Tuesday, February 23, 2016

NOTES FROM CIVIL WAR TENNESSEE, February 23, 1862-1864


February 23, 1862-1864




          23, Confederate Orders No. 3 forbidding impressing of civilian property without written orders

ORDERS, No. 3. HDQRS. WESTERN DEPARTMENT, Murfreesborough, Tenn., February 23, 1862.

Under great necessity temporary possession may be taken of wagons, teams, and other property of our citizens for the use of the army; but this authority can be exercised by chiefs of the army alone.

It is positively prohibited to any officer to seize, take, or impress property of any kind except by written order of the commanding general or division commander, and this authority must be exhibited to the party from whom the property is taken.

Officers or soldiers violating this order will be arrested, proceeded against, and punished as plunders and marauders.

By command of Gen. Johnston:

W. W. MACKALL, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 903.

23, Notes on contents of soldiers' backpacks

What a knapsack should contain.—The official regulations in Louisiana enumerate as follows: One blanket, one shirt, one undershirt, one pair of drawers, three pairs of socks, one pair of shoes, one towel, one tin cup, one tin pan or plate, one knife and fork, one cake of soap, one handkerchief, a piece of oil cloth to use under the blanket, and nothing else. No token of friendship, no daguerreotypes, no books, are allowed. But we don't suppose there would be any objection to a hair brush, a comb, a toothbrush, a box of blacking, a shoe brush, a little looking glass, and scissors, with thread, needles and pins. We suppose many ladies will be called upon to pack the knapsack of their volunteering friends. Let them make a note of the above.

Memphis Daily Appeal, February 23, 1862




          23, A boxing match and wagers in the Army of Tennessee in winter camp in Tullahoma


A pair of privates of the ____ Tennessee had a grudge, and one of them also [received] a newly arrived box of provision 'from home.' They resolved to fight for the latter in adjudication of the former. An hour was appointed, a vast assemblage collected, both entered the ring arranged, the combatants placed in position. Intense excitement; much gambling on the result; terrible odds. Do not be alarmed, I mean no description in detail....The battle was fought, the victory won, the box of provisions paid over when lo, a second champion appeared, and offered to eat the entire contents for 'twenty five dollars Confed. [sic], or, in default of so doing to pay down to the owner, thereof, the handsome sum of one hundred ditto.'

The wager was accepted. Bets were again offered and taken. Excitement again resumed the sway. The box (hitherto mysteriously closed) was at length...[opened]. It contained the following articles of food: One turkey, two dozen eggs (boiled), one dozen biscuits, one pound of butter, six dried peach pies, one bottle of molasses, and six onions!

The wretch won his wager!

Chattanooga Daily Rebel, February 23, 1863

          23, Federal Assistant Inspector General for the Army of the Cumberland, Major James A. Connolly to his wife, relative to conditions in Nashville

Here I am in Nashville....I have a very pleasant position here, but it is too much parlor soldiering....I made my first official report this evening, in relation to the 23 hospitals in and about this city which I have inspected during the past four days.

In my tour I saw more sick and suffering humanity that I want to see in my whole life again. In one of the hospitals I saw one of your brother Jerry's men...from Morrow County, Ohio.

He called me by name away across the ward and appeared very much relieved to see some one he knew. I have not received any pay yet and feel like grumbling, but I hope to get sight of a paymaster this week. I am more anxious about it on you account than my own, for I can get along anyhow with government rations and government clothing, if necessary, but you can't.

I attended the Washington birthday celebration at the state house to-day and while there really felt proud that I belonged to the Federal Army. It was such a sight as Tennessee's capital has not witnessed for many a day and will long be remembered by its citizens. Speeches were made by Parson Brownlow, Governor [sic] Crawford of Kansas, General Smith of Kentucky, and others, and letters read from Genl. Rosecrans, Genl. Negley, Gen. Mitchell, Daniel S. Dickinson of New York &c &c. Songs were sung by ladies and by soldiers, and the whole concluded by the "Star Spangled Banner" grandly sung by the Nashville Glee Club, the whole audience joining in the chorus, until the arches rang with the patriotic outburst. If we could whip traitors as easily as we can sing songs and pass resolutions what a glorious thing it would be. [ Emphasis added]

* * * *

Three Years in the Army of the Cumberland, 36-38.[1]

          23, "The news from Johnson and Carter is quite gloomy." A report on Confederate anti-bushwhacker initiative in Carter and Johnson counties.


