Northeast Tennessee Prisoners of War

A prisoner of war is any person held captive by the enemy during a conflict. This applies to organized armed forces, but it can also include guerrillas, civilians who openly take up arms against the enemy, noncombatants associated with a military force, or civilians who accompany the army. Prisoners of war are held in custody for a variety of legitimate and illegitimate reasons: to punish them, to prosecute them for war crimes, to collect intelligence from them, or to force them to serve in their army.

Prisoners from the Front, Winslow Homer (1866).
Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A youthful Union brigadier general, Francis Barlow, (right) confronting a trio of captured Confederates—about to be fellow-citizens again, against their will—on a devastated field. Barlow, crisp and cool, with his hands clasped behind him, radiates professional rectitude. Two of the rebels are clad in near-rags: one is an inattentive, shambling young lout; the other a white-bearded man, his face clenched with anxiety. The third is a long-haired cavalier in high boots, his tight gray uniform negligently buttoned and his cap set at a rakish angle. 

23 AUGUST 1861
Arresting Women
Women on both sides of the American Civil War are suspected of engaging in treasonous activities, especially spying for the enemy. This is often true in border regions like Washington DC, with its large population of Confederate sympathizers. Several DC women suspected of disloyal behavior are arrested and imprisoned.
On 23 August 1861, Federal authorities arrest Eugenia Levy Phillips, an outspoken Southerner. She is held at the home of another suspected spy for the Confederacy, Rose O’Neal Greenhow. In her journal, Phillips describes the humiliation of her confinement with her two daughters and her sister Martha.
After her release, Phillips moves to New Orleans where she crosses paths with USA General Benjamin Butler whose nickname is ‘Beast’ for a reason.
Butler imprisons Phillips on Ship Island, off the coast of Mississippi. Her husband negotiates her release after a few months and moves the family out of Union-held territory for the duration of the war.

Eugenia Levy Phillips became known as a “fire-eating secessionist in skirts” for her avid support of the Confederacy.

Undermining Confederate Authority
• Unionist bridge burners destroy two railroad bridges in Northeast Tennessee.
• Other Union men organize into groups, many with weapons, and rise up against the Confederate government.
• The proposed invasion by Union troops to support and protect the bridge burners is called off.
• Confederate authorities hang five men for bridge burning.
• 1500 to 2000 Unionists are arrested and forced to serve long confinements in southern prisons, where many die.
• 5000 to 10,000 men flee from their homes into exile or into the army.
• These actions fill the minds of all loyal people of Northeast Tennessee with fear and anxiety for almost two years.
East Tennessee and the Civil War, Oliver P. Temple

‘Must be sent at once to Tuscaloosa jail.’
At this juncture, Confederate authorities make a key blunder, which will drastically change the situation in Northeast Tennessee. Reasoning that their policy of conciliation has failed, the unanimous decision is to employ terror tactics.
CSA Secretary of War Judah. P. Benjamin’s instructions for dealing with the East Tennessee Unionists are quite plain:
1st All such as can be identified as having been engaged in bridge burning are to be tried summarily by drumhead court-martial and if found guilty, executed on the spot by hanging. …
2nd All such as have not been so engaged are to be treated as prisoners of war and sent with an armed guard to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, there to be kept in prison at the depot selected by the government for prisoners of war. Whenever you can discover that arms are concealed by these traitors, you will send out detachments, search for, and seize the arms.
In no case is one of them known to have been up in arms against the government to be released on any pledge or oath of allegiance. The time for such measures is past. … Such as voluntarily take the oath of allegiance, and surrender their arms, are alone to be treated with leniency.
P.S. Judge [David T.] Patterson [son-in-law of Andrew Johnson], Colonel [William] Pickens [who attempted to burn the Strawberry Plains bridge], and other ring-leaders of the same class must be sent at once to Tuscaloosa jail as prisoners of war.
Unconventional Warfare in East Tennessee, 1861-1865, pages 49-50.


Tuscaloosa Paper Company
The Tuscaloosa Paper Company was on River Hill. Cotton rags were used to make fine quality paper, but the company went out of business after a few years, likely due to difficulty of transporting paper. The building was used to house Union prisoners during the Civil War. [No image.]

30 NOVEMBER 1861
Twenty-one of the prisoners lately brought here from East Tennessee, yesterday appeared in the Confederate Court, acknowledged the error of their ways, took the oath of loyalty to the Southern Confederacy, and attached themselves to a company being raised in Nashville.
~ Nashville Daily Gazette

5—7 DECEMBER 1861
Dispersal of Union sympathizers in Cocke County.
KNOXVILLE, 5 December 1861.
The following dispatch received this morning dated from Bird’s Point: Capt. Cocke just in with two bridge-burners and other prisoners. Have no news from Col. Leadbetter. Col. Powel reports by special messenger that he has seen no gathering. Will hold his position. Will throw my forces over the river in the morning and report. Dispatch from Morristown says courier in from [Capt.] Monsarrat. Cannonading and musketry at 8 o’clock. Tories have made a stand.
WM. H. Carroll, Brig.-Gen., C. S. Army.

Map of Tennessee highlighting Cocke County

KNOXVILLE, 7 December 1861.
Capt. Monsarrat has dispersed the tories in Cocke County and captured thirty of the ringleaders.
WM. H. Carroll, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 1, p. 852.



8 JANUARY 1862 – 20 JANUARY 1862
Entreaties for the release of prisoners jailed for uprising against the Confederacy in East Tennessee
CLEVELAND, TENN., January 8, 1862.
DEAR SIR: I have received your request to write you the facts about the arrest of James S. Bradford by Capt. W. L. Brown’s command, and he was a few days after sent to Tuscaloosa.
The nature of the charge against him I am ignorant of. I feel confident that his arrest and transportation from here must have been done under a misconception of his position as regards the rebellious feeling that has disturbed East Tennessee, and had an investigation be allowed him he would have been discharged without spot or blemish. …
I do not desire as you know to have any man released who in any way encouraged rebellion; but Bradford I know is an innocent man and is a good Southern man and so shown himself from date named and I would therefore be glad to see him released.

10 JANUARY 1862
Plea for pardon on Confederate charges of treason
BLOUNTVILLE, TENN., January 10, 1862.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS, President of the Southern Confederacy.
SIR: I am charged with treason toward the Government of the Confederate States for which I make an appeal to Your Excellency for pardon. I will give you the details of my case in full. At the time of the gathering up of the Union men in Eastern Tennessee I went into camp and took the office of issuing commissary. I staid in camp two days when the regiment left for Kentucky, and I being unwilling to go with them started home, and on my way home I learned that some soldiers were lying in wait for me to kill me.
On receiving this information I left in search of refuge. I went to Kentucky. On arriving there and finding out Lincoln’s policy in full it became so obnoxious to me that I returned to Tennessee though not to my home. I have turned aside to await an answer from Your Excellency.
I have given you the case in full. You can examine it and see whether I am guilty of a crime worthy of death or not. If it please you to pardon me, I am then willing to take a position in your army; and if not I will again return to the North but I much prefer the South to the North. I await your answer with patience.
Your humble servant,


13 JANUARY 1862
SIR: I have the honor to inform you officially that the Congress on this day (to wit, January 13) adopted the resolution a certified copy of which is herewith transmitted:
Resolved, That the President be requested to communicate to Congress by what authority and under what law citizens of Tennessee are imprisoned at Tuscaloosa or other points in the State of Alabama, and whether said prisoners or any portion of them have been transported beyond the limits of their own State without a trial, and whether in any instance the writ of habeas corpus has been suspended.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. J. HOOPER, Secretary of the Congress.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 2, pp. 1412-1413.

20 JANUARY 1862
Plea for release of political prisoners held by Confederate authorities.
President of the Confederate States of America:
We, the undersigned petitioners, humbly request that E. Hodges and W. E. Hodges, citizens of Sevier County, Tenn., and who were sent to the military prison at Tuscaloosa and are as we understand now at Mobile, Ala., be released from prison and set at liberty by their giving full assurances of their loyalty to the State of Tennessee and the Confederate States.
We also believe that the said Hodges have fully atoned for the crimes they have committed and that justice is fully satisfied in their cases. We, your petitioners, would further represent that men more guilty than they have been released and nolle prosequi entered in their cases merely by their giving bond for their good behavior; and we would represent to you that the Hodges are men whose families are in straitened circumstances and those to whom clemency has been shown are in quite affluent circumstances.
We, the undersigned petitioners, would also represent to you that we are men that have in no way favored the late attempt at rebellion in Eastern Tennessee but have been contending and laboring for the cause of the South both before and since the difficulties have been upon our country, and we would further state that we ask not for their release upon any personal grounds but merely that even-handed justice be meted out to all alike.
And your humble petitioners will ever pray, &c.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 1, pp. 876-877.

20 JANUARY 1862
Bridge-burning cases of East Tennesseans
SIR: In passing through East Tennessee I have been informed by a gentleman of integrity and whose loyalty to the Confederacy has never been questioned that some forty-five or fifty of the citizens of that section of country have been arrested by persons having or assuming to have military authority under this Government; that after arrest the most of them have been told they must volunteer or be sent to the Government prison at Tuscaloosa, Ala., and that those who refused to volunteer under such compulsion have been sent to and imprisoned at Tuscaloosa where they now remain.
The names of the persons thus dealt with as far as my information extends are as follows: Dr. John G. Brown, Charles B. Champion, James S. Bradford, Allen Marlow, Sidney Wise, John F. Kinchelow, Samuel Hunt, —Potts. W. R. Davis, —Gamble, Thomas L. Cate, John bean, Sr., and John Boon.
These men were arrested by a captain of Tennessee cavalry and as I learn without ever having been before any tribunal, civil or military, without any specification of charges and without the examination of a single witness they were hurried off to imprisonment.
Levi Trewhitt, William Hunt, Stephen Beard, John McPherson, George Munsey, —Thompson were taken to Knoxville but had no investigation before any tribunal. The first two were sent from thence to Tuscaloosa. The remaining four were released either on parole or unconditionally but after returning to their homes they were arrested by the captain of cavalry before alluded to and also sent to Tuscaloosa. As I am informed none of the persons whose names I have given were taken in arms or suspicioned of having been in arms against the Government.
I was requested to bring these facts to the attention of the Tennessee Congressional delegation. I learn that many if not all of them have received corroborative information. By their request I have been induced to bring the subject to your attention that justice might be done in the premises and the character of the Government vindicated. It is insisted and I presume correctly that the terror engendered by these arrests was an efficient cause in changing public sentiment in East Tennessee.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 1, pp. 870-871

John C. Burch
Staff Officer in the Confederate Army

During the Confederate crackdown following the East Tennessee bridge-burnings in late 1861, Levi Trewhitt was arrested and detained at the Knoxville jail.

On the 19th day of November last I arrested and brought to this place Levi Trewhitt, esq., of Cleveland, Tenn. This arrest was made under an order from Col. W. B. Wood, commanding the Sixteenth Alabama Regt., who at that time was the commander of this post.
The arrest was ordered because Mr. Trewhitt was suspected of a knowledge of the burning of the railroad bridges and the plans by which it was done. He was retained here for some weeks and then sent to Tuscaloosa by order of Gen. W. H. Carroll, who succeeded Col. Wood in command. There was no trial or investigation of the charges so far as I know or have understood.
Col. Forty-third Regt. Tennessee Volunteers.

President of the Confederate States of America:
Your petitioners, the undersigned citizens of Bradley County, Tenn., humbly represent and show unto your excellency that Levi Trewhitt, who is now as they understand confined in Mobile as a prisoner of war, is one of the old, influential citizens of Bradley County, Tenn.; that he is about sixty-five years of age and has been for the past few years afflicted with paralysis, and as they now understand is sick and in the hospital at Mobile. … We therefore pray that said Levi Trewhitt be released from said confinement upon his becoming a loyal citizen and taking an oath to support the constitution of the Confederate States of America.
[+ 31 others.]
We, the undersigned officers in the Confederate service, fully concur with the above petitioners.
D. M. KEY,
Lieut.-Col. [JAMES W. ] GILLESPIE,
Col. Regt. Tennessee Volunteers.
[+ 16 others.]

Levi Trewhitt died in a Confederate prison in Mobile, Alabama, in 1862. East Tennessee’s Unionists were incensed by his senseless death.

21 JANUARY 1862
Warnings of residual pro-Union sentiment in East Tennessee.
HDQRS., Knoxville, Tenn., January 21, 1862.
Gen. S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector-Gen., Richmond, Va.
SIR: Outwardly the country remains sufficiently quiet but it is filled with Union men who continue to talk sedition and who are evidently waiting only for a safe opportunity to act out their rebellious sentiments. If such men are arrested by the military the Confederate State courts take them by writ of habeas corpus and they are released under bond to keep the peace; all which is satisfactory in a theoretical point of view but practically fatal to the influence of military authority and to the peace of the country.
It seems not unlikely that every prisoner now in our hands might or will be thus released by the Confederate court even after being condemned by court-martial to be held as prisoners of war.
It is reported to-day that several fragmentary companies recruiting in different counties ostensibly for the service of the Confederate States have suddenly disappeared; gone to Kentucky. It is confidently hoped that the bridge over the Holston at Union [Zollicoffer] will be completed in the current month.
Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,
D. LEADBETTER, Col., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 1, p. 877.

WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond.
Honorable [L. C.] Landon Carter HAYNES, Knoxville, Tenn.
SIR: On the 28th of January last Brigadier-General [Jones M.] Withers was directed to release Samuel Hunt with other political prisoners upon their taking the oath of allegiance to the Confederate States.
Your obedient servant,
Secretary of War.

General Jones Mitchell Withers CSA

24 FEBRUARY 1862
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond.
GENTLEMEN: When a body of traitors a few months ago combined to wage war against the Government in Eastern Tennessee a number of captives were taken. Those found engaged in actual commission of the crime of bridge-burning were tried by court-martial and executed. Others found in arms were by executive clemency considered rather as prisoners of war than as traitors and as such are held in custody in Mobile.
It is not only possible but probable that in the confusion and disorder of the times some innocent men have been confounded with the guilty yet it is almost impossible to discern the truth. Nothing could be more alien to the wishes and intentions of the Government than to exercise arbitrary power or to hold any of its citizens in custody except under due process of law.
It was an act of clemency not of persecution to consider the misguided men found in arms as public enemies instead of traitors. I have, however, received the inclosed statement* and petition of some of those now held as prisoners of war and from which you will perceive that they deny the fact that they were taken in arms or were hostile to the Government. If so, they ought at once to be released.
Will you be good enough to take this subject into consideration and give me your advice and counsel as to these men. Do you know them? Is there any one here that can tell whether or not their statements are correct? Do you think that they can be safely returned to East Tennessee at this time?
I would feel greatly obliged by your co-operation in this matter that I may do what is right for the individuals without endangering the public safety.
Very respectfully,
Secretary of War.
RICHMOND, 24 February 1862
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
SIR: Yours of this date with inclosed petitions has been duly considered. We are credibly informed that all the petitioning prisoners have been released from confinement except Stone, Anderson, Fitzgerald, Beam, Matthews and Evans. We think it was bad policy to discharge them but we know the Government acted in view of the best interests of the country. In answer to your interrogations we state that some of us know all the prisoners. We believe the statements false. We do not think it would be safe to permit them to return to East Tennessee at this time.
We are, sir, with great respect, your obedient servants,

No date
I submit to Colonel W. M. Churchwell, provost-marshal for East Tennessee, the following conversation of Captain Fry now a prisoner. I was placed in charge of the wife of said Fry to conduct her to her husband and allow her to communicate with him:
Among other things spoken of by said Fry he was directing his wife how to dispose of his property. He told her that Colonel Carter would see that she got his wages, remarking that there was $1,000 due him aside from his wages.
I then made him explain how the $1,000 extra came to be due him. He then told me that General Thomas had agreed to pay him $1,000 to come to East Tennessee. He did not tell on what business he came.
Respectfully, submitted,
A. C. BLEVINS, Captain, C. S. Army.

Union men crossing Northeast Tennessee mountains into Kentucky
Sketched by A. W. Warren

By the spring and early summer of 1862, when it became evident that the Confederate conscript act would be enforced, nearly every male inhabitant, liable to military duty, who was able to endure the hardships of the journey and could leave his family, had determined to seek safety in Kentucky. …
If these unfortunate men were captured [as many were], though already exhausted by their journey, they were placed in line for an immediate march to Knoxville, distant more than forty miles. They were hurried forward as rapidly as they could be forced to go. …
They were driven to the already crowded jail or small jail-yard, into which they were huddled, making their condition almost intolerable. Soon afterwards, they were marched under a strong guard to the railroad and sent off to Tuscaloosa, or some other prison, to be held during the war as political prisoners.
They were the tender and gentle sons of the intelligent and independent farmers around New Market and of the beautiful and rich valley of the same name, celebrated all over the state and beyond it as one of the fairest and wealthiest regions in all the land. …
The imprisonment of these young men was done under the order of CSA Gen. E. Kirby Smith, who had recently taken command of this department [8 March 1862]. General Smith … had the reputation, both before and since the war, of being a fair and a just, indeed a good man, and that was true of him in his normal condition. But he had caught the spirit then prevailing in East Tennessee and was no longer himself.
Soon after the accession of Gen. Smith, the celebrated orders directing Mrs. Andrew Johnson, Mrs. W. G. Brownlow, Mrs. Horace Maynard, and Mrs. William B, Carter, with their families, to leave the state and go north, were issued at his command … These families were ordered to leave in thirty-six hours … harmless, innocent ladies, … all of whom were verging on old age, and two of them well advanced in life.
It is no justification of such a policy to say that General S. P. Carter afterwards sent out of Knoxville women and children, nor that Andrew Johnson did the same at Nashville and General Sherman at Atlanta. It is enough to say that the practice, except in cases of actual danger to the general cause, is one to be discountenanced rather than encouraged. …
And after the bridges were burned, and it was found that no Federal army was coming, the Union men again became perfectly quiet, and remained so for twenty-two months following. During all these long, gloomy months, arrests and imprisonments numbering thousands were made, so that at last most of the male population were driven into exile. …
The condition of the Union men of East Tennessee during the latter part of the year 1861 and during the year 1862, and until September of the year 1863 [when Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside occupied Northeast Tennessee], was gloomy beyond description. …
It was hard, very hard to leave home and family as an exile, not knowing when, nor whether at all, they should ever return. … Many persons who could not go, did not dare to remain at home. So, they hid themselves in the hills or the mountains, coming in when no danger seemed to be near. …
In April 1865, the exiles and wanderers nearly all returned to their homes. Some of them had been absent two, some three, and some nearly four years. They returned wiser and generally better men. War and time had to some extent mellowed their fierce spirits. …

17 APRIL 1862
Military Governor Andrew Johnson favors release of Tennessee prisoners of war who affirm they will take the oath of allegiance to the United States.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE, Nashville, Tenn.
Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.
SIR: Inclosed herewith I send a petition from certain members of Tennessee regiments at Camp Douglas in which they express a strong desire to renew their allegiance to the Government and become true and loyal citizens. I will only state in presenting this petition for the consideration of the War Department that whenever circumstances shall justify the discharge of prisoners of war from this State entertaining such views and feelings as are set forth by these petitioners their reappearance among their friends and relatives will I doubt not exert a great moral influence in favor of the perpetuity of the Union.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
ANDREW JOHNSON. OR, Ser. II, Vol. 3, pp. 457.

