Destruction of the Town of Randolph. A correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial, writing from on board the steamer Eugene on the 25th inst., gives the following particulars of the destruction of Randolph, Tennessee:
The Cairo and Memphis packet Eugene, on her last trip down – Tuesday, 22nd inst. — was hailed at Randolph about three o’clock P.M., and landed. She had two passengers and some freight to put out. There being no person about except the man who had hailed the boat, Mr. Dalzell, the clerk, had to go up the hill to collect the freight bill. As he approached the warehouse a signal was given, and suddenly the doors were thrown open and about thirty-five men, armed with double barreled shot guns, rifles, and revolvers, sprang out and seized him, demanding an immediate surrender of the boat. Although he had a revolver on each side of his head, Dalzell told the Captain, Mr. Dusonchet, who was on the hurricane deck, to back out, but before the order could be executed the guerillas [sic] had commenced firing at the Captain and pilot, Mr. Oatman, who was on watch at the time, and being unprotected, they were compelled to abandon their posts.
At this time the party were not more than fifty yards from the boat; the confusion and uproar that then occurred can better be imagined than described. The passengers, among whom were many ladies, rushed out to see what was the matter, and seeing the danger, made matters worse; but the engineer saw how things were, and backed the boat out before the guerillas [sic] had time to board her, and was soon out of danger, but not before a great many balls had passed through the pilot-house, texas, and chimneys, but fortunately no one was hurt. The boat had a very valuable cargo, consisting of a most important mail, and despatches [sic] for the army and navy, the Adams Express Company, and a large freight. The guerillas [sic] then took Mr. Dalzell to their camp, which was nine miles in the interior. Col. Faulkner, who was in command, had frequently travelled [sic] with the clerk, and having a very favorable acquaintance with him, let him off, but told him if he ever caught him again he would hang him on the first tree. It was the intention of the guerillas [sic] to have taken the mail express, and such other things as they wanted, and burn the rest.
The passengers would have been paroled, except the officers and soldlers [sic], who would have been kept as prisoners, if not more severely dealt with. If the boat had arrived in the morning on her usual time, she would have met over two hundred in the party; but arriving late, they had gone back to camp, except the company who made the attack.
On the arrival of the boat at Memphis, some of the officers waited on General Sherman and made a statement of the matter, and he told them he would attend to it. The 46th regiment of Ohio volunteers, Colonel Walcut, received orders to march. They, with a section of Willard’s Chicago battery, went on board of the steamers Ohio Belle and Eugene. They arrived at Randolph just before daylight, the Ohio Belle landing three miles below town, where the troops on her disembarked and surrounded the place. The Eugene passed up, without landing, to Fort Pillow, and returned to Randolph about 6 o’clock.
The Quartermaster took an inventory, with an appraisement, of all the buildings. The household and movable property was carried out, and every house except one, being ninety-seven in all, were burned; and nothing now remains of Randolph except blackened walls, chimneys, and charcoal. They property was mostly owned by Col. Dureford and four or five others, who are or have been in the Confederate States army or navy. The place has been one of some commercial importance, having a good farming country back of it. The Confederacy had expended a vast amount (it is said $1,500,00), in fortifying, and it was considered the strongest place on the river. The fortifications remain good, being mostly earthworks, and are very extensive. The town was situated on a high hill, and very broken. Nothing was destroyed except the houses, among which were several warehouses, built by the Confederates for Quartermaster and Commissary purposes. The population of the town were widows (except two men), their husbands being in the army. There are several siege guns here, of large calibre, which have been partially destroyed by the rebels before evacuating the place.
[“Destruction of the Town of Randolph”, Louisville Daily Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, Tuesday, September 30, 1862]