From the Knoxville Register.

The news from Johnson and Carter is quite gloomy. These counties are seriously infected with disloyalty and bushwhackers. A severe engagement occurred on Friday, 23d ult., between a large body of these men and Col. Folk's North Carolina cavalry, in Carter, at a point near Dugger's Ford, on the Watauga, thirteen miles above Elizabethton. The tory Captain was killed, also another man by the name of Tatum, said to have been a deserter from Capt. Semmes, of the United States Navy. The Captain who was killed was from Kentucky and signed his name "Jos. C. Taylor, Sr., Captain Second Battalion East Tennessee Cavalry, army of the Ohio." He had captured and paroled several soldiers in the two counties. Two of the bushwhackers who were captured were immediately hung by order of Col. Folk. One was a desperate character, a counterfeiter, by the name of George W. Kite, from Greene County [Tennessee]. The other was Alexander Dugger.

A youth, also captured, was sent to Knoxville. In consideration of his age he was spared hanging, although the executioner at the time had a rope around his neck. Col Folk lost one man killed, a Mr. Newman, from North Carolina, others were short through their clothing, but none hurt. Several of the wounded bushwhackers made their escape with the remainder of their force.

Since this event occurred several other bushwhacking affairs have occurred in the above counties, some of our soldiers and horses being wounded, but none [sic] others killed. A portion of Col. Folk's cavalry is again in Johnson, and if they do not succeed in quelling the revolt there, it is understood that a portion of Major Thomas' Indians[2] will be sent there to attend to the country's want [sic].

New York Times, March 8, 1863.

          23, The Army of the Cumberland Celebrates Washington's Birthday in the Nolensville environs, and military news from Middle Tennessee


Special Correspondence of the Inquirer.

Nolinsville [sic], Tenn,, Feb.23, 1863.

The Twenty-second in the Army.

Washington's Birthday, coming as it has this year, on Sunday, has bee duly celebrated this day (the 23d), throughout the Army of the Cumberland. At sunrise this morning there was a general explosion of cannon, which was kept up for more than half an hour, causing almost a perpetual roar, as of constant thunder. Intermingled with this was also the sharp, quick report of the rifle and musket, testifying to the enthusiasm of individuals. At noon came another salute from the artillery and at sunset the dress parades, followed by the evening salutes, formed an imposing scene, and gave to a looker on an idea of the veneration in which the name of America's first and best patriot is held by those of the present day. At the head-quarters of the different officers, too, was the occasion properly commemorated. Every tent was gaily decorated with flags and streamers, while those regiments which were fortunate enough to have among them a band were enlivened by the performances of numerous patriotic tunes, while in many of the regiments glee clubs have been formed, and the national anthems were sung with much spirit and feeling.

There was one fact, however, which was particularly noticeable. The vast difference in feeling which has existed between the Unionists and Secesh would make it seem that there could now be no unity of feeling between them upon any point, yet that, at least, upon one matter there is such unity, one who closely watched the proceedings in this section of the country, yesterday, must be satisfied. The Rebels, as you probably are aware, claim that Washington was of the South and with the South, and that to Southerners alone should his name be held dear. Acting upon this profession, while in our own camps the day was being properly observed, the Rebels, where a sufficient number could meet together, were intent upon the commemoration of the same object.

The Army.

Of the movements of the army in this section I can say but little. First, because there are but few movements being made; and, second, because those few are mostly of a secret nature, and any information given concerning them is declared contraband, and consequently prohibited. The main body of the enemy is still encamped in front of Murfreesboro', where they have, since the fight, been undergoing a most rigid course of drill and disciplination. [sic] The front remains comparatively quiet, though hardly a day passes without a skirmish between our scouting or reconnoitering parties and those of the enemy. On the 21st, the One-hundred-and-first Indiana regiment of infantry, while out on a scouting expedition, were attacked by a large number of Rebel cavalry, when a brisk fight ensued, which lasted some twenty or twenty-five minutes; but the gallant Hoosiers finely sent Secesh howling from the field. Our men, as soon as warned of their danger, took position in the edge of the place of heavily-timbered ground, which rendered it necessary for t he enemy to approach them in front, and across a large open field or common.

