Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2.17.2015 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        17, John B. Hamilton, at Mill Creek, Nashville environs, to his wife, relative to Fort Donelson fiasco

Feb. 17, 1862

Dear Wife,

I am at cousin Lizzie's-Staid [sic] here last night-Our army (from Bowling Green) are now crossing the [Cumberland] river-and will be all day (perhaps). The cavalry got over at dark last night, crossing on the R.R. Bridge-

Our arms have met a reverse at Ft. Donaldson [sic]. Our troops are in retreat for this place. If the Gun Boats get up here, Nashville will be surrendered, I think. If they cannot get up we may make a stand near this-[sic]

We are camped at Mill Creek 4 miles out on Murfreesborough Pike-Should we move from there, we will go, I think, towards Murfreesborough.

If I knew how [sic] to get them to me I would send for Peter or John Turley. Take things a calm as you can. "all things are not deth." [sic] My helth [sic] tho [sic] poor, is better-The Boys are well.

I am going to camp this morning. will [sic] write as often as I can-but if all communication for a time shall be cut don't suffer yourself to fret & grieve still have an abiding faith in the God of all Good & justice [sic].

These clouds that soon blow by & we shall have a calm [sic]

It is raining this morning-If it shall continue [sic] it will raise the water & the Gun Boats up-as it now [sic] stands we think [sic] they cannot come.

Our killed at Donaldson [sic] if reported at 500-that of the enemy 1,000-

We brought all the dead from the field. Such is my information-I saw McMeans in charge of Col Brown's (3d Ten. Regt. [sic]) [sic] Waggon's crossing last night. The Regt [sic] would get about Charlotte last night [sic].

Our forces from Bowling Green inform us to 25,000 [sic] respects to Ma & all the rest....

Yours Truly,

J. B. Hamilton

Hamilton-Williams Family Papers.[1]

        17, Private in the 5th Iowa Cavalry Charles Alley's impressions of Fort Henry

We arrived here on Tuesday last and landed the same day. The cannon of the "Fort" looked black and gloomy at us but they are harmless now. The "Fort" is a space of several acres enclosed by a ditch about 15 feet wide and 8 or 10 deep. The river was very high, over the low grounds, and the lower part of the fort was overflowed. There were 17 guns in the works, one a 128 pounder, one a rifled gun which burst. A smaller ditch was carried out I think not less than a mile and a half from the river. Then a piece of woods not cut down, then about forty rods wide of timber cut down so as to stop cavalry or artillery, and to be difficult for infantry. A great deal of labor to be lost in an hour. We encamped on a gentle rise a short distance south of the fort. We had clear a place for our camp, but the rebels had cut down all the heavy timber for us, thereby saving us some hard labor. The weather was fine.

Civil War Diary of Lieutenant Charles Alley,

Company "C," 5th Iowa Cavalry[2]

        17, "Hurried to the Commissary's – great crowd there, everybody carrying off bacon.  Gartlan had our wagon getting a load.  While waiting on him I had a fine opportunity of witnessing the scramble – all sorts of vehicles in use – stout men walking off with sides and hams – Irish women tottering under the same.  Some persons secured large amounts." An entry from Journal of Dr. John Berrien Lindsley describing the panic in Nashville during the retreat of the Army of Tennessee from Fort Donelson 

Monday – At daylight dismissed Deubler & company.  Waked up Dr. Peake, and made out a requisition for 750 men for 90 days on Capt. Schaaf, Commissary.  This was on the supposition that many wounded men would speedily arrive from Fort Donelson, and that when the Federal army occupied the city we would have some four or five hundred patients.  In case these men were not recognized as prisoners of war we would thus have a fund to support the hospital say six weeks until they were well: or in case the rules of war were observed the hospital would be turned over to the Federals well supplied.

After breakfast it rained very hard.  I walked to Dr. Yandell's office.  Called twice – saw Childers – neither Yandell not Pim in – Went to the Quartermaster's Office – fortunately found Major John Sehon in – he was packing up busily to leave – explained my requisition to him – he wrote a few lines of approval.

Hurried to the Commissary's – great crowd there, everybody carrying off bacon.  Gartlan had our wagon getting a load.  While waiting on him I had a fine opportunity of witnessing the scramble – all sorts of vehicles in use – stout men walking off with sides and hams – Irish women tottering under the same.  Some persons secured large amounts.  This promiscuous and irregular scramble was so much in the way of parties getting supplies for their regiments that Gen. Floyd stopped it about noon.

Had now about 100 men at the University.  Mrs. Lindsley & Mrs. Hoyte did good service this day with kitchens & stoves in cooking for us.

Much work done in fitting up hospital.

After dinner learned at Pa's that Dr. Yandell was anxious to see me at Dr. Martin's.  Found him there.  He told me that himself & Dr. Pim were obliged to accompany Gen. Johnston, and that they wished me to under-take the duties of Post Surgeon.  Agreed to it.  Loaned my carriage to the Dr. to take his family to the Depot – it being nearly 3 o'clock.  In taking this work it was understood that Dr. Pim would attend to the duties of the office for two days so as to give me time to get my hospital ready – and also that I was to retain my post as Acting Surgeon at the University.  Had a few minutes interview with Dr. Pim: said the hospitals were in great confusion as several of the surgeons or assistants had suddenly left; and that it would be necessary to send to each one to ascertain their present status.

About 5 P.M. Dr. Hay, Assistant Surgeon at the Johnson hospital, came to the University greatly troubled: he had a house full of wounded men, and owing to Dr. Eve's sudden departure the day previous, every thing was in confusion.  Went down at once with Dr. Peake, who after looking around agreed to take charge immediately. On Saturday I had engaged one of Carroll Napier's [marginal note in a different hand: "A coller man"] carriages – found it very useful now.

