MRS. KENNEDY TELLS OF UNION OCCUPATION
In the middle 18OO's David Newton Kennedy was one of Clarksville's leading citizens. After engaging in a drygoods business, he became director of the Branch Bank of Tennessee in 1844 and served as president from 1845 until 1851. In 1854 he and lames L. Glenn founded the Northern Bank of Tennessee.
In 1861 he was elected to the Tennessee State Legislature, but his term of office was interrupted by the beginning of the Civil War. In 1870 he was elected to the State Constitutional Convention despite
his activities while serving the Confederacy during the war years.
In November 1863 he was married to Miss Sarah A. Bailey of Woodville, Mississippi.
Before the capture of Clarksville, Mr. Kennedy fled south with the assets of the Northern Bank and transferred the funds to an English Bank. Following the war the funds were returned.
All during the war Mrs. Kennedy managed to smuggle letters to her husband who kept them and brought them back to Clarksville. These letters give a good account of conditions in the city during the Union occupation. Excerpts from some of these letters are given in this article.
Ben was here last week, he came twice to see me, but was so stupid from too much drink that his visit afforded us little pleasure. Last Thursday Old Abes fast day, all the stores and schools were closed by order of the Military. On Friday the 1st the yoang ladies had a coronaion, at Postons spring. There were a great many in attendance, very select, no one but invited guests, Cols. Bruce & Boone, with their adjutants were among the number. They were invited for the purpose of saving annoyance from the attendance of the soldiery. Miss Sally Lewis wis crowned queen. Everything passed pleasantly and agreeably. I did not attend, Mary, Jimmy and Sally went under the care of Mrs. Munford. and Mrs. McMullen.
Mr. Wardlaw had been quite sick but now convalescent. Dr. McM filled pulpit last Sunday. Aunts health is very bad, she has chills, and is looking very badly. I have so much sickness at home that I seldom go out, and I am grieved that I cannot visit them often. I started pair of shoes to you last Thursday, which I hope may reach you. I sent them to your address and if the bearer should possibly not reach Atlanta I gave him J. A.Fisher’s address at Chattanooga.
McCormick's absence in the North has prevented me from having my likeness taken, but I shall have it done and send as soon as possible.
I very seldom hear from Mr. Bakers, none of the family ever come to town, and although I very much desire to pay them a visit as soon as the health of the family will permit, I suspect that I shall not be able to do so. The last order is, that no lady will he permitted to leave town without signing the Parole of honor, which is a mild term, for taking the oath, and having it paraded in the northern papers. I learn that this port will in a short time be opened for the reception of Dry goods and groceries. If it is not we will have to go barefoot, as there is not a shoe in the town that will fit one of the family. Jimmy is already bare footed, and the little ones will turned out of shoes as soon as the weather will permit, but Mary and myself can't go unshod. I am troubled at the idea of your scant, and threadbare wardrobe. I have a set of shirts for you and would like to send them, would do so if it were possible for anyone to take so much and a perfectly reliable opportunity should offer.
Mr. L. called to see me, after his return to fulfill the promise he made to you that he would do so, I was very glad to see him, and his visit, as well as the information he gave was very gratifying. There is so little of interest transpiring that I fear my letters appear dull to you. I am ashamed of my poor epistles, when compared with the talent displayed in yours. My dear Husband, your letters afford me all the consolation I have in the world, with the exception of the thought of being so highly favored, in being permitted to be at home with my children, for when I look back at the trip we made last year, and being so long deprived of home, it appears doubly dear to me, and I am sincerely grateful to God for restoring it to me again. It is the only place of happiness and comfort, to a woman with a family of children. And although the presiding genius is compelled to be separated from us, the hope of his return keeps me strong to strive to do my duty alone. And Oh I do pray for strength from on high to do my duty in every relation which I sustain in life. I have a bad pen & thick ink, this is my excuse for the miserable blotch. The children join me in love to you. May God protect you is the Prayer of your devoted wife.