Saturday, July 4, 2015

July 4, 2015 Tennessee Civil War Notes

These Civil War entries will soon be concluded, with no notice given.



4, Thoughts on the Fourth of July

The Great National Holiday.

I reckon the nation is so busy preparing to swallow itself that it will not have time to celebrate it with the usual pomp. It seems to me that the thought of this day ought to be enough to stop the mad careers of all men who have a particle of patriotism. But nothing short of utter destruction will stop them now.

* * * *

Diary of Amanda McDowell.


          4-5, On the Fourth of July in Confederate Memphis

On this day recurs the anniversary of the most important event, which, up to the present year, ever occurred on the North American continent. On the fourth day of July, 1776, the Continental Congress absolved the colonies from the rule of England. During the many years which have intervened, to the present time, the day has been held in high esteem, and sacredly devoted to fulsome eulogies, high sounding speeches, and spread-eagle oratory. It has been kept as a holiday by the patriotic, and he who annulled its demands was looked upon as a blasphemer.

This is all well and proper. The day, because of its memories, is the noblest and best of our calendar. Our ancestors fought through many long years of privation and suffering. They battled against the tyranny which would have usurped their dearest rights, and the declaration for which they fought became to them the aegis of all they could claim as freemen. The South has a deep interest in the remembrance and regard due this important day. On her consecrated grounds the greater number of the battles of the revolution were fought, and no land can hallow so devotedly the remembrances of the generous and true hearted southrons of '76.

The most glorious galaxy of stars during the revolution, were southerners. We cannot forget that Jefferson was the author of the American Magna Charta; that Lee, Wythe, Rutledge, Carroll, and other lights, around whom cluster the proudest memories of chivalry and heroism, were the men, who in this day of their country's pride, dared to write the names which freed the land from despotism.

That the South must continue to honor the day is evident. It is peculiarly a national holiday, in which she has an interest, hallowed by the traditions of its noble dead and the thrilling legends of its heroes. It is no New England invention; but all its memories cluster about the day, even long before the old federal union had a corporate existence. It was baptized with southern blood, in the infancy of the republic, and in the respect and admiration we give it we do but a duty which the patriot must acknowledge just, and only the bigot will contemn.

The Fourth of July.—This is the "glorious Fourth," the day of music, banners, orations, bon-fires, and fireworks. We saw few indications yesterday of an approaching festival; two or three banks gave notice of closing, and the criminal court concluded not to sit; but the juvenile and the patriotic portions of the community showed no sign of observing the time honored customs of the day. Should the day of national independence rank as a mere Yankee institution?

Memphis Daily Appeal, July 4, 1861.

The Glorious Fourth.—The cessation from labor was more general yesterday than we had on the previous evening anticipated. There was a general expression of sentiment that the Fourth of July was not a Yankee, but an American institution, and that it must be observed and perpetuated throughout the South that our children may have their attention called to the deeds of their forefathers.[1] [emphasis added] There was but little demonstration. Court square was patronized by the ladies, but the streets generally were very quiet. At sunset Capt. Jackson fired a splendid feu de joie with his three thirty-two pounders, now mounted at the battery opposite Exchange hall.

Memphis Daily Appeal, July 5, 1861.



4, General Orders, No. 61, Federal soldiers forbidden from selling government issue arms, clothing and ammunition, Memphis


I. Officers and soldiers are hereby prohibited under severe penalties from selling military clothing, arms, or ammunition, whether the same be public or private property, to citizens. In cases where such sales have been heretofore made the citizens who purchased the same will at once return the property so purchased to the commanding officer of the company or regiment to which the soldier belongs of whom the articles were obtained, or to the post quartermaster, under penalty of being arrested and placed in confinement.

II. It is made the duty of all officers to see that this order is strictly enforced, and that all officers, soldiers, or citizens violating the same, by either selling or purchasing, are arrested.

By order of Maj.-Gen. Grant:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. II, p. 70.

