Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Camp fires of the confederacy: a volume of humorous anecdotes, reminiscences ... By Benjamin La Bree

Every Inch a Hero.


One of the saddest and most thrilling events of the Civil War was the hanging of Sam Davis, in Pulaski, Tenn., November 27, 1863. He was a young man of excellent habits, and possessed a



(From a photograph, the property of S. A. Cunningham, Publisher and Editor "Confederate Veteran." Nashville, Tenn.)

courage that nothing could daunt. He was reared in the country, and up to the time of the breaking out of hostilities labored on the farm. He entered the army in 1861, in his seventeenth year. joining Colonel Ledbetter's company of the First Tennessee regiment, and in a short time his bravery, prudence, and zeal recommended him to his commanding officer as one fitted to perform the arduous and perilous duties of a scout. He was accordingly detached from his regiment, and made a member of Coleman's scouts.

Toward the close of October, 1863, it was considered highly important to the success of Bragg's movements that the strength of the Federal fortifications of Middle Tennessee should be accurately known, and young Davis was selected to procure this information.

He set out on his dangerous mission, and, after securing all the information that was expected or desired, he was arrested on his return, on the 20th of November, within the Federal lines, with the plans of the fortifications of Nashville and all other places in Middle Tennessee on his person. The accuracy of these plans and the minuteness of details showed at once that his informant was a man holding a high position among the Federal engineers, and when questioned concerning his sources of information, young Davis candidly admitted that the plans had been furnished by an officer high in command in the [Federal army , but resolutely refused to disclose his name. A free pardon was offered him and a safe return within the Confederate lines, on the condition that he would impart the sources of his information, but nothing could shake his resolution.

General Dodge, finding it impossible to move him in his stubborn determination after repeated conferences, summoned a military commission, of which Colonel Madison Miller, of the Eighteenth Missouri Infantry, was president, for the trial of Davis on the following charges and specifications :

Charge I: Being a spy. Specifications: In this, that he. Samuel Davis, of Coleman's scouts. In the service of the so-called Confederate States, did come within the lines of the United States forces in Middle Tennessee for the purpose of secretly gaining information concerning these forces, and conveying the same to the enemy, and was arrested within the said lines on or about November 20,1S63. This in Giles County, Tennessee.

Charge II: Being a carrier of mails, communications, and information from within the lines of the United States Army to persons In arms against the government. Specifications: In this, thai the said Samuel Davis, on or about November 20, 1863, was arrested In Giles County, Tennessee engaged in carrying malls and Information from within the lines of United States Screes to persona In arms against the United States Government.

To which charges and specifications the accused pleaded as follows:

To the specification in first charge, " Not guilty "
To the second charge, " Guilty."

After a patient investigation of several days, the following were the findings and sentence:

The court finds the accused as follows :

Of the specifications to the first charge, " Guilty."

Of the first charge, "Guilty."

Of the specifications to the second charge, " Guilty."

Of the second charge, " Guilty."

And the Commission does therefore sentence him, the said Samuel Davis, of Coleman's scouts, in the service of the so-called Confederate States, to be hung by the neck until he is dead, at such time and place as the commanding general may direct; two thirds of the members of the Commission concurring in the sentence.

Brigadier-General G. M. Dodge approved of the findings and sentence. The sentence was ordered to be carried into effect Friday, November 27, 1863, between the hours of 10 o'clock A. M. and 6 o'clock P. M., and Brigadier-General T. W. Sweeney, commanding Second Division, was ordered to cause the necessary arrangements to be made for carrying out the order in the proper manner.

The prisoner was notified of the findings and the sentence of the military commission by Captain Armstrong, the local provost marshal, and though manifesting some surprise al the severity of the punishment to be inflicted, he bore himself bravely, and showed not the quiver of a muscle. Later in the day Chaplain Young visited him, and found him resigned to his fate. After prayer by the chaplain he inquired concerning the news of the day, and upon being told that Bragg was defeated he expressed the deepest regret.

The scaffold for the execution of the prisoner was built upon an elevation on the eastern side of the town of Pulaski, near the college, and commanded an extensive view. The position could be seen from almost every part of the town. At precisely 10 o'clock on the morning of Friday, the 27th of November, 1863, the prisoner, with pinioned arms, was placed in a wagon and seated upon his coffin. In this condition he was conveyed to the scaffold. Davis stepped from the wagon, and, without any nervousness, seated himself on a bench at the foot of the scaffold, glancing occasionally at the coffin while the assistants were taking it from the wagon. He displayed no trepidation, and seemed to be the least interested of all those present. Quietly turning to Captain Armstrong, he asked with an unshaken voice

how long he had to live, and being told just fifteen minutes, he remarked in substance that the remainder of the battles for the


, Do you suppose, I would betray a friend? No; I would die a thousand times first! ,

freedom of his government and the liberties of his people would have to be fought without his assistance.

Captain Armstrong, turning to him, said, " I am sorry to be compelled to perform this painful duty." To which Davis replied, " Captain, I am innocent; I have only tried to serve my country and my people ; I die in the discharge of duty, and am prepared to die. ! do not think hard of you."

Captain Chickasaw, then approaching, asked the prisoner if it would not be better to save his life by disclosing the name of the officer who furnished the facts concerning the fortifications, etc., and then intimated that it was not yet too late. Upon hearing this the prisoner turned and, with a glowing indignation, said, "Do you suppose, sir, that I would betray a friend ? No; I would die a thousand times first. I will never betray the confidence reposed in me."

Committing then a few keepsakes to Mr. Lawrence, a Methodist minister, he mounted the scaffold with a serene countenance, in company with Chaplain Young, whom he requested to pray with him. After a prayer by the chaplain, the delicacy and appropriateness of which on this occasion may well be questioned, the prisoner stepped upon the trap, and paid the severe penalty of devotion to principle and duty. He died with the calmness of a philosopher, the sternness of a patriot, the serenity of a Christian, and the courage of a martyr.

