Capt. Mccammon Civil War Archive, 3rd Tn Cavalry
A freshly discovered and extensive Civil War archive relating to Captain Oliver Pinkney McCammon (O.P.M.) of the 3rd East Tennessee Cavalry, Company L, also relating to the explosion of The Sultana and campaigns in Tennessee. Over 120 items, mostly letters of correspondence between Captain Pinkney (1840-1897, Blount Co.,TN) and his future wife, A. E. McCall of Blount Co., during the war years of 1861-1865. Archive also contains additional letters of correspondence between Captain Pinkney and his father, the men in his regiment, and others. This lot also contains a small circular tintype of McCammon in uniform and an amber "Union" bottle from the war period. An overview of content includes McCammon's discussion of military campaigns in Middle Tennessee including engagements with General Wheeler and Hood, capture of his regiment by General Forest in September of 1864 and his subsequent escape, correspondence relating to the loss of several of his men on the ill-fated Sultana steamboat, discussion of guerilla attacks by Rebels in East Tennessee by A. E. McCall and his father, discussion of local and national political matters, smallpox breakouts in the camps, and an ongoing written courtship between McCammon and his future wife, Ann E. McCall. The archive contains letters such as the poignant correspondence written Nov. 20, 1864 from Susan Fowler to Captain McCammon on the report her son, Andrew Fowler, who was taken prisoner by the Confederates. She writes, “it is a consolation to know that he (Andrew) is not numbered with the dead. I hope the time will soon come for him to return under your command as Andrew is all the support I have his father having died since he went away and left me with four children to take of. I hope God will spare him to be an honor to his country & a blessing to me…” (note – an A. Fowler from the 3rd Tennessee Cavalry is listed as killed on the Sultana in April 1865). An earlier January 1863 letter from Captain McCammon reviews the remaining carnage of the Shiloh battlefield over 7 months later, “we stopped at Cornith overnight. Near the long to be remembered Battle Ground of Shiloh, which place still bears witness of the vanity of life. Fragments of garments and the skeletons of the dashing cavalry horses are not all the marks yet remaining of war’s wild rage, for human skulls are by no means scarce, upon the surface...” An excerpt from a Nov. 1864 written by Capt. McCammon discusses the capture of men in his regiment, “It turns out that Joshua Hines is not dead but is a prisoner in the Rebel’s hands, so says a Report brought through by the Sutler of our Regt… Our Boys are at Cahaba, Ala & were in tolerably good health. When he left though living upon very scanty rations. Well, we have about one hundred and twenty five men here as the representatives of eleven companies & I believe my own Company came though best of any, having thirty five me including a few that were not captured, & those who were and have since made their escape. (Note – A. J. Hines from the regiment is later listed as killed on the Sultana). A later letter May 1865 McCammon writes, “The last few days have been truly days of anxiety with us--in relation to the boys of our Regiment who had been in Rebel Prison, --- whom it seems were aboard--(The Steamer Sultana) --at the time of the explosion the number of our boys rescued from the sad condition into which they were thrown by the occurrence of the disaster, amounts to about one hundred and forty among which I noticed the names of Bart McMurray, Sam Pickens, Van Headrick, Pat Ray, Wm Hill, James Baker and two of the Pryor Boys.---I believe this includes the Majority of those saved that you would likely know.--- Alexander McCammon died on a boat near St. Louis, Mo. Sometime previous to the above mentioned accident...” McCammons future wife, Ann McCall writes him from East Tennessee in November of 1864, ““...things appear somewhat in a bad fix tho I hope it will not be in as bad a fix as some think it is, it is true that some of them is in bad fix they have had to leave home to go into the Southern Army their was only fifteen passed here to day in some company some from Jeferson and some from Blount and how many more is runing I can’t tell. General Gillam had a fight at the Gap and got his forse scattered and they are runing everwhere their was three of them here this evening hunting their way to Knoxville. It is reported that they have been fighting at Strawberry Plains yesterday. I can’t tell how true it is I recon Naughn A Brachinridge is up their some plase from the account that some of them gives that has run from up their some of them say that they haven’t slept in their oun house for four months. What this country is going to turn to I can’t tell they get worse ever day their is a farsed? that bellong to no army they just go about and ___ people’s houses and steal anything they want...” Correspondence from a cousin of Ann McCall in February of 1864, “it looks like the rebs and negros will take this plase after while the rebs is coming in daly and joining our regiment som of them think will do while others wont. Blont (Blount) Co. is very well represented(sp?)…we hear now our forces hav fel back to Noxville and Marville . I don’t like that if we can hold thare a month…” Captain McCammon writes in September 1863, “I should have been much pleased to enter my own County seat (Blount Co., TN) with the first Blue Coats, but as we are under the command of Rosecrans & it fell to the Col. of Burnsides to possess that country with federal forces, we have been deprived of that pleasure. To get revenge the boys went guerrilla hunting the other data & brought in twelve of the thieving scoundrels who were prowling about recruiting some thirty miles from here. “ A January 1865 letter from Captain McCammon near Nashville discusses the state of the Confederate cause - “The Rebel Army, of the West, utterly demoralized, disorganized, & almost Panic Stricken. General Sherman has Marched Victoriously through Georgia & Captured enough of Rebel property in Savannah to pay the entire expense of the campaign, - Whilst the Army of the East holds Lee at the gates of Richmond as a Sentinel giving but little time to contemplate any aggressive act whatever.” In addition to the letters, the majority retain the original envelopes and postmarks, a handful of other letters from friends and family members are post 1865. The 3rd Tennessee Cavalry saw action at several battles in Tennessee as well as the Battles of Corinth, Athens, and Nashville. Many of its men, having just been part of a prisoner exchange, were lost in the explosion of the Sultana. Provenance: Consignor is a direct descendant of McCammon; descended in his family.
Expected toning and discoloration, few with minor edge losses, but all letters readable and in generally good condition.