Thursday, March 12, 2015

3.12.2015 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        12, "At most of the small plantations the people were out waving their handkerchiefs, and cheering us." Excerpt from a private letter in the Chicago Times from Savannah, Tennessee

Savannah, Hardin County, Tenn.

March 12, 1862.

Dear Brother--We left Fort Henry at noon and ran up to the railroad bridge, sixteen miles distant....We then proceeded on up the river.

….At most of the small plantations the people were out waving their handkerchiefs, and cheering us. I have no doubt but that the part of Tennessee through which we have passed is strongly loyal. It was really a charming sight to be greeted with so much good feeling. The negroes [sic] would be out among the rest and cheered right lustily. If the owners were not loyal they would not allow their negroes [sic] to do this. We ran until about midnight, and had to lie by on account of the fog until morning. We started late. It was a most beautiful morning, just like our June at the North, the birds singing and the canebrakes looking so fresh and green. The scenery reminded me much of the Upper Mississippi. It is the same broken ridges, rising abruptly, only not in as regular form as there.

We passed several iron furnaces and one extensive stone quarry. The villages are all small on the river, and from this fact I should judge the country not to be a very good one, or the landings would show more business. We passed Decatur and Brownsville, and came to Patriot, Perry county. Here we saw the nicest white house in our journey. The owners, a lady and gentleman, were out on the porch, well dressed, and gave us a handsome greeting, which we returned with cheers for our beloved Union. We stopped a short distance above the town to wood.

The fleet of boats in our division also stopped. The man who had care of the wood, and another young man came down to see about matters…I asked him about the Union feeling. He said Perry county had always voted for the Union. At the election held on the first of March, the unconditionally Union candidate for Sheriff named Jesse Thompson, received a large majority.

Coffee is one dollar per pound; no powder to be had; salt, four dollars per bushel; corn, two dollars and a half per bbl.; and wheat, one dollar per bushel. The principal crops were corn and wheat, but little tobacco, and some cotton. The farms are very small. The winter wheat looks splendidly well. You can hardly imagine a better sight to one from the North than the fields clothed in living green. We saw a deserted cabin which some of our boats had fired. Another one some unruly soldier had broken into and destroyed everything. This is inexcusable, and is directly chargeable to the officers in command. It will, if not stopped, hurt us beyond measure. Some of the boats called along on [illegible] soldiers jerked all the chickens &c. that they could find. One of our boats, the Argyle, with the Fifty-seventh Illinois, were fired into by a [body?] of rebel cavalry at a place called Clifton, one man killed and two wounded. A squad of our forces landed and took ten of the inhabitants as hostages. They say it was a stray party, and they had driven them off during the day.

Savannah is a place of six hundred inhabitants. At the election the Union candidate had over 100 [?] votes, and the secession candidate, 13. I conversed with an intelligent gentleman, and feel assured that the Union sentiment here is strong. They could not procure any salt, and had to cure their pork with ashes and sugar. We have now here over sixty steamers and two gunboats.

Pittsburgh, where they had a fight a few days since, is only four miles above.

We hear the enemy are in strong force along the line of the railroad. If so we shall shortly have a fight.

Our army have enlisted about one hundred men here already. The numerous regiments drilling and the busy preparations of various kinds, with the country and town people and darkeys [sic] gazing with astonished wonder, are a sight never to be forgotten. The weather is very mild. It is now, at noon, too warm for comfort with a coat on.

 I don't think the opening of the rivers will actually help the price of produce much in the end. The reign of terror has left the South with no means to buy.

Chicago Times, March 19, 1862.[1]

        12, "…the Rebels Cartridges have three Buckshot & one rond Ball in them…."Henry M. Erisman, Comp'y K 77th Reg't Penna Vols., to His Brother