Never did a deeper gloom spread over any community than did over that of Pulaski when Davis' tragic death was made known. The deed was openly and boldly stigmatized by the common soldiery as a needless assassination. No man ever awakened a deeper sympathy. His youth, his courage, his inflexible devotion to the principles of honor, his coolness under trying circumstances, all pleaded powerfully in his behalf. His sad fate is one of the touching themes of the county, and even now, after the lapse of thirty-four years, whenever his name is mentioned a tender sympathy causes the tear to rise unbidden to the eye. His memory is cherished by the people he loved so well; his name is embalmed in the hearts of his kindred and friends ; and they regard him as a martyr to what he conceived to be his duty—the preservation of the sacredness of confidence. His case furnishes a melancholy example of the atrocities still permitted under the usages of civilized warfare.

In reviewing, after the lapse of years, all the facts connected with this sad affair, it must be admitted that there were many mitigating circumstances in the case of this dauntless young soldier which pleaded powerfully for clemency on the part of the post commander. Davis was captured fifteen miles from Pulaski. He pretended no disguise, but wore at the time of his capture his arms and the Confederate uniform. It is true that the plans of the fortifications in Middle Tennessee were found on his person, biri no proof further than his own admission was adduced to show that he was in possession of them in any other capacity than as a courier or letter-carrier, and might, in the discharge of his duty as such, have unconsciously come within the lines, la addition, his youth, his manliness, his high courage and sense of honor, his unflinching constancy under the severest trial and the greatest temptations, and his heroic conduct to the last, were qualities that should have induced a noble-hearted commander to give the prisoner the benefit of a doubt.

Camp fires of the confederacy: a volume of humorous anecdotes, reminiscences ... By Benjamin La Bree


At the end of April, 1863, General Streight, an Indiana officer, was designated by the Federal General commanding the Army of Tennessee, to prepare for a raid into Northern Georgia, the object being to cut the Confederate communications by destroying railways, bridges, and to burn commissary stores and, above all, to wreck the splendid arsenal at Rome, Georgia.

It was calculated that Streight's raid would require a march of some 300 miles. He was given picked troops and supported by a large force for reconnoissance, to hide as long as possible the real purpose of the incursion.

Streight began his real operations on April 28th, and by the 29th General Forrest, who had been ordered to pursue and baffle the Federals, was close at his heels.

Forrest was one of the wonderful men of the war. Judged by his resources and opportunities, no man who wore the gray accomplished more, and an enemy who opposed him was bound to fight, conquer, run or die.

The moment Streight felt the first stroke of Forrest's hand, he


• Forrest, like a mighty and tireless Noodhound, would follow the prey.'

realized that a tireless, skilled foe was on his track, and for ninetysix hours, never by day or night, was the Federal column at rest.

Like some insatiate monster, the Confederate General followed the Federal column, and, whenever and wherever found, there was a vigilant and relentless attack. In 164 miles he fought eight battles by day and three by night, and in two of the latter, where artillery was drawn by his men to within 100 feet of the enemy's line, the only guide or light was the flash of rifles and the blaze of cannon.

Streight was himself a man of nerve and resource. Skillfully

[graphic][merged small]

arranged ambuscades, tierce charges and stubborn resistance met Forrest, and in a fair proportion of the conflicts the Federals held their own ; but they greatly outnumbered the Men of the Gray. The fierce onslaught of Forrest, his impetuous attack, his unyielding tenacity and uncompromising assaults, combined with his swift and rapid movements, were enough to paralyze the stoutest heart and make the bravest soul question the outcome. Like as a mighty and tireless bloodhound would follow the prey, so this wizard of the saddle pursued the hard-marching Federals, and never for a single instant in these days or nights was tliere otner thought or plan but to destroy the invaders.

Streight found friendly guides and helping hands amongst the Union men and women of Northern Alabama ; but these could not hide him from the eagle eyes or the smiting arm of those following the trail, or stay the avenging hand that was ever uplifted in his rear.

With horses dropping dead in the roads, with men falling in the unconsciousness of sleep from their steeds, and with their guns sliding from their paralyzed grasp, Forrest still hunted the foe. One-half of the command, on the third day, was killed, wounded, or broken down ; but still, with only 500 soldiers he hunted the Federal raiders, and, on May 3d, within twenty miles of Rome —the objective point of the expedition—Streight and his 1,600 men laid down their arms and surrendered to the Confederate General, who could then, after his terrible pursuit, muster less than 500 followers.

Every mile of the 164 was covered with war's wrecks. Dead soldiers, mutilated animals, wounded men and stricken beasts, broken wagons, abandoned trains and scattered supplies, told the story of the relentless and pitiless assault. Nearing the end, in forty-eight hours, four battles and ninety miles marching and four hours' sleeping.

Surely these deeds of the Cavalry of the Army of Tennessee are not unworthy of Confederate valor.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Brave Man.

One of the Alabama regiments was fiercely attacked by a whole brigade in one of the battles around Richmond. The Alabamians, unable to withstand such great odds, were compelled to fall back about thirty or forty yards, losing, to the utter mortification of the officers and men, their flag, which remained in the hands of the enemy. Suddenly a tall Alabamian, a private in the color company, rushed from the ranks across the vacant ground, attacked a squad of Yankees, who had possession of the flag, with his musket, felled several to the ground, snatched the flag from them, and returned safely back to his regiment. The bold fellow was of course immediately surrounded by his jubilant comrades and greatly praised for his gallantry. His captain appointed him to a sergeancy on the spot, but the hero cut everything short by the reply: "Oh, never mind, captain! Say no more about it. I dropped my whisky flask among the Yankees and fetched that back, and I thought I might just as well bring the flag along."

Camp fires of the confederacy: a volume of humorous anecdotes, reminiscences ...