          4, Editorial opinion concerning the Fourth of July

The anniversary of American freedom will be celebrated today in Memphis. Since that day of holy memories what outrages have been committed in the name of the Liberty it inaugurated! Law laid aside, men dragged from their beds, and clinging wives to preform [sic] compulsed [sic] and unremunerated labor, and shot for endeavoring to escape it. Property rift from its owners, the expression of opinion tortured into crime, and the very Minster of God ostracized from the pulpit. But the old day comes around once more; and the flag that floated over Monterey and Chapultepec, waves its liberty protecting folds over Memphis. Life and property are once more safe, the sacredness of the poor man's rights respected, and religion, herself, liberated. Surely whatever differences of political opinion may be entertained, none can refuse to rejoice in these results attendant on the presence of the old flag in Memphis on the Fourth of July, 1862, contrasted with the Fourth of July 1861!

Memphis Union Appeal, July 4, 1862.

          4, GENERAL ORDERS, No. 83, Remarks on the Fourth of July

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 83. HDQRS. ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, [Jackson, Tenn.], July 4, 1862.

Soldiers of the Army of the Mississippi:

To-day we celebrate the eighty-sixth anniversary of our national independence. Let the sublime recollections which the day inspires fill our hearts with that fire of patriotism which animated our forefathers in their seven years' contest for the freedom which is now assailed by an arrogant and unscrupulous rebellion.

No love of war, no appeal to passions, no hatred for those whose rights you have been willing to defend, and for which you are now in arms, has exiled you from peaceful pursuits and the endearments of home and friends.

An intelligent patriotism, duty appreciating the priceless value of a Government that covers and protects all that we hold dear in this world, brings you here. Unskilled in using the bowie-knife or plying the lash on the backs of your fellow-men, you did not come boasting you could whip three to one, but modestly and simply offered your lives for the defense of our common liberties; by your docility and patience in inuring yourselves to the toils and hardships of a new profession, and by your courage taught the enemies of our liberties a lesson which, I trust, you will be still more ready to repeat when the occasion offers.

Remember the haughty declaration of the rebels that our Government was at an end! Remember the unscrupulous lies by which they have maligned your character and your motives, calling you thieves, murderers, plundering hordes, two wish to subjugate and destroy! And in reverent fear of the Almighty Ruler of Nations, in whose sight we are but sinners, on this day lift your eyes with hope that He will not permit arrogance, falsehood, treachery, and cruel deception of a peaceful and happy people to triumph; that the tears of the widows and orphans the rebels have made by plunging us into this cruel war may drown them in the day of battle, and that He may give peace and equal rights to all again, under that Government whose natal day we celebrate.

In honor of the day all duties, except the stated roll calls, police, and guard duty, will be suspended. The troops will be paraded under arms, and each brigade will fire a national salute at meridian.

By order of Gen. Rosecrans:

OR, Vol. 17, pt. II, p. 71.

          4, A Protest Against Feminine Taunting of Federal Pickets in Memphis


It costs but very little to be polite and affable. The effort, intellectual and physical, neither exhausts the constitution nor impoverishes the mind.

Gentlemen of refinement and polish, are always urbane in their demeanor to all, equals as well as to inferiors. In that, they furnish indubitable evidence of being well bred, refined and educated with a punctilious observance of the elevating amenities of life. Their deportment and graceful presence, betoken the gentleman, which contrasts strongly with the coarse, vulgar, uncultivated booby, who is loudest in his manifestations of dislike, of anything that displeases him, under all circumstances and in all places. The clown carries the evidence of his doleful ignorance in his countenance. He is always blundering and stammering, sitting on his hat, upsetting his tea on the snowy spread, stumbling over a chair, or falls sprawling on the door steps as he bows himself in the approved lobster-like style out of the room.

These two cases show the effect of early training, we decide at once, which of the two has been blessed with the refining influences of good society, and that intellectual expansion secured by the attrition of mind upon mind, which gives character and a status to the man.

