Friday, January 9, 2015

1.3.2015 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        3-4, The Pink Varble Affair

Returned from Nashville.-Messrs. Dan'l Richards, Barney Seales, Dan'l McLaughlin, Wm. Varble, Geo. Dickinson, and Wm. Brown, together with five deck-hands, the party who took the Pink Varble up the Cumberland river some time ago, returned to this city on Wednesday by the steamer Sunny Side. We learn from then that the Varble has been detained by the authorities at Nashville, and that the owner, in this city (Louisville), will be paid to the amount of her value. The crew of the Varble, after having been kept under guard in Nashville for several weeks, obtained passes through the rebel lines from Gen. Johnston. They left Nashville on Christmas day, and had rather a tough experience on their journey to this city. They were detained at Dover, Tenn., in jail, for twenty-seven hours, and was regarded everywhere with suspicion. Benj. Miller, who was a passenger for Nashville by the Varble, went to Bayou Sara, La., as an agent of Mr. I. I. Hatton this city, for the sale of coal. Some of the men inform us that they were well treated while in Nashville and others complain bitterly of the treatment they received at the hands of their old acquaintances. One of them informs us that Milt. Moore was particularly inhospitable, and in various ways added to the embarrassment which surrounded his old acquaintances.

Louisville Daily Journal, January 3, 1862. [1]


The Pink Varble Affair.-We learn in reference to the return of the crew of  the Pink Varble, from Nashville, that they came back in consequence of the fact that they were unable to bring the boat back through the blockade. They left Nashville under an order from Gen. A. S. Johnson [sic], that they should be escorted beyond the rebel lines at the expense of the government, and that the rebel government would remunerate Captain Varble for the loss of the boat. We have this assurance from Captain William Varble, who was in command, and Mr. George Dickinson, one of the engineers of the boat.[2]

Louisville Daily Journal, January 4, 1862.[3]

        3, Skirmish at Lexington

Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee.

        3, Skirmish near Clifton

Report of Col. Michael K. Lawler, Eighteenth Illinois Infantry, of skirmish near Clifton, January 3, 1863.

GENERAL: In obedience to orders received from General Sullivan on the 1st instant, I proceeded with my command to the Tennessee River, opposite Clifton, in pursuit of the rebels under General Forrest. The first day marched 26 miles, to Mr. Sparks', 9 miles this side of Clifton, and on the 3d January marched with our brigade to the river. The rebels had all crossed the river the evening previous at Clifton and other points below. One regiment was ordered to deploy in front of the town and shelter behind the timber and reply to the battery on the other side, which they did in handsome style, driving the artillerists from their guns. Their batteries played upon us for two hours pretty vigorously, and, with intermission, for one and one-half hours more. The river bank on the Clifton side being much higher than this side we could not use artillery to advantage, and did not use it. There was no force of the enemy in sight except those with the guns.

My adjutant-general, Joseph B. Thorp, was wounded in the leg by a rifle-ball. This was the only casualty at the river.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

M.K. LAWLER, Colonel, Commanding.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. I, pp. 590-591.

        3, Action at Somerville

GERMANTOWN, TENN., March 5, 1863.

Capt. R. M. SAWYER, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.:

CAPT.: On the 3d day of January last, I arrived at Moscow, Tenn., from Holly Springs, Miss., with my command, consisting of the Seventh Kansas Cavalry and ten companies of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry. I had few rations, and subsisted on the country.

On the 5th of January, I was directed to move north of Wolf River, and endeavor to clear that country of Richardson's (Confederate) cavalry.

At 10 a. m. of that day I moved, meeting with much delay in crossing Wolf River.

Distant 7 miles from Moscow, I received the following telegram:

HDQRS. LEFT WING, LaGrange, January 2, 1863.

Col. LEE, Moscow:

The following just received:


Let Lee collect horses, mules, saddles, and bridles, and mount as many infantry as possible, to clean out guerrillas between Hatchie and Tallahatchee [sic].


Take all serviceable animals you can find as well as saddles, and we will soon fit up a force.


I immediately detached companies from my column, directing them to bring in all horses, mules, saddles, and bridles fit for use.

At 7 p. m. I bivouacked at a plantation 6 miles from the town of Somerville. It was rumored that the enemy was in small force at that place, and I gave orders to move at 3 a. m. on the following morning, hoping to surprise and capture any force there. We had marched some miles after dark, and I was satisfied that no one in advance of us knew of our presence in the vicinity. No fires were allowed, and the men were forced to lie down supperless. Soon a severe rain-storm commenced, and continued all night.

