War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0776 OPERATIONS IN KY.,TENN.,N. ALA.,AND S. W. VA. Chapter XVII.

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similar cases to know that the Union men will give no evidence against each other, and especially against their leaders.

On the Monday morning after the bridges were burned the news was circulated in our town. Shortly thereafter Dowell, at whose house Brownlow had staid, left for the coves, and the next day or the day after Mainis, who in the mean time had returned, left also. He afterward sent back after his family, and has never returned. One remark able fact and coincidence is that very many of those who were in town the day Brownlow was here were engaged in the rail to Sevier County on the Monday and Tuesday after the burning of the bridges.

Another circumstance I will mention. On the Monday morning the news was circulating in town of the bridges being burned a Mr. Sesler, a respectable citizen of the place, was telling the news in his family. A servant girl, a white woman, living in his family, instantly remarked, "La me! Phoebe Smith told me at the spring last Wednesday that the bridges were to be burned Friday night, but I did't believe it." Upon inquiry of Mr. Sester she related the following facts: She was at the spring on the Wednesday before the bridges were burned. There she met Phoebe Smith, a white servant girl living in Mr. Dowell's family. Phoebe remarked, "They were all going to the mountains shortly." "What for?" "The Northern Army is coming." "How do you know?" "Mr. Brownlow and Mr. Cummings and some other gentlemen were at our house the other day, and Mr. Dowell had some papers in his hand, and asked me to go out of the room. I went out, and they locked the door. I went back and put my ear to the key-hole, and heard Mr. Dowell reading something about the Federal Army coming and about the bridges going to be burned Friday night."

Mr. Sesler came back up in town and very foolishly made these facts public. In a short time Dowell came down the street and gave notice that the girl Phoebe Smith denied having made any such statement, and in an hour or two Dowell left town, as before stated. The girl Phoebe has since been seen and talked to on the subject. She continues to deny the truth of the statement of the girl at Sesler's, the latter, however, still asserting most positively that they did have such a conversation. The characters of the two girls are equally good. They are both obscure, and nothing much ever having been known or said about either, neither one of them, I presume, could be impeached. Whether there is truth in the statement it is not necessary for me to express an opinion. It is very difficult to imagine how an ignorant servant girl could instantly manufacture such a tale, and make, as it were, a spontaneous expression of it upon hearing the news Sesler was telling, while we might imagine how the other girl could be procured or induced to make a denial of it. I believe that the sentiment of our community is that the girl at Sesler's tells the facts as they occurred. The matter is in just such a fix that no legal evidence can be made of it, as I doubt not but that Dowell's girl will deny it upon oath.

This is about all the information I can give you on the subjects of your inquiries. We have tried to get facts out of the Union men, but they will not divulge, and I do not believe they would tell anything prejudicial to Brownlow on oath. They seem to understand the object of all inquiries addressed to them, and they also seem determined to screen their leaders.

Very respectfully,