Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Notes from Civil War Tennessee, April 20, 1861-1865. [RSVP]

Notes from Civil War Tennessee,

April 20, 1861-1865.





            20, A. J. D. Thurston from Confederate Nashville to U. S. Senator Andrew Johnson in Washington, D.C., relative to the high degree of excitement in the Tennessee capitol city surrounding secession and the bombardment of Fort Sumter in Charleston, S. C.

Nashville 20th April 1861

Hon Andrew Johnson,

Washington City

My dear & Kind Sir

We are all a blaze of Excitement and Everything in Confusion -- Tennessee will go out of the Union in a very few days, the Citizens are arming and drilling to resist the North [emphasis added]

-- A number of Volunteers will leave in a very few days for the Southern Confederacy -- Our Legislature meets next Thursday, by Proclamation of Gov Harris-

You my dear Sir have been posted here as sending traitorous dispatches to some one in the State-

Are you coming home soon. [sic] [T]he State needs your services and advice and I beg of you to hasten home immediately-

I know you are a true southern man, not willing to submit to one single thing that infrings [sic] the smallest right of your State, and for that very reason hasten home, and meet the fanatics who would brand you with the name of traitor -- Senator Johnson I revere you too much as a man to tamely hear these Epithets, unrebuked and passed unheeded-

No one yet know the purport of your dispatch, but it is said Govr Letcher [of Virginia] stopped it on account of its treasonable nature-

I understand it is in the hands of Gov Harris, what disposal he will make of it I am unable to learn -- please hasten home and God bless and protect you[.]

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 4, p. 472.

            20, Tennessee pro-secession representative sent to Montgomery, Alabama, to discuss the Volunteer State abandoning the Union

NASHVILLE, TENN., April 20, 1861.

Hon. L. P. WALKER:

SIR: My friend Hon. W. C. Whitthorne, whom you remember as the speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, visits Montgomery at my instance, for the purpose of conferring with President Davis and yourself. He is fully advised and will make known to you the state of parties in our State, as well as our prospects, hopes, and apprehensions. Large accessions every day to the secession cause, and we confidently hope to stand with you under the Confederate flag very soon. Unfortunately, we have delayed the important work of arming our State until it is difficult, if not impossible, to procure arms. If you have a surplus, we shall be happy to procure them.

Very respectfully,


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, p. 57.

            20, Conditions in and around Murfreesboro before Tennessee's secession from the Union, excerpt from the diary of John C. Spence

...volunteers are gathering all over the country and our town... A company was raised by Stephen White....[and] left for Virginia on their own account....

* * * *

Guns and ammunitions was [sic] about to prove a difficult matter to procure. So men citizens put to work. [sic] Salt peter [sic] cans was [sic] searched for [sic] in fact, the whole country ransached [sic] for materials in the way of ammunition.

A small gun establishment was started at Murfreesboro by a company conducted by T. Robertson and Richard Sanders. They had several hands employed and could turn eight or ten very good rifles per day. They had a large number of barrels forged out by the smiths. Also had an agent Stephen Singleton, whose business was to collect all the old rifle guns that was of any size or such as would make a Mississippi Rifle. In this way great many guns was furnished. They had got in the way of making a neat finished gun. Soldiers were supplyed [sic] with this arm.

Other branches of business was [sic] also carrying on the making of catridge [sic] boxes, straps, and belts. J. Bohmes had a contract of this kind -- Ambulances, a two-wheel concern, put on springs, some what in the manner of a covered cart, to be used with one horse. Had a neat appearance, and, I suppose, answered the purpose intended....

There were several persons engaged in making what was called an army wagon. This was a small, two horse concerns, [sic] not calculated in carrying a verry [sic] heavy load. Other minor articles that was necessary to make up camp equipage was made here....

* * * *

There is no country so well adapted to live within itself as the state of Tennessee. The best of water power, every species of timber, of the best, for all purposes. Iron, Copper, Lead, Marble will add gold and silver. Beside [sic] this, where is the country that is superior in agriculture? As a whole, all that is needed, is the energy to develop the wealth of the county.

John C. Spence, A Diary of the Civil War.[1]

            20, Meeting in Jackson

There was a meeting called today of the people of this country to consider [the] present state of affairs. Great enthusiasm prevails, tremendous preparations are making for WAR [sic]. [emphasis added]

Virginia has seceded, making 8 states. The Gov. of Tennessee has called the legislature together 25th instant. Genl Scott has resigned….Events are hurring [sic] so fast, that we hardly have time to reflect what the end will bear where it will be. None but he who does all things will know.

Robert H. Cartmell Diary.

            20, Governor Isham G. Harris justifies his refusal to send two regiments of militia to aid the Federal government

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Nashville, Tenn., April 20, 1861.

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, [U. S.] Secretary of War:

SIR: In refusing to comply with the demand which you have made upon me as Governor of the State of Tennessee for two regiments of militia to aid the Federal Government in subjugating those States which by formal act of their people have dissolved their former Federal relations and instituted for themselves others, I deem it proper that I should state briefly the grounds upon which my action is based.

The sages and patriots of the Revolution, when in the act of severing their connection with the mother country and establishing the great cardinal principles of free government, solemnly declared before the world that governments were instituted among men to secure their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends it is the right of the people to abolish it and to institute a new government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evincing a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government and to provide new guards for their future safety.

Recognizing and adopting these great principles, the people of Tennessee, in forming their constitution as a free and independent sovereignty preparatory to admission into the Federal Union, incorporated into their Declaration of Rights, as the basis of their superstructure, "That all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and established for their peace, safety, and happiness. For the advancement of these ends they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper," and "that, government being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind."

These truths were recognized by the other States of the Union as being in perfect conformity to the genius and character of our federative system by their assenting to the admission of Tennessee as a member of the confederacy.

Having adopted these principles and claimed these rights for her own people, it would not be consistent with common honesty, much less magnanimity, to deny them to the free people of every other sovereign State; and applying these principles to the facts as they exist in the States named by the President in his recent proclamation, Tennessee can regard the present coercive policy of the Federal Government in no other light than a wanton and alarming usurpation of power, at war with the genius of our republican institutions, and, so far as it may be successful, subversive of civil liberty. The loyalty of Tennessee to the Federal Government when constitutionally administered; the readiness with which her gallant sons have on all occasions responded to its call when threatened or invaded by a foreign enemy, will vindicate her present course in the eyes of the civilized world, while the duplicity of the present Administration in its manner of inaugurating this unjust, unnecessary, and unnatural warfare will be consigned to history's darkest page. In such an unholy crusade no gallant son of Tennessee will ever draw his sword. [emphasis added]



OR, Ser. III, Vol. 1, pp. 91-92.

            20, Memphis Sixth Ward women urge organization to make military flags and uniforms

To The Ladies of the Sixth Ward.

Our husbands, brothers and friends have organized themselves into a military company for our protection—the Home Guards. Can we, their wives and sisters, do nothing? Should we not form an immediate organization among ourselves, for the purpose of furnishing these, our defenders, such aid and countenance, as only woman can furnish—such as making uniforms, flags, etc., and nursing the sick and wounded if necessary, in case of actual hostilities in our midst?

We, the undersigned, suggest to the ladies of the Sixth Ward, that if they sympathize with us in these feelings, to leave their names with us as soon as practicable, that a meeting may be called, and an early organization of our society effected.

Mrs. C. M. Farmer.

Mrs. Jno. B. Weld.

Huling Street, between Main and Shelby.

Memphis Daily Appeal, April 20, 1861.

            20, Secessionist Obsession in Memphis


A gentleman direct from Memphis informs us that the most intense excitement has prevailed there since the surrender of Fort Sumpter, and that those who have been Unionists heretofore are now openly for secession. Last Saturday evening buildings were illuminated, fire works exploded, speeches made, and the secession flag hoisted on the public buildings. On Monday evening there was an immense meeting at the Exchange; resolutions were passed declaring that the city of Memphis was no longer in the Union.

On Tuesday a boat was reported near Memphis, with troops and arms designed by the Federal Government for Fort Smith, to be used to protect the fortress from the Indians.

Cannon were placed on the Bluff for the purpose of compelling a surrender of the arms and disbanding the troops. But she passed safely down, hugging the Arkansas shore.

The City officers, appropriated on Tuesday 50,000 dollars for the use of the city and the banks offered to cash the Bonds. The officers also ordered the purchase of a building for a drill room which was to cost nine thousand dollars-One prominent citizen offered the gratuitous use of his stores for the same purpose for five years-and several others offered rooms.

