Thursday, October 23, 2014

10.24.2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        24, Excerpt from a letter to U.G. Owen

Cumberland Gap the 24th 1861

Mrs. U. G. Owen

My beloved Wife

* * * *

We expect a fight here soon. General Zollicoffer is retreating back this way. They had a little fight at Rock Castle [River] Ky. He sent an order here last night to place our cannon & have them in Readiness. [sic] We worked all night at that & building breastworks. Col. Churchwell issued an order last evening for all the women to leave the Regiment, the kind of women you saw there at Camp Sneed-bad kind. [1][sic]

Laura you want to come here but if you were here a while you would want to get away. Cold & wet, no house to get in, no fire but a little smoky one out of doors. I would not like for your to be here in that conditions [sic], and I will tell you that we are alarmed here and may have to retreat in a hurry. I don't want you to come here now while there is danger. I can't tell one day where we will be next.

Write me often.

At Present I am in a great hurry. I will write again in a few days.

Your devoted husband

U.G. Owen

Dr. U. G. Owen to Laura, Laura October 24, 1861.

        24, Old apparel in Nashville

We have been gratified at the number of calico dresses, and at the number of old coats, hats, and pantaloons, we have seen in the street lately. Sons and daughters seem to know that their fathers can not do as they wish to and would do under other circumstances. All praise to them. Economy is so near allied, in the opinion of the young and thoughtless, with stinginess and meanness, that appears odious. Our own experience proves that it is one of the most valuable and useful virtues. Ben Franklin says that "he who buys what he does not want, will soon want what he can not buy."

Nashville Daily Gazette, October 24, 1861.[2]

        24, "'Let the waters bring forth abundantly,' and it was done." Nashvillian S. R. Cockrill's unusual memorandum relative to providing fish for Confederate Army

MARIETTA, Ga., October 24, 1863.


Called together as you are by the Secretary of War to aid by your actions and counsels the Subsistence Department, I hope good results may follow your deliberations. I have implicit confidence that our independence will be won by the valor of our troops, but not without much effort and privation. If there be a question about which there is danger, it is the supply of meat for the Army. While we held Middle and East Tennessee there was no danger. At present they are in the possession of the enemy, and it is now uncertain what supply of meat, if any, will be drawn from that quarter. This may interfere materially with your prices, and hence the propriety of embracing all our resources in this terrific conflict. We have men, arms, ammunition, bread, and clothes, and a supply of meat must be had, as we are resolved not to be subjugated. The infamous enemy who invades our country threatens to starve us into submission. God said: "Let the waters bring forth abundantly," and it was done. He gave to man dominion over the fish of the sea. In our rivers, lakes, and bays there is an inexhaustible supply of fish, which in our abundance we have never resorted to. It is the part of wisdom now to look to this providential supply placed beyond the reach and control of the enemy. If driven to the necessity the Army can be fed from the waters. In political economy supply and demand determine prices. The plan to diminish the price of meat for the Army is to increase the supply. As agents for the Government this becomes a legitimate question for your body. How is this to be done? The stock regions are mainly in the hands of the enemy, and in the cotton States we have not time to grow them now to meet what may become an important emergency; that is, a scant supply of meat for the Army. The most certain and ready resource, then, is to assume dominion over the fish of the sea. How is this to be done? I make the following suggestions:

First. By orders from the proper military department detail 10,000 men from the several armies, selected for their fitness for this service, such as disabled soldiers, new conscripts, and men over forty-five (if found necessary), who shall be placed under proper officers at the best fisheries to be found in the Confederacy.

Second. They are detailed as a permanent force to furnish an additional supply of meat for the Army from the waters, by all the appliances used for such purposes, to wit, traps, seines, floats and hooks, trot-lines, nets, spears, gigs, hooks, &c.

Third. The Government to furnish a supply of salt and the fish as caught to be scaled, dressed, and salted. This service can be rendered by women, either white or black, or both.

Fourth. A detail of rough carpenters should be made to make boxes and barrels, and quartermasters to superintend the transportation to depots, &c.

Fifth. Officers in attendance should make reports weekly to higher authorities.

The above is a sufficient outline of the plan. The object is to add to the supply of meat for the Army, thereby enabling you to control the price thereof. An experiment may show that it is economy in the Government thus to employ force enough to furnish half the meat required by the Army. It is the legitimate mode of effecting the price of what is to be bought. If this force should average ten pounds each per day it would give 100,000 pounds per day, which would be rations for an army of 200,000 men. We know that men can live on fish. We know that the supply in the rivers is abundant. We know that industry and system will get them out of the waters. It is too uncertain in the hands of individuals, hence the necessity of organizing a regular force to work at this alone by the Government. They are reliable meat growers. It develops one of the hidden resources of the Confederacy at a time when it is needed. The soldiers of the Army may become alarmed about a meat supply as we are cut off from Tennessee and Kentucky. This should be relieved as soon as possible. Establish the fact that we have a supply of meat in the waters and our independence is won. We can't fail on any other question; we must not fail on this. Bonaparte passed the Alps when the world thought it was impossible. The supply is in the waters beyond doubt, large enough to feed the whole population of the Confederate States, and will we sit down and say we can't get out enough to feed 200,000 men? At many of the fisheries a large quantity of oil could be made-much needed now by the Army. The plan will not interfere with the field force, and its successful execution is recommended by the highest considerations. To insure success, however, I think that if the Secretary of War will give the orders and authority to Gen. Gideon J. Pillow that he will put the whole plan into operation sooner that any man in the Confederate States. He is practical and of untiring energy and industry. He knows how such things can be done. He can direct matters in the Conscript Bureau and attend to this meat supply also. If these views meet the approval of the commissioners I hope they will in their official capacity urge its immediate adoption upon the Secretary of War. I think we have no time to lose.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

S. R. COCKRILL, Nashville, Tenn.


BUREAU OF SUBSISTENCE, November 10, 1863.

Respectfully returned to the Secretary of War.