Camp Andy Johnson Tennessee

March the 12th 1862

Dear Brother

I now take this opportunity [sic] to inform you that I am well at Present hoping that these few lines may find you and all the Rest of the folks in the same state of health we are now laying about five miles south of Nashville we got here on the 3rd Nashville is a Purty Place and it has the appearance of being a buisness [sic]Place at one time but Buisness [sic] is suspended There now. all the stores and Buisnes s[sic] shops are Closed and the City is diserted [sic] of nearly all its inhabitants except the Ladys and they are all secesh and wear a secesh flag for Aprons and have a belt around their waists with an Ivory handled Colt Revolving Pistol of the best quality sticking in it. Nashville and all the surround Country is secesh and they don't [sic] try to hide it nether we was out on Picket night afore last and towards morning about time the moon went down the left end of our Picket Line was fired into by some Rebel Cavalry there was about 300 of them in all but they stayed about 200 or 300 yards away from our Picklet [sic] line with the exceptions of 15 that dismounted and Came up to within hailing distance of our Pickets they where [sic] 5 or 6 abrest [sic] as we Could judge for it was dark and the minute our Pickets [saw them they fired] Challenged them they fired one volley [sic] and Retreated our men fired on them while they were Retreating but with what effect we Couldnt hear if there was any of them hurt they was taking along by their Comrades on our side there was no body hurt but I must say they did some tall shooting for random shooting The only guide they had was the Direction the Pickets voice Came and he came near being Put out two balls struck the fence one each side of him but Captain Philips made the Narrowest Escape of all the [sic]  band of his sword scabard [sic] was shot off one shot grazing the Back of his hand taking the skin of about an inch another struck about the Centre of his scabard bending the sword & scabard about 2 inches out of Plumb while 3 Passed through his Coat tail the best Part of them being Buckshot the Rebels Cartridges have three Buckshot & one rond Ball in them they have attacked 3 times now the first they attacked the 30th [ 2nd] out of our brigade - In stationing the Pickets 4 [ go on] goes on a Post 20 yards apart is the General Rule but the Indianna [sic] Boys where Placed about 50 yards apart and the Rebels took advantage of the Distance and took 4 of them off their Post in Broad day light and Caried [sic] them off as Prisoners and they aint got Back yet either the way they managed to do it there was about 25 of them ( Cavelry [sic] ) road up with about 30 yards of the Pickets taking care to keep behind a hill that the Pickets Couldnt see them when one of them dismound [sic] and to hide suspicion he had on one of our uniforms on so he got to the Pickets without much trouble and got talking them awhile when he give a certain signal and as quick as lightning the Rebels galloped up to them dragged [sic] them on their Horses and off with them it was done so quick that the rest of the Pickets didnt get a shot at them I tell you Theyre [sic] as sharp as they make them these days the next attack they made was on the First wisconsin killing one and wounding five The wisconsin killed 3 of their men wounded 3 and some of the 29th Indiana Boys took one of them Prisoner he belonged to the First Louisianna [sic] Cavelry [sic] he is a bold looking fellow and he says he don't [sic] give a damn wether [sic] school keeps or not and he says if they let him go he will fight against the Union Troops as hard as ever he says he wont [sic] be a Prisoner 6 month he would be shot first. The next attack they made on us the Parteculars [sic] of which I have stated on the other Page This morning about 3 oclock [sic] there was firing our Picket line again and at the same Place we were fired on yesterday morning But I didnt [sic] hear how they made out The 49th Ohio Relieved us yesterday about 4 oclock in the afternoon and they will be relieved by some other Regt at the same time to day and I wont[sic] Close this till I hear how the Ohioians[sic] made out with the secesh They'll be in about 4 oclock But I dont think there was anything of any[.]

Valley of the Shadow[2]

        12-14, Description of the Federal river fleet's arrival at Savannah and expedition towards Purdy


The Great Tennessee River Expedition.

Railroad Connections Destroyed.

Special Correspondence of the Cincinnati Gazette.

The Fleet Arrives at Its Final Destination.

Savannah, Tenn., March 12.- The greater part of the Tennessee river expedition arrived at Savannah, Tenn., on the evening and during the night of the 11th. As the sun rose over the canebrakes that line the river banks, it disclosed such a scene as neither that nor indeed any river on the continent ever witne3ssed before. For nearly two miles up and down the stream lay the fleet. More vessels were constantly arriving: the channel was filled with them, gliding about in search of landings near their perspective brigade headquarters, and the air was heavy with the murky smoke from hundreds of puffing chimneys.

The shores were covered with the disembarked soldiers, eagerly rushing everywhere and scrutinizing everything, with a genuine Yankee determination to see whatever might be worth seeing "away down here in Dixie."

Half a dozen regiments were brought out on dress parade, and the delighted inhabitant of the pleasant little country town of Savannah crowded into the streets or peeped out behind the curtains of second-story windows to see the unwonted sight, and convince their faltering faith that, beyond peradventure, the Yankees were there at least to defend them in their ill-concealed preference for the Union cause.