Owing to the fact of our troops being thus sheltered but one man was wounded, though Lieutenant-

Colonel Doan came near losing his life, a bullet having passed through his coat within two inches of his left side. The enemy lost in killed and wounded some six or eight men, besides quite a number of horses killed and captured.

Brigadier-General James B. Steadman [sic] has lately been placed in command of the Third Division, Fourteenth Army Corps….

General Cook's Brigade was yesterday [22nd] placed on board of several steamers and sent to the town of Carthage, about one hundred and ten miles above Nashville.

This movement was rendered necessary from the fact that the enemy have lately found means for crossing the Cumberland at that point, are constantly procuring supplies from Kentucky through this means. This will probably soon be stopped. There have been rumors afloat to-day to the effect that there had been another fight at Fort Donelson, but there has , as yet, been no confirmation of the report, and from the Captains of some of the steamers which passed there day before yesterday [21st] I have been unable to learn that there were any Rebels near that point. General Rosecrans' report that Vicksburg had been captured has not yet been confirmed, and the army, or rather the men of which this army is composed, are naturally anxious to hear from that point.

A Skirmish.

On Thursday last [19th] twelve men of Company B, Second Minnesota Regiment, under command of Orderly Sergeant Holmes, were sent as guard to a foraging train. When some three or four miles from this place they were attacked by one hundred and thirty-eight Rebel cavalrymen; but seeing their danger in time the boys of the Second sheltered themselves in some old buildings nearby, and after a fight of nearly an hour succeeded in driving off the foe, having killed, wounded and taken prisoners seventeen of their number, besides capturing five and killing eight of the enemy's horses. The cavalry were a portion of the Fifth Alabama Regiment, and were of Dick McCann's command. Sergeant Holmes, together with each of then under his command, has since received the highest praise for gallant conduct during the fight, from their Division Commander. Three of the men were slightly wounded, but will recover in a few days.

Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1863.




          23, Skirmish at Calfkiller Creek

One account of the trouble at Calfkiller Creek tells of the brutal and callous treatment of Federal prisoners of war by Champ Ferguson and other guerrilla leaders in the vicinity, and the retribution taken by Stokes and the Fifth Cavalry on February 23, 1864. A detachment of the Fifth Tennessee Cavalry was attacked on Calfkiller Creek by a large force of guerrillas on the 22d, and a severe engagement followed. According to one rare Federal account:


Three or four soldiers were killed in the action, and nineteen others were taken prisoners and deliberately murdered after they had surrendered and given up their arms. The heads of some of the unfortunate prisoners were riddled with balls, one man receiving seven bullets. On the 23rd pickets of the 5th were attacked, and Wilcher, a vidette, a noble young soldier, captured, carried a short distance and cruelly murdered. Colonel Stokes, on hearing of the savage mode of warfare practiced by Champ Ferguson and other guerrilla chiefs, issued orders to take no prisoners. A desperate contest commenced, in which our loss was seven or eight killed and but a few wounded and that of the guerrillas not less than a hundred killed and a large number wounded. Captains Blackburn and Waters, in command of a detachment of the regiment, attacked Huhges [sic] and Ferguson on Calfkiller Creek, and one of the severest battles ensued, in which several were killed on both sides, Ferguson badly wounded and the guerrillas put to flight....This victory was won by Capt. Blackburn and his men.

Report of the Adjutant General, p. 442.


February 24, 1864, Amanda McDowell's comment upon the fighting at Sparta:

I have just heard nine or ten big guns. It is the Yankees at Sparta. I fear they are fighting but they fired yesterday and were not fighting there, but there was a dreadful fight up the river yesterday. Our folks tell it that they killed 35 or 40 of the enemy and got two men wounded. They lay in wait for them and I fear killed them after they surrendered. But I do hope they did not do that....We are all dreadfully uneasy. Some of the neighbors started to town today to take the oath but, hearing that those that went to the speaking yesterday did not get back, they did not go. What a dreadful pass the country has come to! It is awful to think of men being slaughtered in such a style. The people are rejoicing to think that so many of the enemy are gone to their account. I can't rejoice. I cannot be glad at any death, at any murder, and what is it but murder? I think I love my country, but if I had my way there would never be a single man killed.

Diary of Amanda McDowell.

