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55 Unionists looked forward to the military operations of 1862 with abundant optimism.In the East,Major General George Brinton McClellan engaged in a campaign widely expected by Northerners to conclude with the capture of the Confederate capital. In the West, the victory at Shiloh had paved the way for another Federal advance. New Orleans succumbed to a fantastic naval assault led by David Glasgow Farragut,leavingVicksburg as the only major obstacle to Federal dominance of the Mississippi River.It seemed the Confederacy would soon be cleaved in two and its seat of government conquered. At Nashville, the men of the 11th Michigan occupied true enemy territory. The Wolverines had left behind the comforts of civilian hospitality, but the soldiers were anxious to finally take an active role in the war. Spirits ran high. Confederate general Braxton Bragg would soon set his sights on Kentucky, and the11th’spositionastridetheFederalsupplylineplacedtheregimentrightwhere theenemycavalrywouldaimtostrike.Inthemonthstocome,famedRebelraider John Hunt Morgan would render the Michiganders harried and frustrated. —————— Nashville, Tennessee, May 3, 1862 Dear Jenny, Here I am in Nashville, one of the most beautiful cities in the Union, and as I pass along its fine streets and gaze on its palaces surrounded with trees C h a p t e r 3 The Celebrated John Morgan May –December 1862 R I never saw a more exasperated set than our men and officers. 56 · Conspicuous Gallantry of the richest foliage, one would hardly think it one of the hottest beds of rebeldom. One can hardly think that a people surrounded with every comfort of life, and living under the best government in the world, could become so dumb to their own interests as to turn traitor to their country.The tombs of the illustrious patriots who sleep near this place ought to remind them of loyalty. The shadow of the tomb of the illustrious patriot [Andrew] Jackson ought to cause black-hearted secessionism to shrink back to the place from whence it started and never show itself again.1 Our trip down the Ohio was a pleasant one, and will never be forgotten by me. From Louisville to the mouth of the Cumberland, the country was entirely submerged, a distance of over three hundred miles, and looked more like a vast lake than a river. Whole farms were entirely under water, and the people were obliged to use the upper stories of their buildings. I tell you it looked dreary enough, most every building had a skiff tied to the door latch. But the flood did not stop their cheering us. The night of the second day, we reached the Cumberland. This river is about as large as the St. Jo, only a great deal deeper.2 I remained on deck as long as I could see anything, and then retired to the cabin. I was rather unwell, and Doct. Whelan furnished me with a stateroom. In the morning I was on deck as soon as ’twas light enough to see. We were still going at the rate of 8 miles an hour. The scenery on this river surpasses anything I ever saw. The banks, which rise hundreds of feet from the water’s edge, and covered with trees of the richest foliage, makes a scene that is lovely to gaze on. At 8 o’clock all was excitement, as we were soon to pass Fort Donelson. The fort soon came in view. Here was where one of the bloodiest battles of the war was transacted. Close to the water’s edge was a breastwork where they had several batteries of the heaviest caliber. These were the batteries which done so much damage to our gunboats. Farther up the bank, where the battle raged with the greatest fury, was another breastwork. I noticed some trees which looked as though ten thousand lightnings had played among their branches.’Twas through these trees our gallant boys poured their shot and shell, sending death and destruction into the enemy’s camp.A little farther up, we came to the iron foundry of John Bell, which our troops destroyed.3 ’Twas burned by our troops after the taking of Donelson. ’Twas used by the Rebels in casting cannon and rolling ironplatingforgunboats.AboutnoonwereachedClarksville,wheretheRebels retreated from Donelson but left on short notice at the approach of our troops. They tried to destroy the railroad bridge that crosses the river at this place,but were unsuccessful.We passed on up the river,and just as the shades of evening threw her dusky mantle...


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