At 3 a. m. I moved my command on Somerville. We reached and surrounded that town before day, finding no force of the enemy.

I immediately appointed Lieut.-Col. Herrick, of the Seventh Kansas, provost-marshal of the town, placed six companies at his disposal, and directed him to examine and search the town for Confederate officers and soldiers; also to gather all horses, mules, and equipments they could find.

I here was informed that Richardson's force was camped about 12 miles north of this point. I immediately sent a force in that direction to learn the accuracy of the report.

I also dispatched companies on all roads leading from the town, directing them to bring in all animals fit for service which they could find.

In town many citizens were arrested suspected of connection with the Southern Army. These I personally examined and released.

The people of the town treated the soldiers well, and offered them in singular profusion wines and liquors of all kinds. The town was literally full of intoxicating liquors. At one store-house I discovered fourteen barrels of whisky which belonged to the Confederate Army.

As a result of this unfortunate profusion of strong drinks, many soldiers, who had neither supper nor breakfast, and laid on the ground without shelter, through a night of pelting storm, were induced to drink, and as a consequence I suddenly discovered that many were intoxicated.

Here occurred a melancholy incident. At the southern border of the town, Company B, of the Seventh Kansas, Capt. Fred. Swoyer, had been stationed as a picket. The captain had discovered a quantity of commissary stores in a building near, and stationed a guard at the entrance. The captain himself had visited a house near by to obtain a breakfast, and there drank to such an extent as to become somewhat exhilarated. During his absence, a couple of men of his company persisted in an endeavor to pass into the store-house mentioned, but were prevented by the guard. On his return to his company the case was reported.

He directed the company to fall in, and the men alluded to deliver their arms and go in arrest. His tone was harsh and peremptory in the extreme. One of the men demurred, and attempted to explain. He commanded him to desist and remove his arms, drawing his pistol, and telling him he would shoot him if he said another word. The man again spoke, when the captain fired, the ball passing into the body of the man. Instantly one of the company fired at the captain, but did not wound him. The captain rode toward him and the man ran. The captain soon overtook him, both riding rapidly, and shot him through the head, killing him instantly. At the same moment the man fired, and his ball passed through the body of the captain. The company was in confusion, and many shots were fired at the captain, who rode rapidly into town. He was taken into a house and died the following day.

During this occurrence I was at the court-house, a half mile from its scene. I immediately dispatched the commanding officer of the regiment with a company to quell the mutiny. It was readily quieted, though the men remained much excited.

The state of my command and the inclemency of the weather convinced me that it would be unwise to continue a further search for the enemy, especially as we were burdened with many led animals. I immediately withdrew the main portion of my command from the town, leaving Lieut.-Col. Wallace, of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, in charge of a detachment of the Seventh Kansas, to await the return of parties sent out. The main body proceeded some distance, there fed their horses, halting till all came up.

That night we bivouacked south of Wolf River, near Moscow, and next morning reached our camp, bringing with us nearly 300 head of captured mules and horses.

At Somerville two or three stores were opened and some plundering effected by drunken men. From complaints made and proven to me, I have no doubt, too, that robbery and outrages were committed by drunken men. No plunder of goods, however, was made to any considerable extent, as nothing that could be seen was carried by soldiers from town.

The officers of the command were sober, and did all in their power to enforce order among the men. My personal staff especially risked their lives in quelling insubordination of drunken men.

Arriving at camp, I directed regimental courts-martial, to try all men who had become intoxicated. This was done, and the next day the command was paraded, and sentences of the courts, depriving more than 200 of one month's pay, and inflicting further punishments, were published.

At my request, a general court-martial was immediately called to try the graver offenses, which has continued to session till a recent date. Regarding this unfortunate expedition, I can only say, in mitigation of its excesses, for more than a month immediately preceding these troops had been engaged in the most arduous, dangerous, and fatiguing service, and during most of that time had subsisted alone on what could be gleaned from the country. They were almost worn out. The absence of two successive meals, and the suffering incident to the severe exposure of the night previous, induced them readily to drink, and the liquor was necessarily speedy in its effects. Before any one could suspect the possibility of such an event, numbers were drunk.

