Mountain Department and the western to the Department of the Mississippi. For any good resulting to us, we might as well have been assigned to the Department of the Pacific. An energetic protest was interposed, and that was the end of it. There is a grave responsibility somewhere. It is not the present purpose to fix it, but merely to send relief to the people who have been the victims of such shameful mismanagement.
Allusion has been made to a single exception in this long series of timid and imbecile operations. In the autumn of 1861, the military authorities attempted the destruction of the railroad bridges in East Tennessee and Northern Georgia. For the enterprise, selection was made of a captain in the Second Regiment of East Tennessee Volunteers. So skillfully did he conduct it, that simultaneously, by the aid of resolute Union men, many of them of high personal character, and acting upon the highest instincts of patriotic devotion, several important bridges were fired and destroyed along a distance of more than 200 miles. The actors were promised,and naturally expected, the protection of the Government after the accomplishment of this hazardous achievement, which they supposed to be merely the precursor to more considerable movements. They were left, however, to rebel fury, and perished, some of them by a felon's death, a fate not confined to the parties directly or indirectly engaged. Had the bold East Tennesseeans been, at that time, supported by the expedition of a small military force, the whole population would have rushed to arms, and held the country permanently against the rebellion. A nerveless, emasculate policy prevailed; the Government did not interpose so much as a protest between rebel vengeance and its victims, and a dreary, dismal year of hope deferred, of promises not performed had succeeded, leaving that devoted people inn a condition far worse than had they at the outset joined in arms against the Government they loved.
At their regular election in 1861, upon an issue broadly and squarely made whether to be represented in the Congress of the United States or in that at Richmond, they decided, by an overwhelming vote, to be represented at Washington. The gentlemen elected from the first and third district were captured on their way here to take their seats. I was elected to represent the second district, and am doing so.
Now, in view of the foregoing facts, and speaking in the name and on behalf of those I represent, I demand for them, as of right, adequate military protection for their persons and property of every name and kind, including the sanctity of their homes, and laws actively administered for the redress of their grievances, and the punishment of wrongdoers. To be more explicit, I demand, first, that a force be sent at once directly into East Tennessee, under a leader of approved ability, sufficient to possess and hold the country against all rebel troops from abroad, and to suppress all marauders and guerrillas; second, that arms and ammunition be furnished to the loyal population,and that they be organized and drilled under competent officers for local defense; and, third, that a clear and marked distinction be made between the loyal and disloyal portion of the people, to the advantage of the former and not of the latter; that the loyal shall be reimbursed all their losses by the rebellion from the property of the disloyal, so far as it will go, in kind when practicable, so that the losses occasioned shall fall upon the rebels, to the extent of their ability to make them good.
These things are demanded of the Government by our loyal people as the simple correlation of their allegiance to it, and what every loyal citizen is entitled to. And if hitherto there has been less emphasis in the assertion of their rights, it is because of the unwearied confidence