The expedition had indeed reached the sunny South. We were seventeen miles from the Mississippi line, and only twenty-five or thirty from the southwest corner of Alabama, precisely as far South as the northern line of South Carolina, and further down than any of our armies, excepting the small ones that have gone around by the sea-coat expeditions.


There was evidence through the day that they practical Union sentiment along the Tennessee was not wholly a myth. Some one hundred and fifty citizens of the town and county volunteered for the war to fill up the Donelson-thinned ranks of the Illinois regiments that were the first to disembark.

~ ~ ~

Four Miles Above Savannah, Tenn., March 14.-Just in from an exhausting trip into the debatable territory between us and the enemy's forces, I can but realize once more the impossibility of conveying to civilian readers any adequate idea of the hardships  [of] service in the field entails.

Plan of Operations.

The plan of the movement was briefly a this-At the two towns of Purdy in Tennessee, and Corinth in Mississippi, pretty strong Rebel forces were known to be posted, and between them was direct railroad communication. To attack one was, therefore, to attack both, till the railroad connection could be destroyed. A few mile south of Purdy was an important railroad bridge, with long trestle work one each side. From this bridge a good road led to a landing on the river, four or five miles above Savannah. General Wallace was to move up the river after nightfall, so as to throw the Rebel scouts off the scent, move out on the road six or eight miles with the infantry, and meantime send his cavalry ahead to destroy the bridge and trestle-work, and capture a passing train, if possible. The infantry would be within calling distance to support the cavalry in case of attack, or prevent their being cut off by a movement in the flank or rear.

The plan was carried out exactly according to the programme. In a night so dark that a rider could only see his horse by the frequent flashes of lighting, and under a pouring rain, Major Hayes, with a battalion of the Fifth Ohio Cavalry, guided by a Union man of the vicinity, marched some twenty-six miles, reached the bridge at an early hour, destroyed it and the track and trestle-work for half a mile, tried to catch the down train from Purdy, but were foiled by the conductor's having been advised by the people in the neighborhood of his presence in time, and got back to the point at which the infantry were resting at five o'clock in the afternoon.

The infantry march, though shorter, was still harder. The advance had hardly been disembarked and started off when a thunderstorm came up. Through the whole night it rained almost incessantly; the march was necessarily slow and one regiment was kept often standing for half an waiting in the mud and rain for some advance regiment to get out of the way; everybody was soaked before the march was half over, and when it was ended the blankets were so wet as to be useless.

Throughout the day General Wallace kept scouting parties out around the position of his infantry. The results of their labors were the capture of three Rebel privates and one Captain, and ascertaining that General Cheatham, with force, when all concentrated, amounted to fifteen thousand, had marched from Purdy the day before [13th] to take possession of the very landing at which we had disembarked, (where a high bluff gave a splendid position for artillery go command the river,) and that, foiled in this by our arrival, he was then lying within four-and-a-half miles of our positions. Our brigades were kept constantly changing their places; and if the Rebel scouts could make anything of General Wallace's dispositions or numbers they must have possessed extraordinary powers for combinations.

Gen. Cheatham was so astonished by our unaccountable demonstrations that he never dreamed of stacking us, and actually burned a little bridge between the positions to prevent us from attacking him


Having successfully performed all that was required of him, Gen. Wallace started back to the boats about eleven o'clock at night. The rains were over, and the boys had a beautiful moon light march back. By two o'clock they were all aboard, and turned in for the night, after sever duty for thirty-six hours in succession.

~ ~ ~

Philadelphia Inquirer, March 27, 1862.[3]

        12, Reconnaissances near Columbia, Duck River, in search of Van Dorn

FRANKLIN, March 12, 1863.


I have fallen back to this place from Rutherford Creek. Our cavalry penetrated to within 1 mile of Columbia. My best information is that Van Dorn's force hastily retreated to the south side of Duck River. None were on this side, in our front. Sheridan's division, with Minty's cavalry, leave to-morrow morning for Murfreesborough. There is a rumor that a portion of Van Dorn's fore were unable to cross in front of Columbia, and have passed up this side of Duck River, in the direction of Shelbyville, to cross at White's Bridge. I would suggest that the troops at Eagleville be pushed rapidly in that direction, to intercept them. If this rumor should prove certain, I will make a dash on Raleigh and farther.

