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Stories from the 1860's

If there are any war stories to come out of Cherokee County other than the chase and surrender of General Streight by General Forrest, it hasn't come to my attention. Here are some accounts of that event. On a separate page are stories of the ride of John Wisdom and of the brief fame of Emma Sansom. I welcome contribution of other stories from the 1860's that contain names of people -- someone's ancestors.

There was no doubt dire hardship in the whole county due to the absence of fighting men to plow crops, chop wood, and the like, and general destruction by the enemy (if any preceeded Straight's). Some stories in this section tell about those hardships. They might be called war stories, too.

Wisdom's Ride Gadsden to Rome * Emma Sansom

1931 letter from Charles Neely to D. B. McCullough discussing Streight's surrender

Little Cherokee Rebel, by Miss Nellie Jane Watt

Early Reaction to the Beginning of the War Between the States By Col. Robert N. Mann

The War in this Area by Col. Robert N. Mann

1862 Salt Orders

1931 letter from Charles Neely to D. B. McCullough discussing Streight's surrender

from The Cherokee County Herald, Wednesday, February 8, 1961
Column title:
Cherokee County Heritage
By Mrs. Robert N. Mann

Miss Lena Sue Neely of Cedar Bluff, Alabama, furnished the Cherokee County Historical Society the following letter written by her father, Charles Neely regarding Col. Abel D. Streight's capture by Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest.

"Cedar Bluff, Ala.
June 18th 1931

Mr. D. B. McCullough
University, Ala.

Dear Burney:

Referring to your letter of the 16th relative to Streight's raid and Gen. Forrest's pursuit and capture, beg to advise that the surrender was three and one half miles east of Cedar Bluff exactly 24 miles from Turkeytown, Ala.

I give below a statement of the facts in the case as near as I can recall them from a bit of history written by Mrs. Pattie Stone, wife of our late State Senator Stone. This history was also verified by my father, Mr. John M. Neely, who knew of the circumslances fully, and who has shown me the exact spot of ground upon which the terms of the surrender were made.

After being set across Black Creek near Gadsden, Ala., by Miss Emma Sansom nothing of interest happened until Forrest overtook the rear guard of Streight at or just beyond what is now known as the Blount farm and a yankee private was killed in the flat just west of the Blount residence and he was buried there and taken up after the war by the Government. My father showed me about the spot where the soldier was buried.

Next Forrest overtook them three and one half miles east of Cedar Bluff, just a half mile or hardly so far this side or west of the Old Lawrence home which is standing to this date almost unchanged from what it was the day the surrender occurred. Col. Streight was just sitting down to eat breakfast that Mrs. Lawrence wife of Col. Lawrence - who were all Confederates - had prepared, when a flat of truce from Gen. Forrest approached the house from the west and Col. Streight arose from the table of ham and eggs without finishing breakfast and rode his horse back down the road to where the Gaylesville and May's ferry road crossed the stage coach road from Gadsden to Rome, and after Forrest demanded his surrender he flatly refused. About that time there came one of Forrest's soldiers from toward Gaylesville and saluted Gen. Forrest and told him there was a regiment of men just north of him and awaited his orders. He was told by Gen. Forrest to lay upon his arms and at the report of his signal gun to charge from the north upon Streight's army. No sooner than this soldier left, another came from the south on the May's Ferry Road with a like report of a large number of men awaiting orders from him from a half mile to the south. He was told the same thing -- to listen for the sound of a signal gun and charge from the south. At this Col. Streight surrendered to Gen. Forrest and they marched past the Lawrence house where Streight had previously ordered breakfast. The army of Col. Streight was two and one half miles further east and a runner was sent ahead to tell them to stack arms which they did upon a round hill at or near Farrill, Ala., just this side of Dr. Paul Farrill's residence at present.

As a matter of fact, Gen. Forrest had no one from the north or south at those cross roads. That was one of his stunts of make believe. He only had about 350 worn out men who were right with him there in the road where Streight saw most of them. But the bluff worked and showed Gen. Forrest's superior generalship over the yankee.

Older citizens say there was a post office about one and a half mile further east of where the surrender at the Cross Roads was effected called Guthries. It was a stage coach station, but you might say the surrender was near Cedar Bluff as that was an established post office here at Cedar Bluff, Ala., and the surrender occurred three and a half miles east of Cedar Bluff.

Lawrence, Ala. was not known of at that time, having only been established about forty two years ago at the time the Rome and Decatur Raid Road was built by there, now known as the Southern Railway. As stated above the post 0fice at Guthries was about or close to two miles east of the Lawrence house near the cross roads where Streight met Forrest under a flag of truce. Guthries served what is now known as Farill and Lawrence, Ala. with mail. It was about half way between where Streight surrended to Forrest and where they finally stacked arms.

You might say that Lawrence Ala. was served by Cedar Bluff Post Office partly and partly by the office at Guthries stage coach station.

The point at the old Blount residence where the Federal soldier was killed was about three and a half miles east of Turkeytown. But the actual surrender was three and a half miles east of Cedar Bluff, about twenty four miles east of Turkeytown.

Glad to have heard from vou and glad to furnish the information. And you can depend upon it being absolutely correct as there are several older citizens living here at present that were here at the time and remember it well. Mr. John P. James, Miss Martha James both remember it distinctly. Also Mr. J. A. Stone was a good size boy at the time.

Come up to see us when you remembers the incident as he can.

