Note: Following document represents a distillation and compilation of many of the source documents found elsewhere on this site in their original form. These are complemented by correspondence with descendants of the scouts, and references to documents and publications not available here. Careful reading will detect a few minor variations in such things as the spelling of names, and at least one reference to an article found in "a scrapbook" which was in fact originally published in Confederate Veteran. This document is presented here in its original form, with the sole exception of the footnotes, which have been re-numbered to better fit this format.
A Study by
Mabel Baxter Pittard
Acknowledgments are made to relatives of the scouts for their kindness in responding to requests for pictures and information, and to members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy who have aided much in the collection of material for this study. Those members of this organization who have aided greatly are: Mrs. W. R. Morton, Franklin, Tennessee; Mrs. Frank Shelton, Columbia, Tennessee; Miss Annie Cody of Nashville, Tennessee; and Mrs. B. F. Alderson of Murfreesboro.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. THE ORGANIZATION OF THE SCOUTS
II. HENRY B. SHAW
III. PERSONAL SKETCHES OF OTHER SCOUTS
IV. THE ACTIVITIES OF THE SCOUTS
V. LAST MEETING OF THE SCOUTS
THE ORGANIZATION OF THE SCOUTS
THE ARMY OF TENNESSEE
In a study of the Coleman Scouts it is well to give a brief background of the activities of the army to which this group of men was attached. This military component was designated as the Army of Tennessee of the Confederate States of America. From Stanley Horn, in his account found in The Army of Tennessee, we may infer that it was first called by this name about the time it assumed its position at Murfreesboro late in the fall of 1862.
Bragg, having established his headquarters at Murfreesboro, announced his determination to occupy Middle Tennessee in force. ...Johnston made his temporary headquarters at Chattanooga, but went to Murfreesboro on November 26, to spend several days inspecting the army of about forty thousand which Bragg had assembled and which Johnston now officially called the Army of Tennessee -- the name which it was to make lustrous. (1)
Ridley in his Battles and Sketches of the Army of Tennessee states that this army was organized at Murfreesboro prior to the bloody battle that ensued there from December 31, 1862 to January 3, 1863, culminating with Bragg's withdrawal.
In Kentucky the successful battles of Richmond, Munfordville, and Perryville were fought. After this the Confederate Army under General Bragg withdrew and settled at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and reorganized the army under the name of the Army of Tennessee. From this time, November, 1862, the Army of Tennessee was so called until the surrender of the Confederate forces at Greensboro, North Carolina, April 26, 1865. (2)
According to Ridley, (3) this embryonic Army of Tennessee was first listed in Confederate military annals as the Western Department of the Confederate Forces and was commanded by General Albert Sidney Johnston. From an account given by Stanley Horn, (4) it was evident that Johnston's first concern was the fortification of Nashville, the largest and most important city south of the Ohio River. This importance was due to the city's strategic position on the Cumberland River and the fact that it was a railroad center. It served as an arsenal and depot of supplies for the Confederacy. Horn elaborates further on Nashville's importance to the Confederacy:
A quickly constructed plant was manufacturing 100,000 percussion caps a day. ....The Nashville Plow Works was manufacturing sabres; other plants were manufacturing muskets, saddles, harness, and knapsacks. Looms were turning out thousands of yards of gray jeans, and nimble hands were sewing them into uniforms for the soldiers. Two local foundries were casting cannon, and one of them was turning out rifled guns. (5)
In order to secure the Confederates' hold on this vital city, two forts were constructed near Nashville -- Fort Donelson and Fort Henry. These forts were so poorly equipped, the men so ill-trained, that both of them fell to the Union forces in February of 1862. After these defeats General Johnston retreated to Corinth, Mississippi. (6)
Johnston's plan then was to join Beauregard's troops at Corinth as quickly as possible, and strike at Grant before reinforcements could reach him at his position near Shiloh Church. Then a series of events brought General Braxton Bragg rapidly to the forefront and ultimately to the command of the Army of the Mississippi as this military group was now being called. First, the dapper Beauregard became ill and requested that General Bragg assume the command of his forces. Secondly, General Johnston was killed in the Battle of Shiloh on the first day of this bloody encounter, and Beauregard assumed the command of the Army of the Mississippi.
Following the battle the new commander, again being ill, decided to recuperate a few days in a hotel in Jackson, Tennessee. Without confirmation from the President of the Confederacy, General Beauregard placed General Bragg in temporary command of the army. President Jefferson Davis for personal or military reasons dismissed Beauregard and placed General Braxton Bragg in full command.
This new general, a friend of Jefferson Davis, was characterized by some as martinet, by others as uncompromising, cruel, and even incompetent. Stanley Horn gives a good, if not prejudiced, description of Bragg as commander:
The troops he trained were celebrated for their efficiency. They regarded him, however, as a hard taskmaster and too much a stickler for formality, red tape, and precise conformity with all rules and regulations. He was possessed of an irascible temper and was naturally disputatious. ...His unpopularity with nearly everyone he encountered greatly diminished his effectiveness. In his defense it should be said that he was the victim of a painful and distressing chronic ailment--migraine or sick headache ... This infirmity caused him to be irritable, often harsh, and this alienated from him the affection and enthusiasm of his troops, and he was never without serious friction with some, and at times all of his corps commanders.
