APPLICATION FOR CONFEDERATE PENSION, by Mr. T. B. Herrin, Camden, Tennessee
Camden, Tennessee, March 1, 1920
To the Honorable Pension Board of Confederate Veterans,
I write you as in the last letter in referring to my records of my soldering. I shall restate and refer you to the proof that I made when making on filing my application for pension witnessed by J. B. [John Burwell] Jones my orderly Sargent and W. S. [Winfield Scott] Brewer my comrade in my company also W. A. [William Andrew] Steele, my recruiting officer and Judson Hargis my comrade in arms which should be on file in your office. Hargis is dead long since as well as Jones, but Steele and Brewer is still living, and will testify that I was sworn in to the proper Officer of General Bedford Forrest at Jackson, Tenn. Dec. 18, 1863, for twelve months only. And I furnished my own horse, clothes and money, and did not draw one cent of money or a suit of clothes from the Confederate Government .
And I testify that my service began as a recruit under W. A. Steele in Nov. 1863. We tried to make our way to Decatur, Ala., but could not get there for Federal troops between us and the place we was to report. Where we received his furlough. So heard there was troops at Jackson, Tenn., we made our way there at once, and found General Forrest there. And went to the Provost Marshall’s office to get a pass in to Decatur, Ala. But he said we could not get to our place for federal troops. And sent us to General Forrest’s Headquarters. And he examined us separately and that we could not get to our command. But he was going south in a few days and he knew young soldiers like we looked to be. So he called an assistant to pilot me to the Inspection General Office and have me shown in to the Confederate service for travel. Which was done in good time and order. And we reported to Capt. Barbee, at the Courthouse, McDonald’s Battalion.
Forrest he went General Post. First Regiment made up in Shelby County, Tenn. That is most of them good men and old soldiers, first in line men, Christians and all good Officers and brave men. We resided three days at Jackson, Tenn. Then our Battalion and two Regiments was sent to Jackson Creek [Jack's Creek between Lexington and Enville] there we met the enemy in full force and fought them all day. Got several horses killed and several men and Officers wounded. So we retreated out of the place and went through Denmark, [little village just over the line in Haywood County] Christmas Day and on to the Big Hatchie River. Had a hard fight near Sommerville, Tenn., [Fayette County] got several of our men killed, 75 prisoners.
Then we went to Lafayette, [no longer exists] and Colliersville [both in Fayette County]. We forced the Federals out of the stockades for two days there. Then General Forrest got his wagon train and artillery through to Holly Springs, Miss. Down on the Coldwater [river in northwest Miss] we got prisoners and rested four days. After four days our force marched and fighting. Then Capt. George made a detail of 30 men to carry the prisoners to Oxford, Miss. Steele and myself were given a dispatch to carry to Capt. George, and a letter to the Provost Marshall at Oxford. And Capt. George, to send us and pass us on to Decatur, Ala.
So we made the trip in a bushwhacking country in the coldest weather in Jan. 1864 [just about 100 miles] that I ever saw with my feet frostbit. We reported to Major Falconette at Decatur in due time. Then a detail of 12 men was sent to Somerville, Ala. Sargent McCracken, Commanding the post there on Provost duty for winter. I carried a dispatch all alone to Blimsville, [can't locate this place, must no longer exist] in one day. Back the next day and was not captured as we feared.
Then in February we was sent 4 of us Corporal Madden, [John Morgan-Ray's Grand Father], Commanding post at Apple Grove, [couldn't find this one either]. But in a short time we reported to Major Falconette, at Adamsville, Ala. Then we went to Tuscumbia, Ala. Then to Tuscumbia for a month rest in the mountains and the oldest soldiers drew some clothes and money. In March our company was placed under Major Bradley and sent back to Molton, Ala. for the spring and summer, but we were ordered to report to Colonel Estes at Mt. Hope, Ala. and done duty in the north Ala. country, Then in May 1864, our company was ordered to report to Colonel Nixon’s 20th Tenn. [20th Calvary Regt. Tenn.] and remained until the end of the war. But we were placed under General Bradley of Ala. and fought under him until sometime the last of May. We fought the drew battle near Moulton, Ala. where our First Lieut. William Love with Sgt. William Dorris, W. A. Steele, private and Jones and several others of one company was captured and carried to the northern prisons until the war was ended.
I suffered hemorrhage of the lungs, byohes [bayou] heat set in. In Sept. 1864 our company was detailed and sent behind the Federal lines to Benton County, Tenn. our home by General Forrest to spy out and plan how he could at the enemy at Fort Henry and Johnsonville, Tenn. which he gave them in Nov. 1864 what Pat gave the drum. I, with J. M. Madden, comrade Judson Hargis and William Wiseman and others gave General Forrest a map of and plat how to get to the river above and below Johnsonville, Tenn. We did this work in Oct. 1864 and General Forrest fixed them in Nov. I was then on curved line at Manleyville, Tenn. But was ordered to report to Pierce’s in Benton County, Tenn. I did so at once in rain and mud.
After General Forrest had gone up the Tennessee River from Fort Hyman to Johnsonville, Tenn. Benton County. I reported to my company on hill near Eva and the river. Johnsonville was a blaze of burning boats. And next day Bell’s Brigade supported Morton’s Battalion below Johnsonville until the canons was fixed. And we left there for the trip up the Tennessee river to Miss. and Ala. and Franklin, Tenn. But self and Corporal James Haymes was sent back to Benton County, Tenn. to watch the enemy in about Johnsonville, Tenn.
About Christmas 1864 my horse was taken from me by some of our scouts near where Big Sandy is now. And I reported to Capt. Pettyjohn at Manleyville, Tenn. and he gave me a job watching Government property at Blanton’s Mill in Henry County, Tenn. I, with a wounded comrade Ed Council guarded at night to keep the thieves from carrying or destroying the wheat. In the spring sometime in April, William Warmack was sent back to Benton County, Tenn. after Hood’s raid for me and others to report to our command in Ala. after raid to Franklin and Nashville, Tenn. But I had no horse and was excluded from reporting, and remained on duty where I was. But Federal colored troops making raids out from Johnsonville, Tenn. where they were relocated in Humfreys County, Tenn. I had to keep close hid, but I went to a saw mill on Cypress Creek, Benton County, Tenn. to get a Yankee horse but there was none there, so I borrowed a canoe and crossed the river leggincamp [with nothing] in civilian clothes my father of course. But I had on to my old Uncle Abner Smalley guarding the Commissary. I told him I was done with the war but him and one cousin, E. S. Smalley, a Federal soldier said they would take care of me. So they did for a few days. But one morning I was ordered to report to the Provost Marshall’s office. I was reported as a spy, and to Nashville placed in prison until May 5, 1865 when all prisoners taken amnesty oath were paroled and given terms in Federation. To Johnsonville, Tenn. and walked home. And now we call that oath the damonesty oath. I was ordered to report every 30 days to Johnsonville to the Provost Marshall until I was exchanged. I reported June 1865 and told the Marshall over and I was free from reporting anymore.
In August 1865, I was arrested with comrade William Warmack and one private N. H. Smith [Nevels H. Smith], brother-in-law of Winfield Scott Brewer and Scott Brewer with a civil warrant for arresting a Union Soldier. Our neighbor Elijah Alsup, who had joined the Confederate Army in 1861 and his father [Elijah Sr.], a Union man hired a substitute armed man who died in a short time. Later the said Alsup joined the Federal Army but soon deserted and came back home, but remained armed and caused some trouble until our Orderly Sargent, J. B. Jones the prisoner’s cousin went to his father by request to make terms of peace. But said Elijah Alsup did not show up but came in sight of the house and waived a pistol at him and went back in hiding. So Orderly as above started to the house at day break the next morning to arrest him, but he ran and fought until he was wounded and captured the disarmed him. But he was sorry for him and got him paroled to stay home if he would keep the peace. But later on he waylaid his cousin Fred Jones, a Confederate soldier and shot him in the back after sleeping with him the night before. And Jones died in 5 days. And later said Alsup was killed by Jones’ friends.
So his father to get revenge had us taken with a warrant by Sheriff with 25 Deputies, carried before a J. P. , J. F. L. Melton and also McDaniel, who could hardly write his name, Appointed by Governor Brownlow. But it was a kind duty to arrest a peaceable and just citizen and taking his pistol and ammunition and sentenced to Davidson County jail as it was not a baleable case, salt and batery. But the jail at Nashville was overrun, The sheriff said to carry us back home and let us make bond for our appearance in court. And ask us is we could give bond? We told him we could, but our Sheriff and his three deputies carried us up to the Provost Marshall and he let them send us to the Federal prison.
So we were placed there until our Fathers employed a lawyer. So in Sept. we were taken out of prison and sent back to Camden, Tenn. And we employed another lawyer, a Colonel in the federal Army for one hundred dollars cash. Borrowed from a southern man credited, was in silver and our case was called. We were ready for trial, but our prosecutor was ready to put it off. And it was no job for to give bond for our appearance next court. Our prosecutor wanted to put off again the trail again, but insisted and our trial came up. And it went into a character case, and they tried to prove us a band of thieves, but we proved by good authority that we were regularly, properly enlisted Confederate Soldiers of good and honorable character and was cleared of all charges and honored by the Jury that tried us. Now this done not in common court, but Federal Court, so note it be, Amen.
So I have wrote you already set up all the proof that you have asked for me, but one and that was as to my where abouts from Dec. 20, 1864 until you say I was arrested and taken the oath to get out of prison May 5, 1865. Now I certify that if had not done any more service as to time stated. I had duly and truly served out my time. As to the oath to my country, but I did this secret service as stated and could do anything else under the established circumstances. How can you expect me to prove what you asked me in your last letter when my comrade and parties that has this matter in hand. Now if you will not hear me or my living witnesses, I have no home of my own, I gave it up to pay my debts made when in bad health in year 1895. I went west, stayed 2 years and one month, come home somewhat improved in health. And I am now peddling and buying junk to try to keep soul and body together. When I got disabled to work and my pension gone I have been thinking of going to the home for old soldiers, but it would not be prudent for me to go there after the disgrace that I have brought on the name of the old soldiers.
But now, have a place of home and a home at the widows and orphans Masonic home. I have been living with my grandson-in-law for 2 years. Will not stay longer unless I could pay part of board. My hearing is very bad and my eyes are not good, and my legs are weak, but I have the grit to get up and walk on my job. So this is the truth of the whole matter. And if this is not satisfactory to the Board, please let me know if will be so kind as to state what is liking yet. So I remain your most obedient servant for success.
T. B. Herrin
Transcribed and typed by me, Hulan Brewer. All of the parenthesis in the letter are mine, I also corrected some spelling and punctuation’s.
Signed: William Hulan “Shorty” Brewer, P. O. Box 122, Big Sandy, Tennessee 38221, December 28, 1981
According to the “History of Benton County, Tennessee” Vol. 2, published in 1992, T. B. Herrin was Thomas Beverly “Tubby” Herrin, who was born February 4, 1845 and died June 1930, and was buried in Rushing Creek Cemetery. His was married October 28, 1866 to Ferdonia Ann Lockhart (1843-1922).