Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Guerrilla Hunters: Irregular Conflicts during the Civil War

A new book was published this past April entitled, "The Guerrilla Hunters: Irregular Conflicts during the Civil War" by Brian D. McKnight, Barton A. Myers and others. The subject of the book is explained in its title.

One chapter, entitled "Who is Tinker Dave Beaty, Hunting Guerilla Social Networks" (author Aaron Astor) gives great insight into why men joined Union Guerilla David Beaty's Independent Scouts.

The title of the chapter is a reference to a letter written on March 21, 1863 from Brigadier General George Crook to General James A. Garfield, Chief of Staff, Army of the Cumberland, Murfreesboro, where Crook asks the question, "Who is Tinker Dave Beaty?” (See the letter below) In the book, the authors present two reasons why men joined the independent scouts: kinship and revenge. This book is well worth reading. It is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Why would men want to join the independent scouts? David Beaty of Fentress County, Tennessee organized the unit early in 1862 in Fentress County. It was apparently never mustered into the regular U.S. Service, but Major General Ambrose E. Burnside authorized it to act as scouts, and operate in the regions of Overton and Fentress Counties in combating Confederate guerrillas. Members never drew any pay, but were supplied with arms and ammunition by the Federal authorities. It was first mentioned in the Official Records in a letter from Brigadier General George Crook, at Carthage, dated March 21, 1863, admitting his inability to establish a line of couriers due to the numerous bands of Confederate cavalry and guerrillas operating in his area. He inquired “Who is Tinker Dave Beatty?”

Confederate reports spoke of skirmishes with “Beatty’s band of robbers” and Pickett County's J. D. Hale, writing from Albany, on December 5, 1864 about the presence of “rebels” in the area, stated “Beatty knows of none in Fentress County.”

Beaty, the Union guerilla, and Champ Ferguson, a Confederate guerilla, waged a bitter guerrilla warfare in the mountainous regions of the Upper Cumberland country throughout the war. Many residents, members of home guards in Clinton, Fentress and Overton counties, were murdered by guerillas on both sides. Ferguson and Beaty both claimed it was kill or be killed. Naturally, those residents that remained wanted to see the guerilla activity stopped. My maternal third great-grandfather, Elijah Koger, was one of the residents who tried to stop the guerilla warfare by arranging a peace agreement between both sides. While an agreement was reached, it was quickly broken by Ferguson. Koger's involvement in trying to bring peace to the region cost him his life, as he was murdered by Ferguson and his men at his home in the Oak Grove community of Clinton County.

Tinker Dave Beaty was my maternal third great-uncle. His sister, Matilda, and her husband, John Boles, were my third great-grandparents. "The Guerrilla Hunters: Irregular Conflicts during the Civil War" mentions this and also refers to other relatives of mine who were members of the independent scouts.

My great, great-grandfather, George Boles, who after the war moved from the East Fork of Fentress County to Clinton County, was an independent scout, as was his brother, John Boles, Jr., who married his first cousin, Matilda Beaty, daughter of Tinker Dave Beaty's brother, Fleming. George and John Jr.'s sister, Mary Ann, married Thomas Allred, who was also an independent scout.

Tinker Dave's son, James, married Elendor Jane Smith, George Boles' sister-in-law, whose father, David, and brother, Ahijah, were murdered by Confederate guerillas, possibly Champ Ferguson's men. David, Ahijah and another son, Asa, were also members of the independent scouts.


At the conclusion of the war, Ferguson was arrested for the murders of 53 people. He was found guilty and was hung on October 20, 1865.

"I am yet and will die a Rebel … I killed a good many men, of course, but I never killed a man who I did not know was seeking my life. … I had always heard that the Federals would not take me prisoner, but would shoot me down wherever they found me. That is what made me kill more than I otherwise would have done." - Champ Ferguson, after being found guilty.

Tinker Dave Beaty testified at Ferguson's trial and admitted to killing 25 people himself. But, his side won the war and he was never charged.

Carthage, Tenn., March 21, 1863

Gen. James A. Garfield, Chief of Staff, Army of the Cumberland, Murfreesborough:

I cannot send daily reports, as I have only a few horses, and it takes all of them to escort the mail down one day and back the next. I cannot establish a courier line unless I have cavalry to keep the enemy from coming on this of the river. The rebels taken all the horses from this section of the country, except old brood-mares, fillies, &c. Were my men mounted on these, in any movement requiring expedition, I would have to dismount and go afoot. I was never completely beat out before, but I have to acknowledge that I can do nothing against this cavalry with my infantry. I cannot entrap them in any possible way, for they have their spies and scouts all over this country, and I can make no movement without their being apprised of it before I can get to them with my infantry, and then, if it is not to their advantage to fight me, they get out of the way. They have no baggage or trains to detain them from making rapid movements.

I have seventy days' complete rations here, 150 rounds of ammunition for small-arms, and 200 rounds for battery.

I sent boat up the river yesterday, 43 miles; returned this evening, bringing some 500 bushels of corn and 600 bushels of wheat. The boats were attacked last night or this morning by several hundred cavalry. They did no damage. There are no supplies on the south side of the river amounting to anything.

Who is "Tinker Dave" Beatty?

What amount of supplies shall I accumulate here? I can get no answers to my dispatches to you. The boats leave in the morning for Nashville.

George Crook, Brig.-Gen.

Tinker Dave Beaty, left, and Brig. Gen. George Crook

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Post Football Game

"The post football game was about to get ugly after all the others posts decided it was time to team up on little Jimmy."