          23, Confederates burn ferry boat and railroad bridge near Strawberry Plains

STRAWBERRY PLAINS, February 24, 1864

Maj.-Gen. GRANT:

Longstreet destroyed the ferry-boat and completed the destruction of railroad bridge and retreated from this place yesterday. From the best information I can get he is moving rapidly toward Virginia or Georgia. As soon as I can cross the river I will push forward as far and as rapidly as possible. His main force has gone toward Goldsborough. The indications are that his whole force is going up the French Broad.

J. M. SCHOFIELD, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. II, pp. 456-457.

          23, Scouts in the Maryville, Motley's Ford environs

HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, CAVALRY DIVISION, Madisonville, February 24, 1864--6 p. m.

Lieut. Col. J. S. FULLERTON, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.:

COL.: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding, that this brigade, leaving one battalion at Motley's Ford for picket duty, marched to this place to-day, and is now in camp 1 mile north on the Loudon road.

* * * *

Scouts in last night report no rebels of any kind between Motley's [Ford] and Maryville; they also report enemy's cavalry to be on the headwaters of the Ellejoy, in the mountains. Other scouts are out; expected in to-morrow. The map is wrong; Madisonville is nearly due west of Motley's, which, with old Fort Loudon, is 4 miles above the point indicated. Tellico River really empties some 4 miles above the place indicated. It is designed to try the country on the Conasauga and Estenaula[3] Creeks for forage, and if it fails, I know not where else in this region can any be procured. This immediate country for 6 or 7 miles, by all accounts, is entirely stripped. Can you not supply a limited quantity now by rail or boat to Loudon, for this suffering cavalry. Great complaints meet one on every side in this neighborhood, and on the road from Motley's, of the destruction, wanton and wicked, of Gen. Sherman's troops. Please send me a late newspaper or two, and also my mail, care Col. McCook, by courier.

Very respectfully,

R. O. SELFRIDGE, Lieut.-Col. and Assistant Inspector-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. II, pp. 457-458.

          23, Ironic Tragedy in East Tennessee; Civil War Fiction


A Sketch of Chivalry of East Tennessee

We cut the subjoined game at cross purposes from Mr. Thornbridge's new novel of "Cudjo's Cave."[4]

A brief preface will make it intelligible. When Secession was first augurated in East Tennessee, many loyal men who had been for months privately drilling that they might fight if need should be, in defense of the Union, were obliged to leave their homes and take refuge in the mountains. Among them was a well to do farmer named Stackridge, a man of some influence in the community, and one whom the confederates were especially anxious to arrest. By adroit espionage they, became convinced he held communication with his family; and the more unscrupulous among them conceived the chivalrous idea of whipping Mrs. Stackridge until she revealed the hiding place of her loyal mate. Wherefore not? None of them would hesitate to whip a slave woman who rebelled, and the wife of an incorrigible "Union shrieker" could hardly expect a lighter doom.

Near to the Stackridge farm lived Widow Sprowl, a rabid secessionist, whose only son had been outlawed for some act of violence under the old government, but was welcomed to the service of the new and honored with a commission in the confederate army. He was in command in the vicinity, and sent two Germans of his company, who might be relied on for literal adherence to military orders, to pay Mrs. Stackridge the humane visit to which we have related. Now it chanced that the good woman was absent from home, having gone out to call upon a neighbor (not Mrs. Sprowl) and during her absence the captain's mother, intent upon borrowing groceries from one who, under the circumstances, would hardly refuse to lend, knocked twice at the door and, meeting no response pulled the hospitable "latch string" and entered the empty house-

Her first feeling was that of resentment. What right hade Mrs. Stackridge to be absent when she came to borrow?

As she explored the pantry and closets, however, and became convinced that she was absolutely alone in a well-provisioned farm-house, her countenance lighted up with a smile.

"I can burry what I want jest exactly as well as if Mrs. Stackridge war at home," thought the widow. And she proceeded to fill her basket. She helped herself to a pan of meal, borrowing the pan as well. "I'll fetch home the pan," said she, "when I do the meal, exposing her craggy teeth with a grim smile. "If I don't before, I'm a feared Mrs. Stackridge'll haf to wait for't a considerable spell! What's in this box? Coffee. May as well take box and all. Bring back the box when I do the coffee. Wish I could find some tobacky somewhars-wonder whar they keep their tobacky?"

