Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Duty in Pulaski

As the Seventeenth tries to maintain order in Pulaski, disorder is spreading throughout the Army of the Ohio in middle Tennessee as they are scattered along every rail, river and road.  As is typical in this part of the country, the period of drought has been broken by locally heavy rains, causing flash floods and destroying bridges near Columbia, Tennessee on the Duck River and other vital links.

The Confederate strategy of conducting isolated cavalry raids against the supplies and supply lines which are guarded by company and regiment level garrisons is proving effective.  To get an appreciation for the turmoil being generated in the Union ranks, refer to this communique from Buell to Nelson.

Ref.: http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0169

Huntsville, July 17, 1862.

General NELSON,
Nashville of Murfreesborough [sic]:

Reports are coming in frequently of a formidable advance of the enemy across the mountains from Chattanooga. they seem to have foundation. I do not believe, however, that Nashville is the immediate object. It is more probable that a strong movement will be made on our communications and rear by way of Winchester while a formidable attack is made in front at Battle Creek. I deem it necessary to make immediate arrangements mainly with that view. Wood, now at Shelbyville, is ordered to march for Winchester to-morrow. If anything should come toward Nashville you must be prepared for it. If not, and the danger should come this way, I shall want you personally here. In the mean time make the best possible disposition of the brigade with you to meet the enemy at Murfreesborough [sic]. Colonel Miles [?], who was captured there, has come in at Tullahoma. The enemy retired to McMinnville, where they are reported to have a force of 3,000 cavalry. A still stronger force of cavalry and infantry is said to be at Altamont under Price. Our line is about as difficult to guard as it could be. I shall occupy McMinnville as soon as possible.


Meanwhile, on garrison duty in Pulaski, Captain Cox attends to the task at hand.

This morning I was detailed as officer of the Guard, and am on duty tonight.  Guard posted around the Colonel's quarters, the courthouse, and in various streets through the town.  They are instructed not to allow any soldier or soldiers to go inside any private house or yard.  We came here to protect the property of all citizens and we intend so to do.  They have been imposed upon by such men as General Furchen [sic] long enough.  Rode out since dark in the stage coach to our lines to pass it through.*

 Colonel J.B. Turchin, who's original name was Ivan Turchaninov is a complicated figure.  He had served in the Imperial Russian Army as a colonel during the Crimean War until 1856 when he emmigrated to the U.S.  As of July 7, he has been on trial in a militry court martial for his conduct in Athens, Alabama with future President, then Brig. General, James.A Garfield presiding.  He was found guilty on two of three charges on August 6 and sentenced to dismissal for the good of the service. (Ref.: General Order No. 39) As the policy of "total war" was becoming increasingly popular, he was reinstated and promoted to Brigadier General by President Lincoln.  This debate between proponents of "conciliatory" and "total" warfare continues today, with each side occasionally having their day.

*Cox, Samuel K., Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennedy Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room archives, p.21.

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