We are led to make these remarks on what is expected from every well-bred person, in consequence of the insulting course pursued by a well-known pseudo poetess of a bevy of goslin[g]s green on Madison street, towards our soldiers.

All that an envenomed, vile tongued, virago, aided by hissing adders could do, has been done, to insult our pickets, as they come in from and to out on duty.

The poor, week [sic], and fluttering aspirant for the groves of Parnassus, vents her intoxicated hatred and crazy wrath towards or men, by hissing in the modern geesy [sic] style, looking very sharp and very fierce, flaunting her dress as evidence of contempt with various other elegant and lady-like proofs of her utter abhorrence for Federal soldiers.

Her demonstrations are eloquent of her early training, her associations were evidently coarse, unrefined and far removed from that retiring modesty, which so embellishes and ennobles woman.

Crack-brained, dreamy and visionary secessionists, whose head is crammed with rickety, disjointed poetical twaddle, which would get any school girl a sound thrashing for writing, and very apt to fancy themselves buoyed up with a divine afflatus, which is really excessively offensive and gassy. Such vagaries, however, we can tolerate, and by great exertion endure, but we cannot, and will not, endure their silly taunts and indignities to our men. We therefore strongly urge our military authorities to arrest all such offenders ands send them South.

Secessia is precisely the place for them, they should yearn to reach their beloved Dixie.

We don't want them.


Memphis Union Appeal, July 4, 1862.

          4, General Orders, No. 91

Headquarters, District of West Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee, July 4, 1862

I. All officers and soldiers are hereby prohibited, under severe penalties, from selling military clothing, arms or property to civilians. In cases where such sales have been made, the civilian who purchased the same will at once return the property so purchased, to the Commanding Officer of the company or regiment to which the soldier belongs from whom the articles were obtained, or to the Post Quartermaster, under the penalty of being arrested and placed in confinement.

II. It is made the duty of all officers to see that this order is strictly enforced, and that all officers, soldiers or citizens violating the same, by either selling or purchasing, are arrested.

By command of Major General U. S. Grant

Jno. A, Rawlins, Assistant Adjutant General

Memphis Union Appeal, August 10, 1862.

          4, Burning the flag on the Fourth of July in Murfreesboro


A gentleman of Murfreesboro writes to us that several girls of respectable families in that place, on passing his residence on the 4th, threw rocks and dirt at a Union flag flying in his yard. On coming out, they hurried away; but, after a while, the she rebels again sneaked up, stole the flag, and burned it in the presence of several rebel ladies whom they had assembled in their yard. What a dirty set of strops those girls must be; a negro kitchen wench would have better manners. Within the last day or two the flags on the dwellings of at least three Union families of this city, have been pelted with rocks and sticks by the children of rebel families. No boy or girl would dare to do such an outrage did he not know that it would be winked at, if not openly approved, by older ones at home. It is a little thing, a contemptible thing, we admit; in ordinary times too insignificant to be noticed, but at a time like the present the parents of such vulgar, dirty little ruffians should be kept on bread and water in the work house for at least a week. When they got out they perhaps might teach their children something about common decency and civility. Public safety demands that every symptom of treason be punished.

Nashville Daily Union, July 9, 1862.

          4, Homeopathic cures for "diarrhoea, [sic] bloody flux, cholera morbus, to Asiatic cholera, in its first stage."

Important Information for Soldiers.

Sure Remedy for Diarrhoea [sic] and Similar Complaints.

It is very important to our soldiers at the South, that they should know that in one of the most common forest trees, they have a perfectly sure, safe remedy for every grade of bowel complaint, from the most ordinary case of relaxation, up through all the stages of I declare from personal experience of many years, that there is no remedy of equal value, none so safe and immediate in its effects.

I will relate once instance. A gentleman so reduced by bloody flux, that he had to be assisted from his wagon in to the house, was entirely cured in one night; indeed in one hour, for in that time he was relieved of all pain, and was in a gentle sleep, which lasted till morning, when he pursued his journey.

