Thursday, April 28, 2016

Notes from Civil War Tennessee, April 28, 1861 – 1865.

Notes from Civil War Tennessee,

 April 28, 1861 – 1865.





28, "The performance of divine service is rare in jail." A plea to reform the Memphis city jail and bring the Gospel to its prisoners

A Visit to Jail.

Many of our readers will remember that some two years ago the Appeal took the initiative in calling attention to the horrible state of our city jail. [emphasis added] The portion appropriated to the chain gang was especially a dark, noisome division of dungeons, filthy in the extreme, almost deprived of air, and altogether unfit for anything but the receptacle of lost souls in the dominions of man's direst enemy. [emphasis added] The upper portion of the edifice was little better, the disadvantages of the place necessarily arising from its ill construction—the result of a plan the grossest ignorance could alone ever atone for having been adopted—were increased by the gloom arising from walls covered with cobwebs and almost innocent of contact with a whitewash brush. [emphasis added] A day or two ago, for the first time since Mr. Jackson has filled the office of jailor, we went over the place, and never was our gratification more complete than when we saw the change that had taken place. The chain gang were no longer barred within the confines of dismal and loathsome dungeons, [emphasis added] but were in roomy, clean, light and airy quarters, from windows of which there is a splendid view up and down the river. These rooms were formerly the residence of the jailor; Mr. Jackson gave them up to the use of prisoners, so that they might be rescued from the living tomb in which "man's inhumanity to man" had beforetime enclosed them. The whole jail is now clean [emphasis added] —every board of the floors is well scrubbed, the cobwebs are banished, the walls are well white-washed, the dreadful stench that used at times to make even the turnkeys vomit, [emphasis added]  as they themselves have assured us, was nearly imperceptible. The narrow corridors, confined gratings and scanty supply of air, together with the bad sewerage and miserable provisions for some important points of cleanliness, make it impossible that the present building can ever be all that it ought to be in this respect. [emphasis added] We were not only impressed with the difference in point of cleanliness and the arrangement of the different articles in the various cells, but also, and to even a greater degree, with the respectful and orderly behavior of the prisoners, which afforded a great contrast from what we have, in former times, seen in the same place. We saw evidences that a firm but kind hand held the rule. We regretted to learn that no systematic effort is made by the religious portion of the public of Memphis to supply the spiritual wants of the prisoners. [emphasis added] The weary days pass on, the tedious nights roll slowly by, and the Sunday passes like the rest, except that "the sound of the church-going bell" tells the incarcerated that the followers of him who loves those who visit the distressed that are sick and in prison, are going where they will pray for "all prisoners and captives" whom they rarely help. The performance of divine service is rare in jail. [emphasis added] A Sundays since, the Rev. E. E. Porter, of Chelsea, held a service, and there is every reason to believe that it was acceptable to the prisoners. Good order was preserved, and most of the men manifested an attention and reverent demeanor. Mr. Thomas, a colporteur,[1] has visited the prison and promised to supply it with books. We hope the promise will be kept. We respectfully suggest to the religious public, that men who lie in jail for months, and even one or two years, should not be left without religious ministrations. Cannot some effort be made in their behalf? Shall negroes, Indians, and orientals learn from our missionaries the glorious news of salvation, and the poor prisoner in our midst be left to perish in the midst of Christians and churches? [emphasis added] Mr. Jackson's assistants in his important duties are Messrs. J. F. Meyers, A. J. Ward and D. L. Porter, who are kind in their behavior to those beneath their care. We hope the time will come when Memphis will tear down the place in which her prisoners are confined, and rear a building that shall possess the requisites of air, light, comfort and safety, not one of which is secured in the present edifice. [emphasis added] In the meantime, we are gratified to find that the present jailor is doing the best for the comfort of his prisoners that the existing miserable abortion of a building will admit.

Memphis Daily Appeal, April 28, 1861.

            28, Call for public assistance for the families of Confederate volunteer soldiers

Families of Volunteers.—In most cities a generous patriotism has liberally provided for the families of those whose devotion to the southern cause leads them away from wife and children. This subject must not be lost sight of in Memphis. Men who pour out their blood in our defense must not have the ardor of the battle damped with a fear that their loved ones are a prey to want. [emphasis added] What says our city council on this subject, and what say our citizens generally. Let us have appropriations, and subscriptions.