By Benjamin La Bree



The following extract from the famous address delivered by the late Henry W. Grady before the New England Society of New York, on the occasion of its annual dinner in 1886, derives special interest and appropriateness from the associations of Memorial Day:

"Dr. Talmage has drawn for you, with a master hand, the picture of your returning armies. He has told you how, in pomp and circumstance of war, they came back to you, marching with proud and victorious tread, reading their glory in a nation's eyes. Will you bear with me while I tell you of another army that sought its home at the close of the war—an army that marched home in defeat and not in victory, in pathos and not in splendor— but in glory that equaled yours, and to hearts that were as loving as ever welcomed heroes home ?

" Let me picture to you the footsore Confederate soldier, as, buttoning up, in his faded gray jacket, the parole which was to bear testimony to his children of his fidelity and faith, he turned his face southward from Appomattox in 1865. I think of him, as ragged, half-starved, heavy-hearted, enfeebled by want and wounds; having fought to exhaustion, he surrenders his gun, wrings the hands of his comrades in silence, and, lifting his tearstained and pallid face for the last time to the graves that dot old Virginia's hills, pulls his gray cap over his brow, and begins the slow and painful journey.

"What does he find? Let me ask you, who went to your homes eager to find, in a welcome you had justly earned, full payment for four years' sacrifice—what does he find when, having followed the battle-stained cross against overwhelming odds, dreading death not half so much as surrender, he reaches the home he left so prosperous and beautiful ? He finds his house in 2 " (17)

ruins, his farm devastated, his slaves free, his stock killed, his barns empty, his trade destroyed, his money worthless, his social system—feudal in its magnificence—swept away, his people without law or legal status, his comrades slain, and the burdens of others heavy on his shoulders.

" Without money, credit, employment, material or training, and, besides all this, confronted with the greatest problem that ever confronted human intelligence—the establishing of a status for the vast body of his liberated slaves — what does he do, this hero in gray, with the heart of gold ? Does he sit down in sullenness and despair ? Not for a day. Surely God, who had stripped him of his prosperity, inspired him in his adversity. As ruin was never before so overwhelming, never was restoration swifter. The soldier stepped from the trenches into the furrow; horses that had charged Federal guns marched before the plow, and fields that ran red with human blood in April were green with the harvest in June ; women reared in luxury cut up their dresses and made dresses for their husbands ; with a patience and a heroism that fit women always as a garment, they gave their hands to work. There was little bitterness in all this. Cheerfulness and frankness prevailed. 'Bill Arp' struck the keynote when he said, 'Well, I killed as many of them as they did of me, and I'm going home to work.' "

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Stonewall Jackson

Align Center

* 1824 January 21
Thomas Jonathan Jackson was born at Clarksburg, [West] Virginia.
Parents: Jonathan Jackson (1790-1826) an attorney, and Julia Beckwith Neale (1798-1831). They were married in September 1817 and had four children: Elizabeth (1819-1826); Warren (1821-1841); Thomas (1824-1863), and Laura Ann (1826-1911).

* 1826 March
Jackson's sister Elizabeth (age 6) and his father died of typhoid fever. Julia Jackson gave birth to Laura the day after her husband died. Widowed at age 28, Julia was left with extensive debts and the family was impoverished.

* 1830-1841
Julia Jackson remarried. Her new husband, Blake Woodson, disliked his stepchildren and the family had financial difficulties. A short time after the marriage, Thomas and Laura were sent to live with Jackson relatives in Jackson's Mill [West] Virginia; Warren was sent to Neale relatives. Julia Jackson died, as a result of childbirth complications, on Dec. 4, 1831. She left behind the three Jackson siblings and a newborn son (Thomas's half brother), William Wirt Woodson (1831-1875). Jackson and Laura spent the remaining years of childhood with their paternal uncles. Jackson's brother, Warren, died of tuberculosis in 1841.

* 1842 June-1846 June
Jackson attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. Jackson was not the first choice for his congressional district's appointment, but the top applicant withdrew from the academy after only one day. Jackson graduated in June 1846, standing 17th out of 59 graduates. Jackson began his U.S. Army career as a 2nd Lt., First Artillery Regiment. In 1844, Jackson's beloved sister, Laura, married Jonathan Arnold.

* 1846-1851
United States Army officer. Served in the Mexican War, 1846-1848; stationed at Carlisle Barracks, PA; Ft. Hamilton, NY; Ft. Meade, FL.

* 1851-1861 April

o In the spring of 1851 Jackson was offered and accepted the appointment to teach at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia; he resigned from the army.
Elinor Junkin, Jackson's first wife, died in childbirth
Elinor Junkin Jackson

o Reported for duty at VMI on August 13, 1851. He taught natural and experimental philosophy (related to modern day physics and including physics, astronomy, acoustics, optics, and other scientific courses).

o On August 4, 1853, Jackson married Elinor Junkin (1825-1854), daughter of Dr. George Junkin (President of Washington College) and Julia Miller Junkin.

o Elinor (Ellie) died in childbirth on October 22, 1854. Their child, a son, was stillborn.

o During the summer of 1856 Jackson toured Europe, visiting Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, England and Scotland.

o On July 16, 1857, Jackson married for the second time. His wife was Mary Anna Morrison (1831-1915), daughter of Robert Hall Morrison and Mary Graham Morrison. Mary Anna's family resided in North Carolina; her father was the retired President of Davidson College.

o Mary Anna gave birth to a daughter, Mary Graham, on April 30, 1858; the baby died less than a month later, on May 25.

o In November 1859, Jackson was one of the VMI officers who accompanied a contingent of VMI cadets to Harper's Ferry, where they stood guard at the execution of abolitionist John Brown.