As a day of panic and terrified confusion this was equal to the preceding – Large bodies of the retreating army were hastening through, and getting their supplies as they passed. 

Many citizens and their families left on the cars and in vehicles.  So absorbed was I with my special work as to be but little struck with the universal terror; it was not until my attention was called to it afterwards that I realized it.

What I saw of Johnston's army to day and yesterday fully equaled any description I have ever read of an army in hurried retreat before a superior force, whose fangs they must avoid.  There was hurry, confusion, alarm, and on the part of many a sullen dissatisfaction at not being able to fight.

Went to bed in good season – perfectly worn out.

Dr. John Berrien Lindsley's Journal, February 18, 1862TSLA, ed. Kathy Lauder

        ca. 17, News of the fall of Fort Donelson reaches Murfreesboro, excerpt from the diary of John C. Spence

* * * *

Our town was quietly reposing, not dreaming that an army would tread our quiet streets, or that we should have any thing to molest us in our every day avocation. But, merely to speak of war as a thing that was raging in other parts of the country and not likely to ever reach us-these and similar feelings were in the minds of all.

When one morning, early, our ears is [sic] greeted by the sound of the horses [sic] hoof, the roll of Artillery wagons and trains, the heavy tread of the retreating soldier and cavalry in our midst. If dreaming, we are now awakened to a new sense of feeling, that war is spreading its baneful effects through the land and its future effects to be dreaded.

Spence Diary.

        17-20, Awkward allocation of Confederate army stores to the public in Nashville; steam fire engine disperses mob


….During the morning of Monday the 17th, a small portion of the public stores was distributed, but an order from Gen Floyd was soon promulgated countermanding the distribution, and many a "poor, lone woman" and not a few men, who had reached the scene "just in time to be too late," turned away grievously disappointed. It was announced as the determination of Gen. Floyd, who was in command of the post, to ship off the stores for the use of the army, and impressments of wagons and men were extensively made with the view of getting the provisions and other stores, not needed for the hospitals, to the railroad depots and placed in the cars, and large amounts were sent off during the day.

The timid were not yet assured that a battle would not be fought on the opposite side of the river, and their fears were heightened by rumors that Generals Johnston, Pillow and Floyd had determined to make a stand a few miles out of the city, and the counter-marching of troops, in the rain which continued to pour down most of the forenoon, gave color to these rumors. So general had become the conviction that a battle was to be fought almost upon the confines of the city, and that it would be necessary for the women and children to seek safety in flight from the impending conflagration which was to sweep Nashville, "at one fell swoop," from the face of the earth, that it became necessary for Gen Barrow and Mayor Cheatham to again confer with Gen. Johnston, to ascertain whether he had changed his purposes with regard to Nashville. Upon their return they each briefly addressed the eager crowd assembled upon the Public Square, stating that they had the assurance of Gen. Johnston, that, at a council of war held that morning, Generals Pillow and Floyd fully agreed with him that, under the circumstances and in the condition of the Confederate troops, it would only be hazardous but impolitic to make a stand here, and that the Confederate army would retire before the arrival of the Federal troops, and leave the city to be quietly turned over to Gen. Buell. Thus was removed all fear of danger to the safety of the city from an apprehended collision in the immediate vicinity.

During his remarks Mayor Cheatham stated that the remainder of the public stores would be distributed to the people under the supervision of competent and reliable gentlemen to de designated by himself, who would see that a fair and equitable distribution was made, so that every body in the city who needed would get a fair proportion. This was done, he said, to prevent parties from getting more than they needed, while others, who, really were in want, would perhaps get none. This announcement was satisfactory to the crowd and they quietly dispersed.

*  *  *  *


The morning of Tuesday, the 18th, dawned cloudy, damp and chilly, but with it came no intelligence of the gunboats, except a repetition of the idle rumors of the previous day.

The distribution of the Government stores was again commenced, and large amounts of various kinds were given out during the day. This distribution created much excitement and serious fears of a riot were entertained. Indeed, it was all the Mayor and city police, in connection with the military, could do to keep even an approach to order in one or two localities. A good deal of stores, especially in the Quartermaster's department, was turned over to thousand of poor women who had labored faithfully for the Confederate Government for months past, in satisfaction of the balances due them. The rush made to the Quartermaster's store by hundreds of women and men, who hoped to get a portion of the good distributed, was closely akin to a mob, and the wonder is that many were not seriously injured.

*  *  *  *


The distribution of provisions and other government stores was resumed Wednesday [19th] morning, but was shortly afterwards suspended by order of Gen. Floyd, who it appears came to the conclusion that the Federals were not as near Nashville as been supposed, and that these supplies could yet be shipped off for the use of the Confederate army. Squads of cavalrymen were stationed in front of each store to keep off the crowds of people who had been drawn hither in expectation of getting a portion of what was to be distributed. They had come, some with wagons, some with wheelbarrows, some with baskets, and others, perhaps the largest portion, without anything, hoping to get a piece or two of meat and which to feed their little ones during the period they would be unable get employment, consequent upon the deranged condition of affairs in Nashville. It was a matter of with those who witnessed the conduct of these soldiers, that large numbers of women and children were not seriously injured, if not killed. Most of them were mounted upon spirited horses, and they would charge into the crowds at full speed, brandishing their swords or flourishing loaded pistols already cocked. It was painful to witness these exhibitions of recklessness on the part of men unused to the exercise of authority. We have often heard it said of a man, "He swears like a trooper," but we are forced to admit, after hearing a trooper swear, that the simile lacks an expressiveness. Such conduct was reprehensible to the last degree, and we feel satisfied the perpetrators would have been severely punished had the attention of the commanding General been directed to this matter.