In our campaigns we have, with this single exception, never found in country or town intoxicating drinks. Its present scarcity in the South is proverbial; hence no special precautions suggested themselves to prevent inebriety.

I am, captain, your obedient servant,

A. L. LEE, Col., Cmdg. Second Brigade, Cavalry Division.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pt. III, pp. 142-143.


HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, Memphis, Tenn., January 20, 1863.

Brig. Gen. C. S. HAMILTON, Comdg. District of West Tennessee:

GEN.: Complaints have come in from Somerville from the few Union men of the outrageous conduct of the Seventh Kansas, and in one case of Col. Lee's conduct where he was informed of the status of the party. This was the case of Mr. Rivers, who called on Col. Lee to try and get him to restrain his men, and was replied to by being made to dismount and give up the animal he was riding.

If there are any further complaints, well substantiated, I wish you to arrest Col. Lee and have him tried for incompetency and his regiment dismounted and disarmed.

The conduct of this regiment at New Albany, in their pursuit of Van Dorn, stopping to plunder the citizens instead of pursuing the enemy when they were so near them, and again when after Richardson, about the 8th of this month, they passed near where they knew or at least were informed he was and went on to the town for the purpose of plunder-all the laurels won by the regiment and their commander on the pursuit of the enemy from Holly Springs to Coffeeville have been more than counterbalanced by their bad conduct since.

Their present course may serve to frighten women and children and helpless old men, but will never drive out an armed enemy.

I am, general, with great respect, yours, &c.

U. S. GRANT, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. II, p. 575.


The account of a member of the 7th Kansas Cavalry

Near Moscow, Tenn., Saturday, Jan. 3, 1863-We were called out at 3:00 A.M. without the sound of bugle or loud orders and were not allowed any fires or lights. It began raining about that time. We move out at 4.30 A. M. and reached Sommerville, five miles  distant, soon after daylight. We surrounded it and posted pickets on every road. The town was searched. 175 horses and mules were found, and a large number of arms and several prisoners. A large amount of liquor was also found, and as the men were cold and hungry, many of them embibed [sic] more or less and became intoxicated. Company "B" became quite disorderly, and in trying to quell them, Capt. Sawyer killed one man and severely wounded another, and then was fatally shot, himself, by his men. This compelled Col. Lee to retire from the place. We left town about noon. It rained hard nearly all the forenoon. We marched twelve miles and are bivouacked in the woods. It is raining hard and we have no shelter.

Pomeroy Diaries, January 3, 1863.

        3, Skirmish at Nashville

Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee.

        3, Skirmish at Insane Asylum [a.k.a. Blood's, or Cox's Hill-Nashville environs]

Report of Col. Joseph A. Cooper, Sixth Tennessee Infantry, of skirmish at Cox's Hill, January 3, 1863.

HDQRS. SIXTH EAST TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS, Camp near Murfreesborough, Tenn., January 9, 1863.

SIR: Permit me to submit this my Official report of the march of my regiment from Nashville to Murfreesborough, in obedience to Special Orders, No. 8, as follows:


Col. Cooper, with his entire command for duty, will at once take up the line of march upon the Murfreesborough pike. They will take two days' rations. They will report on said road to Col. Daniel McCook.

By command of Gen. Spears:


Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

Complying with the above order, we took up the line of march at 8 o'clock. We marched out to the junction of the pike, where we lay in the rain about three hours, waiting for the commanding officer, Col. Daniel McCook. He arrived about 12 o'clock, and gave the following order:

The two regiments in advance of you will march in front with the regiment of regular cavalry, all except 50; the remaining 50 will act as near guard for the whole. Your regiment, the Sixth East Tennessee, will march immediately in rear of the train.

We then took up the line of march to Murfreesborough. We marched, without halting, about 6 miles, arriving this side the lunatic asylum.

There we, together with a part of the Second East Tennessee Cavalry, which had come up with us, met a body of the enemy. The cavalry, filling to the right, engaged the enemy, who consisted of two or three regiments of cavalry, supported by a small piece of artillery. The cavalry fired one or two rounds and fled in confusion, running through the trains.

