TN Counties
Calvin B. HOLMES

Birth: 16 DEC 1838 in TN (Sumner Co.) 1 Death: 10 JUN 1915 2
Burial: Mt. Vernon Cemetery,Sumner Co.,TN 2
Father: Albert Gardner HOLMES b: 25 APR 1804 in North Carolina
Mother: Milly TURNER b: 2 DEC 1810 in Sumner County,Tennessee
Marriage 1 Amanda Milinda RIPPY b: 5 JAN 1844 in TN (Sumner Co.)
Birth: 5 JAN 1844 in TN (Sumner Co.) 1 Death: 27 JAN 1913 2
Burial: Mt. Vernon Cemetery,Sumner Co.,TN 1
Married: 12 FEB 1865 in TN (Sumner Co.) 1
Our Child: Harry Cleveland Holmes

The Children of Calvin B. Holmes and Amanda Rippy
Thomas Alonzo HOLMES b: ABT 1866 in TN (Sumner Co.)
Robert Yancy HOLMES b: 29 NOV 1867 in Angletown,TN
Mary Louise HOLMES b: 28 MAR 1870 in TN (Sumner Co.)
Rosa Allen HOLMES b: 28 MAY 1872 in TN (Sumner Co.)
Frances HOLMES b: ABT 1874 in TN (Sumner Co.)
Julia Orma HOLMES b: 13 JUL 1878 in Sumner Co,Tennessee
Charles Wilson HOLMES b: 2 JAN 1880 in TN (Sumner Co.)
Harry Cleveland HOLMES b: 31 JAN 1885 in TN (Sumner Co.) *****
Marshal H. HOLMES b: 31 JAN 1885 in TN (Sumner Co.) d. 26 JUL1885, Sumner County, TN

Nathaniel Holmes-1; Robert-2; Albert Garner-3; Calvin Baker.-4; Harry Cleveland-5, Ammie Myrtle-6

Calvin B. Holmes served during the Civil war with the Company F 20th TN and the 9th TN Calvary.
Amanda Rippys brother Thomas Whitesides Rippy also served in the 9th TN Calvary during the war
Calvin suffered serious wounds during the civil war.

The following is all that is mentioned about Calvin B. Holmes in Joyce Hetrick's book.

Calvin B. Holmes-4, was born December 16, 1838, and married Amanda Rippy, February 12, 1865, after he returned from the Civil War. He died June 10, 1915. They had eight children. Calvin had also been a member of Compay F of the 20th Infantry and was also listed as a deserter on December 24, 1862, but he had joined Company E of the 9th Cavalry September 1, 1862. He was captured while on furlough in June of 1863 and forced to take the Oath of Allegience. He was left an invalid by the war. His son, Charles Wilson Holmes, who was born January 2, 1870, was killed, along with his wife, in the 1925 “cyclone” [tornado] which struck the Sumner County area and killed many people. He died at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville and was buried at Mt. Vernon. He and his wife lived in the Liberty community.

Company F 20th Tenneesee Civil War doc

1850 Census shows Calvin as a child

1880 Census shows Calvin and family

Notes about the Civil War and the Battle of Fishing Creek  from Joyce Hetrick

RICHARD E. JOHNSON-4 enlisted in the Confederate Army in the 20th Infantry Regiment, Company F., which was organized June 12, 1861 at Coat’s Town [now Westmoreland] and mustered into service August, 1861. Officers were elected from among the men, and RICHARD was elected first lieutenant in Captain James A. Nimmo’s group. The cohort system was not unusual in the Civil War, where men from one area would enlist and serve together throughout the war. That system was responsible for eliminating almost the entire male population from some areas during this war. It was not used again regularly in American wars after that. Bob and Calvin Holmes, sons of ALBERT G. HOLMES, served in the same unit as RICHARD-4 and Sandy Escue. Bob and Calvin’s brother, Albert T. Holmes, served in the Union Army in Missouri.