Memphis Daily Appeal, April 28, 1861.





            28, Skirmish near Monterey

APRIL 28, 1862.-Skirmish near Monterey, Tenn.

Reports of Maj. Gen. John Pope, U. S. Army.


[SIR:] Both roads are good; need short bridges and corduroys in places.

Sent out five companies of cavalry this morning; met 150 of enemy's cavalry foraging; brisk skirmish[2] and chase. Enemy lost 5 killed (1 major) and 19 prisoners. Our loss none. Small force, about 2,000, at Monterey, with one or two light batteries. My whole force up and in hand. I do not know exactly the position of Buell's force. My pickets connect through Elliott with Thomas. Am all ready to move forward.

Have you received my dispatch of this morning in relation to movement on Farmington with strong force? I think there is no considerable force of enemy on any road this side of Corinth.

JNO. POPE, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, p. 453.

            28, Confederate orders to prepare to burn all boats in government service


Memphis, Tenn., April 28, 1862.

* * * *

II. All boats in Government employ will be burned or otherwise destroyed, if necessary, to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy.

* * * *

By order of Maj.-Gen. Earl Van Dorn:

(Copy to Capt. Gunnels, commanding Third Louisiana Regt. [sic], Capt. Stewart, [and] captain of each steamboat in port.)

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. II, p. 458.

            28, Imprisonment of East Tennessee Unionists & desertion from the ranks of the Army of Tennessee in the Cumberland Gap environs


Gen. S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector Gen., Richmond, Va.

GEN.: I have the honor to report that a portion of the Fourth Regt. [sic] Tennessee Volunteers (Col. Morgan) will leave to-day for Milledgeville, Ga., in charge of Union prisoners. The officer of the detachment is directed to report afterward with his command to the military authorities at Savannah, Ga. In more than one communication Brig.-Gen. Stevenson has reported many desertions from this regiment to the enemy and urged its removal from Cumberland Gap. [emphasis added] Because of this and the general character of the regiment for disloyalty I have thought it best to send it beyond the limits of this department. Being thus removed beyond the influence of friends in the ranks of the enemy it is thought these men may make loyal and good soldiers. [emphasis added]  I trust my action in this matter will meet the approval of the Department.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. KIRBY SMITH, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 1, p. 886.

            28, Jurisdictional limits


Brig. Gen. D. LEADBETTER, Cmdg., &c., Chattanooga, Tenn.:

A citizen cannot be tried by a military court for an offense committed in a district before the declaration of martial law. [emphasis added] The offender will be held for trial by some court in Georgia having jurisdiction of the case. This decision of the Attorney-Gen. does not apply in cases where soldiers who are not citizens are upon trial.

H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 1, p. 886.

            28, A. J. Campbell's failed mission to force Mrs. Andrew Johnson and Mrs. Carter into exile

JONESBOROUGH, TENN., April 28, 1862.

Col. W. M. CHURCHWELL, Provost-Marshal.

SIR: My mission to Mrs. Johnson was unsatisfactory. She said she would not go North but Judge Patterson and her son Charles have assured me that she would go. [emphasis added]  You will please state what goods and chattels she will be allowed to take with her; also how much money and if you are willing that her son Charles shall accompany her. He is a young unmarried gentleman and I think should go with his mamma. Mrs. Carter will go unhesitatingly but has a sick child just now but can go in a few days. She says she has not the funds. She is in bad health and must take a nurse with her, a slave. [emphasis added]  You will answer by 12 o'clock.


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 1, p. 887.

            28, "Affairs at Nashville."

Beersheba Springs, Tenn.

April 28, 1862

Editors Memphis Appeal:

I have just returned from Nashville. A perfect reign of terror exists there. [emphasis added] Andy Johnson says the people of Tennessee need expect nothing from here.

If you remember, Johnson, in his speech at Nashville, thanked the ladies for their attention. There were just four women present on that occasion. Two of them were Dutch singing teachers, one an old blind Irish woman, and one a Yankee "g'hal"--I supposed so from her dress.

The officers have their families with them. The women are common, [emphasis added] red-haired, grey-eyed specimens of Yankeedom--diminutive bonnets, large hoops and Balmoral skirts. Leather gloves are all the rage.

