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Complete History of
The Rock City Guards

By March of 1861 the Rock City Guards had been in service to the city of Nashville for two years and were officially recognized by the State of Tennessee by the following act of the thirty-third General Assembly.

"Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, That Robert C. Foster 3rd, Frank Sevier, James B. Craighead, Joseph Vaulx, and Joseph L. Woods, and their successors in office, be, and are hereby constituted a body politic and corporate, by the name and style of the Commissioned Officers of the Rock City Guards; with power to sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, answer and be answered in all kinds of suits and actions, and to do and perform all other acts and things which bodies corporate may lawfully do. The corporation shall have power to receive by gift, donation, or purchase and to hold personal, real and mixed property; to sell exchange, mortgage, or otherwise dispose of the same as in their judgment may best subserve the interest of said Rock City Guards; that said board shall be empowered to do all acts and things, to pass all by-laws and regulations which may be necessary to the carrying out the object of this corporation: Provided, None of said acts, by-laws and regulations be inconsistent with the constitution and laws of the State. That a majority of said board of Commissioned Officers shall constitute a quorum to transact such business as may be delegated to them by the constitution, articles of agreement, by-laws, and regulations of said company.

Sec. 2: Be it further enacted, That the members of the said military company shall be exempted from serving on juries; and that this act take effect from and after its passage."

W. C. WHITTHORNE
Speaker of the House of Representatives

TAZ. W. NEWMAN
Speaker of the Senate

Passed, March 8, 1860


1861 brought talk of war in the South and the "Guards" were increasing the frequency and intensity of their drills. On March 30 the Nashville Republican Banner, reporting that the Guards had been seen drilling in Edgefield observed, "They went through the general evolutions of the line, skirmishing, deploying, etc. The Guards are improving not a little in their drill. Why do they not increase the size of their company?"

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that the recruiting effort was just getting underway, as there was other, more pressing business to attend to. On Friday April 12, 1861 the Nashville Daily Gazette, reporting on the city council meeting held the previous evening stated;

"Mr. Craighead presented a petition from the Rock City Guards asking free use of the hall at the north end of the Market House, now used as their armory. The motion passed on first reading."

The next day, April 13, the Republican Banner made its position known regarding the Guard's use of the Market House.

"Rock City Guards a Public Institution - For two years now, this excellent corps has sustained itself, an ornament and a protection to the City of Rocks, whose name it bears, by taxation of its own members, active and honorary, without any assistance from the city, nor the state, with the exception of the rifles tendered them from the State Arsenal and the charter granted them from the General Assembly. The Guards have recently petitioned the "City Fathers" to grant them the free use of the Hall at the Market House, which they now occupy as an armory. A city without at least one good and efficient home military company, that can be relied on at any moment, is, to say the least, badly protected. The Rock City Guards are a city institution - a permanent one, too, as they have demonstrated by two years organization already. That the company might, in case of riot or other unlawful disturbance, prove a valuable auxiliary to the Police department, under the supervision of the Mayor, none can doubt, and we think it nothing but right and proper that they should receive some encouragement from the city. We trust the authorities will grant their petition - and we believe they will."

With talk of war reaching a fever pitch, and Tennessee still undecided as to her fate concerning her political affiliation, the men of the Rock City Guards called a meeting for the evening of April 15, no doubt in response to the developments at Fort Sumter. The purpose of the meeting was to publicly proclaim their feelings about the current national situation and what course they intended to take. The men unanimously adopted the following resolution.

"Whereas. Authentic intelligence has reached this city that a bloody civil war has actually commenced in consequence of the ill-advised acts of the administration now in power in the city of Washington; and whereas, the causes which have brought on this deplorable conflict are such as equally involve the honor, the interest, and the safety of all the slave holding states of the Confederacy; and whereas we have just been advised that military movements are now in progress in several of the non-slave holding states of the North, looking to the subjugation and ruin of the Seceded States and to the ultimate destruction of the domestic institutions of the whole South; therefore, be it;

Resolved; that as citizens of the South identified with the Confederate States by all the ties of blood, affection, institutions, and interest, the Rock City Guards do oppose and will oppose to the last extremity, any and all such aggressions upon the rights of the South, whether made upon the soil of Tennessee or elsewhere."