G. GRANGER, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, pp. 136-137.

1st Cavalry Brigade

Sunday Mar 15th 1863

Dear Father

….I told you that if the rebels did not run we would have a big fight. Well they did run. We chased them to within 2½ miles of Columbia. But they run faster than we so we came back. [Emhasis added] Got home last night having been without our tents 11 days and it has rained half the time….

Potter Correspondence

        12, Repairs to Federal fort at Gallatin ordered

MARCH 12, 1863.

Brig.-Gen. PAINE, Gallatin:

The general commanding is surprised to hear that you have no troops occupying the fort. You will at once occupy it with a force sufficient for its defense, and construct water-tanks, cisterns, and whatever may be necessary to make it a complete work. You will also have all your stockades occupied.

J. A. GARFIELD, Brig.-Gen. and Chief of Staff.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 137.

        12, Grand Festival in Confederate Chattanooga [see March 5, 1863, Soiree and Grand Ball in Confederate Chattanooga above]

The great "Crash" and Festival!

Shall I tell you about that? How all the beauty, and wealth, and fashion of the country for miles around held "High Carnival" and a Terpsichorean convention in honor of the "hero of the Potomac," and Commander in chief of the Western Department? Well, then, here goes:

It was a grand success, to begin with. Regardless of weather [sic] most unpropitious, it passed off, creditably to the management, satisfactorily to the guests-delightfully to everybody. The evening of the 10 will be memorable in Chattanooga for many days to come. Other Festivals, civic and military, may imitate it-none can surpass it, follow when they will.

The night as the darkest and most tempestuous of the season. Yet the ladies heroic ally came, in coach and ambulance, and by conveyance of every known description. The gentlemen, with gallantry quite as commendable, surmounted gutter and curb, and waded to the rescue, with their pants rolled up. An immense railway-reflector cast a glare far across the entrance way, approaching which the indefatigable management had prepared an artificial walk.

You that were not there, hand me your ticket (in imagination,) and let us enter the portal. Here on the right, as you enter, is the Toilet-chamber, appropriated for the especial use of the Ladies. On the left-a similar apartment for the gentlemen. Pass beyond this ante-chamber and enter a magnificent hall, sufficient for a hundred couples, and studded with columns wreathed in evergreen and hung with tapers and as thick as the forest trees of Champ Elyses. [sic] From the ceiling festoons of cedar gracefully swing, and miniature flags of the young Confederacy flutter gaily from the rude cornice, everywhere about. The music stage is tastefully adorned with boughs, and against the wall above it, are the works "MANASSAS," "JOHNSTON," "SEVEN PINES," artistically worked in cedar. Everything evidences the taste and judgment of the unknown genius who supervised and managed the work of decoration. The lights are admirably arranged. Two brilliant reflectors from the rear corners of the room, and another at the stage, shed a bright, soft light about the apartment, and shivering little tapers peep through the boughs and branches like twinkling stars above the summer house. The scenic illusion is perfect. Such is the description. "On with the dance"-

A fine string band, in attendance, struck up suddenly, and in a moment, dozens of couples were whirling away in the Quadrille. Round and round they go in a perfect vortex of youth, beauty, brilliancy and gauze,: "amidst the blaze and lustres [sic]; in sylphs movements, espiegleries [sic], coquettries [sic], and minuet-mazes, with every movement a flash of star-rainbow colours, bright almost as the movements of the fair young soul it emblems." Let us forward, and move among the merry throng. Walk warily, big-footed "Jenkins," [?] lest you crush through somebody's [sic]' skirt of gossamer. Walk warily, for now, with thickening breath, thou approachest the moment of moments!


Girls to the right of us,

Girls to the left of us,

Girls in front of us,

        waiting and wondering;-


On "Jenkins," with they noble book. But Principalities and Powers, Parlement [sic], Grand Chambre and Tournell, with all their whips and gibbet wheels; the very crack of Doom hangs over thee, if thou trip. Forward with nerve of iron, on shoes of Felt; "like a Treasure-digger in silence, looking neither to the right or left, at the ladies-for under the rules of society it is:


Theirs not to question why,

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs but to walk and sigh-

        Some young man has blundered."