There were few instances in our families where this happened, but it appears there were several families in Sumner County split over the issues. Quite a few Sumner County residents fought for the Union. In some families, the quarrel lasted for generations, while in others, it was eventually reconciled. It seems that Albert’s family did not hold it against him, for he eventually returned to Sumner County as an old man to live out his days and was well liked and respected.

The CSA 20th Tennessee Regiment was assembled at Camp Trousdale in July, 1861, with 880 men armed with flintlock muskets. While in Camp of Instruction there, the regiment was in Brigadier General Felix K. Zollicoffer’s Brigade, along with the 17th and 18th Tennessee Infantry Regiments. Late in July, the regiments were ordered to march to Virginia, along with the 17th Infantry. They were detained for two or three weeks, and then sent to the Cumberland Gap, instead of Virginia, and were attached to General Zollicofer’s forces. [Confederate Military History, pg 35.]

On September 14, 1861, Zollicofer ordered the four regiments to the Cumberland Ford, Kentucky. The 20th at this time had 876 men on the roll, 795 present, and 732 effectives. On the 24th of September, the report showed 505 effectives, 676 present and 916 on the roll. The regiment was at the battle of Wild Cat, or Rock Castle, Kentucky in October 1861, but it did not actively participate. The regiment remained in East Tennessee and Kentucky without any major engagements until the Battle of Fishing Creek on January 19, 1862.

A letter from Captain Theodorick “Tod” Carter, written to “Dick” Bostic, from Camp Beach Grove [KY] on January 9, 1862, ten days before the battle called “Fishing Creek,” tells about the conditions in the camp. Captain Carter, who was related to us via the CARTER line, and was descended from Francis Watkins Carter, a descendant of GILES CARTER-1. The letter was preserved by the late Mary Britt, his great-niece of Franklin, Tennessee.

Dear Dick,

We have had some bitter cold weather the last two weeks, interlarded with rain, sleet, snow and hail, and with freezing wind howling through ragged cloths. You may imagine that we are at times not as comfortable as we would like to be. We are encamped in the bend of the Cumberland and the ground is a perfect marsh. The muddiest hole I ever saw.…..

General George Crittenden has been drunk nearly all the time. He dresses and looks like a dashing French rogue and has impressed the entire army with the belief that he is triffling and worthless.”

With the accession of General Buell to the Federal command came a change of policy, looking to the shortening of lines and the greater concentration of troops in the direction of Bowling Green. General Zollicoffer’s command, which would include the Tennessee 20th Infantry, was transferred to Monticello, placing him in closer connection with General Johnson and looking to the better protection of Johnson’s right flank. [Ibid. pg 53.]

The Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, which had been low, were made navigable for gunboats by the early winter rains and Johnson took every precaution to guard against Federal troops moving up those rivers, threatening Nashville.

A serious disaster occurred on General Johnson’s right flank in the defeat of General Crittenden at Fishing Creek, Kentucky, January 19, 1862. A small village on the south side of the Cumberland River, just above which Fishing Creek empties into the Cumberland, is called Mill Springs. On the 17th, Crittenden was occupying this village with several regiments. Just across the river he had other regiments, including the 20th. The total was about 4,000 men.

Federal General Thomas was 18 miles northeast at Somerset. In anticipation of meeting this force, the Confederates were determined to attack before high water cut them off. About midnight on the 18th, the Confederate forces on both sides of the river got back together and prepared to advance. Zollcoffier and General Caroll commanded the Confederate forces. It was such a dark and rainy night, when daylight should have come, it was still too dark to see clearly. This led to Zollicoffer’s fatal mistake. He mistook a unit of Federal troops for Confederate and called a halt to the attack. He rode his horse right into the midst of the Federal troops who immediately recognized and killed him. Confederate Military History, page 54, says Zollicoffer was killed within “bayonet reach” by the Federal officer who shot him.

Zollicoffer’s death depressed the Confederate troops. By that time, only the Mississippi 15th and the Tennessee 20th were left fighting and they behaved with gallantry for several hours against greatly superior forces, but lost the day in the end. Crittenden lost his artillery, wagons, animals, and stores and retreated very demoralized toward Gainesboro. [Ibid., pg 55.]