* 1861-1863

o April 21, 1861 - the VMI Corps of Cadets was ordered to Richmond to serve as drillmasters for new army recruits. Jackson was placed in command of the cadets.

o April 27, 1861 - Gov. John Letcher ordered Colonel Jackson to take command at Harper's Ferry, where he organized the troops that would soon comprise the famous "Stonewall Brigade" (2nd, 4th, 5th, 27th and 33rd Virginia Infantry Regiments; Rockbridge Artillery; all were from the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia).

o July 1861 - Promoted to Brigadier General. Battle of 1st Manassas, where he acquired the legendary nickname Stonewall. "Look, there stands Jackson like a stone wall."

o October 1861 - Promoted to Major General. Placed in command of the Valley of Virginia (Shenandoah Valley)

o 1862 May & June - Jackson's brilliant Shenandoah Valley Campaign; victories at Front Royal, Winchester, Cross Keys and Port Republic. Following the successful campaign, Jackson was ordered to join Gen. Lee in the Peninsula (Eastern Virginia).

Julia Jackson (1862-1889).
Her mother was Mary Anna Morrison, Jackson's second wife.

o 1862 June 15-July 1 - Seven Days Battles. Jackson displayed ineffective leadership which stood in stark contrast to the brilliance of the Shenandoah Valley campaign; the reasons for this uncharacteristic military failure is still debated among Jackson scholars. Returned to the Valley.

o 1862 June-September. Battles of Cedar Mountain, Clark's Mt., 2nd Manassas (July 21), Antietam (September 17).

o 1862 October - Lee reorganized his army into two corps. Jackson was promoted to Lt. General and given command of the new Second Corps. Jackson was now in charge of half of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

o 1862 November - Jackson's daughter, Julia Laura, was born.

o 1862 December 13 - Battle of Fredericksburg

o 1862 December-1863 March - In quarters at Moss Neck, 10 miles south of Fredericksburg. The estate was owned by the Corbin family, who offered their home as winter headquarters.

o 1863 April - in camp at Hamilton's Crossing

o 1863 May 1 - Battle of Chancellorsville begins.

o 1863 May 2, 9:00 p.m. - While reconnoitering with members of his staff, Jackson was accidentally fired upon by his own troops. The 18th North Carolina Infantry Regiment was responsible for the "friendly fire" incident. Jackson was struck by three .57 caliber bullets. He was taken to a field hospital near the battlefield, where his left arm was amputated.

o 1863 May 4 - Jackson was moved to a field hospital at the home of Thomas and Mary Chandler, near Guiney Station, approximately 30 miles from the battlefield.

o 1863 May 10 - Jackson died at 3:15 p.m. His last words were "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees."

o 1863 May 15. Jackson's funeral took place in Lexington, Virginia, the town that was Jackson's home during his years as Professor at VMI.

o Mary Anna Morrison Jackson never remarried. She was known as the "Widow of the Confederacy" and lived until 1915.

o The close relationship between Jackson and his sister, Laura Jackson Arnold, was destroyed during the war. Laura was an outspoken Unionist who became estranged from her brother and other members of her family. Federal troops occupied her hometown of Beverly [West] Virginia during most of the war, and Mrs. Arnold cared for Federal wounded in her home. See the Johnson Family Papers for a letter mentioning Laura's wartime reputation.

o Julia Jackson was less than one year old when her father died. She married William E. Christian in 1885; she died of typhoid fever in 1889, at age 26. Her children were Julia Jackson Christian (1887-1991), who married Edmund R. Preston; and Thomas Jonathan Jackson Christian (1888-1952), who married three times. Both of Jackson's grandchildren had several children; thus there are many living descendants of Stonewall Jackson.

Echoes From The Battle of Murfreesboro

Confederate Veteran
Volume 11, Number 2
February, 1903


[Federals designated it Stone River.]

The memory of incidents in boyhood is rarely incorrect, because impressions first made are most lasting. I was seventeen when the great battle of Murfreesboro (Stone River) was fought between the Army of the Cumberland (Rosecrans) and the Army of Tennessee (Bragg). It was midway of the war between the States, and it was one of the most hotly contested battles in that great conflict.

Bragg had concentrated his forces at Murfreesboro, after the famous battle of Perryville, and Rosecrans massed his forces in Nashville, thirty-one miles north.

My home was between the two armies, at Old Jefferson, twelve miles from Murfreesboro, on a pike intersecting the Nashville and Murfreesboro pike near Lavergne. The battle ground was six miles from my home, northeast on a road that could flank Murfreesboro or intersect with the Murfreesboro and Lebanon pike and afford a fine route for the left wing of a pursuing army.

The location in the disputed territory gave me a better opportunity for taking in the situation than one who was in the front or rear. I had brothers in Morgan's Cavalry, stationed at Black's shop, the intersection of the Murfreesboro and Lebanon and Jefferson and Milton pikes, and a brother in Bragg's army, and my father's home was, of course, the rendezvous of many on our side. Wharton's Cavalry was near Triune, in front of Ilardee. Wheeler was below Lavergne, while John Morgan was watching approaches from Lebanon at Black's shop. Pegram was on the flank in front of our infantry at Readyville.

Scouting parties, making petty fights and movements, and foraging parties of both sides, made things lively, and an occasional gathering of the young folks between the lines, when "kissing games and chasing the glowing hours with flying feet" lent a lively pastime to some of our soldiers.

It was before the "cradle and grave act" of our Congress enlisting persons eligible for soldiers from sixteen to fifty, and as one of what was known as the "Seed Corn of the South." too young to be called on for service, the limit being eighteen, T would go along with the soldier boys "bearded like the pard, jealous in honor, seeking hubble reputation at the cannon's mouth," and join in the revelry-raids in progress about the State Insane Asylum, dashes on the Chicken road about Nolensville, the Hermitage, around Nashville, Lebanon, Gallatin, and other places.

