I have several letters from my GGreatfather that he wrote while at Shelbyville. His name was Thomas Martin Webb, b. 1829, d. 1863, married to Jane McAuley b. 1832. He lived in Humphrey County on Long Branch at the time of his enlistment. If the information in these letters could be of use, I would be glad to share it. His youngest son was Cullen Flint Webb, who lived all of his life in Stewart, or on a farm just south of Stewart.
Jerry Webb Stone; Port Orange, FL; Stonepegg@aol.com
These letters were written home from Thomas Martin Webb, b. 1829 in Maury City TN. d. 1863 of pneumonia at a Confederate Hospital in Shelbyville TN. Was Married Sept. 5, 1850 to Jane McAuley b. 1832. Had 4 children, Fannie Webb, married a Spurgeons, Thomas Webb, John Webb and Cullen Flint Webb b. Nov. 22, 1861.
I have a cover letter, written by a Don A. McDonald, I think that it's a forward for a newspaper article.
Here, told in the letters a 35 year old Tennessee Confederate soldier sent to his wife and three children, is a new kind of Civil War story. Only one battlefield is referred to - and that briefly - in letters Thomas M.Webb of Long Branch Creek, Humpreys County, Tennessee, wrote with a home-made pen and "elderberry" ink on brownish paper. They are, rather, the thoughts of a husband and father, caught up in the swirl of the war, who walked with a group of neighbors 110 miles to enlist in the South's cause. What caused this wholesale enlistment? A short time before General Grant had issued that everyone in that part of the country sign an oath of allegiance to the Federal Government. This was to much, these men were sons of the south. They came from every part of the country, between Yellow Creek and Tennessee River to make the march.
Thomas M. Webb and John Wilson McDonald, my grandfather, married sisters. Webb married Jane P. McAuley of White Oak Creek on Sept. 5th, 1850. They had two sons, Lawrance and Billy, and one daughter, Fancy, when the war broke out. In fact they married first cousins. John Wilson McDonald married Nancy A. McAuley on Oct. 29th, 1854. They had two sons, William A. McDonald and Daniel Wilson McDonald, my father. Now back to the letters. They deal with the thoughts and observations during his stay at a camp near Shelbyville, Tennessee in the winter of 1863. Webb and most of the people mentioned in the letters were assigned to Co. B. 4th. Tennessee Infantry. Some were taken prisoners shortly after these letters were written, among them John Wilson McDonald. He was released fron Camp Chase, Ohio, prison camp on May 13, 1865. I have his prison release. There were more of these letters, but they were stolen from my home years ago. By a woman that lived ----- up North.
Some of the spelling in the following letters has been changed for clarity's sake.
Signed: Don A. McDonald
|State of Tennessee|
|6 miles from Shelbyville|
|Jan. 5, 1863|
Dear Wife and Children
We have just arrived here and do not know how long we will stay here. We are all well at present. I have stood the trip very well. Walked 110 miles the way we came and I am well and hope that these lines will find you all well. We staid at Beever Creek three days waiting for the company, and then had to come up through Hickman County, Williamson, Columbia, Farmington and Shelbyville. We met our army here. They had a severe battle at Murfreesboro and are on the retreat. Our men claim the day and are talking of going back.
We have moved eight miles today and are going on tomorrow toward the east. Our men say they killed seven Yanks to one of our men. I am not acquainted with but one that was killed, and that was John Aklas. I am with the 11th Regiment today. Jim Webb is fat and not hurting. Sam Wilson was shot, but is not hurt. Boone Croswell was shot through the arm but not hurt much. All the boys are well from our neighborhood. I write you today for fier I will not have time soon. We are seeing hard times at present owing to the confusion of the times. Our men say they left Murfreesboro on account of the mire and we know not up here where we are going. Had I have new as much before I left home as I know now, I could have stayed at home. But as I am out, I am not coming home until I can come honorable. Our men got 42 cannons from the Yanks and as many guns as they could bring away. Jim Webb lost his new clothing on the battlefield. Said he had never put them on. You must write when you can. Tell Lawrence (his son) to be a good boy. Tell Billy (another son) I recollect his goodbye. Tell Fancy (a daughter) she was gone to her grandmother's when I left. Tell her to be sweet. I think John McDonald and Jim Brown will come home as soon as we get settled. If Jim is discharged I am to get his coon skin cap.