Now, the excellent creature did not indulge in these liberties without some apprehension that Mrs. Stackridge might return suddenly and interrupt them. Perhaps she had not followed Mr. Stackridge to the mountains. Perhaps she had only gone in to the village to buy shoes for her children, or to call on a neighbor. "If she should come back and ketch me at it, why, then I'll tell her I'm only jest a borryin', and see what she'll do about it. The prop'ty of these yer darned Union shriekers is all gwine to be confiscated, and I reckon I may as well take my sheer when I can git it. There a paper o' black pepper, and I'll take it jest as 'tis. Thar's a jar of lump butter,-wish I could tote jar and all-have some of the lumps on a plate anyhow."

She had soon filled her basket, and was regretting that she had not brought two, or a larger one, when a handsome new tin pail hanging in the pantry caught her eye. "I bin wantin' a such a pail as that, the long while." And she proceeded to fill that also. Just as she was putting the cover on she was very much startled by hearing foot-steps at the door.

"O,' dear me! What shall I do? If it should be Mr. Stackridge? But it can't be him! If it's only Mrs. Stackridge or one o' the niggers, I'll face it out. They won't das to make a fuss, for they're Union shriekers and my son's capting in the confederate army!"

Thump, thump, thump, loud knocking at the door.

"My, it's visitors! Who can it be? She set down her pail and basket. "I'll act jes' as if I had a right here, anyhow!

She was hesitating when the string was pulled, and two strangers, stout, square built, with foreign-looking faces, carrying muskets, and dressed in confederate uniform entered. "Mrs. Stackridge:" said they in heavy Teutonic accent.

"Ye-ye-yes-"stammered the widow trying to hide the guilty basket and pail behind her skirts. "What do you want of Mrs. Stackridge?" One of the strangers said to the other, in German, indicating the plunder. "This is the woman. She is getting provisions ready to send to her husband 'in the mountains.'"

"Let us see what there is good to eat," said the other.

Mrs. Sprowl, although understanding no word that was spoken, perceived that she borrowed property formed the theme of their remarks. "Have some?" she hastened to say, with extreme politeness, as the Germans approached the provisions.

"Tank ye," finding some bread and cold meat. And as they ate with appetite, exchanging and grunting with satisfaction.

"O', take all you want," said the widow. "You're welcome to anything there is in the house, I'm shore!"-adding, within herself, "I am so glad the soldiers have some. Now, whatever is missing will be laid to them.""

"You da lady of da house?" said the foreigners, munching.

"Yes, help yourselves!" smiled the hospitable widow.

"You Mrs. Stackridge?" they inquired more particularly.

"Yes, take anything you like," replied the widow.

"Where your husband?"

"My husband! My poor dear husband, he has been dead these-" She checked herself, remembering that the soldiers took her for Mrs. Stackridge. If she undeceived  them, then they would know she had been stealing.

"Dead?" The Germans shook their heads and smiled. "No, he was here last night, he was seen. You take dese tings to him in de mountain."

"Would you like some cheese?' said the harassed widow.

"Tank ya! Dis is better as rations."

Mrs. Sprowl returned to the pantry, in order to replace the provisions she had so generously given away and then prepared to part with the basket and pail, inviting them repeatedly to make themselves quite at home, and to take whatever the could find.

"Wait!" said they. Each had a knee on the door, and one hand full of bread and cheese. They looked up at her with broad complacent unctuous faces, smiling but resolute. And one, with his unoccupied hand, laid hold of the handle of the basket while the other detained the pail. "You will tell us where is your husband!" said they.

O, dear me, I don't know. I'm a poor lone woman and whir my husband is I can conceive, I'm shore."

"You will tell us where is your husband," insisted the men; and one of them getting up on his feet, stood before at the door. "He's on the mountains somewhere. I don't know whar, I don keer," cried the widow excited. There was something in the staid determined looks of the brothers she did not like. "He's a bad man, Mr. Stackridge is. I'm a secessionist myself, you are welcome to everything in the house-only let me go now."

"You will not go," said the soldier at the door "till you tell us. We come for dat."

On entering they had placed their muskets in the corner. The speaker took them and handed one to his comrade. And now the widow observed that out of the muzzle of each protruded the butt end of a small cowhide. Each soldier laid his gun aside and, and laying hold of the said butt end, drew out the long, taper belly and dangling lash of the whip, like a black snake by the neck.

The widow screamed. "It's all a mistake. Let me go, I ain't Mrs. Stackridge!"

Nothing so natural as that the wife of a notorious Unionist should deny her identity in sight of the whips. The soldiers looks to each other, muttered something in German, smiled, and replaced their muskets in the corner.

