Sallie Florence McEwen
Sallie Florence McEwen (1846-1867), daughter of John B. McEwen and Cynthia B. Graham McEwen, married Rev. W.L. Rosser in 1866 and they had one daughter, Florence Atkerson of Creek Side.
Fort Donelson fell into Union hands on February 16, 1862 as the entire fort surrendered to U.S. Grant, resulting in over 12,000 Confederate soldiers becoming prisoners of war. Not only did this give the Union unfettered access along the Cumberland River, but it’s capture resulted in the capitulation of Nashville to the Union army without a shot being fired. Nashville was the second-largest city in the lower South, only New Orleans was larger.
The news of the fall of Fort Donelson must have stunned and terrified the local residents of Franklin and Williamson County, as this diary excerpt from Sallie Florence McEwen indicates. The news must have traveled quickly that day as McEwen wrote this entry on Sunday the 16th, the day of the actual surrender.
“Fort Donelson has fallen. We are defeated. A great number of prisoners have been taken, among them a great number of our acquaintances. There is great panic in Nashville, the people are fleeing from there is in great numbers.”
Sunday, February 16, 1862 – The Journal of Sallie Florence McEwen. A Franklin, Tennessee resident.
Source (McEwen quote and image): Williamson County & the Civil War: As Seen Through the Female Experience. 2008.
Adelicia “Addie” McEwen German (1848-1942) was Sallie’s younger sister. She married Dr. Daniel B. German in 1869. She wrote the following related to Fort Donelson.
“Our first sight of the Yankees was in February 1862 when Fort Donelson fell. It was on Sunday morning and we had gone to Sunday School. had finished with our lessons and were coming out of church, when unusual commotion in the street attracted our attention. On looking down towards the Squre, it seemed as if the whole of Heavens had dropped down, so blue were the streets with the blue coated Yankees and the Starry Ground to be with them, they were so gay with gold stars and lace; the Southern Army men in full retreat, just ahead of them . . . One poor fellow, who had fired cannons at Fort Donelson three days, was intatters and barefooted. Tears ran constantly down his cheeks, and he couldn’t shut his mouth, so pitiful was he, that he was clothes from his head to his feet and bountifully fed. He expressed himself as feeling like the “prodigal son” returned.”
Source: Williamson County & the Civil War: As Seen Through the Female Experience. Rick Warwick, 2010: 15.