A vigorous effort was made to get the provisions and other stores transferred to the railroad depot, and a large number of wagons from both the city and the surrounding country were impresses into service, as were numbers of the citizens of Nashville. There was no system, however, in what was done, and everything went on pell-mell, and the consequence was, much remained undone that might have been accomplished.

The impression got out and prevailed pretty generally Friday [20th] morning that the goods and clothing in the Quartermaster's department, on the corner of Front street and the Public Square, would be distributed that day to the poor and needy. It is said, however, the intention was to distribute what remained of these stores to those who had been working for the Confederate Government, especially the women, and had not been paid, as compensation for their services. The rumor attracted an immense crowd, and it was a motley one. All ages, color and sex were drawn thither in the hope of sharing a portion of the spoils. Hundreds of voices would demand that the doors be thrown open and free access given to everybody. The excited crowd swayed two and fro, and grew more clamorous from the promised distributions.

*  *  *  *

As the door would open for one or two of the beneficiaries to pass in or out, the crowd would make a surge before which it seemed almost impossible to stand, and it really appeared a miracle that in that wild commotion…limb and life escaped. The efforts of the police and military to preserve order were of no avail, and a serious riot was imminent. The Mayor appeared and appealed to the crowd to disperse, but his appeal was unheeded, and the impatience of the multitude was almost ready to break forth in that wild spirit….

It was a critical moment, and luckily the Mayor bethought himself an expedient which proved more effective than the bayonets of the soldiers. He ordered out the steam fire engine, and soon the muddy waters of the Cumberland were poring down like an avalanche upon the excited populace. The effect was magical. Two or three men were knocked down by the powerful stream, many were thoroughly drenched, while others were well sprinkled, whereas those who escaped laughed most heartily. The passions of the people, wrought almost to "democratic phrensy [sic]" were cooled down, everybody was soon in a good humor the crowd was dispersed, and a disgraceful riot prevented. So much for cold water!

It was highly honorable in those having charge of these stores that they made an effort to turn a sufficiency of them over to those who had worked for the Confederate Government to compensate them for their services, and it is to be regretted that a number of poor women, who had toiled for the Government for weeks and months, failed to get their pay. They represent that they made the application before the hour of distribution arrived, but because they were unwilling to risk limb and life in the excited crowd that besieged the building, or from some other cause, they received nothing, and now hold remembrances of the Confederate Government in the shape of little bills, while others, "well to do in the world," who had no little bills or claim of any character, have remembrances of the same Government in the shape of piles of clothe, and provisions, and groceries, sufficient to last them a year or two.

The plan for distributing the provisions and other stores among the people, so that the poor and needy should be supplied, was admirably conceived, but unfortunately it failed in the execution, and the consequence has been very great dissatisfaction and the charge that favoritism was shown, that parties who really needed nothing got considerable quantities of valuable stores, while hucksters and even merchants were enabled to lay in supplies for which they can find no use in their own families. What truth there may be, or whether any, in these complaints of course we do not know.

The Great Panic, pp. 18-19, 21, 23-28.

        17-28, Confederate withdrawal from Murfreesboro and Middle Tennessee


Edgefield, February [17, 1862].

Maj.-Gen. CRITTENDEN, Cmdg. Chestnut Mound:

Gen. Johnston directs you to move your command to Murfreesborough (instead of Nashville) without delay. Press all the wagons you need. Fort Donelson has fallen, and Gen. Floyd's army is captured after a gallant defense.



OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 889.

MURFREESBOROUGH, [February] 24, 1862.


My movements have been delayed by a storm on the 22d washing away pike and railroad bridge at this place. Floyd, 2,500 strong, will march for Chattanooga to-morrow to defend the central line. This army will move on 26th, by Decatur, for the valley of Mississippi; is in good condition and increasing in numbers.


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 905

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 39. HDQRS. WESTERN DEPARTMENT, Murfreesborough, February 27, 1862.

* * * * [sic]

2. The army will move to-morrow morning at sunrise for Shelbyville.

3. The order of march and the marches will be as follows:

1st. Wood's brigade, snappers and miners, 15 miles on Shelbyville road.

2d. Wood's brigade, snappers and miners, 15 miles on Shelbyville road.

3d. Crittenden's division, 12 miles on the same road.

4th. Breckinridge and Texas Rangers, 7 miles to Hindman's first encampment.

5th. Hardee, with Bowen's brigade, will cross the bridge over Stone's Creek.

6th. All unattached companies, battalions, or regiments will be put in march by Maj.-Gen. Hardee in advance of Bowen.

7th. The colonels of regiments will place all spare wagons at the disposal of the chief quartermaster.

8th. The brigadiers and colonels will restrict their officers and men to the smallest possible amount of baggage, and turn over surplus transportation to the chief quartermaster.

9th. Maj.-Gen. Hardee will assume command of all the cavalry in rear of the army, prescribe the time and manner of their movement, and direct them to destroy all the bridges after they pass over.

10th. The chief quartermaster will turn over all surplus transportation to Maj.-Gen. Hardee.

[By command of Gen. Johnston:

W. W. MACKALL, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.]

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 911.


Murfreesborough, February 28, 1862.

The columns will resume the march to-morrow morning in the same order, and continue it from day to day by Shelbyville and Fayetteville to Decatur.

The marches will be so arranged as to make about 15 miles a day so long as the roads permit.

