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The Wartime Diary of John Weatherred

Bennett's Regiment or 9th Tennessee Cavalry

John Hunt Morgan's Command

1862

I was born in Allen County, Ky., eight miles from Scottsville on Feb 26th 1846. My father Wilson Weatherred had left the Kentucky home in 1855 and in 1861 was living near Castalian Springs, Tennessee, when an election in March was held to determine whether Tennessee should withdraw from the Northern States. Father did not think it best to secede, but just before the poles closed, he voted for holding a state convention to determine whether Tennessee should separate from the Northern States. The convention by a large majority decided to secede. May 6th or very soon thereafter I heard the fife and drums and speeches, urging all people of the South to defend their rights, their homes and firesides from the designing Northern Yankees who wish to take our property and destroy the Constitution of the United States.

I imbibed the war spirit immediately. I was 15 years old I wanted to join the first company organized, by Captain Humphrey Bate: This being the Sumner Grays of the 2nd Tennessee Regiment, William B. Bate, Colonel. But I was refused as to young for a soldier. In July 1861, Capt. James Carson organized a company in the neighborhood. I joined it and drilled a number of times with them, but father saw Capt. Carson and told him I was not old enough so I was refused, but father permitted me to remain with the company when they went into camp at Red Sulphur Springs, Macon County, Tennessee, or a company of Colonel John Head's regiment with James Turner Lt. Col., but I had to return home soon. 35 miles from Father's place, somewhat dejected in spirit, but determined to be a soldier in the next company organized.

I had to go back to school for a time, but in January of 1862 Captain Griffin who lived somewhere between Gallatin and Nashville, Tennessee commenced to organize a company for John H. Morgan's Cavalry.

Father then consented for me to enlist. So I did about the last days of March near my 16th birthday. I was with the company in camp part of the time and at home part of the time. A regiment was forming and we were to be first company of the regiment.

The first real fighting I saw was in July when our company volunteered to go on an expedition into Kentucky with General Wheeler's command and we found the boys in Blue not far from Woodburn, Ky., Simpson County, where two of the Blue coats were killed. We were on this expedition for 10 or 12 days when we returned to Tennessee.

I was allowed to go home for a time. Morgan's command camped at Hartsville, Tenn. for two or three weeks in August on their return from Kentucky with General Bragg.

About this time, Captain John W. Wiseman began to organize a company for a new regiment that was forming from Sumner, Macon, Davidson, Wilson and Smith Counties. I then got a transfer from Co. A to Captain J. W. Wiseman's company which became Co. G. of the new regiment. We would drill three or four times a week at Friendship Church near where Morgan's command was in camp. We soon had the new regiment completed and it was organized by electing James Bennett Colonel, from Hartsville, Tennessee and William Ward of Carthage, Tennessee Lieutenant Colonel.

So we were called Bennett's Regiment or the 9th Tennessee Cavalry of Morgan's Command. We then went into camp about 1 1/2 miles south west of Gallatin, Tenn. where we remained September to the 7th of November, where we did picket and scouting duty until we left for Wilson County south of the Cumberland River where we were persuaded or hurried and urged to move on out of Gallatin by General Buehl, Union Army from Kentucky. We had two howitzers or cannons that could do some damage within a mile. We saluted them several times with our small cannons and muskets which checked their advance until we crossed the river but the Blue Coats urged us on with several cannon shots much larger and of longer range than our cannon.

We were in Wilson County, Tennessee, 4 miles from Lebanon encamped where we scouted and did picket duty and did more or less skirmishing with the enemy every two or three days. When they would come out from Nashville, several thousand strong, foraging, taking cattle, horses, hogs, corn and every thing that was movable.

I will state that Colonel Morgan's Command whipped 1,200 picked federals commanded by Colonel Johnson, who attacked Morgan's force at Gallatin, Tenn. Morgan had 1,000 men near the middle of August 1862. Johnson was captured and 64 of his men were killed and over 250 captured. Probably 10 days before this in August, Morgan surprised and captured Colonel Boone and 300 men camped at Gallatin. Morgan then returned to Hartsville after this where he had camped before the Johnson fight and capture in Mills Woodland, not far from Friendship Church in Sumner County Tennessee and on the 29th of August, Morgan was ordered to go to Lexington, Ky. to meet General Kirby Smith on the 2nd of September as General Bragg was advancing into Kentucky Morgan was then in Ky. about two months fighting with General Bragg.

While my regiment, the 9th Tenn. was organizing and drilling in camp, 1 1/2 miles south west of Gallatin, Colonel Morgan and command came to Gallatin November 4th and 5th.

We had quiet a little fight at Edgefield Junction near Nashville, Tenn. then back to camp and I think the 8th of November was when General Buehl drove us across the Cumberland River and we went into camp near Lebanon, Tennessee and as before stated we had much hard service scouting and fighting most of the time. We camped at Bairds Mill about 9 miles from Lebanon, towards Murfreesboro and 11 miles from Murfreesboro.

General John C. Breckenridge with 3 or 4 thousand men was at Murfreesboro about the 8th of November and General Bragg reached there the 20th with his army or most of it. Our regiment the 9th Tenn then went into camp at Blacks Shop about 6 miles from Murfreesboro, not far North of Stones River. Were scouting and picketing much of the time - toward the last or about the 1st of Dec. there fell a six inch snow. We had many snow ball battles, four or five companies on each side. We had lively times for a day or two. The General stopped this snow ball war, but many of us had black and blue sore spots all over us.

Colonel Morgan had asked permission to capture Hartsville, Tenn. and at last Gen. Bragg ordered him to try it. The garrison at Hartsville was about 2,500 men and on the 7th of December, we had marching orders and left camp at 11 A. M. The ground was covered with snow, thawing in the day time but very cold at night. As we passed Bairds Mill, 700 infantry of General Roger Hanson's Brigade of Kentuckians, we of Morgan's Cavalry about 1,400 of us with Cobbs Battery about 2,200 men. Morgan's men were composed of Col. Bennett's, Col. Duke's and Col. Chenault's regiment and Stover's Battalion 1,400 men. We had to rest the Infantry now and then by letting them ride and we would walk through the slushy snow, our feet got wet and we all had frost bitten feet, as the night was extremely cold. The front of the column reached the Cumberland River about 10 P. M. at night. We crossed the river about 2 miles below Hartsville. One horse and rider would plunge into the river by a trail and horse would have to jump down 3 1/2 or 4 feet into the mud and water. One after the other and getting out on the other side was the same condition. Water was up to horse rider and ice formed all over us. We all were across a short time before day light. All formed in line of battle near where the Federal Infantry were camped just south of town towards the river. The infantry and artillery had crossed the in skiffs and flat boats and they in line. The fight began at 1/2 hour before sun up. We did not surpprise them as completely as we expected. Some of their company were making coffee. We could see them and smell the coffee and we had them captured in one hour. 2,096 prisoners consisting of the 104th Ill. Infantry, 106th Ohio Infantry, 108th Ohio Infantry and 3rd Indiana Cavalry, one company of the 11th Ky. Cavalry and one section of the 13th Indiana Battery, with two guns. We lost in killed and wounded 125 men. The infantry lost 98 men and Cobb's Battery lost 10 men and our own cavalry 37 men. We did not have over 1,200 men in the fight at this point. Some were capturing those in town. The enemy lost in killed and wounded 262 men and we had 1834 prisoners.

We captured 2 three inch Parrot Rifle Cannons, that we used many times in battle afterwards. (They were captured from us July 19th 1863 with our howitzer company on the banks of the Ohio River at the end of the Indiana and Ohio raid.)

We Cavalry had to carry a prisoner across the river behind us. Some making more than one trip. We burned many tents and government stores and carried some wagons and teams with us. As the last of us crossed, the Blue boys reached the North side of the Cumberland River from Castalian Springs and began to shell us but we soon was out of their range and went leisurely back to Lebanon through the mud and snow. This the 8th of December 1862.

We camped then at Black's Shop until the 22nd of Dec. when we were ordered into Ky. by General Bragg.

The success of Colonel Morgan's forces at Hartsville caused President Davis by General Brag's recommendation to make Morgan a Brigadier General and on the 14th of Dec. Morgan and Miss. Ready of Murfreesboro was married by General Leonidas Polk in his uniform as General (Polk was an Episcopal Bishop) Many of the Generals of the Army were at the wedding.

On the 21st of Dec. General Morgan's command was organized into two Brigades. The 1st and 2nd Brigade. 1st Brigade was commanded by Colonel Basil Duke and was composed of 2nd Ky., Lt. Col. Hutchinson Commander. Gano's Reg. 3rd Ky., Lt. Col. Huffinson commanding (Gano Absent.) Clukes Reg the 8th Ky. Coil. Leroy S. Cluke Commanding and Palmer's Battery of 4 pieces, two 12 pound howitzers and two 6 pound guns was attached to this brigade.

The Second brigade (Breckenridge's) was composed of his own Reg. the 9th Ky. Lt. Col. Stoner commanding. Johnson Reg. the 10th Ky. Col. Johnson commanding. Chenault's Reg the 11th Ky. Col. Chenault commanding and Jim Bennett's Reg. the 9th Tenn. Bennett commanding (my regiment.) To this Brigade was attached one 3 inch Parrot gun, commanded by Capt. White and two mountain howitzers under Lieutenant Corbett. We had moved to Alexander Tenn. where we were under general review on the eve of starting on the renowned Christmas Kentucky Raid and we had the 1st Brigade 1,800 to 2,000 men and the 2nd Brigade had 1800 about 3800 men in all.

We left camp of 2 days at Alexander with Morgan commanding and Capt. W. M. Maginie acting assistant Adjutant General on December 22, 1862. We camped the first night, Breckenridge's 2nd Brigade of which I was a part, between the Caney Fork River and the Cumberland River. Duke's the 1st Brigade camped on the North Bank of Cumberland river at Sand Shoals. We began the march Dec. 23rd at day light and marched 30 miles. On the 24th we camped within 5 miles of Glascow, Ky. Capt. Jones of Company A, 9th Ky. Cavalry and 3 or 4 men went into Glascow that night to ascertain if there was any enemy in the place and he met a command of Federals coming into town, when a skirmish began. Capt. Jones two men were mortally wounded and the Federals retreated and was gone next morning. We marched early next morning (Christmas) through Glascow, the weather cold and stormy. We captured the stockade at Green River Bridge and Bacon Creek and destroyed the stockade and bridge. On the 27th we captured Col. Smith's reg. of 600 men at Elizabethtown, Ky. We had a short fight but few killed and wounded. We paroled them. We did not tary long: (There is a ole soldier here in Tacoma Washington that says I captured him there; at any rate he was there as a member of Col. Smith's Reg.) We captured several hundred stands of Ammo and government stores. We moved on the 28th towards Muldraugh's Hill where there were several very long Railroad trestle: With 8 or 900 Blue Coat's which we soon captured and burned the trestles, which was not an easy mission, because of rain and snow on the morning of the 29th. We and some of the command crossed the Rolling Fork River at a ford a mile above where the road crossed from Elizabeth Town to Bardstown, just before the 9th Tenn., my Reg. crossed the rolling fork, a heavy force of Federal infantry and cavalry under General Harlan, attacked us and we had quite an artillery duel. General Basil Dukes commanding the 1st Brigade was struck on the head with a fragment of a shell which unfitted him for service for some days. Then our regiment crossed and our division camped that night at Bardstown Dec. 30th. We captured a number of companies here and army stores. The weather is very cold and we have not had much sleep since we came into Ky. Next day we reached Springfield Ky. at 3 P. M. and at 8 or 9 P. M. we left Springfield and going around to the right of Lebanon Ky., we expected to avoid a collision with a heavy force of the enemy in that town, we marched and stopped and delayed all night, the most disagreeable night I think I ever experienced. Many were frost bitten and cold. We were marching as it was called around Lebanon Ky. to avoid the enemy. As we had accomplished all that General Bragg had expected, Morgan to do, to check the enemy by the destruction of all bridges, trestles and so forth in order to keep back reinforcements from the big fight expected with General Rosecrans at that time about Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and which did take place while we were gone the last days of the old and the first days of the new year.

We were trying to march around Lebanon, Ky. all night but when day light came we were only 3 miles from Lebanon almost in sight of the enemy, then the 31st of December.

I lost my horse Jimmie last night, I got off my horse and set down against a fence and went to sleep and when I woke up Jimmie was gone. I walked some and rode some behind the boys but after day light two of the boys went a head of my company and found my horse in possession of a soldier of the 9th Ky.


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