The writer says correctly that our people have not paid attention to fisheries in the lakes and rivers of the interior, of which the products would scarcely support the hands employed. The shad fisheries on the tide waters of the rivers have been attended to, and the supply has of late years been steadily diminishing because the fish caught were on their way up to spawn. The results of this business have not exceeded local consumption. It was conducted by plantation negroes [sic] and by Yankees. The writer has not shown from Scripture that the promised dominion over the waters and the fishes therein will confer on the 10,000 Confederate invalids and exempts the skill to fabricate all the appliances necessary to catch the fish or the judgment, perseverance, and hardihood requisite to use them successfully, even if the vast amount of cord needed was obtainable. Nor has it been shown that in the absence of these facilities and endowments the promised dominion will cause in the fish a due avidity to be caught, even if the season of the year will admit the present application of the plan. It must also be shown that the promised dominion over the waters will be admitted by Mr. Lincoln in favor of the Confederates, and induce him to prohibit hereafter the boat expeditions which have been used with great activity heretofore to break up the fisheries in the waters of Virginia and North Carolina. This whole subject has long ago been carefully considered, and but little fish has been secured during the past two seasons. The impossibility of getting seines or the cord to make them has restricted our efforts and they have failed. Professor Richardson, of Marietta, made long communications on the subject, and the reports of Maj. White, of Florida, thereon are conclusive. Landsmen often fail in their theories on marine matters from want of familiarity with little details which the experience of seamen alone furnishes. If Gen. G. J. Pillow can realize the results indicated this Bureau will be greatly benefited directly.

L. B. NORTHROP, Commissary-Gen. of Subsistence.

OR, Ser. IV, Vol. 2, pp. 916-918.

        24, Brigadier General John C. Vaughn seeks permission to issue a Confederate proclamation pardoning all East Tennesseans in the Federal service


Morristown, October 24, 1864.

Maj. J. STODDARD JOHNSTON, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.:

MAJ.: I would respectfully call your attention to the propriety of a proclamation being issued, in this immediate department, granting pardon to all East Tennesseeans in the Federal service who will abandon the Federal army lay down their arms, and return to their homes. There are hundreds of East Tennesseeans at home who are willing to quit the U. S. service, provided they are not conscript or arrested and sent away as prisoners of war by the Confederate authorities. Such a course would decimate the Federal army in this department. In fact, I do not think that a regiment would be left in the Federal service if such a privilege was extended to them. I would urge this policy on the Government. I am personally known to the condition of affairs in this respect.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN C. VAUGHN, Brig.-Gen.

[First indorsement.]


Respectfully forwarded, to know if this meets the views of the commanding general.

Gen. Vaughn's personal knowledge of the country and people gives weight to his opinions.


[Second indorsement.]

OCTOBER 31, 1864.


R. E. LEE, Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. III, pp. 847-848.


[1] See August 24, 1861 for a less exact definition.

[2] This phenomenon may well have been a response to the editor's appeal to citizens to wear old clothing as a tactic to drive prices of new clothing down. See September 6, 1861.

[3] Apparently the proclamation was not issued.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-770-1090 ext. 123456

(615)-532-1549  FAX


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

10.23.2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        23, Thomas Menees seeks elective office

To the Voters of Sumner, Cheatham, Montgomery, Stewart, Dickson, Humphreys and Hickman Counties composing the Eighth Congressional District: [sic]

The shortest space of time between the passage of the bill re-districting the State and the day of election for Representatives, to the Confederate Congress, renders it impossible for me to visit you personally. I therefore avail myself of the medium of a circular to make known to you my candidacy for that position; which candidacy I assume in obedience to solicitations of friends from various counties in the district.

At the present time, when party lines have been obliterated there are no political issues to be discusses; and believing as I do, in the wisdom as well as the necessity of the policy of ar [sic] complete unity of action on the part of our people as is practicable, it would be manifestly improper in me to see to revive former party issues. I trust that party spirit, so happily allayed for the present, may not be again evoked, at least during the great struggle for our national existence.

With some experience in legislation, I pledge to you, if elected, in honest and faithful effort to subserve your interest, and that of our common country, by supporting by uncompromising earnestness and zeal, all measures looking to a vigorous and successful prosecution of the war to a triumphant termination; that being the one great and only issue now pending before the Southern people.

Respectfully, Thomas Menees[1]

Springfield (Tenn.) Oct. 21, 1861

Nashville Daily Gazette, October 23, 1861.

        23, A Federal private claims a Confederate battle flag

We suppose that the flag mentioned is in possession of the proper authorities, it is not the custom, we believe, to allow privates or subordinate officers to retain such trophies as regimental flags. We hope that Congress will pass a law granting medals for meritorious conduct to soldiers in the army as well as in the navy.

Camp 21st Regt. Ohio Vol.,

Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 23, 1862.

Editor Nashville Union:

On the 7th inst., in the "affair" at Lavergne, I captured the regimental flag of the 32nd Regiment of Alabama Rebels, and, with the assistance of a private of the 18th Regiment Ohio Volunteers, took prisoners at the same time ten rebel soldiers. I do not know the soldier's name, but he and myself were the first in the rebel camp. I took possession of the flag and what guns the prisoners had, and in a few moments some cavalrymen came and took charge of the prisoners. I laid the flag, guns, and some other traps in a pile, and went to catch a horse which was running about ready bridled and saddled, and one of the cavalrymen who was marching off the prisoners which the 18th Ohio man and myself had captured, picked up my flag and put off with it. I am told that these cavalrymen say they captured it, but I know they did not. The flag is a little faded—the colors "run"—and was presented to some Rifles, I disremember the name, by the ladies of some town in Alabama; I disremember the name of the town—Mobile, I think—and also some lettering which was on it. I write this in hopes that the flag may be returned to me, or turned over to proper authority for me. Perhaps it was removed by mistake, as I think no good soldier would intentionally wrong his brother-in-harms.

Yours truly,

Isaac Taylor, Private, Co. C, 21st O. V. I.

Nashville Daily Union, October 23, 1862.

        23, Fraternization with the enemy and Federal camp life in the Chattanooga environs, excerpts from the letter of Bliss Morse to his mother

Dear Mother:

* * * *

We came off picket this morning and had a very pleasant time until it rained this morning. Our Brig. went out with us. Our boys talked and swapped papers with them also traded coffee for some of their tobacco.

Our lines are very near to each other where we picket – the banks of Chattanooga creek described the lines of our pickets.