By command of Gen. Johnston:

W. W. MACKALL, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 912.

        17, Expedition from Memphis against guerrillas

FEBRUARY 17, 1863.-Expedition from Memphis, Tenn., against guerrillas.

HDQRS. SECOND ILLINOIS CAVALRY, Memphis, February 17, 1863.

Report of JOHN J. MUDD,

Maj., Cmdg. Regt

SIR: I have the honor to report the safe arrival of my entire command at 9 o'clock this evening. I moved in concert with Col. Starring, of Seventy-second Illinois, and found enemy's pickets about fourteen miles out, and afterward were constantly annoyed by the bushwhackers, who lost no opportunity of firing on us from beyond fences and ravines; but fortunately we suffered no loss. Owing to delay at a small bridge beyond Horn Creek we did not reach Maj. Blythe's camp until Tuesday morning. We found it deserted, and after burning the few sheds remaining and the camp and garrison equipage we found the rebel forces advancing. On our approach they fled in great haste and confusion. We pursued about three miles, capturing 12 prisoners, 20 or 30 guns, some horses, and a lot of regimental and company papers, part of which I send you, and the remainder are in possession of Lieut. White, aide-de-camp to Gen. Quinby. Among the prisoners is Lieut. Smith, of Capt. Matthews' company. I have never before met as bold and daring bushwhackers. I do not believe they can be driven out without quartering troops in the neighborhood, which course I wound suggest. The neighbors are nearly all connected with the troops. They are wealthy, and have meat enough this side of Coldwater to supply a large army for a long time. If we don't eat it the rebels will. They have also forage in abundance. If a force were quartered amongst them, and the bridges on Coldwater destroyed, a large contraband trade would be broken up and our flanks be protected and the guerrillas would not be so plenty in this City.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Your obedient servant,

JOHN J. MUDD, Maj., Cmdg. Regt. [sic]

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pt. I, p. 61.

        17, Major-General Rosecrans seeks power to promptly execute death penalty in order to prevent desertion from the Army of the Cumberland

MURFREESBOROUGH, TENN., February 17, 1863--3 p. m.

Maj.-Gen. HALLECK, Gen.-in-Chief:

The effect of the state of party agitation at the North is to encourage desertion. To counteract this in my army, at least, I deem two things necessary: First, that I have the power of confirming and promptly executing sentence of death for desertion. Second, that I have the authority to send proper details of officers, and, if necessary, men, to arrest and bring back absentees, whether deserters, paroled prisoners, skulkers, convalescents, or stragglers. I have once requested this of the War Department, but have not yet received a reply. I beg your attention to this matter, as one requiring immediate attention. There are 40,000 absentees from this army to-day.

W. S. ROSECRANS, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 75.

        17, Confederates escape from the penitentiary

Escaped.—Night before last seven Confederate prisoners escaped from the penitentiary in this city. They worked their way up to the cupola of the building, then by ropes—supposed to have been furnished by some secesh ladies of this place—reached the ground. One of them was shot and captured, and one of them captured unhurt. The remaining five escaped through the picket line, and are now supposed to be in the rebel army.

Nashville Daily Union, February 19, 1863

        17, Juvenile gang turf battles in Nashville

Throwing Rocks.—The attention of the police is directed to a dangerous amusement just come into vogue among boys, white and black. A party meets almost every evening in South Nashville, composed of "The Wilson Springs Boys" and "The Cherry Street Boys," who form themselves into line of battle and pelt each other with rocks, to the imminent danger of passers-by, and to the demolition of sundry window-lights. A similar party meets on Broad street almost every day, between school hours, and serious consequences may ensue unless it is stopped. On Sunday evening about a dozen boys assembled on a lot on Market street, north of the Louisville and Nashville depot, and carried on a war of rocks until one or two passers-by narrowly escaped serious injury.

Nashville Dispatch, February 17, 1863.

        17, "…these laws are about to be enforced in earnest …." State and local laws regulating slaves and free persons of color

Slaves and Free Persons of Color.

City Laws in Regard to Them.

The charge of Manson M. Brien, Judge of the Criminal Court of Davidson county, to the grand jury empanelled last week, is fresh in the minds of our readers, and particularly that portion of it in relation to the enforcement of the State and City Laws regulating slaves and free persons of color. The frequent allusions to the same subject in our daily reports of the proceedings in the Recorder's Court, and the instructions of Recorder Shane to the members of the Night Police, seem to indicate that these laws are about to be enforced in earnest, and we therefore feel it incumbent on us to publish an abstract of laws upon the subject, in order to enable our readers to post themselves on the subject and regulate themselves and servants accordingly.

Section 2 of an act to incorporate the inhabitants of the town of Nashville, page 34 of City Laws, gives the Corporation full power and authority to pass all by-laws and ordinances necessary for the restraint and government of slaves.

The laws passed by the Corporation of Nashville, pursuant to the authority granted by the General Assembly of the State, make it the duty of the city Marshal and the City Watch to see that the laws are enforced within the limits of the Corporation, and when no person will appear to prosecute, it is the duty of the City marshal or some one of the city watch to become prosecutor.

All free persons of color must have his or her name registered by the City Recorder. Should any be found in the public places or streets of this city without a Recorder's certificate of such registration, they are deemed to be slaves and must be dealt with as such.

Free persons of color found without visible means of support must be arrested as vagrants.

Free persons of color are not permitted to entertain slaves during the Sabbath day, or between sunset and sunrise, without permission of the owner or employer of said slave, under a penalty of $10 for each offence.

Collections of slaves are forbidden, except for public worship, and the Marshal, City Watch, and Patrols, are required to disperse all such collections.