|Camp near Shelbyville, Tenn|
|Mar. 2, 1863|
I assume the present opportunity of dropping you a few lines so as to let you know that I am yet able to go and am better than I have been in some time. My knees is very weak and I have been dim of sight for 10 days, but think I will be all right in a short time. As for coming home, I can not tell anything about, but I hope I will come sometime and hope to find you all doing well. What we get is very rough for new beginners, and if we buy anything it costs us all we have. We have to be sharp or we will come out in debt. If we eat anything that is fit to eat. We have to give 50 cents for a little pie as big as my hand and everything else is just as high. We are so hungry sometimes we will buy, but I have not bought but two since I have been here. And I don't expect to buy many as I know you will need my money at home. I can not write much for I am writing by guess because I can not see the lines. But do not let this trouble you. I will tell you the truth. I don't like to stay here for there is too much devilment carried on for me. A man can not live well unless he can steal and lie. There is plenty of preaching here but it does no good, as I see here a man preaching and there is one swearing and over there is one singing a song to suit himself and right out there is a gang of them playing cards, and in fact everything is doing here at one time. So I will do the best I can and you must do the same. Tell the children to be good and do the best they can. I expect you will have to let Lawrence work with his Uncle (Mcdonald). My eyes is so bad I will have to cut it short. So farewell my loving wife, greve not for me.
P.S. Tell Larvincy Lockart to send me a mess of eggs for recollection.
|Camp Near Shelbyville, Tenn|
|March 2, 1863|
I hope these lines will find you all in good health. You must do the best you can for we have been hard times out here. We are very badly fed and it is rough fare and we can not buy anything unless we pay five times the wirth of it. I wish you could see Elisha Croswell and know of him what he will take of that place where Jane and the children is living. If he will take anything under $200 for the old tract and the slip that lies between it and Rogers and if he will trade that way, you can tell him I will take it if he will take Confederate money. I think I can raise the money in a short time for I can raise $100 here in one hour. Some time I have my pocket full and some days I have none. Just as the trade goes. So I will have to bring my letter to a close. Farewell my brother.
|Camp near Shelbyville, Tenn|
|March 13, 1863|
I again assume the present opportunity of writing you a few lines in order to let you know the condition of my health. At present I am not to say sick and am not well. I am up all the time, but I am not able to drill and have never been on drill but one time. You say you wish to know just how I was, but you seem to think I was worse than I let on to be. But I have never been bad off. At this very time, I am able to cook for the tent. I get up every morning and get breakfast before the rest get up and I got dinner today. They all are glad to get me to cook, for I can cook first rate. We had a fine breakfast yesterday and a fine supper last night and we had a fine breakfast this morning and a dinner today. I will tell you what we have. We had a good hash and coffee for breakfast; and turnips, salted for dinner, and me and John has had butter for some time. It was just like eating Confederate money to eat it. We give seven dollars for three balls of butter and we give two dollars for one pect of Irish Potatoes and $1.50 for one pound of stuff call coffee. And so I have been buying all I have eat for some time. I am nearly out of money, but if my health will admit of it I will not stay in this fix, for this is the easiest money and spend it I ever saw. I have sold outt my tobacco and have nothing to sell at present but some ink. I am not going to buy anything is heavy, for I run a risk of loosing it and if we have to move when I had that box of tobacco, I would had to lost it. There is all sorts of things here from the size of a pin to a cannon. I couldn't write all of them down in a week. It may be that I will get to come home this spring, but that is something we don't know. If I do not, I want you to plant a good Irish and sweet potato patch. I wish I was at home to eat salted turnips, for we have to pay for all we get. We have to go five or six miles after it and pay for it. You said to tell Jim White howdy for you. He has never been here and never will be, for he is nere enough dead at home and if he had come here when we did he wold bin in his grave. Jo Scott has grieved himself nearly to death. I have some of the best mess mates in camp. There is no better in camp than Jim and Jo Brown and Perry's a very nice man. there is only seven of us in and what we buy to eat, and if one of the mess don't pay his part, he don't eat it. This is the place to try a man. You said if I was where you could wait on me you wold do it and I think you wold, but the boys is just as good to me as they can be. I am under the storngest simpethies to Lucetia Jane Brown and Mary Brown for they sent me the best kind of cap. I am truly sorry for Puss. Tell all the children that they are all as fresh in my memory as they were when I left them. I herd today that the Yanks were in Columbia, but Dr. Brown can tell you about that when he gets home. You said Billy Webb was letting you have irish potatoes and molasses. That is very good and you must pay him when I send you money. Tell him to take Lawrence. He can make plenty of corn with him and tell him not to pretend to plow himself, but to see to the boys and make them plow and make corn and give you some of it. Just what he thinks is rite. You plant your irish potatoes like they were last year and put all the manour on them you can get for they are half of a living. You can see that there is something the matter with me from the way I write, for paper without lining is as good for me as any for my eyes are nearly smoked out. I will write more tomorrow if I have the chance. So I will quit this or the the present. Weep not for me for I ever remember the beloved wife.
NOTE: T.M. Webb died of pneumonia June 3, 1863 in Shelbyville.
THIS IS A LETTER FROM JILL K. GARRETT TO DON McDONALD
I was delighted over those letters you all put in the paper. That man, T.M. Webb, was a member of Company B, 24th Battalion of Tennessee Sharpshooters -- you know your Maneys Battery was Company A.
For some reason, so many of the men in this outfit will be found in the 4th Tennessee. But if you have received your copy of part II of "Tennessee in the Civil War", you will find T.M. Webb in the 24th Bn. S.S.
Here is a what muster roll says about T.M. Webb:
Private, Company B
Enlisted 13 Dec. 1862 at Waverly, Tenn. For 3 years
Died 3 June 1863 in hospital at Shelbyville, Tenn.
His description says he was 34 years old, 5 ft. 11 inches; fair complection, blue eyes, light hair. Died of Pneumonia.
Or, at least that is what the muster roll says, I am not making this up!
Jim White was James White, Private Co. B, 24th Tenn. Bn. S.S. Who enlisted 13 Dec. 1862 at Waverly, Tenn. His record show that on the muster on 28 Feb. 1863 he was absent_____________ joined his outfit for is marked "Deserted". "In Humphreys County--has never reported for duty since enlisted."
John W. McDonald was in Co. B, 24th Tenn. S.S. Enlisted 13 Dec. 1862 in Waverly for 3 years. And shows as being present through all the musters of the 24th S.S.
J.A. Brown (John), Private, Co. B, 24th Bn. S.S. Enlisted 13 Dec. 1862, Waverly, Tenn. He was___________since mustered. On muster roll dated_________1864.
James Brown, Private, Co. B, 24th Tenn. Bn. S.S. Enlisted 13 Dec. 1862 at Waverly, Tenn. Died 24 May 1863 in Gate City Hospital in Atlanta, Ga. The only Perry in Co. B was Perry Brown, who was Private, Co. B, 24th Bn. S.S. Enl. At Waverly, Tenn. (He was lived on Long Branch, White Oak Creek in Houston Co. and was related by marriage to the McDonalds). He survived the war.
I am still surveying the Civil War newspapers, but have found no more about Fort Donalson in the later part of the war. Thanks again for the papers you send. I do hope you are puttting copies in the State Library and Archives.
Jill K. Garrett