At night every fifth man is sent down to the water's edge. It is…deep and rapid now. As one of our boys went down to the waters [sic] edge he saw a reb [sic] sitting on a log across the stream. It was moonlight. He (the reb [sic]) halloed out "are you a vidette? Yes. Well, so am I." Two of them swam across the creek the other night, and many more of them would like to come in, judging by their actions, as they will come down and hang around the lines looking very wishfully over in to the "promised land." Our batteries shelled the rebels in the P. M., soon we heard firing in their rear and some shots during the night. All at once their tents began to look rather thin….Last Monday we moved camp….It would have been quite a sight to all of you to see the Regiments moving around,-as we had to take our materials along with us. Some carried bedsteads, window sash[es], cracker boxes, pieces of sheet iron and everything you can imagine to make tents comfortable….We have pitched our tents…We have a chimney of brick to which we have sheet iron stove that we manufactured and can do our cooking on it – beside bake pies, cakes [sic], and beef if we get [sic] any flour to use. We have a table to write on and burn a "slit" light for candles, also sleep three in a bed. Our rations are more plenty and regularly issued yet I have held my own in flesh….

Diaries of Bliss Morse

        23, Suggestions aimed at making the Enrolled Militia, Defenses of Memphis more efficient

MEMPHIS, TENN., October 23, 1864.

Brig. Gen. C. W. DUSTAN, Cmdg. Enrolled Militia, Defenses of Memphis:

GEN.: The undersigned, commanding officers of the several regiments of your command, most respectfully call attention to the following facts in regard to the militia organization of Memphis, which we think demand the consideration of the military authorities in order that the organization may be more efficient:

The militia is composed of the business men, clerks, and laboring men of Memphis who are physically able for duty. In addition to drilling once a week they are required to guard the armories day and night, to arrest absentees from drill and guard duty, to patrol the city from time to time in search of delinquents and those who wish to avoid duty in the organization, and at the same time they are expected to keep their arms and accouterments in good order. These requirements, it has been found by experience, are a severe tax on the time and pockets of the members, and more particularly on the clerks and the laboring class of community. This would not be so objectionable, or at least would not be made a matter of complaint, were it not for the fact that there are nearly, if not quite, as many exempts (from various causes--under age, over age, and physical disability) who are equally interested in the safety of the city as there are men in the militia, and who contribute nothing to the organization, neither time, money, nor good will, and who do not, as the recent emergency plainly proved, tender their services in any manner or form in time of need. Inasmuch as the organization is for the better defenses of the city, the city is certainly interested; and as it is an organization required by the military authorities we most respectfully request that said authorities aid us in making the following changes in the organization: We ask that permanent guards be employed, to be paid by the city, to do duty at the several regimental in their charge, additional guards in cases of emergency to be detailed from the different regiments; that a sufficient number of competent persons be employed by the city to keep the arms and accouterments of the different regiments in good serviceable condition, and that the city furnish and needful articles for keeping the arms in good condition and repair. We also suggest the almost absolute necessity for the regimental adjutant to be constantly on duty. Business men cannot be found who have sufficient time to discharge the duties of the office. We therefore request that a competent person for each regiment may be detailed from the army, or that we be authorized to select such officers, and that in either case they be allowed the pay of regimental adjutants in the army, on condition, however, that they do not engaged in any kind of business while holding the office. During the fall and coming winter we suggest that all business he suspended after 12 m. on Monday of each week, and that each regiment be required to devote at least three hours to company and battalion drill.

C. McDONALD, Col. First Regt. [sic] Enrolled Militia.

D. RYAN, Col. Second Regt. [sic] Enrolled Militia, Defenses of Memphis.

M. T. WILLIAMSON, Col. Third Regt. [sic] Enrolled, Militia, Defenses of Memphis.

[First indorsement.]


Respectfully forwarded.

So much of the communication as applies to permanent guards at the several armories is disapproved. I deem it necessary that the commands should be instructed by practice in the manner of properly performing guard duty. The other suggestions contained in the paper are heartily approved, and earnestly recommended. In order to promote the efficiency of the organization I would suggest that the system of fines for no-attendance to duty in the several regiments be abolished, or at least modified; its working at present is to throw nearly all the duty on the laboring man, who can illy afford the time lost from his daily work. The man of means neglects or avoids the many calls for extra or daily duty, and by paying his fine exempts himself from unpleasant consequences. Every tour of duty he thus avoids is thrown upon his poorer neighbor. My opinion is that a system that would punish neglect of duty by assignment to extra duty, to which might be added in gross cases imprisonment and perhaps fine, would work successfully. In order to adopt this plan it will be necessary for the city to make a monthly appropriation to support the regimental organizations. In my judgment one dollar per month for each officer and man actually present would be ample for the requirements of the several regiments.

C. W. DUSTAN, Brig.-Gen., Enrolled Militia, Cmdg.

[Second indorsement.]

HDQRS. DISTRICT OF MEMPHIS, Memphis, Tenn., November 6, 1864.

Respectfully forwarded.

The suggestions and recommendations of the regimental commanders of the militia are approved. Something ought to be done to lessen the burden of militia duty, especially of the poorer class of men. It is now a great hardship on that class. The armories should be guarded at the expense of the city. There is no justice in requiring the comparatively few men who are now doing the duty to bear the whole burden for the benefit of the city. The property and business of the city should be made to pay.

R. P. BUCKLAND, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. III, pp. 410-412.


[1] Menees was elected, in November 1861, to represent the Eighth District in the First Confederate Congress. He comfortably won reelection in 1864 with no opposition. During both terms he served on the Medical Department Committee, a practical task, since he had was a medical doctor with more than fifteen years' practice in the field. He was also assigned to the Printing and Public Lands committees.

Initially, Menees, a resolute secessionist, opposed mandatory conscription as a subversion of state rights. Yet when the winter and spring of 1862 brought disastrous defeats to the Confederate army-particularly in his home district-Menees changed his mind and supported the draft, even though he still favored the continuance of local defense forces. Later in the year, in the most important of the seventeen bills he brought up while in Congress, he voted to annul the draft exemption for employees whose businesses gained profits in surplus of 25 percent. The amendment lost. By February 1864, near the end of his first term, Menees had voted to abolish all individual exemption and to lower others. He also countermanded himself concerning the bothersome habeas corpus issue, while he supported the 1862 measure that empowered president Davis to fugaciously reject the right of the writ, he steadfastly resisted further endorsement.