Tennessee would not officially secede until May 6 but the men of Nashville had caught the military spirit, and in addition to the Rock City Guards other companies were rapidly forming. The Nashville Daily Gazette had reported as early as April 7.

"We understand that a number of our young men have taken the initiatory steps toward organizing a new military company in this city. In a preamble setting forth the object of the organization, is embodied a strong anti-coercion resolution. Mr. M. O. Brooks has the list of enrolled names, and others wishing to join can consult with him."

By April 18 Mr. Brooks had recruited enough men to hold election of officers and Beauregard's Light Infantry Company was born. Enthusiasm for the Southern cause was running high and between the time the first shot was fired at Fort Sumpter and the end of April, Nashville was boasting sixteen companies of volunteers. Most were drilling within the city limits, and in addition to the Rock City Guards and Beauregard's Light Infantry, the other companies took names, which possessed a Tennessee flavor. The Hickory Guards, The Hermitage Guards, Tennessee Rangers, Tennessee Rifles, Cheatham Rifles, and Harris Guards were all actively drilling by the end of April.

Reasons men volunteered varied, but for a good many of them, they were afraid that if they waited they would miss out on the whole business. Most people believed the war would be a short-lived affair, and many men were anxious to do their duty for the South and for Tennessee. Twenty year old Marcus B. Toney was typical of the spirit which had been aroused when he later said. "I thought Virginia was to be the theater of war for probably six to eight weeks "I thought the first regiment enrolled would reach the seat of war early; and as the Rock City Guards A, B, C, were organized before the war I enlisted in Company B"

Now that recruiting was fast paced it became necessary to attend to other important matters such as how to acquire weapons and equipment needed by soldiers. The Rock City Guards appealed to the generous spirit of the citizens of Nashville for help. The April 17 edition of the Nashville Union and American contained the following solicitation on behalf of the Rock City Guards.

"Rock City Guards - this fine military company are now actively preparing to offer their services to the "Confederate States". We understand the Guards will have to purchase arms and equipment, which will cost from eight to ten thousand dollars. We call upon our liberal citizens to step forward at once and subscribe the requisite amount. The cause of the "Confederate States" is now the cause of the whole South, the cause of every individual in the South. The Nashville companies have distinguished themselves on every battlefield of this country, and have done very much to gain for Tennessee the right to be called the "Volunteer State". Let our citizens see to it, that they send our chivalrous young friends to the field to sustain the honor of our glorious State, fully armed and equipped, and then we will answer for it, that the gallant Guards will be found "ever closest to the flashing of the guns.Those wishing to subscribe will please call at this office, or at the recruiting room of the Guards, or at the office of Messrs. Malone & Howell, Cedar Street."

The appeal did not fall upon deaf ears, for only two days later in the same newspaper appeared this notice. "We understand that our public spirited fellow-citizen, J. W. Wilson, has offered to present Company A of the Rock City Guards, all the tin-ware which they will need in their anticipated campaign. This patriotic example is well worthy of imitation. We commend it to the consideration of our citizens."

The Nashville Republican Banner published a somewhat more subtle appeal on April 21.

"We have written many paragraphs commendatory of the Rock City Guards in times of peace. We are an old member - one of the "old guard", if so young a corps may deserve the appellation. We were instrumental in the formation of the company two years ago, and have been an active friend of the institution since its foundation. The mettle of this corps of volunteers, from Tennessee, though never tried in active service, we know to be true and trusty, and if it should be deemed necessary to put a Tennessee Regiment in the field to meet the Northern emissaries, we predict that they will be the "crack company". The battalion continues to increase in numbers and the nightly average enlistments since Mr. Lincoln's proclamation, is twenty-five new members, so the ranks are rapidly increasing.