People Have More Fun Than Anyone

I once saw this wrestling poster where a certain organization was coming to this area from someplace else. The wrestlers were all from someplace else. The main event was a "Loser Leaves Town" match.

I took my niece to Wal-Mart one day. She wanted an Icee. At the Snack Bar, there was a sign on the wall that read..."Hotdogs 50 cents or 2 for $1.00."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Birth of the 33 1/3 rpm Record

Columbia Records launched a new microgroove record, pressed in vinylite, that played at 33 1/3 rpm on June 21, 1948, marking the end of the 78 rpm shellac records and sparking a music-industry standard so strong that the digital age has yet to kill it. Developed by recording engineer Peter Goldmark, the 33 1/3 rpm record could play for twenty-three minutes per side, holding 224 to 300 grooves per inch, which compared to an average of 85 grooves per inch on 78 rpm shellac records. The following year, RCA Victor introduced the smaller 45 rpm microgroove record, also pressed in vinylite, and for a year there was a battle of the speeds, but in 1950 Victor began to produce both the 33 1/3 rpm microgroove record for longer works and the smaller 45 rpm records, which proved more ideal for popular music.

Monday, June 12, 2017

My 78's: Les Paul (The Architect)

Les Paul, born Lester William Polsfuss on June 9, 1915, was one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar, which made the sound of rock and roll possible. He is credited with many recording innovations. Although not the first to use the technique, his early experiments with overdubbing, delay effects and multitrack recording were among the first to attract widespread attention. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame refers to him as an "architect." He recorded with his wife, Mary Ford, in the 1950's and they sold millions of records. One of their more popular recordings was "Vaya Con Dios (May God Be With You)," which I have in my collection of 78 r.p.m. records.

"Vaya Con Dios (May God Be With You)" was released on Capitol Records (11544) in June of 1953. Side B is "Johnny (Is The Boy For Me). The record stayed on the Billboard magazine chart for 31 weeks, peaking at #1 on August 8, 1953, where it stayed #1 for 11 weeks. The record sold more than 2 million copies. Members of the Western Writers of America proclaimed it one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time. The recording was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2005.

Led Paul died on August 12, 2009.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Adam West was Batman!

R.I.P. Adam West, the only Batman to ever get it right.

Based on the DC comic book character of the same name, Batman also starred Burt Ward as Robin – two crime-fighting heroes who defended Gotham City from a variety of arch villains. Filled with intentional comedy and upbeat music, the TV show was aimed largely at a teenage audience. This included championing the importance of using seat belts, doing homework, eating vegetables, and drinking milk, etc. It was described by executive producer William Dozier, who was also the narrator, as "the only situation comedy on the air without a laughtrack." 120 episodes aired on ABC for three seasons, from January 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968, twice weekly for the first two and weekly for the third.

Alan Napier was Alfred, Neil Hamilton was Commissioner Gordon, Stafford Repp was Chief O'Hara and Yvonne Craig was Barbara Gordon / Batgirl.

Among the villains were Cesar Romero was the Joker, Burgess Meredith was the Penguin, Frank Gorshin and John Astin played the Riddler, Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt were Catwoman, Victor Buono was King Tut, George Sanders, Otto Preminger and Eli Wallach were Mr. Freeze, David Wayne was Mad Hatter, Vincent Price was Egghead, Cliff Robertson was Shame and Milton Berle was Louie the Lilac.

Theme music up...
"dada dada dada dada
dada dada dada dada
(and so forth)

Narrator: "Meanwhile in Gotham City)"

Batman: "It's Alfred's emergency belt-buckle Bat-call signal! There's trouble! Quick to the Batmobile!"

Chief O'Hara: "Will you be wanting extra police protection?"

Batman: "No thank you, Chief O'Hara. This time I think Robin and I better go at it alone. Any large contingent of police officers might create unnecessary confusion.

More theme music and then...

Narrator: The Cape Crusader and Boy Wonder have just arrived at Gotham City's Water Storage Facility.

Batman: "Hold it right there, Joker!"


Robin: "Holy fresh saltwater, Batman!

Batman: "It's okay, Robin, now the Joker understands that crime doesn't pay."

Robin: "Great work, Batman, but where'd you get a live fish?"

Batman: "The true crimefighter always carries everything he needs in his utility belt, Robin."

Robin: "You can't get away from Batman that easy, Joker!"

Batman: "Easily"

Robin: "Easily"

Batman: "Good grammar is essential, Robin."

Robin: "Thank you"

Batman: "You're welcome"

Robin: "And Joker, if you want to pollute any more water, you'll find plenty where you're going -- up the river!

Narrator: "Is this the end for the Joker or will he have the last laugh? Will Robin ever finish his grammar lessons and what day does the lunch special include fish? Find out tomorrow. Same bat time, same bat channel."

(Theme music up and end)
dada dada dada dada
dada dada dada dada


Life is full of choices. We may not always make the right choice and sometimes things may get a little tough.

The late Dan Miller of WSMV-TV in Nashville had a philosophy about life that rose far beyond this simple child's nursery rhyme:

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream

"It's a lot of work to get through life," he said. "Sometimes the choices we make don't turn out so gentle. It's a good thing when, on those rare occasions, I am able to keep both oars in the water at the same time." 

Long may our Land be Bright with Freedom's Holy Light

Officially, the Continental Congress declared its freedom from Great Britain on July 2, 1776, but after voting to approve it, a draft do...