Your friend truly.
Charles Neely"

* * *

John McEntire Neely, the father of Mr. Charles Neely, was born May 24, 1844 at Larkinsville, Alabama and died October 30, 1926 at Cedar Bluff, Alabama. 0n June 9, 1862 he enlisted in the Confederate Army at Fort Payne Ala. First joined the Cavalry, Third Confederate Regiment, under Captain L. W. Lynch, Colonel W. .M. Estes, Co. B., but later Small's Co. B. He was transferred to the Artillery, White's Battery, Captain B. F. White - Robinson's Battalion - in March 1863. He served two years ten months and twenty-one days being paroled May 1,1865 at Augusta. Ga. He participated in the battles of Ferryville, Ky., Murfreesboro, Tenn., Chickamauga, Ga., Knoxville, Tenn., Kennesaw Mountain, Ga., Resaca, Ga., New Hope Church, Atlanta, Ga., and Aiken, Columbia, and Camden, S. C.

-----end of Cherokee County Herald article-----

This article was provided by J. T. Bishop of Rome, Georgia.

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Cherokee County Heritage
by Mrs. Robern N. Mann

(A series from the Cherokee County Herald. The last of three episodes was printed Wednesday, February 1, 1961)

An article written by the late Miss Nellie Jane Watt of Cedar Bluff, Alabama about her mother, Emma Chastillette (Williamson) Watt, during the period 1861-1865 has come to the attention of the Society and may be of interest at this time in connection with the Civil War Centennial Commemoration.

LITTLE CHEROKEE REBEL written by Miss Nellie Jane Watt.

As the first steamboat of soldiers left Cherokee County, Alabama, in 1861 the whole countryside turned out to see them off to the War. It had come it last - the War Between the States. The southern men were so willing and eager to go, it left few at home. And as the boat steamed away into an unknown future older women together with young wives and sweethearts bravely tried to sing beautiful song inspired by the war, "Goodbye, My Lover, Goodbye." In the crowd who had come to bid farewell was a widowed mother and a little fair haired sister of some seven summers, a loved and pampered child just bereaved of a doting father who had foreseen the inevitable catastrophe which was about to befall the South. But this father in death had not trusted the mother and children to relatives, or his own color, but rather to faithful slaves - to Cip the carriage driver was left this burden of responsibility. Maybe it was given the father to foresee that all southern white men would be needed at the front and God had provided the negroes to care for families and their homes.

The mother was Martha Jane (Daniel) Williamson. The child was Emma Chastillette Williamson. And together they had proudly watched two sons and five uncles march off to war and were content to be left in the care of the negroes.

Emma Chastillette Williamson grew into responsibility early in life, being a child quick to see things to do, and assuming the added weight of the home now robbed of father and two brothers and made doubly hard to finance in war. She had been a constant companion of her father before his death, and the slaves in the quarter almost worshiped her. Now that he was gone, this determined little lady tried to take his place and would gallop away to the quarter on many missions of importance. With the negroes to provide for (some three hundred) and a number of homeless friends and relatives her mother insisted on keeping under her roof during the war, Emma soon learned the responsibilities of joint head of the family and shared with her mother secrets and privations far in advance of her years. [Please see comments at end of article] She could make quick decisions for the slaves when the enemy was near and could be trusted to know what to do on the "quarter" when the question of hiding out the livestock and possessions was at stake. The clothing of some three hundred bodies and feeding them was on her childish mind, and she learned from the negroes how to spin and weave and did her share of the sized task. Her mother had the first sewing machine in Cherokee County thus saving much hand work on the clothing.
The first two years of the war the faithful Cip was sent on long mysterious journeys to sell the wheat. Sometimes he would be gone six weeks or more, but he always brought back money -- gold, and many things needed to run the plantation -- coffee at $10.00 a pound -- and always
some fine tea for the old folks. Once Cip decided to go to the Yankees, where, he had been offered so many inducements and they had made him so many glowing promises. He had told his family goodbye and gone to tell "Miss Jane" goodbye. But when he saw her in tears, his heart failed him and he thought of his promise to "Marse Jefferson" to take care of his widow and children and he remained manager of the plantation until freed.

When the War grew nearer home, the work stock and most of the negroes were refugeed to Randolph County down near Talladega and kept there some time. Then the problem of food and clothing was a serious one.

One Sunday morning, May 3, Emma's horse was saddled and at the gate for her to go to Sunday School. But just before she started, one of the negro men came in from Cedar Bluff and advised "Miss Jane" not to let Miss Emma go to town that day since the place is full of Yankees."

He had a soldier's shoe in one hand and an army glove in the other -- mute evidence of the invader. Soon word came to Mrs. Williamson that Streight's Raiders were attempting to reach Rome, Georgia, and were being hard pressed by Gen. Forrest and a handful of cavalry.

Now Cedar Bluff women knew all southern soldiers were hungry and every morsel of food that could be rushed to the marching soldiers was fed to them on the move as time was too precious to stop to eat. Gen. Forrest paused in Cedar Bluff long enough to write three dispatches to achieve the capture by strategy knowing full well his handful of men were far outnumbered by Streight's. This history making event took place in Major Robbins law office, a small one room building standing on the present site of the W. C. Daniel house in Cedar Bluff. Now Emma Williamson had hurried to town as fast as her horse could take her and was standing near Gen. Forrest as he started to hand one of the dispatches to his waiting courier when old Major Robbins said, "General, allow this little rebel to hand the dispatch to your officer." Gen. Forrest paused, smiled, and answered, "Certainly, if it will give her pleasure."

---------end of page 1--------

Soon the capture was made some four miles from Cedar Bluff on the Lawrence place where Gen. Streight had stopped for breakfast. The Lawrences has just robbed bees that morning early and served the enemy fresh honey and strawberries for breakfast -- true southern hospitality always shown even to invaders.