On December 8, 1862, among the flying ordits, we received the news that Gen. John Morgan had taken his own command and Hanson's Kentucky Brigade and captured 2,000 prisoners at Hartsville. Morgan returned a lion, and my young heart leaped with joy when I went up to Black's shop and saw the 2,000 bluecoats filing by. Every tongue was in his praise, and the Confederate Congress congratulated the brilliant achievement. In the midst of this rejoicing it was secretly whispered that one of Muefreesboro's fair women, Miss Mattie Ready, had captured John Morgan. "The voice of the bridegroom and the bride" was soon to be heard, and from out the exuberance over military glory, on December 14, at the home of the bride's father, Judge Ready, in Murfreesboro, Lieut. Gen. Polk (Bishop Polk) in full uniform, performed the ceremony, and Gens. Bragg, Hardee, Cheatham, and Duke stood by them as best men. Even Col. St. Ledger Grenfel, the Moor, whose rigid enforcement of military discipline was causing a reign of terror among the cavalry, was there. \vreathed in smiles, and, while he was fearful that the marriage might lessen Morgan's usefulness, yet he thought it grand that his chief was honored by such guests. About this time Stevenson's infantry division had been sent off to Baton Rouge, while Rosecrans was reenforcing. Then Forrest had to look after hostile forces in West Tennessee, and, in order to divert Rosecrans, Morgan was started on another raid to Kentucky.

Some of our infantry was sent near the front as supports to cavalry, and dashes and fights became more frequent. On the night of December 28, at a party of young folks at Smyrna Depot, it was said that the Federal army was moving upon us; that McCook's Corps had taken the Nashville-Triune pike, Thomas's the Franklin to the intersection of the Wilson pike, leading to Nolensville, and that Crittendon and Rosecrans were advancing on the pike from Nashville toward Murfreesboro, and had reached Lavergne. The soldiers at the party took leave of their friends and sweethearts. Among them was a lieutenant, F. B. Crosthwait, who went to his command (the Twentieth Tennessee). whilst the "Seed Corn Contingent" returned to their respective homes, awaiting developments.

On December 29 there was heard the rumbling of artillery. Toward Lavergne it was more distinct and gradually came closer and closer, until about nightfall on all of the pikes could be seen time stubborn falling back of the cavalry. At Nolensville, Thomas came in the rear of McCoo, who was at Triune fighting Hardee's front (Bragg's left wing), which also was slowly falling back toward Murfreesboro. At Lavergue, Crittenden's Division broke off at the intersection and took the Jefferson pike and camped that night at Espey's Church, throwing their vanguard to the north side of the bridge, on the west fork of Stone River. There was a calm that night preceding the storm, that even a boy in bewilderment noticed. About daybreak Wheeler's Cavalry from Murfreesboro moved out to strike the Federal rear. Meandering paths were taken to the Sharp Springs ford opposite Espey's church, and in a short time the zip-zip of Minies and the basso interlude of the shells beat upon the air.

It was my first sight of a battle. It sounded like the breaking of millions of sticks, and the cannons boomed like a trip hammer sounds over a stubborn piece of heated iron. Then followed the woo-oo-oo-ing of the solid shot, the whizzing, whining howl of a shell as with a shuck tied to it. Wheeler bad engaged them for a while with a brigade, and continued to the rear toward Lavergue, where he struck the wagon train, and must have destroyed much.

One of the diverting incidents of the Espey's Church battle was the conduct of a neighbor physician. He was of a nervous turn, but, like Weelam McClure in "Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush," he was highly respected as the doctor of the glen. When the shells crashed through his house he broke through the woods, urging his wife to follow. She said "Hold on; let me get my baby." The Doctor said, "Let the baby go," and off he ran to get away from danger.

In a short time after the fight this flanking column was all marching via Smyrna Depot, called back to the Murfreesboro pike, and then the rattling and rumbling of firearms everywhere all day and at rapid intervals was kept up at Stone River and in the rear. The flank movement via the Jefferson pike having been withdrawn, when perhaps they found that the bridges above and below Jefferson in the fork of the junction of the river had been burned, it left us high and dry from the invader, and their "round up" made the west fork of Stone River their line of defense. And so it was that Rosecrans had concentrated his army near Murfreesboro.

From a memoranda issued by Gen. Bragg for general and staff officers the line of battle of the Army of Tennessee was formed for the coming onslaught:

"1. The line of battle will be in front of Murfreesboro, half of the army (left wing) in front of Stone River, right wing in rear of the river.

"2. Polk's Corps will form left wing, Hardee's Corps right wing.

"3. Withers's Division will form first line in Polk's Corps, Cheatham's the second line. Breckinridge's Division forms first line, Hardee's Corps; Cleburne's Division, second line, Hardee's Corps.

"4. McGowen's Division to form reserve opposite center on high ground, in the rear of Cheatham's present quarters.

"5. Jackson's Brigade reserve to the right flank, to report to Lient. Gen. Hardee.

"6. Two lines to be formed from 800 to 1,000 yards apart, according to ground.

"7. Chiefs of artillery to pay especial attention to posting of batteries and supervise their work, seeing that they do not causelessly waste their ammunition.

"8. Cavalry to fall back gradually before the enemy, reporting by couriers every hour when near our lines. Wheeler will move to the right and Wharton to the left to cover and protect our flanks and report movements of the enemy. Pegram to fall to the rear and report to commanding general as a reserve.

"9. To-night if the enemy has gained his position in our front ready for action, Wheeler and Wharton, with their whole commands, will make a night march to the right and left, turn the enemy's flank, gain his rear, and vigorously assault his trains and rear guard, blocking the roads and impeding his movements in every way, holding themselves ready to assail his retreating forces.

"10. All quartermasters, commissaries, and ordnance officers will remain at their proper posts, discharging their duties. Supplies and baggage should be ready, packed for a move forward or backward, as the results of the day may require, and the trains should be in position out of danger, teamsters all present, and quartermasters in charge.

Should we be compelled to retire, Polk's Corps will move on Shelbyville, and Hardee on Manchester pike. Trains in front, cavalry in the rear.


And so was Bragg's disposition of his army.

Our cavalry was so persistent that it took Rosecrans four days to move twenty miles to confront Bragg. Rosecrans was all day Tuesday, the 30th, locating his artillery and extending his right so as to flank BraggÆs right from the McFadden Ford. When nightfall came McCook commanded Rosecrans's right, Thomas the center, and Crittenden the left.

Gen. Rosecrans reported: "My plan of battle was to open on the right and engage the enemy sufficiently to hold him firmly and to cross with my left (at McFadden's Ford), consisting of three divisions, to oppose which they had only two divisions. But the enemy attacked the whole front of our right wing, massing his forces on its right flank, which was partially surprised, thrown into confusion, and driven back."

Gen. Bragg says that it became apparent that the object was to flank on his right, and be determined to assail him on our left Wednesday, the 31st. For this purpose he moved Cleburne's Division, Hardee's Corps, from the second line on the right to the left, having previously moved McCown to the first line on Triune road left, and Gen. Hardee was ordered to that point and assigned to the command of that and McCown's Division.

The movement was made on the evening of December 30, and before seven o'clock the next morning, the anticipated time for Rosecrans to begin his flank movement on his left. The result of this was the entire rout of the Federal right wing, and it would have been of Rosecrans's army had it been vigorously followed up. To show that this was so, those of us in the rear picked up stragglers fleeing in every direction. A number of tts near Old Jefferson got over 200 during the battle and marched them to our pickets at Black's shop, four miles on the Lebanon pike crossing, and turned them over as prisoners. They came down the west side of the river in squads, and when we would halloo "Halt," up would go a white handkerchief.

The flush of Wednesday's battle, together with the information from these stragglers that we had run them back north of the pike and corralled the whole Federal army from the turnpike north at what is now the cemetery to the McFadden ford, coupled with Wheeler's and Wharton's burning 800 wagons from Overall Creek to the asylum, led all to believe that the retreat of Rosecrans was inevitable and the destruction of his army certain.

Among these stragglers that the "Seed Corn Contingent" were picking up appeared a lieutenant colonel with his eagles and epautlets. He was on a good horse and had a pair of fine Holsters. Two of us, anxious for big game, commanded him to surrender, but that fellow went for his navies, and, fearing that our little six-shooters were too small, we "absquatulated," and after picking up a few more boys, followed on, and took him in seven miles this side of Lebanon. He said that he was not going to let two boys with pocket pistols capture him. That colonel was six miles from the battlefield, and a Federal officer told me after the war that he was cashiered for cowardice.

Notwithstanding the apparent confusion in the enemies' rear on Thursday, the roaming of artillery continued at Murfreesboro, and about three o'clock on Friday the firing of artillery and small arms was more terrific than usual. A fearful battle was evidently in progress. It turned out to be Breckinridge's fatal charge, where he is said to have been repulsed with a loss of 1,500 killed and wounded. It is the history of that event that he was driving one or two lines into the river at McFadden's Ford, when fifty-two pieces of artillery opened up and almost decimated his ranks. On that Friday my dear mother made her way to Murfreesboro through the Confederate pickets to look after husband and sons, and reached there, after passing through long lines of cavalry mounted arid ready for the conflict.

I quote from a letter she wrote of this trip: "On entering town what a sight met my eyes! Prisoners entering every street, ambulances bringing in the wounded, every place crowded with the dying, the Federal general, Sill, lying dead in the courthouse-killed Wednesday-Frank Crosthwait's (Twentieth Tennessee) lifeless corpse stretched on a counter. He had been visiting my house, and was killed on Wednesday. The churches were full of wounded, where the doctors were amputating legs and arms. I found my own safe, and, being informed that another battle was expected to begin, I set off on my way home, and passed through our cavalry all drawn up in line. I had only gone a mile when the first cannon boomed. but I was safe. I think of that trip now with wonder that I had no fear, but my anxiety was so intense it seemed at the time that it was no more than a visit."

In all these days, from the 26th to the 29th, Wheeler, Wharton, and Pegram seemed busy, and then from the 30th to the 4th of January they made three rounds of the Federal army, and rushed back to Murfreesboro at times to protect the flanks. The movement was wonderful, and it was there that Gen. Wheeler properly won the sobriquet of "Fighting Joe."

Undoubtedly up to the time that Breckinridge made his fatal charge the Confederates had the battle, and the Federal commander was expecting to retreat. It is said, whether true or not, that in the Federal conference after the rout of December 31 the commander was bewildered.

The papers captured on the field out of McCook's headquarters wagon placed the Federal army there between sixty and seventy thousand. And with Bragg's force of 30,000 effectives, beside 5,000 cavalry, undoubtedly his battle as aggressor in an open fight was one of the most masterful efforts of tlmc Army of Tennessee. Bragg outgeneraled his adversary in the outset, and on Wednesday evening, had he thrown BreckinridgeÆs division-although heavily drawn from-against Crittenden at McFadden's Ford, as he says he ordered, the fruits of the victory of Hardee and Polk on Wednesday would have been realized.

There were incidents in that b~ittle that made wonderful impressions on me. For eight long hours MeCown, Cleburne, and Withers and Cheatham's Divisions were mowing down line after line of McCook and Thomas, and even parts of Crittenden's until they were driven from the Triune road across he Wilkerson to the Nashville pike, two and one-half miles back, until the enemy was formed into a north and south instead of the former east and west line.