In almost all sections of the Southern States there is to be found a large tree known as Sweet Gum; its true name is Liquid Amber. It exudes from wounds a white aromatic gum, and bears a burr about an inch in diameter, perforated with cells like honey-comb. Its leaves are five pointed, and resemble those of the maple; the bark is rough and striated [sic], and upon young trees very rough, and what is termed watry. [sic]

Take the inside bark, that of an old tree is best, and make a tea of it, of such strength that it will resemble in color and somewhat in taste, strong coffee, and let the patient drink from half a pint to four pints, clear or with sugar, and it may be taken cold or hot.

It will surely cure the complaint if it is not absolutely incurable, and its great value is that it leaves the bowels in a healthy condition. I am fully satisfied that if our soldiers will use this simple remedy, it will save many lives and much suffering.

If any doubt this, let him consult any of the old negroes, particularly from Mississippi and Louisiana, who know the value of the remedy, and have used it for ages. So have the Indians, from whom I learned how to use it in the malarious forests of Indiana. With it made and administered by an aged squaw, while I lay utterly prostrate in a wagon, unable to mount my horse, I was entirely cured in a few hours, and perfectly able to ride.

In 1832 an acquaintance of mine cured many cases of Asiatic cholera in Cincinnati. I was myself cured of a severe attack the same year, by steeping a handful of the sweet gum bark in a pint of water half an hour, which I drank clear, and taken thus it is not unpalatable.

To this statement I willingly append my name, and those who know me will believe it. I consider it of such importance that it should be most extensively circulated. It ought to be placed in the hands of every soldier upon Southern soil. Its truth will be readily vouched for by many who know its value, and it should not be readily forgotten. It will not be by those who experience its benefits.

I am, truly, the soldiers' friend,

Solon Robinson.New York, June 20, 1862

Nashville Daily Union, July 4, 1862.


4, Fall of Vicksburg, Mississippi

          4, "A Superb Flower"

On the 4th inst. Mr. Sharkey, the accomplished gardener and florist who superintends the horticultural department attached to the Lunatic Asylum, sent us a mammoth leaf and bud of the Queen of the Water-lilies, the oriental Victoria Regia. The leaf was considerably over three feet in diameter, and as round as a buckler. The bud, which was perfectly colored when we received it, was about the size of a large tea-cup, only longer, and judging from its prickly sheath, not remarkably promising. We placed it in a large bowl of water, and said mentally: "Now spread yourself, your Majesty." In the space of a few hours, it became evident that either our advice or the stirring inspiration of the day, was affecting its status deeply. Presently a large petal, snowy white without, but within lined with the brilliant pink of a fair sea-shell, was thrown out. Like the advance flag of the body-guard to announce the approval of Her Royal Highness. A few hours elapsed, and the gigantic lily in full court-dress-the outer circlet of petals white, slightly veined with scarlet, and the inner circlet formed or a flounce of dark and very rich crimson petals overlying the first, while a superb crown of orange hue adorned the center-floated before our delighted eyes, upon the water, as magnificently as Cleopatra ever sailed in her royal barge, down the waves of the Nile. This splendid representative of the Lily family measured one foot in diameter. Nor did this marvelous flower delight the eyes only, for it exhaled a most delicate and fragrant breath.

Your Majesty, you're one of 'em!

It must be richly worth a ride to the Asylum to see this lily blooming in its element, and we have a mind to pay Victoria Regia a call, when guerrillas will be less likely to confiscate patriotic editors. Mr. Sharkey, who superintends the Asylum gardens, is one of the most skillful gardeners in the country, and conducts his useful and beautiful department with much ability.

Nashville Daily Union, July 9, 1863.

          4, Reconnaissance toward and engagement at University of the South

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Report of A. McD. McCook on activities during the Tullahoma Campaign.