We have a suggestion to make to the battalion that we think will meet with general favor with the entire corps. It is that they adopt the French Zouave uniform, with the Fez cap, Turkish trousers, knapsack, etc. The advantages to the body of skirmishers, in this costume, every military man of any experience knows to be incalculable, and besides, it would be especially serviceable in our climate, being loose and light."

There appears to be no evidence that anyone came forward to donate such uniforms, or that this suggestion was even seriously considered by the battalion leadership.

The Rock City Guards were recruiting so rapidly that it became necessary to split the unit into three separate companies. By April 21 Companies A & B had enough men to field complete 100 man units, with company C needing only one additional recruiting meeting to fill out its ranks. This meeting was to be held on Monday April 22 at the Market House at 4:00pm. Those wishing to enlist were encouraged to arrive early. It was anticipated at this time that the Rock City Guards would be able to field a complete regiment in a very short time.

The men decided to place those who had no constraints keeping them from leaving the city into Company A, while those men who needed a few days to attend to their affairs were placed in Companies B & C, thus Company A was referred to as "without exception, minute men." Company A was fully equipped and ready at a moment's notice to march where needed. Company C held its meeting as scheduled on Monday April 22, filled its ranks and elected officers. The men of Company C also voted unanimously to resolve "to march with the Battalion whenever and wherever ordered."

The Rock City Guards now comprised three full companies and had elected the following officers to lead them into whatever fate had in store.

Company A: Elections held on Monday April 15, 1861

Company B: Election date unknown

Company C: Election held Monday April 22

For unknown reasons Captain C. W. Kennedy resigned, necessitating another election, which was held on Thursday the 25th in which Robert C. Foster was elected Captain.

With recruiting almost completed and officers elected, the Rock City Guards began the process of learning to be soldiers. Drill was conducted both in the city square, near company headquarters at the Market House and across the Cumberland River in the Edgefield section of the city.

The ladies of Nashville were not without the patriotic spirit, as well, and several got together to make and present a flag to the Rock City Guards. Mrs. M. A. Kitch, Misses Fannie E. Claiborne, Laura V. Claiborne, Cattie Cain, and Imogen Cain made the flag and asked to present it to the men in Company B at company headquarters. The Union and American recorded the ceremony in its April 25 edition.

"In presenting the flag Miss Fannie Claiborne said. "Captain Craighead: Feeling as does every true hearted woman in the land a deep and thrilling interest in the noble enterprise in which you are about to embark, we have prepared this flag, to be presented through you to the company of brave and gallant hearts you represent on this occasion. It is an offering of women's patriotic devotion - an offering to those who are to go forth to fight in the scared cause of our common country. Our bright and beautiful South, our own green land is about to be invaded by a horde of vandal bayonets, and you have nobly responded to the call for strong arms and brave hearts to repel the coming storm. You go forth to welcome the insolent foe, and believe me, our warmest sympathies and our unceasing prayers will go with you to the field of conflict, and our voices of supplication will mingle with the thunder of your guns and appeal to Heaven on your behalf. With upturned faces and streaming eyes, we will beseech the God of battles, who guides and controls the destinies of nations to crown your arms with victory, and rescue our country from the dread ravages of civil strife. When the hour for you departure comes - when the alarm-drum summons you to the field - we shall bid you farewell with the high heroic spirit which inspired the bosom of the Spartan mother when she gave into the hands of her soldier son the shield of her country, with the lofty words, Either this or upon this.

And when the battle is fought and the victory won, we your sisters will welcome you back with glad smiles as the daring heroes of a glorious fight. Our country demands your aid to free her from the insults and oppression of a tyrannic Government, and we see you go forth in response to that call with proud consciousness that every impulse of your hearts will inspire you to prefer an honorable death to ignoble submission to the oppressor. We place in your hand this flag that its folds may wave over you in the dark hour of conflict and recall to your minds the recollection that your mothers, your sisters and your children are praying at your firesides for your triumph and your safe return. We cannot go with you to the field but our hearts shall be with you, and when the dark wing of battle shall shadow your pathway, and the iron hail of death shall smite your manly breasts, oh, believe then that our earnest wishes, like invisible intelligences, prayer-winged and hope-righted, are with you, and let them nerve your arms to strike a deadlier blow for your altars, your homes - for your country and for us.


Take this banner! and beneath
The battle cloud's encircling wreath,
Guard it! - till our homes are free;
Guard it! God will prosper thee!
In the breaking forth of power
In the truth of steeds and men,
His right hand will shield thee then.

Take this banner! and if e'er
Thou should'st press the soldier's bier
And the muffled drum should beat,
To the tread of mournful feet,
Then this mournful flag shall be
Martial cloak and shroud for thee.

The flag was received on behalf of the Company by Captain James Craighead, who said;

"Ladies - The Banner under which Tennessee nobly fought at New Orleans, at Buena Vista, and on the plains of Mexico, and which is yet by law our flag, has been desecrated; wherever it floats, beneath it gathers armed hosts, anxious by civil war to devastate this fair country. Shall it de done? Forbid it Heaven! As one man, the gallant youth of the South spring to arms to repel the invading tyrant. Wives yield up husbands, mothers their sons to swell the ranks of those who, while they fight in freedom's cause are yet in the eyes of diplomacy but infamous Rebels. Rebels! Aye - such Rebels as our grandsires were who met the hireling hosts of England's king and drove them headlong into the sea!

As yet a part of the United States - still we are ready to fight the United States - but under what colors? We own no flag but the stars and stripes. You ladies, suggest and offer this beautiful flag, now the glorious Banner of a neighboring Republic which is one with us in interest, one in feeling, one in destiny, one in resistance to tyranny to the bitter end.

Then spread this Banner to - the breeze - and let show your sympathy with our Southern friends. Should our Legislature enable us to throw off our allegiance to the tyrant North, and should it assume a flag for the Independent State of Tennessee, under that flag shall we be found. Whatever may be the destiny of our noble State, whether she elects to stand alone in the grandeur of solitary independence, or whether she will join herself with her sister States of the South in the bonds of political unity, this flag shall ever be preserved and valued by the Rock City Guards as a testimonial of the approbation of the patriotic ladies of Nashville. For myself and my command I thank you for this beautiful flag."

The entire Battalion of Rock City Guards had met at company headquarters to escort Company B to this flag presentation which was also attended by a large crowd of citizens.

The Battalion continued its drill work and continued to receive arms and equipment, and as was common, not every soldier received the same type of weapon. For example it was reported that Company A "equipped themselves with Enpiela ( Enfield?) rifles with sabre bayonets, the arms adopted by the English volunteers." Company C meanwhile received their arms in a ceremony held at the State Capitol on May 10 and it was reported that they "received the Minnie Musket, a beautiful and efficient weapon."

By an act of the constitutional convention Tennessee officially seceded from the United States of America on May 6, 1861. The men of the Rock City Guards had been mustered into the service of the Confederate States in a ceremony held on May 3, at the state Capitol. The Battalion of Rock City Guards was mustered into service as a part of the First Tennessee Infantry Regiment of Volunteers.

The Rock City Guards maintained their company designations in the new Regiment and were joined by Co. D; The Williamson Grays, of Williamson county, Co. E; The Tennessee Riflemen, of Nashville, Co. F; The Railroad Boys, of Nashville, Co. G; The Brown Guards, from Maury County, Co. H The Maury Grays, Co. I; The Rutherford Rifles, of Rutherford County, and Co. K; The Martin Guards, of Giles County.

The new Regiment began its training at the fairgrounds, but heavy rains on Saturday May 4 and Sunday May 5 rendered this area unusable. It was then decided to move the Regiment to a camp of instruction in Allisonia, Tennessee about 70 miles from Nashville on the Nashville and Chattanooga railroad. As Company B made its way to the train station they were escorted by a large group of well wishers, and as they passed the Masonic Hall each member was presented with a bouquet of flowers by the ladies of the Soldiers Friend Society. The May 11 edition of the Union and American reported that as Company C was on parade:

"We were pleased to see our fellow citizen Dr. Paul F. Eve in the ranks. It shows the spirit of patriotism, which pervades our people when men occupying the high position of Dr. Eve are ready to shoulder their muskets. We congratulate Company C upon this valuable acquisition to their ranks and advise the other companies of the battalion to look to their laurels."

The enlistment of Dr. Eve into Company C did not go unnoticed by the Republican Banner, which stated that Dr. Eve, "Was appointed by the Governor as Surgeon General of the Tennessee forces, declined the position and enlisted as a private in company "C" of the Rock City guards. He was pleased with the battalion and preferred to be a high private than anything else."

The men named their camp at Allisonia, Camp Harris, after the Governor of Tennessee, Isham G. Harris. It was at this camp where many of the men were introduced to some new experiences, which had not been thought of during the rush of patriotism back in Nashville. According to Marcus B. Toney: "While many of the young men of the South were adepts in the use of arms, we were novices as to cooking and washing. We knew that water and flour mixed made batter, and we knew that meat fried made gravy; so with this much of the art acquired, we had fried dough, or what the boys called flapjacks. As to the washing - well, let that pass."

The Regiment stayed in Camp Harris only a few days when it was ordered to move to Camp Cheatham in Springfield on the Edgefield and Kentucky railroad. It was here that the men began to train in earnest. They received thorough training in Hardee's tactics and two daily drills. During their stay at Camp Cheatham the men made a trip as a regiment into Goodletsville to vote on the question of secession on June 22, otherwise they stayed in camp to become accustomed to camp life. The men were visited at Camp Cheatham by some ladies from the Nashville Female Academy and were presented a Regimental flag made by the graduating class.

For many of the men the time spent at Camp Cheatham seemed interminably long, as they were anxious to get to a place where there was some fighting. As long as the wait seemed, and with Tennessee now a member of the Confederate States of America, the First Tennessee was ordered to Virginia on July 10. The men packed, and made their way back to Nashville, where they camped on the lawn of the Female Academy. Making their way to the train station the following morning they were greeted by a throng of well wishers. A woman now known only as Mary recorded in a dairy her impressions of the men of the First Tennessee Infantry Regiment of Volunteers.

"Early in the morning the streets of Nashville were filled to overflowing with people! The head of the column appears and every head in the vast crowd is uncovered. Of course we had to use our hats to wave them a welcome they so well deserved. What fine manly fellows they were. Their guns, as bright as silver, shone in the July sun with unsurpassed splendor! Their eyes beaming with unspeakable enthusiasm and joy seemed to say 'it is sweet to endure and even to die for a country that gave us such homes, such people, such womanhood!' God be with them. They are gone, yet their shouts of triumph with which they answered our greeting are still ringing in my ears."

And now the men of the Rock City Guards were on their way to Virginia, to where the war was, to be commanded by an, as yet, untested general named Robert E. Lee.

Who were these Rock City Guards?

Joseph Vaulx Sr. had come to Nashville in 1809 from North Carolina. In Nashville he met and married Miss Susan Hobson, and in 1835 a son was born and given the name of Joseph Vaulx Jr. Joseph Sr. became a successful businessman in Nashville, eventually becoming president of the Tennessee Marine and Fire Insurance Company. Joseph Jr. attended the finest schools Nashville had to offer and spent a good part of his youth working on farms around Nashville where he said he "obtained some of my most useful training."

As a young man Joseph took advantage of the opportunity to attend the Western Military Institute of Kentucky, where he stayed for two years. Upon his return to Nashville he was employed as a store clerk for four years, until 1861, when he was elected 1st Lieutenant of Company A of the Rock City Guards. He was promoted to Captain when the company was mustered into the First Tennessee Infantry Regiment, and Captain T. F. Sevier was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment.