Streight thought he was surrounded as Forrest's men were so maneuvered as to appear thrice their number and he surrounded at once. Forrest took his prisoners on to Rome, Georgia, and returned by Cave Spring, Georgia, crossing Coosa River at Sewell's Ferry, in sight of our little rebel's home and once more it was the coveted privilege to feed hungry southern soldiers -- here rightfully worshiped.

When finally the enemy came into the very yards and homes of the county all were kindred spirits in a privation and daring. Many are the tales of secret hiding places of food and clothing, and the coveted gray jackets made for loved ones in camp. How they were stowed up chimneys and between ceilings, under floors, an even buried. And the enemy would come unexpected and then with candles under baskets all had to be spirited away to safer hiding places.

When the Northern Army was in the county, southern women would ask for Union guards.
Some were real kind and some were very disagreeable. Emma's mother had trouble only once with the guard. In some way the Yankee soldiers had entered the house before anyone saw them. Mrs. Williamson was upstairs. There was a fireplace that had been almost concealed by some furniture and up that chimney was a new gray suit for each of her boys. One man saw the fireplace and called out, "Look here boys what I've found," just as Mrs. Williamson came down the stairs. She struck him over the head with a poker and while he was down made at him with a pair of scissors she happened to have in her hand when she heard the racket. She saved the suits. But she went to Cedar Bluff and asked for another guard -- one who would protect her more willingly. (to be concluded in next week's column.)

The Cherokee County Herald
Wednesday, February 1, 1961

Cherokee Couty Heritage
by Mrs. Robert N. Mann


Continued written by Miss Nellie Jane Watt

Many houses and gin houses were burned during the first years of the war. Our own little rebel helped to fight the flames out around her home three times - the last at the point of a Yankee gun - but the house didn't burn.

One almost impossible task was to hide out sick and wounded soldiers. Mrs. Williamson had two badly wounded Texas Rangers. She had nursed one almost to recovery before the enemy came. But one was wounded in the head and lingered near death long time. Andy had grown in the affection of the whole place and when it was known he would have to be moved, a one horse wagon was fitted up with a bed and a gentle horse and a negro man sent to spirit him away to safety. The negro had used good judgment in travelling at night and cautiously moving under cover of woodland during the day, but finally he realized he would have to abandon Andy to his fate or be captured himself. After he had done all he could for Andy he left him helppless as he was under cover of woodland and in a storm at night trusting some higher power would take care of him. Some months later "Miss Jane", as Andy had learned from the negroes to call Mrs. Williamson, got a letter and a roll of fine leather "from Andy". No one knew how he had managed once more [to] come to be a Texas Ranger, but the leather was left at Cedar Bluff by a soldier. He [said] Mrs.Williamson would appreciate the leather as our little rebel, her mother, and all the slaves wore home made shoes and fine leather was hard to get.
Excitement ran high when Emma's mother received an order from Sherman's staff that her home would be used as Gen. Sherman's headquarters on his march to Atlanta. And everything of personal value was moved to some safe hiding place. But when the Advance Guard reached Cedar Bluff they camped in the Lawrence house instead. But the main army spread out all over the country and our little rebel saw her yard and garden fences burn for campfire the first night the army came. While they were in the country and passing through the last ot the livestock and food was taken over for the Union army. They found the hogs down under the river bank and drove off tne last good horses and mules on place leaving their old army horses instead. The milk cows were killed for beef and Emma always remembers the young cow they gave her mother and the negroes when begged so hard for food, how the women skinned and dressed the beef only to find it gone in the morning and their worK all for nothing. The army got most of the wheat that year. But Emma led the negroes in bursting the heads out of syrup barrells and pouring the vinegar out on the ground. She saved one five gallon demijohn full of vinegar by lifting it in her arms and out running the enemy to safety small as she was. The last chickens were safe in a basket under the bed and when the old rooster made bold and crowed the yankees would stoop down and look under the house thinking to get a chicken. Once when the cook killed a hen, she thoughtlessly threw it down to die and a soldier tried to get it, but Emma was on guard and happened to get hold of the feet first and the soldier got the head, so she saved the coveted dinner.

The soldiers gathered up all in sight and it happened one man got the last pair of wool stockings the overseer's wife had, together with the ball of yarn and the needle. Now that was the neighborhood darning needle. The last one in the country. The whole quarter was intent on recovering the needle so Emma was sent to the man with some nice wool socks to exchange for the poor sick woman's stockings. While he was unrolling the socks she snatched the ball, needle, and stockings and ran for life -- the socks proved to have no feet. He called her a "Damn Little Rebel," and swore he would have the stockings, but the lady put them on for safe keeping.

All such valuables as tea and coffee were kept safely stored away under the cushions of the rocking chairs and a baby sound asleep in the chair.

Salt was mined from Daniel's Cave and Rock City and when it couldn't be had the substitute was clean dirt from the smokehouse boiled and the water used to season with.
A kind of coffee was made from burned wheat, okra seed, sweet potatoes parched, and parched cornmeal, but Mrs. Williamson always managed to have some real coffee. This took much foresight and many dollars.

All was not anxiety and fear during the war, while it was bad and every family had its troubles. There were many funny things that happened to break the tension. And the negroes were usually the main factor in furnishing the fun. As long as she lived Emma would tell of the time George, the house boy, was bringing home "Miss Jane's" dishes in a basket on his head from a neighbor's wedding and fell over the fence and broke them all. He was proudly showing Miss Jane how he could balance himself on the top rail of the fence.

One of the wounded soldiers at Mrs. Williamson's was a ventrlloquist. For some time he amused himself by scaring everybody on the place half to death by throwing his voice and causing them to think the Yankees were coming or somebody was in hiding in or near the house. He would cause a dog to bark or a pig to squeal right at Emma's feet and kept the negroes scared half to death all the time. They wouldn't poke their heads out the door after dark. Finally he told Mrs. Williamson on himself. But it was hard for the negroes to believe him.