"You tell us where is your husband; or else we whip you. Dat is our orders." This they said in low tones, with mild looks and with a calmness which was frightful. The widow saw that she had to do with men who obeyed orders literally, and knew no mercy.

"I hain't got no husband. I ain't Mrs. Stackridge. I'm a poor lone wider, that jest came over here to burry a few things and that's all!"

"Ve unterstan. You say shust now you are Mrs. Stackridge. Now you say not-Dat make no difrinse. Ve know. You tell us where is your husband, or ve string you up." This speech was pronounced by each foreigner, a sentence each, alternatively. At the conclusion one drew a strong chord from his pocket, while the other looked with satisfaction at certain hooks in the plastering overhead, designed originally for the support of a kitchen pole, but destined for another use.

"Don't you dast to tech me!" screamed the false Mrs. Stackridge. "I am a secessionist myself, that hates the Union shriekers wus'n you do, and I've got a son that's a capting, and a poor old widder at that!"

"Dat we don't know. What we know is you tell us what we say or whip you. Dat's Captain Shprowl's orders."

"Captain Sprowl?! That's my son, my own son! If he sent you, then it's all right!"

"So we tank. All right" and the soldiers seizing her, tied her thumbs as Lysander[5] had taught them, passed the cords over the hook as they passed the clothes line over the cross beam the night before, and drew the shrieking woman's hands above her head, precisely as they hauled up Tobey's.[6] They then turned her skirts up over her head, and fastened them. This also had they been instructed to do by Lysander. It was, you will say, shameful; for this woman was free and white. Had she been a slave, with a different complexion, although perhaps quite as white, would it have been any less shameful? Answer, you believers in the divine rights of slave masters!

"Now you will tell?" said the phlegmatic Teutons, measuring out their whips.

"Go for my son! My son is Capting Sprowl," gasped the stifled and terror stricken widow.

"Dat trick won't do. You shpeak, or we shtrike!"

"It is true, it is true! I am Mrs. Sprowl, and my husband is dead, and my son is Capting Sprowl, and [I am] a poor lone wider and if you strike her a single blow he'll have you took and hung."

"If he is your son, den by your own son's words we whip you. He vill not hang us for dat. You vill not tell? Den we give you ten lash."

Blow upon blow, shriek upon shriek, followed. The soldiers counted the strokes aloud deliberately, conscientiously, as they gave them, "One, two, tres," &c., up to ten. There they stopped. But the screams did not stop. This punishment, which, it was sport to inflict upon a faithful old negro, which it would have been such a good joke to have bestowed on a staunch Unionist, was no sport, no joke, but altogether to thy mother, O' Lysander! Then she, who had so often wished that she too owned slaves, that when she was angry she might have them strung up and flogged, knew by fearful experience what it was to be strung up and flogged.-Then she, who sympathized with her son in his desire to see every man, woman and child that loved the Union, served in this fashion, in her writhing and bleeding flesh the stings of that inhuman vengeance. Terrible thunder, for which she had only herself to thank. Robbery of her neighbor's house-the dishonest borrowing, not of these ill gotten goods only, but also of her neighbor's name-had brought her by what we call fatality to this straight. Fatality is but another name for Providence.

The soldiers waited for a lull in the shrieks, then put once more the question:

"You tell now? Where is your husband? No? Then you git ten lash more. Always ten lash until you tell."

A storm of incoherent denial, angry threats, sobs and screams was the response. One of the soldiers drew her skirts over her head again, and gave another pull at the cords that hauled up her thumbs, while the other stood off and measured his whip. Just then the door opened and Captain Sprowl looked in.

"How are you getting on, boys?" The question was accompanied by an approving smile which seemed to say, "I see you are getting on very well!

"We whip her once. We give her ten lash. She no tell."

"Very well, Give her ten more"

The widow struggled and screamed. Had she recognized her son's voice? Muffled as she was, he did not recognize hers. Nor was it surprising that in the unusual posture that he found her he did no know her from Mrs. Starbridge. He a stood in the door and smiled while the soldier laid on.

"Make it a dozen," he quietly remarked. "And smart ones to wind up with!". So it happened that, thanks to her son's presence the screeching victim got two smart ones additional.

"Now uncover her face. Ease up on her thumbs a little I'll question her myself-Good Lucifer!" exclaimed the captain, finding himself face to face with his own mother.

