furnished rebel supplies, and their houses have been made stopping places for rebel commanders, conscript agents, spies, & c. Without the aid furnished by these men, the raids upon the railroad from Murfreesborough to Nashville, and from Nashville to Gallatin, and even beyond, could not be made. With the supplies furnished by these quiet citizens, the rebels are enabled to move almost without transportation or provisions, knowing just where forage and subsistence await them.
The tone of this class in February, when we made our first expedition into that part of the country, was quite defiant; they were determined to persevere in their rebellion until they secured their rights. They have since that time lost no little property in forage and animals to supply both armies, and, in addition, their negro men have run away, and the wagons that were driven, about February 1,by soldiers detailed for that purpose were, about the last of April, just as well driven by the negroes that formerly lived in that section of country, and the strength of the companies was increased by the same number of ablebodied soldiers.
The tone of this class in now changed. They have discovered their mistake. They had been misled. They have found their rights, and they are now anxious to take the non-combatant oath, give bonds, and stay at home. The question arises here, Shall they be allowed to do so? At the risk of being officious, I respectfully answer, Numbers If the leading men of the neighborhoods are allowed to remain, although they may give bonds, when the rebels run into their neighborhoods they will be forced to aid them. If they are sent away, their presence and their influence are gone. A few of this class returned with us, a step preliminary, I trust, to a longer journey.
The second class have generally been well-meaning citizens, but without much influence politically; they have become from wavering men loyal citizens; are desirous of taking the oath, and pursuing their ordinary avocations. Many of them have sons conscripted into the rebel service, who would desert that service and return home if their fathers were placed in a better position politically and their oppressors sent away, so that there would be no one to return them to a service which they detest. This class is deserving of the fostering care of the Government.
The third class are all loyal; they have no weight in the community; possess but little property; they have, in fact, been subjugated all their lives. By encouragement they must improve. They have suffered greatly from the rebel conscription. The absence of the first class is a thing greatly desired by them, but they speak it only in whispers. They have at least one thing in their favor - their devotion to the flag of their country is unwavering in both men and women.
There was one idea that evidently occupied the minds of all classes. We were everywhere met with the questions, " Will the Federal Army remain in Middle Tennessee?" "Will it go forward and leave us, or will it go back and leave us?" There is a feeling of insecurity which can be eradicated only by adopting such measures as will convince the loyal people that this country is to be possessed only by loyal men, and that when our lines are advanced they are advanced forever; that no retrograde step will be taken, and that whatever may be necessary to localize a district of country will be done before the army leaves it.
J. J. REYNOLDS,
Major-General, Commanding Expedition.
Lieutenant Colonel GEORGE E. FLYNT,
Chief of Staff, Fourteenth Army Corps.