Sunday, April 13, 2008

February 7, 1864 - Citizens of Jackson pay tribute to Federal Colonel Fielding Hurst to prevent the razing of the city

March 22, 1864.

Brig.-Gen. BUCKLAND or COMDG. OFFICER U. S. FORCES, Memphis, Tenn.:

GEN.: I have the honor to transmit the inclosed report, prepared from a
thorough investigation of all the facts in the premises:

I respectfully demand that restitution be made by the U. S. authorities in the
sum of $5,139.25 to the citizens of Jackson, Tenn., the amount extorted from
them by Col. Fielding Hurst, on or about the 12th day of February, 1864, under
threats of burning the town.

It appears that within the past two months seven cases of deliberate murder
have been committed in this department, most of them known and all believed
to have been perpetrated by the command of Col. Hurst. I therefore demand the
surrender of Col. Fielding Hurst and the officers and men of his command
guilty of these murders, to be dealt with by the C. S. authorities as their
offenses require. It has also come to my knowledge that many citizens of this
portion of the State are now held in confinement by the U. S. authorities
against whom no charges have been preferred, among them the Rev. G. W. D.
Harris, of Dyer County, Tenn., now in confinement at Fort Pillow.

I demand that Mr. Harris be granted a fair trail before a competent tribunal, or
else unconditionally and promptly released, or otherwise I shall place in close
confinement 5 Federal soldiers, now in my hands, as hostages for his
protection, and in case he should die in your hands from ill treatment these men
shall be duly executed in retaliation. Lieut. Col. W. M. Reed, bearer of these
dispatches and temporarily attached to my staff, is hereby authorized to
examine any communications which may be delivered in reply to the above,
and also to conclude such arrangements as may arise from the subjects
hereinbefore mentioned, or otherwise to deliver such papers as by me he is
authorized in possible contingencies to present.

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

Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

[Inclosure No. 1.]
HDQRS. FORREST'S COMMAND, Jackson, Tenn., March 21, 1864.

Maj. J. P. STRANGE, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.:

MAJ.: Having been appointed by the major-general commanding to investigate
the facts of the recent tax levied by Col. Fielding Hurst upon the citizens of this
place to indemnify himself and command against damages assessed by the
Federal authorities of Memphis in favor of Mrs. Newman, Note 1 formerly a
citizen of Jackson, whose house had been entered and robbed by the Federal
soldiery in the summer of 1863, also the facts available in reference to the
murders which have been committed by the enemy upon soldiers and citizens
in this part of the State within the past few months, in obedience to instructions
I called together a party of citizens, from whom I derived the following facts:
About the 7th of February, 1864, Col. Hurst, with his command, visited
Jackson, Tenn., and announced publicly that in consequence of the assessment
by the Federal authorities of Memphis, Tenn., against himself and command of
damages to the amount of $5,139.25 in favor of Mrs. Newman, formerly a
citizen of this place, he was here to demand this amount at once of the citizens,
or on refusal or failure promptly to pay said amount into his hands that he
would burn the town. Upon application of some of the citizens and the
guaranty of 20 of them, five days were granted in which to raise the sum
required, to be paid in greenbacks or Kentucky funds. On the 12th of February,
1864, the entire amount, $5,139.25, was paid into the hands of Col. Fielding
Hurst by the citizens of Jackson, Tenn.

The murders committed are as follows: Lieut. Willis Dodds, Company F, Col.
Newson's regiment Tennessee volunteers, Forrest's command, under orders
from his commanding officers, collecting his command, was arrested at the
residence of his father in Henderson County, Tenn., on or about the 9th of
March, 1864, by the command of Col. Thornburgh, of the Federal army, on
their march through this portion of the State eastward, and put to death by

Private Silas Hodges, a scout, acting under orders from Col. Tansil, states that
he saw the body of Lieut. Dodds very soon after his murder, and that It was
most horribly mutilated, the face having been skinned, the nose cut off, the
under jaw disjointed, the privates cut off, and the body otherwise barbarously
lacerated and most wantonly injured, and that his death was brought about by
the most inhuman process of torture.

Private Alex. Vale, Company H, Newsom's regiment Tennessee volunteers,
under orders from Col. Tansil, was arrested and shot to death in Madison
County, Tenn., by same command, on or about the 8th March, 1864.
Lieut. Joseph Stewart, Private John Wilson, Private Samuel Osborn, members
of Newsom's regiment Tennessee volunteers, while on duty under orders from
their commanding officers, were captured by Hurst's command on or about the
15th February, 1864, in McNairy County, Tenn., and about three days
thereafter their bodies were found in Haywood County, Tenn., having been
shot to death.

On or about the 5th February, 1864, Private Martin, Company-, Wilson's
regiment Tennessee volunteers, was captured by same command and was shot
to death and the rights of sepulture forbidden while the command remained,
some four days. Mr. Lee Doroughty, a citizen of McNairy County, Tenn, a
youth about sixteen years of age, deformed and almost helpless, was arrested
and wantonly murdered by same command about 1st January, 1864.

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

Lieut.-Col., Provisional Army, C. S.

[Inclosure No. 2.]
22, 1864.