Oh! How beautiful they looked, all of them, [I] mean the ladies. Especially those who smile beninguly [sic] and shot a patronizing glance or two at the grapevine. :Look at that bewitching little fairy skimming about the floor as if her slipper barely touched it; verily it would if her gallant did not follow her closely with his hand she would fly upward and away; here a matronly queen of elegance and beauty, the sight of whom sets you to speculating if the "dark and bloody ground" has many more lost such specimens"-if it has [sic] you want to go there after the war, that's what you want; but, here, a glorious Di Vernon of a creature sweeps by you with a train of admirers; there another, and another, then a Juno, in white, glides by and drops a sprig of evergreen, with a look, which plainly says: "Vous savez ce que cela Veut dire-and vanishes. Now approaches a brunette, the glance of whose basilisk eyes, brings peril to many susceptible bachelor hearts, and before which, even the reflectors pale their ineffectual fires, and wink dolefully [?] at each other, when she passes. Gods!- I feel like apostrophizing her-'dost thou bring with the aire from Heaven? In thy face yet radiant with [supine?] reflex of the brightest beyond bright? Back, back to the tropical birth-place for pity's sake, Enchantress, before too many hearts are broken among the hills of Cumberland-

Ah, lasses [?] of the [side? Olde?] black eyes,

The South's own peerless daughters

With what sweet pity do they gaze

Upon the[hearts] they slaughter,

And [while upon their jeweled orbs?]


Its earnest longing intones,

And as it throbs steadily [?] away

[Here with the bright ladies?]

Yes, yes [illegible]....I might say much about the lord's [sic] of creation present but must deny them any eulogian [sic] who speak so well for themselves. All professions, from the belted tourney-knight, with star-gemmed collar, to the civilian, lawyer, judge and scholar were represented. The medical profession, especially, was represented largely and most respectably.

A midnight supper was announced-the band, with piano-forte attachment, struck up a march, and the company, in couples, repaired to a large hall in the upper story-where three tables, sumptuously spread with a gorgeous display of good things, met the surprised gaze. The tables aforesaid, like all other tables under similar occasions, of course, "groaned" a loud as any of it predecessors "beneath the weight of the rarest delicacies of the season" The viands were excellently cooked, the cakes were "rich, rare," (and some of those little peppered ones_-"racy;" the coffee "native" Rio Janero, [sic] "and to the manor born; the egg-nogg [sic] was superb. Then who cares for the revolution? We snap our fingers at war-times and hard-times, and full a bumper to the success of "THE CAUSE"-to the memory of the noble dead-to the health and glory of the living! No matter how croakers may prate about the inapprepriateness [sic] of such merry-makings at such a time-

Be ours the light sorrow, half sister to joy,

And the light brilliant folly that flashes and dies"

It is the only way to treat such times-such revolutionary times. Show the enemy that we are in a capital humor, and know how to make ourselves familiar with Dancing balls as well as Minnie [sic] balls.

Ah! It was a grand success, that Festival. I only regret that the distinguished warrior to honor of whom it was designed and gotten up was prevented from being present, because of urgent demands upon his presence elsewhere. The gentlemen managers deserve credit for their energy and taste, and in the successful arrangement of the affair won

"golden opinions from all sorts of people."

The ladies thought-what would it have been with their magic agency? Ah! Tis sublunary sphere, I verily believe could scarcely be made to "revolute," [sic] if they walked not upon its surface. I agree with a fair friend who remarks en passent, that woman is indispensable to man-especially in the cuisine and decorative department.

And, so-the Grapevine-fickle grapevine fell in love with all the ladies present. For see-

"This thus I go on every constant and blest,

For I find I've a great store of love in my breast,

And it never grows cool, for whenever I try

To get one in my heart-I get two in my eye.

Thus to all kinds of beauties I pray my devotions,

And all sorts of liquors by turns I make mine:

So I'll finish the thing,

Now you are that I sing

With a bumper to woman to season the wine."

Chattanooga Daily Rebel, March 12, 1863.

        12, A Texas Ranger's Letter from Fairfield, Rutherford County, Middle Tennessee

Letter from R. F. Bunting.

Rangers' Camp, Fairfield, Tenn., Mar. 12.