Arrested by Federal forces but paroled in late July 1865, Menees returned to his Robertson County home in August . He thereafter moved to Nashville, where he later taught medicine. In 1866 he was elected president of the Nashville Medical Society, and in 1873 he became Professor of Matreia Medica and Therapeutics in the Department of the University of Nashville. He was later Professor of Obstetrics and dean of the faculty of Vanderbilt University. He died in Nashville on September 6, 1905 and was buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-770-1090 ext. 123456

(615)-532-1549  FAX


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

10.22.2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        22, William Blount Carter enters East Tennessee to initiate bridge burning, loyalty of Tennesseans in County to the Union

NEAR MONTGOMERY, MORGAN COUNTY, TENN., October 22, 1861. (Received November 4.) Brig.-Gen. THOMAS.

SIR: I reached here at 2 p. m. to day. I am within six miles of a company of rebel cavalry. I find our Union people in this part of the State firm and unwavering in their devotion to our Government and anxious to have an opportunity to assist in saving it. The rebels continue to arrest and imprison our people.

You will please furnish the bearers with as much lead, rifle powder and as may caps as they can bring for Scott and Morgan Counties. You need not fear to trust these people. They will open the war for you by routing these small bodies of marauding cavalry.

* * * *

I am obliged to send this note unsealed.

In haste, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


OR, Ser. II, Vol. I, p. 889.


HDQRS. EAST TENNESSEE BRIGADE, Camp Calvert, November 12, 1861.

Brig. Gen. GEORGE H. THOMAS, U. S. Army.


* * * *

Yesterday I sent forty-five pounds rifle powder, fifty pounds lead and twenty boxes rifle caps into East Tennessee for the Union men. I borrowed the whole from Col. Garrard. Will you have the kindness to have rifle powder forwarded to me not only to return that borrowed but also for further distribution among the mountain men? The ammunition sent yesterday was to be delivered to the men mentioned by my brother in his letter to you. Lead and caps are also needed.

We thank you, general, for your assurance that as soon as you can you will move toward East Tennessee. Our men and officers have entire confidence in you and shall be most happy to see you in our midst. If the reports made to me to-day are true-and they seem to be reliable-we might get possession of the mountain passes without loss or even opposition. Do you not think so?

I am persuaded you will do what is right and proper.

With respect,


Acting Brig.-Gen. Comdg. East Tennessee Brigade.

HDQRS. EAST TENNESSEE BRIGADE, Camp Calvert, November 16, 1861.

Brig. Gen. GEORGE H. THOMAS, U. S. Army, Cmdg., &c., Crab Orchard, Ky.

GEN.: My brother William has just arrived from East Tennessee and the news he brings I think of so much importance that I will dispatch a special messenger to convey it to you. My brother left Roane County near Kingston on Monday night last. He reports that on Friday night, 8th instant, of last week he succeeded in having burned at least six and perhaps eight bridges on the railroad, viz.,: Union bridge in Sullivan County, near the Virginia line; Lick Creek bridge in Greene County; Strawberry Plains in Jefferson County, fifteen miles east of Knoxville, partially destroyed; Hiwassee bridge, seventy miles southeest of Knoxville and on the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad; two bridges over the Chickamauga between Cleveland and Chattanooga and between Chattanooga and Dalton, Ga. These bridges are certainly destroyed. The Long Island bridge at Bridgeport on Tennessee River, and a bridge below Dalton on the Western Atlantic road are probably destroyed.

The consternation among the secessionists of East Tennessee is very great. The Union men are waiting with longing and anxiety for the appearance of Federal forces on the Cumberland Mountains and are all ready to rise up in defense of the Federal Government. My brother states that he has it from reliable sources that the rebels have but 15,000 men at Bowling Green many of them badly armed and poorly organized. The other 15,000 men are distributed at two other points in Southeestern Kentucky.

The above information was obtained from Union members of Tennessee Legislature who were at Bowling Green on last Monday was a week ago.

* * * *

Gen., if it be possible do urge the commanding general to give us some additional force and let us advance into East Tennessee; now is the time, and such a people as are those who live in East Tennessee deserve and should be relieved and protected. You know the importance of this move and will I hope use all your influence to effect [sic] it. Our men will go forward with a shout to relieve their native land.

The brigade commissary has not yet handed in his report of the amount of provisions on hand; but I think we have already nearly if not quite a month's supply on hand.

With much respect, I am, dear general, yours, very truly,


Acting Brig.-Gen., Cmdg. East Tennessee Brigade.

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 1, pp. 892-893.

        22, Sherman's reply to Miss P. A. Fraser relative to policy following guerrilla attacks on the Catahoula and Gladiator.[2]

MEMPHIS, October 22, 1862.

Miss P. A. FRASER, Memphis:

DEAR LADY [sic]: Your petition is received. I will allow fifteen days for the parties interested to send to Holly Springs and Little Rock to ascertain if firing on unarmed boats is to form a part of the warfare against the Government of the United States.

If from silence or a positive answer from their commanders I am led to believe such fiendish acts are to be tolerated or allowed it would be weakness and foolish in me to listen to appeals to feelings that are scorned by our enemies. They must know and feel that not only will we meet them in arms, but that their people shall experience their full measure of the necessary consequences of such barbarity.

The Confederate generals claim the Partisan Rangers as a part of their army. They cannot then disavow their acts, but all their adherents must suffer the penalty. They shall not live with us in peace. God himself has obliterated whole races from the face of the earth for sins less heinous than such as characterized the attacks on the Catahoula and Gladiator. All I say is if such acts were done by the direct or implied concert of the Confederate authorities we are not going to chase through the canebrakes and swamps the individuals who did the deeds, but will visit punishment upon the adherents of that cause which employs such agents. We will insist on a positive separation; they cannot live with us. Further than that I have not yet ordered, and when the time comes to settle the account we will see which is most cruel-for your partisans to fire cannon and musket-balls through steamboats with women and children on board, set them on fire with women and children sleeping in their berths, and shoot down the passengers and engineers, with the curses of hell on their tongues, or for us to say the families of men engaged in such hellish deeds shall not live in peace where the flag of the United States floats.