The backward run of the enemy's right and center became a whirlpool of disorder until the railroad embankment was their only salvation. Men, although mortally wounded, continued the pursuit until they fell fainting from loss of blood. Col. Locke, of a Texas regiment, they say, slapped his hands over the wound in his breast to stop the blood, and hallooed, "Charge em, boys: and followed on until he fell. Maj. Douglas, of artillery fame, captured a battery from the enemy. In the twinkling of an eye, and with grape and shrapnel, at the critical moment he cut swaths in the lines of blue, appalling and stampeding them. They also say that Sergt. A. Sims, flag bearer of the Tenth Texas, seeing in one of the charges a Federal flag bearer with his flag waving his regiment forward, sprang at him and seized it, and while struggling both fell dead while waving their banners. It is said that Lieut. Fred James, volunteer on Cheatham's staff, a lawyer from Murfreesboro, was killed near his mother's farm in the battle. The Allen boys, Orville Ewing, Nat Gooch, J. B. Johns, Col. Don McGregor (First Arkansas, who formerly lived here) were wounded or killed, and the death knell throughout the army was awful.

Capt. Semple, of Semple's Battery, located on the left, saw a fine-looking officer dashing up the pike in the direction of the center. He thought him a general, and asked one of his gunners to pick him off. The gunner loaded a solid shot, took careful aim with his cannon, and at her belch the officer fell down dead from his horse. It turned out to be the adjutant general of the Federal army, Col. Garesche, reported "killed by a solid shot."

In the meantime the "Seed Corn Contingent" were picking up stragglers, in a hard rain, and delivered them to our pickets at Black's shop. As the blue lines rose and fell the Federal general Sill (we heard) was killed, and our Gen. Rains was pierced through the heart. The fearful destruction of color bearers, some regiments losing six to eight, will give an idea of the fierceness of the struggle. Two Federal brigadiers were captured; Gens. Wood and Vancleve were wounded. The seven days' fight around Murfreesboro recalls that of the name around Richmond. It has been forty years ago, but the memory is as vivid as if it were yesterday.

But after Wednesday the aggressive work stopped. Cleburne said that the enemy was intrenched, and while he could defend, yet it was unsafe to pursue again with worn-out troops. So Thursday came, and every moment's delay was death to the ultimate success of Southern arms. The suspense made us restless about the result. Wagons and bodies of troops were moving back toward Nashville, and stragglers from the Federal lines did not diminish. But the charge of Breckinridge came on the 2d, causing that awful slaughter. It fell upon us like a thunderbolt. Our neighbors and relatives and friends were there. The gallant Hanson, of Kentucky, was killed. Col. Palmer of our town. was wounded, and our dead and dying lay before fifty pieces of the enemy's guns, massed by Mendelhall, Crittenden's chief of artillery, at McFadden's Ford.

It was a sudden shock to the flushed spirits of the Army of Tennessee. Friday night in the lull my father, who had been watching the battle, returned to its and said that our army would retire. And thus ended the great battle. Polk withdrew on the Shelbyville pike and Hardee on the Manchester pike.

We boys went through the form of paroling our prisoners. After the war we received a letter from one of those Yanks, wanting a certificate of parole, having mislaid the one we gave him. They were accusing him up North of desertion in a race for the Legislature. But we could not help him, as we were not empowered to issue paroles.

And now, when summing up the battle of Murfreesboro (Stone River), we assert that for fierceness and the display of military skill it was not surpassed.

In the official reports Union and Confederate armies (Volume XIV., Series I., page 1,097), the list of ordnance and other articles captured and of men wounded and taken prisoners by Gen. Bragg's army at Murfreesboro are as follows: Artillery, 40 pieces; muskets, 6,000; wagons, 800; mules, 4,000; killed, 5,000; wounded, 16,000; prisoners, 6,103. This report, though, does not agree with the returns of casualties in the Union forces, which places the aggregate of losses in killed, wounded, and missing at 13,249. The returns of casualties in Confederate forces killed, wounded, and missing, 9,865. Of these, 7,706 were killed and wounded, and only 888 missing, showing a game fight on the part of our army from start to finish. (See Series I, Vol. 20, page 681, Rebellion Records.)

The battle was never a victory to Rosecrans. His overwhelming numbers in pursuit were defenders in the conflict.

It was a victory to Southern arms, for the lion dared not pursue us. We retired at will, and retained the larger part of Tennessee for ten months, that we had been forced before to give up, affording supplies to our people. Our outpost retired back only twelve to fifteen miles.

On the night of January 3, 1863, after burying valuables for loved ones and saying good-by, those of Jeff Davis's "Seed Corn" that had been so active at Old Jefferson during the battle, retired with the grand old Army of Tennessee to pick their flints and come again.

The result of the battle with some tended to impair Gen. Bragg's usefulness, for all felt sure that the battle was won. Bragg's conception of it was grand, his execution praiseworthy, and he had ordered the right to advance on Wednesday and complete the rout, and but for the unfortunate information to Breckenridge that enemy was flanking, the order would have been carried out. That was the turning point in the battle, and no commander could foresee it. Information as to increased reenforcements to his army induced Bragg's generals to advise retreat.

Bragg's conception of every battle displayed generalship. The more the passions subside, and reason sits enthroned upon the heart, the more history will take the part of the private soldier and do Gen. Bragg's memory justice, and the world will commend the Confederate government for retaining him among her faithful generals.

It was not Northern generalship that brought mishaps in some of our battles, nor a want of Southern skill that caused the overthrow of the Confederacy-it was God.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


"Surrender means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the War; will be impressed by all the influences of history and to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit subjects for derision." --Gen. Pat Cleburne, CSA

Charles Dickens- English author 1861 - "The Northern onslaught upon slavery is no more than a piece of specious humbug designed to conceal its desire for economic control of the Southern states."

London Times 7 November 1861 - The contest is really for empire on the side of the North and for independence on that of the South.."

