word of complaint. They returned, after a journey of 470 miles, 170 of which were in the enemy's country, in high spirits and in good condition, proud to think they had accomplished a feat which, for hazard and hardships, has no parallel in the history of war.

* * * *

I inclose the report of Col. Walker, commanding cavalry brigade, and also the list of paroled prisoners.

I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. P. Carter, Brig.-Gen. of Volunteers.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. I, pp. 88-92.

        20, Confederate cavalry cross Clinch River at Evans Ford

TAZEWELL, December 20, 1863.

GEN.: A citizen came into Evans' Ford this morning and reported to the officer in command there that a brigade of rebel cavalry were crossing the Clinch, 8 miles above Evans' Ford, and were moving in this direction. I have halted the regiments that were starting from here until the truth can be ascertained.

O. B. WILLCOX, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. I, p. 401.

        20, Federal scout, Mulberry Gap to Sneedville, and reports of Confederate construction of earthworks at Flat and Union Gaps

TAZEWELL, December 20, 1863.

(Received 21st.)

GEN.: Maj. Conover scouted from Mulberry Gap up Sneedville road, and across the Clinch to Sneedville, within 6 miles from Flat Gap. Except a few guerrillas in the mountains, he has driven out what rebels there were this side of Clinch River. He reports that the rebels are throwing up works in Flat Gap and Union Gap, and posted artillery.

Now would be a grand opportunity for a descent on the salt-works from Berlin. If we had the cavalry it would be a good thing also to burn the New River railroad bridge. I have authorized Maj. Conover to promise $5,000 to Union men who might do the work. I am waiting orders with regard to the Twenty-third Corps.

O. B. WILLCOX, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. I, p. 401.

        20, Skirmish near Zollicoffer [Bluff City]

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the February 6, 1864 Report of Major-General Samuel Jones(C. S. A.) relative to the skirmish near Zollicoffer, December 20, 1863.

* * * *

Corse's brigade having reached Zollicoffer the day before, I determined to attack the enemy at Blountsville before daylight the next morning, [20th] and ordered up Williams, with the Forty-fifth Virginia Infantry and the dismounted battalion of Peters' regiment, to aid in the attack. They did not arrive, however, until long after sunrise on the 20th. Apprehending that they might not arrive in time to make the attack before daylight, I directed Col. C. H. Tyler, who had reached my headquarters a day or two before, to take the Sixteenth Georgia Battalion of cavalry and two companies of the First Tennessee Cavalry that had been cut off from their regiment at Kingsport, and feel the enemy at Blountsville early in the morning and endeavor to draw them on to attack us at Zollicoffer. Corse's brigade, with a field battery, was placed in a strong position to receive them. Col. Tyler and his men performed the duty assigned them handsomely, and drew the enemy on. Our battery opened somewhat too soon and checked the enemy. They felt Corse cautiously, and finding him strongly posted endeavored to turn his left, but the Forty-fifth and Peters' battalion had come up and were in line on the left to receive them. The skirmishing continued several hours, when the enemy fell back to Blountsville and moved off toward Carter's Depot.

* * * *

Samuel Jones, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. II, p. 605.

        20, Federal movements in Tazewell environs stifled by lack of bread

TAZEWELL, December 20, 1863--9.15. a. m.


GEN.: I regret to report that this command will be crippled in its movements for want of bread by the use of mills at Powell's River. The troops are barely able to subsist from day to day in this neighborhood. Command will be concentrated at Walker's Ford this afternoon. Supply trains not yet arrived at Cumberland Gap.

Very respectfully,

O. B. WILLCOX, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 457.

        20, "During the day an incident occurred which shows how many things hard to bear occur during war time." A letter from Prospect, Giles County, excerpts from George Hovey Cadman's correspondence home

* * * *

….During the day an incident occurred which shows how many things hard to bear occur during war time. The top of the hill where we are building the Fort [sic] has been used by the inhabitants as a Grave Yard, of the course of the ditch takes necessarily disturbs many of the Graves [sic]. Last August a year ago a man was buried there by the name of Allen, close to the right of our Sally Port, and where the Grave would be covered by the extreme left of the Breastwork. While waiting there yesterday morning his widow came to beg us to allow her to have her husbands [sic] body removed, so that she could have it buried in some place where it would not likely be disturbed, for she could not bear the thought of a fight taking place over her husbands [sic] grave. It seemed that when Allen died, she herself was sick and had not seen him either during illness or after death. The Colonel very kindly detailed 4 men to take the body up and then seized of my wagons to haul it off. I went with the Detail [sic] and helped rebury the poor fellow and shall forget the gratitude of the poor woman. She said she did not think the Yankees could be so kind. She took down all the names of the Squad who helped her, that she might pray for them, and promised me she would pray for me and my wife and children. So if a rebels prayers are any account I suppose I shall gain something by it. But best of she got us a good dinner. We had Fried Sausage, Roast & Boiled Pork, Head cheese Peach Pies and Sweet milk and an invitation to go and see her whenever we could get leave. As I commanded the squad of course I came in for a double share of thanks and Invitations [sic], but as she is 60 years old you need not get jealous with out you like.

