Wednesday, December 16, 2015




James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Editor, The Courier

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214


(615)-532-1549  FAX


From: James B. Jones
Sent: Wednesday, December 16, 2015 12:39 PM
To: James B. Jones



DECEMBER 16, 1861-1864.



December 16, 1861


          16, Letter complaining of mollycoddling East Tennessee Unionists


A late number of the Knoxville Register, a secession paper, has the following communication in refutation of a statement recently made in the Confederate Congress in regard to the sentiment of the people of East Tennessee:

"Messrs. Editors: A statement made by Hon. W. G. Swan, member elect to Congress from the second district of this State, is now going the rounds of the press, which has produced no little astonishment here.

"The statement is that there is but little disaffection in East Tennessee-only confined to but a few localities. Such an announcement, coming from such a source, is well calculated to misled our authorities at Richmond, and divert their attention from our true condition. These authorities, in fact, have never believed we were in much danger in this region" at least they have so acted.

"Why Mr. Swan has made such a statement I cannot conjecture. It is a great mistake. There is much disaffection in every county in East Tennessee. At this moment of writing our forces are probably engaged with a force of fifteen hundred Union men in Cocke county.

"We have cried peace, peace, when there is no peace. We have only received taunts in return. The infamous traitors have burnt our railroad bridges, and done everything in their power to invite and aid the invading foe in desecrating out soil. And yet we are still told there is no danger. Maybe our authorities will yet wake up to the true and real state of affairs in East Tennessee when a few more of our bridges are destroyed and some more of our quiet citizens are butchered.

"We have a large number of prisoners in the Confederate jail. We presume, of course, they will be released, as this is the order of the day here. You recollect, no doubt, the Thornburg affair. He was found actually in arms against the South, was at the head of a company, and was trying to make his way to Kentucky. This man, by Richmond['s] authority, was released without the form a trial; and on the day of election, when every one [sic] [is] supposed he would vote for Mr. Davis, he indignantly tore off his name from his ticket. My latest information is that Brownlow is to be allowed to leave the State attended with an escort to protect him. Why should the underlings suffer, when the ringleaders are allowed to go where they like?"[1]

Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, D. C.), December 16, 1861.[2]


December 16, 1862


          16, Special Field Orders, No. 19 HQDRS Right Wing, 13th A. C. Memphis December 16, 1862.

The following directions are issued for the government of all parties concerned:

1st. Ambulances.-All ambulances will be immediately examined by the regimental and division quartermasters....One ambulance will be retained by each regiment, and all the surplus...will be equitably divided among the three divisions comprising this command, to be formed into division trains in the charge of the division quartermaster, and under the orders of the division surgeons.

2d. Hospital tents.-Each regiment will have one hospital tent; all other hospital tents in the command...will be turned in to the division quartermaster. If there are so many surplus tents as to afford it, each division will take six, to be used as a field hospital....

3d. Sick men who must be left will be examined by a board of three medical officers in each division, who will pronounce upon their condition....Company commanders will on no account neglect this plain duty.

4th. Sick and convalescents left behind on the movement of the 26th...will be examined by a board of medical officers within the fort....

By order of Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. II, pp. 419-420.

          16, A house of entertainment opens in Knoxville


While James W. Newman is in the Confederate service, his family, my wife and self, have concluded to keep a house of Entertainment, at the old stand, two hundred yards East of the general hospital, and a short distance West of the Market House. Our house is now open to receive travelers, visitants to the city, officers and soldiers. Our table will be supplied with the best country and the market afford.

George Horne.

Knoxville Daily Register, December 16, 1862.

          16, Slaughter house workers sought in Knoxville


We are authorized by Col. Blake to say that all conscripts whom we employ at our port house will de detailed. We will pay good wages and sell each hand ten pounds of salt at ten cents per pound every Saturday night. Hands from a distance will be furnished with good house to camp in.-They should bring blankets with them.

Knoxville Daily Register, December 16, 1862.

          16-March 17, 1863, Operations of U. S. N. on Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers

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.

U. S. Gunboat Lexington

Smithland, Kentucky, March 17, 1863


* * * *

On the [16th of December]...the gunboats left the upper Ohio for operations in [the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers], but not finding water enough in the Cumberland, and expedition was formed to cooperate with Colonel Lowe up the Tennessee.

On the 20th of December the expedition left Fort Henry and proceeded up the [Tennessee] river as high as Duck River Sucks, where the troops were disembarked. Leaving two boats to guard the transports, I started on up the river with the remaining two, but having grounded on Duck River Bar, I was obliged to return without getting higher.