Karl Marx-European Socialist-1861 - "The war between the North and the South is a tariff war. The war is further, not for any principle, does not touch the question of slavery, and in fact turns on the Northern lust for sovereignty. "
New Orleans Daily Crescent-1861-- "They (the South) know that it is their import trade that draws from the peoples pockets sixty or seventy millions of dollars per annum, in the shape of duties, to be expended mainly in the North, and in the protection and encouragement of Northern interest. These are the reasons why these people do not wish the South to secede from the union".

"The Southern Confederacy will not employ our ships or buy our goods. What is our shipping without it? Literally nothing... it is very clear that the South gains by this process and we lose. No...we must not let the South go".
-- Union Democrat Manchester, New Hampshire. 19 February, 1861

"The cause of the South was the cause of constitutional government, the cause of government regulated by law, and the cause of honesty and fidelity in public servants. No nobler cause did man ever fight for!"
~ Rep. Benjamin Franklin Grady-Duplin Co. NC 1899

"Instead of friends, I see in Washington only mortal enemies. Instead of loving the old flag of the stars and stripes, I see in it only the symbol of murder, plunder, oppression, and shame."
Rose O'Neal Greenhow, Confederate Spy

"To me, the campaign by certain groups to remove all the symbols and memorials to our Southern past amounts to the same thing...a desecration of graves. Every flag or monument that is removed, every plaque taken down, every school or street or bridge that is renamed, is no different from a broken tombstone. It is wanton and hateful violence directed at the dead who can no longer defend themselves.'' -- John Field Pankow

The real issue involved in the relations between the North and the South of the American States, is the great principle of self-government. Shall a dominant party of the North rule the South, or shall the people of the South rule themselves. This is the great matter in controversy.
(Montgomery, Alabama, 1860) -- Robert Barnwell Rhett

" To tar the sacrifices of the Confederate soldier as simple acts of racism, and reduce the battle flag under which he fought to nothing more than the symbol of a racist heritage, is one of the great blasphemies of our modern age".
James Webb-Secretary of Navy And Assistant Secretary of Defense under U.S. President Ronald Regan and current U.S. Senator (D.VA.) (Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America, New York: Broadway Books, 2004, p. 225)

“…We must forevermore do honor to our heroic dead. We must forevermore cherish the sacred memories of those four terrible but glorious years of unequal strife. We must forevermore consecrate in our hearts our old battle flag of the Southern Cross – not now as a political symbol, but as the consecrated emblem of an heroic epoch. The people that forgets its heroic dead is already dying at the heart, and we believe we shall be truer and better citizens of the United States if we are true to our past.”
~ Confederate Veteran Rev. Randolph Harrison McKim

Had the cotton gin of Massachusetts inventor Eli Whitney not come on the scene in the late 1700’s, African slavery in this country was most likely doomed. The antislavery and emancipation feeling in the South was ascendant, but thwarted by profitable slave-trading and hungry cotton mills in New England which gave rise to more plantations in the South, and the perpetuation of slavery. And after years of treating the American South as an agricultural colony, New England set out in 1861 to strip it of political power.
Bernhard Thuersam- Director Cape Fear Historical Institute NC.

"The Confederate battle flag is based upon the national flag of Scotland. The national flag of Scotland is the cross of St. Andrew and the cross of St. Andrew is a symbol of the Christian faith and the heritage of the Celtic race... It was adopted consciously, purposefully, and order to display faith in the sovereign God of heaven and earth, faith in the providence of God, and the God of salvation."
Pastor John Weaver-Former SCV National Chaplain

I love the Union and the Constitution, but I would rather leave the Union with the Constitution than remain in the Union without it.
Confederate President Jefferson Davis

"We feel that our cause is just and holy; we protest solemnly in the face of mankind that we desire peace at any sacrifice save that of honor and independence; we ask no conquest, no aggrandizement, no concession of any kind from the States with which we were lately confederated; all we ask is to be let alone; that those who never held power over us shall not now attempt our subjugation by arms."
President Jefferson Davis, CSA, 29 April 1861

"I tried all in my power to avert this war. I saw it coming, for twelve years I worked night and day to prevent it, but I could not. The North was mad and blind; it would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came, and now it must go on unless you acknowledge our right to self government. We are not fighting for slavery. We are fighting for Independence."
President Jefferson Davis, CSA

"When the South raised its sword against the Union's Flag,
it was in defense of the Union's Constitution."
Confederate General John B. Gordon

Confederate Col. Richard Henry Lee - "We were not rebels; we did not fight to perpetuate human slavery, but for our rights and privileges under a government established over us by our fathers and in defense of our homes".

"Any people, anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right, a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world".
Abraham Lincoln-U.S. Congress 1847

A little over 10 years later after the South attempted precisely that , Lincoln, when asked, "Why not let the South go in peace"? replied; "I can't let them go. Who would pay for the government"? "And, what then will become of my tariff"?
Abraham Lincoln to Virginia Compromise Delegation March 1861

The states of the South refused to see the law of the land violated and chose as their leader Kentucky born and educated leader, Jefferson Davis, the descendant of Celtic (Welsh) Baptists who had immigrated to South Carolina in 1660 A.D.

Long ago (1281A.D.) Sir William Wallace, leader of the Scot resistance against English oppression said, "Any society which suppresses the heritage of it's conquered minorities, prevents their history, and denies them their symbols, has sewn the seed of it's own destruction".

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A true Southerner

"The SOUTH is a land that has known sorrows; it is a land that has broken the ashen crust and moistened it with tears; a land scarred and riven by the plowshare of war and billowed with the graves of her dead; but a land of legend, a land of song, a land of hallowed and heroic memories.

"To that land every drop of my blood, every fiber of my being, every pulsation of my heart, is consecrated forever. I was born of her womb; I was nurtured at her breast; and when my last hour shall come, I pray GOD that I may be pillowed upon her bosom and rocked to sleep within her tender and encircling arms."

Edward Ward Carmack (1858-1908),
United States Representative, Tennessee

Watch this before it is removed.

The Manning Report