Twenty-two lashes and the torture of the strung-up thumbs had proved too much even for the strong nerves of Widow Sprowl. She fell down in a swoon. Lysander, furious whipped out his sword, and turned upon the soldiers. They quietly stepped back, and took their guns from the corner. He would certainly have killed one of them on the spot had he not seen by the glance of their eyes that the other would, at the same instant, as certainly have killed him.

"You scoundrels have whipped my own mother!"

Captain," they calmly answered, "we opey your orders."

"Fools!"-and Lysander ground his teeth-"you should have known."

"Captain," they replied "if you don't know, how should we know? We never see dis woman pefore. We come. We find her taking provisions from da house. We say, 'She take dem to her husband in der mountains.' We say, 'You Mrs. Starkridge? She say yes to everything. We not know she lie. We not know she steal. We not say 'You somebody else.' We opey orders. We take and we whip her. You come in and say, 'Whip more' We whip more. Now you say to us 'Scoundrels!' You say 'Fools!' We say 'Captain it was your orders we opey.'"

Having by a joint effort a sententious English pronounced this speech, the brothers stood stolidly awaiting the result; while the captain, still gnashing his teeth, bent over the prostrate form of his mother.

"Bring some water and throw [it on] her, you idiots!" he yelled at them. "Would you see her die?"

The looked at each other "Water? Yes, that was what was wanted. The remembered their practice of the previous evening. One found a wooden pail. The other emptied the contents of the tin pail the widow had "borrowed." They went to the well. They brought water "To throw on her?" Yes that was what he said. And together they dashed a sudden drenching flood over the poor woman, and as if the swoon was another fire to be extinguished. These fellows obeyed orders literally-a merit which Lysander had failed to appreciate. He swore at them terribly. But he did not countermand his last order. Accordingly they proceeded stoically to bring more water. Lysander had got his mother's head on his knees, and she had just opened her eyes to look and her mouth to gasp, when there came another double ice cold wave, blinding, stifling, drowning her. Too much of water hadst thou, poor widow!

Lysander let fall the maternal hand, and bounded to his feet, roaring with wrath. The brothers, imperturbable, with the empty pails at their side, stared at him with mute wonder.

"Captain, dat was your orders. You say 'Pring vasser and trow on,' We pring vasser and trow on. Dat is all."

"But I didn't tell you to fetch pails full."

This sentence rushed out of Leander's soul like a rocket, culminated in a loud, explosives oath, and it was followed by a shower of fiery curses falling harmless on the heads of the unmoved Teutons. They waited patiently, until the pyrotechnic rain ceased, then answered, speaking alternately, each a sentence, as if with one mind, but with two organs.

"Captain, you hear. Last night vas de house a fire. You say "Bring vasser.' We pring a little. Den you say to us 'Tam you why in hell you shtop?' and you say, "Ven I tell you pring vasser, pring till I say shtop.' Vuntime more today you say "Pring vasser, and you never say shtup. You say 'Trow on. We trow on. Vat you say we do. You say vat mean, dat is mistake for you."

The Scioto Gazette[7], February 23, 1864.[8]

          23, Georgia troops with Longstreet's Corps in East Tennessee, receive clothing

Supplies for Longstreet's Army.—Colonel Foster, State Quartermaster General of Georgia, has forwarded to Longstreet's army, in East Tennessee, three thousand full suits, consisting of jackets, pants, shirts, drawers, shoes, blankets, and a few hats, to be distributed among the Georgia troops.

Richmond Whig, February 23, 1864




[1] James A. Connolly, Three Years in the Army of the Cumberland, ed. Paul M. Angle (Indiana University Press, 1959; rpt. Vesta Angle, 1987).[Hereinafter cited as: Three Years in the Army of the Cumberland.]

[2] Thomas' Legion, composed entirely of Cherokee Indians but led by a white man, fought for the Confederacy,

[3] Not located. Possibly in McMinn county. It is similar to a place name on the Hatchie River, apparently in Haywood county.

[4] Beginning his career as a newspaper editor and anonymous contributor to various publications, James T. Trowbridge first earned a name for himself ca. 1864 with his Civil War novels, of which Cudjo's Cave was the most popular.

 [5] Widow Sprowl's son.

[6] Evidently the men had performed similar work the night before upon a slave.

[7] Chillochchie OH

[8] TSL&A, 19th CN


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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