Just previous to this occurrence, I received order from Col. McCook to move my regiment forward, on the left, to the loss of the rise. [sic] I moved forward in double-quick, gaining the point designated just in time to arrest the charge of the enemy. I engaged the enemy in a smart skirmish for some ten or fifteen minutes, killing some 6 or 8, wounding several, and capturing 10 prisoners. I met the enemy and repulsed them without assistance from the front. Immediately after the skirmish a battalion of infantry came up on the left, and assisted us in holding the position. We met the enemy and whipped them without the loss of a man, either in killed, wounded, or missing. My men acted with great coolness and bravery.

The train was soon reorganized, and we were again on the march. We arrived at La Vergne without interruption. At that point the two regiments in advance and the battalion, which came up during the skirmish, were mounted on the train, leaving my command on foot in rear of the train. I rode forward and asked Col. McCook what I should do. He first said I had better encamp there with my command. I then told him it was "most too far from shore for me to cast anchor." He then ordered me to march on as fast as I could on foot, so that if they were attacked we could come up to their assistance, and said "he was ordered to go through that night." I obeyed said order, keeping in my rear the 100 cavalry first mentioned and a portion of the Second East Tennessee Cavalry until we arrived inside the lines. I then halted, let the cavalry pass, and went into camp for the night.

Next morning at daylight I took the line of march and marched to headquarters of Maj.-Gen. Rosecrans, where I reported to Brig. Gen. James G. Spears.

I had in all when I went to the skirmish, and also when it ended, present, 12 commissioned officers and 213 enlisted men.

All of the above I respectfully submit.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOSEPH A. COOPER, Col. Sixth East Tennessee Infantry.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. I, pp. 419-420.[4]

        3, Confederate disposition of free Negroes from Campbell County

OFFICE PROVOST-MARSHAL, Knoxville, Tenn., January 3, 1863.

Maj. H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

SIR: Below you will please find a list of free negroes [sic] confined in jail:

Moses Sliger, Knoxville, confined by order of Brig.-Gen. Davis, commanding post, December 8, 1862; Jesse Malone, Campbell County, Tenn., committed December 5, 1862; Simon Malone, Campbell County, Tenn., committed December 5, 1862; Manuel Cox, Campbell County, Tenn., committed December 5, 1862.

The first-named negro [sic] was arrested by order of Brig.-Gen. Davis, commanding post, on account of a riot at his house. The other three, from Campbell County, Tenn., ran away to Powell's Valley some time since and perhaps have been to Kentucky. They were captured by a scouting party from Big Creek Gap and sent to this place by Col. Palmer, Fifty-eighth North Carolina Regt. [sic]

I respectfully recommend that the first-named negro [sic] be turned over to Messrs. McGee & Co. What disposition shall be made of the others?


JOHN E. TOOLE, Col. and Provost-Marshal.


Turn them all over to McGee & Co.

By command of Lieut. Gen. E. Kirby Smith

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 5, pp. 803-804.

        3, "…I have done a very foolish thing." A skirmish at Stones River; an excerpt from the diary of Colonel Beatty

* * * *

Rifle pits are being dug, and I am ordered to protect the workmen. The rebels hold a strip of woods in our immediate front, and we get up a lively skirmish with them. Our men, however, appear loth [sic] to advance far enough to afford the necessary protection to the workers. Vexed at their unwillingness to venture out, I ride forward and start over a line to which I desire the skirmishers to advance, and discover, before I have gone twenty yards, that I have done a foolish thing. A hundred muskets open on line from the woods; the eyes of my own brigade and of other troops are on me, and I can back out. I quicken the pace of my horse somewhat, and continue my perilous course. The bullets whistle like bees about my head, but I ride the whole length of the proposed skirmish line, and get back to the brigade in safety. Colonel Humphreys, of the Eighty-eighth Indiana, comes up to me, and with a tremor in his voice, which indicates much feeling, says: "My God, Colonel, never do that again!" The caution is unnecessary. I had already made up my mind not to do it again. We keep up a vigorous skirmish with the enemy for hours, losing now and then a man; but later in the day we are relieved of this duty and retire to a quieter place.

Beatty, Citizen Soldier, pp. 208-209.

        3, Reprint of the Knoxville Register's rosy prognostication on the course of the war


The Knoxville Register gives the following reasons why we should be confident in our war for independence: The white males in the Confederate States, between 18 and 45 years of age, and thus liable to conscription, exclusive of Maryland, Missouri, Kentucky, and Delaware, are one million one hundred and eighteen thousand. Between the age of 18 and 40 now called for, exclusive of the Border States. Deducting 200,000 sick and disabled from this number, we shall have seven hundred [thousand] men in and preparing for the field. The slaves of the South will supply us with food if every man, capable of bearing arms, should be called to the field.