HDQRS. TWENTIETH ARMY CORPS, Winchester July 10, 1863

* * * *

On the morning of the 4th of July, Col. Watkins was ordered to make a reconnaissance on the University road toward Tracy City. He encountered three regiments of rebel cavalry on the summit of the mountains. After a spirited skirmish, he gallantly drove the enemy for 3 ½ miles. His instructions having been complied with, he returned to his camp at Cowan. Sheridan's division remained at Cowan until the 10th Instant, when he was ordered to make a reconnaissance toward Bridgeport and Jasper. He is now performing that duty, some of his troops being in the vicinity of those places to-day, the 12th.

* * * *

A. McD. McCOOK, Maj.-Gen. U. S. Volunteers, Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 467-468.


HDQRS. THIRD CAVALRY BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION, In the Field, five miles from Winchester, Tenn., July 8, 1863.

* * * *

[July] 4, made a reconnaissance toward University, 4 miles from which point met the enemy in considerable force, composed of cavalry and mounted infantry; engaged him, and drove him one-half a mile past University Depot, where, having fully accomplished the object aimed at, it was thought advisable to withdraw. In this action the loss of the Sixth Kentucky was 1 lieutenant and 1 private killed and 1 lieutenant and 4 privates wounded; also 16 horses killed and wounded. The loss of the Fifth Kentucky was 1 private killed and 9 enlisted men wounded, and 10 horses killed and wounded. Twenty-two prisoners were captured from the enemy in this engagement. It has been subsequently ascertained that the loss of the enemy in killed and wounded was far greater than ours.

* * * *


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 551-552.

          4, Skirmish at Cowan

Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee.

          4, "Converts."

Thirty of the Confederates, captured within the past week, have obtained their release by enlisting in the service of the United States. Of this number, two are Mississippians, one Alabamian, and the balance Tennesseans. It is said that Morrison,[2] the suspected spy, is one of the recruits.

Nashville Daily Press, July 4, 1863.

          4, Mrs. A. Shook's Confrontation with Major-General Jefferson C. Davis in Franklin County

Yankee Tyranny in Franklin County, Tennessee—Patriotism of Citizens.

A citizen of Tennessee has given us sundry items, exhibiting the inexorable despotism of the Yankees wherever they obtain a foothold. The Yankees occupied Winchester on the 3d of July, celebrated the 4th, and issued a number of the Winchester Bulletin on that day, taunting the editor and proprietor with supplying his place in his absence. Gen. McCook occupied the residence of Mr. Henderson as his headquarters, and Gen. Jeff C. Davis (who killed Bull Nelson, the Kentucky Yankee General, last year,) occupied the residence of Harrison T. Carr, a member of the last Tennessee Legislature. They put guards around the houses in town, and a few of them were robbed. But they gave leave to their troops to wander up and down the country, like devils, seeking what they might devour. The consequence was, that they carried on a system of general plunder, taking meat, meal, flour, and other provisions from all but the very poor, leaving nothing to eat, making a large majority of the people wholly dependent on the enemy for rations, which were doled out to them for three days at a time.

They went to old Captain Taylor's, who is about ninety years old, and his son, W. E. Taylor's, formerly clerk of the county court, both of them regarded as rich men, and so completely robbed them that they had to subsist on boiled corn for more than a week, when they got a day's rations of meat and flour from a Yankee soldier, who took pity on them.

A brigade of troops was sent to the farm of A. Shook, a substantial citizen of seventy odd years, under the guidance of one of his negroes [sic], and three regiments spent the day there. They took all the provisions, not leaving half a gallon of meal for the old man and the family of his son, O. S. Shook, who had been in the 1st Tennessee regiment in Virginia. They killed every hog, sheep and calf they could find, took five negro men—all he had—and three of them were armed, uniformed and put in the Yankee service. They stole Mrs. O. S. Shook's watch and jewelry, and afterwards a guard was put over her room.

Mrs. Shook went to town to draw rations. The Provost Marshal was disposed to be courteous, but said she must go to General Davis. She went to Davis' quarters, and the Adjutant or Clerk repeated the name—"Shook? Shook?" when Davis said, "All rebels; and you, madam are as d____d a rebel as any." "Yes," said she, "and always will be."

