Thursday, March 3, 2016

Notes from Civil War Tennessee, March 3, 1862-1864


Notes from Civil War Tennessee,

March 3, 1862-1864




            3, Confederate ordnance and quartermaster report for Fort Pillow

FORT PILLOW, March 3, 1862.

Gen. POLK:

We have at this post the following ordnance stores: 604 32-pounder cartridges, 3,300 pounds cannon powder, 400 quill cannon primers, 200 friction tubes, 32 bridge barrels, 150 port-fires, 146 canister, 164--balls, 104 Read balls, 174 shells for 32-pounders, 4,560 32-pounder balls. Guns: Six 32-pounder rifle guns, and ten smooth-bore 32-pounder on river and four 32-pounders on back line, all mounted. Quartermaster's stores: 170 second-hand tents, without ropers. Amount of rations at Fort Pillow: 10,000 rations of rice, 10,000 rations of beans, 10,000 rations of molasses, 30,000 of rice, 10,000 rations of beans, 10,000 rations of candles, 4,000 rations of meal, 30,000 rations of vinegar, 40,000 rations of soap, 60,000 rations of coffee, 30,000 rations of sugar, 6,000 rations of bacon.

Shall I mount the guns that may come here?

MONTGOMERY LYNCH, Capt., Engineer Corps.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 916.

            3, Andrew Johnson appointed Military Governor of Tennessee

War Department

March 3rd. 1862

To the Honorable Andrew Johnson


You are hereby appointed Military Governor of the State of Tennessee, with authority to exercise and perform, within the limits of the state, [sic] all and singular, the powers, duties and functions pertaining to the office of Military Governor (including the power to establish all necessary offices and tribunals, and suspend the writ of Habeas Corpus) [sic] during the pleasure of the President, or until the loyal inhabitants of that state shall organize a civil government in conformity with the Constitution of the United States[.]

(Signed) Edwin M. Stanton

Secretary of State [sic]

Seal of the War Office

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 5, p. 177.

            3, Feminine squirrel hunting in Putman County

....Fayette brought Father a shotgun the other day and some ammunition, and insisted that Mary and I should learn to shoot so we could kill squirrels or a hawk if one should come after a chicken when Father was not at home. Mary says she could shoot but she would be almost sure to drop the gun at the noise, which is about so. Well, this evening the squirrels kept up a general clatter on every side, laying up hickory nuts for the coming snow, I guess. Father felt bad and would not go out. I told him to fix the gun and I would shoot. There were two before the door but they scampered off. I came back, set the gun down, and Mary said there were some between here and the old houses. I got the gun, went down there to the fence, and there was one sitting quietly on the fence. I dropt [sic] upon my knees, laid the gun in the crack of the fence, took sight, pulled the trigger, crack; no fire! no smoke! The squirrel sat perfectly still, as if conscious that there was no harm in my proceedings. Thinks I, "You are cool, I'll scare you anyway if the old thing will fire." So I tried again but crack! the gun was not loaded. Father thought it was and only put cap on in it. [sic] I came to the house, he loaded it, and I went back a little farther down and got nearly as fair a chance at another. This time the gun went off, as did the squirrel. I think I crippled him but it was snowing so hard right in my face that I could hardly see. So much for my first experience in shooting.

The Diary of Amanda McDowell.

            3, Hot Air from Nashville: A Confederate Pipe-Dream after the fall of Fort Donelson

Letter from Nashville.

We are permitted to use the following private letter, received in this city yesterday, from an intelligent citizen of Nashville. The spirit manifested by the people of that devoted city, is such as will animate every true souther's [sic] heart, even under the most disheartening circumstances:

Nashville, March 3, 1862.

Dear F----: B----:is with us to-night, on his way to the land of freedom, and I embrace the opportunity to write you a line for fear it is the last you will receive from me until our conquring [sic] army retunes to drive the invader from our midst, as we firmly believe it will do, for our cause is just and God will defend us. We have faith that he will so guide and direct our armies so as to enable them in a short while to liberate not only our people, but to drive the ruthless invaders from every part of southern soil. We are confined here, but not conquered. No, so long as the Confederate flag waves over one foot of ground will we bear allegiance to it, and when it alls [sic]  may we all be burid beneath its folds. This, I believe, it the feeling that animates every suthern [sic]  man in our community. We have lost nothing of our strength by the occupation of Nashville but the Lincolnites. Those who have gone to them are our enemies before, and many who were very mild ain [sic]  their advocary [sic]  of southern rights, and were supposed to be rather luke-warm, are now as determined as the vilest rebel among us, and will sacrifice everything in defense of southern liberty.

Could you visit us now, and see the closed and barred doors and windows of our storehouses-the utter stagnation of all business-the deserted and lonely appearance of our great thoroughfares, you would be convinced that Nashville, notwithstanding the many charges against her, was true and loyal to the South yes, "as true as the needle to the pole;" and our southern brethren I know would sympathize with us, rather than denounce us, as it is reported some of our Memphis friends are doing.

To feel that we are in the hands of the hated Yankee, that we are no longer freemen, that we are bound under the most odious despotism, that can disgrace God's creation, that our present conditions is to continue, without any form of relief, I would pray God in his mercy to strikes us from existence-but I do not despair-we will soon drive the accursed creatures back to their dens, there to devour each other.

There have been no arrests as yet-but we are to be terribly oppressed, how or in what way I know not. Our cavalry have killed a number of their pickets every nice since their arrival, and taken some six or eight cannon. Our loss very slight. Their army is encamped some 6 or 8 miles on the Murfreesboro road. What their intentions are we know not, but it is supposed they will move on in pursuit of our army. A large force o pickets were sent out last night on the Franklin road with six pieces of artillery.

Gen. Buell is greatly harassed at the killing of his pickets, and also greatly surprised to find the Union sentiment so weak, He says there is no Union sentiment here-that we are all Secessionists. He urges us to resume our business, saying that he will molest nothing, but so far he has produced no effect. The whole army is evidently greatly disappointed at the feeling manifested toward them. They are making every effort in their power to create a favorable impression, but it will do no good.[1]

Memphis Daily Appeal, March 8, 1862. [2]






            3, Chattanooga, Gen. Braxton Bragg forbids new recruits or conscripts for Army of Tennessee to join cavalry

CIRCULAR. HDQRS. ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Tullahoma, March 3, 1863.

Hereafter no recruits or conscripts will be allowed to attach themselves to a cavalry command.

By command of Gen. Bragg:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 660.

            3, Skirmish near Bear Creek[3]

No circumstantial reports filed.

            3, Police Matters, Vaccination Bill and More Taxes; a Session of the Memphis Board of Mayor, Common Council and Aldermen. Some municipal matters discussed at the regular session of the Memphis City Council

Council Sayings and Doings. Council met in regular session last evening; and after considerable routine matters had been disposed of, the subject of:


Came up on a report in favor of employing for detectives in addition to the present police. The police some time ago numbered one hundred, then sixty five, and lately it was reduced to thirty-two.[4] This proposition would raise the number to thirty-six. Alderman Drew was strongly opposed to increasing the city finances. He believed the detectives wanted the appointment for their own advantage, not that of the city. Alderman Tighe brought forward facts and figures in view of the proposition that the police cost the city nothing, on the contrary the amount of fines; and by persons arrested is greater than the amount of the salaries of the police. (To make this argument worth anything, the net proceeds of the fines, not the gross amount, should be cited.) Alderman Morgan called attention to the surprising fact that two persons had petitioned Council to employ them as detectives, they offering to do the duties without receiving any pay from the city. Alderman Morgan was of the opinion that when such a proposition could be made there was something behind hand that ought to be known. Besides, if not paid, the police would not be responsible to the city, though the city would be responsible if irregularities were done under the sanction of its authority. Without ordering such an investigation as Alderman Morgan's remarks suggested, the Board resolved to employ the four detectives, and give them fifty dollars a month each, anyhow.


An account was offered by one of the Ward Physicians [added emphasis] for pay, for vaccinating over two hundred persons, for which the charge was one dollar each. Council thought this a high charge, and referred the bill back. The Mayor said he had agreed to pay only fifty cents each. Alderman Morgan wanted to know what authority there was anywhere to appoint these Ward Physicians, or to let them act for the city with out a proper contract. The Mayor said the vaccination was done by military authority, and gentlemen of the Council would have to pay, or go to the Irving Block. The bill was withdrawn that enquiry might be made as to the facts of the case. Alderman Jones and others were of [the] opinion that what has been done on the account of the military, should be paid by the military. The Board appeared to feel it a difficulty that the city should have to pay bills contracted without authority of Council, to men whose appointments have not received the sanction of Council.


Ald. Morrill offered a resolution to have an extra tax collected, by aid of a military order of General Veatch, which officer objects to opening the grog shops and those places consequently pay no license. The tax collector will doubtless be authorized to collect an additional tax from merchants and others without delay.

Memphis Bulletin, March 4, 1863.

            3, Anxiety concerning change in Nashville's negro-church-going population

Sunday Nuisances.—A sight which we have often enjoyed, and always commend, in a Southern city, is in watching the colored population wending their way to and from Church on a Sunday. We could expatiate largely on the subject, had we time, and on the pious thoughts which filled our mind, as they passed us by to their places of worship. We see little of such scenes in Nashville at the present time; instead of finding our colored churches filled to overflowing by the large influx of contrabands, we find them comparatively empty, the attendance being much smaller than two years ago; while the streets are filled with them, and the ears of citizens shocked with the blasphemous and obscene language of the blacks walking our streets. They ape all the bad manners of their superiors and neglect all that is good. We urgently request the police to look into this matter, more especially on High street, the Public Square, the vicinity of the Watson House, and the Post-office.

Nashville Dispatch, March 3, 1863.

            3, "The most faithful of their faithful cannot be trusted." The work of the Army Police in Nashville

Army Police Proceedings.

Before the Chief of Army Police, Nashville, March 2.

. . . In the course of investigations before the Chief of Police, it has come to light that the female members of a family in this city, of reputed respectability, are in the habit of exhibiting a bone of the human leg taken from the body of a Union soldier slain in the battle of Bull Run, as a parlor ornament. What a beautiful illustration of womanly instinct and delicacy!  To what a height of moral purity and beauty would not these ladies elevate the race!  Every feminine virtue recoils with horror at the bare thought of such a sacrilege. The English language does not furnish terms sufficient to express the deep detestation in which the act should be held. It has been supposed that only savages of the most brutal character suffered such practices, but it seems the refinement of the nineteenth century cannot be perfected without them. Ladies of position keeping a portion of the leg of a soldier constantly before them, upon their parlor table!  Outraged decency cries shame!  shame!! We will warrant that ghosts of deceased Union soldiers, in battalions, will haunt those women during the terms of their natural lives….

The secession women of the city are in a perfect whirlpool of commotion. That terrible Col. Truesdail is giving them a great deal of trouble. They say, "every thing we do and all our plans are carried right straight to him. Who can it be that does it?"  In attempting to solve this mystery clique suspects clique, neighbor suspects neighbor. The dearest friends are falling out. The most faithful of their faithful cannot be trusted. How long this most unhappy state may continue, it is impossible to conjecture. An incident occurred a day or two since illustrative of their condition. A lady, who has never dreamed of being in the Police service, called upon the Chief of Police and informed him that certain ladies were accusing her of being one of his detectives, and remarked: "Col. Truesdail, you know that I have never said one word about them; what shall I do; can't you do something to counteract the impression?" The Colonel suggested that a charge of having contributed something to the cause of the Union was highly creditable to her patriotism, and should be to her a source of pride, but that the ladies she referred to were uncharitable enough to doubt his veracity and it would be useless for him to deny any thing. Other similar incidents might be given.

Nashville Dispatch, March 3, 1863.





            3, Changes in the master/slave relationship, excerpt from the letter of West Tennessee slaveholder Leonora Williamson to Military Governor Andrew Johnson

* * * *

So well assured am I of the justice of the President that I am willing to abide by his decision. I expected the Emancipation Proclamation, & was very willing to abide by it.

30 of the negroes [sic] which were mine once, are in the Army, their wives and children are not & have not [sic] been receiving rations from the Government, they are living in my houses, (when they are sick taken care of at my expense), they have what crop they can make off my land. I claim nothing from them but for them to feel that I am & have been their friend. I did not buy them I inherited them-I never sold one, I hoped to provide for them as my immediate family did theirs [sic] 8 years ago --

I should be grateful to the President if he would grant me an interview[.] the boon would be granted to one who ever offered up more fervent supplications to Gods [sic] throne for her children when agonizing on beds of sickness than I daily offer up that he may be the means of restoring peace to our once happy Country.

* * * *

With great respect

Mrs. Williamson

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, pp. 635-636.

            3, "Laura has provoked me and I feel real cross-she or I one should certainly have less temper at times." A page from Belle Edmondson's diary

March, Thursday 3, 1864

The monotony of our life was somewhat changed today, by a visit from Lt. Bayard of the 4th U. S. R. to Nannie, he is her cousin, and came this distance with only six scouts to make a call, they behaved themselves very well, ate dinner with us-and they all admit our dear Rebel Gen. Forrest defeated them badly in their raid to Okolona. Decatur Doyle came this evening from Dixie-Jimmie sailed for Europe the 6th. of Feb. Eddie and all the boys safe through the fight. Pontotoc [Miss.] suffered very much-Sister Mary with the two youngest children will start home some time next month. Col. Jeff Forrest is really killed-Sherman has returned to Vicksburgh [sic]. Our Army of Johnston advancing-Grant reported falling back.

I have been busy braiding all day, one more width finished-Laura has provoked me and I feel real cross-she or I one should certainly have less temper at times. All of them received letters tonight except me, tis now 10 o'c [sic], and I think I will try and get to sleep early tonight. I suppose they are all happy in the house, I can never content myself with the lonely life I lead.

Diary of Belle Edmondson


[1] Apparently the Federal army was actually pursuing a public relations campaign designed to win the hearts and minds of Nashvillians.

[2] As cited in PQCW.

[3] This skirmish may have taken place in either Hickman, Humphreys, Maury, Montgomery, Wayne or Williamson counties, all in Middle Tennessee, and all having a "Bear Creek" within its boundaries. There was another skirmish at Bear Creek, on October 3, 1863. It, like this citation, has no circumstantial reports.

[4] See February 15, 1863, "The Police."

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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