* * * *

We hear sad and painful tales from our friends within his lines. Everything is paralyzed, robbery, plunder and destruction seem the watchword. For five miles around Murfreesboro the fencing is totally destroyed. The provision of all kinds is seized, and the people are compelled to submit to the humiliation of drawing rations for their support. Then there seems no hope for the future whilst he occupies our territory, for the farmers are prohibited from planting any kind of grain; while implements of husbandry are all taken and destroyed, by military order. The stock is all pressed for the use of the army. They say the sheep shall all be killed and this will diminish the supply of clothing; and no crop being in the ground for the support of the old, the women and children, this will compel the male population who are absent in the Southern army, to return home and provide for their wants. Thus it has come to be a warfare upon the women and children, and the helpless. All alike are called upon to suffer, rich and poor, friend and foe. What all the region thus occupied by the enemy must do next year for supplies is a problem that time must solve. If it is our policy still to fall back, and ever to yield our territory acre by acre and mile by mile, when are we to stop? How are our people to be sustained? It does seem that the time has come for a change in our programme. We should begin now with the opening spring to cease the defensive and vigorously act upon the aggressive. [Emphasis added] FORWARD should now be the watchword for our army….

San Antonio Herald, April 25, 1863.[4]

        12, "Women can in no way more conclusively give evidence of the devotion to the cause of their country than in ministering to the wants of her suffering soldiers."

To the Ladies of Fayetteville.

Headquarters 10th KY Cav.

Liberty, Tenn., Feb. 27, '63

Ladies: - The Kentucky soldiers of this command having by sickness and misfortune been thrown among you, I am informed by Dr. Jenkins, fully recovered, thanks to your unremitting kindness, watchful car, and dedicated attention. As commander of those brave boys, I cannot but feel infinitely grateful for the kind considerations you have shown for those, who were your patriotism governed by State lines, had no claim upon your sympathy or attention; and I thank God, that though far away from family and kindred, Kentucky soldiers have found friends in Tennessee upon whom the many always look with feelings of highest regard and affection' and may they, while contending on the bloody and war stained soil of your State for peace and liberty, allow their minds to revert to the patriotism and devotion of her daughters,, and the thought, nerve, the arm, strengthen their determination, and act as an incentive to spur them on in the path of duty. Each one as he arrives but confirms the story of the first in the loud acclaims of gratitude, until I almost wish myself an invalid and under your fostering care. Women can in no way more conclusively give evidence of the devotion to the cause of their country than in ministering to the wants of her suffering soldiers. You have, ladies, a noble and a prodigious part to perform in this terrible war, and generously have you done your duty as guardian angels to the suffering, who ever look upon woman as the same lovely creature, whether she be wiping the death-damp from the brow of the dying – wearing love knots in the gay bowers of Eden, or plucking the violets which surround the cradle of new-born Spring. And now, ladies, allow me in thanking you, to sincerely trust that grim-visage war may soon smooth his wrinkled front, and the glorious noon of peace shed around you that brilliant halo of light and happiness which truly belongs to a faithful and free people. [emphasis added]

Again I thank you in the name of the Kentuckians.

Most respectfully,

W. G. OWEN, Major Comdg.

Fayetteville Observer, March 12, 1863.

        12, "Small Pox."

Persons need have no fear about coming to Fayetteville now. There has been only one case of this repulsive disease, in this place or vicinity. W. D. McNish, of Nashville – and he recovered and left here for Georgia over a week ago.

Fayetteville Observer, March 12, 1863.

        12, "Tornado."

We are informed that Shelbyville was visited by another hurricane on last Saturday [7th] night, which blew down the Baptist Church, the Depot, Telegraph Office, besides other buildings. One person is said to have been killed. We have no other particulars.

Fayetteville Observer, March 12, 1863.

        12, Holston Journal editorial calling for an end to partisan strife in East Tennessee

We Cannot Gratify You.

To those whose indiscretion, to use no harsher term, would prompt them to require us to "pitch into" the Union men of East Tennessee as tories and traitors, and, as such, worthy of the halter, we have but one simple reply to make-that is not our business [sic]. We have together and far more appropriate work to attend to, enough to occupy all our time, and certainly to employ more brains than we have been blessed with. We have already intimated that Caesar must attend to his own maters. He is quite strong enough, and wise enough, and prudent enough, we presume to do this. At least we think so, and, if he is not, he and his subjects [can suit themselves]. [remainder of paragraph illegible]

The day was, when we were a party to a bitter partisan fighting with persistence and determination, our antagonists upon all occasions, but we trust that day has gone forever. We hope we have now arrived at a period in life when age and solid experiences taught us some useful lessons upon this subject, by which we ought to be controlled in our future career.

As to the Union men of this section, we have already had our tussle with them, our day of contest and bitter antagonisms. And even then we had clear and lucid moments of kindness and conciliation, and, on various occasions, made conscientious attempt to calm the angry elements of dangerous strife, and to appeal to the better and higher feeling of our people.

Before Tennessee became the unhappy scene of bloodshed, and before her citizens had fully committed themselves to any well defined line of policy, we felt the necessity and so expressed ourself, again and again, of using the greatest caution in the conduct of public affairs in East Tennessee.

We were of the opinion, nor has anything occurred since then to change it, that had there been a better understanding with all parties, less severity and more conciliation, a mere happy and quiet stated affairs would have existed among us. Passion, however, took the place of reason, and invective that of kindness—Turbulence and lies and revenge were predominant. [emphasis added]They found their way into all the ramifications of society. They festered in every bosom and prevented every understanding.

We have no heart for the work which some too indiscreet friends would assign us. Much better would it be for us to rally around the cross of Christ and endeavor to cultivate happiness of heart.

Holston Journal March 12, 1863.

        12-13, Confederate wounded and prisoners of war in Nashville: excerpts from the diary of John Hill Fergusson

Thursday 12th

today has been clear and cold….Francher & MySelf [sic] went to the depot…but learned the train did not arive [sic] until 6 so we started back to camp on our way through the city we seen large numbers of ambulances unloading a set of secesh prisoners they ware [sic] wounded in the battle of Stone [sic] river and had been in the hospital at Murfreesboro ever since there was one hundred and 50 of them the greatest part of them ware gon [sic] on crutches some were shot in the shoulder and some in the arm but mostly in the leggs [sic] there was 70 prisoners brought in Last night from franklin [sic]

Friday 13th

this morning was a little chilly….James Anderson & MySelf [sic] went over [to] town with John Ingle and Mr. Baker on our way to the depot we passed the large bilding [sic]whare[sic] the secesh prisoners ware [sic] they ware looking out of the windows of the 3 story [sic] & bieing [sic] apples of off [sic] a set of Little [sic] boys they would drop down there [sic] money then the boys would throw the appals [sic] in at the window one to a time they would frequently miss the window and as the appals [sic] would fawl [sic] to the ground the soldiers would catch them: the prisoners would sing out: there that one is last that yankey [sic] has caught it. another would sing out: come Mr Yankee sling that up hear the yanky [sic] would reply: you bedamed [sic] ther [sic] was quite a crowd gathered on the side walk on the oppsit [sic] side of the street there was guards brought down and disperced [sic] the crowd and made the boys leve [sic] with there [sic] appals [sic]….

John Hill Fergusson Diary, Book 3.

        12, U. S. S. Peosta engages in counter-guerrilla raid at Pittsburg Landing environs

No circumstantial reports filed.

On March 12th, a Union Soldier signaled the Peosta that there was a party of guerrillas at Pittsburg Landing. The Gunboat proceeded upstream and heavily shelled the area of Pittsburg Landing. The crew then made several other landings attempting to seek out guerrillas as she proceeded downstream.

U. S. S. Peosta Daily Deck Log

        12, 5th Tennessee (U. S.) Cavalry surprises and kills Texas Rangers in Overton County [see also March 11-28, 1864, Counter-insurgency operations around Sparta, including skirmishes on Calfkiller Creek and near Beersheba Springs above]

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Report of Col. William B. Stokes, Fifth Tennessee Cavalry for Operations about Sparta, Tenn, Including Skirmishes on Calfkiller and near Beersheba

* * * *

The next day [12th] I sent out a force of 200 men, but they were unable to find the enemy in any force. While out they succeeded in killing 7 Texas Rangers, men of the most daring and desperate character. Among these was Lieut. Davis, the leader of the band. These men had been murdering and robbing Union citizens.

* * * *

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 494.