Almost every lady in Nashville is a secessionist. There are a very few, however, of the lower class, who are against us. They have nothing to lose, and are probably related in some way to those miserable wretches. [emphasis added] I could write you a number of amusing incidents, but shall not tire your patience.


Memphis Appeal, May 9, 1862[3]

            28, Pikes and the Methodist Publishing House

Publishing House-The Nashville Book Concern.-Our Nashville correspondent gives a sadly graphic account of the doings of the Methodist Publishing House at Nashville in its efforts to add fuel to the flame of rebellion. Under the pretext of serving that God whose son was given to the world as the harbinger of "peace on earth and good will toward man," its officers have converted its rooms into armories, and we have now in our office one of the tracts which they were preparing to send out, in the shape of a pike, which was seized, with five hundred others of the same sort, on its premises. [emphasis added] The exposure of our correspondent is crushing, and the effrontery of the Concern, in asking facilities from the Government they have abused and imperiled, exceeds anything which ever came under our observation.

Louisville Daily Journal, April 28, 1862. [4]

            28, Report on Confederate Conscription in East Tennessee and consequent wide scale migration, as cited in the Boston Daily Advertiser:


….The Richmond Dispatch of April 28 says: -

"Our accounts from East Tennessee represent that the conscription act has occasioned an intense commotion among the milk-and-water patriots of East Tennessee. Whole counties are rising up and moving towards Kentucky. [emphasis added]  Such is the harvest that springs from the teaching of that double-dyed traitor (well called Apollyon[5]) Brownlow. Gen. Smith is doing what he can to arrest the stampede, but as a correspondent informs us, it is like 'damming up the Nile with bulrushes.'"

Boston Daily Advertiser, May 3, 1862





            28, General Joseph E. Johnston's continued anxieties relative to procuring food for the Army of Tennessee

TULLAHOMA, April 28, 1863

Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War:

SIR: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 17th instant. The difficulty of procuring subsistence stores in the country is increasing fast. Corn is still abundant 40 or 50 miles to the west, but its transportation requires much time. Meat is procured in small quantities beyond the enemy's flanks, but at great risk, over routes lying near his positions. This risk is becoming greater daily, the enemy's entrenchments and superior numbers enabling him to make detachments safely. The large Federal force now approaching Decatur will probably increase these advantages very soon.

It would be very difficult I think, to make purchases in Kentucky with cotton, on account of the long distance from our railroad to the Kentucky line. Where that exchange is permitted, it should be under such circumstances as to enable the Government to keep it out of the hands of individuals. That trade has subjugated our people where-ever they have engaged in it.

Should this army be compelled to abandon Middle Tennessee, its position for the defense of East Tennessee will be extremely unfavorable, as its communications will be from the flanks instead of to the rear. Such a defense would be impossible against an enterprising enemy; hence the great importance of Gen. Bragg's holding his present position, and hence my applying, more than once, for re-enforcements for him. [emphasis added]

I have been informed that a considerable quantity of bacon may be procured for sugar. An officer has therefore been sent to attempt to make the exchanges. [emphasis added]

In writing to the President on the 11th instant, being then, as now, unfit for service in the field, I suggested that if conference with Gen. Bragg was still desired, a confidential officer should be sent to his headquarters for the purpose.

* * * *

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, pp. 799.

            28, "Clairvoyance for One Week Only."

Madame Cora James will be found at her rooms on Second street between Madison and Monroe streets, where she is daily astonishing people of the highest rank by her  [emphasis added] wonderful predictions by clairvoyance in all things [emphasis added]  pertaining to the past, the present, and the future. All who wish to learn the final [sic] result of this war, and hear from absent friends, or investigate matters of importance, should avail themselves of this opportunity and come at once. Soldiers. Learn your doom! Don't defer so important a matter. – Madam Cora James' predictions are true and interesting. [emphasis added]  Rooms at (recently called) Bluff City House.

Memphis Bulletin, April 28, 1863

            28, "A Clergyman Before the Provost Marshal."

