Monday, April 11, 2016

Notes from Civil War Tennessee, April 11, 1862-1865

Notes from Civil War Tennessee, April 11, 1862-1865




          11, Letter on the Confiscation of Civilian Arms in Nashville

[Correspondence of the Louisville Journal.]


Nashville, April 11, 1862.

The sword and the bayonet may subdue physical resistance, but these cannot tame the unkindled passions, nor win back the alienated affections. I therefore feel happy in being permitted to wield the weapons of thought in the great battle of public sentiment. In the arena of politics I have been an unswerving advocate of every constitutional Southern right. My prejudices and prepossessions were on that side-it was the home of my fathers. I boasted of Southern hospitality, and was proud to have descended from a noble Southern ancestry. I believed them to be zealous votaries of reason, and generous to those who honestly differed with them in opinion. I am not yet changed in my purposes nor entirely revolutionized in my opinions. Permit me to say, however, that I have been mortified and disappointed.

Our officers have been exceedingly kind and forbearing to citizens at Nashville. I have studies to win their affections; I have sought to converse with them mildly and reason with them liberally; yet I have met little else than insult and indifference. When I have bowed to them to them, they have turned from me with insulting sneers, and on meeting ladies to whom no gentleman would return an insult, I have been reputed with the epithet Yankee. Under the heading "Our Rages," a stirring article appeared in the Nashville Patriot some days since, and was copied in the Banner on the next day. In this article we were severely criticized for searching the housed in Edgefield for concealed arms. To which article I wrote a reply.[1] The paper ceased, and we are left with the censure upon us. Permit me to assure you that the Patriot misapprehended our motives. We intended no outrage, and we, as much as the Patriot, regret the causes which impelled us to this alternative.

The news came to us in the evening, that a crowd of men had been heard to say that they intended to arm themselves on that night, and shout into a camp of cavalry close by us, and we had heard guns fired at different hours in the night for some nights previous. Our men had been openly insulated whilst quietly passing along the streets. We could but believe that this bad blood and these threats were backed by implements of human destruction. These are the circumstances, together with the earnest entreaties of officers who knew the citizens, under which Lieut. Col. Heffren consented to the search, and in behalf of our men, and in defence of that gallant officer, who is now absent by affliction, permit me to ensure you that our men went quietly to each house, knocked at the door and informed the inmates that they were compelled by threats to search for concealed implements of war, and that nothing else was intended, and that all that was private property should be promptly restored. If, therefore, any were abused or insulted, the 50th regiment Indiana volunteers must be exonerated from the charge. God forbid that any soldiers should do anything to aggravate a people already overburdened with apprehensions of our barbarity, and whose minds were poisoned by demagogues with ungenerous falsehoods.

Had the South been united they might have a sound national Democratic President; has Southern Representatives and Senators stood to their post they might have had the Crittenden compromise. I would to God they would stop and reason. We would love to be friends with them. We would gladly lay down our arms and embrace them. We will gladly guarantee to them every right they have hitherto enjoyed. We aim not to subjugate them. All we want is the government of our fathers-the Union as it was. This we will have or all perish upon the battle field. We must be one or nothing. The severed or fraternal ties must again be united, or the storm of revolution will roll over us all and bury us together with all of our aspiring hopes in ruins in one common grave.

P. W. Hervery, Ass't. Surgeon 50th Reg't Ind. Vols.

Louisville Daily Journal, April 17, 1862.[2]


The Nashville Patriot of Tuesday [8th] announced that squads of soldiers had entered dwelling-houses in Edgefield at midnight in search of guns, pistols, and knives. The Patriot admitted that they found the weapons they were looking for, but it denounced the search as "the greatest outrage upon decency and propriety ever committed in a civilized township." The next day the paper gave notice of its own dissolution. This is the second time it has died within a few weeks. It sprang up in a new but not much better form from its first death, and, Heaven and Gov. Johnson willing, it may raise in some shape or other from its second.