        12, "New Steam Fire Engine"

A new steam fire engine arrived in this city a few days ago, to be attached to the military fire organization, of which Captain Irvin is the chief. It is the most elegant looking and snugly constructed fire apparatus we have ever seen, being strictly on the rotary order throughout. It is called the "Jefferson," and was built at the Island Works, at Seneca Falls, by Messrs. Clopp & Co., and after the style of the Holly patent. The machine is under the engineership of Mr. J. B. Curran, and weights but 5500 pounds. It has a rotary pump and rotary cylinder, and will make steam in six minutes. At its trial in Louisville, last week, it threw a stream through an inch and eight nozzle 205 feet, and two streams through a three-quarter pipe 175 feet. The water and steam gauges are of the Jourdan (Lane's Improvement) arrangement, the simple understanding of which is proof against all accidents. The wheels are made upon what is known as the stay guard spoke principle, combining strength, simplicity and durability. The "Jefferson" will have a trial of its capacity, we learn, in a few days, as soon as its builder shall arrive, who is a present in New Albany, Ind. There are now one steam and three hand engines belonging to the Quartermaster's department, to which some five thousand men are attached.

Nashville Dispatch, March 12, 1864.

        12, "I have not suffered much with my spine today, though only on account of taking Morphine last night, which has made me insensible to the pain." A page from Belle Edmondson's diary

March, Saturday 12, 1864

Tate and Bettie went to Memphis this morning, did not succeed in getting anything through the lines, the Picket was very insulting to her. She brought me a letter, but not for myself, only my care, to Mr. Lawson in Henderson's scouts. I forwarded it to Capt. H. also a package of late papers, by Mr. Harbut, who spent the evening with us. We all sat in the Parlor, and have had a pleasant evening. Mr. Harbut vacxinated [sic] Father, Helen, Nannie and I, also Jane and Laura. I have made the skirt to my swiss Mull, and fixed me a beautiful braid pattern, and drew on the skirt ready for my work on Monday morning. I have not suffered much with my spine today, though only on account of taking Morphine last night, which has made me insensible to the pain. 11 o'clock, so I will to bed-no Beulah. Father gave me a key today. Tippie Dora & Laura both here.

Diary of Belle Edmondson.

        12, Federal Rations Issued to Citizens in Chattanooga


Gen. Steadman, commanding this post, issues 5,000 rations daily to citizens, some of whom came a distance of fifty miles.

Nashville Daily Union, March 15, 1864.[5]

        12, "We have sneeringly told that we are pecuniarily a burden to our fellow citizens on the other side of the mountains, and that we were, socially, a disgrace to the State." Editorial Justifying East Tennessee's Separation from the Volunteer State

Dividing the State of Tennessee.

[From the Chattanooga Gazette of March 12th,]

The Nashville Times publishes the call for the Nashville-Greeneville Convention and asks:

What is up?

Does East Tennessee intend to separate from rebellious Middle and West Tennessee, and organized a separate State a la West Virginia? We would not be surprised if this should happen.

We are not authorized to announce the intentions of the gentlemen who may attend the meeting on the 10th [of April], nor can we say what their action may be, but we can and will say, that there is a deep seated determination on the part of the loyal people of East Tennessee to sever the political ties which have long bound them to "rebellious" Middle and West Tennessee. [emphasis added]

The people of this section, long before the war, had just cause of complaint against the people of Middle and West Tennessee in the aggregated. Every occasion was embraced to heap on our heads contumely and reproach. We have been taunted for our poverty, and flouted for or alleged ignorance. We have sneeringly told that we are pecuniarily a burden to our fellow citizens on the other side of the mountains, and that we were, socially, a disgrace to the State. For many years we were never permitted to have a Chief Magistrate chosen from our section, and would not until this good hour, had not the necessities of the Democratic party compelled them to make a candidate out of the only man in the State they could elect-Andrew Johnson. This was before the war.

After the surrender of Fort Sumter, and the rush of armed traitors to capture the Federal capital, the leaders of Middle and West Tennessee, aided by the miscreants in our own midst, inaugurated a system of vindictive persecutions against East Tennessee almost incredible A universal how for the blood of East Tennesseeans was raised in every town and county in Middle and East Tennessee. The number imprisoned like felons, whipped like slaves, and hung like murderers, attest the fearful success of those monsters in human shape. A still more numerous class only escaped these miseries by precipitate flight to the mountains. After all these things is to be wondered at that the people of East Tennessee should desire to cut aloof from those who have never been their friends?

Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, March 26, 1864. [6]


[1] As cited in:

[2] The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. All rights reserved. A part of the Valley of the Shadow Project. XML searching and web delivery provided by the University of Virginia Library's Electronic Text Center.Hereinafter:Valley of the Shadow.

[3] This event does not appear to be referenced in the OR.

[4] As cited in:

[5] As cited in:

[6] TSL&A, 19th CN


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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