Kentucky. Let the civil or military law that its course against the criminal leader in this atrocious rebellion, as it has already done to his deluded and ignorant followers.
We have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servants,
J. G. M. RAMSEY.
WM. H. TIBBS.
Knoxville, Tenn., December 7, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I telegraphed you last night that I had caused Brownlow to be arrested by a warrant issued from the Confederate States commissioner, and I feel confident, when I inform you the grounds of his arrest, you will approve of my course. I had intended to have him arrested in November last, at the regular term of the Confederate court at this place, but, in consequence of his absence and Judge Humphreys not being here to hold the court, his arrest was postponed. Shortly before the burning of the bridges Brownlow's friends circulated a report that he was confined at home by a bleeding at the lungs. Notwithstanding this (the bridges being burned on Friday night, the 8th of November), he left home the Monday previous, and has remained absent a month or more, during inclement season, in the mountainous parts of the counties of Blount and Sevier, among the most hostile population to the Southern Confederacy that we have in East Tennessee. Information reached me that on his way to the mountains he had made use of expressions that showed he had knowledge of the designs of the enemy to penetrate into East Tennessee and the time the attempt would be made, and I was satisfied, from his well-known character for years for obtaining information, that he was not ignorant that the bridges would be burned. His newspaper has been the great cause of rebellion in this section, and most of those who have been arrested have been deluded by his gross distortion of facts and incited to take up arms by his inflammatory appeals to their passions and infamous libels upon the Confederate States. Under these circumstances it was the general sentiment of our people, and particularly of the military, that it would be great injustice to punish the ignorant men who had been deluded by one more cunning and hypocritical than themselves and suffer the master spirit to escape with impunity. Our soldiers, who have been guarding the mountain passes by night as well as by day, and have endured the hardest service to detect and arrest ignorant men who were straggling over into Kentucky to assist the enemy, the dupes of his teachings, became discouraged, and said they could see no use in such service, when Brownlow, who could do them more harm than a thousand men, was suffered to pass over to the enemy to give them information and incite our enemies to invade our country. So great was their objection to this course, that I understand some of the officers said it would be difficult in such a contingency to restrain their men from laying down their arms and returning home; and I also understand that there were none of the military who did not feel it would be degrading service to escort him to the Kentucky line.
But desiring not to trespass upon your valuable time longer than it is absolutely necessary, I again repeat that it is the general desire of all friends to our cause in East Tennessee that his case should be investigated, to ascertain if he did not possess knowledge of the bridge,