The excitement arising from this circumstance created more alarm among the Union men than among those who were loyal to the South, for they very justly supposed that it would be a signal for the advance of a large Southern army in their midst, and in the first paroxysm of fear which these apprehensions induced hundreds fled hastily from their homes, some taking refuge in the mountains and others going into Kentucky. Colonels Leadbetter and Vance moved their commands into that portion of the State bordering on the Virginia and Kentucky line, while General Carroll and Colonel Wood moved from the west in the direction of Chattanooga and Knoxville. 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 have 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.
The rigorous measures adopted by the military commanders here struck still greater terror into those who had before been Union men, and to avoid arrest and, as they thought, subsequent punishment, concealed themselves, thus giving the semblance of guilt to actions innocent in fact, and entirely natural under the circumstances which surrounded them. About 400 of 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 officers in command here have used every effort to restrain the soldiery from all acts of lawless violence. The scattered and distracted nature of the service in a great measure neutralizes their efforts. My position in the Army enables me to speak advisedly of these things, and I venture to say that if assurances of safety were given to those persons who have fled from their homes under apprehensions of danger they would return and be good and loyal citizens. The wretched condition of these unfortunate people appeals to the sympathy and commiseration of every humane man. When in Richmond a short time since I was present at an interview with the President, and feel assured that he has no disposition to exercise any unnecessary severity towards these deluded dupes. 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, by which he is governed, he does not feel at liberty to do so. My first intention was to have addressed this letter to the Secretary of War, but on reflection concluded that a representation from you would have far more influence; besides, as I am an