As we draw nothing from abroad, our finances only concern ourselves, and we can thus maintain the value of our currency, which would be impossible if the blockade were raised.

Let every true Southerner to-day rest assured that the South will triumph. Calamities may befall us, and defeat may hurl back our armies, but we have only to bear patiently all present and future ills, till the North abandons the combat in despair.

It is evident from the sentiment [in the] North, that the backbone of the invasion has been broken, and that the Southern Confederacy is fact getting into a position from which it can descry the dawn of independence in the distant horizon. More battles will have to be fought, perhaps a fierce one in the West, but the "Anaconda" has begun to uncoil himself and will soon lie prostrate and outstretched at our feet.

Macon Daily Telegraph, January 3, 1863.

        3, Report on malodorous Confederate prisoners in Nashville

Our friend Mercer, of the Nashville Union, certainly does not entertain a high appreciation of the rebel prisoners that have been sent into that city recently from General Rosecrans's victorious army, judging from the following paragraphs:

If the rebel prisoners who have been brought in here recently are a fair sample of the rebel forces, the Southern Confederacy will hardly hold its own; but it will certainly make people hold their noses. [sic]

If the Pythagorean doctrine of the transmigration of souls be true, how natural would be the transmigration of the spirit of a "Butternut" into the body of a skunk!

The rebel soldiers do not look like landowners, generally. All the dirt they own could probably be removed in a short time by a brisk application of soap and hot water.

Louisville Daily Journal, January 3, 1863.[5]

         3-5, Occupation of Murfreesborough by Union forces

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from correspondence from Brigadier-General J.T. Boyle to Major-General Wright relative to taking of Murfreesborough

LOUISVILLE, January 3, 1863.

Maj.-Gen. WRIGHT:

Gen. Rosecrans has Murfreesborough....


J. T. BOYLE, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. II, pp. 296-297.

Excerpt from the report of Brigadier-General James S. Negley, January 8, 1863 U. S. Army, on operations during the Stones River Campaign, relative to the occupation of Murfreesboro by Union forces:

"Our army quietly marched into Murfreesborough [on January 5], the chosen position of the enemy, which he was forced to abandon after a series of desperate engagements."[6]

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. I, p. 409.


Excerpt from correspondence between Major-General Rosecrans and Major-General George H. Thomas, relative to the occupation of Murfreesboro by Federal forces


Murfreesborough, January 5, 1863.

Maj.-Gen. ROSECRANS, Comdg. Fourteenth Army Corps, Dept. of the Cumberland:

GEN.: I occupy Murfreesborough with Gen.'s Negley and Rousseau's divisions....I have placed the Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania in charge of the town.

Very respectfully,


Maj.-Gen., U. S. Volunteers.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. II, pp. 300-301.


Correspondence from Edwin M. Stanton to Major Generals Rosecrans, Wright, Grant and Burnside relative to occupation of Murfreesboro by Federal forces.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, January 7, 1863.

Maj. Gen. W. S. ROSECRANS, Murfreesborough, Tenn.:

Maj. Gen. HORATIO G. WRIGHT, Cincinnati, Ohio:

Maj. Gen. U. S. GRANT, Holly Springs, Miss.:

Maj. Gen. AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE, Falmouth, Va.:

Richmond papers of the 6th say Gen. Rosecrans is in possession of Murfreesborough, and the rebel army has retreated 30 miles...

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. II, p. 308.

        ca. 3-6, Scouting Expedition in Benton and Carroll County environs

Were out on a scouting expedition for three days in the beginning of the month, nothing remarkable happened, except a terrible slaughter of the chickens, turkeys etc., of an old rebel, near whose house we camped one night.

Alley Diary, entry for January 19, 1863.

        3, "God bless the Rebels. I would risk my life a dozen times a day to serve them-think what they suffer for us –"

January, Sunday 3, 1864

Another day has passed, and not one word from Bettie or Uncle Elum-no communication with Memphis today, too cold to go out side of the doors. Still sleeting-house still full, if not a little fuller. Tate is growing very impatient to leave for Dixie-she is really cross about Bettie, but I still have hope that it will be all right. Eddie feels badly about it, as the risk was run for him-God bless the Rebels. I would risk my life a dozen times a day to serve them-think what they suffer for us-

Henny Furgeson and Lieut. Spotswood left for Dixie. Henny F. bought Helen's pony, gave $200 for it, he rode it off-It does not seem like the Sabbath, though this is the first one of '64. We spent the day as usual, laughing, talking, and trying to keep warm. Julien Simmons and Dashiell Perkins came over from Col. Perkins-Dashiell staid we sat up very late, and Poor old-looks like the noise will run him crazy.