Slaves who do not reside, or who are not employed within the corporate limits, are not permitted to remain in the city after sunset or on Sunday, without permission from the owner.

It is unlawful for any slave to hold, occupy, reside, or sleep in any house, out-house, building, or inclosure, other than the premises upon which their owner or employer resides, without written permission from said owner or employer. Any owner violating this order incurs a penalty of $10.

Any person renting by the day or month, or otherwise, to any slave, any lot, house, out-house, tenement or room, incurs a penalty of from $10 to $50 for each offence.

It is unlawful for a slave to hire his time, under penalty of $20.

It Is Unlawful For Slaves

To go off the premises of their masters without leave.

To carry arms.

"Sell liquors.

"Sell articles not manufactured by himself.

It Is Unlawful for White Persons

To give a forged pass to a slave.

"Secrete or harbor a runaway.

"Receive and carry from one place to another without authority from the owner.

To trade with, or give or sell liquor.

"Emancipate, without assent of State.

"Marry with.

Free Persons of Color Are Forbidden

To remove from any State or Territory into this State, under a penalty of not less than ten or more than fifty dollars, and hard labor in the Penitentiary not less than one nor more than two years.

To keep grocery, to sell drugs and medicines.

To marry a slave without the owner's consent.

To harbor slaves, or entertain them on the Sabbath day.

We have alluded only to such portions of the State Code and City Laws as bear more immediately upon the evils under which our city is at present suffering, and such as may be readily enforced to the benefit of our community and to the moral and social benefit of our colored population. Drunkenness, prostitution, idleness, and theft are the prevailing occupations of hundreds of negroes [sic] about town. We do not allude to our own colored population, although some of them are becoming a curse to the community and themselves, but to the numerous runaways who have "squatted" among us; to officers' servants; to families of negroes [sic] working for the army, and similar cases. It is the duty of the police to enforce all these laws, and in many cases it is made the duty of any white citizen to bring criminals to justice.

Nashville Dispatch, February 17, 1863.

        17-20, Expedition from Murfreesborough to Liberty

No circumstantial reports filed.

        17-21, Anti-guerrilla expedition from Lexington to Clifton


No. 1.-Col. John K. Mizner, Third Michigan Cavalry, Chief of Cavalry, District of Jackson.

No. 2.-Capt. Frederick C. Adamson, Third Michigan Cavalry.

No. 1.

Report of Col. John K. Mizner, Third Michigan Cavalry, Chief of Cavalry, District of Jackson.

JACKSON, TENN., February 22, 1863.

CAPT.: To add to the pleasurable remembrances of the anniversary we have to-day celebrated, I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding, that the cavalry I sent toward the Tennessee River have succeeded in capturing Col. [J. F.] Newsom, with 7 of his officers and 60 men, besides all their horses, arms, accouterments, &c., together with a large amount of supplies. This splendid achievement was accomplished by Capt. Cicero Newell, of the Third Michigan Cavalry, who, with 60 picked men, crossed the Tennessee River on the night of the 19th instant, and surprised and captured Newsom and his whole party at Clifton. He recrossed to this side with all his prisoners, when our gunboats came in sight, and gave them valuable assistance in discovering boats and small craft which the enemy had concealed and had continually used in crossing the river. Capt. Adamson, Third Michigan Cavalry, was second in command, and he, as well as all of the officers and men, deserve the highest praise for capturing a force of the enemy exactly equal to their own.

I regret to inform you that Capt. Newell was wounded in the action at Clifton.

I inclose Capt. Adamson's report, which gives a full account of the affair.

The prisoners were turned over to Lieut. Fitch, commanding gunboat fleet. Capt. Newell, being disabled, was also taken on board the gunboat.

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

J. K. MIZNER. Col. and Chief of Cavalry.

No. 2.

Report of Capt. Frederick C. Adamson, Third Michigan Cavalry.

LEXINGTON, TENN., February 21, 1863.

SIR: On behalf of Capt. Newell, I would respectfully submit the following report of the operations of the detachment of cavalry under his command from the 17th instant until the present date:

On the 17th instant he started for Clifton, with 23 men of Company A, under Sergeant [Thomas] Dean; 14 men of Company L, under command of Lieut. Leonardson; 24 men of Company K, under command of Lieut. McIntyre; 23 of Company B, commanded by Capt. Adamson (all of the above of the Third Michigan Cavalry), and 14 men of the Second Tennessee, commanded by Sergeant Mize.

We reached Johnson's house, 8 miles from Clifton, about sundown, without any adventure worth noting, having scouted the country thoroughly for some miles on either side of the road. At midnight our pickets sent in two Confederate soldiers, who had just crossed from Clifton, from whom we gained some valuable information in relation to the force at Clifton.

At daylight we started for the river, leaving a small party at Johnson's. We struck the enemy's pickets on the river bank, 2 miles from the point opposite Clifton. We then dashed down, hoping to capture the ferry. The pickets had evidently signaled their confederates on the opposite shore, as they greeted us with a volley. We got our horses under cover immediately, and, dismounting the men, led part of [Companies] A and K to the bank and returned their fire. The firing was continued on both sides for a short time, resulting in no damage to men, but wounding two of Company B's horses, which, we supposed, had been placed entirely out of danger. Capt. Newell left his company to watch the enemy and cover our retreat. We then returned to Johnson's, where we found a conscript who had come in to surrender himself. From the information given by him, Capt. Newell went with his company to Turnbull's Creek, leaving orders with me to proceed with the remainder of the command to Decaturville, and secure quarters for the men, &c.