About fifteen companies of Riflemen Infantry and Cavalry, have been formed during the present week-Cannon have been sent to them from St. Louis, other cannon has [sic] been ordered to be cast at Baton Rouge and some have been ordered from Little Rock.

Batteries are already begun above the city to protect them from Federal troops; some of the citizens subscribing five hundred dollars and many of them one hundred dollars each. All the spare guns have been bought up, and there is nothing doing except in preparation to resist Federal authority. The Vigilance Committee[2] are out with a proclamation printed in Red, requiring all who do not sympathize with them to leave the city, and some of their  own citizens have also been ordered to  go in twenty-four hours. The Union Flag is not suffered to remain anywhere in sight. Terror reigns.- Money scarce. [emphasis added] Beef advanced from 10 to 25 cents a pound. No supplies. Commerce suspended.

The Daily Cleveland Herald, April 20, 1861. [3]

            20, Proposal to amend the Constitution to prevent sectional conflict


La Grange, (Tennessee.) April 20, 1861.

Messrs. Editors: In the present disorganized situation of our common country the man who could step forward and pour oil upon the troubled waters and calm the waves of sectional strife would have his name immortalized upon the pages of history as one worthy to stand by a Washington and a Clay. Mr. Lincoln has convened Congress t meet an early day; and if he would in his message recommend such amendments to the Constitution as would guaranty to the South security in all her rights, and also an amendment changing the mode of electing the President and Vice President so as to make it impossible that we should ever have a sectional President, he will have conferred a lasting benefit upon his country for all tie to come. My plan for the election of President would be this: At the first election under the amended Constitution let there be a President and Vice President elected – one from the North, the other from the South – to serve for four years. The Vice President for the first four years to succeed the President in office the next four If the first Vice President should be elected from the North, then at the next election fort a Vice President he must be elected from the South, and so on continually  taking the Vice President first from one section and then from the other, and each Vice President at the end of four years succeeding the Presidency would prevent effectually the election of a sectional President, particularly as  the amendment should specify that no bill passed by Congress should become a law unless approved by both President and Vice President, or passed over their heads by a two-thirds vote of both Houses of Congress. With this amendment, both section of our country would be represented by the Executive and safety guaranteed to each. If these changes can be made, then the ruin and devastation which have commenced may be stayed.


Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, DC), April 25, 1861.[4]





Notwithstanding the presence of the Lincoln soldiery in Clarksville, they have been unable to squeeze [sic] out the patriotism of the ladies of that city. A correspondent writes us as follows:

'Secesh girls in Clarksville, Tenn., are conquered but not subdued; for they have, right under the very noses of their Yankee oppressors, formed themselves into a bona fide company, well drilled, which they call, very appropriately, and doubtless in derision of the well-known feats of said oppressors, "The Rebel Masked Battery." They appear on the street frequently in complete Confederate uniform, which consists of rather a short grey dress, blue stripes down the sides, coat sleeves, blue cuffs, tight waists, with blue lapels, standing collars, secession cravats, and the whole profusely trimmed with gold lace and brass buttons, ad infinitum. Turned up black hats with a long black feather in front, with a gold star and white buckskin gauntlets. Complete the dress: deadly pistol and dagger; there are about seventy-five in the company. [emphasis added]

The Federals are on the qui vive [sic] to find out where the young ladies drill, but that they manage to conceal with woman's usual strategy. Hurrah, for the Clarksville girls.

We suggested that the Feds at Clarksville had

"Better let the girls alone."

Memphis Appeal, April 20, 1862.

            20, "The Reported Mutiny at Nashville."

We have heretofore noticed reports brought to this city, of mutinies among the Federal troops at Nashville. Here is another report, which we find in the Knoxville Register, to which paper it was telegraphed from Chattanooga on the 3d [Thursday]:

A distinguished Missourian, just from Middle Tennessee, brings important intelligence.

He reports that a Kentucky regiment rebelled near Nashville a few days since on account of Lincoln's recent message. Two Indiana regiments were drawn out to suppress them. The Kentuckians ordered them to halt at a distance of sixty yards. The Indianians [sic] refused, when the Kentuckians fired upon them, killing and wounding four hundred. The remainder ran.

They buried, he says, two hundred and eighty who died in six days, last week, near, Columbia from small pox.

He reports the Federal army rapidly becoming demoralized on account of the constant killing of their pickets, and the approach of summer. This is reliable.[5]

Memphis Appeal, April 20, 1862.

            20, The Bank of Tennessee and the United States Court in Nashville

The Nashville Union, of April 20, has these items:

"We are told that the Bank of Tennessee, and perhaps, the other banks, have removed their deposits and all their specie into the Southern Confederacy. If this be so, it is a gross outrage on the rights of the depositors, and the officers should be held strictly accountable. Let it be investigated forthwith. The amount placed in the Bank by depositors amounted, accoridng to its own report, to the enornmous sum of $8,865,000. Have the people been robbed of all this by an institution favored with the peculiar privilege by the State?

The April Term of the United States Court for the District of Tennessee will commence on Monday (to-morrow) the 21st inst. His Honor Judge Catron, who is now in the city, will preside. It will doubtless be one of the most deeply interesting Courts ever convened in this country."

New York Times, April 27, 1862.

            20, Death of Wisconsin Governor Louis P. Harvey at Savannah, Tennessee

CAIRO, ILL., April 20, 1862.

President LINCOLN:

Governor Harvey, of Wisconsin, was drowned last night about 11 o'clock at Savannah, on the Tennessee River, while passing from one boat to another. All search for his body had proved fruitless up to the time dispatch left.[6]

W. K. STRONG, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. III, Vol. 2, p. 122.

            20, Observation on the Confederate flag

We saw a young lady on the streets recently with a Confederate flag pinned across her bosom. We guess it was a rebel flag floating over cotton breastworks. [sic]

Nashville Daily Union, April 20, 1862. [7]

            21, Cyrus F. Boyd's observations relative to the appearance of Shiloh battlefield

Weather cool and chilly. Has rained for five days and the roads are impassable. This is the most Godforsaken country I ever saw. We move camp about every day and in the woods all the time. This is one vast graveyard [sic] and shall we ever get out to it[.] The rains have washed the earth from the dead men and horses. Skulls [sic] and toes [sic] are sticking up from beneath the clay all around and the heavy wagons crush the bodies turning up the bones of the buried, making this one vast Golgotha [.] [emphasis added] Sometimes our tents come over a little mound where sleep[s] some unknown soldier who has died for a principle but his survivors [sic] have not even marked his last resting place or given him the burial of a faithful dog [sic]. What a mockery these lines seem –

"lest are the brave who sink to rest

With all their Country's wishes best."

Boyd Diary, April 21, 1862.

            21, "I cannot do anything in the cotton seed business until the army moves." D. C. Donnohue's letter to Assistant Secretary of the Interior J. P. Usher

Savana [sic] Tennessee

April 21st 1862

J. P. Usher Esq

Assistant Scty of the Interior

Dear Sir

I am still at this place which is in the vicinity of the great Battle – we are having incessant rains – Genl. Pope is arriving with his division of the Army – and I suppose we will now have a forward move, if the roads will at all permit – I cannot do anything in the cotton seed business until the army moves – The seed I have bought are all out of our lines and wagons cannot be had to bring them into the boats – I think I am not mistaken in public sentiment here. The poor or labouring men are the only union men but they cannot easily be brought up to the point of asserting their manhood [emphasis added]– Some of the more inteligent [sic] of them are pleased with the emancipation of slaves in the District of Columbia - & they hope to [see] the slaves emancipated every where – They say slavery caused the rebellion and ought to suffer – Most of the mechanics talk in this way but mechanics are few and far between here – There are others here to say they are for the Union [sic] but some of them who are home plashing Union have two or three substitutes in the rebel army – I do not think that our Military leaders act with Candor or Justice – I have known them to allow men to pass through our lines and insult our soldiers hunting negroes and have more facilities and protection than ;you could have extended to yourself – I care not on what business you might visit the army unless you might be hunting negroes [sic] – I know it is very hard to get along with this slavery question but I do think when if a negro runs off from a traitor to the government that always had protected him in the right to own negros [sic] – it asking a great deal from me to have my son to catch and hide the negro until the traitor ties him – Yet other men have it to do who are just [as] good as me or my son it is all wrong – I almost fear that the negroes [sic] will prove the utter ruin of our nationality – I have nothing to say about the policy of the government but if it should turn in the end that in attempting to hold four millions of miserable Africans [sic] in bondage, twenty six Anglo-Saxons should have their freedom – would it not be a sad comment upon our boasted institutions – It is easy to see the end of this rebellion from Washington institutions – It is easy to see the end of this rebellion from Washington City – but when your get in this latitude it seems to have just begun. Our Army has not moved three miles  farther sought than where they were camped when they were attacked on the 6th Inst – it is true we drove them from the field on Monday but they fell back in good order and have not been attacked since so you can see that both armies were willing to quit! I learn that the rebels are reinforcing and will fight again in the neighborhood of Corinth Miss – They can better afford to wait better than we as our army will be unfit for fighting in six weeks from this time on account of sickness [emphasis added]– We should drive them or fight them at once as all must see that we have all to loose [sic] and nothing to gain by delay – Governor Harvey of Wisconsin, was drowned at this landing night before last – by accidentally stepping over the guard of the boat – That I have been staying on for several days – he was here taking care of and hunting up the wounded from Wisconsin and had been very active and had most of his wounded on board when by some mistake he steped [sic] in the river and was soon our of the each of help. The Gov was a young man of good habits and [it is] said posses [sic] more than ordinary talents – I had been in conversation with him not more than five minutes before he was drowned – his friends offer a $1000.00 [reward] for the recovery of his body – but so far have not succeeded in obtaining it. [emphasis added]