I know you will say these poor women and children abhor such acts as much as I do, and that their husbands and brothers in the Confederate service also would not be concerned in such acts. Then let the Confederate authorities say so, and not employ their tools in such deeds of blood and darkness. We will now wait and see who are the cruel and heartless men of this war. We will see whether the firing on the Catahoula or Gladiator is sanctioned or disapproved, and if it was done by the positive command of men commissioned by the Confederate Government, you will then appreciate how rapidly Civil War corrupts the best feelings of the human heart.

Would to God ladies better acted their mission on earth; that instead of inflaming the minds of their husbands and brothers to lift their hands against the Government of their birth and stain them in blood, had prayed them to forbear, to exhaust all the remedies afforded them by our glorious Constitution, and thereby avoid "horrid war," the last remedy on earth.

Your appeals to me shall ever receive respectful attention, but it will be vain in this case if Gen. Holmes does not promptly disavow these acts, for I will not permit the families and adherents of secessionists to live here in peace whilst their husbands and brothers are aiming the rifle and gun at our families on the free Mississippi.

Your friend, [sic!]

W. T. SHERMAN, Maj.-Gen., Comdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt, II, p. 288.

        22, Skirmish at New Madrid Bend[3]

No circumstantial reports filed.

        22, Confederate situation report relative to flour mill operation, pickets and scouts on the Tennessee River, Igou's to Blythe's Ferry

HDQRS. 35TH AND 48TH TENNESSEE REGIMENTS, Near Georgetown, Tennessee, October 22, 1863.

Gen. STEVENSON, Cmdg. at Charleston and Loudon, E. Tennessee:

DEAR SIR: I am commanding the Thirty-fifth and Forty-eighth Tennessee Regiments at this point, numbering about 400 men. I was sent here to gather up wheat and put three mills in operation, and to gather up stock for the army. Have been very successful in both. I am also picketing the Tennessee River from Igou's to Blythe's Ferry with my infantry and a few mounted [men] whom I have in my command.

The enemy has fortified and done a good deal of ditching on the opposite side at Blythe's Ferry. They have also ditched on the island at that point to protect them while hauling corn from the island. Col. Cooper, commanding a regiment in Spears' brigade, is in command of about 400 men at Blythe's Ferry. I have a good company of infantry guarding that point stationed on this side. Spears' headquarters are located on Sale Creek. The remainder of his brigade is with him. Byrd, commanding brigade of cavalry, is located at Post Oak Springs above.

I have scouts who go across the river every night. They report that Joe Clift, owning a mill on opposite [shore], and who has been grinding for the Federals, applied to Gen. Spears on last Tuesday or Wednesday for a guard for his mill. Gen. Spears replied that they were under marching orders and liable to move at any moment, consequently he could not furnish it. Gen. Spears told Joe Clift that the Federal forces in east Tennessee were in a precarious situation; that our troops were marching on them from above and below, and that he was fearful they would be cut off. The Union men and private soldiers are of the opinion that Rosecrans is preparing for a retrograde movement; that he could not support his army where he now is very long.

Rosecrans sent 1,000 wagons across Walden's Ridge by the Poe road, loaded with sick, wounded, and other surplus, as the Yankees say, on last Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday night four or five batteries passed up by Sale Creek in the direction of Post Oak Springs or Smith's Cross-Roads as though they were hunting out a road to Middle Tennessee or getting forage for their stock or going to East Tennessee. Our scout was not able to ascertain which. They were nearly starved, as they pressed Gen. Spears' corn as they went up by Sale Creek. They had a general rip and cursing spell. They said that their horses had had no forage for forty-eight hours.

Some of the gassing, boasting officers brag that Rosecrans had received 60,000 re-enforcements and would hold his position, while others of his men and officers said that he had not received one-half that number and could not hold it.

I have thus summed up and penned down the various items of information acquired by my scouts on the opposite side of the river. You can weigh it and judge for yourself. I hope if anything of importance should occur above you will let me know, and oblige,

Your obedient servant,

B. J. HILL, Col., &c.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 577.

        22, Federal acquisition of a Murfreesboro Confederate woman's furniture

Head-Quarters United States Forces

Murfreesboro, Tenn., October 22nd 1863

His excellency, Andrew Johston [sic]

Mil. Governor, Tenn.,


As Mrs. Avent's letter was referred to me by you, I deem it proper to inform you that I have carefully examined the case of Mrs. Avent, concerning household furniture taken from her by the agents of the government.

The facts are as follows, viz.,: it seems that, on the day of the evacuation of Murfreesboro by Gen. Bragg's army, Mrs. Samuel Morgan when with it, and then transferred the furniture of her house to Mrs. Avent, Mrs. Childers, and Mrs. Beans, and it does not appear than any consideration was given for it.

I have therefore decided that the property is properly taken by the U.S Agent and the aforesaid women have no legal title to it whatever.

With highest regard, I am, Very Respectfully

Your friend & Ob'dt servant, Jno. W. Geary

Brig Gen U. S. Vols., Comm'dg

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 431.

        22, Captain Benjamin S. Nicklin, 13th Light Indiana Artillery, to Military Governor Andrew Johnson about developing a policy concerning the disposition of freedmen after the war

Head Quarters 13th Inda Battery

Gallatin Tenn. Oct. 22 1864

To. His Excellency Andrew. Johnson [sic]

Mily Govr Tenn.

In obedience to the request of your Excellency I have the honor to Submit [sic] the following statement of my views for the best management of the interest of the as we call them contrabands [sic] and what I may say is founded upon [sic] and must be construed with the FACTS that

1st. Slavery is virtually dead, & that the negro's [sic] are now without masters who can control them

2nd The Govert. [sic] having acknowledged the fact that the rebellion has freed them is bound to provide for them until they can do for themselves

3rd There should be some place given them where they can be protected & taught & where they would desire to be so that they would leave their masters & seek the protection of the Govt. for.