To whom it may concern:

Whereas it has come to the knowledge of the major-general commanding that
Col. Fielding Hurst, commanding [6th] Regt. U. S. [Tennessee Cavalry]
Volunteers, has been guilty of wanton extortion upon the citizens of Jackson,
Tenn., and other places, guilty of depredations upon private property, guilty of
house burning, guilty of murders, both of citizens and soldiers of the
Confederate States; and whereas demand has been duly made upon the military
authorities of the United States for the surrender of said Col. Fielding Hurst
and such officers and men of his command as are guilty of these outrages; and
whereas this just demand has been refused by said authorities: I therefore
declare the aforesaid Fielding Hurst, and the officers and men of his command,
outlaws, and not entitled to be treated as prisoners of war falling into the hands
of the forces of the Confederate States.

N. B. FORREST, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.
NOTE. -Lieut.-Col. Reed is authorized to deliver this notice in the event an
unsatisfactory answer is given to the demands made.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, pp. 118-119.
Note 1:
The incident involving Mrs. A. A. Newman took place during the
skirmishes in and round Jackson and on the Forked Deer River on July 13,
1863. Two accounts mention Mrs. Newman's being plundered; one claims
it was done by members of the 3rd Michigan Cavalry, the other indicates it
was the 6th Tennessee Cavalry as Forrest claimed. See: OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24,
pt. II, pp. 679-680. See also above, July 13,1863. Forrest was not the only
one complaining of depredations against peaceful citizens. See also below
May 29, 1864 for the statement of Colonel Fielding Hurst.

Hurst's depredations according to a Madison County farmer.

~ ~ ~
. . . in a few days, last Saturday 2 weeks ago [February 13], I believe, Col.
Fielding Hearst with about one hundred men in full tilt taking one & all as
much by supprise as ever a people was supprised. I had been out at home to
feed my hogs, had come in, turned my horse in the lot, came in & sat down
when by they went. We caught a glimpse of my horse & before I knew it, he
went as good many have gone, stolen. I had my old partnership horse & bay
horse. Good Smith had been keeping for a year also in town, sliped them the
back yard & hid them as well as I could behind the cedars. 'Twas near night.
They left town after dark & camped next morning at Mr. Bond's 3 miles out of
town. I got out next morning & took the 2 horses to the river bottom & tied
them in the cane before they got back town. During the day (Sunday) these
fellow went down into the bottom & brought out some mules & one good
mare, but did not succeed in finding mine.

Col. Hearst called for some of the most prominent citizens and announced to
them that Five thousand dollars had to raised or the town would be burned.
They concluded it would be better to raise the money than to have the town
sacked. No doubt but Hearst would have turned his soldiers loose upon the
town if he had not burned it. Some burning would have occurred anyhow.
These men are capable of the most brutal conduct and were ripe for the word.
They money could not be raised upon that day. Twenty of the citizens obliged
to raise the amt in 5 days. On Friday following Hearst came in with an escort,
his regiment camped at Bob Chester's 2 miles south of town. The pretext for
raising this money was simply this-last summer when Hatch with a large force,
Hearst among them, the time a small fight took place between Hatch and parts
of Col. Forrest's & Biffle's regiments, the stores were broken open and a
general pillage [took place]. Among the sufferes was a Mrs. Newman. She had
a millenary establishment. Mrs. N. went to Memphis & judgment was given
against Hearst's Regmt & the pay of the Regt stoped for 3 months to pay the
amount I suppose. Judgement was given for five thousand dollars & something
over. Hearst said here that if his regmt did not do it and collects the damage off
the citizens of Jackson. Comment is unnecessary. No damage was done beyond
taking horses and mules.

Mr. John Campbell had difficulty with some of them and struck one with a
stick & choked a Lieut. His house was fired in 3 rooms, furniture smashed up.
Owing to a capt coming up with a squad of men, the house was saved.
They gave Mr. Bond an old horse for forage &c. Mr. Bond told them that he
did not want any citizen's horse. Col. Hearst told him that the horse had been in
this regiment 6 months & no citizen had right to him. The next morning or
when she came to town, one of Mr. Campbell's daughters applied for their old
buggy taken the day before. She was told that they had left him out at the man's
house where they camped the night before and it proved to be Mr. C's horse.
I understand a part of Lexington and Brownsville were burned by this same
crowd. They destroyed a large quantity of fencing over the river & set the
woods on fire besides burning it when camped, pillaged houses & robed
citizens. Frequently citizens are killed by them when they resist these outrages.
Hearst's command was made up principally in McNairy & Henderson counties,
some from Hardeman & Carrol counties in the Western District. I saw a man &
his son with them who formerly lived here in Jackson, a gambler named
Waters. His son, named Tom, also saw a man once Sheriff of McNairy Co.
named Alridge.
~ ~ ~
Old Jessie, a negro belonging to the estate of Mr. James Caruthres was called
out of his house a few nights since, marched down to the river, shot & thrown
in, but whom I have no idea. He was seen to talk for 2 or 3 hours with Hearst's
men when here & very likely was in the habit of reporting to the Yankees.
Those who did the thing knew enough to cause them to resort to such an
extreme measure. Knowing nothing about it, I can neither justify or censure
them.-Peace alone can put an end to the awful state of affairs now casting a
gloom over the land. Waste and ruin are plainly visible on every hand.
Robert H. Cartmell Diary

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