Tomorrow we commence making the Fascines & I wish they would keep our Company at work at winter as it is more comfortable at work than standing Guard [sic]….

George Hovey Cadman Correspondence.

        20, Confederate impressment and thievery in Carroll County

Up to this time the Confederates have foraged off me to the amount of 16 barrels of corn and bread baked for 80 men and fed on me to the number of between 75 and 100 men and horses. I have not received one cent of pay from the Confederate authorities. The horse pressed of me Nov. 30 was sent back in about two weeks. The next day after being sent back, one Capt. Bray of Henderson county, Tenn., passed by and took the horse and left an old bay horse worth about $50. I will now put on record the conduct of six men, calling themselves Confederate soldiers. Their names as I have been able to learn them are as follows: Capt. White from about St. Joe, Mo., James Cribs, son of Rev. Cullen Cribs, Billy Cribs, son of widow Cribs; Brown Flippin, Giles Billew, son of Jo. Billew. These four are all of Gibson county, Tenn. Thomas Lewis of Carroll county, grandson of Annabella Dickson, a near neighbor. These six men came to my house in the night and tried to rob me of my fine gray horse Pete. They could not catch him. I out generaled [sic] them. Names of more of the desperate men are Harve Smith, son of Owen Smith of Skullbone. I have been told that there were one or two others by the names of Smith, all of Skullbone notoriety. Cal Lusk, son of Byrd Lusk, is no doubt one of the ring leasers of the gang. Old Byrd Lusk's is their stopping place in this neighborhood. James Smith, John Smith, Jack Hitchcock and Pat Mathis. Old Lem Stout's is one of their stopping places. Wils Baird, Jr., a friend and abettor is of old Jim Baird's family.

"Younger Diary."

        20, Federal efforts to stop depredations by dismounted cavalry in Brentwood Hills

HDQRS. POST OF NASHVILLE, Nashville, Tenn., December 20, 1864.

Maj. BEAUMONT, Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Cavalry Corps:

I am informed that between our picket-line and Brentwood Hills there are numerous bands of dismounted cavalry wandering about and committing all manner of depredations. I would respectfully suggest that some step be taken to get these men into camp and under control, that an end may be put to this evil.

I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. F. MILLER, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I Vol. 45, pt II, p. 295.

        20, Skirmish, Columbia [see also December 19, 1864, skirmish at Rutherford's Creek above]

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Report of Brigadier-General Thomas J. Wood, Headquarters 4th Army Corps, Huntsville relative to the skirmish on the Duck River, December 21, 1864.

* * * *

....During the night and the early forenoon of the following day, the 20th, two bridges for infantry were constructed across the stream....So soon as these were completed the infantry of the corps was passed over, marched three miles, and encamped for the night on he northern bank of Duck River.

During the night of the 20th the weather became bitterly cold. Wednesday, the 21st, operations were suspended, and the corps remained quietly in camp, as the pontoon train, detained by the swollen streams, the inclement weather, and the miserable condition of the roads, had not been able to get to the front. The day was bitterly cold, and the rest which the command gained by laying in camp was much needed after their arduous and laborious service of the many preceding days.

* * * *

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 45, pt. I, p. 136.

        20, "Provost Orders, No. 260."

Headquarters Post of Nashville,

Office of Provost Marshal

Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 20, 1864


* * * *

Provost Orders No. 250, dated Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 4, 1864, closing all Liquor Saloons, is hereby revoked, and all persons having military licenses are hereby permitted to resume business from this date.

May who have failed to pay the tax on said licenses are hereby reminded that a settlement of the same must be made immediately.

By command of Brig. Gen. Jno. F. Miller

Hunter Brooke, Captain and Provost Marshal

Nashville Dispatch, December 20, 1864.

        20-24, Conditions in Franklin and Columbia in the wake of Hood's retreat [see also December 23, 1864, "The scene during Forrest's occupation of Columbia" below]

"Letter from a Returned Columbia Refugee

Correspondence of the Nashville Dispatch

Columbia, Tenn. Dec., 24, 1864

I left Nashville on the morning of the 20th inst., and arrived at Franklin about sundown. After getting supper, I visited Bate's Rebel hospital, where I made the acquaintance of Dr. Hill, of the 10th Tennessee cavalry, with whom I conversed some two hours. He informed me that there were between 1200 and 1500 wounded and sick Rebels in Franklin; that Hood's army was perfectly demoralized; that his whole army was down on him; that they wanted Joe Johnston, and that unless a change was made the entire army would desert him.

