Remaking Memphis into a Northern Town
 
From: bernhard1848@att.net
 
The Northern occupation forces in Memphis brought with them great change which remade the town into something familiar to them. As a new center for Northern commercial interests and consumerism, Memphis lost its former culture and Atlanta would be Mammon’s next temple.
 
Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
www.cfhi.net 
 
Remaking Memphis into a Northern Town:
 
“Memphis at that time had been held securely by Union forces for more than two years – ever since the June day in 1862 when the Union gunboats demolished the Confederate fleet of converted river steamers. The presence of large numbers of officers and soldiers, and of sutlers’, army contractors, speculators in cotton or government vouchers and pay claims, and other commercial followers of the army, had given to the town something of the air of a Northern center of business.
 
New York houses, and those of St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbus, Pittsburgh or Wheeling, filled columns of the [Memphis] Bulletin with announcements of their Memphis branches or offices, or with advertisements of sutlers’ goods, insurance, “Sherman” tobacco, or Chesapeake oysters from Baltimore. More tantalizing than any of these, probably, to the Confederate soldiers into whose hands the amazingly free circulation of newspapers back and forth between the belligerents would put the Bulletin or the Review, were the numerous and alluring advertisements of Madeira, or sherry, of Moselle or Rhenish wines, of French brandy or cognac, of “seegars” from Havana, and of coffee – especially coffee. Memphis was the land of plenty.
 
Theaters were booming. There were the New Memphis, the Olympic, the National. East Lynee was shown, and Daughter of the Regiment, The Lady of Lyons, Susan Hopley, or the Trials and Vicissitudes of a Servant Girl, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, or the Graveyard Murder. Not infrequently the columns of the papers would note the marriage of some young lady of Memphis to an Illinois lieutenant, or one from Iowa or Indiana.  Captain James H. Burke, of the Indiana Military Agency, was busy collecting contributions for a volume of Poetry, by Indiana Soldiers.”
 
(First With the Most, Forrest, Robert Selph Henry, Mallard Press, 1991, pp. 335-336)