Davis said, "You can't get any rations."

Mrs. S.—"Do you intend for me and my children to starve? You have stolen all my meat and everything else to eat."

He replied, "I don't care a d__n, if you and your children do starve."

Mrs. S.—"Well, I'm willing to go out of your lines, and then I'll not be dependent on you."

"Go, then."

"How can I go?"

"Do as Union women do who leave your lines. Take your children on your back and pack them out, madam."

Mrs. Shook's little niece, who accompanied her, remarked, "I never heard of any Union women packing children on their backs and leaving our lines, unless they were negro women, and they ran away."

He made no reply, but asked Mrs. Shook whether she wanted a pass or a guard to go out of his lines.

She preferred a guard, and he granted it. She was treated respectfully by every body but Davis. He seemed familiar with the people's names, and called the names of all the men in the Shook family—the father and his sons, one of whom was the Confederate Postmaster at Winchester, another in Starnes' cavalry, and a third a lawyer, had been in the 1st Tennessee regiment, as already stated.

It is said, that so sweeping has been the pillaging and desolation, that not a shock of wheat has been left in the country, and they were cutting the green corn; and there are no vegetables, and not a single hen, goose or other fowl. Notwithstanding this barbarous treatment, the spirits of the people are not broken, but they are defiant and opposed to reconstruction of the old Union hulk. The Yankee papers say that they have no friends in Franklin county, and complain that the ladies wont receive them into their parlors, saying that if they would do so, they would find them a jovial set of fellows. Huntsville Confederate, 5th.


Montgomery Weekly Advertiser, September 16, 1863.[3]

          4, Grinding corn and foraging for the Army of the Cumberland

WINCHESTER, TENN., July 4, 1863.

Gen. GARFIELD, Chief of Staff:

….I am shelling corn to grind meal. If I could leave my troops four or five days without transportation-say one wagon to a regiment and three for a battery--I could soon have sufficient supplies to move forward, or in any direction, provided I could load them at Wartrace. I have every disposable wagon out foraging. If Stanley would come over in this settlement I think he could do well by his horses. I have sent for him and hope he will be here at 4 p. m. to-day, when I can give him all the information necessary. If he is between Decherd and the mountains I fear he will fare badly. Here we have plenty of hay and corn, great many pasture fields (clover), and considerable corn scattered through the country, and more as we recede from the railroad. All well here and happy.

Very respectfully,


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. I, p. 392.

          ca. 4, Shooting of a Confederate blacksmith at Lynchburg

Samuel Diamond, the Blacksmith of Company "B" First Confederate cavalry, was shot about ten days a go, at Lynchburg, Tenn., by a man named Eden, on or Gen. Forrest's Escort. He was shot through the left lung, but was not dead at last accounts. Any further information concerning the affair can be obtained by applying to Sam. Cannon, 1st Confederate Regiment, at Camp Trenton, Ga.

Chattanooga Daily Rebel, July 14, 1863.

          4-7, One woman's experience in McMinnville during the Tullahoma Campaign

* * * *

When we reached McM[innville]-Saturday evening July 4th, the reports we had heard were confirmed-Bragg was retreating to Chattanooga, without a fight. Gloom hung like a pall over the little village-only a few persons could be seen as I rode down the full length of Main Street. Our Soldiers had all left & all Southern sympathizers-(men I mean) who could possibly get off had gone-business was suspended-doors all closed-the Federals constantly expected. We were compelled [sic] to remain in the village, until Tuesday [7th], on account of our broken vehicle-we could not proceed without it-could not get it mended &could not hire a vehicle of any sort. Our vehicle was ready at 8 o'clock Monday [6th] night and we determined to leave after early breakfast, next morning; but the Federals unceremoniously entered the West end of the Village, about sunrise with "all the pride, pomp &circumstance of glorious war," streaming banners-nodding plumes-gaily caparisoned horses & dashing cavaliers, all marching to the music of the fife & drum. This rather hurried us & as soon as we could jump out of bed &commence a toilet, [sic] we...made as quick a march out on the road leading East as circumstances would permit, finishing our toilet on the way. We stopped at Mr. L's [sic] got breakfast, performed our morning ablutions & were off again for Bersheba, [sic] believing we would be overtaken.