I also conversed with a number of citizens, all of whom represented Hood's army as a fleeing mob. They did little or no damage in returning through Franklin, having pillaged stores and private houses, and laid waste and devastated everything on the onward march to Nashville. The conscripted every man between eighteen and forty five in Franklin, but succeeded in getting only one man to go with them, the balance remaining. A large number of Williamson county men deserted from Hood's army. The next morning [21st] after breakfast I set out on foot for Columbia. When I reached the pace where the battle of Franklin was fought I stopped and surveyed, and as far as I could see on both sides of the road, it looked like a vast burying ground.

Getting within three miles of Columbia, and learning that General Forrest and his cavalry occupied the place, and feeling quite sore from my tramp, I concluded to stop for the night with the fond hopes of reaching home and loved ones the next morning. When morning came [22nd] I was informed that on the evening before, the Rebels had sent in a flag of truce, requesting that the Fedrals [sic] would not fire on them, as they had no desire for an engagement of any kind, stating that they were none left in the town, but old men, women, children and sick and wounded soldiers, which was granted and strictly complied with, until Gen. Thomas got ready to lay his pontoon bridge, which was early the next morning. The pontoon across Rutherford creek was completed late on Wednesday evening, and his forces crossed over it during the night. So on Thursday [22nd] morning a skirmish was commenced for the possession of the south bank of Duck river, which was attained in a few minutes, with the loss of one Federal and two Rebels killed. I did not hear of any wounded on either side.

About eleven o'clock I learned that the Rebels had evacuated Columbia, when I came to the river, but did not succeed in getting across until late in the afternoon. The pontoon bridge was completed during the night.

I scarcely know where to commence in speaking of the acts of the Rebels during the time they held Columbia. With only a few exceptions, every storehouse in the place was broken open and robbed of its contents. Many private residences were also robbed, their carpets being torn up from the floors[4], and but very few families were left any thing in the way of eatables. They took from my wife and children the very last mouthful I had to eat, besides every dollar's worth of my stock. Every book, paper and memorandum belonging to the corporation of the city was destroyed. The dockets of every magistrate in my district were also destroyed. They entered the Masonic Hall and robbed it of all its contents, leaving not the smallest thing as a memorial that they "had been there since we had gone." They also took the hall of the Odd Fellows for a hospital. The conscripted every man between eighteen and forty-five, and herded them in a livery stable. They succeeded in getting some fifteen or twenty away with them, the greater portion of whom have returned since the occupation of the town by the Federals. Not more than five or six are now out. There are but two or three who volunteered, while hundreds of Maury county men have deserted them. Nearly all the refugees who returned with Hood's army, have remained at home, including A. O. P. Nicholson. To sum the whole up in a nut-shell, they have created a perfect revolution. No one, not even the most radical secessionist, desires the return of the Rebel army. Such was the feeling of the people of this county [i.e., Maury] upon my return. Hood had done more for the Union cause than the Federal army could possibly have done, and had the Federal commanders seized upon it in a proper manner, they could easily have made Maury county an unconditional Union county. But, alas! discipline was wanted with the 4th army corps. The men of this corps were suffered to come into town, and what the Rebels left they seized, to a great extent. Last night several storehouses which had not yet been molested, were broken open and robbed by straggling soldiers of this corps. Many private houses were also entered and property, such as spoons, knives and forks, cups and saucers, etc. was taken off.

About three o'clock today the 24th Indians [sic] (belonging to the 23d corps) under command of Col. Orr, entered the town to do patrol duty: and for the sake of protecting innocent women and children, he guaranteed to everyone who applied, regardless of political sentiments, a guard for their residences. HE also put out a strong provost guard, with strict orders to arrest and place in the guard house, all stragglers and depredators. Things soon began to have a much more favorable aspect, and the citizens will long remember Col. Orr, Capt. Connor, Lt. Walker, and the soldiers of the 124th Indiana.

Wild Jack

Nashville Dispatch, December 27, 1864.


[1] It is not known if boys were prompted to collect so many firecrackers in obedience to custom around Christmas time, or that they were attracted to the loud noises as they may have had an obvious connection to the general martial Zeitgeist.

[2] The First West Tennessee Cavalry, commanded by Col. Fielding Hurst, and the Second West Tennessee Cavalry, commanded by Col. I. R.  Hawkins, were most likely these regiments.

[3] There are a total of thirteen reports on this raid. Only two are presented here.

[4] These carpets were evidently cut up for use as blankets by the Rebel soldiers.

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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