Following his assumption of command, Bragg moved his troops to Tupelo, Mississippi, and from there to Chattanooga, Tennessee. From Chattanooga, he crossed the state of Tennessee and marched into Kentucky. Here he experienced a very satisfactory campaign; yet, despite his successes, he withdrew to Tennessee and settled at Murfreesboro. As has been established, it was here that this military group first became known as the Army of Tennessee.
Following the general practice of organizing scouting operations to keep the commanders informed of enemy operations, a group of young men under Captain Henry B. Shaw was brought together. These scouts, known interchangeably as Shaw's Scouts or Coleman's Scouts, were to play an important part in the operation of Bragg's Army -- the army that had and was to fight some of the bloodiest battles of the war -- Shiloh, Stone's River, and Chickamauga. This army was to campaign over more territory than any other single army on either side. It was to write some of the brightest pages in the Confederate history as its men displayed courage unequaled by that of any other army. It was to be subjected to the leadership of some of the most inept commanders. It was to suffer the most complete defeat of any Confederate army, but its men were stubbornly to refuse to admit defeat until only a few were left to fight. The effect upon the men of the frequent shifting of its command was exhibited in this song heard as the last remnant of this army retreated in defeat following the battles of Franklin and Nashville:
So now I'm marching southward
My heart is full of woe
I'm going back to Georgia
To see my Uncle Joe.
You may talk about your Beauregard
And sing of General Lee
But the gallant Hood of Texas
Played hell in Tennessee. (8)
ORGANIZING THE SCOUTS
The tactics and strategy of warfare depend on information as well as on soldiers and guns. Spies and scouts are sent into enemy territory to gather news concerning movements of troops, to secure newspapers, and to obtain any vital information about enemy resources. Both the Northern and Southern armies during the War Between the States availed themselves of this medium of securing information. It was for this purpose that the group of men known as the Coleman Scouts was organized. The Confederate Veteran of November, 1897, indirectly quoting from a letter written to that magazine by Alfred H. Douglas, one of the scouts, has this to say in regard to the beginning of the organization:
Alfred H. Douglas and John Davis, an older brother of Sam Davis, were called to a conference Generals Cheatham and Hardee. It resulted in their being directed to come as near Nashville as practicable and report what they could learn of the enemy. They succeeded beyond expectation.
After that General Cheatham appointed Captain Henry B. Shaw to take charge of an organization of scouts and to confer with them. General Bragg, in the meantime, had officially notified them to report to Shaw. Captain Shaw, John Davis, and Douglas selected such men as thought efficient for the perilous work. Tthe men left off their uniforms, occasionally wearing citizen's suits or Federal uniforms, they were not required to do it. Many of them would wear Federal overcoats after changing blue by a walnut dye. Their scouting territory extended from the Gulf of Mexico to Louisville, east and west, but their main field of action was in Middle Tennessee. (9)
Since there was no access to Bragg's reports to his superiors in matters relating to scouting activities, the exact date of the organization of the Coleman Scouts could not be determined. Using references in B. L. Ridley's works and those of Stanley Horn, it may be fairly well established that this group of scouts became active sometime between Bragg's assumption of the command of the Army of Mississippi in June of 1862 and the fall of 1862, when Bragg came into Tennessee following the Kentucky campaigns. That the scouts were active at the Battle of Stones River is evident from this statement by Horn:
Rosecrans' movement began early on the morning of December 26, word of it being brought to Bragg by his scouts. (10)
Mrs. Thomas McFerrin, Senior, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, stated in a conversation that her father, Will Roberts went on such expeditions in the vicinity of LaVergne a few days before the battle took place.
Shaw, the Captain of the group, assumed the name of Coleman to hide his real identity. He operated within the enemy lines under the guise of an itinerant herb doctor. Information secured by Shaw was passed from him to the scouts and then relayed to Confederate headquarters. R. B. Anderson of Denton, Texas, and a member of the group, in a letter to the Confederate Veteran alluded to the freedom and security promised the scouts as they moved through enemy lines:
When General Bragg was at Murfreesboro, there was an agreement formed between him and the Commander of the Federal forces by which each one could send scouts into the other's lines, dressed in their own uniforms and armed, who in case of capture were to be treated as regular prisoners of war. This was made known to me when I was detailed to report to Captain Shaw in May, 1863, as one of his scouts. (11)
From the above we may infer that these men, whose purpose was to penetrate enemy lines in the uniform of the Confederate Army were scouts and not spies. Below is a copy of the credentials furnished one of the men, Sam Davis, by the Commanding Officer of the Army of Tennessee:
Headquarters General Bragg's Scouts
Middle Tennessee, September 25, 1863
Samuel Davis has permission to pass on scouting duty anywhere in Middle Tennessee or north of the Tennessee River he may think proper.