Diary of Belle Edmondson

        3, Scout from Memphis to Hernando, Mississippi[7]

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 65.

        3, Conditions in Middle Tennessee; a letter from Letitia Dobson to her daughter Laura Owen

Flat Creek, Williamson Co. Tenn.

Janry 3rd 1864

Dear Laura, I have a chance of writing to you once more. You cant [sic] know how much pleasure it would give me to see you. I have not heard from you since August. I reckon you think we are getting along very badly, but we are doing very well. We have plenty to eat & wear & all in good health.

Mary has been to Nashville twice. She has never taken the oath. I have never taken the oath. Everything is very quiet here now. Yankees have never interrupted anything I have yet, but talked of burning my house once. They caught some Rebel Soldiers here & had a smart little fight at the big gate. The rebels all got away safe. The bullets passed whistling through the yard & I was out trying to get the children in the house. Yankees have searched the house several times for your Pa. They think he is about home & say if he will come home he shall not be troubled. Capt. Rickman [a Federal officer] sent us a parole for him last week. Laura if you know where your Pa is I want you to write to him & tell him that I think he had better come back home. I heard that Dr. Owen was in very bad health. You ought to try to get him to come back home. Dr. Buchanan has taken his place. He boards at Bill Hally's & has a very good practice. Bakers' family are all well it is not late bed time. Your must write the first chance.

Your mother,

Letitia Dobson.

Mrs. Dobson to Laura Owen, January 3, 1864, in Dr. U. G. Owen to Laura.

        3, Price fixing in Union occupied Knoxville; an excerpt from a letter home by John Watkins

* * * *

Gen'l [John G.] Foster who is in command here now raised an order the other day regulating the prices which has [sic] made what few store keepers there is [sic] here pretty huffy and have closed up there [sic] stores and wont [sic] sell anything what action the authorities will take next I am quite anxious to know. They ought to make them sell or confiscate the stuff. One dollar and a half for very poor butter a pound is pretty huge. That has been put down to 75 cts flour 4 cts a pound corn meal 3, and everything else in proportion. he also docked the suttlers [sic] on there [sic] prices. that [sic] vexes them some I tell you.

* * * *

John Watkins Collection,

University of Tennessee Library Special Collections Division

        3, 1864-January 17, 1864, Correspondence between Lieutenant General J. Longstreet and Major General J. G. Foster relative to Presidential Amnesty Proclamation [see December 8, 1863, "President Lincoln's Amnesty Proclamation," above]

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Knoxville, East Tenn., January 26, 1864.

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,

Gen.-in-Chief U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GEN.: I have the honor to inclose copies of correspondence between Gen. Longstreet and myself upon the subject of the amnesty proclamation.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Maj.-Gen., Comdg.

(Copies to Maj.-Gen. Grant same date.)

[Inclosure No. 1.]



SIR: I find the proclamation of President Lincoln of the 8th of December last in circulation in handbills amongst our soldiers. The immediate object of this circulation appears to be induce our soldiers to quit our ranks and take the oath of allegiance to the United States Government. I presume, however, that the great object and end in view is to hasten the day of peace.

I respectfully suggest for your consideration the property of communicating any views that your Government may have upon this subject through me, rather than by handbills circulated amongst our soldiers.

The few men who may desert under the promise held out in the proclamation cannot be men of character or standing. If they desert their cause, they disgrace themselves in the eyes of God and of men. They can do your cause no good nor can they injure ours. As a great Nation you can accept none but an honorable peace; as a noble people you could have us accept nothing less.

I submit, therefore, whether the mode that I suggest would not be more likely to lead to an honorable end than such a circulation of a partial promise of pardon.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J. LONGSTREET, Lieut.-Gen., Comdg.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Knoxville, East Tenn., January 7, 1864.

Lieut. Gen. J. LONGSTREET, Comdg. Confederate Forces in East Tennessee:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated January 3, 1864.