I think I will make some money on cotton if ever our army moves – I have a good chance to do so & will do it but the boats are all in Govt [sic] employment, and I have to proced [sic] with great caution so as not to have the cotton burned I have not and dont [sic] intend to have the vandals to burn anything of mine – I am not to pay them until the cotton gets to Paducah.

Will be in Washington as soon as I possibly can – Cant [sic] hear any thing [sic] from there or any other place –

Your Friend

D. C. Donnohue

Letters of D. C. Donnohue.

            21, Changes in Nashville Benevolence One Year Later

A year ago the Nashville papers looked like dairies, so full were they of exhibitions of the milk of human kindness. Doctors advertised their professional services gratuitously to the families of those who had volunteered in the Confederate army; public school teachers taught the young ideas [sic] how to shoot, without pay, in consideration for the parents who were coming in to shoot down Kentucky Unionists; lead for bullets was tendered fee of charge; Gov. Harris was authorized to draw on certain individuals for any amount, and landlords offered tenements rent free to the wives and children of soldiers. Nashville was in fact princely in the munificence of its promises; gorgeous in its display of charity and benevolence and its horn of plenty was lavishly emptied form both ends into the laps of its indigent but lucky inhabitants. Well, time tries all things, even the ostentatious professions of rebel sympathizers. About a month since the Western Union Sanitary Commission wrote to Gov. General Johnson that there were daily discharged from the hospital at St. Louis citizens of Tennessee, formerly belonging to the rebel army, who had become convalescent and were wandering the streets without the means of living or returning to their homes, and the Commission requested that transportation and subsistence should be forwarded for them. In view of these Statements, Gov. Johnson made a public appeal "not only to the charitable but especially to those who have been instrumental in rendering there misguided fellow citizens to this sad degree of suffering, and who have been co laborers in the unholy work in which they were engaged, to come forward and contribute to their relief."

What was the response? Did doctors, or school-teachers, or pig-headed dealers in pig lead, or bankers, or landlords, who in April last made such a parade of their liberality, open their hands or pockets for the relief of these unfortunate convalescent soldiers? Was the horn of plenty sent to St. Louis to gladden the sight of men exiled from their homes and pining to return to their families and friends? How much did the prodigal and lavish charity of Nashville subscribe? History must be written fairly and impartially, and, therefore, we answer-Not one dollar! Not even a donation of Confederate scrip or State shinplasters. The mild of human kindness was frozen in it lacteal fonts; money chests were double padlocked, and the discharged Confederate soldiers who have been prisoners or in hospitals may starve and die and rot for all that Nashville cares! This exemplifies most strikingly the selfishness and hollow-heartedness of secession. [emphasis added] Munificent in its professions to induce its deluded victims to serve in its armies, it has no m ore regard or consideration for them when their services are no longer required or useful than it would have for so many sheep with the rot, or swine with the hog-cholera.

Louisville Daily Journal, April 21, 1862. [8]




            20, Special Orders, No. 98, relative to transfer of Confederate prisoners from Nashville

HeadQuarters United States Forces

Nashville, Tenn. April 20th 1863

Special Orders, No. 98

I. The rebel prisoners of war able to travel and now at this post will be sent to Louisville on the first day of May via LNRR enroute for Points of exchange and confinement.

II. Colonel Martin, Provost Marshall [sic] will detail a Company of not less than fifty men with two commissioned officers to guard such prisoners to Louisville.

III. The commanding officer of the detail will report to the commanding officer at Louisville, delivering and making receipts for prisoners and lists of commissioned officers and enlisted men.

IV. The officers will return with [the] detail as soon as this order is executed.

V. The AQM will furnish the necessary transportation.

By order of Brig. Gen. James D. Morgan, Comdg.

Simon Perkins, Jr., Papers.[9]

20, Lt. Albert Potter's opinion of negro troops; an excerpt from his letter to his sister

Headquarters Co "H" Near

Columbia Tenn Apr 20 [1863]

Dear Sis

*  *  *  *

….I don't believe I think more of the negro…but I do believe and say they ought to have their freedom and they shall have it – not only because they are human and have souls, but because their masters have forfeited all right to them and their loss is our gain – And again they make good soldiers, good Fighting soldiers, and I say let them fight. They are no better to stop a ball than I am --- If working men are so opposed to arming the negro let them take the musket out of their hands and come along.[emphasis added]

Show one a man, who is down on our negro soldiers and who keeps hanging back and shirking and I will show you a coward. Yes a moral coward and I believe God hates a coward.

*  *  *  *

Potter Correspondence.

            20-30, Expedition from Murfreesborough to McMinnville, destruction of Manchester to McMinnville railroad by Federal forces under Brigadier-General J.J. Reynolds[10]

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Murfreesborough, April 18, 1863.

Maj. Gen. JOSEPH J. REYNOLDS, Cmdg. Fifth Division, Fourteenth Corps:

The general commanding has determined to drive the enemy's forces from the country between Stone's River, Caney Fork, and the Cumberland, and has designated you for that duty, and has placed under your command for that purpose the following forces, in addition to your own division: First, Second Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-first Army Corps, Brig.-Gen. Wagner commanding; second, Third Brigade, First Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, Col. Hambright commanding; third, 1,500 cavalry, Col. Minty commanding. With this force you will proceed to Readyville on Monday, the 20th instant. From there you will march rapidly to McMinnville, leaving two infantry brigades at Glasscock's, with orders to proceed from there to Half-Acre, and subsequently to join you at or near Mrs. Beckwith's, on the Smithville and Liberty pike. With your cavalry, mounted infantry, and one brigade of infantry you will push forward directly to McMinnville, destroying or capturing any rebel forces you may find there, and destroy the cotton mills and railroad trains, as well as all depots of supplies for the rebel army. From Glasscock's you will send such a force of cavalry as you may judge sufficient for the purpose, to move southward by way of Jacksborough, and cut the railroad near Vervilla and rejoin you at McMinnville or on your journey northward. Your work at McMinnville and vicinity being accomplished, you will proceed to Liberty, having on the route formed a junction with the infantry force sent out by way of Half-Acre.

You are expected to reach Liberty on the 24th instant, at which time and place provisions will reach you from here, under guard of one brigade of infantry. Gen. Crook will also communicate with you at that place from Carthage.

On the following day send a portion of your cavalry back to Smithville, to ascertain if the enemy be following you, and, if possible, draw him into an ambuscade. This done, you will send to their respective camps such portions of the force under you command as you may not need for the prosecution of your work, and with the remainder proceed to Lebanon, where you will establish your temporary headquarters, and completely scout the country in the Peninsula,[11] secure or destroy the supplies of rebels, and arrest and bring into camp all persons whom you may regard as dangerous to the interests of this army. You are authorized to modify any particulars in these general instructions whenever circumstances shall render it clearly necessary, or any considerable advantage is to be gained by a departure from them.

The general commanding desires you to do this work so thoroughly that another expedition will not be needed in that direction. Report your progress as often as practicable. The commanding officers of the forces placed under your command have been ordered to report to you in person for orders. Make a report of the number of rations and amount of ammunition you will require to be sent you at Liberty. The brigade sent to escort it you are authorized to assume command of, if you need it. You can also take the wagon train with you to Lebanon, if you think proper. Finish your work in that direction, and return to camp as soon as possible.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. A. GARFIELD, Brig.-Gen. and Chief of Staff.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, pp. 248-249.


