Diary of Judge Orlando Davis

This record is taken from a diary kept by Judge Orlando Davis. The entries were made from day to day, and are copied verbatim.


  1.  June 27, 1862. The 2nd regiment, Michigan Cavalry, Col. Minty, came in at sunset. Remained all night and left for Salem the next morning. Took all the corn, fodder and meat they wanted.

  2.  June 29, 1862. (Sunday)  8,000 infantry, artillery and cavalry Davis, Buford, Abbott and Granger. Remained until Tuesday, arrived under Rosecrans, Hamilton, when they evacuated, burning their tents and stores.  Gen. Withers, with 2700 men was advancing from Tupelo and arrived on Wednesday and remained there three or four days. On this trip only but a few citizens were molested.

  3.  July 28, 1862.Two regiments of cavalry arrived at 8 A. M.7th Kansas Jayhawkers, under Col. Lee and 2nd Iowa. The 2nd Iowa went out to Dr. Ellis farm, four miles west, and remained there three or four hours. The Jayhawkers remained in town. They robbed every store in town, also my office. They did not molest any private houses on this visit. They all left at 4 P. M. Mose Parker was with them guiding them, and brought them to my house to have me arrested for being a dangerous man running at large. They arrested Judge Thompson and took him away, also Dick Ford.

(Editor's note: The 2nd Iowa was commanded by Col. P. H. Sheridan. His official report of this visit is dated July 29, 1862, and reads, "Our cavalry captured Ripley yesterday morning. Col. Hatch has just returned, bring back Judge Thompson and two Confederate  soldiers. Our party failed to secure 600 rebel soldiers encamped there, they having made their escape toward Salem. The enemy decamped just one hour before the arrival of Col. Lee, who was delayed by bad roads and darkness. Col. Lee has not yet returned. He may bring in some of them. All the male inhabitants of Ripley had fled, the stores and houses all closed. I am very sorry to say the soldiers of both regiments were, through carelessness of their officers, permitted to break into and pillage some of the stores and private homes. The whole country out here is much alarmed and stampeded. ")

  4. Battle of Corinth, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4 and 5, 1862. Battle of Hatchie, Sunday Oct. 6. Van Dorn retreated through Ripley on the 7th and 8th. Federal army under Rosecrans, entered Ripley Tuesday night, 12 P.M. , October 8. Col. Lee of the Kansas mustered his regiment in front of Spight's hotel, called the roll, and then dismissed them saying , "Boys, do as you please." Sacked Wright's hotel, taking spoons, knives, and forks, blankets, quilts, bacon, flour, corn, fodder, potatoes, cabbage etc. Sacked Spight's hotel, took 28 negroes, all blankets, quilts, meat, shoes etc. Broke the safe of A. Brown & Co., took $2000.00 worth of goods and $700.00 in money. On this visit of the Federals every possible indignity and outrage was committed on the citizens, including robbery, burglary, arson, theft and even rape. Homes were pillaged and robbed  of every article of wearing and bedding. Men were robbed of their money by robbers bobbed of their money.  On this visit of the Federals every possible indignity and outrage was committed on the citizens robbery, burglary, arson, theft and even rape.  Homes were pillaged and robbed of every article of wearing apparel and bedding.  Men were robbed of their money by robbers with pistols held at their breasts;  women were robbed in the same way.  Corn, fodder, meat horses, mules stolen without limit.

(Editor's note:  The Confederate army which attacked Corinth, contained about 20,000 men, and was formed at Ripley about October 1, for the attack.  It was commanded by Gens. Lovell, Price and Van Dorn.)

  5.  October 29, 1862.  One company of the 7th Kansas came in at 4:30 P. M.  Remained at 30 minuites, doing but little damage.

  6.  Nov. 3, 1862.  Monday at 4 P. M. 80 of the 7th Kansas came in town took $500.00 worth of Browns goods.  No further damage.  Remained in town for one hour.  On this trip arrested Rev. W. A. Gray after shooting at him four times;  then discharged him.