Hardly a day passes that is not replete with incidents which take place before Provost Marshal Colonel Smith, which at the same time convince us that no other officer could be selected for District Provost Marshal as good as Colonel Smith. The Colonel makes it as invariable rule to recognize but two classes among those who make applications for favors; they are citizens of the United States and rebels, each of which are treated according to their merits. One day last week a reverend gentleman, whose name we at the present omit made application to Colonel Smith for a pass to go North of the city – we believe Niagara Falls was the future place of his destination – stating that he lived in the State of Tennessee, and owing to the scarcity of food and other necessaries of life, he desired to go north of Memphis.

After Colonel Smith had ascertained the reverend gentleman's name and a few other lading facts (necessary in case a pass was given him) when the following colloquy occurred:

"Are you a citizen of the United State," Col. Smith enquired.

"I am a citizen of the State of Tennessee and have been so for several years," replied Reverend

"Perhaps you understand what I mean by the term citizen of the United States, Col. Smith said, "I mean are you loyal."

"Now, sir," said the clergyman, "I do not understand what you mean by the world "loyal." It is a new word to me as I read the Constitution of the Federal Government. If you wish to know my position as a man I will here reply that I am perfectly neutral, perfectly neutral, sir." Our revened [sic] friend closed his remarks with a gesture that seemed to say I have completely "vanquished you, sir."

Col. Smith rose to his feet, and with a look that indicated he meant business, said "My friend, you are a minister of the gospel, are you not" to which the Rev. Mr. ___replied "That he thanked God he was."

"Well, Sir," continued the colonel, "do you not preach the doctrine that mankind, in order to inherit eternal life or damnation, must obey either God or the Devil?"

"I do," replied the clergyman.

"Now, sir," said Col. Smith, "I am a minister of the Federal law in this district, and as such reach precisely the same principle in relation to law that you do in regard to the gospel. You, sir, must either serve the Federal Government with all your soul, body, and mind, or Jeff. Davis and his hosts. "Which will you do?"

This was putting the matter in a different light from what the reverend gentleman had anticipated, and as a natural consequence was at a loss for a few moments for a reply; he stood speechless, having more the looks of a ghost than a human being. He was startled from his reverie by Col. S. repeating the question. The clergyman relied he could not answer just at that moment, and retired from Col Smith's office a wiser and we hope a better man.

Memphis Bulletin, April 28. 1863.

            28, New York Times War Dispatch


Surprise and Capture of Another Rebel Post.

A Number of Rebels Taken Prisoner.

Horses, Mules, Medical Stores, &c., Secured.

Rumored Shooting of Bragg by Breckenridge.

Nashville, Tenn., Monday April, 27.

A part of Gen. Green Clay Smith's brigade, consisting of 250 cavalry, [emphasis added]  commanded by Col. Watkins of the Sixth Kentucky, it is reported, this morning made a dash upon the rebel camp of the First Texas Legion, eight miles South [sic] of Franklin, on Carter's Creek Pike, and captured 128 rebels, including three Captains, five Lieutenants, the same number of horses, fifty mules, one ambulance loaded with medical stores, and burned eight wagons and the arms of the rebels. [emphasis added]  Col. Brooks, commanding the rebel camp, was captured, but subsequently escaped. The rebels formed a part of Gen. Whitfield's brigade. The latter is a Tennessean, and a native of Franklin, who acquired some notoriety in Kansas a few years since. Five rebels were mortally wounded. There were no casualties on our side. The prisoners arrived here to-night.

Thirty-three hundred citizens, male and female, have taken the oath, giving bond to Gen. Mitchell [in Nashville].

Capt. C. L. S. Medill, of the Twenty-first Illinois, Judge Advocate in the trial of the Anders troop[6], died suddenly to-day, of pneumonia, at the St. Cloud Hotel.

A startling rumor is current to-night that General Bragg was shot and instantly killed by Gen. Breckinridge, at Tullahoma, yesterday.

A small party of rebels attacked the Louisville train from this city to-day. The rebels killed two prisoners. No damage was done to the track.

* * * *

New York Times, April 28, 1863.

            28, "DESERTED."