The captain's scout resulted in the discovery of an old flat-boat, some 40 feet long and 10 wide. He immediately conceived the idea of crossing the river and making an attack on Clifton, and left Sergeant [Henry C.] Vowles and 6 men, with orders to make a pair of oars, bail out the boat, and take her down the river, under cover of the night, to point 4 miles above Clifton, and there await our coming. He then joined me at Decaturville, where we decided, from the information collected, upon a plan of attack to be carried into effect that night. Information of the discovery of the boat having reached the citizens, through the indiscretion of some of Company K's men, we feared they might guess at our intention and prepare the rebels for our coming, so we announced our departure for Lexington, and started off on that road (leaving at 2 p. m.).

Getting out some 4 miles, we struck into the woods, under the guidance of Mr. Dow White; remained concealed in the woods until night, when we started for our boat, some 10 miles off; found everything all right. The river was very high and full of drift-wood, which the strong current drove along at fearful speed. It was now 12 m. We could not take all the men at once, and we knew, in the state of the river, that we could not take all the men at once, and we knew, in the state of the river, that we could not make a second trip in time to carry out our plans. So we told off 60 men--22 from A, 10 from L, 14 from K, and 14 from B--under command of their respective officers, as before noted (Lieut.'s Bingham and Drew accompanying their companies). We left the reminder of the men, under command of a sergeant, to take charge of our horses. We got our living freight aboard our crazy craft[3], the boat's gun wale being just 6 inches above water-mark, made the men lie flat in the bottom, crossed over, and drifted down about 2 miles; then landed, after considerable difficulty and danger, and wended our way through the woods for town. After marching some 2 miles through the brush along the river bank, we encountered a serious obstacle to our farther progress, in the shape of an extensive bayou, which we could not cross in any direction. Not being discouraged at our failure, we marched back to the boat, shoved off, and drifted down within half a mile of town, again landed, reconnoitered cautiously, marched within sight of town, found everything quiet, lay down on the ground, and sent our guide to a house to ascertain with exact certainty the strength and position of the enemy; found it just as we expected and no more. We waited some two hours anxiously for the proper moment to arrive. The night was very dark and cold. Our men suffered considerably, having left their overcoats in the boat, but they bore it in silence, as not a murmur was heard among them.

Day just breaking, we crept cautiously into town, Company B in advance. Their only guard now espied us, and, calling "treason" at the top of his voice, started for the quarters. We soon secured him, sent a couple of men to their ferry, surrounded the houses, which we knew contained the men, dashing in the doors and windows, thrusting in our guns, and pointing them at the heads of the astonished, half-awake, and undressed occupants, demanding with loud shouts their instant surrender. Considerable resistance was shown in some of the buildings, but we bore down everything before us. Some thirty shots were fired; the second one, I am sorry to say, disabled Capt. Newell, stricken him in the leg, under the knee, making a painful, but not dangerous, flesh wound. Col. Newsom had his right arm fearfully shattered and Lieut. Shelby was struck in the shoulder, which were all the known casualties that occurred on both sides.

The command now devolving upon me, and the town being fully in our possession, I instantly mounted a few men, and [sent] them on the different roads to pick up runaways, and turned my immediate attention to getting the prisoners on the other side of the river, as I had reliable information that there was an Alabama regiment of cavalry camped at Ague Creek, only 7 miles east, and a strong force at Waynesborough, 17 miles distant. Some of our men left with the horses now made their appearance on the opposite bank, according to instructions, so I sent 50 over (in the ferry just captured) with a strong guard, commanded by Lieut. Bigham, putting Capt. Newell in the same boat; signaled our own boat, which the guard immediately brought down; loaded her with the rest of the prisoners, a party of our men, the captured saddles, guns, &c.

We plied both boats briskly for some time, carrying from four to six horses a trip. It was severe work, as the current would carry the boats a long distance down stream; consequently we had to haul them up along shore, so that they might reach the landing on the opposite side. In the mean time I had crossed over; and fearing the co-operation of the prisoners in case of an attack, I directed Lieut. Drew to move them to Hughes' house, 2 miles distant. We were about getting over our last load of horses when we were most agreeably surprised by the appearance of a fleet of five gunboats. The Lexington, in advance, put out her guns, intending to shell us, but a cheer from this side and a white flag from the other checked her intention. Lieut. Fitch, flag-officer of the fleet, gave our tired men a capital dinner, which they much needed, having eaten nothing since noon of the day before.

Before the arrival of the boats, I had ordered the firing of the buildings that had been occupied by the enemy, as they were well filled up; with bunks, &c., and the hotel in which we found over 30 men contained a quantity of commissary stores, which I could not transport, so was compelled to destroy.

Our raid was entirely successful. The result was the capture of 8 commissioned officers and some 60 enlisted men, 40 splendid horses, some saddles, about 40 stand of arms, principally old shot-guns, many of which we threw in the river, some Sharps' and Smith's carbines (four of the latter), a few Enfield rifles, several old muskets, flint-locks, &c., and a few Colt's pistols (how many I cannot ascertain, as the property has not yet been collected from the men). I regret to say that many of the old guns were carried off by the officers and men of the gunboats during my absence, as their men were all allowed to come ashore.

Capt. Fitch offered to take the prisoner off our hands, and, upon consulting with Capt. Newell, who had been moved to Hughes', he decided it would be best to get rid of them, as several were unable to ride, and I could not mount them all. I fear that I have erred in this matter, but did it for the best. The horses are distributed among the companies, subject to the order of the colonel commanding.

Having had information that Wright's Island contained several horses belonging to the Confederates, I took a small party on the gunboat and searched the island. The horses had been removed several days before, but we found two boats, one of which we destroyed; the other was one of Francis' metallic life-boats, which I also turned over to Capt. Fitch. It was now dusk, so we crossed in our old boat, which we had towed up, entirely destroyed it, and marched on foot to Johnson's, to which place I had ordered the command.

Early on the 21st, I started for Lexington, through a drenching rain; reached there at 3 p. m., and reported to Maj. [Thomas] Saylor, whom I found in command.

I am thoroughly satisfied that there is no force anywhere in this vicinity, on this side of the Tennessee River. Van Dorn is at Columbia; parties of his cavalry are stationed at different points, close to the river, and it seems to be the impression that it is his intention to attempt to hold the river at these points.

I inclose a list of the prisoners and Capt. Fitch's receipt for 54; one of the slips containing their names was mislaid, which accounts for the difference between the list and receipt, and 4 were released on parole. I must apologize for the length of this report, but in justice to the men and officers, who all, without exception, conducted themselves bravely on our rather dangerous expedition, I could not do less than tell the whole story.

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

F. C. ADAMSON, Capt. Third Michigan Cavalry.

P. S.-Net result of expedition: Prisoners, 61; horses, 40; saddles, about 40; stand of arms, 40; flat-boats destroyed, 2; yawls destroyed, 2; skiffs destroyed, 2; life-boat found, 1; 4 barrels flour, 3 barrels salt, 10,000 ponds pork and bacon, a quantity of corn-meal, beans, &c., burned.

Col. Newsom and Lieut. [M. T.] Shelby were dangerously wounded and paroled.

I neglected to state that captain Newell went on the gunboat Fairplay, as, owing to the state of the roads and the lack of transportation, we could not [take] him to a suitable place.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pt. I, pp. 356-360.

Excerpt from the Detailed report of Lieutenant-Commander Fitch, U. S. Navy, regarding operations in the Tennessee River from February 18 to 24, 1863.

….Just above Fort Henry we met a rise (in the water level of the river), which enabled the boats to go on up the river without hindrance. It was reported that the rebels had batteries at Clifton, but when we arrived there early in the forenoon of the 20th, I fund the town in flames and out forces from Lexington in possession. They had managed to find a small flat somewhere during the previous day, and during the night Captain Newell managed to cross a squad of some 60 men unobserved by the enemy. Just before day the town was surrounded, and the guerrillas completely surprised. Most of them were taken before they got out of bed. By request of Captain Adamson I lay by and assisted him back across the river. I also took his prisoners, numbering 54, on board the gunboats, as he had little means of getting them to Lexington. After getting on board the prisoners 40 of his men were taken on board the gunboats and landed on Eagle Nest Island, where it was reported the rebels had stores, but we did not find any….

Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pp. 44-45.

Excerpt from the Summary report of Lieutenant-Commander Fitch, U. S. Navy, regarding operations on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, from December 16, 1862 to March 17, 1863.

* * * *

On the morning of the 20th reached Clifton, [Tenn.]; found our forces in possession and the town in flames. Assisted the land forces back to the west side of the river and took charge of their prisoners, as they had no means of disposing of them.

Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, p. 57.

Excerpt from the Report of Lieutenant-Commander Fitch, U. S. Navy, regarding naval operations in the Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, August 23, 1862-October 21, 1863

* * * *

When we arrived at Clifton we found the town in flames and a squad of our cavalry under command of Captain Fred'k. C. Adamson in possession of the place, having crossed the river in a flat during the night, surrounded and captured a squad of 54 guerrillas, and set fire to the town.

Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pp. 314-315.

        17, Expedition from Island No. 10 to Riley's Landing Tennessee

FEBRUARY 17, 1864.-Expedition from Island No. 10 to Riley's Landing, Tenn.

Report of Capt. Robert M. Ekings, thirty-fourth New Jersey Infantry.

HDQRS. U. S. FORCES, Island No. 10, Tenn., February 18, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to report that, having received information that 4 deserters from the Union army were secreted near Tiptonville, Tenn., I with 40 men of my command embarked on a steamer at 2 a. m. of February 17, and proceeded down the river to Riley's Landing, 6 miles below Tiptonville.

At Riley's house we seized a small amount of Government ammunition and several guns. Being unable to carry away these guns we destroyed them.

We then proceeded to the house of one Lewis, where we succeeded in capturing 5 of the gang of guerrillas which has infested the bend for five months past. Together with them we captured their arms and their horses. These men were in bed, having their pistols under their heads, but being completely surprised offered no resistance.

From this point we marched to the place where the deserters were said to be employed, but could find no traces of them. Seeing no chance of effecting any further captures we got on board a boat at Tiptonville and returned to this post.

One of these prisoners, Owen Edwards, is a quasi lieutenant in Meriwether's company of bushwhackers, and is reported to have been in command of the party which fired into a Government boat below Tiptonville about three months ago. Another, Lewis, claims to belong to Faulkner's command. Gregg says he was a private in Meriwether's gang, but that he deserted when Meriwether proceeded south. George Moore, formerly of the rebel army, now horse thief and scoundrel in general, is the fourth person captured; and lastly Clayton, about whom I have no particular information except his being found with the rest at Lewis' house. Lewis is a paroled prisoner. He was formerly a captain in the Fifteenth Regt. Tennessee Volunteers, rebel army. He stated that the guerrillas have eaten over $200 worth of provisions at his house within six months. He has a parole from Gen. Quinby, formerly commanding this district.

Of the captured horses three have been sent to Columbus. The prisoners will be examined and sent to Capt. I. H. Williams, district provost-marshal.