  7.  Thursday morning, daybreak, Nov. 20. 1862. Three regiments, 2nd Iowa, 3rd Michigan, 7th Kansas (Jayhawkers) under Col. Lee visited Ripley from Davis Mills, reached town before day, remained in streets all day, then searched every house for men and arms, arrested about 50 of Falkner's men and took them away prisoners. Lt. Col. Hovis captured, Capt. Counseille, Maj. Rogers, C. G. Harvey. They went to Brown's store to break up Falkner's regiment, organized there that day. They took every horse and mule they could find. They robbed me of every grain of corn, every blade of fodder and took all my potatoes. Col. Lee made my house his headquarters. Left Friday at 8 A. M.

  8.  Monday morning, Dec. 4, 1862. One company of the 7th Kansas came to Ripley at daylight, remained only 30 minutes. Came from and returned to Tuscumbia 4 miles west of Corinth. Committed no depredations, but stole forage and Bill Stricklin's horse, and took Wade Cowan and Gibbs prisoners.

  9.  Thursday, Dec, 25, 1862. The Confederate General Van Dorn , after destroying Holly Springs, passed through Ripley on his return at 2 P. M. The Yankees came immediately on his rear and overtook his rear guard at Stricklin, where our men fired into the Yankees advance guard. The Yankees retreated in great confusion to the north of town. They, however, sent their artillery forward, which fired into Van Dorn's men from Stricklin's Mill. On this occasion they fired a cannon-ball through Rev. W. A. Gray's house. They followed Van Dorn to New Albany, where they stopped and pillaged the whole country, robbed women of their jewelry and clothes, and men of their money. On this trip but little damage was done by them in Ripley, as they remained but a short time. On this trip they shot at me and took my gray horse.

  10.  Thursday, Jan. 29, 1863. The 7th Illinois Cavalry came in at 9 A. M. 150 strong and remained 1 1-2 hours. They came from LaGrange and returned the Saulsbury road. No houses were pillaged, but all the horses and mules were stolen. They took away Col. Hovis, Cyrus Davis and T. Patton , prisoners. They were commanded by Major Blackburn.

  11.  Sunday, March 22, 1863. Col. Fielding Hurst's First Tenn. cavalry came into Ripley at 10 A. M. and remained until sundown. They were about 100 strong, all Tennesseans and Mississippians. Two of his men Lt. Mooney and another murdered Col. John H. Miller after he had surrendered. Their trips seemed only for stealing horses and cotton. They stole my fine bay horse and two bales of cotton. Hurst himself superintended it. They took away as prisoners D. W. Rogers, Bob Smith, Charles McCarley,  --Dickson. They came from and returned to Pocahontas.

       (Editor's note: The Col. John H. Miller named above was a Presbyterian minister as well as a Colonel in the Confederate Army. His home was in Pontotoc, and he was in Ripley on this date on furlough. Hearing of the raid, he started down the Cotton Gin Road, to be met by four mounted men; Lt. Mooney and a Federal private, and two Confederate prisoners. He was mislead by the Confederate uniforms, learned his mistake too late and was captured. On the way to Ripley, he seized a pistol from Lt. Mooney and tried to escape; but the weapon missed fire, and he was shot by the private. His body was brought to the Jack Wright's  place at Ripley, where Mrs. M. J. Buchanan secured it from the Federal officers and with only her 15 year old son and an old Negro man for escort, took it to Pontotoc  for burial. This account of the killing of Col. Miller is taken from the Southern Sentinel for August 16, 1894. Another fact worth recording about this raid is that on its return, the regiment was struck by Capt. Sol Street's company at a point near Jonesboro, and decisively whipped.)

  12.  Monday, March 23, 1863. Col. Price and Maj. BLackburn with 7th Illinois cavalry came in at 1 o'clock and remained 24 hours---500 or 600 strong. They came from LaGrange and returned to Saulsbury. No portion of the Federal army that had visited Ripley was guilty of such barbarities. They burned the north side of the square and Parson Dancy's house. They fired my office in two places, but one of the officers put it out. They threw my law books out in a heavy rain and broke every sash in my windows. Also broke up my furniture, burned my papers, etc. They broke all the furniture in the stores and broke all the window glasses on the square. They took Jim Whitten's family away in my wagon, stole my mule and harness, corn and fodder.