Thirty-three men were killed at Fishing Creek that day. Lieutenant RICHARD EDMUND JOHNSON was one of those killed that rainy January day. The Confederates lost a total of 110 men. Robert S. Hawkins was elected to take RICHARD’s place. We have no idea where RICHARD was buried, but we may imagine he was interred somewhere near the battle field among his comrades. There is a mass grave located near the battlefield which has a marker that closes with the following lines, “We do not know who they were, but we know what they were.”

Contemporary literature indicates, however, that the armies were frequently followed by long trains of professional undertakers who would pick up those fallen who were likely to have family to pay for their burials and transport them back home for burial.

ENOCH SIMPSON’s widow, Martha Johnson Simpson, sister of RICHARD E. JOHNSON, was running a boarding house back in Sumner County during the war to help make ends meet. She had boarding with her the local school teacher, Fannie L. Graves.

Fannie’s brother, Bollman Huger Graves, wrote a letter to his sister from Bowling Green, Kentucky, on February 12, 1862. The original letter is in the possession of Erick Montgomery [1999] who has graciously shared this interesting letter with us, and given us permission to transcribe it here. A Xerox copy is in the possession of the author, and this transcription is made from that copy. Fannie Graves eventually married a son of Martha Johnson Simpson.

Camp Bowling Green, Kentucky February 2nd, 1862
Miss Fannie L. Graves,
Dear Sister,

I embrace the present opportunity of responding to your very wellcome letter, which came only to hand through the ______ of Thomas P. Johnson [a half brother to Martha Johnson Simpson] and was exceedingly gratified to hear of your good health and that you were so well pleased with your new boarding house, I was very sorry to hear of the death of Mr. Johnson. [RICHARD EDMUND JOHNSON] I was not personally acquainted with him, but saw him last summer at Camp Trousdale and was well pleased with his appearance as a gentleman, a brave and patriotic soldier. I suppose some of _____’s command has arrived home since the battle of Fishing Creek. I recon those boys must have seen a hard time from all accounts. The courier of yesterday states that they had nothing to eat save a small ration of beef without salt broiled on the coals with a little parched corn for bread, The battle of Fishing Creek is the greatest disaster that has befallen our army. Our loss was great both in men—stock, we lost 800 mules and horses, 14 pieces artilary, a number of small arms, tents and other camp equipedge. There is no prospects of a battle at this point soon, I think our enemys intentions is to try to out flank us and get in between us and Nashville in order to cut our supplies, but I recon we will interest them for a while before they accomplish such a movement. They will have many dead bodies to walk over before they reach the Donic City, Nashville. There is four Yankee regiments on this side of Green River under cover of their artilery, which is planted on the opposet bank of the river, but when General Hindman from Arkansas marches toward them with his Southern boys, the ­­­is ____the river in double quick time. We have two brigades near Cave City, General Hindman and Breckenridge, also a large amount of cavalry. Hindman has burned the hotel at Cave City and blowed up the Tunnel three miles this side of Cave City near Bell’s tavern; besides he has torn up the railroad for several miles beyond the tunnel which will take the Abs [abolitionists?] sometime to repair.