4th In the same ratio the slaves leave their Masters will their Masters become loyal

5th They should not be brought from slavery & thrown at once on their own resources as freeman but should be brought gradually to appreciate & make good use of the advantages of freeman [sic]

6th Both the whites & Blacks [sic] have a lesson to learn before our country can enjoy the peace of yore, even though the cannon should be silent –

The former master must learn to hire the Negro & the negro [sic] must learn to be hired –

The above are a few of the facts I have in view & upon them & others that will suggest themselves to your Excellency I found my idea of the proper management of the freedmen[.] My idea is this –

Let the whole care & management (in say Tennessee) of the Contrabands [sic] be placed under the charge of one man who shall be responsible to you as Mily [sic] Governor or the secretary of war. Let him be authorized to receive and provide for all Negro's coming in & claiming the protection of the Government. Let him have authority to take any farms or plantations whose owners are in rebellion against the Govt[.] Let him appoint for, Say [sic] each Militry [sic] district an officer to take charge of the district. Let that district officer have an officer as Quarter Master for his district & have the power to appoint at each point at which he may collect the negros [sic] an agent to oversee that point, (this agent might be a civilian [sic]) [.] Let there be kept at each District Head Quarters books showing the whereabouts, name, age sex [sic], &C [sic] of every Negro in the district who claims protection of the government. Books showing the same of each station should also be kept at each station. The officers should have rank & pay enough to give them influence & keep them honest.

This is the machinery except some minor details & how to work it[.]

I would gather all the contrabands (in this District for instance) and place them on the deserted farms & plantations. Would [sic] receive all that would leave their masters of their own accord – I would then gather up every Negro found in the district that was not

1st Still remaining with his Master [sic]

2nd In employ of Govt as soldier or laborer

3rd Those that were free when the war broke out (This would make laborers scarce) & with these exceptions place them on the farms also. I would then fix a price per month for men, for women & for children for their labor on the farms –

I would also establish a price at which Citizens [sic] could hire them off the farms entering into a written contract & if the Negro did to fulfil [sic] his contract make him, & if the citizen did not live up to his Seize his crops pay the Negro out of it giving back the surplus to the citizen[.] I would make the prices paid them on the farm less per month that the price per month to be paid by citizens[.] This would after while cause the Negro to want to hire out for the most money - & there being no loose negros [sic] around to hire the citizens would be obliged to come to the government agent[.] I would not allow a negro [sic] to leave a farm on which he was placed to go to another farm or place to work without express permission. I would permit the schools kept convenient[.]

The products of the farms to be sold by the Quarter Master the hands paid & the balance accounted for to the Government [sic] [.] These farms could in every instance that I know of be worked with the horses that are run down in the service & which even while doing the work of the farm would in many instances again become serviceable & could be turned back to an A.Q.M.U. S.A[.]

The officer in charge should not enforce any contract either for or against a negro [sic] that was not made with & through the government officer –

The officer in Charge of say such a district as this should have at least rank & pay of Col of Cavalry but not connected with the army proper, although all should be military for the next 3 years[.]

Winter is coming on & unless something is done for them they will freeze & die & the arrangements at all events should be made now so that they can go to work early in the spring –

It will cost the government no more to try this than it does now & unless we are driven out of the country by rebels the who[l]e expense, including the pay of all officers connected with it will be paid by the farms in less than 4 years –

& [sic] when that time comes the government can give it up for then they can take care of themselves – There are many minor details that I have omitted as your Excellency only desired an outlilne[.] I know I can make it such a success that the negro [sic] question can not bother us any more.

Thanking your Excellency for your many kindnesses & trusting that in the high position you are soon [to] occupy you will be able to assist in directing the old ship safely through the storm that now seems to threaten her.

I am Your Excellency's Obt. Svt

Ben S Nicklin, Capt 13 Ind Batty Light Arty.

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 7, pp. 242-244.


[1] William Blount Carter, the civilian bridge burner, was brother to Brigadier-General Samuel Powhattan Carter, the military bridge burner.

[2] These guerrilla attacks prompted Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman, then in command at Memphis, to initiate a policy in which Confederate sympathizers were to be sent across the lines into the Rebel lines. One woman, Miss P.A. Fraser wrote a letter to Sherman objecting to this policy. Her petition is lost, but Sherman's reply is not.

[3] According to the OR General Index, p. 98, New Madrid Bend was situated in Tennessee, not Missouri.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-770-1090 ext. 123456

(615)-532-1549  FAX


Sunday, October 19, 2014

10.20.2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        20, Letter from "A Rebel" in Nashville to the Chattanooga Daily Rebel

Nashville, Oct. 20th, 1862


Thinking you might like to hear from us in the City of Rocks, we pen the following lines, not to say that we are still in Yankeedom, this you know already, but to give you some idea of our condition.

I have always heard that this is the freest country on earth. Forever, and forever let me contradict it. Imagine a lamb in the jaws of a cannon and it will give you as good an idea of our liberty as you can well have.

Gen. Negley is now in command of this post. I mean by that, Nashville and as far round the city as his thieving soldiers can venture, with several regiments of cavalry and infantry, and forty two to four pieces of artillery. For almost three months, this enemy has been living on half, and sometimes quarter rations, and stealing the remainder from the people in our country and Williamson [county]. Parties go out every day, and sometimes as many as three or four a day in different directions, and when they go they are licensed to take anything they can lay their paws on. Remember, these soldiers have no restraint put upon them, and they are no better than animals. In the first place they take from a farm all the corn, fodder, and anything they can find in that line. Then everything like cattle, horses, sheep, hogs, turkeys, ducks, and chickens. Then to the house, first, everything to eat, then to the clothes for which they have a terrible passion; and all the silver, china, knives and forks and furniture are pressed, and at last the man who a few hours before was living in ease and luxury, finds himself sans meat, sans bread, sans everything except bare walls, and the clothes on his back, provided they do not burn his house down.

About the time that Gen. Morgan established his head-quarters at Hartsville, the war on the party of the Yankees assumed the form of a silk-dress war .[1] One party that was at Gallatin said to a friend of mine, "I never ran in my life and I did from Morgan at Gallatin but I paid them for it." "How?" said the lady. "I took four silk dresses from one house." The war has now come down to ladies underclothing, but let me say right here, it is not the privates alone who have this thieving passion; from Gen. Negley down it is the same thing. I do not believe this army would stay in Nashville, only they expect to do as Gen. Mitchel did, steal themselves rich.