Joseph Vaulx served as Captain of Company A for about one year, until he was promoted to the office of Inspector General of Cheatham's Division with the rank of Major. He remained in this office until the close of the war. During the entire course of the war he was never taken sick or wounded in battle, and as a result had the distinction of having more days of active service than any man in the Division.

At the close of the war, Major Vaulx went to New York City where he engaged in the dry goods business for a period of some eleven years. Returning to Nashville, he was made vice president and executive officer of the Cumberland Iron Works Company in 1880. A biographer said of his tenure with the Cumberland Iron Works, "As to his business capacity nothing need be said; the fact that the company has intrusted such extensive interests to his care speaks louder for him than mere words can do."

Private B. J. McCarthy of Company A always remembered his early days in Warren county Georgia with a joy that bespeaks the light-hearted nature of a loving mother. Born in April of 1842 the son of Benjamin and Cassandra McCarthy, B. J. never knew his father, who died the same year. Mrs. McCarthy moved her family to Chattanooga in 1849, and while in that city B. J. became an apprentice in the printers trade under W. I. Crandall, editor of the Chattanooga Advertiser. B. J. quickly learned that the printing trades held no interest for him and he determined to try his hand at the tinsmith industry. He became an apprentice in the shop of Watkins Brothers in Chattanooga, but soon took a position with the firm of J. W Wilson located at the corner of Church Street and Bank Alley in Nashville.

B. J. worked here until the outbreak of war in 1861 when he enlisted in Company A of the Rock City Guards. He enlisted on May 10, 1861 and was paroled on May 9, 1865, having served just one day short of four years. He returned to Nashville immediately after the war and returned to the firm of J. W. Wilson. He endeavoured to learn all he could about the tinsmith business and quickly rose to become one of Nashville's most knowledgeable citizens in the manufacturing industry.

This knowledge enabled him to forge associations with both the W. P. Phillips Co. and the H. W. Butorff Co. and in 1881 he merged these two companies into the Phillips and Butorff Company, also incorporating the operations of the J. W. Wilson Company. Phillips and Butorff, under the leadership of Mr. McCarthy, steadily prospered, until it became the leading manufacturer of stoves in the South. Mr. McCarthy remained the leader of Phillips and Butorff for 41 years and was considered the "court of last resort" in all management decisions.

Mr. McCarthy always attributed a great deal of success to his wife, the former Miss Annie Hood of Nashville, whom he married in 1868. Her devotion and good judgment enabled Mr. McCarthy to devote his energies to the growth and success of the Phillips and Butorff without concern for the moral well being of his family.

Mr. McCarthy served with distinction on the Nashville city council from 1875 to 1878, when he was nominated for the state legislature, a nomination he declined. He also served on the police and fire commission as well as the civil service commission. It has been written of Mr. McCarthy that; "The chief characteristic of B. J. McCarthy is his rugged idea of right, a trait that has unconsciously made of him a standard of integrity - that type of citizen who has made Tennessee a beacon light to success - an example for the youth of the present generation to follow."

Robert Bogardus Snowden, who was born on May 24, 1836, was brought from New York City to Nashville when he was only three years old. His father became a successful merchant in the city, and this enabled him to provide fine educational opportunities to young Robert. His educational experience culminated with his attendance at the Western Military Institute of Kentucky. Returning to Nashville, he undertook to learn the merchant trade by becoming a clerk in a grocery store, a position he held until the commencement of the Civil War.

Mr. Snowden enlisted into Company C of the Rock City Guards and was elected 1st Lieutenant, an office he held until his promotion in 1863 to Lieutenant Colonel as a result of gallantry displayed in the Battle of Stones River. During the Battle of Perryville, Lieut. Snowden was wounded but remained on active duty only to be wounded again in 1862 at Stones River. At Stones River he had two horses shot from under him and a third was killed. After being promoted and transferred to the 25th Tennessee Regiment, he was again wounded in action at Fort Harrison in Virginia. Returning to Tennessee the 25th and 44th Tennessee Regiments were consolidated just prior to the Battle of Missionary Ridge. This consolidated unit was ordered to the support of General Longstreet in Knoxville, and then back to Virginia.

The unit was part of the Confederate forces sent to contain General Butler as Lee moved into Petersburg. Having been successful in this, the unit then moved back to Petersburg and took part in the fighting there, until Lee was forced to surrender at Appomattox. After the fall of Richmond, Colonel Snowden was with President Davis as he made his way into North Carolina, where he joined the army being commanded by General Johnston. When it became apparent that Johnston's surrender was imminent Colonel Snowden escaped to Augusta Georgia and it was here that he reluctantly gave up the cause for which he had given so much.

Colonel Snowden returned to Nashville and engaged in the importing business for a short time before moving to Memphis. A Nashville newspaper described his military record; "In scenes of martial conflict he won a reputation not excelled by any man who fought for the Stars and Bars. He was an admirable soldier, having as he did the military instinct, but the passions and prejudices of the war seemed to leave no mark upon him. His convictions remained unchanged, but he accepted the new environment like the brave philosopher he was."

Colonel Snowden believed the future of Memphis was one of unexcelled growth, and he undertook to acquire significant land holdings in the city. He became president of the Peabody Real Estate & Improvement Company, and a director of the Bank of Commerce. He was active in various other civic endeavours, and always brought a sense of progress to all his undertakings.

Married in 1868 to Miss Annie Overton Brinkley, the granddaughter of Judge John Overton, Colonel Snowden was the proud father of five children, the youngest son following in his father's footsteps in the real estate business. It was said of Colonel Snowden upon his death in 1909; "His was an admirable character, worthy of all praise, and he enjoyed to the fullest extent the confidence and high regard of his fellow citizens."

Thomas H. Malone, a native of Limestone Alabama, graduated from the University of Virginia, and moved to Nashville in order to practice law in the offices of Houston & Brown. In 1859 he was admitted to bar, and shortly thereafter became a member of the firm of Houston, Vaughn, & Malone.

When Malone enlisted in the Rock City Guards, he was elected 2nd Lieutenant of Company A. Shortly after the Battle of Shiloh he was promoted to the rank of Captain and made assistant adjutant general on the staff of General Maury. He remained in this capacity until he was transferred to Wheeler's cavalry after the Battle of Stones River, as part of the Seventh Alabama cavalry. He was captured at Shelbyville and removed to Johnson's Island where he remained until the close of the war.

Returning to Nashville he again embarked upon a career in the practice of law, with the firm of DeMoss & Malone. He remained in this association until his retirement in 1892. Malone then became a judge for the chancery court for the sixth division of Tennessee, and he continued this endeavour until 1898. For reasons no longer apparent, he then was named president of the Nashville Gas Company.

Judge Malone and his first wife the former Miss Ellen Fall were the parents of four children. Their son Edward F. Malone graduated from Vanderbilt University with a medical degree and went on to further his education at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore Maryland. Another son Thomas H. Malone also graduated from Vanderbilt with a degree in law and then spent one year studying in Berlin Germany. He then became a professor of law at Vanderbilt.

John Deering Roberts arrived in Nashville in 1834 from London England. A printer by trade he became a part owner of The Nashville Banner & True Whig newspaper. In 1841 his son John Deering was born and as his father owned about 240 acres in Sumner County young John spent his early childhood learning to work the farm alongside the three male slaves who ran the farm. During those months when John Deering Jr. was in school he would spend his afternoons working in the printing office of the Nashville Banner. John attended several of Nashville's best private schools, such as Mrs. Martin's at the corner of Spence and Cedar Streets, and Dr. Moore & McGavock's located on the corner of Church and High.