17 APRIL 1862
Capture of Union refugees near Woodson’s Gap
Report of Major General E. Kirby Smith,
C. S. Army, with instructions in reference to enlistment of Union refugees.
SIR: On the 17th instant 475 Union men of East Tennessee were captured en route for Kentucky [at Woodson’s Gap], and sent, by Maj. Gen. [E. Kirby] Smith’s order, on the 20th instant, to Milledgeville, Ga. Some of them expressed a wish before leaving to enlist in the Confederate States Army. They were not permitted to do so, because of the apprehension that they might [not] be faithful here to their oath of allegiance. …
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, p. 649.

Woodson’s Gap and nearby locations
Woodson’s Gap [now Woodson] is in Campbell County, Northeast Tennessee.
The elevation is 742 meters above sea level.

23 APRIL 1862
Skirmish near Woodson’s Gap, East Tennessee
Report of Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith, C. S. Army.
With instructions in reference to enlistment of Union refugees.
SIR: On the 17th instant 475 Union men of East Tennessee were captured en route for Kentucky [at Woodson’s Gap], and sent, by Maj.-Gen. Smith’s order, on the 20th instant, to Milledgeville, Ga. Some of them expressed a wish before leaving to enlist in the Confederate States Army. They were not permitted to do so, because of the apprehension that they might [not] be faithful here to their oath of allegiance.
Elsewhere they may make good soldiers. Remembering your request, the major-general commanding directs me to say that you have whatever authority he can give you to proceed to Milledgeville, Ga., and enlist as many of them as consent for service in South Carolina, or elsewhere except in East Tennessee. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, p. 649.

26 APRIL 1862
Report of Capt. H. M. Ashby,
Company C, Fourth Battalion Tennessee Cavalry.
SIR: According to your order of the 16th I left Knoxville at 4 p. m., with about 40 men from my company and the same number of Capt. Bradley’s, and proceeded to Clinton, where I was joined by 40 men of Capt. Gillespie’s company, under Lieut. King. I marched all night, reaching Jacksborough about sunrise next morning.
Five miles above Jacksborough, at Big Creek Gap, I left Capt. Bradley, with his command, to reconnoiter the country between that point and Fincastle, 5 miles above Big Creek Gap, there to await further orders. With the remainder of my command I pressed on to Woodson’s Gap, 6 miles beyond Fincastle, where I detached Lieut. Gibbs, of my company, with 10 men, to guard the road coming into Woodson’s Gap from the direction of Clinch River.
I then pressed forward with the remnant of my command to watch some passes a few miles above. In a short time a courier from Lieut. Gibbs informed me that he had captured the advance guard of the tories, when I immediately changed direction and returned to Woodson’s Gap.
The tories had by this time come in full view, with an apparent force of from 700 to 800 men. I at once ordered Lieut.’s Owens and Gibbs, of my company, to attack them in the rear with 25 men, while I charged them in front, thereby preventing their crossing to Cumberland Mountains. After an hour’s fight I succeeded in capturing 423 prisoners, killing about 30 and wounding the same number.
Five members of my company were seriously wounded during the engagement; among the number Lieut. Gibbs. Capt. Bradley’s company was not engaged in the fight, having been left, as stated above, at Big Creek Gap. Officers and men under my command behaved with great gallantry.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. M. ASHBY, Capt. Company C, Fourth Battalion Tennessee Cavalry.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt, I, pp. 649-650.

28 APRIL 1862
Knoxville, Tenn.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that a portion of the Fourth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers (Colonel Morgan) will leave to-day for Milledgeville, Ga., in charge of Union prisoners. The officer of the detachment is directed to report afterward with his command to the military authorities at Savannah, Ga. In more than one communication Brigadier-General Stevenson has reported many desertions from this regiment to the enemy and urged its removal from Cumberland Gap.
Because of this and the general character of the regiment for disloyalty I have thought it best to send it beyond the limits of this department. Being thus removed beyond the influence of friends in the ranks of the enemy it is thought these men may make loyal and good soldiers. I trust my action in this matter will meet the approval of the Department.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding.


19 APRIL 1862
Brigadier General S. P. CARTER [USA],
Commanding Twenty-fourth Brigade, Cumberland Ford.
GENERAL: In acknowledging the receipt of your communication of the 16th instant let me assure you that nowhere within the limits of this department will any violation of the rules of civilized warfare meet with my sanction.
David Fry was captured within our lines in citizen’s dress and was sent to Knoxville charged as a citizen of East Tennessee with bridge-burning. He has as yet laid no claim to being a prisoner of war nor has he announced himself as an officer in the U. S. service.
His presence within our lines in citizen’s dress and engaged in the felonious occupation of bridge-burning makes him amenable either as a citizen of East Tennessee to the criminal courts of the land or as a spy to the military court of the service.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding.

26 APRIL 1862
Confederate imprisonment order for Unionist W. H. Malone and release of John Patterson.
SIR: By direction of Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith, commanding this military department, I have to request that you will admit into the prison in which the Union men of Tennessee are confined Mr. W. H. Malone, a gentleman who bears this communication and whose loyalty is indorsed by some of the best and most patriotic citizens of the State.
Mr. M. proposes to enlist into the army of the Confederacy such of the prisoners as may be disposed and whom he may deem reliable for service without the limits of this department. The major general commanding heartily approves the motive which influences Mr. M., and trusts that the object he would attain will as far as possible be advanced by the authorities who have the prisoners in charge.
You will release John Patterson, one of the prisoners who was by mistake sent among the number.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. I, p. 885.

26 APRIL 1862
Report of Capt. H. M. Ashby, Company C, Fourth Battalion Tennessee Cavalry.
SIR: According to your order of the 16th I left Knoxville at 4 p. m., with about 40 men from my company and the same number of Capt. Bradley’s, and proceeded to Clinton, where I was joined by 40 men of Capt. Gillespie’s company, under Lieut. King. I marched all night, reaching Jacksborough about sunrise next morning.
Five miles above Jacksborough, at Big Creek Gap, I left Capt. Bradley, with his command, to reconnoiter the country between that point and Fincastle, 5 miles above Big Creek Gap, there to await further orders. With the remainder of my command I pressed on to Woodson’s Gap, 6 miles beyond Fincastle, where I detached Lieut. Gibbs, of my company, with 10 men, to guard the road coming into Woodson’s Gap from the direction of Clinch River.
I then pressed forward with the remnant of my command to watch some passes a few miles above. In a short time a courier from Lieut. Gibbs informed me that he had captured the advance guard of the tories, when I immediately changed direction and returned to Woodson’s Gap.
The tories had by this time come in full view, with an apparent force of from 700 to 800 men. I at once ordered Lieut.’s Owens and Gibbs, of my company, to attack them in the rear with 25 men, while I charged them in front, thereby preventing their crossing to Cumberland Mountains.
After an hour’s fight I succeeded in capturing 423 prisoners, killing about 30 and wounding the same number. Five members of my company were seriously wounded during the engagement; among the number Lieut. Gibbs. Capt. Bradley’s company was not engaged in the fight, having been left, as stated above, at Big Creek Gap. Officers and men under my command behaved with great gallantry.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. M. ASHBY, Capt. Company C, Fourth Battalion Tennessee Cavalry.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, part, I, pp. 649-650.

2nd Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry CSA

8 MAY 1862
Release of Confederate political prisoners.
HDQRS., Knoxville, Tenn.
Mr. JOHN L. M. FRENCH, Chattanooga, Tenn.
SIR: Your favor of the 5th instant is to hand. The political prisoners you mention can be released under the consideration that they will each give a bond signed by a good Southern man, provided such prisoner or prisoners have not heretofore taken the oath of allegiance to the Southern Confederacy. Of course you must require good Southern men to indorse the bonds and return same to these headquarters.
Respectfully, W. M. CHURCHWELL,
Col. and Provost-Marshal.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 2, p. 1423.

19 MAY 1862
Confederate proposal to release political prisoners upon taking loyalty oath.
KNOXVILLE, Col. W. M. CHURCHWELL, Provost-Marshal.
SIR: As per your order of the 13th instant I proceeded to Madison, Ga., and released the prisoners whose signatures are appended to the oath I herein hand you. My instructions were to “release no man who had before taken the oath;” and to discriminate between those that had or had not taken the oath, I had this oath administered to them:
That you shall make true answers to the questions I shall ask your having taken an oath to support the constitution of the Confederate States of America. So help you God.
I then asked them if they had taken said oath and in every case was answered in the negative. As soon as they had all taken and signed the oath as per orders I turned them all over to Mr. T. J. Jarnagin. In looking over my list I found that several were never there, several are dead, and some have volunteered; and I would advise that a statement be made by Capt. Calhoun of all the prisoners that are or have been there-when released and by whose order. …
I consulted with the prisoners before their release but could find out nothing important enough to include in this report.
The above report, colonel, is respectfully submitted.
H. M. BEARDEN, Lieut., Company D,
Thirty-ninth North Carolina Troops.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 2, pp. 1426-1427.

Provost Marshal, Department of East Tennessee

27 MAY 1862
Letter from Confederate Assistant Surgeon Sam Houston Hynds at Big Creek Gap.
To his mother, Ann Hynds, in Dandridge, Jefferson County, Northeast Tennessee
Your letter directed to me at this place came safely to hand, as usual, glad to hear from you and from Dandridge.
I am not surprised that you wonder at the miraculous marches we have made since we left Knoxville early in the Spring. We have been, it seems to me, in every nook and corner in these Mountains … hunting up those interesting aids of Old Abe’s Army “Styled Home Guards” … these pious and puritanic soldiers are composed of the ignorant Mountaineers who are too lazy to run and consequently unfit to serve Old Abe in the Regular Army.
But from their knowledge of the mountains they are able to skulk about and murder our pickets and destroy the property of innocent persons under the covers of the “Stars & Stripes.”
A few Sundays ago I was sent with a detached Corps from our Brigade to scout in the mountains, and if possible to ascertain the position of a Federal band said to be stationed on Pine Mountain 15 miles from our present encampments, a portion of our corps engaged a number of “Jay Hawkers” about half way [into] our journey, one killed, one dead wounded, another badly, took 7 prisoners and captured a lot of guns, ammunition and camp equipment of ours.
One Lieut. was wounded badly in the head from the ax in the hands of an old woman, our boys did not kill the old woman as has been reported, they only knocked her in the head with a gun and left her for dead, but she was not badly hurt. I saw her myself in less than a half hour after the fight.
I have seen some very narrow risks since I have been in the Mountains, but have so far escaped unharmed. Perhaps the narrowest risk I have seen since I have been in the Army occurred while I was at Kingston. I came very nearly being captured and held as a prisoner for life by a very fascinating young lady of that Village.
It required the combined forces of resolution and determination to get me released but now I am safe again, yet extremely anxious to visit the place where I came so near falling a victim to woman’s charm. You see, I was Asst. Surgeon in the Kingston Hospital and some power devine laid low with the fever my fair one’s Grand-mother.
Of course I was called on to officiate in the capacity of the Good Samaritan. Many were the professional airs I put on, and large were the pills of bread I administered to cure the poor old woman. The same power that had laid her low soon came and restored every wound in nature and I was crowned with honor and respect besides being permitted to visit the family at my pleasure and without ceremony.
I now found that while in the presence of Miss Emilee I had not forgotten entirely some of my old accomplishment, and as my visits were by no means disagreeable, either to Miss Emilee or myself, I thought I might just as well use them as not. I cannot tell you everything that happened to me during my short stay in Kingston, Yet I assure you I am by no means displeased with what has passed between the fair Miss Emilee and myself. …
We do not like our Brigadier Gen. [probably Crittenden] he is a drunken braggart, and wholly unfit to command, he has been vainly attempting to occupy with our little army; to the side of the C. [Cumberland] Mountains at once. I have no idea what his next move will be as he must be convinced by this time that his former plans must prove fatal. …
The only news from the place is that the enemy; 10,000 strong are removing the blockade from these Gaps. They killed one of our spies yesterday, another went out this morning, he told us all goodby and said he would not return that he would be killed, that his brother was lying at that time dead on the ground (the one who was killed yesterday evening), that his father had been killed sometime since, that his family had been scattered by the vandals, and he intended to release them or to bring them into our encampment …
Give my love to all in general and Grand-ma in particular. …
Yours Affectionately,
Sam Houston Hynds
W.P.A. Civil War Records, Vol. I, pp. 93-94.

3 JULY 1862 – 14 JULY 1862
Statements of East Tennessee Unionists taken prisoner as Confederates seeking removal from Camp Chase.

3 JULY 1862
PRISON No. 3, MESS No. 1, Camp Chase, near Columbus, Ohio.
DEAR SIR: I am a prisoner at Camp Chase, Ohio, and I feel myself a loyal man, if I could have hope [helped] myself, but I am here and wish to let you know that I was not persuaded into it, but actually driven in, as all the violators of the Confederacy were, or hung, or imprisoned.
I as well as many other Union men of East Tennessee joined a company of Union home guard, gotten up by J. S. Lamb, in the Fourth District of Knox County, Tenn. I drilled with them and expressed my honest sentiments for the Union and Constitution, and for Andrew Johnson, Horace Maynard, [William G. ] Parson Brownlow and T. A. R. Nelson.
I have the pleasure to announce to you that I voted for the Union three times and would have done so again and again had I had the opportunity; but, alas, we have been overrun by a military despotism that prevailed in East Tennessee for over twelve months; but after the August election had done all that I could at the ballot box for the Union, and J. S. Lamb and some others saw it plain by Governor Harris’ and Zollicoffer’s proclamation that we were bound to be oppressed.
They gathered all they could and made an effort to cross Cumberland Mountains to Kentucky to join the U. S. Army, but we were defeated by the secesh soldiers and several prisoners taken. I got back home and kept myself hid for some time, and though all was over, I was surrounded and notified that those who were engaged in trying to get to the U. S. Army would be hunted up, and if they refused to go into service would be “sent up” – a phrase to mean shooting, hanging, or imprisonment, for they said that they would join the Union Army.
I therefore consented to go into a company of sappers and miners, as I was informed it was to work and not to fight, with the intention if I had any chance to escape and get to the Union Army; and four of us boys of the same company had entered into a secret covenant, as soon as we were sure that the Union forces were near enough we would go to them and leave Mr. Secesh.
Our names are as follows: J. S. Lamb, Calvin Garrett, William Martin, and myself, Joel B. Crawford. We were taken before we knew they were so near. I send this to you and I wish you as my friend to do the best you can for me. I am willing to take any oath that the War Department may require.
I am, respectfully, yours,

Layout of Federal prison at Camp Chase, Ohio

3 JULY 1862
FROM PRISON No. 3, MESS No. 1, Camp Chase, near Columbus, Ohio.
Hon. HORACE MAYNARD, Washington, D. C.:
We, the undersigned, wish to give you as full account of the cause as possible of our being prisoners in Camp Chase, as we were Union men, as J. S. Lamb has already referred to us as his “Union fellow-sufferers in East Tennessee,” by the secesh military despotism that reigned for some time in our country.
We know you and our fathers were your warm supporters as well as Union lovers, and so would we have done the same, but William Martin was too young to vote, I did myself, Calvin Garrett. I know you are acquainted with our fathers, Reuben Garrett and Jonathan Martin, that live (Garrett) on the top of Copper Ridge and Martin at the foot of the same, Union County, Tenn., on the road leading from Knoxville to Maynardville, Tenn.
We were with Joseph S. Lamb when he started to cross Cumberland Mountains to join the U. S. Army, but as J. S. Lamb has already informed you we were stopped by the secesh army and defeated, but we made the second attempt and again found we could not go through.
We got home and were about to be taken. We scouted in the ridges for some time. We were informed that if we would give ourselves up and agree to go into the service we would not be hurt. As we saw no other prospect, by their giving us our choice of company and some time to choose, we agreed to it and put off the time as long as we could and finding no possible way to get out of it we concluded to go into a company of sappers and miners, as we were informed that that company was to work and not to fight.
We had concluded to enter that company, and if any possible chance offered, if the Federal Army got close to us, we would desert and go to the Union Army. Four of us boys had entered into that covenant secretly ourselves.
The names are Calvin Garrett, William Martin, Joseph S. Lamb and Joel B. Crawford. We would not wish you to publish this to the world, for if we are safely discharged from here our secesh neighbors would kill us secretly.
The prisoners, some of them that are here, have threatened, particularly if an exchange takes place, that J. S. Lamb and Martin are to go up … Martin for conducting the Union boys to camp where Lamb was waiting … when I (Garrett) was taken, and for telling them that there were two horses and some Union boys who would be glad to go with them, and J. S. Lamb for going and getting the powder and giving it to them in order as he said to defeat the secesh pursuit; and none of us four ever wish, as you and the War Department may judge, to be exchanged.
We wish to be discharged by taking any oath that the Department may require. We send this to you and wish you to read and lay it before the War Department, and if you can do us any good we will be under all obligations to you.
We subscribe ourselves,
your obedient servants,
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 4, pp. 122-123.

Camp Chase > Prisoner of War Camp near Columbus Ohio
Upon an oath of honor, Confederate officers were permitted to wander through Columbus, register in hotels, and receive gifts of money and food; a few attended sessions of the state senate. But they were still prisoners.

14 JULY 1862
Statement of Joseph S. Lamb, prisoner.
I reside in Knox County, Tenn., ten miles from the city of Knoxville. I am a Union man and will continue to be as long as I dare speak and have been so all the time. I voted against secession and talked against it as long as I dared. I had a Union flag at home and have yet unless they have gotten in and robbed me of it. About the 1st of June 1861, I had my likeness taken with the Stars and Stripes across my breast.
I was well known at home as a Union man both by Union men and secessionists and can give plenty of references of Union men as to this fact. After the time of taking my likeness and the election Gen. Zollicoffer, of the rebel army, came to Knoxville and took command and proclaimed that all those of the South should unite with the Confederacy and warning them that they had better never have been born than strike a blow against the South.
Afterward, about the 9th of August [1861], I together with Calvin Garrett, William Martin and Joel B. Crawford, now confined in prison with me at Camp Chase, with many others left our homes in Knox and Union Counties and started for Kentucky to unite with the Federal Army, then lying at or near Camp Dick Robinson [KY].
After traveling all night and the forenoon of the next day, having arrived at the foot of the Cumberland Mountains and about thirty miles on our journey, our advance was attacked by a squad of secession cavalry under command of Capt. [Hunter] Ashby.
We were unarmed. Capt. Thornburg, of our party, was wounded in the neck and me and nine others taken prisoners. We were informed by the mountain pilots that it would be impossible to cross the Confederate lines, they being too closely guarded, upon which we all returned to our homes, narrowly escaping being taken prisoners upon our return. …
In about ten or fifteen days afterward there came into my home upon me some seven armed men and arrested me and informed me that the charge was treason. …
They cursed my wife the same night they arrested me for saying she did not think the Union men were traitors and tories for maintaining their sentiments; that such a charge should rather go upon the other side.
They compelled me then to go along with them to Knoxville. There I was informed that the only way to save myself was to join the Southern Army and support the South against invasion.
Being advised by my friends I did so, in hopes that the Federal Army would soon come and rescue us, and with the full determination never to fire a gun against the flag that had protected us. …
I was at Big Creek Gap waiting on and cooking for some sick soldiers about the 21st day of February last, when a squad of Capt. Cross’ company, of Second Tennessee (Union) Regt., came in sight some 200 yards off. I could easily have escaped after I discovered them had I had any disposition to do so.
Calvin Garrett was then with me and he could have easily escaped also. Instead of making my escape I was out of doors and immediately started, meeting them walking slowly. Garrett did not start toward them with me but did not attempt to escape.
I and Crawford, Martin and Garrett had previously entered into a secret agreement that if ever we came near enough to the Federal lines that we knew we could make our escape we would do so and unite with the Federal Army. We were all of us taken prisoners the same day by Capt. Cross’ company of infantry. … and have remained prisoners ever since. …
I am willing and anxious to take the oath of allegiance to the Federal Government and to enlist and fight in the Federal Army till the last gun is fired if I should live or the rebellion is put down, and to support the government of Governor Andrew Johnson. I am a warm friend of William G. Brownlow and Horace Maynard and of Governor Andrew Johnson.
I am firmly of the opinion that Calvin Garrett, William Martin and Joel B. Crawford have at all times at heart been Union men, are now, and if released will be good citizens of the United States and I believe they would unite with the Federal Army.
Taken, subscribed and sworn to before me this 14th day of July, A. D. 1862.
C. W. B. ALLISON, Col., Cmdg. Post, Camp Chase, Ohio.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 4, pp. 217-219.

