leave the country or live off the rebels; the latter they will not be permitted to do, and the former many of them cannot do. At present that part of the country through which the expedition passed may be said to be possessed by the rebels.
Can this state of things be changed? Very simply. The rebel inhabitants possess forage, animals, and provisions, much of which property - animals and forage particularly - our army actually needs, and the provisions can be profitably used or distributed to those families which the rebel army has despoiled.
If their homes (which they have forfeited) should thus be made, as they ought to be made, "too hot to hold them," let these rebels go farther south in quest of their rights, and where they will be with their friends. Rebellion seems to have so seared the feelings of some of these people that, after the men are forced into the army, their families are entirely neglected, in many cases, too, in violation of solemn promises to the contrary by those who remain to guard that property, for which those not possessing any, or but little, are forced to go to the field.
I know of one case in Murfreesborough where two women, whose husbands are both in the rebel army, live together; one was about to be confined, and sent for her family physician, who refused to go, and referred the messenger to another rebel physician, who also refused. The only excuse they pretended to offer was that they were practicing in the rebel hospitals, and did not want to be troubled with such cases. These physicians are represented as men of means (which they had made in this community), but the husband of this woman was in the rebel army, and the doctor cared no further for the family, as the fighting portion of it was already in the army for the protection of the property that the doctor was quietly enjoying. Our division surgeon left his bed and visited this woman.
It has been very strongly advocated in the loyal States that the suppression of the rebellion can best be accomplished by cultivating, encouraging, and developing the Union sentiment in the disloyal States.
If the white population of the rebel States were a homogeneous one, like that of the loyal States, the idea would be reasonable, but as facts actually exist it amounts to nothing, because there is no Union sentiment in the rebel States (with here and there a noble exception) among that class of men who wield the political power of these States, and the only effectual mode of suppressing the rebellion must be such a one as will conquer the rebellious individuals now at home as well as defeat their armies in the field; either accomplished without the other leaves the rebellion unsubdued.
We captured during our recent expedition a rebel mail-carrier and mail just from Tullahoma. The mail was principally made up of letters from the soldiers in the rebel army to their families in the neighborhood of Lebanon. These letters breathed but one sentiment - all tired of the war, and wanted to return home and remain there. Many said they would not go any farther south, and expressed a desire to desert, but feared in that case the Argus eyes of the rebel inhabitants at home, who would watch them and report them to the conscript agents, by whom they would be seized and sent back to their regiments and to death. These letters stated most positively that deserters from the rebel army were shot in various instances, and that citizens who had guided the Federal army were hanged.
Here we have the sentiments of these conscripts from their very hearts, for they are writing to their wives and children, and can have no inducement to deceive. These men would doubtless desert but for fear of