Friday, April 27, 2012

Confederates Cede West Tennessee

This day in 1862, with their lines drawn south of the Tennessee border, the Union Navy progressing down the Mississippi River and the Union Army in control from Nashville south and westward across the Tennessee River, the Confederates apparently cede West Tennessee to Federal control.

This concession is confirmed by the following order from Dabney Murray, Asst. Adjutant-General (CSA) to Captain Johnson in Memphis.

Memphis, Tenn., April 27, 1862.
Captain JOHNSON,

SIR: You will proceed in the steamer furnished for the purpose by the quartermaster along the Mississippi River. You will inform the planters on its banks that the river is now open to the enemy, and that the interests of our country demand that they shall at once destroy all of their cotton. No time is to be lost in the execution of this duty. Should any hesitate or fail to comply with your call upon them, you will yourself take possession of and burn the cotton, taking care to injure no other property.

It is made your duty to see that all of the cotton within reach of the river is destroyed at once. The proprietors will take an account of the amount destroyed, as you will of all which you may have to destroy yourself. These orders are given to you by General Van Dorn under instructions from General Beauregard.

In executing the above orders you will go as far up and down the Mississippi as the gunboats of the enemy will allow; and in the event of your being pursued by them, if you cannot run your boat into a place of security from them, you must, on abandoning, destroy her, to prevent the enemy from getting possession of her.

Very respectfully, yours,
Assistant Adjutant-General.
(Copies to Lieutenant Hill, Captain Lyles, Captain Clendening, Memphis.)*

*Thanks to My Favorite Link, Seven Score and Ten for this reference from the ORE.

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