Journal of Bettie Ridley Blackmore.


4, S. P. Carter, Brig. Gen. and Provost Marshall General of East Tennessee advises sending Confederate deserters to the rear to prevent spying

KNOXVILLE, July 4, 1864.

Gen. WEBSTER, Chief of Staff, Nashville:

If rebel deserters are turned loose so close to rebel lines as is Knoxville the place would soon be filled with spies, who could, under guise of deserters, come in with impunity. It is too expensive to hold and feed them, even should such course not deter them from deserting. The only safe course left is to send them to the rear. If any disposition can be made of them after reaching Chattanooga or Nashville they are still in hands of authorities and can be disposed of as I thought best.

S. P. CARTER, Brig. Gen. and Prov. March Gen. of East Tennessee.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. II, p. 161.

          4, Lucy Virginia French's comment on the cost of Sherman's march to Atlanta

The number of wounded sent back to Nashville and Murfreesboro is immense. One man who came from N. [sic] a day or two since, says the whole city smells rank with them – and Murfreesboro is as full as Nashville.

War Journal of Lucy Virginia French, July 4, 1864.

          4, The 4th of July in Columbia

The cannon was heard in Town [sic] of Columbia celebrating the day…a greate [sic] many negro men[,] women & children with there [sic] flags & flag poles[.] [A] dinner was prepared for many at White's Spring but the black ladies was marched to the Table[.] [T]he soldiers pitched in & devoured it & so the blacks was quite unlucky (they got none). In the evening the soldier was sent all over Town [sic] & pressed & captured all the able bodied negro men that could be gathered, several hundred, to gone somewhere to work….

Nimrod Porter Diary, July 4, 1864.

          4-24, Expedition from Memphis to Grand Gulf, Mississippi[4]

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. I, p. 246.



4, "…the negro howled right much he did not curse any body while we were whipping him- we whipped him for saucing his master Wm. Bonner." The Bonner Affair, an atavistic Federal Home Guard response to new racial realities in early post-war Lincoln County; Testimony before the Military Commission Courts Martial July 15, 1865

My name is William Boner [sic]; I reside in Lincoln County near Fayetteville Tenn. I know the boy present – his name is Henry Bonner – he has been a slave in our family for fifteen (15) or twenty (20) years, at the present he is hireling to me. I have about twelve work hands on the place, my contract with him is, that at the end of the season, I was to leave the compensation to a committee of citizens, in case of disagreement, the matter was to be left to a Federal officer. The character of this man, has been that he was always a very sullen and contrary darkey [sic]. On the evening of the 3d of July I had a difficulty with a colored women –Mary – after this I went to the fields, and this darkey [sic] commenced talking about the difficulty. I told him to stay there and work. He was quite imprudent, said he would stay and leave when he wanted to. I told him if he was so imprudent to me and would quit when-ever he liked, that he should stay there, he said in reply, that he would do as he pleased, that I could not make him leave – that if I felt like it, I had better undertake it. All the hands were present as he had said they were going to town. I went to town also. I saw Capt Shipp on the morning of the 4th of July at Fayetteville. I made a statement to Capt Shipp who is the Provost Marshal of the place. Capt Shipp said he would send a guard down there and have the thing corrected. He did send down two soldiers from the 5th Tenn cavalry, I presume, one was named Harrison and I think the other was named Mullins. These two soldiers went to the plantation. I was with the [sic], also, Capt Adkins of the Home Guards with the Captains two brothers, Joe and Jim who belong to the Home Guards besides another party unknown. I think his name is Hastings. We arrived at the plantation about 7 o'clock in the evening of the 4th. The whipping was then administered on this boy by the Federal Soldiers and Capt Adkins (the back of the boy was exhibited here) I call that a very severe whipping. I did not think he was whipped so bad, it was dark, I could not see. I was armed, most of the party was armed. I was a little excited at the time, I do not remember what I did say. I cannot say whether I said I would blow his brains out or not. When I first went up to the house the boy Henry was tied to a tree by his hands being fastened around the tree. I was present all the time. I did not count the licks. I should think about one hundred, perhaps there was more, the switches used were either elm or birch I think elm – I cannot tell how many the men had in their hands at the time. The whipped him twice. On my repeating the imprudence of the boy Henry to Capt Shipp he told me that he would send some men or Guards down to the plantation and have the boy corrected or whipped, and he made the [word not readable] go down with me that evening. The boy did not threaten my life or threaten me with violence at all. The trouble with the woman at which the Negro boy, Henry took exception was as follows. She had been at the house for an hour, nursing her baby. I told her it was too long, she replied she would do as she pleased, her attitude was defiant. I then struck her. I had my knife open when the affair commenced. I shut it and struck her on the head with the handle of the knife and with my fist. I shut it and struck her with a rock. She then went on the field repeating that she would suckle her baby and work when she pleased.

I want to make the additional statement in justice to Capt Shipp. When I went to the filed the boy Henry brought up the subject of my treatment of the Woman, Mary, of the previous evening in a very unbecoming manner. From his attitude and the presence of the other Negroes I saw from the facts before me that I had better get away and let the Negro alone. I went away I preference to involving myself in any serious difficulty with them in my interview with Capt Shipp and the Provost Marshall I expressed these views. I thought the Negro a dangerous man.

Testimony of Matthew Mullins

My name is Matthew Mullins I belong to company "C" 5th Tennessee Cavalry. On the 4th of July I was at Fayetteville in the evening of the 4th of July I went out to Wm. Bonners plantation in company with Tyler Harrison of my company and Wm. Bonner also a Capt of the Home Guard we were joined by two other men on reaching the house of Wm Bonner. The whole party proceeded to the Negro quarters we took out one of the negro's [sic] and whipped him about three hundred yards from the quarters we tied him fact to a tree and fastened his hands on the other side with a bridle reign. We whipped him with elm switches two in a bunch with spangles on them I can not tell how long the switches were. We did not count the blows but I think they could not have exceeded one hundred and fifty -the negro howled right much he did not curse any body while we were whipping him- we whipped him for saucing his master Wm. Bonner – we were sent out under the charge of the home guard captain and were to do what he directed and he directed the party to whip the negro.

Capt Shipp ordered myself and private Harrison to report to the Capt of the Home Guard for this duty. Capt Shipp told us to go out with the home guard Capt and settle a difficulty between Wm Bonner and a Negro I have known soldiers sent out before to settle difficulties were negros [sic] have been whipped by soldiers.

Before the whipping, Wm. Bonner took us to his own house and gave us a supper tolerable nice one. He and his wife set down at the same table with us. After we got through the whippings he told us he was much obliged to us and then I returned to camp about 4 ½ mile from Bonners house – Wm Bonner and the soldiers were armed with loaded pistols. The Negro did not use any disrespectful language to Wm. Bonner or any other person present in my presence at this or any previous time.

Blood and Fire, pp. 187-190.[5]







[1] Apparently the editor wanted it both ways.

[2] Not identified.

[3] As cited in:

[4] This expedition left Memphis but all fighting was in Mississippi. Bolivar, in this case, is in Mississippi.

[5] In the end Bonner was fined $50.00 for the whipping. Recognizing the unlawfulness of such activity, General R. W. Johnson stated in a general order that: "These Home Guards did all the 'Negro Whipping' in these neighborhoods. Considering their disloyal character I have issued an order disbanding all such forces, unless organized under authority of the governor." As cited in Blood and Fire, p. 190.


James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214


(615)-532-1549  FAX


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