In recognition of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, “Civil War-Era Memories” features excerpts from The Memphis Daily Appeal of 150 years ago. The Appeal is publishing from Jackson, Miss.
Feb. 27, 1863
Riding on the Sidewalks — Citizens residing on the outskirts of the city, complain that the late military order against riding on the sidewalks, is badly observed on the outskirts. Yesterday, says the Memphis Bulletin, a number of young ladies, coming from Mrs. Bradford’s school, at the upper end of Adams street, were all compelled to turn into the mud on account of a number of soldiers who were riding on the sidewalk.
Feb. 28, 1863
Hopefield destroyed — The Crisis of yesterday evening learns from a gentleman just from Memphis, that the Yankees, a few days ago, entirely destroyed, by shelling and burning, the town of Hopefield, just opposite the city. It seems that some parties took a steamer from the city wharf and carried it to the other side of the river, where it was burned. Although the citizens of Hopefield had nothing to do with the affair, six hours notification was given and the town destroyed ... We presume this act of vandalism was perpetrated in retaliation for the destruction of the tugboat Hercules ... This, however, will not stop the operations of the guerillas. It will rather make them more bold, daring and desperate. (Located in Crittenden County, across the Mississippi River from present-day Mud Island, Hopefield was rebuilt after the Civil War. For the subsequent fate of this Arkansas town, see http://bit.ly/tnQwJo.)
The Memphis correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial gives a very sad account of the physical and moral health of Memphis: “There is no changes in the town since I was here a few weeks since. It is as disagreeable, as muddy, as desolate, as courtesan cursed, as blackleg-crowded as then. It has the same abominable hotels ... the same swindling hackmen, the same crew of pimps, sharpers and pickpockets that then composed the principal portion of its male population ... An immense number of fugitive negroes, estimated at ten or twelve thousand, are in and about the city. They have come in from various parts of the South, and many are now in a fair way to starve unless some provision is made for them. A large portion are children and old men and women, and these, of course, are helpless. Much sickness has prevailed among them, and hundreds have died.”
March 3, 1863
Letters from Richmond — Prices in all articles of daily consumption have gone up frightfully of late ... Butter is $2.50 a pound, eggs, $2 a dozen, beef $1 a pound, and so on. A barrel of whiskey sold here a few days ago, at thirteen hundred and seventy-five dollars.