Nashville, Tennessee: 1846. Unbound. This four-page stampless folded letter with two pages of text measures 16½” x 10” unfolded. It was sent by Charles M. King in Nashville to Miss Anna Louisa Bockins of Philaldelphia. The letter is dated May 13, 1846, and bears a circular Nashville postmark dated May 24. In nice shape. A transcript will be provided.
Charles reports that war fever that had gripped Nashville and describes his trip from Philadelphia.
“There was a large war meeting held at the Court house on the 19th inst on which occasion governor Brown . . . addressed the citizens a great strain of eloquent war speeches, the excitement here is very great on last evening the requisition arived . . . calling for 3 regiments of Vollenteers amounting to twenty eight hundred & fifty men there are three companys of vollenteers ready formed & parading through the City daily, playing Yankee doodle, hail Colombia and various other airs. . .. The drums are continually ringing through my head. . .. On the passage here we Stopt at . . . Louisville in Kentucky which is one of the most beautiful places that I have seen. . .. After a passage of eleven days during which time I enjoyed good health & every convenience of . . . I took bording at a private house with a Mr. Butler, whoom I believe to be very much of a gentelman, the price of bording, being $2.25 per week, the wages variaing from eight to ten dollars but I have not yet engaged. . .. There is a great deal of building here . . . likewise a great number of hands to perform the work which renders it difficult to get employment, but I have a very fair prospect of getting a good job of work twelve miles out from the City . . . $1.75cts per day and bord included should I be successful . . . I will redily accept If not I think it probable that I will leave for St Louis and perhaps for Galena, I shall determine in two or three days wether I go or stay, this has been the cause of my delaying writing to you Sooner. . ..”. Very good. Item #010097
In 1846, the United States went to war with Mexico due to a combination of reasons including boundary disputes, attacks upon U.S. Army patrols, bitterness over Texas’s joining the Union, and an ever-growing belief in Manifest Destiny. As the U.S. Army consisted of only 9,000 soldiers, President Polk realized that the country would need to rely upon volunteers from the slates. So, the Secretary of War, William Marcy, sent calls to each of the states. Tennessee was asked to provide two regiments of infantry and one of cavalry totaling around 2,800 men. When Governor Brown broadcast the call, over 30,000 Tennesseans enthusiastically volunteered to fight in the war, earning the sobriquet, the “Volunteer State” and making it necessary to conduct a lottery to fairly determine who would be allowed to serve.
(For more information, see “Mexican-American War” at the Encyclopedia Britannia, “The Mexican-American war in a nutshell” at the National Constitution Center, and Johnson’s “Mexican War” at the Tennessee Encyclopedia, all available online.)
Scarce, no similar first-hand descriptions of the celebrations to provide volunteers to fight in Mexico are for sale in the trade. OCLC identifies no similar items, although some may be held in two or three collections of personal papers from Tennessee volunteers who served in the war..