On the 24th (learning that the place was in danger) I returned to Fort Henry with two boats, leaving two above to guard the transports.

On the 25th...I proceeded on down the river to Paducah as that place was reported to be in danger. I left the Brilliant to guard Forts Henry and Hindman [Heiman] till the expedition from above returned.

On the 28th the expedition having returned, the gunboats joined me at Paducah.

On the 1st of January [1863] I left the General Pillow at Paducah and proceeded up the Ohio to the mouth of the Cumberland, with the gunboats Fairplay, St. Clair, Brilliant, and Robb. Arriving at Smithland, I found both flanges of the starboard wheel of the Fairplay broken entirely off, and consequently, by directions from the fleet captain, had to take her up the river for repairs. Also, being out of coal, I sent the boats to Caseyville, to take on a good supply. Finding on my arrival at Caseyville all the mines monopolized, I was compelled to take possession of them in order to get coal for the flotilla. After the St. Clair and Brilliant had finished coaling, the returned to Smithland and started up the Cumberland for Nashville with a fleet of transports. The Robb remained at Caseyville to hold possession of the mines and have a large barge filled for our use.

On the 4th...I arrived at Madison, Ind., and made arrangements for going on the ways. On the 5th went on the ways and commenced repairs. On the 21st, having completed repairs, returned to Smithland and made preparations for going up the Cumberland.

During my absence the Robb had brought down from the mines some 10,000 bushels of coal, and, with the Pillow, was patrolling the Tennessee, the St. Clair and Brilliant being yet up the Cumberland. I started to join them on the 22d, having in convoy a fleet of some 26 transports.

On the 28th I reached Nashville with the second fleet of transports and three gunboats. On the 30th returned down the river with a convoy of boats. The gunboat Silver Lake joined the fleet and reported for duty. On February 3 left Smithland with a fleet of 46 transports and the gunboats Lexington...Fairplay, St. Clair, Brilliant, Robb, and Silver Lake.

At 8 p. m. arrived at Dover, found the garrison completely surrounded by the enemy, and out of ammunition. The gunboats shelled and dispersed the rebels.

On the 7th arrived at Nashville with the entire fleet. On the 8th went above Nashville with the gunboats Fairplay and Robb, to the mouth of Stone's [sic] River, to destroy some flats and ferries there. On the 9th returned to Smithland with a fleet of transports. On the 13th left Smithland again with another large fleet of transports, arriving at Nashville on the 15th instant. On the 17th returned to Smithland, coaled and started up the Tennessee with the gunboats Lexington, Fairplay, St. Clair, Brilliant, and Robb, leaving the Silver Lake and Springfield to convoy to Nashville a small fleet of transports.

On the morning of the 20th reached Clifton; 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....

During the afternoon of the same day we took a detachment of dismounted cavalry aboard each boat and landed them on Eagle Nest Island for the purpose of searching for rebel stores and rebels, said to be on or near the island.

* * * *

[From the 22d to 26th the fleet patrolled the Tennessee River in Alabama and returned to Smithland, Kentucky on the 4th of March.]

* * * *

On the 12th [March] a fleet of transports started for Nashville under convoy of the gunboats St. Clair, Robb, and Springfield.

On the 13th the Lexington, Fairplay, and Brilliant made a patrol up the Tennessee: found all quiet in that vicinity.

Two boats will patrol the Tennessee constantly, while the remainder will remain on the Cumberland to patrol and convoy.

* * * *

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

LeRoy Fitch, Lieutenant-Commander.

Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pp. 56-58.

December 16, 1863


          16, Skirmish at Rutledge

BLAIN'S CROSS-ROADS, December 16, 1863--12 m.

GEN.: Have just arrived; have selected a position, and will post the troops that are here and the others as they arrive. I have no news from the front since morning.

JNO. G. PARKE, Maj.-Gen.


Midway between Blain's Cross-Roads and Rutledge, December 16, 1863--12.30 a. m.

GEN.: I have just reached this place on my way back to Blain's Cross-Roads. The enemy attacked my advance to-day, consisting of one division of infantry and the cavalry. Our men held their own, but a large force of cavalry came from the direction of Morristown, crossed the river, and threatened our rear. I found that I had not sufficient cavalry to cope with the enemy; this determined me to fall back, in obedience to your order.