You are correct in the supposition that the great object in view in the circulation of the President's proclamation is to induce those now in rebellion against the Government to lay aside their arms and return to their allegiance as citizens of the United States, thus securing the reunion of States now arrayed in hostility against one another and restoration of peace.

The immediate effect of the circulation may be to cause many men to leave your ranks to return home, or come within our lines, and, in view of this latter course, it has been thought proper to issue an order announcing the favorable terms on which deserters will be received. I accept, however, your suggestion that it would have been more courteous to have sent these documents to you for circulation, and I embrace, with pleasure, the opportunity thus afforded to inclose to you twenty copies of each of these documents, and rely upon your generosity and desire for peace to give publicity to the same among your officers and men.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Maj.-Gen., Comdg.

[Inclosure No. 3.]


Maj. Gen. J. G. FOSTER, Comdg. Department of the Ohio:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 7th of January, with its enclosures, & C.

The disingenuous manner in which you have misconstrued my letter of the 3d instant has disappointed me. The suggestion which you claim to have adopted is in words as follows, viz:

I presume, however, that the great object and end in view is to hasten the day of peace. I respectfully suggest for your consideration the propriety of communicating any views that your Government may have on that subject through me, rather than by handbills circulated amongst our soldiers. This sentence repudiates, in its own terms, the construction which you have forced upon it. Let me remind you, too, that the spirit and tone of my letter were to meet honorable sentiments.

The absolute want of pretext for your construction of the letter induces me to admonish you against trifling over the events of this great war. You cannot pretend to have answered my letter in the spirit of frankness due to a soldier. And yet, it is hard to believe that an officer commanding an army of veteran soldiers, on whose shoulders rests, in no small part, the destiny of empires, could so far forget the height of this great argument at arms; could be so lost in levity, and so betray the dignity of his high station, as to fall into a contest of jests and jibes.

I have read your "order announcing the favorable terms on which deserters will be received." Step by step you have gone on in the violation of the rules of civilized warfare. Our farms have been destroyed, our women and children have been robbed, and our houses have been pillaged and burnt.

You have laid your plans and worked diligently to produce wholesale murder by servile insurrection. And now, the most ignoble of all, you propose to degrade the human race by inducing soldiers to dishonor and forswear themselves. Soldiers who have met your own upon so many honorable fields, who have breasted the storm of battle in defense of their honor, their families, and their homes for three long years, have a right to expect more of honor, even in their adversaries.

I beg leave to return the copies of the proclamation and your order.

I have the honor to renew to you the assurance of great respect.

Your most obedient servant,

L. LONGSTREET, Lieut.-Gen., Comdg.

[Inclosure No. 4.]

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 4. HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Knoxville, Tenn., January 6, 1864.

To secure uniformity in the treatment of deserters from the Confederate armies, the following orders will be observed:

Hereafter when such deserters come within our lines they will at once be conducted to the nearest division or post commander, who on being satisfied that they honestly desire to quit the Confederate service, will forward them to the provost-marshal-general at Knoxville, who, upon being satisfied of the honesty of their intentions, will allow them to proceed to their homes, if within our lines, upon taking the following oath:

I, ___ ___, do solemnly swear, in the presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the States thereunder; and that I will in like manner abide by and faithfully support all acts of Congress passed during the existing rebellion with reference to slaves, so long and so far as not repealed, modified, or held void by Congress, or by decision of the Supreme Court; and that I will in like manner abide by and faithfully support all proclamations of the President made during the existing rebellion having reference to slaves, so long and so far as not modified or declared void by decision of the Supreme Court: So help me God.

II. Such deserters will be disarmed on surrender, and their arms turned over to the nearest ordnance officer, who will account for the same.

III. The quartermaster's, engineer, subsistence, and medical departments will give such deserters employment when practicable, upon the same terms as to other employes in the U. S. service.

IV. Such deserters will be exempt from the military service of the United States.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Foster:

HENRY CURTIS, JR., Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

[Inclosure No. 5.]


Knoxville, Tenn., December 22, 1863.

The following proclamation by the President of the United States, together with explanatory remarks contained in the message accompanying said proclamation, is published for the information of all concerned:

NOTE 1.--With regard to that part of the oath referring to other proclamations of the President, the following remark occurs in the message:

It should be observed also that this part of the oath is subject to the modifying and abrogating power of legislation and supreme judicial decision.