  13.  Thursday, March 26. 1863. Col. Hearst's regiment West Tennessee cavalry reached town at 10 A. M. On this occasion they arrested me, held me for 4 hours at Spight's hotel, and then released me without oath or parole. They searched my house for money and ate up my meat and bread, but as they had robbed me of everything else before they injured me no further. They took off no prisoners, but stole all the horses they could find and left at 2 P. M.

  14.  Saturday, April 18, 1863. The celebrated Mississippi raid under Col. Grierson passed through Ripley at 8:30 A. M. They made no stop at Ripley, passed right on south. The 6th and 7th Iowa regiments and Col. Hatch, 2nd Iowa.

  15.  Tuesday; April 21, 1863. Col. Hatch and 2nd Iowa, passed on their return from Okolona at 9 A. M. Passed right on to LaGrange, much alarmed. Barteau Inge after them.

  16.  Saturday, April 25, 1963. Two company's of Hatch's command passed through going north in a hurry.

  17.  Wednesday, April 29, 1863. The 2nd Iowa, Col. Hatch, passed through at dark, camped at Judge Green's. Went to Mrs. Embry's for mules and horses.

  18.  (missed in numbering)

  19.  Thursday, May 4, 1863.  15 of  Hatches men came in at 1 P. M. and stayed all evening in Dr. Murry's yard.

  20.  Friday, May 5, 1863 Col. Hatch's whole command passed through on their return from Pontotoc , each one leading a stolen horse or mule.  Passed right on.

  21.  Same day, May 5.  The 56th Ohio, Col. Smith, Mounted Infantry, came in from Salem.  They visited Embry, Kinney, Palmer and C. P. Millers farm, stealing every horse and mule, and brought Mr. Miller prisoner.  Stayed  three hours and took Mr. Brown away with them.

  22.  Same day, Friday, May 5.  At 5 P. M.  A regiment of Infantry came in from Saulsbury, remained a short time, and went to Dr. Ellis' farm and camp, then went to LaGrange.  Maddox went with them to LaGrange and they took his son and Hardin prisoners.

  23.  May 11, 1863.  A mixed regiment came in at 3 P. M. While O.R. Millers funeral was going on.  Stayed one hour and left.  went to Kinny’s and camped all night.  Forced Britt to guide.

  24.  May 12. Same.  Returned, stayed a short time, and left.

  25.  May 15, 1863.  One company came in at 12 noon.  Confederates fired on them and they left in double-quick.

  26.  Wednesday, June 3, 1863.  50 or 60 of the 11th Illinois came in at 8 A. M., remained only fifteen minuets and left.  Came Pocahontas road and left the same way.

  27.  Same day.  At 1 P.M. two Yanks came to town, stopped at Wright's put up their horses and went to Spights, arrested Tom Spight and  Bird Smith and took them off.  Shot at Pete Burns.

  28.  Wednesday, June 8, 1863.  At 6:30 P.M. the town was suddenly surrounded by 600 federals under Col. Mix, or Mize, from Corinth.  They came in all roads except Oxford and Beck's Springs.  They shot at Ammons and Davis, but without effect, and took no prisoners.  Remained in town all night, and left at 7 A.M. next day.  They tried to break into my house at night, turned the stock out and ruined my Irish potatoes.  The ruined Bill, calling him a Secesh negro.

  29. Monday, June 8.  About 30 Dutch of the 11th Illinois came dashing in on Pontotoc road.  They went about town and went back the same road.  Did nothing but call on M. Young. They came in at 4 pm.

  30. Tuesday, June 9, 1863. About 25 men came in at 8am on the Ponotoc road, remained a short time, and returned.

  31.  Same day. About 1000 men under Col. Hatch passed through town from N.A. about 4 pm. Took LaGrange road, made no stop in town.  Had two wagons, three buggies, and five negro women on mules.  General family of Negroes on wagons, and also many led horses or mules.  This expedition was under the command of Col. Hatch, had come from Holly Springs, through by Hickory Flat, to H. Waldrop's, thence north through Ripley.  Burnt 3 houses in Orizaba.

  32.  Saturday, June 13, 1863.  At 8 a.m. about 300 federals under Col. Phillips; 9th Illinois came in on Pocahontas road.  With command was several companies or squads of Tories, Blunt, Harris, Jechinias, Walrup and Obion May. They were by far the most inhuman and barbarous men and the most consummate rogues that ever visited the place.  They searched every house for plunder, three or four times, taking everything valuable, such as jewelry clothing  blankets, cutlery, tools, etc.  They said that they were making war on women and children and that they would burn all the houses in the country before they were done. They forced all stout able-bodied negro men to go with them, saying they wanted them to stop bullets. They took Cole's Russ and Holcomb's George.  They remained in town two hours and left going south. On their way they burned the balance of Orizaba, then went to N. A. and burned the whole town up.

  33.  June 13, 1863.  At 5 p.m.  20 Yankees passed through as escorts to couriers going south to the others.  They did nothing.

  34.   June 14, 1863.  At 7 p.m.  Col. Phillips command came from the south, going north in double quick.  Stopped one hour.  Searched my house for me and then went on.  On this trip they burned four bales of cotton at Dr. Wilson's.  They took off  C. P.  Bond and W. A. Boyd, captured a heavy mail at Mrs. Hughes.

  35.  Thursday, June 18.  At 1 p.m.  360 men under Col. Phillips, 9th Ill.  They consulted their friends, and after remaining one hour, left in double quick.  Came and went Pocahontas road.  They only returned to Ruckersville, where they were reinforced by Read's Waldrup's and Mays' companies of Tories.

  36.  Friday, June 19, 1863.   At 6 p.m. Col. Phillips with about 600 men passed through on their way south.  They had two pieces of artillery, wagons and two ambulances.  They camped at Nesbit's that night, but hearing Barteau was about, they left in the direction of Oxford at 1 a.m. Saturday 20th.  Bartheau followed them, overtook them at Mud Creek, attacked them, killed 27 besides many wounded and prisoners, in all over 1200.  Pursued them to Rocky Ford, captured all their artillery, cannons, wagons and ambulances, also many horses, mules and arms.  Phillips with his broken columns returned through Hickory Flat by Beck Springs, etc.  He camped at Mrs. Childers' on Sunday night 21st, with 25 wounded soldiers.

  37.  Monday, June 23.  About 3 p.m.  120 men under Maj. Funk, 11th Ill., came in and remained two hours.  Left as they came on Saulsbury road.  Fired Green's and Murry's offices by fire was extinguished.

  38.  Monday, June 30.   200 men under Lt. Col. Phillips came in at 7 p.m.  and remained 30 minutes.  Then they returned 3 miles NE on Purdy road and encamped for the night.  On this trip they surprised and arrested me at my house.  After remaining all night with them, I was released next morning at 10 o'clock on parole of honor, verbal, to report to Col. Phillips at any point required when notified.  I was well treated while a prisoner.

  39.  Tuesday, July 21.  About 8 or 10 of the foregoing command galloped through town and back at 7 a.m.

  40.  Wednesday, July 23, 1863.  About 300 men under Col. Phillips and Maj. Funk of the 11th Ill., came in at 5 a.m.  They remained in town two hours and returned north.  They took Col. Holcombe off as a prisoner, also Reagan's Tom.  The citizens were not otherwise distressed.

  41.  Wednesday, August 5.  48 of Shelton's men from Chewalla, mostly Tories, came in on Saulsbury Road at -- a.m. just after sunrise.  They rode through town to Female Academy, saw fresh sign of Confederate Calvary, and returned whence they came at double quick.  Never dismounted, citizens not disturbed, no prisoners taken.  May Dosset and Matthew Spencer were along.

  42. Wednesday, Sept. 9. About 9 A. M.  200 men of the Seventh Kansas came in town and immediately searched my house for William McGee. Didn't find him. They came by way of Ruckersville from Corinth. They had camped at Ruckersville the night before. Soon after they came in they pitched a camp. About 200 Federals, members of the 11th Ill., and Hawkin's West Tenn. Calvery regiment, came in on the Saulsbury road. The two parties mistook each other for the enemy and fired on other. However, no one was hurt. The 7th Kansas left in about one hour, half of them went the Rienzi road, the others by Duncan's Mill. The 11th Ill. , and Hankin's men left at 11 A. M. on the Oxford road to Parker's, returned at 3 P M., stayed an hour, and then left on the Saulsbury road. The 7th Kansas on this trip  captured and carried off George Holcombe. They also took my mule from a man at Ruckersville.

  43. Saturday,  September 12.  About 30 of the 9th Ill. Came in at 7 AM  and remained 20 minutes.  Left as they came over the Pocahontas road.

  44. Monday, September 14.  At sunrise about 75 men of the 9th Ill. Under Capt. Patterson, came in and remained only 10 or 15 minutes, and left on the Salem road.  They were after Sol Street, who had passed through 10 hours before with 5 Yankee prisoners.

  45. Wednesday, September 23, 100 of the 9th Illinois under Capt. Crips came in at sunrise, remained 3 hours and left as they came, on the Pocahontas road, in double-quick.

  46. Monday, September 28.  Col. Phillips and the 9th Ill. With 300 men came into Ripley at 6 AM from the direction of Pocahontas.  Remained one hour and left on the N. A. Road.  Went 15 miles south, burned Stewart’s tanyard in Orizaba, and Dr. Cook’s stable.

  47. Same command returned at 5 PM, remained 3 hours and left, going back to Pocahontas.  Camped that night at Tom Grace’s.  Took all Stricklin’s horses and Mrs. O. R. Miller’s Joe.

  48. Wednesday, October 7.  Col. Phillips with 500 men, 9th Ill. Came in on Pocahontas road at 8 AM.  Remained until 10 o’clock and left on the Saulsbury road.  Tried to take my carriage, took off Payne.

  49. Thursday, October 22.  Two companies, aggregating about 50 men of the 6th West Tenn. cavalry and 3rd Michigan, under Capt. Parker, came in at 9 AM.  Remained about 2 hours and left without doing any damage.

  50. Sunday, November 29.  At 6 PM, 20 Federals came in on the Pontotoc road, going  as couriers from the Federal Forces camped at Orizaba to Pocahontas.  The command at Orizaba consisted of 3rd Michigan, 7th Kansas, and 2nd Alabama (Tory)  regiments.  Had left Corinth on Thursday 26th and camped Saturday night at Mr. Lewellen’s spending Sunday at , or near, Orizaba.  Monday morning at 4 AM this command came in large force to Ripley, arriving there about 9 AM.  They were about 550 men in ranks.  They passed through going north, leaving a picket of 65 men in town.  Took Moses a prisoner at his own house.

  51. Tuesday, December 1.  The town and all roads still picketed by Yankees, and the main body in line of battle at the fairground.  At 2 PM Gen. Lee’s cavalry, under Ferguson, Morphis in front, charged into town, driving out the Yankees helter-skelter on Pocahontas road, and pursued them some seven miles.

  52. Friday, December 4. Same command as above came in at daybreak on Pocahontas road and returned the same way.  Took away three prisoners.  These men were guarding wagons at Maddox’s.

  53. Friday,  January 22, 1864 .  On Friday 112 of the 7th Ill. Came in on the La Grange road  at 11:30 A.M. They were commanded by Capt. Reynolds of Company D. Remained 3 hours in town and returned, taking away prisoners Jim Bennett and M. Saunders.

  54. Saturday May 6. About 75 Federals of the 4th  Iowa came into Ripley from the direction of Saulsbury and remained 20 minutes.  They then returned in the same direction.  They captured in town one Confederate soldier and Mayo the miller.

  55. Saturday May 7.  30 of the 2nd New Jersey came in at 6 AM on Saulsbury road.  Remained 30 minutes and went back carrying Worsham’s mule and wounding Solde (Sic.).

  56. Sunday June 5.  At midnight one regiment, 2nd N. J. under Col. Karge passed through town, coming in on Salem and leaving on the Rienzi road.  They remained only long enough to pass through, searching Dr. Whitlow’s house.