Report of Maj. Gen. Joseph J. Reynolds, U. S. Army, commanding expedition to McMinnville.

HDQRS. FIFTH DIVISION, FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Murfreesborough, Tenn., April 30, 1863.

COL.: The troops employed in the recent expedition to McMinnville, &c., returned to-day, and a report will be most readily comprehended by reference to the operations of each day.

The expedition consisted of the following force:

Col. Wilder's brigade (three regiments mounted infantry), about…...1,100

 Col. Hall's brigade, about ...................................................................1,400

 Brig.-Gen. Wagner's brigade, about ...............................................…1,300

 Col. Starkweather's brigade, about .....................................................1,300

 Cavalry, under Col. Minty, about ...................................................... 1,500

 In all, about ........................................................................................ 6,600

April 20, the whole command made Readyville. At dark a mounted scout was sent to Woodbury, which returned before midnight. This scout was reported at McMinnville, and deceived the enemy as to the movement of the next day.

April 21, the advance, a cavalry force of about 350, under Col. Eli Long, Fourth Ohio Cavalry, destined to strike the railroad from Manchester to McMinnville, took the road at 2 a. m., and, turning to the southeast just after leaving Woodbury, directed their march upon Morrison, under the guidance of Capt. Fleming, late of Stokes' (Tennessee) cavalry. The remainder of the mounted force (cavalry) under Col. Minty, and mounted infantry, the whole under Col. Wilder, promptly followed, and beyond Woodbury took the old McMinnville road, which passes between Jacksborough and the McMinnville pike. The advance of this force captured a portion of a picket belonging to a regiment of the enemy stationed on the pike. Those that escaped reported that the main mounted column was a flanking party. The force that moved for the railroad, under Col. Long, appears not to have been discovered at all until they were near the road and in a condition to accomplish their work beyond doubt. The supporting infantry force closely followed the mounted column, and, after the mounted force left the direct pike to McMinnville, the infantry support was apparently the only force moving toward that place.

Soon after leaving Woodbury we discovered the mounted regiment of the enemy, which was known to be on the road, and which gradually retired before us, evidently not aware of the fact that our mounted column had passed them and was nearing McMinnville. We abstained from firing on this regiment, and moved cautiously, but firmly, upon it, until we reached Glasscock's, 9 miles from McMinnville, the point at which we were to await advices from Wilder. This point was made by 12.30 p. m., having marched 10 miles.

About 4 p. m. I received a communication from Wilder, who had taken possession of McMinnville at 1.30 p. m. with his advance of the Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry and mounted infantry scouts at a charge, supported by the Fourth Regular Cavalry. The surprise was complete. Among the prisoners captured here was the notorious Dick McCann, who subsequently made his escape from a guard of the Fourth Regular Cavalry, which occurrence will be investigated and reported upon at an early day. Gen. John H. Morgan came very near being captured, but escaped by having a fresh, fleet horse, and being personally unknown to the men of our advance.

The infantry force moved northward, and encamped on a branch of Charlie's Creek, about 3 miles from the pike. The force at McMinnville passed the night of the 21st at and near the town, and that under Col. Long about 6 miles out.

April 22, the mounted force moved to Beckwith's via Smithville; bivouacked near the former place. The infantry moved to within 5 miles of Beckwith's, and encamped at Pine Flats, on a branch of Clear Fork. The entire country passed over this day by both commands is barren and unproductive. The animals were very scantily supplied with forage, and the provisions for the mounted men, which had been left with the infantry support at Readyville, were pushed on during the night of the 22d to Beckwith's, escorted by a portion of Hall's brigade.

April 23, the remainder of Hall's brigade started at 2 a. m.; joined the mounted force at Beckwith's by dawn of day, and, with this brigade as a support, Wilder pushed right on toward Liberty, closely followed by the brigades of Wagner and Starkweather. On reaching Snow Hill, about 10 a. m., where rebels had been reported in force, we found the position abandoned, and learned that the enemy had retreated via Alexandria and Lancaster. Men and animals were much jaded, and a vigorous pursuit was simply impossible. The force from Carthage, that we hoped would co-operate with us by taking position at or near the vicinity of Alexandria, to prevent this very retreat of the enemy, had not arrived. Two regiments from Carthage arrived at Alexandria about midnight of the 23d, and reported to me on the 24th. They were too late by at least thirty-six hours to co-operate with us, and the force sent was less than half that necessary to an effective co-operation. The mounted force was distributed from the fork of the road 2 ½ miles from Liberty to a point 3 miles beyond Alexandria toward Lebanon, with instructions to forage and rest. Wagner's brigade was places at Liberty, and Hall's and Starkweather's at the fork of the road communicating with the provision train near Auburn.

April 24, spent the day in foraging and picking up straggling rebels. Provisions, escorted by Gen. R. S. Granger's brigade, arrived and were distributed. At night sent reconnaissance of the Fourth Regular Cavalry, under Capt. McIntyre; went as far as Smithville and found no enemy.

April 25, headquarters and Hall's brigade moved to Cherry Valley, Wilder's mounted infantry to Shop Spring, and Wagner's brigade to Alexandria. Starkweather's brigade remained at the forks of the roads. The cavalry, excepting Ray's (about 350), started for Murfreesborough, a portion, with Granger's brigade, via Auburn, and the main body via Cherry Valley, Cainsville, and Milton.

April 26, Wilder's mounted infantry, Hall's brigade, and headquarters made Lebanon, Tenn.

April 27, mounted infantry scouring the country in the direction of Rome, Gallatin, and Silver Spring; expecting to be absent two days; discovered two boats in the creek near Rome. At 5 p. m. I received information from Col. Starkweather, through Gen. Wagner, that the enemy was certainly advancing in force toward Liberty, with the intention of attacking Starkweather at the forks of the road. I ordered Hall's brigade on the road at once, and sent messengers to order the mounted regiments to follow as early as possible next morning (28th). Hall and headquarters reached Alexandria at 10.15 a. m. on the 28th, and communicated with Wagner and Starkweather. (The former had moved near the forks.)

April 28, a train of 53 empty wagons reached Starkweather's camp, under escort of the Ninth Michigan, Col. Parkhurst. This train was loaded with bacon and forage, a portion belonging to refugees, the remainder captured from prominent rebels and turned over to the proper staff officers at corps headquarters on the arrival of the train at Murfreesborough on the 30th.

April 29, headquarters and Hall's brigade moved from Alexandria to Stone's River, via Statesville and Cainsville; Wagner and Starkweather encamped near Milton; Wilder, with two regiments of mounted infantry, moved through Lebanon to Baird's Mills, one regiment coming through Murfreesborough with the headquarters.


The railroad leading from McMinnville to Manchester may be said to be destroyed; all the bridges of any note, as well as trestle-work, are burned; also one locomotive and train of three cars, and various other detached cars at stations; depot buildings at McMinnville; 600 blankets; 2 hogsheads of sugar; 3 hogsheads of rice; 200 bales of cotton; 8 barrels of whisky; 30,000 pounds of bacon; 1 cotton factory (large); 2 mills; 1 camp, tents, &c., on Charlie's Creek; 1 camp at Liberty, and 1 mill at Liberty; 180 prisoners captured at various places from Morrison to Stone's River, including 5 commissioned officers; one who represents himself as a major on the staff of Gen. J. C. Breckinridge was captured on the 29th by Wilder's scouts near Glades. Lieut.-Col. [R. M.] Martin was mortally wounded by a saber in the hand of a member of the Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry. Six hundred and thirteen animals were captured, and seventy-six abandoned. Large quantities of forage and wheat were discovered.

The only casualties to our force were 1 man of the Seventeenth Indiana badly and treacherously wounded; he got into camp; and 1 man of the One hundred and twenty-third Illinois died of disease.

The district bounded south by the road from Readyville to McMinnville, east by the road from McMinnville to Smithville, and west and north by a line drawn from Readyville, via Auburn, Liberty, Alexandria, and New Middleton, to Caney Fork, is sterile and unproductive, excepting a small area about New Middleton. The same remark will apply to the district between Woodbury and the railroad connecting McMinnville with Manchester.