22—26 JULY 1862
Union and Confederate negotiators reach an agreement for a standard of prisoner exchanges.

24 JULY 1862
Rules of procedure for hearing before the Provost Marshal.
Col. W. M. CHURCHWELL, Provost-Marshal, Knoxville, Tenn.
COL.: I am directed by the major-general commanding to say that you will order the assistant provost-marshal of the department whenever an arrest is made to send up with the prisoner a statement of the case accompanied with the names of the witnesses cognizant of the facts upon which the arrest is made.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 4, p. 826.

Major-General E. KIRBY SMITH CSA

1 AUGUST 1862
Confederate General E. Kirby Smith decries Federal policies toward civilians and threatens reprisals.
Brig. Gen. GEORGE W. MORGAN, Cmdg. United States Forces, Cumberland Gap.
GEN.: It has been reported to me that by your orders peaceable citizens without your lines have been arrested on account of their political opinions and are now held as prisoners. Since assuming command in this department I have arrested but 7 persons for political offenses and of these 6 have been released. By my intercession many who before my taking charge of the department had been sent South and confined have been released. I have ever given to the citizens of East Tennessee protection to persons and property regardless of their political tenets.
Six hundred and sixty-four citizens escaping to Kentucky, most of them with arms in their hands and belonging to military organizations in open hostility to the Confederate States, have been taken prisoners. All of these have been released excepting 76, who previously had voluntarily taken the oath of allegiance to the Confederate States Government, and are now held as prisoners of war.
This policy has been pursued with an earnest desire to allay the horrors of war and to conduct the campaign with as little severity as is consistent with the interests of my Government. It is therefore, general, with deep regret that I hear of your arresting peaceable citizens without your lines, thereby inaugurating a policy which must bring great additional suffering on the two contending peoples.
I cannot but hope that this course has resulted from a misapprehension of my policy and a want of knowledge of my treatment of the Union element in East Tennessee. I have constantly had it in my power to arrest numbers of citizens disloyal to the Confederate States, but have heretofore refrained from so doing for the reasons above stated, and hoping all the while that the clemency thus extended would be appreciated and responded to by the authorities of the United States.
It is perhaps needless for me to state that if you continue to arrest citizens from without your lines whom the usages of war among civilized nations exempt from molestation, I shall be compelled in retaliation to pursue a similar course toward the disloyal citizens of my department, and shall arrest and confine the prominent Union men in each community.
I hope, however, that this explanation may correct any misapprehension on your part regarding my policy, and thereby obviate the necessity of my pursuing a course which is, to say the least, a disagreeable duty. This communication will be delivered to you by Mr. Kincaid, who hopes to be able to effect the release of his father, now held as a prisoner. …
I am, general, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, pp. 244-245.

3 AUGUST 1862
Military Governor Andrew Johnson’s policy on releasing Tennessee Confederate prisoners.
Hon. P. H. WATSON, Assistant Secretary:
In reply to your inquiry by telegraph I have to state, first, all Tennessee prisoners who are willing to take the oath of allegiance and enter into bond for its faithful observance should be released upon parole subject to notice. If they were released as suggested and permitted to return to Tennessee it would exert a powerful influence upon the State at this time.
The oath when taken and the bond should be forwarded to the Governor of Tennessee and filed in secretary’s office. If the power were conferred on me as intimated a short time since by the President—the power to prescribe the terms of release—I would at once appoint an agent competent to exercise proper judgment and send him to the various prisons where Tennesseeans are confined authorized to examine and release all who would take the oath and give bond.
All those who were not willing to comply with foregoing conditions I would either exchange or retain in prison. If this course were adopted I feel well assured that much good would result from it. I repeat I hope none of those Tennessee prisoners will be exchanged and sent South who are willing to conform to the conditions herein set forth.
ANDREW JOHNSON, Military Governor.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 4, p. 333.

9 AUGUST 1862
Andrew Johnson appoints former Tennessee Governor William B. Campbell as prisoner of war commissioner to carry out prisoner of war release policy.
Gen. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-Gen.:
In compliance with authority and instructions from the War Department on 4th instant I have appointed ex-Governor Campbell commissioner to visit the various prisons containing Tennessee prisoners and prescribe the terms and conditions of their release.
All prisoners not officers who are willing to take the oath of allegiance and give bonds will be released upon parole to report to the Governor of Tennessee, and all who refuse to do so will be retained in prison, exchanged. Governor Campbell will communicate to the War Department what policy he adopts in regard to the release of these prisoners.
I trust in God that in making an exchange of prisoners that the East Tennesseeans now confined in Southern dungeons will not be overlooked. The eastern part of the State has been too long neglected and our people left to oppression. Let that portion of her people are now in dungeons be set free at least while there is an opportunity to redeem them with traitors and rebels.
ANDREW JOHNSON, Military Governor.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 4, p. 362.

Gov. Campbell of Tennessee, whose mission to Chicago we noticed at some length a few days since, has been successful in securing the release of three hundred and eighty-seven prisoners, now confined at Camp Douglas. By consent of the War Department, the prisoners alluded to came up yesterday and took the oath of allegiance. Twenty one of them left last evening—the balance taking their departure to-day. …
We are informed that many others would take the oath were it not for the general impression prevailing among the prisoners that they are to be released by exchange. The prisoners universally manifested a feeling of joy and relief that their captivity was over …
It is a noticeable fact that the prisoners from the Gulf States manifest no desire to take the oath, but, on the other hand, manifest a most inveterate hatred to everything federal. The batch lately brought from New Mexico are especially dogged and contumacious. They are a bloodthirsty, brutal pack, whom no amount of good treatment or kindness will ever effect.
~ Nashville Dispatch.

4 OCTOBER 1862
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: After being a few days in command here and finding the disloyalty and disaffection to the Government much more general and bitter than I had expected, I became satisfied that much good might result to our cause by putting myself in communication with a few of the most influential Union men. …
I believe there are Southern men in East Tennessee, small politicians generally, who do not desire that influential men who have heretofore been strong Union men should change their course and come out in support of the Government. They are actuated by petty party jealousy, and have done much mischief by denunciatory articles in the public prints on men who if let alone would gladly have abandoned their hostility and opposition to the Government. …
While I shall endeavor by a conciliatory but firm course to bring the leaders of what is known as the Union party and through them the mass of the party to the active support of the Government, I shall not fail every means in my power to suppress everything like open hostility or secret treachery. I regret to believe that much of such hostility and treachery exists in this department.
I have a detachment out now in an adjoining county to kill, capture, or disperse a party of some 200 or 300 armed men collected together in the mountains to join the enemy in Kentucky; and I hear there are other such bands. It may be well to arrest and send out of the country a few of the most obdurate and perverse Union men. I have received no instructions from you and am not informed as to the policy it is desired I should pursue.
I send with this copies of orders and a short proclamation to the people of East Tennessee. They, together with this letter, will indicate somewhat of the policy I propose to pursue, and I have respectfully to ask that you will submit them to the President and inform me if they meet his approval.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
SAM. JONES, Maj.-Gen.

Major General SAM. JONES CSA
Commander at Knoxville

13 OCTOBER 1862
Confederate forces ordered to Johnson and Carter counties to disperse Unionists.
Lieut. Col. [GEORGE N. ] FOLK, Cmdg.
Seventh North Carolina Volunteers:
You will proceed with four companies of your command to the counties of Johnson and Carter and break up and disperse an organization of tories from North Carolina and such other hostile bands as you may find. The prisoners taken from the North Carolina band will be sent to the provost-marshal at Salisbury, N. C., and the Tennessee prisoners to this place.
Private property will be strictly respected and all lawless acts of violence repressed with the utmost vigilance and discipline. A full report will be made to these headquarters.
Your obedient servant,
Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, p. 940.

22 NOVEMBER 1862
A petition from Union Citizens in East Tennessee to Military Governor Andrew Johnson.
The undersigned would respectfully, as Union Citizens of Tennessee, request you to enforce your Proclamation of May last, and arrest or cause to be arrested ten rebels, or some such number, for each loyal Citizen of Tennessee now under arrest, or who may hereafter be arrested by the rebels, or under their authority, to be treated in all things as the loyal citizen may be treated by them. Such arrests, as far as practicable to be from the neighborhood of the loyal Citizen. …
The undersigned, in making the above request are satisfied that they represent the Union sentiment of Tennessee and by pursuing the policy of the Proclamation, hundreds of loyal citizens, now confined in loathsome prisons will soon be released and at home with their families and others can remain at home in security. …
Respectfully your fellow Citizens.
Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 66.
Note: The petition contained 132 signatures, most of them from East Tennessee, including W. G. Brownlow, Horace Maynard, William J. Clift and A. B. Shankland, all mainstays of devoted Unionism in East Tennessee.


23 JANUARY 1863
Daniel Ellis account of the murders of East Tennessee Unionists seeking to escape Confederate East Tennessee.
[Ellis was a pilot who led Northeast Tennessee Unionists across the mountains into Kentucky, either for their personal safety or to join the Union Army.]
Some of the men whom I had agreed to conduct through to Kentucky had the misfortune of being captured and cruelly murdered by the rebels. The names of the poor fellows were James Taylor, Samuel Tatum, Alfred Kite, Alexander Dugger, and David Shuffield.
The infamous men who perpetrated these murders belonged to Folk’s regiment, accompanied by some of the home guards of Johnson County, who had been ranging all over the country for conscripts, taking these home guards along with them for guides.
They were all together when the rebels discovered them, they being on one side of the Watauga River and the rebels on the other. When they first observed these men, they at once dashed across the river on their horses and surrounded them on a small ridge.
Some of these men had arms … nothing more than a pistol or a knife, which so enraged the rebel demons that they rushed forward like blood-thirsty tigers, and butchered these poor men in cold blood, without pity and without mercy. …
When the rebels first fired, poor Taylor surrendered; they continued to shoot at him, while he begged them to be treated as a prisoner, but instead, one of these incarnate devils ran up and soon silenced in, by shooting the top of his head off with a musket.
Two of them then caught him by his feet, and pitched him violently over a large rock down a steep declivity, which bruised his body and broke his limbs in a most shocking manner. … Tatum was killed nearly at the same time that Taylor was, he being first wounded in the shoulder, and then dispatched with great cruelty. …
Thrilling Adventures of Daniel Ellis, p.107-110.

A pilot through Northeast Tennessee mountains
Ellis led Unionists, Confederate deserters, prison escapees, slaves, and fugitives through the mountains into Kentucky or the Union lines.

2 JUNE 1863
Bragg issues General Orders No. 18
Relative to refugee policy
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT No. 2, Tullahoma, Tenn.
The enemy has seen fit to expel from his lines and send to our midst not only those supposed to be guilty of crimes, but non-combatants found at their homes in the peaceful pursuits of life. In the perpetration of these outrages on humanity, and these violations of civilized warfare, he has prostituted the flag of truce to the base purpose of protecting the guards who drive forth these exiles.
Hereafter that flag will not protect those guards, but they will be seized and sent forward to be treated as spies or prisoners of war, as the circumstances in each case may require.
By command of Gen. Braxton Bragg
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, pp. 858-859.

25 JUNE 1863
One East Tennessean’s concerns about Federal conscription.
From Loveland Ohio.
Andrew Johnson, Military Governor of Tennessee
Dear Sir: Will your Honour please to inform me whether I am subject to conscription or draft or not. Here is my case. I am an East Tenn. 14 months ago I left home to join the Union Army. In crossing the Lines I was captured as a citizen, to remain a prisoner during the war.
So having no protection from the U. S., I took an oath not to fight against them. (Rather then to remain a prisoner) I gave Bond of $2000 Dollars. Since I crossed the Lines, rather than go to the Rebel Army, I have also got my family here, with me. My home was once in Greeneville Tenn. I was a printer in the Democrat office. …
I hope to have your opinion soon.
Your Friend, F. M. Farmser.
Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, pp. 276-277.

29 JUNE 1863
Return to duty orders for Confederate prisoners of war in East Tennessee.
General Orders No. 60
Headquarters, Dep’t East Tenn., Knoxville.
All officers and soldiers captured by the United States forces under Col Saunders is their recent raids—Sanders’ Raid—are hereby directed to report for duty immediately to their representative commands, as the paroles given are not recognized by the Authorities at Richmond.
By command of,
Maj. Gen. S. B. [Simon Bolivar] Buckner
Knoxville Daily Southern Chronicle.

Major General Simon Bolivar Buckner CSA

Federal Provost Marshall seeks release of political prisoners in East Tennessee.
Office Provost Marshal Gen. of E. Tenn., Knoxville.
All persons whose friends have been arrested for political offenses, and carried off by the Rebels, and are still held in confinement, are requested to report the names of such prisoners at this office, as soon as possible, with the charges on which they were arrested, in order that measures may be taken to secure their release.
By command of S. P. CARTER,
Brig. Gen. and Pro. Mar. Gen. E. Tenn.
Knoxville Daily Bulletin.

‘Dear wife I was captured at Jonesborough.’
Letter from prisoner of war John Bachman at Knoxville.
To his wife Rachel in Sullivan County.
I am well except a very sore ankle. I wish you would send me a good pair of socks and 2 shirts and a good Blanket or an overcoat and pants; put them in a satchel or haversack. Don’t grieve after me … tell the Boys to take care of the Crop, as well as they can keep what grain you have.
Get Lynes or bob to see to your claims &c. Andy Coleman owes $16.00 & Thomas Hickman $10.00. Borrowed at Salt Works. I have no time to write you much satisfactions; there is with me J. H. Grouch, Jon Ball Edmon, Wheelock & others of my friends.
We expect to be sent to Camp Chase, and if it should be so, we may Remain some months.
So I remain your affectionate Husband,
John Bachman
W.P.A. Civil War Records, Vol. I, p. 126.

Hail! Hail! Burnside!
During the first few days of September 1863, Major General Ambrose Burnside arrives in Northeast Tennessee and begins to free the Unionists there from Rebel occupation, which they suffered under for more than two years.
The general travels with his troops up the Valley and personally takes part in some of the engagements, like wresting Cumberland Gap from the Confederate garrison occupying it. Not the best general in the war, but he deserves the credit for finally coming to the aid of the Unionists in Northeast Tennessee.

GENERAL FIELD ORDERS, No. 13, regarding foraging regulations and punishments for depredations.
As it is the mission of this army to rescue East Tennessee from rebel despotism, so it is also its duty to see that within its lines law and order are enforced.
No advantage must be taken of its presence to avenge private wrongs or to gratify a personal malice, and it must be distinctly understood by all, both citizens and soldiers, that any unauthorized injuries inflicted by any, on either person or property, will be promptly punished with the utmost rigor of military law.
No levies on property for the public service will be made, except by the proper authority, and in no case will any person, no matter how great may be his criminality, be left without the means of subsistence. Offenses or depredations should be at once reported to the nearest provost-marshal, who is authorized to immediately arrest the offender and hold him for punishment.
Vouchers will be given in all cases for property, and these vouchers will state on their face what is known as to the loyalty or disloyalty of the persons from whom property is taken. …
Citizens as well as soldiers are notified that all prisoners of war, when released on their taking the oath of allegiance, will be permitted to return to their homes and resume their ordinary avocations, and will not be threatened or molested by any one so long as they observe their faith to the Government … but any violation of the oath will be promptly reported to the nearest provost-marshal, who is authorized to take immediate action.
By command of Maj. Gen. [Ambrose] Burnside.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. III, pp. 718-719.

Wagon train carrying supplies to the armies

6 OCTOBER 1863
Federal policy of retribution against Rebel sympathizers in East Tennessee announced.
Office Provost Marshal General East Tennessee. Knoxville, Tenn.
WHEREAS, The Rebel forces in Upper and Lower East Tennessee have been engaged in the wanton seizure and destruction of the property of Union men, … it has been threatened that Union citizens shall be visited with “fire and sword” – and the threat has already been carried out by the arrest, imprisonment, and maltreatment of Union men, for no alleged crime but that of loyalty to their Government …
It is not the desire of those in authority to arrest quiet and orderly citizens, or molest them merely on account of opinions they may have held, it is, therefor Ordered, that with a view of bringing such barbarous practices to an end, the severest retaliatory measures shall be adopted.
In every case where a Union man, has been arrested and is held in confinement, a prominent Rebel, or active Rebel sympathizer, living in his vicinity, shall be arrested and held in close confinement as a hostage, and be subject, in all respects, to the same treatment and punishment which the Union man receives at the hands of the rebel authorities, until his release from prison and restoration to liberty …
In all cases where it can be shown that the property of Union men has been seized or wantonly destroyed, the property of rebels, and of citizens of rebel sympathies in the neighborhood where such destruction has occurred, shall be taken and held by way of retaliation, and for the purpose of indemnifying Union citizens for their losses.
By command of S. P. CARTER,
Brig. Gen. and Pro. Mar. Gen. E. Tenn.

4 NOVEMBER 1863 – 23 DECEMBER 1863
Longstreet’s Knoxville Campaign.

At First Light: The Gwinnett Artillery at the Battle of Fort Sanders
Ken Smith, Artist

29 NOVEMBER 1863
Assault on Fort Sanders
Knoxville, Tennessee
Report of Lieut. Samuel N. Benjamin, Second U. S. Artillery, Chief of Artillery.
Maj.-Gen. BURNSIDE, U. S. Army:
DEAR GEN.: Inclosed you will find an account of the siege of Fort Sanders, giving the plan of the defense and a description of the assault. …
We took over 250 prisoners unhurt, 17 of them commissioned officers (we were not 250 strong in the fort); over 200 dead and wounded lay in the ditch, among them 3 colonels. One-half in the ditch were dead; most of the others were mortally wounded. We also got over 1,000 stand of arms. The prisoners in the ditch represented eleven regiments, and estimated their regiments at about 400 strong, each. …
From what I learned from their officers and from what I saw, I gathered the following plan of assault:
Two brigades to watch and fire on our lines, one brigade to assault, and two more to support it. Two brigades came up to the ditch.
The party actually engaged in the assault numbered about 4,000 men, not including reserves. Of these they lost from 1,300 to 1,500 killed, wounded, and prisoners; a very large proportion killed, and a large number mortally wounded.
In the fort we lost 13 men, 8 killed and 5 wounded. Gen. Ferrero was in the little bomb-proof, and I did not see him outside, nor know of his giving an order during the fight.
The capture of the fort was to have been at once followed by a general assault on the town, their whole army being in readiness.
Lieut., Second U. S. Artillery.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, pp. 342-344.