Gen. Pope's fiendish order has been carried out in and around Nashville, and tell us why the order of the Confederate Congress, about Pope and officers should not extend to Negley and army. Little contemptible puppies of orderlies make no more of cursing a gentleman and telling him if he opens his mouth will take all the possesses on earth, then he does of eating the dinner he steals. In the neighborhood of Nashville the other day, a Dutch officer, after taking all he could rake up from one place, took the spectacles from a lady's nose. She was old, and begged him to give them back to her that she might read her Bible. He said, "I have von old voman vat vould like some cold spectacles as well as you," and he took them. The day of the fight at Lavergne [sic][2],[sic] one officer showed to a lady, and in fact to several persons, a diamond ring he took from a young lady. He said, she told him that she had rather die than give it up, she prized it so much, but the gallant officer of the U. S. A. told her that he would cut her finger off, and she gave up the ring. This same officer told of a large quantity of ladies under-clothing that he had. If you could be here tonight, you would see a magnificent castor[3], taken that same day. If you can catch that officer, salt and pepper him well. Give him a round from a rebel castor in the shape of a six shooter.

At one place a wretch demanded the ear-rings from a lady's ear. While she was taking one from her right ear he tore the other from the left. At the house of a gentleman a few miles from Nashville, they went in and found the lady ill, with an infant three weeks old. After taking everything from the house of any consequence except the bed she lay upon, she asked them please to leave her one cow, as her little babe could not live without milk. One of them replied by seizing the nursing bottle and breaking it, and saying it should have neither milk nor bottle. I really think that this would be a good army to send where Pope has gone. They are so much like savages that they should be sent to fight them. You have heard of the murder of Dr. Bass.[4] How many of our citizen may be murdered in the same shocking manner we do not know. I could recount things of this kind all night, but must close. You shall hear from me again. God bless you all in Dixie.

A Rebel.

War Journal of Lucy Virginia French, Entry for November 2, 1862.

        20, Action at Philadelphia

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 193. HDQRS. ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Missionary Ridge, October 22, 1863.

I. The general commanding announces to the army with pride and satisfaction two brilliant exploits of our cavalry:

* * * *

On the 20th instant, the cavalry under Col.'s Dibrell and Morrison attacked the enemy in force at Philadelphia and captured 700 prisoners, 50 wagons loaded with stores, 6 pieces of artillery, 10 ambulances, and a lot of mules, horses, and other property. The enemy was driven to his defenses at Loudon, and is reported as completely routed. Too much praise cannot be given Col.'s Dibrell and Morrison and the brave command under them for the dash and daring displayed in the expedition so completely successful. Such blows dealt the enemy in quick succession are no less honorable to our army than indicative of future success.

By command of Gen. Bragg:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 8.

CHATTANOOGA, TENN., October 22, 1863-12 noon.

(Received 6 p. m., 23.)

Maj.-Gen. HALLECK, Gen.-in-Chief:

By courier I learn that Burnside had a fight yesterday with the enemy at Philadelphia. Result unknown. He is concentrating at Kingston. Has withdrawn his cavalry from Post Oak Springs. River only observed by courier from mouth of Sale Creek up. I have it guarded as well as I can from Sale Creek down. Scouts report that a considerable force marched toward Knoxville day before yesterday. Deserters report that their heavy guns were removed five or six days since. Their force in our front does not diminish in appearance. We are getting supplies enough, notwithstanding the loss of wagons by Wheeler's raid and the bad condition of the roads hence to Bridgeport. Hope to move Hooker in a few days, to open the wagon road and railroad from here to Bridgeport.

GEO. H. THOMAS, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 700.


....A fight at Philadelphia Tenn., between some of Braggs [sic] cavalry and Burnside's. We captured 700 Yanks, 50 loaded wagons....

Diary of Edward O. Guerrant, October 22, 1863.

        20, "Affairs in West Tennessee. Refugees in Memphis. Capture of Rebels at Brownsville."

For weeks past the upper counties of West Tennessee have been placed in a state but little removed from terror, on account of the manifold depredations and remorseless conscription which has been carried on persistently by several small bands of rebels. Volumes might be written in the vain attempt to illustrate and shadow forth adequately the many and shocking outrages which have been perpetrated on unarmed men and defenceless women and children. Nearly every man who could do so, has left his home to avoid the conscripted. In this way from seventy-five to one hundred loyal Tennesseeans [sic], it is estimated, are now in Memphis, having sought protection in Federal lines from the guerrillas. They are true and loyal men, but having no means to withstand the terrible ordeal, they have come to Memphis for relief from oppression, cruelty and tyranny.

We are gratified to know that this reign of terror will no longer be permitted. Already a Federal force is on the wing, and soon the roving bands of thieves will be made to pay for their audacity. Last Wednesday [14th], at Brownsville, our troops came upon a rebel force of some dozen men, prowling around and gobbled up the whole party. It is also state that they went to other points, and whenever they found a rebel they took him up for safe keeping. At last accounts, the rebels were retiring before the advance of our small force, and probably by this time the whole thieving band, so long a terror to the people in that vicinity, has been gobbled up. If this is not he case already, we are gratified to believe, that it is only a question of time.

Memphis Bulletin, October 20, 1863.

        20, A Protest Against Military Governor Andrew Johnson's Franchise Guarantee and Lincoln's Defense of the Test Oath

The Tennessee Test Oath.

From the New York Commercial Advertiser.

A few days ago, we adverted to the course of Andrew Johnson in Tennessee, in ordering a strange and unusual, not to say illegal, test for those who would vote at the coming election, and the hope was expressed that the President would at once repudiate the "plan" of his Military Governor and disavow any suspicion or intention of interfering with a free ballot in Tennessee.