There is no forage and but little subsistence of any kind in the country named above. An army cannot subsist in it, and hence the rebels have been driven to occupy the country to the west of Alexandria, and lying between the Cumberland and Stone's Rivers. The last-named district is, with occasional exceptions, very productive, well watered, and under a high state of cultivation. The rebels have drawn immense quantities of supplies from this portion of country. A force at Alexandria or Liberty would command this whole district. The inhabitants may be divided into three classes: First, the wealthy; second, those of medium means or well-to-do; and, third, the poor. The first class are, with a few noble exceptions, decided rebels, their farms having furnished rebel supplies, and their houses have been made stopping places for rebel commanders, conscript agents, spies, &c. [emphasis added] Without the aid furnished by these men, the raids upon the railroad from Murfreesborough to Nashville, and from Nashville to Gallatin, and even beyond, could not be made. With the supplies furnished by these quiet citizens, the rebels are enabled to move almost without transportation or provisions, knowing just where forage and subsistence await them.

The tone of this class in February, when we made our first expedition into that part of the country, was quite defiant; they were determined to persevere in their rebellion until they secured their rights. [emphasis added]They have since that time lost no little property in forage and animals to supply both Armies, and, in addition, their negro men have run away, and the wagons that were driven, about February 1, by soldiers detailed for that purpose were, about the last of April, just as well driven by the negroes [sic] that formerly lived in that section of country, and the strength of the companies was increased by the same number of able-bodied soldiers.

The tone of this class in now changed. They have discovered their mistake. They had been misled. [emphasis added] They have found their rights, and they are now anxious to take the non-combatant oath, give bonds, and stay at home. The question arises here, Shall they be allowed to do so? At the risk of being officious, I respectfully answer, No. If the leading men of the neighborhoods are allowed to remain, although they may give bonds, when the rebels run into their neighborhoods they will be forced to aid them. If they are sent away, their presence and their influence are gone. A few of this class returned with us, a step preliminary, I trust, to a longer journey.

The second class have generally been well-meaning citizens, but without much influence politically; they have become from wavering men loyal citizens; are desirous of taking the oath, and pursuing their ordinary avocations. Many of them have sons conscripted into the rebel service, who would desert that service and return home if their fathers were placed in a better position politically and their oppressors sent away, so that there would be no one to return them to a service which they detest. This class is deserving of the fostering care of the Government. [emphasis added] The third class are all loyal; they have no weight in the community; possess but little property; they have, in fact, been subjugated all their lives. By encouragement they must improve. They have suffered greatly from the rebel conscription. [emphasis added] The absence of the first class is a thing greatly desired by them, but they speak it only in whispers. They have at least one thing in their favor--their devotion to the flag of their country is unwavering in both men and women.

There was one idea that evidently occupied the minds of all classes. We were everywhere met with the questions, "Will the Federal Army remain in Middle Tennessee?" "Will it go forward and leave us, or will it go back and leave us?" There is a feeling of insecurity which can be eradicated only by adopting such measures as will convince the loyal people that this country is to be possessed only by loyal men, and that when our lines are advanced they are advanced forever; that no retrograde step will be taken, and that whatever may be necessary to localize a district of country will be done before the army leaves it.[12]

J. J. REYNOLDS, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg. Expedition.



Respectfully forwarded.

In organizing the expedition my arrangement was that the force from Carthage should arrive at Alexandria on the 21st, if not before, and to remain there, threatening and attracting the attention of the enemy, until the morning of the 24th, unless the commanding officer heard firing in the direction of Liberty, in which event he was to move at once on Liberty, to the support of our troops. He was to have marched on Liberty in any event on the 20th, as the programme required that Gen. Reynolds should make that place on that day. It is to be regretted that that portion of the expedition was not in position at the time appointed, and there is no doubt the expedition, although eminently successful, would have been more fruitful in results.

I take great pleasure in commending to the general commanding the remarks of Gen. Reynolds on the status of the three classes of citizens now inhabiting Tennessee as just and appreciative, and fully indorse his recommendations as to what should be our policy toward them. If those who have heretofore been active rebels were invariably put beyond our lines, we should then be able to penetrate and occupy the insurgent territory with much more certainty, as we would not then be under the necessity of keeping up such strong guards in our rear to secure our lines of communication.

GEO. H. THOMAS, Maj.-Gen. of U. S. Volunteers, Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 267-271.


Excerpt from Correspondence of Brigadier-General John H. Morgan to Chief of Staff, Army of Tennessee, relative to the attack upon McMinnville, April 21, 1863

HDQRS. MORGAN'S DIVISION, Sparta, April 23, 1863. (Received April 26, 3 a. m.)

Col. GEORGE WILLIAM BRENT, Asst. Adjt. Gen. and Chief of Staff, Army of Tennessee:


* * * *

At 2 p. m. [the 21st] I received a dispatch from Col. Bullitt, stating that the enemy had fallen back a short distance on the Woodbury road. At about the same time one of my scouts came in, reporting that the enemy was then within a mile or two of town, driving my vedettes and pickets in before them.

The enemy destroyed the railroad depot, factory, two railroad bridges, together with the train that was on this side of Morrison's besides some two or three other buildings at McMinnville. They left McMinnville about 12 o'clock on the 22d proceeding in the direction of Smithville and from thence to Liberty, the force being estimated at from 3,000 to 5,000 strong consisting of cavalry and mounted infantry and seven pieces of artillery.

* * * *

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, pp. 784-785.


Reports of Brig. Gen. William T. Martin, C. S. Army.


MAJ.: At 10.30 a. m. yesterday the enemy advanced to the front of our vedettes on the Middleton road and this pike with infantry, artillery, and cavalry, approaching almost in musket range. Their cavalry was deployed as skirmishers. A continuous line of skirmishers was extended from near the railroad across the country beyond Middleton. I attacked these skirmishers on both roads, but found the force too great for me.

After maintaining their line for some six hours, the forces retired. One brigade, with wagons and ambulances, was on each road. Lieut.-Col. [R.] Thompson reports that the enemy was advancing on Manchester pike yesterday in force, and 1,500 cavalry on the Woodbury and Manchester road. I have not yet heard whether these detachments have retired. If I had had proper artillery yesterday I could have used it to advantage. In this immediate vicinity I believe the enemy was plundering, and so the scouts report.

Very respectfully,

WILL. T. MARTIN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.


MAJ.: I have learned this morning the return of Gen. [Joseph] Wheeler to McMinnville, and would report the facts of the late movement of the enemy through the lines as far as they have come to my knowledge.

Lieut.-Col. [R.] Thompson reports that the enemy passed through the lines on the 21st instant, to the right of my last picket in that direction, but was observed and fired upon; that the force was 1,500 cavalry, and came down the Woodbury road until at Daniel's Chapel it struck the Petty Gap road, and not far from this point encountered our patrols and those of Col. [B. W.] Duke, who is on my right, and passed through the 3½ miles from my farthest picket on the right. The advance was reported to me and Gen. [St. J. R.] Liddell at Wartrace, who immediately sent a dispatch to Gen. [W. J.] Hardee. At the same time that I received notice of this column I also received a dispatch from Adjutant [Kinloch] Falconer, advising me that Gen. [B. H.] Helm had been ordered up from Manchester to check the advance.

Simultaneously with this movement the enemy advanced on the 21st upon Beech Grove through Hoover's Gap, upon Thompson's battalion, and for nearly twenty-four hours Lieut.-Col. Thompson, with all his available force of [Z.] Thomason's battalion and the Third Georgia, was skirmishing with the enemy, estimated to have four or five regiments of infantry and a small force of cavalry, and known to have had a battery of artillery, which was freely used. Lieut.-Col. Thompson made disposition of his force to guard against the column on his right, which he supposed was endeavoring to get in rear of him. The enemy retired from his front about noon of the 22d instant.

On this pike and on the Middleton road on the 21st the enemy advanced, and had on each road a brigade of infantry, with cavalry and artillery, and threatened an attack upon my pickets.

On the 22d, in larger force, another advance was made on each road. The full force of my command on each road was on both occasions moved to the front, and some unimportant skirmishing ensued. I was in front both days, and did not make a serious attack, as the force of the enemy was too great to render a forward movement prudent.

The line of Lieut.-Col. Thompson was established in accordance with the written directions received from Gen. Wheeler, and dated March 31, 1863. It is, of course, impossible with the force in front of Pocahontas to prevent a recurrence of such attacks, and there was no force that could by any diligence have been brought to bear from my line upon the column which passed by the Petty Gap road. The country is all open in that section, and troops can move in any direction.

Very respectfully,

WILL. T. MARTIN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg. Division.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 276-277.


Report of Col. Robert H. G. Minty, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, commanding detachment Cavalry Division, Department of the Cumberland.

HDQRS. FIRST CAVALRY BRIGADE, Camp near Murfreesborough, Tenn., April 26, 1863.

SIR: On the 19th instant, under orders received from Brig.-Gen. Garfield, I reported to Maj.-Gen. Reynolds, commanding the Fifth Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, and, in accordance with his orders, marched for Readyville at 1 p. m. on the 20th instant, with 1,708 men, composed of parts of the First, Second, and Third Cavalry Brigades and the Fourth U. S. Cavalry, with six days' rations. I encamped between Readyville and Woodbury for the night.

April 21, I sent Col. Long, with the Second Brigade (418 men), at 2 a. m., with instructions to take the road leading through Jacksborough, to strike the railroad at or near Morrison as soon after 10.30 a. m. as possible, and to destroy the trestle-work at that place. Although the Manchester train escaped, the work was well done. For particulars, I beg to refer you to Col. Long's report, inclosed herewith.

At 3 a. m. I marched for McMinnville with the rest of my command, taking the old McMinnville road, and was followed by Col. Wilder, with his brigade of mounted infantry. When about 2 miles from McMinnville, I detached the Fourth Michigan and one company of the First Middle Tennessee, with two of Col. Wilder's mountain howitzers, to move in on the Smithville road. About half a mile farther on, my advance came on the rebel pickets, who immediately formed and opened fire on us. Riding to the front, I pushed forward the flankers, and directed the advance guard to charge home, sending Capt. Jennings, with the remainder of his regiment (Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry), to their support. The rebels were driven into and through the town. Their entire force was about 700 men--600 cavalry and the provost guard, which consisted of 115 men of the Second Kentucky and Forty-first Alabama Infantry Regt. [sic]'s. These last had left town, by the Chattanooga road, with the wagon train, about an hour before our arrival, but, by pressing closely, a part of the Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry succeeded in capturing 3 wagons and 8 or 9 of the men.

The cavalry scattered in every direction, part of them retreating at a gallop on every road, about 50 taking the railroad train, which started as we entered the town. I sent the Third Brigade and the Fourth Michigan after the train, with directions to destroy it and also the new bridge over Hickory Creek. The Fourth Regulars I sent to the support of the Seventh Pennsylvania, on the Sparta and Chattanooga roads.

In the charge made by the advanced guard--Lieut. Thompson and 25 men of the Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry--Corporal [Edward H.] Schutt mortally wounded, Lieut.-Col. [R. M.] Martin, of Johnson's Kentucky Cavalry, having laid his skull open by a saber cut. The famous Maj. Dick McCann was also wounded and taken prisoner, but effected his escape the same night from a guard of the Fourth Regulars. I encamped for the night on the hill west of McMinnville, and was early next morning rejoined by the Second and Third Brigades and the Fourth Michigan.

April 22, encamped near Snow Hill about dark, and pushed forward a patrol, which discovered strong pickets of the enemy at the mouth of Dry Creek.

April 23, marched at daylight for Liberty. The rebel pickets had been withdrawn during the night. The citizens stated that the enemy had promised to give us battle at Liberty. At Liberty they promised to fight at the junction of the Auburn and Alexandria pikes, and at the junction they said they would meet us at Alexandria, but at that place I found only 4 men, and those I captured. Wheeler and Wharton, with [Thomas] Harrison's, [C. C.] Crews', and Duke's brigades, retreated toward Lancaster at daybreak.

I encamped 3 miles west of Alexandria until the morning of the 25th, when I marched for Murfreesborough, via Cainsville and Las Casas [sic]. I encamped near Cainsville the night of the 25th, and arrived at Murfreesborough at 3 p. m. on the 26th. I sent or brought in 130 prisoners, all of whom, except 7, were captured by the cavalry. We destroyed the trestle-work on the railroad below Morrison; burned the railroad buildings, one locomotive, and two cars at Morrison; burned the new bridge across Hickory Creek, and destroyed a large quantity of bacon and other commissary stores at that place, and recaptured 15 men of the Second East and First Middle Tennessee Cavalry, who had been taken prisoners at Carthage on the 18th instant. I also captured 30 horses, 12 mules, and 3 wagons. In McMinnville Col. Wilder destroyed a large amount of property.

I had no casualties whatever during the expedition. Inclosed I hand you reports of the officers commanding the Fourth U. S. Cavalry and the First and Second Brigades. I have not yet received the report of Col. Ray, commanding the Third Brigade.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBT. H. G. MINTY, Col., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 271-273.


Report of Col. Eli Long, Fourth Ohio Cavalry, commanding Second Cavalry Brigade.

HDQRS. FOURTH OHIO VOLUNTEER CAVALRY, Camp Stanley, near Murfreesborough, Tenn., April 27, 1863.

SIR: Pursuant to instructions, I have the honor to report that the Second Cavalry Brigade, under my command, left this point on the 20th instant, arriving at Readyville that night. On that night I received verbal orders from Col. Minty to start the next morning at 2 o'clock with my brigade, and, in addition thereto, 100 men of the Second Kentucky Cavalry and one company of the First Middle Tennessee Cavalry, and to strike the Manchester and McMinnville Railroad at the big trestle-work just west of Morrison Station, and allow the train of cars from Manchester to pass on toward McMinnville, and to destroy the track in its rear. I started, with the above force, a few minutes after 2 a. m., and arrived in the vicinity of the railroad about 10 a. m., having in the mean time met a scouting party of rebels and several stragglers, of which the company of the First Tennessee, under Lieut. Couch, captured 5; but some of this scouting party, and also some stragglers of the enemy, having escaped, I deemed it best to vary from my instructions and strike the railroad farther west, thinking that they would have warning of our approach at Morrison, and that the train would be stopped before it got there. I accordingly went down the road, but out of sight through the woods, until I arrived within a mile of Lick Spittle.[13] Leaving my command in the woods, I took 5 or 6 men, with axes, and went within 200 yards of the road, on foot, ready to tear up the track as soon as the train passed. While in this position, the train's whistle was heard within about a mile of us. We remained in this position a sufficient length of time for it to come along, but it failing to do so, I then made another detour around the place (Lick Spittle), striking the road just west of it as quickly as we could, but the train had gone back to Manchester. I then went up the road toward McMinnville; destroyed one bridge at this point, 7 miles from Manchester, and all the others between there and Morrison, except one or two small ones that would have been too difficult, and consumed too much time to burn.

At Morrison I burned one locomotive and three cars that had been run out from McMinnville, and also the railroad depot at this place. I encamped that night at Mr. Snelling's, some 2½ miles northeast of Morrison, and joined the rest of the cavalry at McMinnville early the next morning, since which time nothing requiring special report from me has occurred.

My command marched fully 45 miles on this day (21st instant). On arriving in the vicinity of the big trestle near Morrison, I sent word to the commanding officer of the Second Kentucky Cavalry, through my adjutant, that he was relieved from my command, and free to go wherever he had been ordered. The officer in command, Capt. [O.] Star, then came to me and said that Capt. [J. D.] Wickliffe, the officer who started out in command, and who had special instructions from the commanding general, was sick; that the men had only two days' rations; that their horses were very tired (which was the case, they having come at good speed for 6 or 8 miles that day), and that he, Capt. Star, did not think the expedition could be carried out. I gave him to understand that he was at perfect liberty to do as he chose, but I advised him to keep along with me, for I thought, and still think, that the expedition would have been a failure in the then disturbed state of the country. Capt. Wickliffe had fallen from his horse before getting to the road. Some letters having fallen out of his pocket, and having caught the attention of my provost-marshal, he brought them to me. They were addressed to persons within the Confederate lines. In the hurry of the moment, I directed the provost-marshal to take charge of him until further orders. When I found that these were letters given Capt. Wickliffe by persons in Kentucky, to be sent by him to the Confederate lines, under flag of truce, I released him from arrest, but turned the letters over to Col. Minty.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ELI LONG, Col., Cmdg. Second Cavalry Brigade.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 274-275.




            20, Skirmish, Waterhouse's Mill

APRIL 19-20, 1864.-Skirmishes at Waterhouse's Mill and Boiling Springs, Tenn.


No. 1.-Col. Edward M. McCook, Second Indiana Cavalry, commanding First Cavalry Division, Army of the Cumberland.

No. 2.-Col. Oscar H. La. Grange, First Wisconsin Cavalry, commanding Second Brigade.

No. 1.

Report of Col. Edward M. McCook, Second Indiana Cavalry, commanding First Cavalry Division, Army of the Cumberland.

HDQRS. FIRST CAVALRY DIVISION, Cleveland, Tenn., April 20, 1864.

GEN.: I have the honor to report that Lieut. Hill, of my staff, with 15 men, attacked and routed 27 of the First Tennessee (rebel) Cavalry near Waterhouse's, wounding 2 and taking 1 prisoner. Last evening about 8 o'clock a small party of our scouts had a skirmish with about 20 of the enemy at Boiling Springs, about 5 miles above Spring Place, on Charleston and Spring Place road. They drove the rebels back and killed 2 of their horses. My pickets report all quiet in their front.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

EDWARD M. McCOOK, Col., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 672.


No. 2.

Report of Col. Oscar H. LaGrange, First Wisconsin Cavalry, commanding Second Brigade.

CLEVELAND, TENN., April 22, 1864.

CAPT.: I respectfully report that the scouting party detailed from Second Brigade on 21st proceeded to Waterhouse's Mill, where it remained until 1 o'clock this morning, when it was equally divided, one party under Lieut.-Col. Stewart proceeding directly down the Spring Place road, and the other crossing into the old Federal road and describing an arc, intersecting the Cleveland and Spring Place road at a point 29 miles from Cleveland, equidistant from Boiling Springs and Spring Place, and behind the camp of a scouting party of 32 rebels. A mistake in regard to the distance to be traveled by the second party prevented the junction agreed upon, and Lieut.-Col. Stewart, attacking directly in front at daylight, notwithstanding the disadvantageous circumstances, captured a captain, a lieutenant, and 12 men without loss. The peculiarly favorable position of the enemy renders this trifling success creditable to himself and his men.

* * * *

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

O. H. LAGRANGE, Col., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, pp. 672-673.

            20, "Larnin's only for rich folks." Elvira Powers' visit to the Refugee Home in Nashville

Visited the Refugee Home…this P. M….As I entered one room, a woman was bustling about in a great passion, and picking up a few personal rags, while ordering her son to get up and they would find a place to stay where shouldn't be "set to do niggar's [sic] work!" [sic]

She was a healthy, strong woman, and had been repeatedly requested to make her own and son's bed, and assist in sweeping or cooking for the numerous inmates. Indeed, I think she had received a gentle hint that it might be as well to see that her son and herself have clean linen as often as once in two or three weeks, and that the use of a comb occasionally would not detract from personal appearance. But she had her own peculiar ideas, obtained from living under the domination of a peculiar institution, and didn't fancy being dictated to in the delicate matter of her personelle. [sic]

Upon entering what is called the lecture-room we saw several families and parts of families, which had within two hours arrived on the trains from Alabama or Georgia.

I found that some of these snuff-dipping, clay-colored, greasy and uncombed ladies "from Alabam and Gorgee," [sic] are as expert marksmen as any of our northern exquisites, as the deposit the "terbaker" juice most beautifully into and around any knot-hole or crack in the floor, and while they are at a distance of several feet. Its wonderful how they do it-I am afraid I should never be able to learn. [emphasis added]

We approach one woman who is standing by a rough board bunk, upon and around which are several children overcome by the fatigue of travelling. She, unlike the generality, is neatly dressed in a clean dark calico and sunbonnet, and wears a cheerful and intelligent look. She informs us that these are all her children-six of them, that her husband is in the Union army, only a few miles out, that he had sent for to come here, and she expects to see him in a few days. She cannot write, for she hasn't been to school a day in her life, and she says: --[sic]

"An' that thar's suthin' you people hev' up north, thet we don't. Poor folks that, hev' a chance to give thar children some larnin'; but them that owns plantations down our way don't give poor folks a chance. Larnin's only for rich folks. [emphasis added] But my children shan't grow up to not know no more nor that father nor thar mother, ef I kin' help it. Ef this war don't close so's to make it better for poor folks down har, we'll go north. Thar's a woman what kin' write," she adds with an admiring glance to the other side of the room, "an' she's writin' a letter for me to my husband."

We glance that way, and see a youngish woman, whose entire clothing evidently consists of one garment, a dress which is colored with some kind of bark. She sits in conscious superiority, scarcely deigning to notice up, as we approach, while she is carefully managing the writing with one eye, while her head is turned half way from it, so that the ashes or coal, from the long pipe between her lips, may not fall upon the paper. Her air and manner are evidently intended to be regal, for isn't she the woman "what kin' write!" [sic] [emphasis added]

At a little distance sat a hale, broad-shouldered, stalwart man, who looked as if he were able to do the work of half a dozen common men, who inquired of us, where "Hio [sic] was-if 'twas in Illinois"-and whether if he went to either of those placed he would be "pressed into the service." In reply, we informed the gentleman that "Ohio was not in Illinois," but if he went to either, he would probably have to stand his chance of being drafted, together with other good loyalists-with the physicians, lawyers, editors, and ministers. He did not reply to that, but his look spoke eloquently.

"For a lodge in some vast wilderness,--

Some boundless contiguity of shade"

Where war and draft not come."

Miss Ada M., the Matron of the Refugee Home, was, in our room this eve, and said that she was yesterday preparing some sewing for some young Misses, who were conversing earnestly about the Yankees. Finding their ideas rather erroneous with regard to that class of people, she made a remark to the effect that she was one herself.

"Why, you aint a Yankee?" [sic] exclaimed a Miss of fifteen dropping her work in bland astonishment.

"Yes, indeed, I am," was the reply.

"Why," said the girl, with remarkably large eyes, "I've allays hearn [sic] tell that the Yankees has horns, and one eye in the middle of their foreheads! [sic]

Powers, Pencillings, pp. 54-59.

            20, Federal reconnaissance, Mossy Creek to Dandridge

MOSSY CREEK, April 20, 1864.


Two companies of cavalry reported to me. One left this morning with the reconnaissance to Dandridge, which will be pushed from here toward Sevierville as far as safety and rations will permit. From all the information I can gather, no ford of Holston between Strawberry Plains and Morristown is practicable.

H. M. JUDAH, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg. Division.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, p. 425.

            20, Parson Brownlow's opinion of East Tennessee's aristocracy

PARSON BROWNLOW EXTABLISHINT A PROPER LEVES-Parson Brownlow is gradually recovering from his illness. He seems destined to fulfil his intention to live and see this rebellion crushed. That he is at present "alive and kicking" the following article from his paper will sufficientkly attest:

"For forty years Eastern Tennessee has been cursed with an aristocracy, whose conscientiousness of superiority has been sticking out whenever a family has owned from three to the kinky headed negroes." [emphasis added]

Desert News, April 20, 1864

            20, The "Disorganizers:" Union Secessionists in East Tennessee

Political Movements in East Tennessee.

We have already noted the call of a few disorganizers and traitors in and around Knoxville, for a convention of that place, which purported to be issued "by authority," but was in reality only another effort of the officers of an old and [illegible] convention that met in East Tennessee in 1861. Under this call, however, a meeting was held in Knoxville on the 17th of March, which resulted in a decision to reassemble the old convention at Knoxville on the 12th of this month, where it was expected by the leaders in the movement most of the counties and districts in the disaffected portion of the State would be represented.

As the purposes of these traitor accords with the designs of the Federal Government at Washington, we presume a most important and momentous movement, involving great changes in the political position of the State, were inaugurated. It was expected the Knoxville meeting, on the 12th, would assume all the functions of a constitutional convention, and assert its power and capacity to alter the organic law, as it now stand, divide the State, and in general to exercise unrestricted control of East Tennessee, and organize it into a separate State government. And, to coincide with the programmed of its fanatics at Washington, slavery would be abolished of course, though Tennessee was exempted from the operations of Lincoln's emancipation proclamation.

Another feature of the plans of the schemers engaged in this revolutionary movement is the repudiation of all the debts contracted in the name of the State, by the executive and legislative authorities, for the purpose of arming and equipping men for the armies of the Confederacy, and of placing the state on a war footing. In this action they may temporarily succeed in affecting the banks, the public bonds, and disturbing the status of the school bonds, etc., but it can only be temporary. So many millions of dollars of public securities cannot be laced in a doubtful position long by such an unauthorized assemblage. Holders, as well as dealers, in such securities, will easily recognize the acts of these men, in this direction, to be unwarranted, and no great harm will ultimately result form their action.

Supported by Federal bayonets, as they will be, the disorganizers will probably meet with more success in their project of dividing the State, as Virginia has been divided. A few of the people of East Tennessee, and many of the ambitions and unscrupulous leaders, who desired to create additional cozy berths for their on comfort and enjoyment, have favored such a movement for years, but were thwarted in their scheme by the controlling influence of the balance of the State. The present, however, is their opportunity, and we will expect they will go through all forms of dismemberment. The manner in which the constitutions of Virginia and the United States were evades at Wheeling-if that can be said to be an evasion which is a downright violation-will be a precedent which, under all the circumstances is not likely to be overlooked by the meeting. Gentlemen recently from that section inform us they boldly declared their purpose of assuming to act for the whole State, and ordering the election of a Legislature, which it was expected would in turn consent to a division of the State. After which the expected to elect a new Legislature, and proceed to act for the new State thus created, following the example of West Virginia in alternately being the whole and a part of the State, in order to appear to meet the requirements of the constitution.

It is a matter of regret to Tennessee, and particularly to the true men of the eastern division of the State, who number thousands in our armies and among the refugees in the South, that these disorganizers have the opportunity of enacting their contemplated farce. Under the circumstances that have the chance of making as big fools of themselves as they choose, and they will be supported in their performance by their masters at Washington. The withdrawal of our troops from East Tennessee, of which we are advised, gives them full sway, and we may expect some performances of the most approved mountebank order. Under the circumstances we hope the will ventilated themselves fully, and develope [sic] their treasonable schemes to the farthest extent. We would desire they should be placed undeniably upon the record. For the position of affairs will not long remain as it is; the dark clouds that now lover over our noble State will yet be dispersed, when the day of rebellion will come. Let them make up their record as they will now, it will be indisputable evidence among them, hereafter, when the political control of the State shall revert to the hands of her true sons, as it will. These can recognize no such illegal action as is contemplated by the discontents at home, and will not be slow in melting our proper rewards to the traitors, at the proper time.

Memphis Daily Appeal, April 20, 1864. [14]

            20, Guarding Cumberland Gap

April 20th 1864

…I believe I told you that we had moved our camp through the gap. We are lying here very quiet, the rebels (with the exception of a few scouting parties) have left for parts unknown. A few days since, a noted guerilla, Capt. Reynolds with 15 of his gang were captured by a squad of the 3rd Ind. Cav. They have long been the terror of the section. They were robbing and murdering all Union citizens who resisted the conscription but their cause is now ended and Reynolds will very likely swing on the same gallows that he caused to be erected at Knoxville where he hung several Union men about a year ago.

~ ~ ~

Bentley Letters.

            20 – 21, Belle Edmondson learns she is to be banished beyond Federal lines

April, Wednesday 20, 1864

Tate and I arrived in Memphis quite early, put the horse up, then walked up street together, met Nannie and Anna Perkins. Nannie gave me two letters, one from St. Louis to Mrs. Welch, an exile in LaGrange, Ga. one from New York from a stranger, asking assistance to through me to communicate with Mrs. Van Hook at Selma, Ala-I received a letter from Maj. Price at Selma, by Mrs. Flaherty. I dined with Mrs. Jones, and Mrs. Kirk-went round for Hat after dinner, she went with me to see Capt. Woodward, to know what I must do in regard to an order which I heard was issued for my arrest-he advised me to keep very quiet until he could see the Provost Marshall and learn something in regard to it. I came to Mrs. Facklen's, although she has a house full of Yankees boarding with her-they seem to be very gentlemanly, Dr. Irwin and Dr. Sommers, the latter has his family, Wife and two children-We spent a pleasant evening at Chess &c. Mrs. Facklen has been very fortunate in her selection of boarders-

* * * *

April, Thursday 21, 1864

I went round according to appointment, met Capt. Woodward at 11 o'clock. Col. Patterson went with me. Capt. W. had not seen the Provost Marshall, he went as soon as I left, came round to Mrs. Facklen's after dinner, and brought bad news….he could not treat me as the order read-it was issued from old Hurlbut, I was to be arrested and carried to Alton [Ohio] on first Boat that passed-for carrying letters through the lines, and smugling [sic], and aiding the Rebelion [sic] in every way in my power-he sent me word I must not think of attending Jennie Eave's wedding, or go out of doors at all, he would be compelled to arrest me if it came to him Officially, but as my Father was a Royal Arch Mason, and I a Mason, he would take no steps, if I would be quiet. Mrs. Facklen, Mr. & Mrs. Goodwyn, Mr. Leach and Dr. Irwin all went to the wedding-I staid at home, and spent the evening with Mrs. Summers, and the Dr. They were very pleasant, and not the least bitter in their feeling towards the South, ah! but they are Yankees, I can't forget it when with them. [emphasis added]

Diary of Belle Edmondson




            20, Mopping up against guerrillas, Rutledge and Talbot's Station in East Tennessee

No circumstantial reports filed.

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 90. HDQRS. DISTRICT OF EAST TENNESSEE, Knoxville, Tenn., April 20, 1865.

I. Col. Joseph H. Parsons, commanding Ninth Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry, will order a company of his regiment to proceed immediately to Talbott Station for the purpose of pursuing and chastising the guerrilla band which attacked and destroyed the train near that place yesterday. No quarter will be given to these or any band of guerrillas infesting that region of country. [emphasis added]

II. A company of the Ninth Tennessee Cavalry will be selected by the colonel of the regiment to proceed to the town of Rutledge on Sunday, the 23d instant, for the purpose of protecting the loyal citizens at that place and neighborhood during the session of the court to be held there during the coming week.

III. The commanding officer of these detachments will be held responsible for the conduct of their men and must permit no depredations upon private property to be committed. All supplies procured for the troops must be properly receipted [sic] for on the proper blank forms.

IV. The Seventh Indiana Battery Light Artillery (dismounted) is hereby assigned to the Fourth Division, Department of the Cumberland, and will take post at Sweet Water, Tenn., and relieve the Tenth Ohio Battery, which will proceed with its guns to London, Tenn., and report to the commanding officer of that post for duty. The Seventh Indiana Battery will be assigned to a brigade by orders from division headquarters.

* * * *

By command of Maj.-Gen. Stoneman:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. II, p. 420.

            20, News of the Lincoln assassination assessed by a Bolivar school girl

....Report is confirmed as to Abraham Lincoln's assassination also Seward's. It is supposed by Yankees to be Booth the great tragedian. The tragedy surpasses any ever known before, even Caesar's. Dressed Warren's doll this evening. Finished the skirt of blue checked gingham also....

Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress.



[1]John C. Spence, A Diary of the Civil War, (Rutherford County Historical Society: Murfreesboro, 1993). [Hereinafter: Spence Diary.]

[2] The Vigilance Committee was an extra-legal organization dedicated to rooting out all anti-secessionist citizens and sentiment in Memphis, using tactics of intimidation, violation of privacy and outright terror such as whipping and lynching. Their activities were not legal, but were tolerated, if not promoted, by the city government. Similar vigilance groups formed in Nashville, Clarksville, Knoxville and Chattanooga. See: James B. Jones, Jr., "'The Reign of Terror of the Safety Committee Has Passed Away Forever': A History of Committees of Safety and Vigilance in West and Middle Tennessee, 1860-1862," West Tennessee Historical Society Papers, Vol. LXIII, 2009, pp.1-29.



[5] Sources offering independent corroboration of this unique story have not yet been located. There is probably more truth to the deaths by small pox than deaths resulting from the reported mutiny.

[6] Apparently the governor's remains were never found.

[7] As cited in:

[8] As cited in PQCW.

[9] Simon Perkins, Jr. Papers, TSL&A, Roll 20, Mfm 1527. [Hereinafter cited as: Simon Perkins, Jr. Papers.]

[10] These orders to Major-General J. J. Reynolds indicate the precise nature of the planning of a campaign of the sort which took place April 20-30, 1863. The purpose of the operation was to eliminate the possibility of Confederate attack from the rear during the Tullahoma, or Middle Tennessee, Campaign of June, 1863.

[11] That region running roughly between Liberty and Lebanon.

[12] The fact that Reynold's expedition was composed of nearly 6,600 soldiers may well have had an influence upon the responses that were received. It is difficult to deny a large force of armed and hostile troops whatever it wants. On the other hand, Reynolds' reflections may have been correct, that there class consciousness did exist and animosities which heretofore have been ignored as being in conflict with a tradition of Confederate solidarity. See: Fred Arthur Bailey, Class and Tennessee's Confederate Generation, The Fred W. Morrison Ser. in Southern Studies, (University of North Carolina Press; Chapel Hill, 1987), pp. 45-76, for an enlightening and articulate discussion of class consciousness in Tennessee's Confederate generation.

[13] This was most likely the community of "Lick Skillet" which is today the town of Summitville, Coffee County. Whether Colonel Long's error calling it "Lick Spittle," was accidental or not is not known.

[14] Valley of the Shadow.


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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