We have ___very snugly fortified Bowling Green in some eight other places and are yet building new forts, mearly because we have nothing else to employ our time at. We are pretty well drilled, though we drill every nice sun shiny day that presents itself; have general inspection ever Sunday if the weather admits. We are in Col. Clairborne’s Brigade which is composed of the following regiments [viz] Col. Allison’s 24th Tennessee, Col. Martins 23 Tennessee, Col. Hill’s 5th East Tennessee Col. Mitchell’s 45th Tennesse Col. Claiborne’s 1st Arkansas and Col. ____[original has blank line] 14th Mississippi, also 2 battalions of Cavalry and 12 pieces or two battins of flying artilary. You see we have four Tennessee Regiments of Infantry in our Brigade and when we were in Col. Shaver’s Brigade ours was the only Tennessee regiment that belonged to it, and Col. Allison mutually withdrew from it in order to get with the other Tennesseeans. We are very comfortably situated have plenty to eat, such as beef, fresh and pickled, flour, sugar, coffee and ___mixed, rice and occasionally pork and turnips or cabbage in a word, we have plenty of everything but salt, and have plenty of that when we can find it in town for sale. We are getting along finely enjoy camp life very well and have civil amusements of nearly all kinds such pull over hats, bullpen steal goods, bast, pitching gaits, running, jumpping, town ball, and many other plays that strengthens our constitutions and add to our health, I received a lot of letters from Virginia a few days since one from J. M. Crenshaw, Allen Holt and Robert Wright. The boys out there are all well and in fine spirits, not expecting to fight before spring, then they think a general forward movement will be made. Allen Holt says if he lives to get back to Tennessee he will never sing “carry me back to Old Virginia” any more. I saw a letter from Ft. Donelson today and some of the boys of Capt Casson’s company say that they have never been home yet and do not expect to go before the expiration of their enlistment. Then they expect to go but they say the one not for hire another year, especially to Uncle Jeff. I understand the entire force of militia has been recently called out, but I hear so many camp rumors that I hardly know whether to creddit it or not. The boys have their own fun out of the militia from Tennessee when they come in camp. They had much rather be called Citizens but the boys give them the propper appelation, that of militia, This is the first letter that I have written today and I feel some indispassion to desist as I have not written you for some time. My health is very good at present. I have been sick, but am about as stout as I ever was, I am not as fleshy now as when I left home, I weighed 160 lbs when I came into camp, now I weigh 140 lbs. As active and gaily as when I used to be at Castallian at the many balls and parties we used to attend there. I support a large, bushy pair of whiskers and muscache. I have not heard from brother B. M. but once since he has been at Nashville.

…..Mr. Henry Owen’s mother is dead, Owen took her death very hard. I deeply sympathise with any one who looses a kind and affectionate mother, you and I, deer sister, have experienced the loss of one of the best of mothers, almost in the days of our infancy, but yet not insencable of the love of a kind mother she has paid the debt we all owe and we too have to follow the same path that carried her to the grave, and I perhaps very soon. We are all bound to obey the summons that call us from this world of woe and It grieves me sorely to acknowledge that I am yet living and leading the life of a sinner and can only promise to try to become a better man and live a more moral life in future than my past has been. I have a copy of the Holy scriptures, which I have been and intend to continue reading in my liesure hours. We have preaching in Camp every sabbath that the wether will admit, but owing to the very bad wether which we have had, have not had but one or two sermons since Christmas. The boys are all in very good health and spirits…….. your affectionate brother, Hugar

[Original letter in possession of Erick Montgomery, used by permission.]

Another contemporary letter concerning Fishing Creek was copied by the Works Progress Administration [WPA] in “Civil War Letters” [copies are available at the Tennessee State Archives in Nashville, Tennessee.] It is from O. R. Hight to his mother, Mary C. Hight, dated February 3, 1862, and sent from Gainsburough, where the Confederate army had retreated after the disaster at Fishing Creek. The official report of the loss by the confederates was 126 killed, 309 wounded and 95 missing. The Confederate estimate was 700 Federals killed. The official Union figures were 39 killed and 207 wounded Federal forces. [Confederate Military History, pg 55.]

Dear Mother,

I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at this time. I have nothing strange to rite [sic] to you at this time.

We are here at Gainsburough on Cumberlan river. We came here last Saturday, but I don’t think we will stay here long. I recon you have herd [sic] all about the fight that we had last Sunday was two weeks ago. We had to leave our houses. We have drawn more tents. The report is that we kild [sic] about 15 hundred of them and that they kild about 3 hundred of our men, I don’t know how true it is. They kild general Zollicoffer, and we think that he kild one of their colonels. We sent a flag of truth [sic] back after his body, but they had done sent round to Nashville by railroad. They excepted [sic] our flag and let them come in. They have got some of our wounded men prisoners and they say that they may come home as soon as they get able is they will promis not to take up arms again the North anymore. They say that there is 40,000 of them there at fishing creek They taken several canons from us, and mules and wagons. When we got done crosing the river we burnt the boat to keep them from gitting it, and burnt the comisary.

Well, mother, I will send you 10 dolars to get them rails made with, and if you kneed them you can have them made, and if not, you can do what you please with it. I will send you more if you kneed it. I sold my watch for 20 dollars, and they paid us 22 dollars.

I want you to make a crop, or start one till I come home. And I will make it. I want you to plant a big crop of potatoes and coton. Let Mr. House have what ground he wants, and you tend the rest. If you will try you can git a horse for its feed. If you havn’t got feed anough rite to me and I will send you money to by it with. If you can git the horse. Times is hard and they will be harder, and you had beter fix for them, and pay your taxes and take care of what stock you have got.

You rote that old House said that he would do as he pleased when he got there. Let him come, I will show him when I come home. Rite to me as soon as you git this. No more at present.

Sandy [William A.] Escue had grown up almost next door to RICHARD E. JOHNSON and was in the same regiment. [Ferguson, Sumner County, Tennessee in the Civil War, pg. 82-83.] He was eventually elected first Sergeant after the Fishing Creek battle. He and the unit, containing several of his cousins and friends, were in several battles after that. At Missionary Ridge, Sandy was captured and sent to Illinois with some of his comrades. VIRGIE related that “Uncle Tom Rippy” had a thumb shot off at Shiloh. This man was probably alive when VIRGIE was a child and she may have known him. She heard tales of the Civil war from Sandy’s widow, Lou, and the memories of those tales were conveyed to the author as a child. She told them to entertain her family and pass on the oral traditions of our family. Her stories made the Civil War seem fresh and recent in my mind, though it had occurred some 100 years before.

The 1850 census in District 15, page 197, showed that Thomas Rippy, age 40, born in North Carolina, lived with his wife, Rosanna, age 39, and their five children, as well as Nancy Rippy, age 85, born in Ireland. The family included a son named Thomas W. Rippy, age 10 in 1850, who was probably the “Uncle Tom Rippy” who fought at Shiloh. The older Tom Rippy would have been age 50+ during the Civil War, and likely was not a combatant. They lived next door to the JAMES ESCUE. family.

In May, the reorganized brigade was sent to Earl Van Dorn’s District of Mississippi. By May of 1862, almost half the survivors were sick with chills and fever. On January 12, 1863, about a year after RICHARD’s death, there were only 283 effectives, out of 338 present, and 610 on the roll. [Ibid. pg 81-85.]

In August of 1862, a Federal force made up mostly of men from Kentucky was in control of Gallatin in Sumner County. Confederate Colonel John Hunt Morgan came to Gallatin secretly and took over the telegraph office during the night. He “persuaded” the Union telegraph operator to cooperate with him in sending spurious messages to the Federals about trains coming and going. The Federals were suspicious but he succeeded in convincing them the messages were genuine. After he had accomplished his purpose, the townspeople gave him a party.

Sandy had gone to prison in November, 1863, at Rock Island, Illinois. D. W. West from Sumner was there with him and wrote home mentioning that he was there. Another young man there, Hardy Caldwell, Jr., had been at the battles of Fishing Creek, Shiloh, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge. He had a splendid singing voice and sang for the prisoners to keep up their spirits. [Ibid., pg 82.]

The war years were difficult for the people of Sumner County. The occupying Yankee forces were brutal to the population. Rations were in short supply, and apt to be confiscated by roving bands of the Yankees. Citizens were reportedly routinely executed without trial, shot in the head and left in the ditches for their families to find. Men were dragged from their homes and shot in front of their families, and the wives of the soldiers and officers of the occupying forces would come out to watch the executions for entertainment.