Some four or five says since, the first lieutenant of company A, 16th Illinois infantry, by the name of Elliot, and the sergeant major of the same regiment, whose name is Lagrange, took it into their heads that they had served Uncle Abe as long as was profitable to the government and conducive to their own health, and adapted what they supposed an excellent plan to baring about the desired result. The lieutenant was frequently in the city during the past two weeks, and as was unusual for him, spent a greater portion of his time while here, in visiting such places as led to the suspicion that all was not right. On being closely watched, he was discovered to make large purchases of citizens' clothing, and this being unnecessary for a soldier, he was arrested, charged with making an attempt at desertion. [emphasis added]  His former conduct being above suspicion he was released from custody, and allowed to return to his regiment. Last Wednesday evening he and the sergeant major forged passes and started for the land of guerrillas. [emphasis added] When they came to the officer of the picket, Lieutenant Hogle, their passes were produced, and they gave him as an excuse for going outside of the Federal lines, that they were looking for a deserter, who they expected to capture at a house a short distance from the spot where they were then standing, they at the same time requesting Lieutenant Hogle, if he heard any firing, to at once come to their assistance. About twenty minutes elapsed when the report of firearms was distinctly heard. The lieutenant took two pickets and went toward the spot from whence the sound came, and soon learned that Elliott and Lagrange had gone farther on, and he deeming it not prudent to proceed any further, returned to his post. Had Lieutenant Hogle known that Elliot had been arrested as an attempted deserter, he would have pursued him at all hazards, and ere this the rank and file of company A would have been increased by two men.

Memphis Bulletin, April 28, 1863





            28, Initiation of patrols from Decatur, Alabama, to Clifton, Tennessee

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Huntsville, Ala., April 28, 1864.

Brig. Gen. W. Q. GRESHAM, Cmdg. Forces:

GEN.: Disembark your command at Clifton, Tenn., and remain there, watching the operations of Forrest, and endeavor to counteract him should he attempt to cross the Tennessee River and interfere with our communications.

Brig. Gen. John D. Stevenson will remain in command of the forces at and in the vicinity of Decatur and along the line of the railroad north to Pulaski. Col.'s Rowett and Murphy will patrol the river around from Decatur via Florence to Clifton and below. You will endeavor to keep in communication with Gen. Stevenson, and advise him of everything important in relation to the movements of the enemy which may come to your knowledge.

As soon as you are relieved by another brigade you will push forward and join me via Pulaski and Hunstville. Bring along the cattle if any of them arrive at Huntsville before you leave.

Yours, respectfully,

JAS. B. McPHERSON, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, p. 523.

            28, A Federal sham battle in Lookout Valley; an excerpt from George F. Cram's correspondence

Lookout Valley

April 29, 1864

Dear Mother

* * * *

Yesterday afternoon we had one of the grandest performances that our regiment ever took part in, namely, a division drill and sham fight. The men all went out with thirty rounds of blank cartridges and aiming at the grounds selected for the battle, they were drawn up as follows. The 105th were thrown forward as skirmishers and formed into a double line. At proper intervals behind was the first line of battle consisting of three regiments deployed, extending the line a little over a mile. Behind this line was the second. This was drawn up in column by division, consisting of four regiments. And still behind this line were two regiments at either flank in close column. The artillery were posted on the flanks, taking positions on two small hills, covering our grand advance. First the skirmishing commenced by our regiment and continued till we had advanced about three miles and taken possession of every point. Then the enemy were supposed to be found in force, and our regiment were withdrawn and formed in line with the first line of battle. Now the fight commenced in earnest, and with the first line of battle. Now the fight commenced in earnest, and the quick rapid discharge of musketry soon filled the valley with dense smoke. The artillery firing too was executed beautifully and the booming of the canon echoed from hill to hill and thence to the grim wall of Lookout. Of course, we drove the enemy and took any amount of prisoners, with[out] any loss whatever on our side.

Genls. Thomas, Hooker, Butterfield, Brannan and Whipple were there to witness our movements. Butterfield conducted them.

* * * *

Letters of George F. Cram

            29, Skirmish in Berry[7] County Tennessee

No circumstantial reports filed.





            28, Report of the Office of Inspector-General of Fortifications, Military Division of the Mississippi, relating to Middle Tennessee

NASHVILLE, TENN., April 28, 1865.

Brig. Gen. W. D. WHIPPLE, Assistant Adjutant-Gen. and Chief of Staff:

GEN.: I inclose, for the information of the major-general commanding, my inspection report of the defenses of Bridgeport and of the railroad line thence to Nashville, with accompanying drawings.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brig. Gen. and Insp. Gen. of Fortifications, Mil. Div. of the Miss.



Nashville, Tenn., April 28, 1865.

Maj. Gen. GEORGE H. THOMAS, Cmdg. Mil. Div. of the Miss. West of the Allegheny Mountains:

GEN.: I have the honor to submit the following inspection report of the defenses of Bridgeport and of the railroad line thence to Nashville:

* * * *


Is thirty miles from Stevenson and eighty-two from Nashville and about seven miles from the dividing ridge through which the tunnel passes. The country from Stevenson is closed in by high hills and almost without inhabitants. Decherd is the principal intermediate stopping place between Nashville and Chattanooga, but has no military importance further than that which arises from the necessity of distributing forces at intervals along the line of railroad. One redoubt with a block-house keep would have been sufficient for this place. Its defenses consist of two polygonal breast-high inclosures, respectively 20 feet and 100 feet in diameter, and of a square stockade. These structures are not entitled to the appellation of redoubts. Decherd requires no additional works now.


Five miles from Decherd, the largest stream between Bridgeport and Nashville, is spanned by a bridge 480 feet long, resting upon four stone piers and four wooden trestles. The bridge is protected by two double-cased block-houses, which are sufficient. On a hill about 800 feet distant is a large redoubt with good ditches, built by the soldiers. It has no keep, however, and uncles strongly garrisoned would be rather prejudicial than otherwise to the defenses of the position. Although this bridge could be quickly replaced if destroyed, much inconvenience would have resulted from two days' delay during the Chattanooga campaign. It was necessary, therefore, to protect so large a bridge against raiding detachments and guerrilla bands.


Is six miles from Elk River and sixty-nine from Nashville. Being a large village, a garrison was necessary to control it and the guerrillas of the vicinity. It also covered to some degree the crossings of Elk and Duck

 Rivers, a few miles distant on either side. Near the station is a small stockade, and half a mile distant is a large bastion fort, nearly 300 feet square on the curtain lines, built by the rebels. This fort stands on the general level of the table-land. It has no bomb-proof keep, and its magazines was badly constructed. At each salient and each shoulder angle there is a gun platform, and on the parapet merlons have been raised to cover the gunners. With an interior block-house it would have been a very strong work.


Across Duck River is a bridge 353 feet long resting on twelve trestles. It is protected by a double-cased block-house. For greater security to this important bridge another block-house was commenced last winter. From Tullahoma to Murfreesborough the road required protection from the numerous guerrillas that infested the country. Small garrisons at the stations and in the block-houses at the numerous river crossings guarded the road. The towns being small, no forts were built to control them.


The city of Murfreesborough is situated about one mile and a half southeast of Stone's River. The country round about is generally level, and was formerly populous. One large fort near the city and depot, garrisoned by a regiment, would have controlled the place and neighborhood. A double-cased block-house would have been sufficient to protect the trestle bridge across Stone's River, 218 feet long. While Gen. Rosecrans' army was encamped in the vicinity, Fortress Rosecrans, inclosing 200 acres on either side of Stone's River, was constructed under the direction of Gen. St. Clair Morton, of the Corps of Engineers. This large work is composed of a series of bastion fronts, with small, irregular bastions and broken curtains; or more properly it may be described as consisting of lunettes connected by indented lines, having in the interior four rectangular redoubts, and one lunette as keeps to the position. In large permanent works, with high scarps, the ditches are swept by guns in the flanks, because the depression of the guns prevent the canister-balls from rising above the parapet. In field forts, with ditches only six feet deep and long curtains, opposite flanks cannot fire in the same manner as in permanent works without risk to the defenders; but by breaking the curtain line the ditches are swept by close musketry. This is the manner of flanking the ditches of Fortress Rosecrans. Its lines give powerful cross fires and direct fires, both of artillery and infantry, on all the approaches. Placed on the crests of the elevations, they not only command the distant country, but effectually sweep the gentle slopes within canister-range. This fortress could not be taken except by siege, if properly garrisoned and well defended. The parapets have high commands and when built were well revetted with fascines. The work has many traverses, covering against ricochet fire. Most of the guns are in embrasures, made with gabions. Lunettes Thomas and McCook and the four interior redoubts have large block-houses in the form of a cross. The magazines, except in Fort Brannan, are small. That in Lunette Mitchell is subject to being flooded, and is consequently useless in the wet season. The ditches of the redoubts are not so well preserved as those of the main lines. In fact the exterior slopes of the parapets and the scarps have taken the natural slopes, about 45 degrees. These redoubts, however, are strong against attack, being defended by large keeps, which deliver their fire upon every part of the interior. It requires much labor to keep so large a work in repair; small portions of the parapets have sloughed off, due to frosts and heavy rains. These effects were especially noticeable in Lunettes Mitchell and McCook. Some thirty feet of the parapet revetment of Lunette Thomas had fallen down, when I inspected March 10. Parts of the revetted traverses in Lunette Negley were badly broken down, and I have been informed that the heavy and uncommon rains since have caused some further damage. Temporary field-works are liable to frequent injury by storms. The garrison should keep them in order. Those that have been built for two or three years, of perishable material, must necessarily require repairs; gabions, fascines, boards, and nails, in contact with wet earth and exposed to the air, will decay rapidly, and in consequence parapets and embrasures crumble down and magazines leak. This large work, originally built as a refuge for the army in the event of disaster, is not needed in the present condition of the rebellion. The interior redoubts ought to be kept in order. A small garrison sufficient to hold them will control the neighborhood. At the date of my inspection Fortress Rosecrans was occupied by three artillery companies and mounted fifty-seven guns. The city was held by infantry. The depots were not within the fort. The accompanying drawing is well executed, and shows the positions and lines better than they can be described.


