Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Battle of Dutton’s Hill

On March 30, General Pegram chose a defensive position on Dutton’s Hill near the intersection of the Crab Orchard & Stanford roads, in an effort to protect his cattle, which were then crossing the Cumberland River a mere six-miles away. Pegram placed Colonel Scott of the 1st Louisiana in charge of the mounted troops. The 16th Tennessee Battalion was deployed on the Stanford Road. The 1st Louisiana and the 1st Tennessee were placed at the intersection. Dismounting the balance of his men, except for the three companies from the 1st Florida which were crossing the cattle, to the position on Dutton’s Hill.

The 1st Georgia was placed on the right. Steele’s Battalion held the center, and the 2nd Tennessee was placed upon the left. Huwald’s Battery was placed in advantageous positions.

General Gillmore began his attack at 12:30 p. m., with an artillery barrage, which was damaging to the Confederate defenses. Meanwhile he placed the 1st Kentucky dismounted in the woods to the right. The 7th Ohio and the four Rodman guns were placed in the center. Dismounting, the 44th & 45th Ohio took a position on the left. Believing his mountain howitzers to be useless, Gillmore, placed them in reserve.

General Pegram’s and Colonel Scott’s after action reports differ as to how events unfolded during the three-hour battle to hold the hill. Colonel Scott took the 1st Louisiana and 1st Tennessee and attempted to flank the position of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry, so that they could get to the rear of the Union artillery. Pegram claims he held out for an hour awaiting Scott’s attack, which he felt should have taken only 10 minutes to have begun. Colonel Scott stated that an aide to General Pegram, Lt. J. F. Ranson, had countermanded the order and had halted the bulk of his command without his knowledge. As a result Scott charged the Union position with 30 troopers managing to capture just three horses. Furious, Scott retired and confronted Lt. Ranson, chastising him for delivering the order to halt to Lt. Colonel Nixon instead of himself, and cursing General Pegram in the process. In the meantime General Pegram reversed himself and ordered the flanking attack once again.

Observing the Confederate maneuvering, General Gillmore took steps to prevent its success. As Colonel Scott withdrew his troopers for a second attempt, Gillmore ordered the 44th and 45th Ohio Infantry and the 7th Ohio Cavalry to storm the hill, which they captured after a desperate defense of a thicket by three companies of the 2nd Tennessee. Captain Footman of the 1st Florida Cavalry had sent a detachment to support Pegram but they arrived too late to be of assistance. Gillmore quickly sent the 7th Ohio to support the 1st Kentucky by flanking Scott’s position, while parts of the 44th and 45th Ohio Infantry marched to the support as well.

After regrouping his command of approximately 330 men, Colonel Scott split them into three groups. Lt. Colonel Nixon with 6 companies and Captain Mathews with 4 companies of the 1st Louisiana charged the union troops at a right angle upon the Crab Orchard road. Captain Mathews of company A, and the members of his company, were known to wear rattlesnake tails on their hats. Meanwhile Colonel Carter’s 1st Tennessee cavalry proceeded a few hundred yards and then charged pell-mell down the Crab Orchard road. Due to the terrain the 1st Louisiana was forced to fight dismounted. With the element of surprise gone the attack failed. For the first time in its history the 1st Louisiana was forced to give up ground it held.

During the next two hours the 1st Louisiana and 1st Tennessee retired fighting from various positions in an effort to delay the Union advance while Pegram took a new position on Sugar Hill approximately 2 and 1/2 miles south of Somerset. During the combat the 1st Tennessee lost its colors which had recently been presented to them by the daughter of General Marshall. The 1st Louisiana reported losses of 75 men. The 1st Tennessee reported losses of 37 men. After some half-hearted skirmishing, about 5:30 p.m., Pegram was allowed to withdraw under the cover of night. The Confederates crossed the Cumberland River at Stigall’s and Newell’s ferries with 537 of the 750 cattle that they had collected. General Pegram additionally claimed to have captured and paroled 178 Union soldiers. His losses were approximately 200 killed, wounded or missing. The Confederate prisoners were sent to Forts McHenry and Monroe. From there they were forwarded to City Point, Virginia, for exchange.

After the Battle of Dutton’s Hill, General Pegram ordered the arrest of Colonel Scott, court-martialing him for cursing a superior officer. Although found guilty, Colonel Scott received a light reprimand from General S. B. Buckner before being returned to command a brigade of cavalry.

Lt. Colonel Nixon filed six charges against General Pegram, which seem to have never been adjudicated by Confederate authorities.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gen. Alfred E. Jackson reports to the Secretary of War what the condition upper Eastern Tennessee had become in September, 1863

Bristol, Tenn., September 3, 1863.
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: I have the honor to communicate to you, through Hon. Joseph B. Heiskell, member of Congress, the fact that the recent withdrawal of the forces from upper East Tennessee has thrown the loyal citizens of that section into a most deplorable state of consternati on and dismay, and that they are fleeing with their families and movable effects into every direction before large and numerous bands of marauding bushwhackers and tories, which are assembling all over the country, committing the most brutal murders and the most wanton destruction of property every day and every night.
It will be infinitely easier to hold this section of country now than to reoccupy it after having been entirely abandoned to the enemy. I have been ordered by Maj.-Gen. Buckner to report with my command to Gen. Williams, at Bristol. He and myself have just returned from a reconnaissance to the neighborhood of Jonesborough, Tenn., and concur in the opinion that 5,000 additional troops will be necessary to hold the country on the most advantageous line, which we think is that between Morristown and Cumberland Gap, and the railroad, public works, and stores between Knoxville and this point. Our joint force is wholly inadequate to this purpose or even for the protection of the salt-works against any large force.
Large raiding parties are continually crossing the Cumberland Mountains, burning bridges and destroying property, and a Federal force of cavalry now occupies Knoxville, part of which has advanced as far as Morristown, capturing the town with telegraph superintendent and telegraph operator, having thus cut me off from Gen. Buckner's comm and, from whom I have heretofore received support, and intercepted telegraphic communication with Gen. Frazerat Cumberland Gap. The section thus evacuated abounds in supplies of forage and subsistence and iron-works, all of which are indispensable to the good of the cause; to secure which I respectfully and earnestly solicit your earliest possible compliance with this application for the above-mentioned number of re- enforcements.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. E. JACKSON, Brig.-Gen., Comdg.
                                                                                                             OR, Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. IV, p. 589.


   My Great, Great, Grandfather's name was Henry Hardin Williamson and prior to the war, he was a farmer in Hamilton County, Tennessee. On September 5, 1862, he enlisted as a private in the 14th (Carter's) Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, Co. C. This conflicts with his own personal account of his enlistment, because his personal account of the war states that he enlisted in Company B, of the 1st Tennessee Cavalry Regiment. In reality, he joined Company C of the 14th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, which later became Company B of the 1st Tennessee Cavalry Regiment on Nov. 14, 1862.

His personal account during the war
 "He farmed in his native State (Tennessee) until the breaking out of the war, then joined Company B, of the First Tennessee Cavalry, under Capt. Snow and Col. Carter, being afterward, for three years, an advance guard or scout for Gen. Morgan and others. During the battle of Stone River he assisted in setting fire to the Federal wagon train at Lavern, Tenn., and afterward took part in the engagements at Bean Station, Cumberland Gap, siege of Knoxville, and other places. He was never wounded or taken prisoner, but had several horses shot from under him."

 The image to the right is a record that a horse that he was riding was killed. The document certifies that the horse was killed on Dec. 30, 1862 and valued the horse at $200. In Henry Williamson's personal account, it states that "several horses were shot from under him".

Right click and save to view the full size image

Below is a description of where he was and his involvement on the day his horse was killed. Exactly where it was killed is unknown.

  On the 30th, the 1st Tennessee, under Gen. Wheeler were participating in the raid around Rosecrans' Army during the battle of Stone River. At 10am, they reached Jefferson (modern day Smyrna), and soon after met a brigade train, with all the equipage of one brigade. They attacked vigorously, drove off the guards, and destroyed the train, baggage, equipage, etc, also capturing about 50 prisoners. They then proceeded toward La Vergne, and captured a party of Federals out stealing and gathering stock, and soon after overtook and captured a small foraging train. About noon they arrived in the vicinity of La Vergne and found it filled with soldiers and large trains parked in the fields surrounding the place. They immediately charged in three columns, completely surprising the guards, who made but slight resistance. They immediately paroled the prisoners, amounting to about 700, and destroyed immense trains and stores, amounting to many hundred thousands of dollars. They then proceeded to Rock Spring, attacked, captured, and destroyed another large train. They then marched on Nolensville without opposition, capturing large trains, stores, and arms, and about 300 prisoners. Then moved southwestward, they camped for the night near the Arrington community. 

  To the left, is a record of his Regimental Return during the month of Dec, 1864. It gives the purpose for his absence as being that he was acting as a courier for the Brigade Commander. The 1st Tennessee were assigned to Vaughn's Cavalry Brigade during December of 1864. Gen. John C. Vaughn was the Commander in charge of the Department of Southwestern Virginia and Eastern Tennessee. During December, the 1st Tennessee were in the area between Marion, Virginia and Greenville, Tennessee.

 Below is the record stating that he had surrendered and that he had given the Oath of Allegiance to the United States on April 17th, 1865 in Chattanooga. 

  In April, 1865, there were less than 200 men left in the 1st Tennessee Regiment and were still in Vaughn’s Brigade with Gen. Echols commanding. They were at Christiansburg, Virginia on April 11, 1865 when they heard of General Lee’s surrender. As soon as General Echols heard of Lee's surrender he disbanded his command, giving his men permission to return home. After Echols had disbanded his command Gen. Duke, Cosby, and Vaughn called for volunteers to follow them. They got about 400 each. They decided to make their way to Gen. E. Kirby Smith in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Accordingly, they abandoned their wagons and everything except what they could carry on there horses, and started out across the mountains into North Carolina. The boys that had no horses scattered in every direction, mostly in the direction of home. Late in the evening General Echols, at the head of Vaughn’s brigade, Basil Duke's and Cosby's began the march toward North Carolina. 
  Where Henry Williamson surrendered is unknown. His record states that he "Deserted April 17/65". A portion of Vaughn's men had left Statesville, North Carolina on April 14th and headed towards Morganton. It could of happened there if he was part of these men. On the 17th, the remaining men in Vaughn's command were involved in a skirmish at Dallas North Carolina. It's possible that he could of deserted here. Hopefully, the information of where he surrendered is available somewhere.

 In the Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Montgomery County, Arkansas, it says that
"Because of the bitterness of the Unionist in East Tennessee, he was one of several hundred indicated for treason at Knoxville, Tennessee and was compelled to leave Tennessee". He moved to Arkansas.
  The above image is the record of his indictment. It states that he was indicted for Treason on May 26, 1865. This means that he was charged for Treason. It says that on July 1, 1865, Capias was issued. Capias is a warrant or order for the arrest of a person, typically issued by the judge or magistrate in a case. There is another entry that was made on July 1st. It is not clear to me what it says, to understand what the courts had issued. On November 14, 1866, Alias Capias was issued. Alias Capias is issued if you miss a Court appearance and the Clerk's office can verify that you were properly notified, an Alias Capias (felony case) will be issued by the court. 
  To the right is an image that records the fines that he paid the courts. Comparing the entries for the other men that were indicted for Treason, he paid about $6 to $8 more than the others. That is 25% to 30% more. There is nothing that would suggest why this is. $25.85 is aboutt $399 in today's dollar.  Exactly what he did during the war to cause these charges is not known and can only be speculated at this time. As stated, he was one of several hundred to have these charges placed upon him at the Knoxville Courts. Several hundred is not a large amount considering the thousands from Eastern Tennessee that fought for the Confederacy.
Credit for the images is given to "Bunny" Dever