By order of General Bragg
E. Coleman, Commanding Scouts (l2)
These passes served a two-fold purpose. Not only were they supposed to assure the scout of better treatment in the event of capture, but the credentials issued the scouts by Bragg made it easier for men to secure food, lodging, and aid from Southerners who might otherwise suspect them of being Northern spies.
Despite credentials and the uniforms of their own army, these men were subject to great peril and danger if captured. It will be established later that some of them actually were put to death without benefit of a trail. Doctor H. M. Hammill of Nashville in writing to the Confederate Veteran in June, 1909, emphasized the danger attached to scouting:
Scout or spy, whatever the term applied, one who enters the lines of the enemy to secretly gather information for use of the opposing army under the rules of warfare becomes a spy, and if caught is executed as a spy. There is no mawkish sentiment in war, and small mercy is shown one who seeks to discover the secrets of the army.
But, as with Major Andre of the Revolution, and with many others, the occupation of scout and spy is a necessity of warfare to which any soldier is liable. One who is commissioned a military spy is usually chosen because of superior intelligence, courage, and devotion to his army and colors. His vocation is full of deadly peril by day and by night. If caught, he usually dies by the most ignominious death under conditions that inspire contempt in the spectators, to the end that swift judgment and odious death my deter men from seeking the office of spy. Over his supreme self-sacrifice the epitaph is commonly written, "Died on the gallows as a spy," without these added words which justice demands: "Under military appointment and for his country's cause." (13)
Mrs. John Nelson of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has in her possession a newspaper clipping of uncertain date that contains an article about the Coleman Scouts. In this article is found a description of the type of men selected to be members of this organization:
The scouts of an army are its big eyes. The result of a battle, the fate of a nation, has often hung upon the report of a trusted scout. A soldier is selected from any part of the army for known bravery, intelligence, coolness, and activity for that kind of work. Henry B. Shaw, who commanded Bragg's scouts, attached to the Army of Tennessee, known as Coleman Scouts, was a born scout, and his men were especially selected for this peculiar work. (14)
Other descriptions of the type of men selected for scouting duty with Shaw included horsemanship and familiarity with the terrain in which their assignments might carry them. Since these scouts operated mainly in Middle Tennessee one can understand from this last prerequisite why many of the men detailed for this particular duty were from Middle Tennessee counties.
THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE ORGANIZATION
One may infer that the membership of this group of scouts was a fluctuating one -- some, members for a short period of time until capture or death -- others, for a longer period. So far as could be determined there is no complete published list of the roll that made up the membership of the Coleman Scouts. James D. Porter in his Confederate Military History gives this information concerning the membership of the group:
Coleman Scouts was a group of about one hundred men of marked ability and daring, under the command of Captain Henry B. Shaw, known in both armies by the name of Coleman. (15)
This investigator has been able to compile a list of forty-five members including Captain Shaw. From an article entitled "Careers of Coleman Scouts" found in a scrapbook belonging to Mrs. W. R. Morton of Franklin, Tennessee, it was possible to obtain a list of thirty nine members. The list follows:
We, the surviving fellow scouts, have met and from memory given to the Veteran a list of all who belonged to Shaw's Scouts.
H. B. Shaw, Captain
Alf H. Douglas
Thomas M. Joplin
Bill T. Robinson
James T. Patterson
W. H. Portch
R. F. Cotton
Signed: Alf. Douglas, E. M. Patterson, W. B. Robinson, Tom Joplin. (16)
Six additional names found by this writer in various references were: J. Tom Brown, L. K. Owen, Richard B. Anderson, Lillard, Will Hughes, and Ben Douglas.
PERSONAL SKETCHES OF COLEMAN'S SCOUTS
The chain of scouts, commanded by Henry B. Shaw, as far as this writer has been able to determine numbered forty-four. Rather full information was available about perhaps a dozen of these men. About the remaining thirty two only brief sketches or incidents surrounding their lives and careers were available. Much of the material concerning the lives of these men was taken from an article entitled "Careers of Coleman Scouts" which was found in a scrapbook belonging to Mrs. W. R. Morton, Franklin, Tennessee.
Shaw's position as leader of this group terminated with his capture at Pulaski, November 22, 1863. The man selected to replace Shaw as the leader of the group was Alex Greig (sometimes spelled Gregg). Since Gregg occupied this position of leadership for a time, a brief sketch of his life will precede similar sketches of the other members of the group.
According to the article found in Mrs. Morton's scrapbook Alex Gregg, the person selected as leader of Coleman's Scouts following Shaw's capture, was wounded twice and captured twice during his military career. The article stated further that, "He was killed but not in battle. (17)S. A. Cunningham, editor of the Confederate Veteran in speaking of Gregg said:
He was a Scotchman by birth, but lived in Nashville when the war commenced. He enlisted with the Company B, Rock City Guards. Later he became adjutant in the 25th Tennessee Regiment under E. B. Snowden. (18)
A fellow scout, R. B. Anderson, had this to say concerning Alex Gregg:
He was a relation of old Gregg, the baker and confectioner. He was the most remarkable scout I ever knew, and was constantly doing something startling. He was with Davis, Joplin, McReeves, Roberts, Brown, and others around Nashville. (19)
John Davis, born in 1839, was the son of Charles Lewis Davis and Margaret Saunders Davis of near Smyrna in Rutherford County, Tennessee. His mother died the latter part of 1840, and sometime later his father married Jane Simmons, the mother of Sam Davis, half-brother to John.
According to the Confederate Veteran of November, 1897, Davis was one of the men who, along with Shaw and Alf Douglas, helped select members for the Coleman Scouts. (20) The article further stated that Davis and Douglas were the first two scouts sent out on a mission. John Davis was wounded once during his military career. Sometime during the war he contacted a severe case of typhoid fever and was granted an honorable discharge.
After the war he married Kate Patterson of LaVergne, who had been of invaluable aid to the scouts all during the war. In 1867 John was killed in the explosion of the steamship "David White", of which he was a part-owner along with Henry B. Shaw.
ALFRED H. DOUGLAS
As had been pointed out, Alfred H. Douglas of Nashville, Tennessee, shared with John Davis in the first scouting expedition that culminated in the organization of Coleman's Scouts. With Davis and Shaw he helped select men suitable to serve in Bragg's secret service. According to an article found in an old scrapbook he was captured twice during his military career. After one of these seizures he escaped, and on the other occasion he was recaptured by General Forrest. The article also states that, "Douglas was one of the scouts who remained in the secret service to the end of the war.
Various articles and a few books have been written concerning Sam Davis, who was perhaps the best known member of the Coleman Scouts. Edythe Whitley's book entitled Sam Davis, along with articles found in the Confederate Veteran, have furnished much material concerning this scout. (21)
Sam Davis was born October 6, 1842, at his parent's home near Stewart's Creek in Rutherford County, Tennessee. As a young man he attended Western Military Institute at Nashville which trained him for the responsibilities of a soldier's life. Before the end of the school term in 1861, Sam Davis volunteered for the Confederate Army. He was attached to the Rutherford Rifles, recruited in Rutherford County, which became Company I of the First Tennessee Infantry. Davis fought with General Lee in Virginia throughout the rest of the year, 1861. In 1862 he fought under General Albert Sidney Johnston at Shiloh. He went with Bragg through the Kentucky campaigns. Late in 1862 he was detailed from his regiment and assigned to the Coleman's Scouts.
In the fall of 1863, Davis was one of the scouts assigned to secure information regarding Federal movements in Tennessee. Having obtained vital papers which described Federal fortifications and gave numbers and disposition of Federal troops in Tennessee, Davis and some fellow scouts set out to follow the scout line to Decatur, Alabama. Only a few miles from Pulaski, Sam Davis was captured by the Seventh Kansas Calvary called the "Jay Hawkers."
Davis was placed in jail in Pulaski, Tennessee. After being questioned by General Dodge and refusing to divulge the source of the papers he carried, Davis was tried and sentenced to be hanged on November 27 1863. A full pardon, a horse and side arms, with conveyance to Confederate lines, were offered Davis if he would tell from whom he had secured this information. Rather than betray his informant, Davis accepted the sentence imposed by the Federal Military Commission.
After word came to the Davis family informing them of the death of their son, Mr. John C. Kennedy, a neighbor, went to Pulaski for the body. The Federal authorities permitted him to take up the remains, which were placed in a metallic box for the trip home. On the return trip home, Kennedy stopped the first night at an inn between Spring Hill and Columbia. According to Mrs. Frank A. Shelton (22) of Columbia, Tennessee, and a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, this inn was known at that time as McAfee Tavern. It had two rooms, a wide hall, and kitchen. At the rear of the building, were stables where stage coach horses were exchanged. According to residents of that area, Davis' body rested there overnight. A portion of the inn remained from that period until 1952 when it burned.
Mr. Kennedy gives the following account of assistance rendered by Federal soldiers to him when he came with Davis' body to the river at Columbia:
When we got to the river near Columbia, we found the officer in charge of troops at this point had ordered ferry boats stopped, and there was no way to cross except by fording. I left the conveyance and mules with Oscar (Sam's younger brother) cautioning him not to talk to anybody, while I would go out and see the officer. He was standing on the river bank when I approached him and explained my errand. He immediately turned to an orderly and said "Go down and order the ferry boat to take that team and corpse over the river."
I thanked him and started back when I saw the conveyance completely surrounded by soldiers. It was a very steep descent to the ferry, and I went to the head of the mules, taking hold of the bridles to hold them back while going down hill, when a soldier said, "Stranger we know who this is you got in the wagon; we'll see it goes down safe," and so they did. They practically carried the wagon aboard the boat and would not leave it when we landed on the north side. The hill was steeper to go up than the one we came down. They ordered me to sit there and drive, and again they all got a hand or shoulder somewhere and pushed us to the top of the hill, and when I thanked them, they quietly raised their caps. (23)
After the body reached home, it was buried in the family cemetery about fifty yards to the rear of the home. A marble shaft, made possible through contributions from veterans and friends, marks the place where the body is buried. The inscription on the marker reads:
Memory of Samuel Davis
A member of the 1st
Tennessee Regiment of Volunteers
Born October 6, 1842
Died November 27, 1863
21 years 1 month and 21 days
He laid down his life for his country
A truer soldier, a purer patriot,
A braver man never lived who
suffered death on the gibbet
rather than betray his friends
There are other monuments that have been erected to Davis' memory. One of these, made by the famous sculptor, Zolnay, was placed on Capitol Hill, Nashville, Tennessee. No picture of Davis could be secured for the sculptor to use as a copy for his work, and it is said that he used a picture of a sister, Miss Andromedia Davis, who bore a close resemblance to her brother.
The episodes connected with Davis' life have been the inspiration for many poems. The following written by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, was found on the bronze tablet on the Sam Davis Monument located on the Capitol grounds at Nashville, Tennessee.
When the Lord calls up earth's heroes,
to stand before his face:
O, many a name, unknown to fame
Shall ring from that high place:
Then out of a grave in the Southland
At the just God's call and beck,
Shall one man rise with fearless eyes
With rope about his neck:
O Southland: Bring your laurels!
and add your wreath, O North!
Let glory claim the hero's name
and tell the world his worth.
A letter from Horace Jobe (24) of Paris, Tennessee furnished much information about this scout.
Dewitt Smith Jobe was born June 4, 1840 at Mechanicsville, in Rutherford County, Tennessee. His father, Elihu C. Jobe was a farmer and cabinet maker, of that community. Dee Jobe enlisted in 1861 at College Grove, Tennessee, in Williamson County, ten miles from his house. The company that Jobe joined later became the Twentieth Tennessee Regiment. He was wounded and captured at the Battle of Fishing Creek and after his exchange took part in the Battle of Murfreesboro.
He became a member of the Coleman's Scouts about the time Bragg began his retreat into Georgia. All spring and summer of 1864, Jobe, Tom Joplin, and others were scouting behind the Federal lines in Tennessee. On August 30, 1864 Jobe was in the vicinity of his home, sleeping in a thicket when a party of Yankees surrounded and captured him. When Jobe saw that he would be captured, he destroyed some papers which he was carrying on his person. The Yankees, in an effort to make Jobe divulge the information which he had destroyed, tortured
According to B. L. Ridley they put out his eyes, cut off his tongue and finally dragged him to his death. (25)
Horace Jobe said that when word was brought to Dee's parents of the death of their son, an old negro servant went for the body. D. S. Jobe was buried on a hillside in the family burial grounds near the old home place. (26)
One of the most informative sources concerning the lives of veterans of the War Between the States is "The Last Roll," an article that was published monthly in the Confederate Veteran. From this source a great deal was learned about the life of Joshua Brown. (27)
According to this article Joshua Brown, the son of Joshua and Evalina Bailey Brown, was born at Clarksville, Tennessee, on December 25, 1843. His paternal ancestors had come to America from Northern Ireland settling first in Maryland, then in Pennsylvania, and later moving to Kentucky. Joshua Brown's father came to Clarksville, Tennessee, in 1825, and became a farmer and merchant of that community. The article stated further that Joshua Brown went to school at the Southwestern University of Clarksville and in the fall of 1862, he joined the Second Kentucky Cavalry.
At the Battle of Stones River he was captured and taken prisoner to Nashville where he was confined in the old penitentiary. He escaped by climbing the wall, got a pass out of the city and joined Forrest's command at Columbia.
After the Battle of Chickamauga he was ordered to report to Captain Shaw at Pulaski for scouting duty. He was captured at the same time as Sam Davis, but no papers were found on him. He was in jail at Pulaski when Davis was executed.
The same article in the Confederate Veteran revealed that Joshua Brown was sent to Rock Island, a prison in Illinois and that later while being transferred to Elmira, New York, he escaped by jumping from the train. He went to Canada and remained there until July, 1865. (28)
After he returned to Tennessee he was in business in Nashville for some years. Then he went to New York City in 1870 and became connected with a brokerage firm.
Below is a copy of an advertisement found in the Confederate Veteran of October, 1895, which shows Brown's business connections with the brokerage firm of Macy and Pendleton of New York City:
[ Text reads: ] MACY & PENDLETON, BANKERS & BROKERS
Members of the New York Stock Exchange
Wall Street, New York
Buy and Sell Stocks, Bonds, Cotton, and Wheat for Cash or on Margin allow interest on balance subject to sight draft. Correspondence invited.
JOSHUA BROWN, MANAGER, COTTON DEPT. (29)
During the years that Brown was a resident of New York City, he evidenced a great interest in the Confederate Veteran. He wrote often to that periodical and much information concerning the Coleman Scouts can be found in the letters which this former scout wrote to that magazine.
The article, "The Last Roll," published monthly by the Confederate Veteran listed Joshua Brown's death in Florida in February, 1924. (30)
The Nashville Banner of May 30, 1937 carried an article written by Mrs. Frances M. Stephenson in regard to Billy Moore, her grandfather. (31) This article revealed that Billy Moore was born March 15, 1840 at Locust Hill, Tennessee. Moore's family had come from Ireland to North Carolina and then to Tennessee. At the age of twenty, Billy Moore joined Forrest's Regiment. Soon afterwards, he was captured and sent to prison in Indianapolis where he became ill with a fever. After he was exchanged he did not rejoin his old regiment, but became a member of Coleman's Scouts.
According to his daughter, "Billy Moore was six feet, two inches tall and weighed less than one hundred pounds. He was a man of some daring and attractive to ladies." (32)
It was during the war, and while scouting in Alabama that Billy Moore met Miss Virginia Scruggs at a camp meeting and fell in love with her. In 1865, after the war, they were married.
In November of 1863 while Moore was scouting in Middle Tennessee he was captured near Pulaski, and was in jail at the same time as Sam Davis. However, he made his escape by jumping from a second-story window and reported back to his captain. He was one of the few scouts that remained to the end, and came from the war unscathed.
J. THOMAS BROWN
A letter from Mrs. Margaurite Cunningham (33) of Nashville, Tennessee was the source of information concerning her father, J. Tom Brown, who was a Coleman Scout. Mrs. Cunningham said that her father was born March 18, 1839 on a farm near Hillsboro, Tennessee. His father, Thomas Brown, was from Virginia, and his mother, Margarette Bennett, was a great-niece of Dolly Madison.
J. Tom Brown was educated at Campbell's School, Franklin, Tennessee, and then at Bethany College in West Virginia. In April of 1861 he enlisted in a company called the "Williamson Grays" which later became known as the Company D, of the First Tennessee Infantry. Mrs..Cunningham also stated:
He was severely wounded at Perryville, Kentucky in the afternoon of October 8, 1862 when the lst Tennessee made one of the most desperate charges during the war, and captured a section of Loomis' Battery of four Napoleon guns and brought them off the field. This battery was supported successively by five different Federal regiments.
The superb courage and heroism of the "Kid Glove Regiment" as the lst Tennessee had been styled, was commented upon by Harper's Weekly and George D. Prentice, editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal stated that, "It was such a pity the magnificence was not displayed in a better cause. (34)
According to his family J. Tom Brown joined the Coleman Scouts following the Battle of Chickamauga. He was captured while scouting near Nashville and was sent to prison at Camp Morton. In March of 1864 he was transferred to Fort Delaware where he remained until February 27, 1865. A few months later he was paroled by the Federals at Greenville, Mississippi.
In December of 1865 Tom Brown married Miss Josephine French, a daughter of H. S. French, a wealthy and prominent antebellum merchant. They made their home on Demonbruen Street, Nashville, Tennessee. For many years Mr. Brown was connected with the firm of Reid, Chadbourne, and Brown of Nashville. He died at his home in Nashville, March 1, 1907.
NEWTON JASPER VAUGHAN
A letter written by Isabelle Vaughan Walker (35) of Columbia, Tennessee, granddaughter of Newton Vaughan, tells how domestic tragedy may have been one of the motives that led Vaughan to undertake the hazardous duty of scouting.
Vaughan, the son of Littleton and Martha Garrett Vaughan was born November 27, 1836. In 1858 he married Fannie E. Warren. By 1860 two daughters had been born to this union. Just before the war started in 1861, Vaughan's wife died. A few weeks later the infant daughter died, and three months later the other child died. Vaughan's granddaughter said concerning these tragedies:
I do not know at what time he joined the scouts, but I have heard that after losing his loved ones he did not seem to fear death and that he was unusually daring and brave. At one time when he attempted to visit his home ten Yankees followed him into a cedar grove. None of the Yankees came out alive. I have heard that he successfully eluded a group of Yankees by jumping his horse from a high bluff into a river. The home of his parents was burned by the Yankees. His mother protested when the Yankees tried to rob her smoke house and one of the men shot off her toe. This Yankee soldier stayed in this locality after the war. When Newton Vaughan returned and found that the carpetbagger was the one who had shot his mother's foot, he horsewhipped him on the square, and told him to be out of town by sundown. He was never seen here again.
Mrs. Isabelle Walker stated in her letter that in 1869, after the war, Newt Vaughan married Mary Belle Johnston. To them were born three children -- Margaret Belle, William Francis, and Robert Lee. Robert Lee Vaughan now lives on the farm once owned by his father and where Newton Jasper Vaughan was buried when he died December 17, 1891.
An article found in the Confederate Veteran of 1896 revealed that James W. Joplin, father of Tom, was a staunch supporter of the Confederacy. (36) Although too old to fight, his home in Franklin County, Virginia, was known as a Confederate headquarters. The same article related the story of how James Joplin concealed General J. A. Early in his home following Lee's surrender. According to the article the Yankees were scouring the country in an effort to find General Early. Later Early made his escape by riding "Gray Bill," the horse that Tom Joplin had ridden on scouting expeditions.
Additional information found in the same article revealed that Thomas Joplin was one of James Joplin's six sons that fought for the Confederacy. Tom Joplin enlisted in the First Tennessee Cavalry. He was considered mortally wounded while with Forrest at Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1862. Following his recovery he joined Coleman's Scouts and was wounded on November 19, 1863. Despite his injuries, Joplin pushed on to Decatur, Alabama with the information which he had been ordered to deliver.
Once when Joplin was captured and confined in the prison at Nashville, he was aided in making his escape from the Federal authorities by a Nashville woman, Mrs. Annie Hill. Thomas Joplin was one of the Confederate veterans who spent his last days at the Confederate Home for Veterans at Hermitage, Tennessee.
R. M. DILLARD
According to a circular entitled A Tribute of Respect to the Dead (37) printed in 1867 in honor of those scouts who suffered death rather than be disloyal to their Southland, Richard M. Dillard was captured while on a scouting expedition and was sent to Camp Morton, a
Federal prison. At this prison he was offered his freedom if he would take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States Government. This he repeatedly refused to do and at the close of the war, still refusing to take the oath, he was left in Camp Morton to die.
From a conversation with Mrs. Thomas S. McFerrin, Senior, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the investigator secured information concerning her father, Will Roberts, who was one of the Coleman Scouts.
Mrs. McFerrin said that the Roberts family came to the United States from England about 1650 and settled near Hartford, Connecticut. William Roberts, father of the scout mentioned, was born in Connecticut about 1800, and came as a young man to Robertson County, Tennessee. William Roberts, Junior, who was to be one of the scouts, was born in Robertson County in 1838. When he was about fifteen years of age he began work with a wholesale grocery concern.
In 1861 William Roberts enlisted in the Second Tennessee Cavalry and by the time Bragg was encamped at Murfreesboro he was scouting under the command of Captain Henry B. Shaw. Mrs. McFerrin recalls having heard her father tell of his scouting in the vicinity of LaVergne a few days before the Battle of Stones River took place. Mrs. McFerrin stated that her father scouted during the remainder of the war and was never captured or injured.
According to his daughter, Will Roberts had quite a flair for the making of rhymes and story-telling. In 1869 he married Mary Watkins, daughter of a cotton planter, and the following rhyme was Moore's explanation to Mary as to why they were attracted to each other:
You married me for the tales I told, I married you for the cotton your daddy sold. (38)
About 1880 Will Roberts and his family moved to a farm near Christiana, Tennessee, and he lived there for the remainder of his life. He died in April of 1927 at the age of eighty-eight.
WILLIAM MONTFORT STREET
In 1890 A History of the Street Family was published in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This little book was written by William Montfort Street, (39) and a copy of it is now in the possession of Mrs. John Nelson. According to the author of this history William Montfort's great-grandfather, John Street, came to America from Bristol, England, and settled in Virginia. William Montfort's grandfather, Anthony Street, fought in the Revolutionary War and took part in the Battle of Kings Mountain. William Montfort's father, Park Street, came to Bedford County, Tennessee about 1829, going from there to Maury County where he lived and engaged in farming until his death.
William Montfort Street was born in Maury County in September, 1830. After a two year's course of study at Emory and Henry College, in Virginia, he went into a dry goods store in Columbia, Tennessee as a clerk. Sometime later he was offered a partnership in the firm. In 1861, when the war broke out, he joined the cavalry. Before the close of the war he became a member of the Coleman Scouts. Following the close of the war, he was again engaged in the mercantile business, but in 1869 he moved to Murfreesboro where he was connected with the Street and Spain Hardware Company.
Major and Mrs. William Montfort Street lived on Maple Street in a house that has recently been torn down to provide expansion of the business district. The Rutherford Courier of August 7, 1951 carried an article written by Mrs. James Patterson which had this to say in regard to the Street home:
The house was handsomely furnished, as recalled by those who remember. It was the period of gleaming damask table cloths, of homemade jellies and pickle, breakfast served with fried chicken and beaten biscuits, and coffee that smelled like coffee. Major and Mrs. Street were known for their hospitality. They had no children, and when Major Street died suddenly, Mrs. Street moved to the Spain home. (40)
About the remaining scouts only brief sketches of their careers were located. The following accounts are taken from an article entitled "Careers of Coleman Scouts" found in an old scrapbook belonging to Mrs. W. R. Morton of Franklin, Tennessee:
Bill F. Robinson -- captured twice -- escaped once. Was in prison to the end.
Everard Patterson -- wounded three times -- captured and escaped from prison after having been court martialed and sentenced to be shot. Paroled at Kingston, Georgia.
Gup Kibbleb -- captured and never returned.
Dick Taylor -- surrendered with Tom Brown.
Sam Roberts -- captured three times -- escaped twice. Court martialed and sentenced to be shot. Escaped from Clifton with a Yankee, who was also sentenced to be shot. Was killed in Mississippi after the war.
Tom Hughes -- badly wounded and discharged.
Dan Sneed -- captured four times -- escaped three times -- twice in Indiana and once in Kentucky by cutting holes in boxcar. Was sent to prison the last time where he stayed to the end of the war.
Jack Coffee -- captured three times. Finally captured and killed.
John McIver -- wounded twice badly -- returned to duty and stayed to the end.
Bob Owens -- wounded once -- stayed to the end.
John Drane -- wounded once -- stayed to the end.
Pillow Humphreys -- captured, exchanged, stayed to the end.
"Kage Everett -- wounded twice -- captured twice and died in prison.
E. Grant -- killed on his first day's duty.
Hans Carter -- captured twice -- recaptured once. Went to prison and stayed there all during the war.
Jim Carter -- captured and sent to prison. Never knew what became of him.
Kirk Kelley -- killed third day after entering the service.
Josh Luck -- captured twice -- tried for his life at Franklin, Tennessee. Was defended by General W. C. Brien, who saved him before a court martial. Went to prison, returned to duty, and was killed near Nolensville. After being shot off his horse he killed two men.
Tom Twinn -- captured twice -- exchanged once -- went to prison. Don't know what became of him.
Charley Lippingwell--captured--never returned to us. (41)
There are several other members of the Coleman Scouts about whom the only information found was a postwar address. Efforts to locate families of these scouts by use of these addresses proved futile. Their names and addresses follow:
L. K. Owen -- Columbia, Tennessee
J. M. Shute -- Saundersville, Tennessee
Richard Anderson -- Denton, Texas
W. H. Portch -- Nashville, Tennessee
R. F. Cotton -- Franklin, Tennessee
George Hughes -- Nashville, Tennessee
Ben Douglas -- (No address found)
McReeves -- (No address found)
Lillard -- (No address found)
James T. Patterson -- Nashville, Tennessee
Will Hughes -- (No address found)
[ End ]
1. Stanley F. Horn, The Armv of Tennessee (New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1942, - 192.
2. Bromfield L. Ridley, Battles and Sketches of the Armv of Tennessee (Mexico: Missouri Printing and Publishing Company, 1906) p. xv.
3. Ibid., p. xiii.
4. Horn, op. cit., p. 75.
5. Ibid., p. 75.
6. Ridley, op. cit., p. xiii.
7. Stanley F. Horn, The Army of Tennessee (New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1942) - p. 113-114.
8. Ibid., p. 418.
9. Confederate Veteran, 5:556, November, 1897.
10. Stanley Horn, The Army of Tennessee (New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1942), p. 196.
11. Confederate Veteran, 5:556, November, 1897.
12. E. R. Whitley, Sam Davis (Published under Special Act of Tennessee Legislature, 1947), p. 23.
13. Confederate Veteran, 17-276, June, 1909.
14. Newspaper clipping belonging to Mrs. John Nelson of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
15. J. D. Porter, Confederate Military History-- Tennessee, (Atlanta: Confederate Publishing Company, 1899), 8:440.
16. Article found in a scrapbook belonging to Mrs. W. R. Morton, Franklin, Tennessee.
17. Confederate Veteran, 21:344-345, July, 1913.
18. Confederate Veteran, 3:203, July, 1895.
19. Confederate Veteran, 5:556, November, 1897.
20. Article found in scrapbook belonging to Mrs. W. R. Morton, Franklin, Tennessee.
21. Edythe Whitley, Sam Davis, (Published under special act of Tennessee Legislature, 1947), pp. 13-114.
22. Letter from Mrs. Frank A. Shelton, Columbia, Tennessee. January 30, 1952.
23. Confederate Veteran, 4:35-37, February, 1896
24. Letter from Horace Jobe, Paris, Tennessee, January.12, 1951.
25. Bromfield L. Ridley, Battles and Sketches of the Army of Tennessee (Mexico: Missouri Printing and Publishing Company, 1906), p. 503.
26. Letter from Horace Jobe, Paris, Tennessee, January.12, 1952.
27. Confederate Veteran, 32:436, November, 1924.
28. Ibid., 32:436, November, 1924.
29. Confederate Veteran, 3, Advertising Section, October 8, 1895.
30. Confederate Veteran, 32:436, November, 1924.
31. Mrs. Frances M. Stephenson, "Recollection of Rebel Days," Nashville Banner, May 30, 1937.
32. Nashville Banner, May 30, 1937.
33. Letter from Mrs. Margaurite Cunningham, Nashville, Tennessee, July 27, 1953
35. Letter from Mrs. Isabelle Walker, Columbia, Tennessee, January 30, 1952.
36. Confederate Veteran, 4:399, November, 1896
37. A Tribute of Respect to the Dead, (Publisher and date unknown).
38. Incident related by Mrs. Thomas McFerrin, Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
39. William Montfort Street, A History of the Street Family (Murfreesboro: Free Press Print, 1890), pages unnumbered.
40. Rutherford Courier, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, August 7, 1951.
41. Article found in a scrapbook belonging to Mrs. W. R. Morton of Franklin, Tennessee.