Emma was blessed with a fun loving mother. She would play leap frog with the little negroes just to please them. There were always young people from town visiting and amid gales of lauhgter as she leaped over each little boy Mrs. Williamson's hoop skirt would turn him a somersualt. The little negroes had as much fun as anybody.

Emma couldn't remember when she learned to ride horseback. Now as she grew older she rode any horse on the place. Her brothers had taught one horse to run fox and when "Ball" heard a fox race he always went to it. So it often happened when Emma was riding Ball she didn't come home until after the kill.

* * *

The two Williamson brothers that served in the Confederate Army were: Thomas Jefferson Williamson (Dec. 24, 1844 - Sept. 22, 1914) enlisted as a private in Company M, 19th Alabama Regiment and was later promoted to Lieutenant and Captain of Company E; and David Neville Williamson (Apr. 7, 1848 - Nov. 21, 1923), enlisted in Feb. 1863 at Dalton, Georgia as a Corporal in Company E, 19th Alabama Infantry.

Four of the five uncles of Emma C. Williamson mentioned in "The Little Cherokee Rebel" as serving in the Confederate Army were: James Hemphill Daniel (August 23, 1829 - June 2, 1905); John McEntire Daniel (Jan. 23, 1832 - Nov. 7, 1915); David Chisolm Daniel (Feb. 16, 1834 - Sept. 3, 1889); and William Graves Daniel (Feb. 26, 1847 - Dec. 25, 1919).

The Society would like to receive the names and service of other Cherokee County men that served in the War Between the States.

----end of part 3-----
This article was provided by
J. T. Bishop of Rome, Georgia.

[Year 2001 note by Travis Hardin: The Williamson family was well off. In 1860 they declared $23,000 in real estate and $45,800 in other property. Not that bad, even today. But three hundred slaves may be an exaggeration. In the 1860 census summary only 2 Cherokee County slave owners had between 70 and 100 slaves. No one had more. "Widow Williamson," as the 1860 US Census lists her, owned 16 slaves. Her 15-year old son Thomas owned 39. Perhaps she took responsibility for nearby slaves. Neighbor David Lowry owned 7 and A. Snodgrass owned 13. David, 12, and Emeline, 8, completed the Williamson household at family #601. At #602 and #603 there were two free black families: Moses Hampton, 52, Martha, 28, Laura, 11, Matthew R., 8, Thomas C., 7, and Adeline, 11 months. The second black family was Hannah Strickland, 55 (a washer woman), Mary, 31, and Charlotte, 19.

The plantation's location was the post office of Centre in the 2nd District. A hotel was nearby. If you know a more exact location, please contact me, th2020@comcast.net.]
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Cherokee County Heritage Volume VI, No.3, July 1977


By Col. Robert N. Mann

The State of Alabama Legislative Convention voted 61 to 39 to dissolve the Union of States on January 11, 1861. Note that the poster [Webmaster doesn't have it] given on the next page was printed in Centre by "Cherokee Argus" on September 17, 1861. Union forces did not enter Broomtown Valley until September 5, 1863, Cedar Bluff on May 3, 1863, Gaylesvi1le on October 19, 1864, Leesburg c. October 21,1864, and Centre on October 26, 1864.

Estimates vary, but approximately 80,000 Alabama soldiers fought in the war and about 3,000 on the Union side. Total estimates of Alabama casualties also vary, but most Civil War historians agree that 20,000 seems a fair approximation. The County Memorial at Cornwall probably represents over 400 Cherokeeans buried in unmarked graves in this one war.

It is estimated that there were 100,000 to 120,000 Confederate and Union troops on Cherokee County soil in 1864.

More casualties resulted from the War Between the States than any other war in which we have been engaged. Cherokee County was larger in population in 1860 than it is now and practically every able-bodied white man went to war. More Cherokeeans died on the battle fields of other states than they did in Cherokee or even Alabama. One example with which the writer is quite fam11ar is his grandfather, David Neville Williamson, who at the age of 15, enlisted in Company E, 19th Alabama Infantry. He fought at Shilo, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Resaca, and Atlanta and was paroled at Salisbury, North Carolina on May 4,1865. He was wounded at Chickmauga but later became a member of the County Commission of Cherokee County at the turn of the century.

Six of the ten companies making up this one regiment were from Cherokee and it is estimated that over 60 per cent were killed or became casualties.
A close study of military records that are available indicates that perhaps over 400 died within a 100 mile radius of the Cornwall Furnace Memorial.

This is to say nothing of the War of 1812 and the various Indian Wars.

The copy of the handbill on the following page [Webmaster doesn't have it] was furnished by Scarboro Photo Shop, Gadsden, Alabama.

This article was provided by J. T. Bishop of Rome, Georgia.

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The War in this Area

CHEROKEE COUNTY HERITAGE Volume VI, No.1, January 1977

The War in this Area Troop Movements. Militarv Orders, Gen. Sherman. Gen. Grant. President Lincoln. March to the Sea Planned

Uncredited. Probably by Col. Robert N. Mann

During the War Between the States the Cedar Bluff area did not suffer greatly. The Union troops occupying the area caused greater loss to the citizens of the area by foraging, taking cattle, pigs, horses, mules, wagons, grain, potatoes, etc., than otherwise.

They did destroy bridges on leaving, Cornwall Furnace and supporting buildings, mills, etc.

Col. Abel D. Streight, 51st Indiana Infantry Volunteers, commanding an expedition or raid into northeast Alabama on April 26,1863 which resulted in his capture at Lawrence near Cedar Bluff by Gen. Nathan Nathan B. Forrest on May 3, 1863. The Secretary of War (or rather the editors of the 139 volume record of the War of the Rebellion) saw fit to publish a 15 page account of this raid. It has already been summarized in Volume V, No.2, April 1976, CHEROKEE COUNTY HERITAGE, page 105. Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, U. S. Army, commanding the Headquarters Department of the Cumberland at Murfreesborough, Tenn. wrote that the "purpose of the expedition was to cut the Georgia Railroad south of Dalton. . . to impede the forwarding of ammunition and supplies to Gen. Bragg's army. . . and the destruction of a large iron foundry in north Georgia." None of these objectives were achieved and the entire force was captured. It is of interest to note in the reports that two companies of the First Middle Tennessee Cavalry were raised in northern Alabama and were included in the captured force.

Had Streight known about Cornwall Furnace some 2 1/2 miles north of his route he would not have had time to destroy it in view of the hot pursuit of Gen. Forrest. The iron foundry in north Georgia referred to in Gen. Rosecrans' orders was undoubtedly the Noble Brothers Foundry and Machine Works in Rome.

Traditional stories handed down state that Forrest had a hurried lunch at a house on the east side of the Cedar Bluff Town Square the day of the capture.

Maj. W. E. Hill, commanding the Elite Battalion of the Cavalry Corps, Department of the Cumberland, was the first Union force to occupy Cedar Bluff on September 9, 1863. He was at Cedar Bluff only for a short period on this reconnaissance mission and returned to LaFayette, Georgia. Military records make no further comment on his mission.

Gen. Sherman's Troops (six armies - 60 000 troops at Cedar Bluff, Gavlesville, Little River, Blue Pond, and Leesburg

By way of background, Sherman had decided in May 1864 that the way to win the war was to occupy strategic points in Confederate territory. Atlanta was the junction of four important


CHEROKEE COUNTY HERITAGE Volume VI, No.1, January 1977

railways and "full of foundries, arsenals and machine shops" according to Sherman. Beginning on May 4 he concentrated on this objective with 60,000 troops. President Jefferson Davis, dissatisfied with Gen. Johnston's tactics placed Gen. Hood in command of the Confederate forces (40,000 troops). Hood promptly fought three battles before the end of July and lost all and evacuated Atlanta on September 2, 1864. Hood marched to the northwest drawing Sherman in pursuit. Hood was planning a campaign in Tennessee and Kentucky.

The reasons for the tactics or objectives - the when, as, and if, or the what, when, and where - of these two commanders Hood and Sherman - as revealed by their orders and letters are too lengthy to publish in detail here.

It seems fair to say that President Lincoln, Secretary of War Stanton, and Gen. Grant were a bit apprehensive regarding Gen. Sherman's bold plans. They feared Gen. Hood's venture into Tennessee and possibly Kentucky as indicated by their letters. Further, they were concerned should Sherman go ahead with his plans he might very well be under heavy and constant attack by Confederate Gen. Wheeler and Gen. Forrest's 30,000 Mounted Cavalry on the west flank. Further Gen. Hood could turn back and attack Sherman's rear with his 40,000 troops. However, due to Sherman's determination and many previous successful campaigns he eventually won out in the battle of words with his superior commanders.

Confederate Gen. Joseph Wheeler was reported to be in Cedar Bluff on October 6, 1864. Union Gen. Raum reported to Sherman that it was believed Wheeler was going to Blue Mountain. Sherman was at Cartersville.

Sherman reported to Gen. Grant on October 10, 1864 that Gen. Hood was crossing the Coosa above Cedar Bluff bound west after leaving Atlanta.

Gen. K. Garrard, commanding the Second Cavalry Division, on October 12 advised Gen. Elliott that he had secured a strong position on the Cedar Bluff road (west of Rome).

Sherman at Summerville, Georgia on October 19, 1864 ordered all armies to move on Gaylesville. He personally arrived on October 20 and issued his first Special Field Orders No. 99 which were briefly as follows:

1. Gen. Cox to take a strong position at Cedar Bluff.

2. Maj. Gen. Howard to take position at Blue Pond and Little River.

3. Maj. Gen. Stanley's corps and the 17 army corps under Maj. Gen. J. A. Mower to remain in position at Gaylesville.

4. Brig. Gen. Elliot, Department of the Cumberland (cavalry) to reconnoiter road to Rome and well toward Gadsden through Blue Pond.


CHEROKEE COUNTY HERITAGE Volume VI, No.1, January 1977

5. All the armies to get up their trains and forage on the country liberally.

Sherman's second order of the day was to forage for 1,500,000 rations of bread, coffee, sugar and salt, and 500,000 rations of salt and meat.

Maj. Gen. Howard also reported on the 20th that Gen. Hood was moving toward Gadsden, and Sherman began thinking about his move to the south and to the coast.

Brig. Gen. John M. Corse of the 15th Army Corps wrote Sherman that he had a pontoon bridge that could be floated down the Coosa from Rome to Cedar Bluff on October 20.

Sherman at Gaylesville on October 22, 1864 advised Gen. Grant at City Point, Virginia, that he was "perfecting arrangements to hold Tennessee, break railroad in front of Dalton including Atlanta, and push into Georgia, break all railroads, capture its horses and negroes, make desolation everywhere, destroy factories at Macon, Milledgeville and Augusta and bring up with 60,000 men on the seashore about Savannah or Charleston. . . . I will subsist on the bountiful cornfields and potatoe patches as I am now doing luxuriously."

Sherman at Gaylesville on October 22 ordered Gen Corse at Rome to send him a pontoon bridge to Cedar Bluff "I want a good pontoon bridge at Cedar Bluff, and those at Rome will give me two good crossing places on the Coosa. As soon as I get the pontoons I will throw a few into Centre." Brig. Gen. Corse advised Gen. Sherman from Rome on October 22 that he was sending 16 pontoons to Cedar Bluff via the Coosa River with 300 mounted men to guard them. He further advised they would cover 300 feet of water.

Sherman advised pontoons arrived at Cedar Bluff at 3 A.M., October 24th.

President Abraham Lincoln expresses concern for western Kentucky on October 23. He feared raid by Gen. Hood and Gen. Forrest if Sherman attempted his march to the sea.

On October 24 Sherman advised his Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. H. W. Halleck at Nashville, that his forces have gathered 2,000 wagon loads of corn and forage, and that his troops are "living high on the hog." He also reported that he had laid the pontoon at Cedar Bluff across the Coosa. On learning that the pontoon bridge details were not being handled to his satisfaction, Gen. Sherman came to Cedar Bluff himself to supervise the operation.

On October 24, Maj. Gen. Schofield of the Army of the Ohio, ordered Brig. Gen. J. D. Cox "to move to Cedar Bluff in the morning and thoroughly complete the destruction of

CHEROKEE COUNTY HERITAGE Volume VI, No.1, January 1977

the iron works near the Chattooga River by throwing down the chimney, now standing, and breaking down the arch etc." (Note: The town had already been burned. Again they failed in their mission they did dislodge about 6 to 8 feet of quarried rocks from the top of the furnace.)

Sherman at Gaylesville on October 24 wrote a long letter to Secretary of War, E. M. Stanton at Washington objecting to the use of Negro troops in his army.

Maj. Gen. P. J. Osterhaus at Turkey town on October 25 advised Gen. Sherman that he had engaged Gen. Wheeler in the area and would not pursue Gen. Hood further.

Gen. J. A. Rawlins, Chief of Staff, Cavalry Corps, Military Division of the Mississippi, advised on October 26 at Gaylesville that Gen. Wheeler and Gen. Forrest have possibly 30,000 mounted cavalry to oppose Gen. Sherman on his proposed march to the sea.

Gen. Sherman at Gaylesville on October 26 ordered Gen. Thomas at Nashville to take command of all forces in his absence while pushing for the heart of Georgia. He assumed that Gen. Hood was to attack in Tennessee.

Special Field Orders 140 confirms the Headquarters of the Army of the Ohio to be at Cedar Bluff on October 26, Maj. Gen. J. M. Schofield, commanding.

Maj. Gen. Sherman at Gaylesville on October 27 ordered Gen. Jeff C. Davis, commanding the 14th Corps, to march to Rome by October 30.

Sherman at Gaylesville on October 27 ordered Gen. O. O. Howard, commanding the Army of the Tennessee, to move through Cedar Bluff in the direction of Vann's Valley.

On October 27 at Little River, Maj. Gen. Osterhaus ordered the 15th Army Corps to prepare for a long and severe march.

Gen. Schofield, commanding the Army of the Ohio, was given the same alert on October 27 at Cedar Bluff.

Gen. Sherman on October 28 in Special Field Orders No. 108 directed the Army of the Ohio to cross the Coosa at Cedar Bluff and move to Rome. The Army of the Tennessee was ordered to cross the Coosa at Cedar Bluff and move to Vann's Valley. The 14th Corps was ordered to move via Gaylesville, north of the Coosa, to Rome and destroy the pontoon bridge at Cedar Bluff on October 29.

Gen. Sherman moved his headquarters to Rome on October 29 and immediately concerned himself with the defense of Tennessee.

CHEROKEE COUNTY HERITAGE Volume VI, No. 1, January 1977

Gen. Grant at City Point, Virginia, on November 1 suggested to Sherman that he consider again the destruction of Gen. Hood's army before embarking on his proposed campaign to the south.

Sherman at Rome on November 1 replied immediately to Gen. Grant that he believed Gen. Thomas in Nashville could take care of Gen. Hood and outlined his plans "to use fire freely" to destroy Atlanta.

Gen. Grant on November 2 wired Sherman in reply as follows: "I say, then, go as you propose."

Sherman the same day advised Grant he was returning to Atlanta and within a few days "would begin his destruction of Georgia.

Maj.Gen.R.W. Halleck, Chief of Staff in Washington, on November 6 urged Grant to use caution in the proposed movements.

Sherman on November 6 in a very long letter to Grant reviews the entire military situation in the deep south and boasts that he has "out generaled Jeff Davis" and will move ahead. He also suggest that he may be able to help Grant at Richmond.

Grant on November 7 wired Sherman that he saw no reason to change any plans and wish him a "great good fortune."

Sherman on November 11 advised Gen. Halleck that he had burned all foundries, mills and shops, etc., at Rome and was on his way to Atlanta which he proposed to dispose of in a similar manner and would start on the 16th on the projected grand raid.

The writer appreciates that much of the above does not rightly belong in a history of Cedar Bluff, but since all the orders, correspondence, etc., was readily at hand and since much of it had been planned in this general area, he could not resist the temptation to include it. Further, most people do not know the beginning of the end of the War Between the States really began in this area.

Further it should be appreciated that the above has been written based for the most part on Union records which were preserved while those few Confederate records that were not destroyed do not give a complete picture of the situation obtaining in this area.


CHEROKEE COUNTY HERITAGE Volume VI, No.1, January 1977

Union Control After the War

Following the end of the war on April 26,1865, military rule was immediately imposed on the stricken south. Maj. Gen. Wager Swayne at Montgomery was military commander of the Alabama Sub-District. It was his assignment to administer the Military Reconstruction Bill passed by the Congress on March 2, 1867. Generally speaking, there was little trouble in the state and none in the Cedar Bluff area that the writer has found. It is true that many citizens objected to the terms of the oath of allegiance they were required to take to vote or hold any civil office. The terms of the oath were rather all embracing and the writer doubts that any southerner in good conscience could take it unless he was at heart an Union sympathizer - and there were many.

Freedmen's Bureau

The organization was active in the state in promoting registration in the "Great Republican Party" but the writer, can find no record of their operations in this area. Gen. O. O. Howard, who was commissioner of the Bureau, had been active in this area during 1864. Although this Bureau was created for only one year by Act of Congress on March 3, 1865, it was continued by later Acts until 1872. It's establishment was due to the fear of the north that the south if left to deal with the Negroes would attempt to reestablish some form of slavery and the need for a bureau to take charge of lands confiscated in the south.

The Union League of America was also active in the state in organizing individuals to support the Reconstruction Act of Congress on March 2, 1867 and patriotism in general. No record of their activity in this area has been found.

After the war many of the veterans participated in what some tend to call the K.K.K., which in reality was a home guard or militia in this area at that time. One of the leaders in this area was John Seaborn Watt, a great uncle of the writer. Their sole objective was to preserve order and to protect white and black alike. The writer has been unable to unearth any atrocity stories - only stories of how they protected and aided all alike. They did escort a few carpet baggers or trouble makers out of the area and warned them not to return. The records available do not reveal any violence. By the early 1870's a normal situation prevailed and these home guards units were disbanded.


This article was provided by J. T. Bishop of Rome, Georgia.

Note by the webmaster: All scanning and conversion errors in the previous articles are mine, and I welcome your pointing out errors. The authors' errors are printed unchanged. Let the reader beware of the last paragraph above in particular.

Col. Mann's dismissive remark that the post-war militia or KKK "protected white and black alike ... without violence ..." and "By the 1870's a normal situation prevaled ..." is contradicted by an account of 1870's Chattooga County, Georgia, directly adjacent to northern Cherokee County. In "Chattooga: The Story of a County and its People," 1988, Robert S. Baker says that "between 1868 and 1878 the county became almost as wild as Dodge City, Kansas. Crime and lawlessness ... went virtually unpunished. Reconstruction ... generated a great deal of hate and distrust ... Reconstruction increased tensions in the county and made anti-blacks out of people who otherwise would have been moderate in their thinking. Reconstruction was also responsible for driving some people into the ranks of radical organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan."

Baker continues, "By [1870] radical elements within the Ku Klux Klan were very active in the county, operating more like a gang of outlaws than anything else ... Shortly after Judge Kirby was appointed to the bench, six young men, who were part of the radical element now running the Ku Klux Klan in the county, took it upon themselvers to visit the home of a black family near Holland to chastise a man named Squire Allison ... Allison ran from his home, but was caught by the group of disguised riders and his head split with a saber ... as the wounded Allison was trying to make his way back home, he ran into the Klansmen again. This time he was shot and left for dead. He lived long enough to identify [some of his assailants]. Sheriff Harris Garrett was notified of the incident, but was either unwilling or else unable to do anything about it."

It is also reported in cold statistical terms that "Between 1882 (when reliable statistics were first collected) and 1968 (when the classic forms of lynching had disappeared), 4,743 persons died of lynching, 3,446 of them black men and women. Mississippi (539 black victims, 42 white) led this grim parade of death, followed by Georgia (492, 39), Texas (352, 141), Louisiana (335, 56), and Alabama (299, 48). From 1882 to 1901, the annual number nationally usually exceeded 100; 1892 had a record 230 deaths (161 black, 69 white). Although lynchings declined somewhat in the twentieth century, there were still 97 in 1908 (89 black, 8 white), 83 in the racially troubled postwar year of 1919 (76, 7, plus some 25 race riots), 30 in 1926 (23, 7), and 28 in 1933 (24, 4)."*

*From an article at
http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/g_l/lynching/lynching.htm by Robert L. Zangrando in The Reader's Companion to American History. Ed. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty. Copyright 1991 by Houghton Mifflin Co.

The fact is, no anti-lynching law was ever passed by any Southern states nor by the US Congress. The Southern bloc held up each and every attempt at federal legislation, by filibuster or by blocking all other legislation, well into World War II. In 1964 the Justice Department dusted off some reconstructrion era laws to prosecute the killers of civil rights workers Goodman, Schwerner, and Cheney, but there is still no anti-lynching law as such. (A lynching is extrajudicial punishment. Hanging is only one way to be lynched.) **

At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America, Philip Dray
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1862 Salt Orders

An article as it apeared in the Cherokee County Herald, date unknown, probably 1960's.


by Mrs. Robert N. Mann, Secretary, The Cherokee County Historical Society

A member of the Society, Mrs. Samuel Cate Lawrence, has recently discovered in a trunk in the attic, a little leather bound book which the Society believes will be of general interest because of the date, names and indication of the plantation operations at the time. This little book contains a list of residents of Cherokee County who subscribed to the "Peoples Salt Fund" and commissioned Mr. John Lawrence, the father of Mr. Samuel Cate Lawrence, to order salt from Major Stuart Buchanon of Abingdon, Virginia in May 1862.

The War. Between the States had started on April 12, 1861 with the firing on Fort Sumter. Many plantation supplies which usually came from the north ceased to be available. Salt had been imported by boat from the great salt mines of Pennsylvania and New York. The salt mines of the deep south in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma were as yet undiscovered or undeveloped.

Salt was an indispensable item on the southern farm or plantation since it was used in meat curing, salting cattle, curing skins, making soap, seasoning food, and in preserving certain vegetables. So when the local supply became exhausted something had to be done. Some individuals even at this early period in the war had begun to boil the dirt on the smokehouse floor to obtain even a small amount for table use.

Mr. John Lawrence had heard that Major Buchanon of Abingdon had opened a small mine and had salt for sale. Abingdon is 15 miles northeast of Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee, or 136 miles northeast of Knoxville, Tennessee, and just west of the Blue Ridge mountains and at the extreme southern end of the famous Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Mr. Lawrence made a trip to Abingdon to investigate and arrange the purchase. He bought 321 bushels of salt or 13,251 pounds for the account of the following people who were residents of Cherokee County.

Name ------------ Bushels

J. T. Finley----- 20
Jas. Watson------ 10
A. H. Mackey----- 10
L. A. Daniel----- 20
A. T. Dean------- 20
Elisha Smith------ 3
David Smith------- 3
M. J. Anthony----- 3
J. R. Seay-------- 3
Jno. James-------- 5
E. F. Livingston-- 3
David Harris----- 10
Jere Harris------- 3
Mrs. E. F. Askew-- 3
Levi Trammell----- 3
M.B. Gains-------- 6
J. Milisaps------- 3
Jno. Doherty------ 6
S. McCoy---------- 3
Mrs. M. J. Wmson- 25
J. G. Stone------- 3
Francis Harwel--- l6
Calvin Tucker----- 3
T. A. C. Sparks--- 6
Dr. G. W. Lawrence-6
J. T. Bailey------ 3
D. E. Campbell---- 6
A. H. Bogan------- 6
J. D. Butler------ 9
F. M. Lawrence---- 6
H. S. Bogan------- 6
A. H. Starling---- 3
Wm. B. Starling--- 2
Jno. A. Nichols--- 6
Green Spraggins--- 2
Wm. Trammell------ 1
Jno. Stinson------ 6
Crisman Lewis----- 6
R. J. Towers------ 1
Mrs. N. Coffman--- 1
Jas. Davis-------- 3
David Browder----- 6
F. M. Sewell----- 12
J. W. Fulcts------ 2
Amand Mann------- 10
Joel Moseley----- 10
Wm. M. Mosely---- 10
Wm. Little------- 10
Sarah Jolly------- 3
L. D. Covington-- 10
Jas. C. Boring---- 3
Sarah Ronserville-2
Jno. St. Clair---- 3
Wm Johnson-------- 6
C F. Sharp-------- 5
Wm T. Shook------ 20
R. M. Perkins---- 10
G. R. Tracy------ 10
Chisolm Daniel--- 20
A. J. Norton------ 3
Mrs. Ann Roe------ 3
J. E. Rhea-------- 6
H. Vaughn--------- 3
Geo. Collins------ 6
L. J. Nichols----- 5
Philip Cromer----- 3
Z. Laney--------- 10
D. C. L. Shaw----- 3
Lake Gunns-------- 6
Wesley M. Reed---- 6
Jas. L. Leath----- 6
3. J. C. Boring--- 3
Mrs. M. Leath----- 3
Wm. M. Mooney----- 3
J. N. Long-------- 3
3. J. E. Bradley-- 3
Wm. F. Wilder----- 3
Jas. Harwell------ 3
J. R. Jack-------- 3
H. H. Golightly--- 3
H. W. Harris------ 6
J. C. West--------10
Mrs. Jesse Tucker- 3
J. N. Cromer------ 3

J. M. Witt------- 3
Madison Strawn--- 3
J. W. Starling--- 3
Mrs. L. Griffin-- 1
Wm. M. Hall------ 3
Sallie Owens----- 1
J. R. Bates------ 6
David S. Law----- 6
Jos. Smith------- 1
Jesse Webb------- 2
Joel Arthur------ 2
J. B. Camp------- 6
Jno. Shoemaker--- 6
Therose Crowder-- 3
Mrs. M. Angle---- 6
David Pickle---- 10
Jno. Mosely----- 10
Wm. Tallant----- 10
E. G. Bradley--- 10
Ebenezer Leath--- 3
Jas. Pinkston--- 10
Jas. Merdith---- 10
Jno. Helms------- 3
G. D. W. Lawrence 5
S. W. Robbins---- 3
J. W. Bishop----- 5
Jno. Chesnut----- 5
P. H. Lawrence--- 5
R. A. Russell---- 6
L. Bowers------- 10
Wm. N. Collins--- 3
R. J. Gentry----- 3
Mrs. B. Paty----- 3
J. S. Hampton---- 3
J. C. Bullard--- 12
Samp. Clayton--- 10
A. L. Blackwell-- 3
S.F. Hall---------3
Hiram Wilcox----- 6
Jacob Hoss, Esq. 10
E. W. Johnson Esq.5
Mrs. C. Lawrence 20
A. M. Harton----- 5
Aaron Clifton--- 10
J. P. Smith------ 3
Mrs. J. C. Doyle- 3
Thos. Greenway--- 3
J. W. Coker------ 6
J. B. Gamble----- 8
Wm. McGhee------ 11
Danl. Wilson----- 6
B. Arthur-------- 3
E. Cunningham---- 3
S. J. Kelly------ 3
P.G. May--------- 3
Jas. Bradford-- 114

The above salt, delivered by rail and boat to Cherokee County cost $2,248.08. It sold for a dollar for 5.7 pounds.

Mr. A. T. Thomas, Jr, of Leesburg, Alabama, informs
the Society that his grand-
father, George W. Thomas,
organized, and sent to Salt Lake City, Utah in this same year (1862) a wagon train to obtain salt. His father, A. T. Thomas, Sr. accompanied the train as well as Jim Davis, father of. Beeman Davis of Centre. A Mr. McGee was the. train master. Mr. Thomas says the train left Cherokee County in October and returned the following April and that they sold salt on the return trip for as much as $150 (Confederate Script) for 10 pounds.

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