John went on to obtain a medical degree from the University of Nashville, and was just beginning to set up his practice when he enlisted in Company C of the Rock City Guards. Years later John said that at the time of his enlistment, he owned nothing but "some medical books, medicines, the clothes I wore and some doctor's bill for services rendered, some of which have not been paid yet!" After going to Virginia and participating in the Cheat Mountain campaign with the First Tennessee, it was discovered that he was a doctor and he was transferred to Springs Hospital in Virginia, where he remained for about three months.

He then returned to field duty as the regimental surgeon for the 20th Tennessee Infantry Regiment where he remained until the end of the war, surrendering with Johnston at Greenville North Carolina. John returned to Nashville to resume his medical practice, but could not escape his roots as a printer's son. He soon launched a publication called The Southern Practitioner of which he remained owner and editor for almost 40 years. Dr. Roberts was also active in teaching the science of medicine, spending nine years at the University of the South and another ten years at the University of Tennessee.

Marcus B. Toney

Three long and arduous weeks, in 1842, after leaving Lynchburg Virginia, William Toney arrived in Nashville with his wife, his slaves, and his two-year-old son Marcus. Their ultimate destination was St. Louis, but because Mrs. Toney had become ill during the trip, they decided to stay in Nashville. Mr. Toney bought a ten-acre place on White's Creek Pike (North First Street), and went into business as a millwright.

Mrs. Toney survived until 1846 and it then became the responsibility of one of the female slaves to complete the raising of young Marcus. The mill prospered for several years but then Mr. Toney was taken ill and in 1852 he followed his wife in death. Being only 12 years old at the time of his father's death Marcus returned to Virginia to live with relatives and complete his education. He did return to Nashville in 1860 and worked as a clerk on a steamboat until his enlistment in Company B of the Rock City Guards.

He remained with the First Tennessee until 1864 when he was given a furlough to visit a cousin who was getting married in Virginia. This visit caused a deep desire in Marcus to be nearer to his family and so he was granted a transfer to the 44th Virginia Infantry Regiment. After this regiment was engaged in the Battle of the Wilderness, Marcus was taken prisoner and held in the facility at Elmira, New York until June 1865.

Marcus returned to Nashville after his release from prison and began a career with the Southern Express Company. On December 4, 1868 Marcus was aboard the steamer United States when it collided with the America, killing almost 150 people, near Cincinnati. Marcus had to swim to shore to prevent him being counted among the dead. In 1872 Marcus entered into the employ of the New York Central Railroad, a position he held for over forty years. That same year he married Miss Sally Hill Claiborne of Buckingham county, Virginia. Marcus was active in the Masonic fraternity and was the founder of the Masonic Widows and Orphan's home. According to the Nashville Banner Mr. Toney, "had a prominent part in the establishment of the Masonic marker on Capitol Hill in token of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Council Royal and Select Masons in July 1927." In addition to having several articles published in Nashville newspapers, Marcus was also the author of a book about his experiences during the Civil War, called Privations of a Private, and published in 1909.

These are but a few of the over three hundred men that left their homes in 1861 as part of the Rock City Guards. As survivors of hardships that can no longer be imagined, it perhaps is easier to see why the challenges of everyday life, after the war, seemed trivial by comparison. To survive, to endure, to conquer such as these men did, is it no wonder they went on to achieve such lofty ambitions?

After leaving Nashville in May of 1861, the men of the Rock City Guards and the First Tennessee Infantry Regiment of Volunteers distinguished themselves on battlefields from Cheat Mountain, Virginia in 1861, to the Battle of Bentonville in 1865. The history of the First Tennessee, after May 1861, is the history of the Rock City Guards. With dignity, with pride, and with a deep sense of duty, the Rock City Guards were indeed "closest to the flashing of the guns."

With honor to those who went before,

Tom Loftis

February 1999


Source Materials

The above article was extracted from the now defunct Web Site:
http://members.aol.com/FirstTnCSA/1st_Tennessee_Infantry.html