Your dispatch of 5.30 p. m. just received. I had received the report of Col. Palmer in reference to Longstreet, but Gen. Shackelford is equally confident that he is in our front. Whether or not this be so, I cannot at present determine. At any rate, we have prisoners from Johnson's and Gracie's commands. Elliott might move his command out this way, and, on a personal interview with Sturgis, the route for his command be determined. The question of rations is becoming a serious one. I will direct commissaries to make their requisitions, and draw from Strawberry Plains. Can a sub-depot be established there?

JNO. G. PARKE, Maj.-Gen.

BLAIN'S CROSS-ROADS, December 16, 1863--4.30 p. m.

GEN.: I have a good position here. The enemy's cavalry has been skirmishing with our rear guard to within 2 or 3 miles of our line. Sturgis' last dispatch, at 4 p. m., says the enemy is not advancing so boldly as heretofore. If he undertakes to advance to-morrow, we will endeavor to check him, which I think we can do pretty well. Sheridan is up, and Wood protects his command at Flat Creek. I received the dispatches about rations, and we all feel easier on that score. I have just forwarded a dispatch from Willcox and Poe. We have, I think, a pretty strong position, and our flanks are now well watched. I fear that during the night some of our men straggled in advance. Should any of them reach Knoxville without proper authority, I hope they will be summarily dealt with.

Yours, respectfully,

JNO. G. PARKE, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 328.

          16, Skirmish at Blain's [today Blaine's] Cross Roads

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Itinerary of the 9th Army Corps, October 20-December 31, 1863.

* * * *

December 16, 12 m., the Second Division halted within 2 miles of Blain's Cross-Roads, formed line of battle, and remained in that position during the afternoon, our cavalry skirmishing with the enemy half a mile in advance of our line during the whole afternoon.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 339.

          16, U. S. N. gunboat captures pig iron on Cumberland River

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Report of Fleet Captain Pennock, U. S. Navy, transmitting prize lists of certain vessels of the squadron

Mississippi Squadron, Flagship Black Hawk

Mound City, September 21, 1864

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith prize lists of the following vessels belonging to this squadron:

U. S. S. Brilliant, for the capture of a lot of pig iron at Betsytown Landing, Tenn., December 16, 1863.

* * * *

A.M. Pennock, Fleet Captain and Commandant of Station

Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 26, p. 562.

          16, Federal situation report relative to railroad line from Nashville to Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA, December 16, 1863.

(Received 4.30 p. m., 18th.)

Col. D. C. McCALLUM, Superintendent of Military Railroads:

Railroad from Nashville to Chattanooga needs extensive repairs. A bridge between this place and Bridgeport, 800 feet long and 18 feet high, is to be trestled. Many engines and cars off tracks to be restored. All the construction corps could be most profitably employed upon this road, with its full organization and equipment and tools. I desire to have sent to Bridgeport whatever portion of it can be spared from the Eastern Department. The road is 150 miles in length, and is in bad condition throughout. Labor is very scarce here, especially skilled laborers. The transfer would be temporary.


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, pp. 422-423.

          16, Federal response to Nathan Bedford Forrest's protest relative to depredations committed against Confederate civilians


Memphis, Tennessee, December 16, 1863.

Brig. Gen. N. B. FORREST, C. S. Army:

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication by flag of truce of 13th December.

I shall take pleasure in forwarding it at once to Nashville, and in certifying to its genuineness as received by me.

In reply to so much of your letter as refers to the unnecessary wrongs and injuries inflicted on non-combatants, I regret that the discipline of both armies has not been equal to the task of wholly suppressing these outrages.

As you are well aware as a cavalry officer, detached bodies of men on distant service frequently commit these wrongs. It is, for example, reported to me that two women, residing in McNairy County, have been shot by the command of one Wilson because their husbands were in the Union service. If I obtain any accurate information of the parties, I shall forward their names to you for that speedy justice which you promise.

My orders are positive, forbidding pillaging of any kind or any interference with non-combatants, except so far as may be necessary to submit men and horses in case they are removed from their sources of supply, and the impressment of animals for military purposes.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. A. HURLBUT, Maj.-Gen., U. S. Army.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, pp. 428-429.

          16, Confederate sympathizers assessed by Federal authorities for depredations committed against a Union citizen by Rebel guerrillas in Lewis County


Pulaski, Tennessee, December 16, 1863.

I. In accordance with the orders of Maj. Gen. U. S. Grant, Perry Nicks, of Lewis County, Tennessee, having been damaged by guerrillas, citizens, &c., to the amount of $800, it is hereby ordered that an assessment to that amount be made upon the known rebels of that county, and collected in money, cotton, or stock, and turned over to Mr. Nicks. A full account and report of the transaction under this order will be made to these headquarters. Maj. Murphy, of Fifth Tennessee Cavalry, is requested to carry out this order.

* * * *

By order of Brig. Gen. G. M. Dodge:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 429.

          16, "Sometimes I ride, sometimes I walk and sometimes I lie on my cot and so day after day passes." Life in the Army of the Cumberland in the aftermath of battle

Headquarters O. V .S .S.


Dec. 16 1863

My Dear Wife,

It is now one week since I wrote you during which time I have received on letter from you. I can hardly tell why I have not written except that I did not feel like it. I have probably been under the effect to the reaction from the excitement of the battle and scenes succeeding. I did not have the blues but I fear of a physician's needless called to prescribe for me, he would have said my symptoms indicates something of the sort. But I didn't need a physician – I knew too much for that-I have been reading Les Miserables and my mental food did not help my condition very much. I am now decidedly invalescent [sic]. At least my inclination to write to you has been restored and if I do not make a readable letter you may attribute it to the lingering effects of the malady. By the way, Les Miserables is a great novel but there is too much of it, too highly wrought and too many digressions so that it is interesting, exciting, overpowering and debilitating. It should only be read as a serial a single chapter at a time with at least a week intervening. A well-balanced mind might then endure the reading of it without serious damage. I am improving on it now by reading Byron's "Don Juan". Not much improvement you will say. And maybe you will be jealous of my morals – I may as well spoil one way or another and for my part I prefer to take the most agreeable and so in an absolute dearth of all that is intellectual. If you wish to judge the morality of the poem just read Venus and Adonis of Shakespeare of which it is the fitting counterpart. But I would not have you suppose that that is the way I pass all my time. Sometimes I ride, sometimes I walk and sometimes I lie on my cot and so day after day passes. This afternoon I road to Rossville in company with two other officers and inspected the position occupied by the enemy. Had a pleasant ride and returned not much fatigued. We found a family of four women and a boy in a little low miserable log hut in the middle of the old camp of the enemy. They were too poor to go away and too ignorant to be afraid. And so they lived there until both armies had passed them, pillaged and robbed them four times and now they had two cows and a half dozen chickens left. The chickens they have kept in the house. The oldest girl, who by the way, well dressed, would be good looking. Would be the "materfamilias". She was charming and we asked for buttermilk to drink which she gave us. I gave her half a dollar and we came away. They said they would give us milk and butter if we would bring them coffee and meat. I think we will call that way again. I expect to go to the old battlefield of Chickamauga tomorrow in company with a party of officers made up for the purpose. If I do I will tell you about it in my next. I shall also visit Lookout also soon. I have never been up to Lookout since we have been here. It is the famous summer resort for Southerners in this section. There was a hotel and a seminary on the top before the war.

* * * *

Barber Correspondence

          ca. 16, Report of Lieutenant-Commander Fitch, U. S. Navy, regarding the destruction of distilleries on the Cumberland River.

U. S. S. Moose

Dover, December 17, 1863


I have the honor to report that on my way down the river I landed at Seven-Mile Island and went out back about 2 miles with a force and destroyed a distillery belonging to Dr. Lyle. This distillery has been the means of causing boats to be fired into to, being a sort of rendezvous for guerrillas. There were several guerrillas at the distillery at the time, but, being mounted, they escaped us.

At Palmyra I also landed with a force and destroyed another distillery about 5 miles back. Guerrillas had staid here the night back. The latter distillery was owned by a man by the name of Nolan.

Le Roy Fitch, Lieutenant-Commander

Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 25, pp. 641-642.


December 16, 1864


          16, Dodging the Confederate draft in Maury County [see also December 18, 1864, "Conscripting-Losses by the People"]

Preparations are making by the Confederate officers to conscript every one they can force into service, there have many men left Maury County and particularly the Towns to parts unknown some have give up to Fedrels [sic] and others dodging any way to keep out of the conscripts. Great [sic] many have gone to Nashville with the Fedrels [sic], hundreds and thousands of negroes [sic] have went [sic] off with the Fedrals [sic] when they left here the last days of Nov. men women &children, from Maury & Giles counties. The conscripts [i.e., conscription squads] take all between the age of 18 & 45 they having employed substitutes is no excuse for the southern confederacy and all between 16 & 18 & 45 & 50 years of age are to be conscripted….

Diary of Nimrod Porter, December 16, 1864.