The Nashville Banner copies the Patriot's violent denunciation of the searching of the houses-revel houses no doubt-and the seizure of the arms, and says that "the vile wretches of the Louisville and Cincinnati press have been laboring hard to bring about this state of things." As for ourselves, for whom no doubt a portion of this goodly rebel-compliment is, we haven't said one word about searching houses in or around Nashville, but we have certainly favored the adoption of a firm policy toward the rebels there, and we certainly think it right to search all houses where rebel arms are believed to be concealed, and to search them at whatever hour of the day or night may be thought most favorable to the success of the search. If to hold such an opinion is to be a "wretch,": then every man is a "wretch" who isn't either a traitor or a fool. Men not more deeply steeped in treason than the Editor of the Banner are in prison as traitors, and ought to be upon the scaffold.

That Editor, though he tries not to hide his treason, is as much a traitor in soul as he was when the rebel flag floated over Nashville. And then, as the correspondent of a Cincinnati papers says, be "out Judas Isacrioted Judas Iscariot." Here is the language, which, after the surrender of Mason and Slidell, an act which elevated our country in the estimation of all nations, be applied, not to the president or any other functionary, but the United States:

["]Look at the spectacle to-day. See the mean and despised braggart, stripped of his feathers, humiliated and disgraced before the eyes of men. Utterly cowed. Backed down from everything. A renegade from principle and a recreant to promise. A self-stultified, brutal, swaggering, swearing wretch, forced to lick the dust and end in the most groveling for mercy.["]

In noticing some suggestions as to the desirableness of a peace between the United States and the Southern Confederacy, the Nashville traitor talked thus:

["] Peace! peace! There can be no peace without Maryland! No peace without Kentucky! No peace without Missouri! And if we had our say, none without poor little forgotten Delaware.["]

If he had his say! We wonder what chance the fellow thinks there is just now of a peace on the terms he indicated. We certainly   have no objection to being called a "wretch" by a chap who calls our Uncle Sam "a self stultified, brutal, swaggering, swearing wretch." We can stand the "wretch" without the ornamental epithets as well as our good Uncle Sam can with them.

Louisville Daily Journal, April 11, 1862.

          11, The surgeon's painful error

Our Hospitals.—We have now two fine hospitals open in the city, the Overton and the Irving. The former is in charge of Dr. G. W. Currey, assistant surgeon, P. A. C. S. Dur Curry gained a large store of experience while having charge of the hospital of the Southern Mothers. He is a valuable member of the surgical staff. We regret to say that he is suffering considerably at present from the effects of making a slight wound in his hand while engaged in an amputation. This does not prevent him, however, from exercising all his usual activity. Dr. Fenner has the Irving hospital in excellent order. He has secured the valuable services of Mr. and Mrs. Brewster in the house department.

Memphis Daily Appeal, April 11, 1862.





          11, Grand Review of the Army of Tennessee in Tullahoma

INSPECTOR-GEN.'S OFFICE, Tullahoma, Tenn., April 11, 1863.

DEAREST FRIEND: You will see by the leading of this note that I have changed my location since I last wrote. To-day has been a great day with us. There has been a grand review of the army to-day-beyond all doubt the grandest affair of the war. The troops were reviewed by Gen. J. E. Johnston. Sixty thousand infantry marched in the grandest order before that old chieftain. Just behold the heroes that accompanied him, such as Gen.'s Bragg, Polk, Hardee, Breckinridge, and a host of others with unstained reputation. I think I can safely say that we have here one of the grandest armies that ever walked upon earth, and Gen. Bragg has made it what it is. Gen. Johnston is here; he commands the department, Gen. Bragg the army. I am now on Gen. Bragg's staff. He ordered me from Chattanooga to him, and I am now one of his inspectors-general. Our army is very healthy, and everything in it walks a chalk-line. Oh, if you could only have been here to-day, to hear the elegant music! It took the troops four hours to march by Gen. Johnston. They passed in review in column by companies, with music from one end of the army to the other, and although these reviews come every week or two, yet I think it was the grandest sight I ever witnessed, with almost a thousand flags wafted in the breeze. [added emphasis] Upon [some] [sic] you see the number of the regiment, and inscribed below on some you see Shiloh, Fort Donelson, Munfordville, Perryville, Fishing Creek, Murfreesborough, &c. Almost all the troops here are becoming veterans.

It is now 12 o'clock. I stop to listen to the beautiful music-a band serenading Gen.'s Hardee and Breckinridge, just below, on the opposite side of the street.

We are not expecting a fight soon. Gen. Rosecrans is badly frightened. Such cavalry as we have here never has been known. Our little Texan, Gen. Van Dorn, is playing the wild work with the Yankees with his cavalry. Forrest, Morgan, and Wheeler are equally as good.

J. P. BALTZELL, Assistant Inspector-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, pp. 750-751.

          11, An account of a the rescue of some Federal prisoners of war south of Spring Hill

* * * *

The enemy 2 miles south of Spring Hill today. The boys of the 40th Ohio is 5 killed [sic] and 10 wounded & missing. They say two of their men were shot by the Rebels after they had surrendered. They took about 20 prisoners and found 18 dead bodies. The Rebs [sic] took most of their wounded and some of the dead with them. 2 Capt.s were filled and one major wounded and taken prisoner....with 6 other Rebs [sic] who had been disoriented were in a house guarding 4 of the 40th who had taken prisoners when 4 more of the 40th came unexpectedly in [?] from the house and took the 7 Rebs [sic] prisoner and released their own men.

Patten Diary, April 11, 1863.

          11, Thoughts on de facto social suppression of free speech in White County

....I heard that Mr. Clark's son was dead. He was taken prisoner. I am really sorry for them. I guess there are some bitter things against the southern Confederacy in John Clark's heart, but a man dares not speak his thoughts these days, unless they happened to be in accordance with the view of the Dictators.[3] But I hope the time will come when an honest man can think what he pleases, and speak his thoughts too. Pshaw! what am I writing on that subject for, does anybody reckon?....

Diary of Amanda McDowell.




          11, Murder in Gallatin, excerpt from the Diary of Alice Williamson

April 11th Another man was shot today at the race track the yankee women went to see this one shot too; they say Capt. Wicklen is the one to work the prisoners and they intend to go and see them all shot.

Diary of Alice Williamson

          11, An interesting patient in Ward 3, Hospital 8, Nashville

While in ward 3…I was beckoned to, from a sick bed, whose occupant wished me to come and "rejoice with him." Upon going there he assured me with a mysterious air, that he "isn't going to tell everybody, but as I was a particular friend of his, and he had always thought right smart [sic] of me, he would tell me something surprising."

Upon expressing my willingness to be surprised, he confidently and joyfully assured me that though very few people knew it, yet he was "The veritable man who killed Jeff. Davis, President of the Confederate States!" [sic]

He waited a moment to note the effect upon me of this pleasing intelligence, when I quietly told him I didn't know before that Jeff. Davis was dead, but that if he was, and he was the one who killed him, they ought to give him a discharge and let him go home, as he has done his share of the work. Then he joyfully assured me, that "they have promised to do so, and that his papers are to be made out to-morrow." But more serious thoughts came to me then, for I saw written on his countenance, in unmistakable characters, the signature of the Death angel, marking his chosen, and through I knew not how soon his papers would be made out, was certain that before long they would be, and that he would receive a full and free discharge from all earthly toil and battle the Great Medical Director of us all!

Powers, Pencillings, p. 27.

          11, "I expect I will be next." Smugglers sent beyond Federal lines; Belle Edmondson fears banishment

April, Monday 11, 1864

Helen, Father, the children and myself spent the day alone, the rest all in Memphis. Joanna came home, succeeded in getting Father's permit for supplies, brought no late news. Miss Perdue & Noble banished, leave tomorrow. I expect I will be next. I was so happy to hear Miss Em is expected today, my future plans depend upon her advice. Tate & Nannie staid in M. all night. Col. Overton came to see us today, just up from Dixie,-everybody hopeful and confident of a bright day soon. Mr. McMahon, 2d. Mo Cav came this eve. I was so disapointed [sic] about letting his things go-though he seemed perfectly satisfied, as he had replenished his wardrobe from Yankee Prison in Grierson's raids, he has been quite sick, is now on his way to Camp at Jackson, Tenn-he has his fine horse again. God grant him a safe journey, for he is a splendid Soldier. Gen. Armstrong with his brigade at Water Valley moving up-Ah! God is just, and I feel that we have not suffered in vain. We humbly pray for a cessation of this horrible war, oh! give us our independence & peace-We all sat in the parlor right late, Mr. Mc went further below. Tip & Laura both sleep, poor Beulah, I wonder where she is-

Diary of Belle Edmondson

          11, Orders to vaccinate soldiers in Carthage

Orders 1st Tenn. Mtd Infty, March 1864-April 1864 Carthage

Special Order No. 15

Headquarters 1st Tenn. Mtr Infty

Carthage Tenn. Apl. 11th, 1864

Each and every one of the several Co. Commanders will examine & report to the officer of the Regt. Surgeon, all men who have scabs on them produced by vaccination.

They will also report to the Post surgeon all men who have not been well vaccinated for the purpose of being vaccinated.

This order must be complied with immediately

By order of

A. E. Gannett, Lt. Col. Comdg Regt.

Order Book 1st Tenn. Mounted Infty (U. S.)[4]




11, Restoring confidence of the people in Alexandria environs, the struggle for hearts and minds


Nashville, Tenn., March 11, 1865

*   *   *   I*

X. The Fourth Tennessee Mounted Infantry, Lieut. Col. J. H. Blackburn commanding, will report to Alexandria, Tenn., and take post at that place. Col. Blackburn will exert himself to restore confidence to the people and destroy the guerrillas now infesting that region. All of the latter which his forces may capture will be turned over for trial to the civil authorities of the counties in which they are captured, provided that there are such civil authorities organized; otherwise they will be tried by military commission.

  By command of Maj.-Gen. Thomas:

*   *   *   *

SOUTHARD HOFFMAN,  Maj. and Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. I, pp. 891-892.

          11, Newspaper report relative to guerrilla activity in the Memphis environs

~ ~ ~

Important from Memphis-Special to the Republican.

Cairo, March 3,- Guerrillas have never been so numerous or troublesome as at present around Memphis. A few miles up the river on last Tuesday, they captured a raft of lumber 12 miles above Memphis. The parties on the raft escaped in a skiff when the guerrillas took possession, robbed of everything and then set it on fire and started it down stream. It was met by the packet boat Pocahontas and saved, the fire doing but little damage. The gang then left, stating they were Capt. Earles' scouts.

On the same day [3rd] the guerrillas visited the house of Joseph Dunbar, and mile and a half outside the Memphis picket line, and taking him a short distance they tied him up and whipped him severely.

The same gang robbed the supply store of Thomas Baxter and shot two negroes, one whom has since died.[5]

On the Hernando road, and within two miles of the city, another gang of thirty guerrillas visited last Sunday night, the residence of Mr. Giles, conscripting his two sons.

Near the above place they visited the house of Thomas Duncan, robbed him and then set fire in his house and conscripted a man by the name of Williams.

The houses of Mr. Brooks and Chas. Welford were also robbed and burned.

Thirty bales of Government cotton were burned within three miles of Memphis on the Arkansas side.

Within two four miles of Memphis they burned nine bales of Government cotton and whipped two negroes to death. The Government boat Naugatuck is reported sunk by guerrillas last Monday [1st], at the home of Mr. Justus near Duncan's wagon yard.

On last Saturday night [February 5th] the guerrillas captured seven or eight cotton buyers and robbed them of all they had.

By order of Gen Dana, Lieut Chas. H. Hare, Co. I, 7th Indiana Cavalry, is dismissed from service, four marauding, pillaging and philandering

New Orleans Times, March 11, 1865

          12, Anti-guerrilla action at Crump Landing, Tennessee River, by U. S. S. Peosta

"...about 12:30am [sic] a detachment of sailors armed with Spencer Rifles went ashore near Crump Landing to conduct a scout. At around 4:30pm [sic] the scouting party returned with Samuel Perkins, a guerrilla. After their return the Peosta's pickets were fired upon. Shots were exchanged between the reinforced pickets and their foe resulting in the wounding of two of the attackers and the killing of a horse....the refugees were transferred to the U. S. S. St. Claire for transportation north."

U. S. S. Peosta Daily Deck Log.





[1] None of these survive.

[2] As cited in PQCW.

[3] It is unclear if Ms. McDowell meant this as a reference to the Confederacy or to the Union. Perhaps it was a generalized statement against both governments.

[4] Order Book 1st Tenn. Mounted Infty, March 1864-April 1864 Carthage. This source is found in materials related to Battery Knob, near Carthage, on file at the Tennessee Historical Commission, electrostatic copy.

[5] Such behavior as is described, whipping, shooting, setting homes on fire, seem to be precursors to the tactics of the Ku Klux Klan in the near future.


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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