  57. Tuesday June 7.  At 2 PM 10,000 men under Gen. Sturgis and  Grierson arrived on Saulsbury road.  Col. McMillan of the 95th Ohio established headquarters at my house.  There were two regiments of negroes in this command.  They committed outrages.  They beat Randolph with a wagon whip, struck Mrs. Doxey, robbed all houses where there was no guard, killed stock, and took corn, meat, etc.  These were the first negro troops ever seen in Ripley.  They had Dick Sexton and John Lindsey as prisoners.  The whole command remained in town 24 hours and then left on the Cotton Gin Road.  They camped at Stricklin, Ragin’s and Grays until Thursday morning, when 250 men, with 50 wagons, returned and passed through Ripley going the Salem road.

  58. Saturday, June 11, at 4 A. M. Gen Sturgis's army reached Ripley on their retreat from Brice's Cross Roads. They were the worst demoralized  set ever seen in these parts. They rested here until after breakfast, when at 7 A. M. they were attacked by Forrest's pursuing cavalry and the fight raged in and around the town for two hours. The Yanks were again defeated and left,  scattering in every direction through the woods. They abandoned a portion of their Artillery train  in the northwest part of town, in Miller's field, to-wit 1 cannon, 3 cassions, 2 ambulances. Over 200 dead Yankees killed in the fight buried here, besides about 100 wounded were left behind. Every wagon, ambulance and cannon was captured, 21 in all.

     (Editor's note: The fighting in Ripley on this occasion is known as the Battle of Ripley. Although only a rear guard action, it is important because it completed the work started at Brice' s Cross Roads; that is, the complete route of Sturgis Army. After passing through  Ripley, the Federals were so demoralized and scattered that Forrest pursued them no further.)

  59. July 9, 1864. At 7 A. M. the Federal army under Gen. A. J. Smith commenced arriving on the LaGrange road, and were until 3 P. M. passing through Ripley. The scenes of this visitation were the most terrible we have ever experienced in Ripley. The Yankees were infuriated because of their former defeat here and came swearing vengeance on the town. Thirty-five stores, dwellings and church, including the courthouse were burned. The south side of the square was fired by the cavalry in the morning, the rest by negroes in the evening. Mrs. Price's, Col. Falkner's and Mrs. Ford's dwellings were burned. The courthouse, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church and the Female Academy shared the same fate. My own dwelling was saved by the exertions by a guard left by Col. McMillen.

(Editor's note: Smith's army was marching toward Tupelo, in another effort to defeat Forrest. The day before his column reached Ripley, it was attacked by the 7th Mississippi Cavalry, under Lt. Col. Hyams, at Whitten Branch, 3 1/2 miles west of Ripley on the old Ashland road. Hyams was driven back, with however, only a small loss. This skirmish is known as the battle at Whitten Branch).

  60. Monday, July 18.  At 10 P. M. 60 men of the 12th Mo. came in on Saulsbury road, remained 1 hour at Wright's. Did nothing. Came to inquire after Smith, who was retreating by way of  N. A. and Salem. Returned toward Salem.

  61. Dec. 24, 1864. About 3000 men under Gen. Grierson, constituting the famous Grierson raid, came in on Salem road at 6:30 A. M. and were until 6:30 passing through town, going south on the cotton gin road. Moses was their guide. They robbed Cole of 19 hams and stripped my bed of blankets.

  62. Monday, March 1, 1865. At 4 P. M. 3000 men under command of Col. Shanks, 7th Iowa, came in on Salem road, dashed to Spight's hotel and captured several citizens attending police court, and many horses. Camped in my grove west of my grocery and in Brougher's field. Remained 3 days, guarding all the houses but pillaging everything else. Burned 571 panels in my fence, took all my corn, 25 bushels, also hay and fodder. Killed 12 of my hogs  - all I had - took my only horse, took away Ralph, stole nearly all the horses, mules, meat and corn and pillaged all the houses within 12 miles of Ripley. Did more damage than any former raid. Left Thursday 9 A. M. on the Saulsbury road and captured Mr. Hammond near Mrs. Hind's. My damages, in gold, were not less than $350.00.


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This page was last updatedJanuary 23, 2018