Lieut. Samuel N. Benjamin USA
Medal of Honor Recipient for Civil War service.
From Bull Run to Spotsylvania, VA – July 1861 to May 1864.

Maj. Gen. JOHN G. FOSTER, Tazewell.
GEN.: I forward dispatches received from scouts. Prisoners will be forwarded in the morning. One of them by the name of Smith, First Tennessee, was attached to Gen. Jones’ headquarters; told him the night before the fight that he was going to Blain’s Cross-Roads. It is possible that while Wheeler’s brigade started toward Kingston, Jones’ command will move up toward Virginia to cover Longstreet’s left flank. There is no doubt that Col. Dibrell was wounded and Assistant Adjutant-Gen. Allison killed in the affair of yesterday.
O. B. WILLCOX, Brig.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, pp. 394-397.

10 DECEMBER 1863
Skirmish at flour mill at Rutledge, Confederate still near Clinch River and surrender of Confederates at Knoxville.
Rutledge, December 10, 1863—6.15 p. m.
… If the enemy had any spare force across the river, their remaining so long thereabouts is explained by the fact that they are running a still about 1 1/2 miles back from the river. Marsh reports that Strong and Anderson, of Gen. Foster’s staff, were in Knoxville yesterday.
The other brigade he met on the road with Mott’s was composed of Tennessee troops, and I suppose was Spears’, and Marsh says between 300 and 400 prisoners came into Knoxville yesterday, picked up in squads on the French Broad.
Yours, truly ROBERT B. POTTER, Brig.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, pp. 369-370.

13 DECEMBER 1863
Skirmish near Dandridge’s Mill.
GEN.: I have just received the order to move with my command to Morristown to protect a telegraph party sent out from Strawberry Plains. My pickets were attacked at 10 o’clock this morning by a small scouting party of the enemy sent out (as prisoners assert) from Bull’s Gap. I happened to be near the picket post at the time and immediately pursued them with the reserve, on the Bull’s Gap road, and succeeded in capturing 6 of them … after a chase of 6 miles. We got their horses, arms, and saddles. I send the 6 prisoners to you herewith …
I am, general, very respectfully,
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 404.

15 DECEMBER 1863
Skirmish near Kingston and capture of Confederates.
HDQRS., Kingston.
Maj.-Gen. FOSTER: Company E of my old regiment that is now down at White’s Creek informs me that a body of about 40 rebels made an attempt to cross the river near where they are stationed. They fired into the rebels and took about 14 of them prisoners. About 12 of them succeeded in crossing to the south bank of the Tennessee. They were armed with Colt revolvers and axes. The prisoners say that John [Hunt] Morgan was among those that crossed the river and made their escape.
Respectfully, R. K. BYRD, Col., Cmdg. Post.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, pp. 418-419.


15 JANUARY 1864
Capture of C. S. A. cavalry, including General Vance, brother of the Gov. of North Carolina.
DANDRIDGE, 15 January 1864.
Report of Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis, U. S. Army.
Commanding Cavalry, Department of the Ohio.
I have just word from Col. Palmer … and whom I had sent after a party 300 strong, under command of Gen. Vance, a brother of the Governor of the Governor of North Carolina, that he overtook them on Cosby Creek, 23 miles from Sevierville, at 3 p. m. on the 14th instant.
They had rested to feed their animals, and were about to take the road to Newport when he charged them, routing their entire command.
He captured 52 prisoners, including Gen. Vance, his adjutant-general, and inspector-general; also about 150 saddle-horses and over 100 stand of arms, besides destroying a large number of arms on the road. …
The Home Guards are pursuing the dismounted rebels, who fled to the mountains, and many of them will no doubt be captured.
The entire command is dispersed, and the rebels not captured will no doubt return to their homes. …
The prisoners are on their way to Knoxville …
S. D. STURGIS, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg. Cavalry Corps.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 74.

Old farm in Cosby, Cocke County, Northeast Tennessee.

24 JANUARY 1864
Skirmish near Newport [Cocke County]
REPORTS. No. 1.-Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis,
U. S. Army, commanding Cavalry, Department of the Ohio.
GEN.: I have just returned from Fair Garden [Sevier County] and McCook’s position near Dandridge [Jefferson County].
Yesterday evening Col. LaGrange (First Wisconsin) was sent with his brigade to intercept a reported train of wagons (said to be 100) with infantry escort war Newport, and conveying forage to Morristown [in Hawkins County during the Civil War].
The colonel has returned, but found no wagons. He captured 15 prisoners.
Both these scouting parties examined the country with a view to its resources of forage … and report that the forage has been nearly all hauled by the enemy to the north side of the river, where it is protected by strong guards of infantry.
Col. LaGrange estimates that in what was reported to be the richest portion of the valley a division of cavalry could not subsist longer than three days.
I do not know that it can be avoided, but I may say that it is a pity that circumstances should compel us to entirely exhaust the country of these loyal people.
If we remain here long they must suffer, and it will be impossible for them to raise anything [crops] next year.
The necessity for pressing supplies leads so immediately to plundering that soldiers find no difficulty in taking the step from the one to the other, and in spite of all I can do to the contrary.
It is distressing to witness the sufferings of these people at the hands of the friends for whom they have been so long and so anxiously looking.
You cannot help it; neither can I, and I only refer to it because my heart is full of it.
S. D. STURGIS, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg. Cavalry.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, pp. 114-115.

27 JANUARY 1864
27 January 1864—6 p. m.
GEN.: After driving the whole cavalry force of the enemy steadily all day long, our troops went in about 4 o’clock with the saber and a yell and routed them, horse, foot, and dragoon, capturing over 100 prisoners, which I am sending down, and 2 pieces of artillery, 3-inch steel guns.
Our troops are very much worn down with continuous fighting and little to eat, but they are a band of as patient and brave soldiers as I have ever seen thus far. Some 50 or 60 of the enemy were wounded and killed in the charge alone. In the whole day’s fighting their loss must be very large.
As Wolford and Garrard were brought from a long distance, they fell in as reserves, so that this glorious day’s work was performed alone by the gallant men of LaGrange’s and Campbell’s brigades, of McCook’s division.
Respectfully yours, &c.,
S. D. STURGIS, Brig.-Gen.

28 JANUARY 1864
Maj. Gen. J. G. Foster telegraphs from Knoxville, Tenn., under date 9 a.m. 28th, as follows:
I have the honor to report that the cavalry under Gen. Sturgis achieved a decided victory over the enemy’s cavalry yesterday near Fair Garden, about 10 miles east of Sevierville.
McCook’s division drove the enemy about 2 miles, after a stubborn fight, lasting from daylight to 4 p. m., at which time the division charged with the saber and yell, and routed the enemy from the field, capturing 2 steel rifled-guns and over 100 prisoners.
The enemy’s loss was considerable, 65 of them being killed or wounded in the charge.
Garrard’s and Wolford’s divisions came up, after a forced march, in time to be pushed in pursuit, although their horses were jaded.
Brig. Gen. and Chief of Staff.

USA Brig. Gen. John A. Rawlins, Chief of Staff, with wife and daughter at door of their quarters. City Point VA, 1864.

Report of Col. Edward M. McCook, Second Indiana Cavalry.
Commanding First Cavalry Division, Army of the Cumberland.
… Col. LaGrange, with detachments of Second and Fourth Indiana Cavalry, by a magnificent and gallant saber charge upon the Fair Garden road, captured two pieces of artillery, sobered the cannoneers and supports, and captured a large number of prisoners. …
It was now nearly dark … our men were worn out by an advance over a hotly contested and difficult ground, our supply of ammunition was in a great measure exhausted, and I therefore, after occupying the position taken, sent out detachments of the First East Tennessee and First Wisconsin Cavalry – these detachments comprising the only men that had not been actively engaged in pursuit.
They overtook the enemy at Flat Creek and captured quite a number of prisoners. …

23 APRIL 1864
Capture of thieves in Greene County.
A few days ago that most efficient of the Federal scouts, Capt. Reynolds, in command of about fifty picked men, visited Greene county for the purpose of breaking up a nest of twenty-five thieves and murderers under the command of a villain by the name of Reynolds who have been for months robbing Union hoses and killing Union citizens.
They were an independent organization, and had done as much real and hellish work as any equal number of assassins in the rebel service.
Our troops came upon them in the waters of Lick Creek, some ten or twelve miles from Greeneville, and killed ten, and captured the remaining fifteen with their infamous leader included, bringing them all to this city [Knoxville] and the leader of the gang in irons.
We think our soldiers are to blame for making prisoners of any of them – they ought all to have been executed on the spot.
Brownlow’s Whig and Independent Journal and Rebel Ventilator.

21 AUGUST 1864
Tennessee Confederate Congressman Joseph Heiskell arrested during Union military operations at Rogersville.

MINI BIO: Joseph Heiskell
Joseph Brown Heiskell was born in Knoxville, son of publisher Frederick S. Heiskell, editor of the Knoxville Register. Before the Civil War, Joseph practiced law in Rogersville, Hawkins County, Northeast Tennessee.
Like many secessionists, Heiskell first opposed secession but switched sides after Abraham Lincoln called for volunteers to put down the rebellion.
Heiskell was elected to the first Confederate Congress in November 1861. He took his seat in Richmond on 18 February 1862 and served through the end of the second session in October 1862.
Congressman Heiskell favored arresting any Unionist and holding them hostage until Confederates could be exchanged.
He was reelected unanimously to the second Confederate Congress and assumed more and more responsibilities.
Federal forces captured Heiskell on August 21, 1864 and imprisoned him at Camp Chase, Ohio until the end of the war.
After the war he moved to Memphis, like other former Confederate officials like Landon Carter Haynes and William G. Swan, where he practiced law.
Heiskell did not receive a pardon for his actions during the American Civil War and was considered an Unreconstructed Rebel.

Confederate Congressman Joseph Heiskell

28 AUGUST 1864
Military Governor Andrew Johnson proposes keeping captured Confederate Congressmen in prison.
NASHVILLE, 28 August 1864.
Gen. SHERMAN: Albert G. Watkins, ex-member of Congress, and Joe Heiskell, member of the Confederate Congress, have been captured in the recent expedition in upper East Tennessee and sent to Knoxville.
I hope Gen. Sherman will permit me to suggest the propriety of their being [kept] elsewhere for safe-keeping …
They are bad men, and exercised a dangerous and deleterious influence in the country, and deserve as many deaths as can be inflicted upon them.
They are extensively connected with influential persons throughout that region of the country.
ANDREW JOHNSON, Military Governor.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. II, p. 311.
[Heiskell is held as prisoner of war at Camp Chase, Ohio for the balance of the war.]

S. P. Carter, Provost-Marshal-Gen. of East Tennessee.
Seeking release of Confederate political prisoners.
Brig.-Gen. [Alvan] GILLEM, Bulls’ Gap:
I am advised by the commissioners who met the rebels at Greeneville that according to their arrangement no more citizens should be arrested in East Tennessee by either side for mere political offenses before their next meeting, on the 1st of October.
As I am most anxious to secure the release of Union citizens, will you please direct your command to abstain from any further arrests that would be in violation of above agreement.
S. P. CARTER, Brig. Gen.
Provost-Marshal-Gen. of East Tennessee.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. II, p. 440.

17 NOVEMBER 1864
A Confederate prisoner’s letter to his sweetheart at Mulberry Gap, Hancock County.
Chattanooga Military Prison
Miss Jo:
I have been a prisoner of war since October 28th. I was captured at Morristown, Tennessee.
I am in very good health and expect to be sent North in a very short time – would like very much to receive a letter from you but do not expect to be so heavenly favored soon.
When I am permanently located in a Northern Federal Prison, I will let you know where I am and you must write me there.
I saw your father at Knoxville, he was looking well. I have written a note to Lizzie – I hope you succeed in sending it through.
Yours as ever,
W.P.A. Civil War Records, Vol. I, p. 60.

1 DECEMBER 1864 – 7 FEBRUARY 1865
Initiation and termination of talks relative to the exchange of East Tennessee political prisoners.
Brig. Gen. JOHN C. VAUGHN, C. S. Army:
GEN.: Your communication of November 29 has just been received.
The major-general commanding the department [] directs me to say that you and Gen. Carter can continue negotiations for the exchange of non-combatants at a designated place during eight or ten days, or longer if necessary.
Ladies within your lines whose husbands or relatives are in our army, and who may wish to come into our lines, will be received.
Ladies within our lines who may wish to go within yours must apply to the proper authority for permission.
These negotiations, &c., not to interfere in any manner with or suspend the military operations of the U. S. forces in East Tennessee.
Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
J. AMMEN, Brig.-Gen., U. S. Volunteers.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 7, p. 1176.

Major General John C. Breckinridge CSA
Department of East Tennessee and Southwestern Virginia
27 September 1864 – 20 February 1865

Confederate foraging party attacked near Greeneville
In regard to sending Gen. [Basil] Duke’s command north of the Holston River as soon as I can spare them, that time will not come as long as the forces remain in East Tennessee that were in our front when you left us, and now there is a force that came from Cumberland Gap of from 2,000 to 4,000 men, so all my scouts and citizens report.
But is my intention to send Gen. Duke’s command to Hawkins County to-morrow or next day, if everything is quiet.
My scouts were at Noah’s Ferry of Ford, yesterday p. m., and the enemy were still encamped in the vicinity of Bean’s Station, with pickets at all the fords on the Holston near there.
This county is full of parties from the Federal Army bushwhacking.
Gen. Duke’s men were attacked to-day, while foraging, within four or five miles of Greeneville, and two of his men captured. …
The enemy have foraged none above the Strawberry Plains since you left south of the Holston River.
Gen. Carter and I agreed to exchange all citizen prisoners, except a few who are indicted for treason.
I have sent a copy of the agreement to the Secretary of War. Whether they will agree to it or not is to be seen. I did what I thought was best for our friends.
The railroad is repaired only about half way to Greeneville at this time.
To send Cosby’s and Giltner’s brigades into Hawkins or Hancock Counties, in Tennessee, or Lee Country, Va., would threaten Cumberland Gap and cause the force at Bean’s Station to fall back. There is plenty of supplies of all kinds in either of those counties.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 45, pt. II, p. 664.

10 DECEMBER 1864
Exchange and release of citizens of East Tennessee.  
Maj. Gen. E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Commissioner for Exchange, Washington DC
GEN.: I inclose copy of agreement entered into on 1st instant at New Market, East Tenn., with Brig. Gen. John C. Vaughn, acting in behalf of the so-called Confederate Government, for exchange and release of citizens of East Tennessee held by the U. S. military authorities and by the rebels.
I also inclose list of rebel sympathizers now imprisoned at Johnson’s Island and Camp Chase, Ohio, as hostages for Union men imprisoned by rebels, and respectfully request that they be sent to Knoxville as early as practicable, in order that the proper exchange may be effected according to agreement.
For your information I send lists of rebel sympathizers held at this place as hostages who are to be released, as well as of Union men supposed to be in the hands of the rebels.
Copies of these lists were left with rebel commissioner.
An effort was made by the rebel commissioner to secure release of parties indicted for treason … to agree to make no further arrests in East Tennessee and to agree to a suspension of the conscript law for this district. Under your instructions I declined to consider his proposition.
Hoping that the arrangement I have made looking to the release of many warm friends of the Government who have suffered long in rebel prisons will meet the approbation of our authorities.
I am, general, respectfully,
your obedient servant,
S. P. CARTER, Brig. Gen. and Provost-Marshal-Gen. of East Tennessee.

Prisoner of War Camp on Johnson’s Island, Ohio

10 DECEMBER 1864
Brig. Gen. J. C. VAUGHN, Cmdg. Confederate Cavalry, East Tennessee.
SIR: I am in receipt of your communication of the 7th instant, inclosing list of twenty-nine citizen prisoners this day delivered at our lines.
In looking over the list I am surprised to find that the name of Charles Inman of Sevier County, does not appear.*
He has been arrested, as I understand, since you took command in East Tennessee, and his case was specially referred to in our interview, with a promise on your part that he should be speedily released.
I trust that the apparent oversight in his case will be speedily corrected. I have already written to Washington to have the prisoners who are held as hostages at Johnson’s Island and other points sent to this place for exchange.
They will be sent to your lines without unnecessary delay after their arrival at Knoxville.
I trust that you will have the Union prisoners, who have been so long absent from their homes, brought to East Tennessee at as early a day as possible in order to [secure] their release.
I inclose list of hostages who are hereby released and sent to your lines.
You will see that [they] have been set at liberty here.
A few other persons held at Knoxville shall be sent to your lines, if they desire it, at an early day.
I have already written on the subject of treason cases, as agreed upon.
Hoping that all citizen prisoners of East Tennessee now held may soon be restored to their homes,
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. P. CARTER, Brig. Gen. and Provost-Marshal-Gen. of East Tennessee.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 7, pp. 1208-1209.
* Author Charles Frazier based his book, Cold Mountain, on the Civil War service of William P. Inman of the Twenty-fifth North Carolina Infantry Regiment.

15 DECEMBER 1864
Brig. Gen. JOHN C. VAUGHN:
SIR: I regret that I cannot give my approval to the recent agreement made between Brig. Gen. S. P. Carter and yourself in relation to East Tennessee prisoners.
Whilst it requires that all “Union citizens of East Tennessee who are held by the Confederate authorities” shall be released, there is no corresponding stipulation in respect to our own loyal people.
It is well known that a large number of Confederate citizens have been arrested by the U. S. military authorities in East Tennessee and turned over to the State for indictment.
Most of the Union men whom we hold were arrested in retaliation, and in fact are held as hostages for such persons.
The agreement not only leaves such as have been turned over to the State authorities to an almost hopeless captivity, but fails to require the release of all other citizen prisoners.
The Federals only agree to deliver the hostages.
It is believed there are some, if not many, loyal Confederates now in confinement who have not been turned over to the State and who are not held as hostages. As to such Gen. Carter only agrees “to use his best efforts” for their release.
The Confederate authorities are willing to enter into an agreement for the release of all citizens or political prisoners on both sides belonging to East Tennessee.
They cannot be charged with any want of liberality in this proposition, as it is generally conceded that the larger part of the population of that country, not under arms, is hostile to us.
Capt. Shad. Harris is a deserter from our service; he was tried as such and condemned to death. The mercy of the President saved him from a just doom.
Capt. Battle is unjustly held as hostage.
To give up Harris for Battle would strengthen the hands of the enemy in their avowed purpose of contesting our right to try deserters from our service. Capt. Rogers is now safe within our lines.
The fifth section of the agreement, if adopted, would, I am afraid lead to difficulties.
What is meant by conforming to the “requirements of the authorities?”
We and the enemy will in all probability give very different constructions to such a phrase and thus again precipitate what we wish to avoid.
In the event of your inability to secure general release of citizen prisoners belonging to East Tennessee, including Mr. [Joseph] Heiskell, I approve of your desire “to arrest a number of prominent men as hostages.”
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. A. SEDDON, Secretary of War USA.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 7, p. 1229.