It is impossible for any right-minded man, free from partisan bias, to approve the Tennessee test oath and the manner of its requirement. Mr. Johnson, who orders the oath, is on the same ticket with Mr. Lincoln, who regards opposition to it as a "political" concoction. They desire to have the votes of Tennessee, and, in order that they may get them all, compel the voter to take an oath which obliges him to vote against the Democratic nominee, and to pledge himself to any possible terms of peace or negotiations therfor, until the rebels are utterly subdued. This requirement reacts upon the President also, who, in his "to whom it may concern" letter, proposed to "receive and consider" propositions "which come by and with an "authority that can control the armies now at war against the United States." A person having such control must be a "rebel in arms," against whom the Johnson test is directed. Mr. Lincoln further said that such propositions from a rebel in arms would be "met by liberal terms." Mr. Lincoln, if "honest" in his letter, would be debarred from a vote in Tennessee. He could not take the oath prescribed by Andrew Johnson, and could reach the ballot-box only by a resort to the "war power."

It is precisely such a course as this taken in Tennessee that changes doubtful men in the Border States to open enemies; that encourages the opponents of the Administration and gives them fresh war cries: that makes the "judicious grieve," because a "wild hunt for office" renders those to whom grave public trusts are committed so careless of the limitations of their prerogatives; and that loosens the respect for our free institutions by placing the mandate of a ruler above the plainest suggestions of justice toward political opponents.

Let us not be understood. The openly disloyal must not be allowed to vote in those States. The ballot-box may be purified and the rights of loyal men regarded without resort to a test so utterly indefensible as that required in Tennessee, and which may yet be exacted in other States.

We publish elsewhere the report of the interview with Mr. Lincoln, and a portion of the protest of the Tennesseeans. That they are the McClellan electors does not preclude them from the possession of rights which the President "is bound to respect," while it should have entitled them to a dignified hearing. The President's talk of "political concoctions," his preferring to manage his "side" in his own "way," and his hint, only, that he may give the delegation an answer, are all unworthy of the chief of the nation, who should be above mere partisan motives, and whose "side" should in reality be the "side" of the people. As well might James Buchanan in 1860 have required the voters to swear to sustain the platform of the Charleston Convention, as for Mr. Lincoln to require an oath against that of Chicago in 1864. It is not in this way, non tali auxilio, that the power and influence of republican institutions are to be sustained. And we do most earnestly hope that the President, instead of issuing a "smart" letter in reply to the Tennessee complaint, will "manage his side" by strict adherence to the right.

~ ~ ~

From the New York Sun of October 18th.

[Report of the interview with Mr. Lincoln:]

The inherent power of a people to an untrammeled selection of public officers is the fundamental principle of republican government-the corner-stone of liberty. For this right the war of the Revolution was inaugurated; for its perpetuation the Federal Union was erected. It is the sacred inheritance which the Fathers of the Republic have warned us, more repeatedly than any other, to guard with the most anxious solicitude-to protect with the most jealous care. They knew that freedom of election is the great barrier which protects republic and government from the encroachments of despots, and they foresaw the inevitable consequence that would follow its destruction. An ordeal like that through which our country is now passing was perhaps never anticipated by the founders of our Government; but they were aware of the general truth that the tendency of civil war is to generate despotism, and no doubt they sought to counteract the influence of centralization by unlimited freedom of ballot.

In those districts which at the present time are under military occupation, and where there is unquestionably an element of opposition to the Government it is right and proper that a test of loyalty should be adopted. To this no plausible objection can be made, for it is demanded alike by justice to our cause and consideration for the interests of the loyal classes in those districts. Further than this, however, the Government has no constitution right to go. Neither the President nor his subordinates is justifiable in making any distinction between electors, unless that distinction is for the sole purpose of separating loyalty form disloyalty.

[A portion of the protest of the Tennesseeans:]

In Tennessee the Military Governor of the State, who also happens to be the President's colleague in the present political canvass, has practically nullified the privilege of free ballot in his State. He has issued an order for the government of the forthcoming election, and has appended an oath which he prescribes as a qualification for voting. This oath provides that the voter shall swear to "oppose all armistices or negations for peace with the rebels in arms until the Constitution of the United States, and all laws and proclamations made in pursuance thereof, shall be established over all the people of every State and Territory embraced within the National Union," etc. This means that the elector must endorse the President's emancipation proclamation, the confiscation act, and all the anti-slavery edicts and proclamations which have emanated from the present Administration.

But this proceeding of Governor Johnson is not an isolated case. In every other district which is under military surveillance the same general course has been pursued, although to some extend modified in certain instances. The one alluded to, however, is sufficient to illustrate the dangerous encroachments that are being made upon the freedom of election. It teaches that if the American people would preserve those rights which they have inherited from their fathers, they must by all loyal means insist upon a rigid observance of the Constitution by those whom they have elevated to power.

Daily National Intelligencer,[5] October 20, 1864.[6]

[1] This pilfering of women's clothing was not restricted to Union soldiers. See June 4, 1863, "Confederates rob stores in Franklin,"below, and July 14, 1863, "Merchants in Franklin seek recompense for losses sustained during Confederate raid on Franklin" below and January 9, 1864, "Petition to Military Governor Andrew Johnson seeking recompense as a result of Confederate raid" below.

[2] See October 7, 1862, "Skirmish at LaVergne," above.

[3] A beaver hat.

[4] William James Bass, son of erstwhile mayor of Nashville John M. Bass, joined the Confederate army. He was murdered on October 1, 1862, after an absence of several months, when he returned home to visit his wife and five young sons. "Before dawn on the following morning, after Federal authorities had evidently been informed of his presence by some…[slaves] a squad of Union soldiers arrived at the house and shot the unarmed Dr. Bass to death in his front yard, where he had gone expecting to meet men from his own unit. After the killing, the soldiers ransacked the house, and then remained, threatening and ridiculing various members of  the family.

The killing brought an early view of the harshness of war to the citizens of Davidson County, and the complicity of the slaves who informed the authorities…must have shattered the illusions of local slaveholder who  believed that slaves were largely contented with their way of life." See Paul Clemmens, A Past Remembered, A Collection of Antebellum Houses in Davidson County, Vol. II, ed. and comp. Linda Mason and Stephen T. Rogers (Nashville: Clearview Press, 1987), pp.14-15.


[5] Washington, D. C.

[6] TSL&A, 19th CN.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-770-1090 ext. 123456

(615)-532-1549  FAX