R. M. EKINGS, Capt. Company C, 34th New Jersey Infantry, Cmdg. Post.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 404.[4]

        17, An end to military control over newspaper circulation in Chattanooga


Headquarters Depar't [sic] of the Cumberland.

Office of Provost Marshal General

Chattanooga, Feb. 17, 1864

All orders heretofore issued in this Department proscribing or restricting the circulation of Newspapers, are hereby revoked.

by command of Maj. Gen. Geo. H. Thomas

Nashville Dispatch, March 16, 1864.

        17, "Supplies were permitted by General Sherman to be sent up the river, partly upon my representation of the extreme necessity of the families living on the bank of the river, many of whom I know to have been loyal to the Government at times when Union men were hunted like wild beasts." Trading Cotton for Supplies on the Tennessee River

Report of Lieutenant-Commander Shirk, U. S. Navy, regarding the operations of the steamer S. C. Baker in Tennessee River.


Clifton, Tenn., February 17, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th instant, relative to a steamboat trading in cotton on the Tennessee River, and enclosing a copy of a telegram from Brigadier-General Dodge to Major-General U. S. Grant.

The steamboat referred to is the S.C. Baker, owned by Halliday Brothers, of Cairo, and William H. Cherry & Go., of Memphis. These gentlemen had proper permits to purchase cotton in the counties bordering on the river, in the States of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama, from the supervising agents of the Treasury.

The supplies that the S.C. Baker took up the river were all distributed under the personal supervision of a Treasury agent. Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Jason Goudy, commanding the U. S. S. Tawah, convoyed the Baker, and his orders from me were to see that no supplies were put on shore where they could fall into the hands of rebels. This he did do.

The papers of the Baker and the permits for family supplies were all correct, and in accordance with the requisitions of the Treasury Department for" commercial intercourse with, and in, States declared in insurrection," and the general orders of the War and Navy Departments, annexed thereto, direct, that "all officers of the Army or Navy should not permit, prohibit, or in any manner interfere with any trade or transportation conducted under the regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury."

The officers commanding convoys in this river are attentive in a high degree to their duty, and I know that they would not permit any violation of any order or regulation of the Government.

The Baker is now in the river again with supplies permitted by the collector of customs in Paducah, Ky., and was cleared for Florence, Ala. She is now at Craven's Landing, about 10 miles below Savannah. I have directed Acting Volunteer Lieutenant E. M. King, commanding U. S. S. Key West, who is convoying her, not to go any farther up the river, to seize her if any relative of General Roddey is on board, or if anyone on board has a permit to trade given by General Roddey, and to take her to Cairo.

Supplies were permitted by General Sherman to be sent up the river, partly upon my representation of the extreme necessity of the families living on the bank of the river, many of whom I know to have been loyal to the Government at times when Union men were hunted like wild beasts.

I shall do all in my power to prevent supplies of any kind from falling into the hands of rebels.

I have certain information that the rebel Roddey has gone with his command into the State of Georgia. There may be a few stragglers from his force on the west or southern side of the Tennessee River, but I believe that there are no rebels in arms near the places the Baker has been trading. I have directed Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Commanding King to afford the S. C. Baker every facility in buying cotton on the lower part of the river, provided he finds her to be all right.

I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant,


Lieutenant-Commander, Comdg. 7th Dist. Mississippi Squadron.

Rear-Admiral DAVID D. POUTER.

Commanding U. S. Mississippi Squadron,

Flagship Black Hawk, Mound City, Ill.

NOR, Ser. I, Vol. 25, pp. 765-766.

        17-22, Expedition from Motley's Ford, Tennessee, to Murphy North Carolina environs

FEBRUARY 17-22, 1864.-Expedition from Motley's Ford, Tenn., to Murphy and vicinity, N. C.

Reports of Maj. Nathan Paine, First Wisconsin Cavalry, commanding expedition.

HDQRS. FIRST WISCONSIN CAVALRY, Camp Near Motley's Ford, February 22, 1864.

COL.: I have the honor to report that in accordance with your orders I proceeded on the 17th instant with 250 men to North Carolina via Tellico Plains.

After the command crossed the State line detachments were sent on all the roads. The country both sides of the Hiwassee, from Taylor's Ferry to Suddorth's Ford [distance 28 miles], from Murphy up the Valley River [12 miles], and from Suddorth's Ford to Fort Hembree [10 miles], was thoroughly examined.

Roads generally good, but very mountainous. No forage from Tellico Plains until you reach Suddorth's Ford. Here there is not to exceed 600 bushels of corn within a circuit of 5 miles. Roughness quite abundant. From Suddorth's to Fort Hembree forage is not plenty. The country is very broken; has been thickly settled, but the houses are now mostly abandoned. The Hiwassee is fordable in several places along the route. There is no organized armed force in that vicinity.

The command was absent six days, during which we captured 28 men, 5 officers, 15 mules, and 4 horses. We met with no loss.

I remain, colonel, your obedient servant,

N. PAINE, Maj., First Wisconsin Cavalry.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 404.

[1] Hamilton-Williams Family Papers, mfm 1303, Box 1, folder 15, TSL&A.

[2] Civil War Diary of Lieutenant Charles Alley, Company "C," 5th Iowa Cavalry, TSL&A Civil War Collection, typescript. [Hereinafter cited as: Alley Diary. If not otherwise designated, the entry is date specific.]

[3] The flatboat discovered earlier.

[4] This same report is also found in Rebellion Record, Vol. 8, p. 447. It includes the following sentence which does not appear in the OR version: "At nearly every house we visited, we found guns, which we destroyed."

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-770-1090 ext. 123456

(615)-532-1549  FAX


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