HON. JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.
… I would also respectfully call your attention to the propriety of something being done that shall secure the exchange and release of our citizen prisoners from East Tennessee.
There are many noble and inoffensive Southern citizens confined North who can be exchanged for, thus relieving our friends of much suffering, restore them to their families and friends, and save our Government of much expense in feeding the many citizens we have confined under the most trivial charges. …
I remain, as ever, your true friend,
JOHN C. VAUGHN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 7, pp. 964-965.

Brigadier General John C. Vaughn CSA
Commanding Vaughn’s Brigade; 60th Tennessee, 61st Tennessee, 62nd Tennessee

20 FEBRUARY 1865
Negotiations for exchange of prisoners of state in East Tennessee, excerpt:
Brig. Gen. L. S. TROWBRIDGE, Provost-Marshal-Gen., Department of East Tennessee:
… Justice to the citizens who are made thus to suffer for their opinions’ sake requires it at my hand, and candor requires me to give you timely information that I will continue to arrest man for man one Union citizen for every Southern man arrested on your side.
I will in carrying out this determination have regard to those and all of those who have been arrested since the 10th of November, the date of the New Market agreement.
I promised Gen. Carter orally that I would wait a reasonable time for the release of Jos. B. Heiskell, in whose case he said there were some difficulties over which he could not then exercise full control, but he hoped to be able to effect his discharge in a short time.
Mr. Heiskell is still in confinement, and I have given orders for the arrest of citizens to be held as hostages for him.
Permit me, however, general, to give you my solemn assurance that whenever a proper disposition shall be exhibited by the U. S. authorities to carry out the letter and spirit of our agreement, entered into in November at New Market, which can be illustrated only by the release of all citizen prisoners now in your custody and by ceasing to make any such arrests in future, I will gladly not only discharge all we hold, but will throw full and inviolable protection around all Union citizens in the same manner.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN C. VAUGHN, Brig. Gen., Cmdg. Cav.
Dept. of East Tenn. and Southwest Va.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 8, pp. 272-274.

Union Women of Northeast Tennessee Exiled in the Civil War

Confederate authorities provide escort for Mrs. William B. [Elizabeth] Carter to be exiled from Tennessee via Cumberland Gap. Her husband is the mastermind of the bridge burnings.

26 APRIL 1862
MADAM: I am directed by Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith respectfully to require that you and your family pass beyond the C. S. line in thirty-six hours from the delivery of this note by way of Cumberland Gap. Passports and an escort will be furnished you for your protection to the enemy’s line.
Very respectfully,
OR, Ser. II, Vol. I, pp. 885-886.

Tennessee Women in the Civil War, Tennessee State Museum

28 APRIL 1862
Col. W. M. CHURCHWELL, Provost-Marshal.
Mrs. Carter will go unhesitatingly but has a sick child just now but can go in a few days. She says she has not the funds. She is in bad health and must take a nurse with her, a slave. You will answer by 12 o’clock.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 1, p. 887.

30 APRIL 1862
Mrs. Carter and her two children will leave to-morrow night for Norfolk. You will send passports, transportation for myself and everything else that is necessary. Send them by the conductor of the next train; if otherwise I will not get them in time. Also send me $50.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 1, p. 887.

19 MAY 1862
Elizabethton, Tenn.
Colonel W. M. CHURCHWELL, Provost-Marshal.
DEAR SIR: A few days since I communicated with Mrs. Carter in reference to her departure for the Federal lines. I called on Mrs. Carter a few moments since. Two of her children are a little sick now but will be well in a few days. She is anxious to go to her husband and if allowed to take a nurse she will go much more cheerfully. She says she won’t go a step till her children get well enough to travel and till she is allowed to carry a nurse to assist her with the children. She prefers going by Cumberland Gap.
Very respectfully,
Deputy Provost-Marshal.

21 APRIL 1862 – 23 APRIL 1862:
Confederate authorities order Mrs. Horace Maynard to leave Northeast Tennessee.

21 APRIL 1862
Wife of U.S. Congressman Horace Maynard expelled from Northeast Tennessee.
Mrs. MAYNARD, Knoxville.
MADAM: By order of Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith I am directed respectfully to require that yourself and family pass beyond the C. S. line in thirty-six hours.
Col. and Provost-Marshal.

22 APRIL 1862
Gen. S. COOPER, Richmond, Va.:
I have directed Maynard’s family to leave East Tennessee. I wish them to go via Norfolk. Can they pass that way?
Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

23 APRIL 1862
Maj. H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
SIR: This office has had no communicate with Mrs. Maynard since notifying her but understand she leaves this morning. No application has been made for passport. No officer has yet reported to go to Norfolk. Will be sent to Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith’s headquarters for instructions as soon as he reports here.
Col. and Provost-Marshal.

23 APRIL 1862
Dr. F. A. RAMSEY, Surgeon.
DOCTOR: I am directed by the major-general commanding to inform you in response to your communication of this date that Mrs. Maynard will not be required to leave before the expiration of the time at which you state she will be able to bear the fatigue of travel.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

24 APRIL 1862
Mrs. Horace Maynard seeks Confederate passports for slaves
SIR: Mrs. Maynard applies for passports for two servants understood to be slaves. I am directed to ask your decision as to whether they are her property or not.

25 APRIL 1862
Confederate escort to lead Mrs. Horace Maynard out of East Tennessee
The following-named persons are allowed in charge of Lieut. Joseph H. Speed to pass out of the Confederate States Government by way of Norfolk, Va.:
Mrs. Horace Maynard and three children.
Col. and Provost-Marshal.

25 APRIL 1862
Confederate escort to lead Mrs. Horace Maynard out of East Tennessee
The following-named persons are allowed in charge of Lieut. Joseph H. Speed to pass out of the Confederate States Government by way of Norfolk, Va.:
Mrs. Horace Maynard and three children.
Col. and Provost-Marshal.

14 MAY 1862
Confederate escort for the exile of Mrs. Robert K. Byrd, East Tennessee loyalist
MADAM: Will it suit your convenience to visit Kentucky next week as formerly proposed by private conveyance to Cumberland Gap with proper escort? It is important to you as well as others. The colonel [her husband] has been quite sick, but I learn has recovered and joined his regiment now at Cumberland Ford.
Very respectfully,
W. M. CHURCHWELL, Col. and Provost-Marshal.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 1, p. 888.

MINI BIO: Robert King Byrd
Robert K. Byrd was a Union soldier and politician from Roane County, East Tennessee. He married Mary Lucinda Lea in 1861. Although he owned slaves, Byrd remained loyal to the Union. He was a delegate to the East Tennessee Convention in May and June 1861. At the June session in Greeneville, Byrd made a secret pact with several other delegates to begin raising and drilling military units to defend their homeland.
In August 1861, Byrd fled to Kentucky where he joined the Union Army as a colonel and was assigned to command the First Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, the first Union regiment composed primarily of refugees from East Tennessee. They took part in numerous skirmishes in and around Cumberland Gap and at the Battle of Mill Springs in January 1862.
Col. Byrd was not at home in May 1862 when Confederate authorities exiled his wife from Tennessee.
On 31 December 1862, Byrd led an attack that cleared the Confederates out of the woods near the front lines at the Battle of Stones River and received high praise from his brigade commander, Gen. James G. Spears. Col. Byrd’s unit was mounted in May 1863, and renamed the First Tennessee Mounted Infantry. A month later they joined in Col. William P. Sanders’ East Tennessee raid that destroyed railroad lines and bridges in the Knoxville area. Byrd’s knowledge of the area contributed to the raid’s success.
During the Knoxville Campaign in late 1863, Byrd and his unit were posted in his home town of Kingston. They took part in several skirmishes during the campaign, including one at Mossy Creek in Jefferson County in December 1863. In May 1864, Byrd’s troops were dismounted and sent to Georgia where they fought in various locations. In August 1864, the unit completed its three-year period of service. The First Tennessee Infantry Regiment were mustered out of the Union Army in Knoxville. They received high praise as the “first among the patriotic men from East Tennessee to take up arms in defense of the Union.”

Eliza O’Brien Brownlow, left

21 APRIL 1862
Mrs. Eliza Brownlow, Knoxville.
MADAM: By order of Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith I am directed respectfully to require that yourself and family pass beyond the C. S. line in thirty-six hours.
Col. and Provost-Marshal.

21 APRIL 1862
Col. W. M. CHURCHWELL, Provost-Marshal.
SIR: Your official note as provost-marshal for East Tennessee ordering myself and family to remove beyond the limits of the Confederate States within the next thirty-six hours is just received and I hasten to reply to it. My husband as you are aware is not here to afford me his protection and counsel; and being well nigh in the evening of life with a family of dependent children I have to request as a matter of indulgence that you extend the time for my exile a few days longer as to leave within the time prescribed by your mandate would result in the total sacrifice of my private interests. I have to request further information [as to] what guarantee of safety your passport will afford myself and family.
Yours, &c.,

21 APRIL 1862
Mrs. W. G. BROWNLOW, Knoxville.
MADAM: By Major General E. Kirby Smith
I am directed most respectfully to inform you that you and your children are not held as hostages for the good behavior of your husband as represented by him in a speech at Cincinnati recently, and that yourself and family will be required to pass beyond the C. S. line on thirty-six hours from this date. Passports will be granted you from this office.
Very respectfully,
Colonel and Provost-Marshal.

22 APRIL 1862
MADAM: At your request the time for your leaving to join your husband is extended until Thursday morning next. The route will be via Kingston and Sparta. Your safety will be the soldiers sent along for your protection to the lines of the enemy.
Very respectfully,
Colonel and Provost-Marshal.

23 APRIL 1862
Maj. H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
SIR: Names of the following persons to go to Norfolk: Mrs. Eliza Brownlow and three children, Miss Mary Brownlow, Mrs. Sue C. Sawyers and child, John B. Brownlow.
Col. and Provost-Marshal.

24 APRIL 1862
Lieut. JOSEPH H. SPEED, Twentieth Regt. Alabama Volunteers.
SIR: The major-general commanding directs that you proceed from this place to-morrow morning in charge of the following-named persons: Mrs. Eliza Brownlow and three children, Miss Mary Brownlow, Mrs. Sue C. Sawyers and child, John B. Brownlow, Mrs. Maynard and three children, whom you will take to Norfolk, Va., to be transported thence to the enemy’s lines. You will show them all proper attention on the way thither and protect them against offensive intrusion.
After arriving at Norfolk you will report to the commanding officer and request that just prior to their embarkation a careful examination be made of their luggage and persons for letters or papers of a treasonable character. If any such should be discovered you will detain Mr. [Parson] Brownlow and bring him with you upon return to Knoxville when you will report to these headquarters.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

25 APRIL 1862
The following-named persons are allowed (in charge of Lieutenant Joseph H. Speed) to pass out of the Confederate States Government by way of Norfolk, Va.:
Mrs. Eliza Brownlow and three children, Miss Mary Brownlow, Mrs. Sue C. Sawyers and child, John B. Brownlow.
Colonel and Provost-Marshal.

28 APRIL 1862
Just received. The persons are here. Lieutenant Speed reports this order is from General Kirby Smith. I will detain the party here. Please telegraph me if I shall send them to Fort Monroe.

28 APRIL 1862
Major General BENJAMIN HUGER, Norfolk, Va.:
The Brownlow family which has been sent to Norfolk by the commanding general of the Department of East Tennessee for the purpose of being transported to the enemy’s line will be sent by you to Fortress Monroe.
By order of the Secretary of War:
A. T. BLEDSOE, Assistant Secretary of War.

Eliza McCardle Johnson, Wife of Military Governor Andrew Johnson

21 APRIL 1862.
MADAM: By Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith I am directed to respectfully require that you and your family pass beyond the C. S. line through Nashville if you please in thirty-six hours. Passports will be granted you at this office.
Very respectfully,
W. M. CHURCHWELL, Col. and Provost-Marshal.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. I, p. 884.

26 APRIL 1862 – Confederate authorities give Mrs. Andrew Johnson more time to prepare for exile
MADAM: Your note to Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith has been referred to this office and I am directed respectfully to reply in order to give you more time to make your arrangements for leaving. The time is extended thirty-six hours from the delivery of this second note when the major-general hopes you will be ready to comply with his request. You can go by way of Norfolk, Va., north, or by Kingston to Nashville. Passports and an escort will be furnished for your protection.
Very respectfully,
Col. and Provost-Marshal.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. I, p. 885.

28 APRIL 1862
A. J. Campbell’s failed mission to force Mrs. Andrew Johnson into exile
JONESBOROUGH, TENN., April 28, 1862. Col. W. M. CHURCHWELL, Provost-Marshal.
SIR: My mission to Mrs. Johnson was unsatisfactory. She said she would not go North but Judge Patterson and her son Charles have assured me that she would go. You will please state what goods and chattels she will be allowed to take with her; also how much money and if you are willing that her son Charles shall accompany her. He is a young unmarried gentleman and I think should go with his mamma.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 1, p. 887.

19 MAY 1862
Mrs. Andrew Johnson delays her exile from East Tennessee
OFFICE DEPUTY PROVOST-MARSHAL, Elizabethton, Tenn., May 19, 1862.
Col. W. M. CHURCHWELL, Provost-Marshal.
DEAR SIR: A few days since I communicated with Mrs. Johnson in reference to her departure for the Federal lines. Col. Dan. Stover called on me yesterday and stated that Mrs. Johnson’s health was still very poor with no prospect of improvement shortly if ever. I have consulted with several physicians who state that Mrs. Johnson is consumptive and to remove her will probably cause her death. She is very anxious to remain here with her children and is not at all desirous to go the bosom of “Andy.”
I think Mrs. Johnson’s health is not likely to improve; so if she has to go, now is as good a time as any. These people are very quiet now. A great many gladly circulate false rumors in relation to Federal victories but I can’t find out the originators of such stories.
Very respectfully,
Deputy Provost-Marshal. OR, Ser. II, Vol. 1, pp. 888-889.

12 OCTOBER – 13 OCTOBER 1862
Charles Johnson to his father Military Governor Andrew Johnson concerning reception given to family in Confederate Murfreesborough
We reached this place Friday evening at nine o’clock in a cold rain—got out of the cars-found no hotel in the place-and nearly all the private houses full-no place to put baggage, no hacks, no servants. . . We wandered about the town for an hour or two and finally succeeded after pleading, entreating, begging in getting a house to sleep on the floor without any fire.
At six o’clock Saturday morning [October 13] General [Nathan Bedford] Forrest sent a deputation of soldiers for us to appear before him immediately. We appeared before him. He. . . informed us that Jesus Christ could not cross his lines and that we should immediately return [to East Tennessee] by the seven o’clock train-that the War Department had no control of his lines. . .
We were now known in the town and not a soul would let us in his house. We were annoyed by taunts and jeers of a rabble soldiery. . . Finally we got a room in a vacant house. . . We put the women and children in this room where they stayed all night, we men laying in the cars by courtesy of the baggage master …
~ Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 23.

First home of Andrew and Eliza Johnson in Greeneville, Tennessee

Eliza Johnson’s Health Issues
In 1852, at age 43, Eliza gave birth to their last child – a son, Andrew Jr. (called Frank). About this time she contracted ‘consumption’ (tuberculosis). Within a year, the disease was limiting her physical activity and prevented her from traveling with Andrew to Nashville when he was sworn in as the new Governor of Tennessee (1853–1857). Trapped in Greeneville, Tennessee, Eliza engaged in social welfare work for the Methodist Church. Four of her five children soon left home, and Eliza was content to manage the family businesses, raise Frank, coordinate the family’s nine slaves, and maintain the household.

Life as Civil War Refugees
In fear for his life, Andrew Johnson escaped to Union lines and traveled to Washington DC where he remained, cut-off from his family. Confederate troops occupied East Tennessee on 26 July 1861, and Eliza and her family were singled out as “Unionists,” and placed on the watch list.
In April 1862, Confederate authorities ordered Eliza Johnson and her family to leave Northeast Tennessee. Eliza’s fragile health prevented her from doing so, and they were granted her a temporary reprieve. Five months later, after their property was confiscated, Eliza was given papers to travel through Confederate lines to Nashville, where her husband was serving as military governor of Tennessee (1862-1865) in Union-held Middle Tennessee. Eliza and her family then became refugees. In September 1862, the family were detained in Confederate-occupied Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where they had to go door-to-door asking for shelter and food. Confederate sympathizers harassed and threatened them, but they eventually made their way to Nashville.
A Nashville diarist wrote: “The great joy at the reunion of this long and sorrowfully separated family may be imagined. … Even the Governor’s Roman firmness was overcome, and he wept tears of thankfulness at this merciful deliverance of his beloved ones from the hands of their unpitying persecutors.”

Johnson Family Civil War Tragedies
There would be little time to enjoy her new home and family. She soon received news that her son Robert—an officer in the Union Army was severely ill in Cincinnati due to his alcoholism. Eliza traveled there to assist and comfort him.

Robert Johnson

21 NOVEMBER 1863
Andrew Johnson letter to son Robert
Nashville, Nov 21st 1863
My dear Son,
Your note of the 17th is now before me. My sources of grief and care have been enough without your adding to them at this time. I have been determined that no act of mine should be an excuse for your recent course of Conduct and do not now intend to depart from it. You tender your resignation, predicated upon my wish for you to do so, and as I obtained the Commission … to require you to resign and therefore you do resign.

I have not indicated to you by work or deed any desire or wish on my part, that you Should resign your Commission as Col of the regiment; but on the contrary have expressed myself in the most emphatic terms, that I would rather See you once more yourself again and at the head of your Regiment, going to your own native home, than be possessed by the highest honors which Could be conferred upon me. In this so far, I have been doomed to deep disappointment.

I have said and now repeat that I feared you would be dismissed from the Army unless you reformed and took Command of your Regiment and give Some evidence of determination to Serve the country as a sober, upright, and honorable man. I have also said further, that your own reputation and that of an exiled family, required one of two things, reformation in your habits and attention to business, or to withdraw from the Army. One or the other is due yourself, the Regiment, and the Government.

This is what I have Said, it is what I now feel and think. Though, my son, I feel that I am but discharging the duty of a father who has devoted his whole life to the elevation of those he expects to leave behind him. In your letter you Say my will is the law with you, in reference to the resignation. I do most sincerely wish that my will was the law in regard to your future Course. I would be willing this night [to] resign my existence into the hands of him who gave it.
Your devoted father,
Andrew Johnson
Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 485.

After his resignation from the First Tennessee Union Cavalry, Robert Johnson served as his father’s private secretary. Unable to overcome a lifelong battle with alcoholism, Robert would commit suicide on 22 April 1869 at age 35.