          16, Circus benefit for the poor during the battle of Nashville

The Circus gives a performance to-night for the benefit of the poor of the city. This fact alone ought to crowd the tent, and there can be no doubt but the proprietors will be rewarded generously.

Nashville Dispatch, December 16, 1864.

          16, "The Remarkable Stays."

Gaynor's celebrated Corsets, so strongly recommended by the Medical Faculty of Europe, for their peculiar adaptation to the figure, combining lightness and strength of texture, with perfection in style, cut and finish, which secures that ease and comfort in every attitude, obtained only by the use of these Corsets-can be had in Nashville only at

Chas. Simmons & Co.'s

No. 5 Simmons Block

Opposite St. Cloud, Church street.

Nashville Dispatch, December 16, 1864.

16, A domestic response to the Battle of Nashville

The cannon has been thundering all day yesterday and all today. The battle evidently is raging at last, and will certainly be a furious one under the circumstances – the rebels in sight of their homes will fight with desperation.

Jamie has not been out to us for several days, nor Pa – and we have only had the daily papers, which however are silent on this one point of course – any statement of the actual condition of affairs being prohibited. Captain Lamotte and Lieut. Torry called this morning, but they are still on our side of the bridge – they said that yesterday for the first time the rebs [sic] returned our fire. Every report shakes the hole [sic] house – but we do not mind it, but keep quiet around roaring fires,-for it is bitterly, bitterly cold – and try to read as usual, but it is rather difficult with such an accompaniment ringing our ears. The little Mother even tries to sing occasionally, but "Highland Mary," "Bonnie Doon," "The Ingleside" and the sweet songs of Moore which she loves don't harmonize well with the cannon's roar, and so she tries "Clansmen up, & March awa! March awa! Gather to the pibroch ca! For the Bruce and Scotland's glory!' which she thinks much more appropriated;-to Captain Osburne's intense delight & amusement, for he enjoys her clear, birdlike voice….

But really it is wonderful how we could have become so accustomed to this state of affairs as to take it so quietly as we are doing today! I remember when two years ago the battle was raging as far off as Murfreesboro, how excited we all were, and how I started and trembled at the faint, far off sound – so indistinct as to be merely suspected in fact – and was too unnerved to do anything but think of the horrible carnage then going on: while today when the deadly work in going on within a mile of our own doors, within sight indeed! – when the artillery is deafening, we sit before the fire quietly, read, chat & laugh! And when I grow too nervous for anything else I seek relief in writing in my journal….

*  *  *  *

Later [sic]

Van has just returned from town, here's his news. General Thomas attacked Hood yesterday; morning – took his nearest works – captured 1000 prisoners, and much artillery – the battle still continues today. Harding is not Hood's Headquarters – Forrest is near the Lunatic Asylum, and Van heard that Trimble, Tully and Neill Brown, and Frank Reid also are all with him. Poor boys! "So near and yet so far" from home! Tully always vowed he hated the ballad "Home sweet home!" – I wonder if he "hates" it yet!

*  *  *  *

Journal of Maggie Lindsley.

          16-17, "Seeing the Elephant."

Two of the fancy women of College street went out on Friday [16th] to see the fight.[3] By some means their carriage got outside of the picket lines and inside the rebel lines before they were aware of the fact. Seeing Rebel soldiers about, they ordered the hackman to "bout ship" and put for town, but before he could do so, the carriage was surrounded by Rebel cavalry, who took the establishment in charge, believing the occupants were spies. They were sent to the rear and placed under guard, where they remained until the retreat commenced, and then they were ordered to move southward, another nymph du pave having in the meantime been picked up and placed in the same hack. At length the horses gave out-they could no longer draw the load through the mud; so three cavalrymen were ordered to take them in charge. The women protested, and begged consideration for their laces and valuable silk dresses, but without avail. They were compelled to evacuate the carriage and mount in front or behind the riders as each preferred, and thus they entered Franklin, literally covered with mud. They were placed under guard at a hotel, and closely questioned by an officer, who seemed at a loss to know what to do with them, whether to send them south as spies, or send them adrift. At length, on Saturday [17th], the Federal cavalry came thundering along, and the women were left in their room. On Sunday night they arrived here, one of them riding behind a Federal guard, and the other two riding an old mule, and thus they were landed at the door of the Provost Marshal's office, who, after taking evidence of their identity, discharged them.

Nashville Dispatch, December 22, 1864.


[1] An age old question.

[2] TSL&A, 19th CN.

[3] That is, the Battle of Nashville.


James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Editor, The Courier

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214


(615)-532-1549  FAX


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