Is fifteen miles and a half from Nashville. It has a redoubt which has not been garrisoned for a long period. In truth the town is desolate and requires no defenses.


Before Hood's invasion there were seven block-houses between Nashville and Murfreesborough to protect the railroad bridges across the streams; six of these were abandoned to avoid the capture of the garrisons, and were in consequence burned by the enemy; the seventh, at Overall's Creek, stood a heavy attack until the enemy were driven away by a sortie from the garrison of Fortress Rosecrans. Between Murfreesborough and Bridgeport there are twenty-nine railroad bridges protected block-houses. These are mostly double-cased. Two large artillery block-houses defend the south bridge over the Tennessee, and ten have been erected to protect the bridges between Bridgeport and Chattanooga. Thus in the line between Nashville and Chattanooga the bridges and trestle-works, whose preservation was essential to the running of the road, have been effectually protected against guerrillas and raiding parties of cavalry by forty-seven block-houses, mostly double-cased. These block-houses always resist and drive off the infantry. Field pieces, unless in numbers, and of the caliber of 12-pounders, cannot reduce them. They have performed a most important service, and it was a very happy application of the double-cased block-house. Had they not been used it would have been necessary to have built small redoubts with single block-houses inside as keeps. The rectangular form of the block-house is defective, as the fire on the capital is a single musket. Those now in process of construction are octagonal. No new defensive works are required on this line. Drawings of Bridgeport, Stevenson, and Murfreesborough accompany this report.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Z. B. TOWER, Inspector-Gen. of Fortifications, Mil. Div. of the Mississippi.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. II, pp. 499-503.

            28, The end of the war is accepted by a Madison County farmer

Lizzie came from school this evening says there is news in town. The substance as she gives it, is that there is to be no more fighting & peace is to be made. If true it would be glorious news, [emphasis added] even considering the future is no easy one....

Robert H. Cartmell Diary.


[1] Colportage is the distribution of publications, books, and religious tracts by carriers called "colporteurs."  The term does not necessarily refer to religious book sales.

[2] i.e., at Middleton.

[3] See also: Southern Confederacy [Atlanta, Georgia], May 21, 1862. As cited in:

[4] As cited in PQCW.

[5] As found in Revelation 9:11, "a destoyer," is the rendering of the Hebrew word Abaddon, "the angel of the bottomless pit."

[6] Anderson's, or the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry, mutinied just prior to the battle of Stones River over a matter associated with their perceived role as a body guard for General Anderson.

[7] OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 6. This was most likely Perry County; even so, the OR offers no further clues because there was no circumstantial report submitted for this skirmish which could help better correct the error. Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee also references a skirmish at Berry County. It is likewise referenced in OR General Index, Vol. I, p. 73. It is, nevertheless, counted in the enumeration.


James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Editor, The Courier

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214


(615)-532-1549  FAX


No comments: