Coleman’s Scouts as of 1898

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Previously, on July 30, 2012, this blog, the story of Private Dee Smith Jobe was told. He was a member of the Coleman Scouts that rendered their invaluable services to the Confederacy in enemy occupied Tennessee. His brutal murder by some members of the 115th Ohio Inf. Reg. will live in infamy.  A report from the year 1898 noting information of all the known members of the Coleman Scouts was published in “The Confederate Veteran”. It was entitled:

Career of “Coleman’s” Scouts

“Four of the few surviving members of the celebrated scouts organized by Capt. H. B. Shaw met in Nashville, recently and made the following report:  We, the surviving fellow scouts, have met and from memory, given to the Veteran a list of all who belonged to Shaw’s Scouts:”

Included on the report are:

     H.B. Shaw, Captain, known as “Captain Coleman”, was killed by a steamboat explosion on the Mississippi river after the war.

     John Davis (Brother of Sam Davis), once wounded, had a severe case of typhoid fever, and was honorably discharged. Was killed in the same explosion as Captain Shaw

     Alf H. Douglas, captured twice; escaped once, and was recaptured by Gen. Forrest. Stayed to the end.

     Everard M. Patterson, wounded three times, captured, and escaped from the penitentiary after having been court-martialed and sentenced to be shot.       Was paroled at Kingston, Ga.

     Dee Jobe, captured near Triune and murdered.

     Sam Davis, captured and hanged at Pulaski.

     Thomas M. Joplin, wounded twice, captured once, and was stolen from Nashville by Miss Anne Patterson, now Mrs. Anne Hill, of Nashville.

     Houston English, the negro boy who stole the papers which hung Sam Davis, deserves our highest esteem for what he did for us in saving us from capture.   He went back and forth from Pulaski to Mr. English’s where we were all known. He saved the boys time and again.

“Mr. Cunningham, we, the undersigned, do highly appreciate your efforts to raise a monument to Sam Davis, and will do all we can to help it financially. We have tried to furnish you a complete list of Coleman’s Scouts.

Signed: Alf H. Douglas, E. M. Patterson, William B. Robinson, Tom M. Joplin.”

~This is only a partial list of the names from this report. To see all the names and their information as of 1898, please refer to the Jan. 1898 issue of the Confederate Veteran~

*This report was from the Confederate Veteran, published in Nashville, TN. January, 1898, Vol No. 1, Page 69*


Shelbyville In The Middle

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“Shelbyville In The Middle”

Civil War Sesquicentennial 1863

June 22nd and June 23rd

Mark your calendars for June 22 and June 23. It all begins in Shelbyville, Tennessee, at the H. V. Griffin city park, from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. on Saturday, June 22, and from 9 A.M. to 3 P.M. on Sunday, June 23. This first time walking history event for our city commemorates the sesquicentennial (150th) celebration of the city’s modest involvement in what historians are calling the Tullahoma campaign. The Civil War or War For Southern Independence had a dramatic affect on Tennessee, and probably more on Shelbyville and Bedford County.

Shelbyville In The Middle is the result of  the efforts of the city of Shelbyville Parks & Recreation department, & our SCV Sumner A. Cunningham Camp #1620.

Some examples of the many events planned are:

Flags of the Period (Presentation & Flag Displays)

Confederate & Union Infantry, Calvary, and Artillery Encampments    

Civilian Refugee Camps

Children’s Games

*Musicians (Coleman’s Scouts, Ross Moore, Tennessee Fiddle Orchestra) with the Flat Creek Contra Dancers-

*Artisans/Crafters such as Spinners (Fleece On The Duck Fiber Guild), Weavers, Quilters, and more…

**Also a Sunday 1 PM 1863 church service will be conducted by Loyd Warren (June 23rd).**

This is THE EVENT for the Summer in Shelbyville, Tennessee!

Bring your friends, family, and church groups!


War Crimes Against Southern Civilians (Part 2)

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Down in Franklin County (TN) sometime in late December 1864, a Unionist named Moses Pittman handed Major General Milroy a list of “disloyal” men and women, all apparently personal enemies of Pittman. Beside each name was a “narration of their crimes.” Milroy went down the list, marking with his own hand “what punishment they shall suffer.” By the names of Joel Cunningham and Green Denison he wrote “KILL.” Next to the name of Curtis McCullum was the order “HANG AND BURN.” Charlotte, the sister of Curtis, had “BURN EVERYTHING” written by her name. “SHOOT IF YOU CAN MAKE IT LOOK LIKE AN ACCIDENT,” the general wrote next to the name of Cynthia, Curtis’s wife. There were fifty-three other names on the list. Orders to carry out the murders & other depredations were given to Capt. William H. Lewis on January 7, 1865, with detailed supplemental instructions on destroying and plundering the property of the victims.

Milroy added the names of four other civilians in neighboring Coffee County whom he also wanted executed. Captain Lewis later apprehended three of this group, unarmed, at one of their homes. Leroy Moore and Thomas Saunders were both old men. William Saunders was only fourteen. Each had his hands bound behind his back, was forced to wade into the pond at Huffers Mill, then was shot. Only after three days did soldiers allow families to retrieve the bloated bodies from the water for burial.

On February 7, 1865, Milroy issued more orders, specifying eighteen individuals who were to have their homes and property burned.  Included were the names of thirty-four he wanted shot. Four other names were listed, these to be “hung to the first tree in front of their door and be allowed to hang there for an indefinite period.” The final sentence of Milroy’s order read: “If Willis Taylor is caught he will be turned over to Moses Pittman and he will be allowed to kill him.”                                                                             From War Crimes Against Southern Civilians by Walter Brian Cisco

Major General Robert Huston Milroy served in the eastern front in Virginia against the Confederate corps of Lt. General Richard S. Ewell during the Gettysburg campaign and is most known for his defeat at the Second Battle of Winchester in 1863. He was VIII Corps 2nd division commander under Union General Robert C. Schenck. General Milroy’s harsh mistreatment of Winchester (VA) citizens had been such that even many pro-Unionists had changed their sympathies. This served to further isolate Milroy’s ability to gather intelligence around him. He failed miserably against General Ewell, was relieved of his command, and was called before a court of inquiry to answer for his actions, but after ten months the charges were dropped.

Later General Milroy was transferred to the Western Theatre, “recruiting” for Maj. Gen. George Henry Thomas’s Army of the Cumberland in Nashville in the spring of 1864. He also was in command the defenses of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad in the Department of the Cumberland until the end of the war.

Major General Milroy USA

Major General Milroy USA

War Crimes Against Southern Civilians (Part 1)

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“Of all the enormities committed by Americans in the nineteenth century-including slavery and the Indian wars-the worst was the invasion of the South, which destroyed some twenty billion dollars of private and public property and resulted in the deaths of some two million people, most of whom were civilians-both black and white” –David Aiken, editor of A City Laid Waste: The Capture, Sack, and Destruction of the City of Columbia

Let us look at the state of Tennessee starting in 1862: former U.S. Senator Andrew Johnson was appointed the military governor of Tennessee on March 2, 1862, by President Lincoln.

The clergy in Nashville were among the first to feel Johnson’s wrath. A group that included Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Christian Church ministers and educators was ushered into the governor’s office, where he demanded they declare allegiance to the country at war with their own. When they refused, the pastors were jailed. “They are the enemies of our government,” Johnson explained to the provost marshal, “and should receive such consideration only as attaches to a person guilty of so infamous a crime.” Episcopal rector George Harris was arrested by military authorities and told he must “pray for the President of the United States or be hung.” Harris was able to escape into exile. His church, Holy Trinity on Sixth Avenue South, was seized by the U.S. Army and used for the storage of munitions. The Methodist publishing house was commandeered for the printing of government documents. First Baptist Church was converted into a hospital before being destroyed.

Holy Trinity Church Nashville Tennessee

Holy Trinity Church Nashville Tennessee

One fall day in 1862, Dr. William Bass was leaving the Nashville home of William Harding when passing Union soldiers demanded he halt. When the doctor kept walking, they shot him. The controlled press concocted a story about his death being the result of a guerrilla raid, but it soon retracted that tale when confronted with the facts. “The brutality exhibited by the Federal soldiers in this affair awakens the intensest indignation,” wrote another physician. “I never witnessed its like.” He went on to express surprise that military authorities did not interfere with the victim’s funeral.

From War Crimes Against Southern Civilians by Walter Brian Cisco

Sumner A Cunningham

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Sumner A. Cunningham, founder of the "Confederate Veteran"

Sumner A. Cunningham – The founder of the “Confederate Veteran” magazine. Our Shelbyville, TN. Camp #1620 was named in his honor.

Sumner Archibald Cunningham was born in Bedford County, Tennessee on July 21, 1843. When the war erupted he enlisted in the 41st Tennessee Infantry Regiment. As Fort Donelson fell in 1862, Cunningham was captured and later sent to Camp Morton as a prisoner-of-war. He was exchanged at Vicksburg and returned to his command where he served until the end of the war. After the war he engaged in several businesses including the ownership of the Chattanooga Times, which he edited for two years. In 1883 he edited a magazine in New York entitled Our Day; however, his fame was secured in January, 1893 when the first issue of the Confederate Veteran appeared. In the next forty years, the Veteran became the voice of the South and officially represented the United Confederate Veterans, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Sons of the Confederate Veterans. This article & picture were reprinted from the 1984 Confederate Veteran, written by Ronald T. Clemons, Editor-In-Chief.

117th National Reunion and Pvt. Dee Jobe

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A few weeks ago the SCV celebrated its 117th National Reunion in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. There were many meetings, presentations, music, and stimulating activities. Unfortunately I was not able to attend or participate in everything available, but I did get to hear some programs, listen to some period music, and enjoy two tours. Camp #33 in Murfreesboro and all those assisting are to be commended for a job well done!

Close by, within a few hours drive, there are so many historical sites in Middle Tenn. to visit. One great excursion was the Sam Davis tour. The many fifty-five passenger busses took us to our destination just up the road from Murfreesboro to Smyrna, Tennessee. Just a few miles from the massive Nissan factory and the old Stewart Air Force Base is the home and museum of the Sam Davis family in Smyrna. This is a must see destination for WBTS (Civil War) buffs. The story of Sam Davis is sad and legendary, but there is another story, a horrendous one, of another native Tennessean whose gave his life for the Confederacy.

The brutality of the treatment to Dewitt Smith Jobe was unconscionable. Pvt. Dee Jobe was a member of the Coleman Scouts. This unit was to patrol and find information about the Union Army and deliver it to the Confederate Army in their homeland of occupied Tennessee. It was August of 1864, as Jobe and fellow scout Tom Joplin were behind the occupying Union lines and reconnoitering south of Nashville near the small villages of Nolensville and Triune. On Aug. 29, Jobe was hiding in a cornfield after eating breakfast at the home of William Moss, the father of two Confederate soldiers who lived between Triune and Nolensville. He had an important message hidden on his person. With Union patrols in the area, the Confederate was required to hide during the day and travel at night. On this day he took a chance to move about during daylight. Unfortunately, he was spotted by a patrol of approximately 15 men from the 115th Ohio Cavalry Regiment of the Union Army. Pvt. Jobe realized his capture was imminent, and he ripped up the notes and attempted to chew and swallow them. The 115th Ohio Cavalry intercepted Pvt. Jobe, confiscated a portion of his tattered notes, but they could not discern the meaning of the remaining pieces of the dispatches. The Union horsemen were infuriated by the nearness of their miss and now was time for some interrogating. Did they threatened him bodily harm?  Then did he talk?  Evidently he did not talk because around his throat they put a bridle rein and proceeded to hang him up a number of times, then let him down. Later they knocked out some of his teeth with a butt of a weapon. Still hung up, bound, bleeding, with no help of escape nor relief, Pvt. Jobe revealed nothing. As the torture escalated against this defenseless trooper, the Yankee cavalry were hollering and yelling so loudly they were heard by a nearby farm-house.  Next they secured his head, and one by one, poked out each of Pvt Jobe’s eyes! Screaming and yowling in excruciating pain he would not tell his secrets! If he would not tell them, these Invaders from Ohio were willing to raise the level of torture even higher! During repetitious beatings, they jabbed a knife into his mouth and cut out part of his tongue! Now was this the end of their sadistic pleasure? Read on…This shameless lot of tormentors finally were compelled to finish their acts of medieval inspired terror to punish Pvt. Jobe as they dragged him by his neck, behind a horse as it galloped away with his now, lifeless body!  Finally Private Dewitt Smith Jobe’s agony was over. A woman friend rode by, dismounted, and placed a handkerchief over Pvt. Jobe’s bloodied and scarred face.

No charges were ever placed against any members of the 115th Ohio Cavalry Regiment. Eventually some of the 115th were captured and reportedly sent to Andersonville Prison. Some of these same prisoners were possibly of the 1,500 who died on the SS Sultanaa Mississippi River steamboat that exploded and sank near Memphis on April 27, 1865. Some believe Robert Louden, a Confederate from Missouri, used a coal torpedo to help sabotage the Sultana, resulting in her demise.

The event surrounding the capture and torture of Private Jobe is not mentioned in the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, unfortunately. If you were in the 115th Ohio Cavalry Regiment, would you document these vile acts? However horrific, what happened to Pvt. Jobe was preserved in Jobe family oral history and letters and books like Bromfield Ridley’s “Battles and Sketches of the Army of Tennessee.” Part of this narrative was compiled from Ed Huddleston’s “The Civil War in Middle Tennessee” and from a series of supplements from the “Nashville Banner” published in 1965.

Rest In Peace, Private Dewitt Smith Jobe!

This marker is located on U.S. Highway 31A in Williamson County between Triune and Nolensville, Tennessee.

Pvt Dewitt 'Dee' Jobe, CSA

Pvt Dewitt Jobe, CSA

Sumner Archibald Cunningham


Sumner A. Cunningham

Our SCV camp is named in honor of S. A. Cunningham.  Who was Sumner Archibald Cunningham?

S. A. Cunningham b-July 21, 1843 in Bedford County, Tennessee   d-Dec 20, 1913 in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee-He was buried in Willow Mount Cemetery in Shelbyville, Bedford County, Tennessee.

S. A. Cunningham was the founder, owner, and editor of the Confederate Veteran magazine. It is still being published today, and is considered the “Official Journal of the Sons of Confederate Veterans“.  S. A. Cunningham served in Co. B, 41st Tennessee Infantry (Confederate) and obtained the rank of Sergeant.