Martha Johnson Patterson
Martha’s husband, Judge  David Patterson, was arrested in November 1861, and was to be sent to jail at Tuscaloosa, AL, as a prisoner of war. The next news I find of him mentions that he has been elected president of the Nashville Refugee Aid Society.
18 March 1864.
Nashville Dispatch:
“… Assembled at the office of the Secretary of State at ten o’clock yesterday morning, and organized by the election of Hon. David T. Patterson, President, [who] announced the object of the meeting to be, to devise some means for the relief of those families who have been driven from their homes by the devastations of the war, and are temporarily residing in this division of the State.”
Apparently, Patterson has been released from his arrest and has joined his wife and family at Nashville.
19 May 1864
Relief for East Tennessee
Nashville Dispatch:
“This noble work is still progressing [relief work]. There has been received in this city about 400 tons of supplies, consisting principally of flour, corn, and bacon. Another cargo of 150 tons is expected this week. They are being forwarded at the rate of one car load per day. It is to be regretted that the agencies of the army for the past two months have prevented their speedier shipment, but even at this rate, all has been forwarded except about 70 tons. Accounts from all parts of East Tennessee represent the people in great destitution, and agents sent from particular localities for provisions bring with them most undoubted evidence that unless relief can be procured within ten days, the people of those localities will be compelled to leave the country to save themselves from starvation. Every effort will be made to supply these districts first.”

Charles Johnson
In April 1863, Eliza’s oldest son Charles—an assistant surgeon in the Union Army—was thrown from a horse and killed instantly. Eliza never fully recovered from his sudden death. He was 33 years old.

Andrew Johnson Jr. – “Frank”
The youngest Johnson son, Andrew Jr., [called Frank] was the only son to marry, but had no children. Like his mother, he suffered from tuberculosis; he also drank to excess. Frank liked to write. He tried his hand at journalism after the war, founding the Greeneville Intelligencer; the paper failed after two years. Andrew Johnson, Jr. died on March 12, 1879 at age 26.

Mary Johnson Stover, widow of Daniel Stover
Eliza’s son-in-law, Daniel Stover—husband of her daughter Mary—had been in charge of burning the bridge at the town of Zollicoffer on 8 November 1861. During the Unionist uprising that followed the ET&VA bridge burnings, he and his men were routed from their camp at Doe River Cove in Carter County, Northeast Tennessee.
Daniel hid out in the cold and damp winter in the mountains, which ruined his health. Due to his weakened condition, he also contracted ‘consumption’ [tuberculosis]. Daniel joined the Union Army and tried bravely to serve in his regiment, but his disease would not allow it. Col. Daniel Stover died on 18 December 1864 at age 38.

Eliza Johnson’s health remained poor for the remainder of her life. She passed on 15 January 1876 at age 65.

1861 Confederates Arrest Northeast Tennessee Unionists

8 JUNE 1861
Tennessee joins the Confederacy.

14 JUNE 1861
The Memphis Appeal publishes a list of the Tennessee counties that voted to remain in the Union, all in East Tennessee: Anderson, Bradley, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Knox, Marion, Monroe, Roane, Sevier, Sullivan, Union, and Washington. The paper also reports that a state warrant has been issued for the arrest of Andrew Johnson for treason to Tennessee.

Lots to do and see in Johnson City, Northeast Tennessee

1 JULY 1861
Orders issued to raise Union troops in Kentucky and Tennessee.

26 JULY 1861
Gen. Felix Zollicoffer and his Confederate troops occupy Northeast Tennessee, and Northeast Tennessee Unionists begin to think of ways to undermine Confederate authority.

Unionists challenge Confederate commanders
For the next two-plus years, Gens. Felix Zollicoffer, E. Kirby Smith, and SAM. JONES seesaw between harsh treatment to control the Unionists and kind gestures to gain their support, but had little success whether they arrest hundreds of Unionist leaders or allow Union men to escape the Confederate draft. 

In the election of August 1861,Tennessee Governor Isham Harris repeatedly urges East Tennesseans to vote for Confederate candidates, but they elect several U. S. congressmen. This angers Harris, and the Confederate government begins to suppress Union sentiment by arresting leaders and demanding loyalty oaths. 

RICHMOND, August 1, 1861.
Brigadier General F. K. ZOLLICOFFER:
Retain at Bristol under your orders such of the Tennessee regiments now there or that may arrive there until further advised. You are assigned to the command of the District of East Tennessee.
S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General.

10 AUGUST 1861
KNOXVILLE, August 10, 1861.
Adjutant-General COOPER [CSA]:
News received that John Baxter is arrested at Lynchburg. This is unfortunate. He is a Unionist, but has my permission to go to [Thomas A. R.] Nelson and counsel with him as a lawyer and friend. He gave me assurance of conciliatory influence there, and here his arrest embarrasses my plans of conciliation.

MINI BIO: John Baxter
John Baxter, a Knoxville attorney, opposes secession at first. But after Confederate troops win the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861, Baxter gradually abandons his stance for the Union and begins to lean toward the Confederate government. In September 1861, he takes the Oath of Allegiance to the Confederacy, partly because he wants to provide legal support to the Northeast Tennessee Unionists who have been arrested. He believes the North cannot defeat the South in a war. …
Baxter suggests to CSA Secretary of War Judah P. Benjamin that if he would be more lenient toward the Unionists, they might be receptive to Confederate rule. Benjamin states that those who are guilty of crimes will be punished. Great numbers of people are arrested and thrown into the Knoxville jail.
In September 1861, Baxter runs for his district’s seat in the Confederate Congress, but is defeated by a very wide margin. He spends late 1861 and early 1862 defending Unionists who have been charged with various crimes by Confederate authorities.
After the East Tennessee bridge-burnings in November 1861, Baxter defends many of the accused conspirators. In February 1862, Baxter launches a newspaper, the East Tennessean, in an attempt to bring the Unionists and the Confederates closer together.
He delivers a speech in which he states there is no hope for the Confederacy, which upsets CSA Gen. E. Kirby Smith. At Smith’s request, Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston arrests Baxter while he is in Memphis. He is released after a few days, but uses this as an excuse to return to his pro-Union stance, blaming Governor Isham Harris for his arrest.
When Union forces occupy Knoxville in September 1863, Baxter is recognized as a friend of the Union and is appointed to the East Tennessee Relief Association, which provides aid to Unionists who have been mistreated by Confederate authorities.
Baxter is nominated by President Rutherford B. Hayes on 6 December 1877 as a judge on the United States Circuit Courts for the Sixth Circuit. He is confirmed by the U. S. Senate on 13 December 1877 and receives his commission the same day. He serves in that position until his death on 2 April 1886.

10 AUGUST 1861
KNOXVILLE, August 10, 1861.
Adjutant-General COOPER [CSA]:
News received that John Baxter is arrested at Lynchburg. This is unfortunate. He is a Unionist, but has my permission to go to [Thomas A. R.] Nelson and counsel with him as a lawyer and friend. He gave me assurance of conciliatory influence there, and here his arrest embarrasses my plans of conciliation.
Brigadier- General.

14 AUGUST 1861
President Davis issues a proclamation warning that Union sympathizers should leave the Confederate States.

15 AUGUST 1861
The States of Kentucky and Tennessee constitute the Department of the Cumberland, under command of Gen. Robert Anderson USA.

16 AUGUST 1861
Nashville, August 16, 1861.
Honorable L. P. WALKER [CSA], War Department, Richmond.
SIR: I am satisfied from the movements of the Union men of East Tennessee that more troops should be stationed in that division of the State.
If you can order a sufficient number of troops from States south of us to that point, the adoption of a decided and energetic policy (which I am resolved upon so soon as I have a sufficient fore to sustain it), m the arrest and indictment for treason of the ringleaders, will give perfect peace and quiet to that division of our State in the course of two months. If the suggestion with regard to East Tennessee is to be acted upon at all it should be done at once as every moment’s delay but increases the danger of an outbreak there.
Very respectfully,

A quick note about [William G.] ‘Parson’ Brownlow, author of the article that follows. He is a former clergyman, which explains his nickname, and a strong supporter of the Union. A very excitable man, in his newspaper, the Knoxville Whig, he attacks anyone who has views other than his own, especially Confederate authorities and civilians. I am posting this unedited to allow you to fully appreciate the articles Mr. Brownlow publishes in his paper. I apologize for the large glob of text.

Northeast Tennessee Civil War Map

From Brownlow’s Whig, Saturday, Aug. 10, 1861
Published by the New York Times Aug. 18, 1861
In the First Congressional District, Mr. NELSON has been reelected to Congress by a majority of five or six thousand votes. In the Second District, Mr. MAYNARD has been elected by a majority of about six thousand votes. And in the Third District, Mr. BRIDGES has been elected by a majority of from one to two thousand votes.

Messrs. BRIDGES and MAYNARD, it is said, have both crossed the mountains into Kentucky, and have gone to Washington. No matter what may be said as to the propriety of these gentlemen going to Washington to take their seats, it is due them to say they became candidates for the Congress of the United States and were elected to go there, their constituents desiring to be represented in the Federal Congress, and not in the Congress of the Southern Confederacy. They were so announced in this paper, as candidates before the people. Their competitors so stated to the people, and no one was deceived in their running the race for Congress.

Mr. NELSON, who announced himself a candidate for the United States Congress, was elected by an overwhelming vote, and by a constituency who desired to be represented at Washington. In crossing from Rogersville to Kentucky, on Saturday last, he was arrested in the corner of Lee County, Va., by an armed military force of thirty men and taken as a prisoner to Abingdon, from which point it is said he will be taken to Richmond, to be incarcerated until he can be tried for treason against the Southern Confederacy, by secession judges, before secession jurors, and upon the testimony of secession witnesses.

That he will be convicted, no sensible man can doubt for a moment. His son DAVID, and some two or three other gentlemen were with him, and all were arrested, and the presumption is they are all together in Richmond as prisoners. The exploit was one of a daring and grand military character — thirty armed mounted men taking four or five civilian prisoners, who were armed with pocket pistols! Those who led in the charge ought [to] be promoted in the Confederate Army!

The treason of Mr. NELSON consists in his having advocated the cause of the Union, and the Stars and Stripes of his country, in opposition to the heresy of secession. To this grievous offence, he has added the unpardonable sin of permitting his fellow-citizens to elect him to Congress. To be consistent, and to carry out their principles, they ought now to arrest, and send on to Richmond, every man in the District who voted for NELSON.

We have but little to say, now, respecting this arrest, and the hot haste with which the gallant and patriotic NELSON has been hurried off to Richmond. We shall await the action of the authorities there, with some degree of interest, as will the thousands of Union men in East Tennessee. Before dismissing the subject, however, we will take occasion to congratulate the people of Richmond in this, that when they cast into their filthy city prison THOMAS A.R. NELSON, they will have more bruins, patriotism, honor and chivalry in their prison, than can be found in the Rump Congress!

Col. BAXTER, of this city, has gone to Richmond, or such other point as they may choose to stop and try NELSON, to act as his friend and counsel. He goes as a volunteer, having no intercourse with NELSON since his arrest. We doubt whether he will be allowed a showing.

For weeks past, with our large list of subscribers, our weekly expenses have exceeded our income, and hence our paper has been carried on at a pecuniary sacrifice. Our exchange papers are kept back and not allowed to come to Knoxville. Our letters are broken open and robbed in all directions and our newspaper packages are laid aside or destroyed, so as to keep them out of the hands of our subscribers. At Cumberland Gap, or the office near there, we are informed, upon reliable authority, there is a large pile of letters, to say nothing of papers, addressed to us, which Secessionists will not allow to come forward. These letters no doubt — mostly from Kentucky — contain several hundred dollars for subscriptions.

At Bristol, we are informed our paper is thrown aside, and not allowed to go further East. One contemptible puppy, who fills the dignified position of route agent on the railroad, boasted in this city that he intended to destroy the papers sent out by him because they were incendiary sheets. Similar acts of perfidy are committed all over the country by a set of unprincipled villains, who handle mail matter, and whose only title to public favor and confidence is that they have the honor to wear around their necks a collar having upon it this inscription: “I AM JEFF. DAVIS’ DOG; WHOSE DOG ARE YOU?”

In addition to all this, the fact has come to our knowledge, and from different reliable sources, that the Confederate authorities at Richmond have ordered that our Knoxville Whig must no longer be published or transmitted through the mails to subscribers. The order has not yet been given, but we are in daily expectation of it, unless it, he rescinded, and it of course closes us out in business. We presume that those who are destroying our mails, and our packages sent off, are acting under this order.

Is this the boasted freedom of the Press, of speech, and of conscience we hear of in the new Southern Confederacy? And does this freedom, guaranteed by: the Constitution of Tennessee, unrepealed as yet, enter into this war for Southern Rights and Independence? If so, may God deliver us and our Union countrymen from such freedom, and from the enjoyment of such rights!

The Usurper and Tyrant LINCOLN, so much abused for invading the soil, and personal rights, of others, tolerates the publication of journals in Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, New-York, Connecticut and New-Hampshire, which oppose him in all his measures, and advocate this Southern rebellion. But the only Union paper in the entire Southern Confederacy, having any circulation among the honest people, must be crushed out by the liberty-loving and tyrant-hating authorities of the Southern Confederacy at Richmond!

We have been told that the Confederacy, conscious of uprightness of purpose, and knowing that her cause is just, feared no discussion, but threw open wide her doors and invited the light of heaven to shine in upon her men and measures! We supposed that with her hundreds of journals, able and strong, stretching from the District of Columbia to the Western frontiers of Texas, she could combat the errors of one Union paper among the mountains of East Tennessee. But no, this boasted Confederacy finds it necessary to frown down investigation, to check the progress of free inquiry, and for what? Why, for-sooth, lest her deeds should be reproved.

It is an old proverb, but as true now as centuries ago, “that none ever feared that the truth should be heard, but those that the truth would indict” — none, ever feared to come to the light but those whose deeds are evil. And when we find men loving darkness, and wishing to keep others in darkness, either in regard to their Government, or other transactions, we have reason to believe all is not right.

Leading men of the Union party, of unblemished character, must be rudely seized by an armed band of men, to gratify the malice of leading Secessionists in Knoxville, torn from their families, and rushed off, upon the cars to Richmond, and there thrown into a loathsome prison! The only press they have must be muzzled, its batteries silenced, and its readers and friends required to take the false statements of secession papers for the news of the day! Large bodies of armed men must be thrown into our country, and put in possession of all the principal towns and thorough-fares of the country, but no wrongs are to be inflicted upon the people of East Tennessee, nor are they to be deprived of any of their rights.

Can all this mean anything less than a declaration of war against East Tennessee? Is it not opening the ball, and inviting bloodshed in East Tennessee? What the effect of all this will be, we are wholly unable to say. It will either depress the Union forces of this end of the State, and cause them to cower like dogs, or it will make them frantic in defence of their gallant leaders down-trodden because of their principles, and arouse a thirst for vengeance and brave deeds! What Union leader, after all this, can any Longer meet his friends, and urge them to peace and moderation, as we know they have been doing?

So far as we are concerned, we can suspend our publication, in obedience to the dictates of tyranny and intolerance — we will yield to the demands of an armed mob — turn over to them our office and what little property we have — deprive ourselves and a helpless family of small children of the necessary means of support — and beg our bread from door to door among Union men who are able to give — but we shall refuse, most obstinately refuse, to the day of our death to think or speak favorably of such a Confederacy as this, or to agree that honor, patriotism, or love of country have influenced the men at its head, who have plunged the country into this revolution!

And whether our humble voice is hushed in death-whether our press is muzzled by the spirit of intolerance at Richmond, making this our last issue of a journal we have edited for almost a quarter of a century, we beg all who may come after us and our paper, to credit no secession falsehood that may represent us as having changed our principles from those of an exalted devotion to the old AMERICAN UNION, and of undying hostility to those who perpetrate its dissolution.
Editor of the Knoxville Whig.
AUG. 10, 1861.

26 AUGUST 1861
Knoxville, Tenn., August 26, 1861.
Colonel W. E. BALDWIN, Russellville, Tenn.

SIR: I have ordered you to move with your command and encamp at Fish Springs near the Johnson County line, because of the great disaffection as reported to me among the inhabitants of that county and of Carter adjoining, and in order that any efforts at rebellion against the authorities of the State or Confederacy may be quelled at once. I have information from various sources that a number of loyal citizens from those counties apprehending danger at the hands of the Federalists among them … who seem to … have fled for safety to Virginia and North Carolina.

I also learned to-day that two men were killed and others wounded recently by these Lincolnites. You will try and ascertain the facts in the case and report to me. You will report to headquarters as often as convenient or as circumstances may require the condition of affairs in those counties.

I desire you as much as possible to be conciliatory toward these people, adhering strictly to the policy indicated in my proclamation and in General Orders, Numbers 3. You will enjoin upon your men a scrupulous observance of the rights of persons and of property and all peaceable and law-abiding citizens. You will disarm and disperse all bodies of men in open hostility to the authorities of the State and of the Confederate States; capture and hold their leaders, and if resistance is offered and it becomes necessary, destroy them.

The following are the names of some of the Lincoln leaders in Johnson County, viz: Lewis Venable, of Laurel Creek; Northington, hotel-keeper at Taylorsville; R. R. Butler, Taylorsville, representative of the county; John G. Johnson and J. W. Merick, captains of Lincoln companies. Joseph P. Edoms, of Elizabethton, Carter County, and A. Evans, of Washington County, are also among the ringleaders of them.

If you obtain satisfactory evidence that these or other leaders are in open hostility to the authorities of the State or the Confederacy or stirring up rebellion against the same, you will arrest and detain them in custody. I will forward to your aid for scouting purposes a cavalry company so soon as I can arm them if you think their services are required.
By order of Brigadier G en. F. K. Zollicoffer:
P. B. LEE,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

Kentucky remains in the Union
As long as Kentucky is neutral, and allows no troops from either side to pass into her state, the northern border of Tennessee is protected. On this day Kentucky chose the Union and her neutrality ceased, and the entire northern boundary of Tennessee is exposed to possible invasion. Gen. Zollicoffer promptly advances his forces to Cumberland Gap. 

President Abraham Lincoln begins urging his generals to advance toward Cumberland Gap and East Tennessee, not only to aid the Unionists there but also to take possession of the strategic ET&VA Railroad. Moving an army into Northeast Tennessee appears to be extremely difficult; the terrain is rough, the roads poor, and the problems associated with supplying an advancing army seems almost insurmountable.

22 OCTOBER 1861
Wm. Blount Carter enters East Tennessee to initiate bridge burning.
Brig.-Gen. THOMAS. SIR: I reached here at 2 p. m. to day. I am within six miles of a company of rebel cavalry. I find our Union people in this part of the State firm and unwavering in their devotion to our Government and anxious to have an opportunity to assist in saving it. The rebels continue to arrest and imprison our people.

26 OCTOBER 1861
Letter about unlawful arrests in East Tennessee
MEMPHIS, October 26, 1861.
DEAR SIR: More than 100 persons have been arrested in East Tennessee without warrants in some cases, marched great distances and carried into court on no other charge than that they were Union men. In one case an old man named Duggan, a Methodist preacher, was arrested, carried fifty miles on foot (he a large, fleshy men), refused the privilege of riding his own horse, and all they had against him was that in February last he prayed for the Union. …

I have spent much time this summer and fall in trying to conciliate the people of East Tennessee. I thought I had succeeded. Just as the people were quieting down, getting reconciled, raising volunteers, &c., they commenced these arrests which have gone far to poison the minds of the people against the [CSA] Government, and if tolerated and persisted in the people of that end of the State at a critical moment will rise up enemies instead of friends.

You ask me who makes these arrests. As far as I can learn they are instigated by a few malicious, troublesome men in and about Knoxville. I always hear the names of W. G. Swan, William M. Churchwell, John H. Crozier, [John] Crozier Ramsey and the postmaster at Knoxville mixed up with these matters. It is these men [who] have private griefs and malice to gratify and they aim to bring down the avenging arm of the Government to satiate their passions.

Crozier Ramsey is the [Confederate] attorney-general [for Knox County]. It is said he in most cases causes the arrests and makes the affidavit. Just think of this—an attorney degrading himself by turning [into] an affidavit man. You may inquire what is the remedy? I answer turn out Ramsey; put some man in Middle or West Tennessee in his place who has dignity and character; turn out the postmaster at Knoxville.

If the President [Davis] will then make it known to all officials that he discountenances all frivolous arrests, things will quiet down. If, however, he refuses to do this, retains Ramsey, then we may look for great trouble in that end of the State. If the President will write Landon C. Haynes, Senator-elect, and any other respectable man in East Tennessee he will be at no loss what course to pursue. I address this to you to be certain the President will get it and receive attention.
Very respectfully
[Memphis attorney and member of the CSA General Assembly.]
Referred to the Secretary of War [Judah P. Benjamin], that such inquiry may be made and action taken as will prevent as far as we may such proceedings as are herein described.

28 OCTOBER 1861
HEADUQARTERS, Knoxville, October 28, 1861.
Brigadier General F. K. ZOLLICOFFER.
GENERAL: The news of your falling back to Cumberland Ford has had the effect of developing a feeling that has only been kept under by the presence of troops. It was plainly visible that the Union men were so elated that they could scarcely repress an open expression of their joy. This afternoon it assumed an open character and some eight or ten of the bullies and leaders made an attack on some of my men near the Lamar House and seriously wounded several.

Gentlemen who witnessed the whole affair say that my men gave no offense and were not at all to blame. The affair became pretty general and couriers were sent to me at my camp of its existence. I immediately marched Captain White’s cavalry and 100 of my men into the town to arrest the assailants but they made their escape. The Southerners here are considerably alarmed, believing that there is a preconcerted movement amongst the Union men if by any means the enemy should get into Tennessee.

J. Swan told me to-night that he heard one say this evening as Captain White’s cavalry rode through town that “they could do so now but in less than ten days the Union forces would be here and run them off.” I cannot well tell you the many evidences of disaffection which are manifested every day and the increased boldness that it is assuming. I deem it, however, of sufficient importance to be on the alert and as there are no other forces here now but a part of my regiment and Captains Gillespie’s and White’s cavalry, I think I had better keep my men there until others arrive.

The town is quiet this morning. The men who committed the assault on my men yesterday have left town, I am informed. The cannon and ammunition start this morning with orders to push on as rapidly as possible.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Post.

30 OCTOBER 1861
CAMP BUCKNER, October 30, 1861.
Colonel W. B. WOOD,
Sixteenth Alabama Regiment, Knoxville, Tenn.
SIR: If they attempt an invasion of East Tennessee it is rather probable they will move by way of the passes near Jacksborough or Jamestown. While our scouts are observing this road, they might be advancing by one of the other roads. I have therefore taken steps to have four cavalry companies employed in scouting from Jacksborough to Williamsburg.

Watch the movements of the Lincoln men in East Tennessee. Restrain our ultra friends from acts of indiscretion. Promptly meet and put down any attempted open hostility. But I have observed heretofore that a few of our friends about Knoxville are unnecessarily nervous; give their expressions of apprehension only their due weight.
Very respectfully,

Revolt of Unionists in Northeast Tennessee.

8 – 9 NOVEMBER 1861
Lick Creek railroad bridge burned on ET&VA Railroad in Northeast Tennessee.

Unionists swear their allegiance to the U. S. flag before burning Lick Creek Bridge.

KNOXVILLE, November 9, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN:
Two large bridges [at Zollicoffer in Sullivan County and at Lick Creek in Greene County] on my [rail]road were burned last night about 12 o’clock … and an effort made to burn the largest bridge on my [rail]road. There is great excitement along the whole line of road and evidence that the Union party are organizing and preparing to destroy or take possession of the whole line form Bristol to Chattanooga, and unless the Government is very prompt in giving us the necessary military aid, I much fear the result. The only hope for protection must be from the Government.

Unless the Government gives us the necessary aid and protection at once, transportation over my road of army supplies will be another impossibility; it cannot be done. We have arrested four of the individuals engaged in burning one bridge and know who burned another, but for want of the necessary military force, fear we cannot arrest them.
President East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad.

10 NOVEMBER 1861
Five of the men who burned Lick Creek Bridge are arrested
KNOXVILLE, November 10, 1861.
SIR: Information has been received that Mr. Hodgson, a member of the legislature, has been making a treasonable speech over in Sevier County. He is also suspected as having a knowledge, if not an instigator, of the burning of the bridges. He was here yesterday morning, and we would have arrested him, but he made his escape, and may probably try to get through your lines somewhere. He ought to be arrested. Five of the incendiaries who burned the Lick Creek Bridge have been arrested. …

Regretting as much as any one this calamity, I feel that I did all that I could to prevent it, and I am glad that it is no worse. I had a company at Lick Creek, but the incendiaries deceived them, and getting possession of their guns, took them prisoners and accomplished their ends. … What shall I do with the prisoners?
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. W. B. WOOD.

11 NOVEMBER 1861
Unionist uprising in Northeast Tennessee
KNOXVILLE, November 11, 1861.
General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General.
SIR: My fears expressed to you by letters and dispatches of 4th and 5th instant have been realized by the destruction of no less than five railroad bridges—two on the East Tennessee and Virginia road … The indications were apparent to me but I was powerless to avert it.

The whole country is now in a state of rebellion. A thousand men are within six miles of Strawberry Plains bridge and an attack is contemplated tomorrow. I have sent Colonel Powell there with 200 infantry, one company cavalry and about 100 citizens armed with shotguns and country rifles. …

An attack was made on Watauga [Carter’s Depot bridge] yesterday. Our men succeeded in beating them off, but they are gathering in larger force and may renew it in a day or two. They are not yet fully organized and have no subsistence to enable them to hold out long. A few regiments and vigorous means would have a powerful effect in putting it down. A mild or conciliating policy will do no good; they must be punished; and some of the leaders ought to be punished to the extent of the law. Nothing short of this will give quiet to the country.

… I have arrested six of the men who were engaged in burning the Lick Creek Bridge and I desire to have instruction from you as to the proper disposition of them. … I learn from two gentlemen just arrived that another camp is being formed about ten miles from here in Sevier County and already 300 are in camp. They are being re-enforced from Blount, Roane, Johnson, Greene, Carter and other counties.

I need not say that great alarm is felt by the few Southern men. They are finding places of safety for their families and would gladly enlist if we had arms to furnish them. I have had all the arms in this city seized and authorized Major Campbell to impress all he can find in the hands of union men who ought now to be regarded as avowed enemies …
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Post.

12 NOVEMBER 1861
Confederate reaction to Union rebellion
Governor Harris sends another 10,000 troops into Northeast Tennessee to disperse Union gatherings, disarm civilians, and arrest Unionist leaders.

20 NOVEMBER 1861
I sent a few men to arrest Andrew Johnson’s sons.
BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS, November 20, 1861.
Lieutenant- Colonel MACKALL,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Bowling Green, Ky.
SIR: I sent a few men up to Greeneville to arrest Andrew Johnson’s sons and son-in-law. … By this time I presume General [W. H.]Carroll is at Knoxville in command and instructed to make proper dispositions to guard the railroads and crush the tory combinations.

The recent burning of the bridges brought a crisis … but a small proportion of the population will now give countenance to hostile acts against the Confederate Government, and those who are still hostile are only running upon their own destruction. They should now be dealt very severely with. Leniency and forbearance have gradually won many thousands over who would have been driven to the enemy had our policy been severe two months ago, but those that are yet hostile can only be cured of their folly by severity. They should be made to feel in their persons and their property that their hostile attitude promises to them nothing but destruction.
Very respectfully,

20 NOVEMBER 1861
Col. William B. Wood announces to CSA Secretary of War, Judah P. Benjamin, the East Tennessee rebellion has been suppressed.

25 NOVEMBER 1861
CSA Secretary of War orders the captured bridge burners to be tried by drumhead court-martial, and hanged if found guilty.

30 NOVEMBER 1861
Lick Creek Bridge burners executed.
Henry Fry and Jacob Matthew Hinshaw are tried and found guilty of burning the Lick Creek Bridge. They are hanged the same day from a tree near the Greeneville Railroad Depot.

Bridge burners still being arrested
KNOXVILLE, December 5, 1861.
The following dispatch received this morning dated from Bird’s Point:
Captain Cocke just in with two bridge-burners and other prisoners. Have no news from Colonel Leadbetter. Colonel Powel reports by special messenger that he has seen no gathering. Will hold his position. Will throw my forces over the river in the morning and report. …
Cannonading and musketry at 8 o’clock. Tories [Unionists] have made a stand.
Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.

KNOXVILLE, December 7, 1861.
Captain Monsarrat has dispersed the tories in Cocke County and captured thirty of the ringleaders.
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Cocke County, Northeast Tennessee

Expedition into Northeast Tennessee
HEADQUARTERS, Greenville, Tenn.
General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General.
SIR: Hearing that the insurgents had gathered in force at or near the bend of Chucky River and thence to the neighborhood of Parrottsville and of Newport on the French Broad in Cocke County I moved the Twenty-ninth North Carolina … in that direction on the 3rd instant. Hearing that General Carroll had troops on the line of railroad at Morristown I arranged with them by telegraph to move into the enemy’s county at the same time and from opposite directions.

That country consists of a tumultuous mass of steep hills wooded to the top with execrable roads winding through the ravines and often occupying the beds of the water-courses. A few of the insurgent scouts were seen, pursued and fired on. One was desperately wounded and left at a cabin near by.

At the farm houses along the more open valleys no men were to be seen and it is believed that nearly the whole male population of the country were lurking in the hills on account of disaffection or fear. The women in some cases were greatly alarmed throwing themselves on the ground and wailing like savages. … The expedition lasted four days, and in the course of it we met Colonel Powel’s command deep in the mountains and our guns were responded to at no great distance by a force under Captain Monsarrat [USA].

These people cannot be caught in that manner. As likely to be more effective I have detached three companies of Colonel Vance’s regiment to Parrottsville with instructions to impress horses from Union men and be active in seizing troublesome men in all directions. They will impress provisions giving certificates therefor, with assurance that the amounts will be paid if the future loyalty of the sufferer shall justify the clemency of the Government. The whole country is given to understand that this course will be pursued until quiet shall be restored to these distracted counties, and they can rely upon it that no prisoner will be pardoned so long as any Union men shall remain in arms. …

It is believed that we are making progress toward pacification. The Union men are taking the oath in pretty large numbers and arms are beginning to be brought in. Captain McClellan of the Tennessee cavalry reports that Carter County is becoming very quiet and that with the aid of a company of infantry he will enter Johnson County and disarm the people there. I shall send the company without delay.

The execution of the bridge-burners is producing the happiest effect. This coupled with great kindness toward the inhabitants generally inclines them to quietude. Insurgents will continue for yet a while in the mountains but I trust that we have secured the outward obedience of the people.
Very respectfully, &c, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding.

10 DECEMBER 1861
KNOXVILLE, December 10, 1861.
The court-martial has sentenced A. C. Haun, bridge-burner, to be hung. … Ordered to be
executed at 12 o’clock to-morrow. …”WM. H. CARROLL,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

11 DECEMBER 1861
Bridge burner Alex Haun is hanged at a hastily-built gallows north of Knoxville.

13 DECEMBER 1861
Major-General CRITTENDEN, Richmond, Va.
SIR: In accordance with the verbal instructions communicated to you by the President you will proceed to Kentucky and assume command of all the forces now commanded by General Zollicoffer, including Carroll’s brigade and the different posts established by General Zollicoffer at Cumberland Gap and other mountain passes. You will report directly to General A. S. [Albert Sidney] Johnston by letter.

Unless otherwise ordered by General Johnston your command will not include Eastern Tennessee, Colonel Leadbetter having been specially assigned by the President [Jefferson Davis] to the duty of maintaining the communications through that district of country and ordered to assume the command of the troops necessary for guarding the line and dispersing the insurrectionists and bridge-burners; …

If by chance you shall, however, be thrown into command in any part of East Tennessee you will understand the policy of the Government to be to show no further clemency to rebels in arms. All actually engaged in bridge-burning should be tried summarily and executed if convicted by military authority. All others captured with arms or proven to have taken up arms against the Government are to be sent to Tuscaloosa [Alabama] as prisoners of war.

All such inhabitants as are known to have been in league with the traitors may be pardoned if they promptly deliver up their arms and take the oath of allegiance to this Government. In such event they are to be protected in their persons and property; otherwise they should be arrested wherever found and treated as prisoners of war, and especially should care be taken to allow none of them to remain armed. These are the instructions substantially that have been given to Colonel Leadbetter under which he has been acting.
Your obedient servant,
Secretary of War.

17 DECEMBER 1861
Jacob Harmon and his son Henry are hanged at Knoxville.

19 DECEMBER 1861
Description of the situation in East Tennessee in the autumn of 1861
Knoxville, Tenn., December 19, 1861.
Honorable D. M. CURRIN, Richmond, Va.
[David Maney Currin, Sr.(1817-1864) was a Tennessee attorney and politician who served in the Confederate States Congress during the American Civil War.]
I regret to trouble you with this communication, but feel myself called upon to do so by a sense of duty both to the Confederate Government and to the people of East Tennessee. … There are some very important facts connected with the recent political history of East Tennessee which apparently have not yet come to the knowledge of the Government or have been entirely overlooked, while others of less importance have been greatly exaggerated. To these I beg to call your attention.

In the beginning of the present contest between the North and South the attitude assumed by East Tennessee was a very doubtful one, and it was deemed best by those fully acquainted with the temper and sentiment of the people to pursue a conciliatory policy towards them. Mr. Davis himself, I believe, adopted this view of the case, and for a time pursued the mild course thus indicated. The result was a very great change in the public mind …

In September [1861] Major-General Polk sent General W. H. Carroll here for the purpose of endeavoring to bring the people over to the support of the Confederate Government and to enlist one or more regiments for the Army. General Carroll succeeded beyond his expectations, raising and organizing in a very short time a full regiment-coming mostly from those counties where in June the heaviest vote had been polled against the separation of Tennessee from the Federal Government.

This gratifying result I am satisfied is attributable almost entirely to the liberal and conciliatory policy of which I have spoken; but notwithstanding there were still left a few leading miscreants and a handful of ignorant and deluded followers who were wicked enough for the commission of any crime however detestable. By these and these alone were the bridges burned and other depredations committed while the mass of the people were entirely ignorant of their designs and utterly opposed to any such wickedness and folly.

The numbers engaged in these outrages have I know been greatly over-estimated as facts have been developed in the investigations that have been made by the court-martial now in session at this place which satisfy me beyond doubt that there were not at the time the bridges were burned 500 men in all East Tennessee who knew anything of it or who contemplated any organized opposition to the Government.

Scouting parties were sent out in every direction who arrested hundreds suspected of disloyalty and incarcerated them in prison until almost every jail in the eastern end of the State was filled with poor, ignorant and for the most part harmless men who had been guilty of no crime save that of lending a too credulous ear to the corrupt demagogues whose counsels have led them astray. Among those thus captured were a number of bridge-burners. These latter were tried and promptly executed.

About 400 or the poor victims of designing leaders have been sent to Tuscaloosa as prisoners of war leaving in many instances their families in a helpless and destitute condition. The greatest distress prevails throughout the entire country in consequence of the various arrests that have been made, together with the facts that the horses and the other property of the parties that have been arrested have been seized by the soldiers and in many cases appropriated to personal uses or wantonly destroyed.

Old political animosities and private grudges have been revived and bad men among our friends are availing themselves of the opportunity afforded them by bringing Southern men to hunt down with the ferocity of bloodhounds all those against whom they entertain any feeling of dislike. The wretched condition of these unfortunate people appeals to the sympathy and commiseration of every humane man.

Those best acquainted with affairs here are fully impressed with the belief that if the proper course were pursued all East Tennessee could be united in support of the Confederate Government. Strong appeals have been made from all sections to General Carroll to release those now in prison here and the return of those sent to Tuscaloosa; but under the instructions from the Secretary of War [Benjamin] by which he is governed he does not feel at liberty to do so. …
Respectfully, your friend,
CSA Assistant Adjutant-General
Staff of General W. H. Carroll in Knoxville.

Thomas A. R. Nelson

Thomas Amos Rogers Nelson (1812-1873) is an attorney and politician in Northeast Tennessee during the American Civil War era. He represents the 1st Congressional District in the 36th U.S. Congress (1859–1861), where he gains a reputation as a Southern Unionist—white Southerners living in the Confederate States who are opposed to secession. 

During the 1860-1861 secession crisis, T. A. R. Nelson canvasses the region, giving dozens of speeches, trying to keep East Tennessee in the Union. He also serves as president of both meetings of East Tennessee Convention; the first session met in Knoxville on 30 May 1861; the second in Greeneville on 17 June 1861. The Unionists petition the Tennessee General Assembly, asking that East Tennessee be allowed to form its own state and remain in the Union. The legislature denies their request.

25 MARCH 1861: A Meeting with the President
Northeast Tennessee Congressman Thomas A. R. NELSON writes about a meeting he has with President Abraham Lincoln: “[I] had it from his own lips … that he was for peace, and would use every exertion in his power to maintain it …. He expressed a strong hope that, after a little time is allowed for reflection, [the Confederate states] will secede from the position they have taken …. [I was] well pleased with the President’s frankness.” 


4 AUGUST 1861: Congressman Thomas A. R. Nelson arrested by Confederates
During the secession crisis of 1860-61, Northeast Tennessee Unionist Thomas Amos Rogers Nelson actively campaigns to keep Tennessee in the Union. Even after Tennessee joins the Confederacy on 8 June 1861, voters in Nelson’s district reelect him as a Unionist [the name used by a coalition of Republicans, northern Democrats and anti-Confederate Southern Democrats] to the U.S. Congress in 1861. On his way to Washington DC to take his seat, Nelson is arrested and carried to Richmond VA as a prisoner.

United States Congressman from Tennessee Thomas A. R. Nelson


6 AUGUST 1861: Arrest of prominent East Tennessee Unionist Thomas A. R. Nelson
Knoxville, August 6, 1861.
Adjt. Gen. S. COOPER, Richmond, Va.
SIR: Thomas A. R. Nelson, with an escort of three men, supposed to be on his way to take his seat in the Federal Congress at Washington, was arrested about midnight night before last in Lee County, Virginia, by a company of Home Guards of that county. He was brought to a camp under my command at Cumberland Gap, and was from there sent, under a guard of 60 men, to Abingdon, VA. The knowledge of the event has apparently produced much excitement among Nelson’s adherents here, giving rise to menacing language. … F. K. ZOLLICOFFER, Brig.-Gen.

Published in the New York Times, 31 August 1861
The Knoxville Whig, of the 24th, contains the promised address of Hon. THOMAS A.R. NELSON to the people of East Tennessee. It occupies two columns of the Whig. After stating the causes which led to his light, the mode of his arrest, the reasons for his Unionism, with which the reader is already familiar, he says:
While on the way to Richmond, I had some conversation with a portion of the Tennessee delegation to the Southern Congress, and during my stay there was visited by various members of Congress and other public men connected with the Southern Confederacy. The intense solicitude which was expressed, especially by the most prominent and distinguished of the original Secessionists, who, without any request on my part, volunteered their kind offices with generous liberality, in regard to the conciliation of the people of East Tennessee, and the unusual kindness and consideration with which I was treated as a prisoner, convinced me that I was in error in supposing that the military power would be exerted for any other purpose than that of retaining the Railroad and of resisting aggressive acts on our part. Acting under this changed conviction, believing that, if I were retained as a prisoner, or punished with death, under any strained construction of the treason laws, my friends in East Tennessee would in either event retaliate by arresting public men of the opposite party here; that this would lead to counter arrests, and that the horrors of civil war would immediately exist among us, I felt that it was due to you and to myself that I should obtain my release as soon as possible, on the best, terms I could effect without dishonor; and, after various informal propositions and consultations, I finally addressed to President DAVIS the following letter.

12 AUGUST 1861: T. A. R. Nelson petitions Jefferson Davis for his release and the release of his son from prison
RICHMOND, Aug. 12, 1861.
To His Excellency Jeff. Davis, President of the Confederate States.
SIR: I have been arrested, and, as I learned since my arrival in this city, upon the charge of treason, but whether against the State of Tennessee or the Confederate State, I am not advised. I am conscious of no act, either against the State or the Confederacy, that will support or sustain such an accusation. I am sincerely anxious to preserve the peace and quiet of East Tennessee, the section of the State in which I reside, as best promotion of the peace and interest of the entire State.
I ask to be discharged from a vexatious prosecution, that I may return home peacefully, to follow my private interests and pursuits, assuring your Excellency that I will not, either directly or indirectly, by counsel, advice or action encourage aid or assist the United States Government to invade or attain success in the present struggle with the Confederate States, nor will I counsel or advise others to thwart or cripple the Confederate States in the pending contest with the United States, nor will I do so by my own acts.
In view of the increased majority in the election which has just taken place in Tennessee, I shall feel it my duty, as a citizen of that State, to submit to her late action, and shall religiously abstain from any further words or acts of condemnation or opposition to her Government.
The parties arrested with me, with the exception of my son, who acted by my command, were mere guides and conductors through the mountain passes, on my way to my place of destination, and whatever view may be taken of my own course, they are innocent; in no way responsible, legally or morally, and have committed no offence against the laws of the Confederacy or the State of Tennessee, and I ask that they also be discharged from custody by Your Excellency.
Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,

13 AUGUST 1861: President Jefferson Davis orders Nelson’s release after he agrees not to oppose the Confederate government.
RICHMOND, Aug. 13, 1861.
SIR: I have received your letter of the 12th inst., in which you ask to be discharged from arrest and prosecution, and make promise that you will, as a citizen of Tennessee, submit to her late action, and religiously abstain from any further words or acts of condemnation whatever, or opposition to her Government.
The desire of this Government being to maintain the dependence it has asserted by the united feeling and action of all its citizens, it has been its policy not to enter into questions of differences of political opinions heretofore existing.
I am, therefore, pleased to be spared the necessity of inquiring whether the accusation against you be well founded or not, vexatious or not, and to rest content with your submission as a loyal citizen of your State to her recent action in adhering to this Confederacy and adopting its permanent Constitution by an increased majority. I have ordered your discharge and that of your companions from custody.
I am, &c.,

President of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis

17 AUGUST 1861: Nelson returns to his home in Jonesborough and resumes his law practice.
Since my return home, I am content with my own course in the promises. But whether it was right or wrong, wise or unwise, I feel bound, as an honorable man, to act up to the spirit and letter of the obligation I assumed. I shall offer no plea of duress, because neither the Southern Confederacy nor any earthly power could have compelled me to make an agreement that my judgment and conscience did not approve in the situation in which I was placed.
No terms or conditions, expressed or implied, public or private, attended my release other than those plainly expressed in the two above-quoted; but I have thought it due to our past relations and the painful solicitude many of you have felt in my behalf, that I should thus briefly address you.
While I did not promise allegiance or active support to the Southern Confederacy … I feel perfectly free to say that the failure of the Government of the United States for four long months to sustain us in our position; its apparent inability to do so … within any reasonable time; … the mutual hatred which has grown up between the antagonist sections of the Union, … as well as other causes, have painfully impressed my own mind with the belief that, unless some wonderful and improbable change is effected, our beloved Union is gone forever, and it is our policy and duty to submit to a result which, however we may deplore it, seems to be inevitable.
Aware that my advice as well as my motives may be liable to misconstruction, I would still most respectfully recommend to my friends the propriety of abstaining from all further opposition or resistance to the Confederate authorities, … although I have no authority to speak for them, I am satisfied that no military power will be exerted among us, except such as may be indispensably necessary to retain military possession of East Tennessee. And to those of our citizens who have gone beyond the limits of the State … I think I can safely say, without arrogance, that from the course which was adopted towards me, they would risk nothing returning to the State …
KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Aug. 17, 1861.

I found no evidence that Mr. Nelson ever attempts to take his seat in the U.S. Congress again.

26 AUGUST 1861: Official Confederate correspondence relative to East Tennessee Unionist T. A. R. Nelson’s expected public support for the Confederacy
KNOXVILLE, TENN., August 26, 1861.
Hon. A. T. BLEDSOE, Bureau of War, Richmond, Va.
DEAR SIR: I have with others labored hard and with some success to allay the spirit of disaffection in this region … I stopped at Jonesborough one day to confer with Col. T. A. R. Nelson and through him to learn what the Unionists design, and the result of a long interview has strongly impressed me with the belief that he will not only abstain from doing anything hostile to the Confederacy but that in due time … he will come out openly for the Southern cause and he has given me aid already in getting up volunteers.
At my instance Union leaders now here from different counties are to-night engaged in preparing an address … and advising their friends in Kentucky and elsewhere to return to their homes and submit to “the powers that be.” I propose publishing a handbill containing a sort appeal to my friends and relatives … this indorsement of it by his friends and Gen. Zollicoffer’s general order holding out the olive branch. This may lead to such mutual confidence that both sides may deem their rifles useless here …
Very respectfully and truly, yours,
A. M. LEA, Brigade Commissary.


4 OCTOBER 1862: Confederate authorities attempt to insure loyalty of East Tennesseans with indorsement of T. A. R. Nelson and Nelson’s “Address to the People of East Tennessee.”
Knoxville, Tenn., October 4, 1862.
SIR: An address to the people of East Tennessee, by Thomas A. R. Nelson, will appear in the Knoxville Register to-morrow. I desire that you copy it in your paper, which I presume you will do without any request from me, and give it a wide circulation; and I shall be pleased if you will give it a complimentary editorial notice in a way that will be agreeable to Mr. Nelson and calculated to encourage others to follow his example. This is no time to permit party feelings to drive from our support any who are able to serve our cause by bringing about a more loyal and better feeling in East Tennessee. Of course I do not want my name to appear in connection with it.
Very respectfully,
Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

4 OCTOBER 1862: Meet CSA Gen. SAM. JONES
Knoxville, Tenn., October 4, 1862.
Hon. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: After being a few days in command here … I became satisfied that much good might result to our cause by putting myself in communication with … the most influential Union men. Without knowing any of them personally I selected Hon. Thomas A. R. Nelson … and invited him to meet me here. … he came very promptly, and after a private interview he, on my suggestion, wrote and placed in my hands, to be used as I thought proper, an address to the people of East Tennessee. …
I will have it published and widely circulated and hope it will be productive of good. I expect in a day or two to converse with a few other influential men whom I have invited to meet me, and I hope they may be brought to see the propriety of following Mr. Nelson’s example. I believe there are Southern men in East Tennessee … who have heretofore been strong Union men should change their course and come out in support of the Government. …
I regret to believe that much hostility and treachery exists in this department. I have a detachment out now in an adjoining county to kill, capture, or disperse a party of some 200 or 300 armed men collected together in the mountains to join the enemy in Kentucky; and I hear there are other such bands. …
I have received no instructions from you and am not informed as to the policy … I should pursue. I send with this a short proclamation to the people of East Tennessee. They … will indicate somewhat of the policy I propose to pursue, and I have respectfully to ask that you will submit them to the President and inform me if they meet his approval.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

3 OCTOBER 1862: Address of Hon. T. A. R. Nelson to the People of East Tennessee.
KNOXVILLE, TENN., October 3, 1862.
In all the speeches which I made to you in the spring and summer of 1861, as well as in a printed address to the people of the State on or about May 30, 1861, I declared in substance that if I had believed it was the object of the North to subjugate the South and to emancipate our slaves in violation of the Constitution, I would have gone as far as the farthest in advocating resistance to the utmost extent. My attention has just been called to a proclamation issued by the President of the United States on 22 September 1862 [Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation], in which he declares that—
“On the 1st day of January, A. D. 1863, all persons held as slaves within any State, or any designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be thenceforward and forever free, and the executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they make for their actual freedom.”
I need scarcely remind you that one of the evils which I dreaded and predicted as the results of which were made to dissolve the Union was, that in the progress of war they might open the way for servile insurrection and the overthrow of the institution of slavery. My opinions as to the unconstitutionally and impolicy of secession remain unchanged …  
The paramount causes which have controlled and influenced my conduct and opinions were love for the Union and an unshaken confidence that we had the best Constitution and Government in the world; but of all the acts of despotism of which the civil war in which we are now engaged has been the prolific source there is not one which in the slightest degree equals the atrocity and barbarism of Mr. Lincoln’s proclamation. At one blow it deprives all the citizens of the slave States without distinction of the right to hold slaves, a right guaranteed by the very Constitution he pretends to uphold. …
We are in the midst of a sea of difficulties. Many acts have been done in the South to which we were bitterly opposed as a people, and which we who have adhered to the Union in spite of perils and dangers could not justify or palliate; but the Union men of East Tennessee are not now and never were Abolitionists. …
I am aware, my countrymen, that you will find difficulties in bringing your minds to the same conclusion at which my own has arrived. Many wanton and unauthorized acts of cruelty and oppression have been perpetrated among you, which, instead of changing your opinions, have only been calculated to aggravate and intensify a heroic principle of endurance.
Many of these acts have been committed in remote places, without the knowledge or approbation of the authorities at Richmond or of those who have held the supreme command in East Tennessee, and under such circumstances that you have felt it dangerous to complain. …
Gradually and slowly these outrages have at last become known, and in the very recent proclamation issued by Maj.-Gen. Jones you have the assurance that your complaints will be heard and the most energetic measures adopted to remedy the evils to which you have been subjected. Let not then a sense of private and present wrongs blind you against the enormities already perpetrated and still more seriously contemplated by Mr. Lincoln’s administration. …
But if, through fear or any other cause, Mr. Lincoln’s infamous proclamation is sustained, then we have no Union to hope for, no Constitution to struggle for, no magnificent and unbroken heritage to maintain, no peace to expect, save such as with the blessing of Providence we may conquer. The armies which have been sent near you to tantalize you with hope have been withdrawn, and with cool audacity Mr. Lincoln virtually tells you that you have no rights. No alternative remains but to choose the destiny which an arrogant and unprincipled administration forces upon us.
It is almost unnecessary to declare to you that I adhered to the Union amidst good report and evil report, suffering and danger, while it was in my power to support it, and that, when my efforts were paralyzed and my voice silenced by causes beyond my control, I have cherished the hope that all might yet be well; but “the last link is broken” that bound me to a Government for which my ancestors fought, and what ever may be the course of others, I shall feel it my duty to encourage the most persevering and determined resistance against the tyrants and usurpers of the Federal administration, who have blasted our hopes and are cruelly seeking to destroy the last vestige of freedom among us. … He [Lincoln] has called armies into the field without authority, according to his own acknowledgment, and has become a military dictator.

17 OCTOBER 1862: Confederate authorities deny incarcerating T. A. R. Nelson’s son to force Nelson’s “Address To The People of Tennessee”
Knoxville, Tenn., October 17, 1862.
Hon. THOMAS. A. R. NELSON, Jonesborough, Tenn.
DEAR SIR: I regret to hear that some persons, incapable it seems of appreciating the manly and patriotic motives which prompted your address to the people of East Tennessee, have attributed it to a desire to procure thereby the release of your son. It is due to you that I should state that neither you nor any one else ever intimated to me that you desired the release of your son, nor did I intimate any promise of intention of releasing him. I took it for granted that you did desire it, but I had too just an appreciation of your character to suppose for one moment that your action on so important a matter would be influenced by that motive. I had heard that your son was young and indiscreet, and had committed the offense for which he was arrested in violation of your expressed wishes and while you were absent from home. I have released a number of prisoners besides your son, and I released him because I supposed that it would be gratifying to you, and because I judge that the boy would be more likely to become a loyal and useful citizen if brought within your influence than if left in prison with persons older and more culpable than himself. If you think the insinuations against your motives worthy of notice you are at liberty to make such use of this note as you may think proper.
Very respectfully and truly,
SAM. JONES, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

17 OCTOBER 1862:   
Knoxville, Tenn., October 17, 1862.
Hon. THOMAS A. R. NELSON, Jonesborough, Tenn.
DEAR SIR: … You may remember that I mentioned to you that I thought it highly probable that many people in East Tennessee would deny that President Lincoln had issued his proclamation of the 22nd ultimo and denounce it as a secession forgery unless some one in whom they had confidence would come forward and assure them it was genuine.
I am sorry to hear that many persons not only deny the authenticity of Mr. Lincoln’s proclamation but of your address also. They say the whole thing is a secession forgery, gotten up by the Knoxville Register.
I am convinced that your address has already been productive of much good, and I am equally well convinced that you can render far more effective service to the country and especially to the people of East Tennessee by going among them and addressing them in public meeting. It is of the first importance that the Union men should now come out and give cordial support to the Government. If the present opportunity is lost it is impossible to see what other can offer for bringing them to the support of the Government under which they now live. I know that other gentleman of influence are willing to join you and canvass East Tennessee, and I venture to urge you to lose no time, but enter on the work now.
I would not make the suggestion if I were not convinced of your earnest desire to promote the peace and harmony of East Tennessee now and for the future. I am satisfied that you and others can soon biting about such a state of feeling in this section of the country that the troops now in service in this particular section may with safety be withdrawn. The depredations so long and justly complained of will cease and that cause of imitation be removed. It is surely worth an effort to produce even that benefit to the community. I believe you can accomplish that and much more.
In haste, yours, very respectfully and truly,
SAM. JONES, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

I found no evidence that Mr. Nelson ever canvassed East Tennessee for the Confederacy. It appears that he remained quiet and out of the public eye for some time. I did find the following correspondence with Provost-Marshal of East Tennessee S. P. Carter at Knoxville concerning mistreatment of East Tennessee Unionists by Union troops. Please note Mr. Nelson’s address. After USA Gen. Ambrose Burnside occupied Knoxville in early September 1863, Mr. Nelson moved from his home in Jonesborough to Knox County, near Knoxville.

26 DECEMBER 1863: Unionist civilians in dire straits
December 26, 1863.
Brig. Gen. S. P. Carter:
SIR: Unable to reach home, I have been staying for the last ten days at the house of Maj. Gaines McMillan, who will hand you this note. He goes to Knoxville in the hope of procuring a guard for his property. Having always been a Union man, he cheerfully furnished to the army all the corn and other articles he could spare; but soldiers, in defiance of your safeguard, came and took all his oats; others threatened to break open his smoke-house and insulted his family in his absence, and were with great difficulty restrained by my persuasions and entreaties from forcibly taking his provisions.
He has been and is daily annoyed in every conceivable way without the power of resistance. I sincerely hope that you may devise some plan to relieve him from further vexation and loss. Although I … understand that you are not in command of the army of East Tennessee, I hope that, as a native of the country, you will exert your influence to mitigate the horrors of war among us.
Supposing that Governor Johnson and Mr. Maynard had in charge the interests of our people, I, in common with others, cherished the hope that they would use their influence with the President to cause the army to be instructed before they came here that they were about to enter the country of friends and not of enemies, and that, by their good conduct, they should make the contrast broad and deep between the behavior of the hostile Armies, and especially that as the Union population had suffered greatly from the rebels, they should be promptly paid for everything that might be taken by the Federals …
I suppose that the exertions … our members of Congress made have been unavailing, as the Union Army is more destructive to Union men than the rebel army ever was. Our fences are burned, our horses are taken, our people are stripped in many instances of the very last vestige of subsistence, our means to make a crop next year are being rapidly destroyed, and when the best Union men in the country make appeals to the soldiers, they are heartlessly cursed as rebels; or when certificates are given as to property taken, they are generally for much less than the true amount, and a citizen in attempting to enforce a claim against his Government has to run the gauntlet of “the circumlocution office,” until, discouraged and disheartened, he turns away, feeling that the Government which he loved and honored and trusted, and which never did him any harm before the war, has at last become cruel and unjust, and cares nothing for his sorrows and sufferings.
In many instances soldiers take property without giving any certificates, and the result is a fearful and alarming state of robbery and plunder. Can you do nothing to remedy these evils? Can you not, in behalf of an outraged and disappointed people, urge Gen. [John G.] Foster [then in command of East Tennessee] to hold all officers to the strictest accountability for the conduct of their soldiers and compel them to listen to and redress the wrongs of the people?
If nothing is done and promptly done, starvation and ruin are before us, and there will be nothing here to support the army next summer. Let me urge you, as you love East Tennessee, and as you would preserve the Union party from ruin, to exert a prompt and energetic influence on the whole subject.
Very respectfully,

26 DECEMBER 1863: Gen. Carter requests aid for Unionists
Knoxville, December 26, 1863.
Brig. Gen. E. E. POTTER, Chief of Staff:
GEN.: I have the honor to forward, for information of the commanding general, a letter this day received from Hon. Thomas A. R. Nelson, in relation to the conduct of United States troops toward loyal citizens of East Tennessee. In doing so I respectfully renew my request that the most stringent measures be adopted to put an immediate check to acts which are alike unjust to our citizens and discreditable to the United States service.
I am, general, very respectfully, &c.,
S. P. Carter,
Brig. Gen. and Provost-Marshal-Gen. of East Tennessee.


“Confederate Policy of Repression in East Tennessee,” War of the Rebellion, Serial 114 Page 0823, Official Records of the Civil War, accessed 21 February 2021,

“Union Rebellion in East Tennessee,” War of the Rebellion, 1861, Serial 114 Page 0825, Official Records of the Civil War, accessed 21 February 2021,

“Prisoners of War, etc.,” War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0826, accessed 21 February 2021,

A Tennessee Unionist Arrested,” New York Times, 31 August 1861, accessed 27 February 2021,