NOTE 2.--In reference to the plan of reconstruction suggested in the proclamation, the following observations are also made:

Why shall A adopt the plan of B rather than B of A? If A and B should agree, how can they know that the Gen. Government here will respect their plan?

By the proclamation a plan is presented which may be accepted by them as a rallying point, and which will not be rejected here. This may bring them to act sooner than they otherwise would. The objection to a premature presentation of a plan by the National Executive consists in the danger of committals in points which could be more safely left to further developments.

Care has been taken to so shape the document as to avoid embarrassment from this source. In saying that, on certain terms, certain classes will be pardoned, with their rights restored, it is not said that other classes, on other terms, will never be included. In saying that a reconstruction will be accepted, if presented in a specified way, it is not said that it will be accepted in no other way.

All persons interested are urged to accept the liberal terms offered by the President, in order that they may be restored to their former rights and privileges.

By command of Brig. Gen. S. P. Carter, provost-marshal-general of East Tennessee:

H. H. THOMAS, Capt. and Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

[Inclosure No. 6.]

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Knoxville, Tenn., January 17, 1864.

Lieut. Gen. J. LONGSTREET, Comdg. Confederate Forces in East Tennessee:

GEN.: I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of your letter of the 11th instant.

The admonition which you give me against trifling over the events of this great war does not carry with it that weight of authority with which you seek to impress me. I am, nevertheless, ready to respond in plain terms to the suggestions conveyed in your first letter, and which you quote in your second dispatch, that I communicate through you any views which the United States Government may entertain, having for their object the speedy restoration of peace throughout the land.

These views, so far as they can be interpreted from the policy laid down by the Government and sustained by the people at their elections are as follows:

First. The restoration of the rights of citizenship to all those now in rebellion against the Government who may lay down their arms and return to their allegiance.

Second. The prosecution of the war until every attempt at armed resistance to the Government shall have been overcome.

I avail myself of this opportunity to forward an order publishing the proceedings, findings, and sentence in the case of Private E. S. Dodd, Eighth Texas Confederate Cavalry, who was tried, condemned, and executed as a spy.

I also inclose a copy of an order which I have found it necessary to issue, in regard to the wearing of the U. S. uniform by Confederate soldiers.[8]

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER, Maj.-Gen., Comdg.

Inclosure No. 7 (here omitted) contains General Orders,

No. 3, Department of the Ohio, January 5, 1864, promulgating charges, findings, and sentence to death in the case of E. S. Dodd, Eighth Texas Cavalry, arrested and tried as a spy.

[Inclosure No. 8.]

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 7. HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Knoxville, Tenn., January 8, 1864.

Our outposts and pickets posted in isolated places, having in many instances been overpowered and captured by the enemy's troops, disguised, as Federal soldiers, the commanding general is obliged to issue the following order for the protection of his command, and to prevent a continuance of this violation of the rules of warfare:

Corps commanders are hereby directed to cause to be shot dead all the rebel officers and soldiers (wearing the uniform of the U. S. Army) captured within our lines.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Foster:

HENRY CURTIS, JR., Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. III, Vol. 4, pp. 50-54.



[1] PQCW.

[2] A biography of riverboat captain Pink Varble found in Kentucky: A History of the State, Perrin, Battle, Kniffin, 8th ed., 1888, Jefferson Co. instructs that Captain Pink Varble was" one of the best known river men in Louisville, and one of the safest and best Falls pilot ever on the Falls, having piloted more boats over the Falls than any one man in the business." The biographical statement mentions him piloting a boat to New Orleans delivering some fifty-two street cars in 1861. This required obtaining special papers from Federal and Confederate authorities. The statement does not mention this Cumberland river affair; likewise there is nothing to indicate what it was the Pink Varble was doing on the Cumberland in the first place.

[3] As cited in PQCW.

[4] See also: Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Tennessee of the Military Forces of the State, From 1861 to 1866, (Nashville: 1866), p. 133. [Hereinafter: Report of the Adjutant General.]

[5] PQCW.

[6] It is unclear if the "series of desperate engagements" referred to the battle of Stones River, or a number of actions in Murfreesborough itself.

[7] All of the activities occurred in Mississippi, although the mission originated in Memphis.

[8] Inclosure No. 7 (here omitted) contains General Orders,


James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-770-1090 ext. 123456

(615)-532-1549  FAX


No comments: