War of the Rebellion: Serial 035 Page 0308 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.

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Henderson, Ky., May 2, 1863.

Captain A. C. SEMPLE,

Asst. Adjt. General, Dist. of Western Kentucky, Louisville, Ky.:

CAPTAIN: I deem it proper that I should report to the general commanding one of the most brutal outrages which has been committed by the fiendish spirits of this rebellion. About midnight of the 24th of April last, a band of armed men came to the house of an aged man by the name of Cowan, a peaceable and inoffensive citizen of Union County, surrounded it, to avoid any escape, and forcibly entered it and dragged with violence from his bed the old man, and carried him hurriedly away into the woods, about 2 miles from his house. They then stripped him bare of his clothing, pinioned him securely to the ground, and, taking large green hickory withes, two of the fiends lashed his bare back until every portion of it was cut and lacerated into one bleeding mass, and continued the brutal outrage until they had worn out their lashes upon his bare body; and then, to finish the devilish and cowardly work, they turned the helpless old man over, and struck him several severe blows upon his abdomen, which have caused dangerous internal wounds; and thus, having vented their assassin-like passions upon the infirm victim of their traitorous malice, they abandoned him in the woods to the mercy of whoever might chance to find his mangled and scarcely breathing body. The only reason given by the armed band for this outrageous treatment was that he was suspected of having given to the Union troops some information of the supposed whereabouts of certain guerrillas, who had been annoying the whole country, and in whose capture every law-abiding citizen was interested. Their victim was quiet and highly respected old man, whose only crime was loyalty to the Government of his fathers. These men have likewise threatened to visit other Union men of that county with like outrages. Such is the evil spirit of this wicked rebellion as it manifests itself among the lawless bands of Union County. They came in the darkness of midnight, and, following their cowardly instincts, carefully disguised their persons, so that it is difficult to detect them; but they are still, I have no doubt, at large, and harbored by citizens of the county. These outlaws are developing the legitimate results of the rebellion, and the public men of the county, who have raised the whirlwind of treason and encouraged these baser spirits in their earlier work, are still enjoying the protection of the Government and claiming the rights not only of living quietly in the possession of their homes, but aspire to hold the public offices and rule the affairs of the county.

I will do all I can to detect the villains who have committed this act, that they may be brought to early justice.

Very respectfully,


Colonel, Commanding.


Murfreesborough, Tenn., May 3, 1863.

Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS,

Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a letter from the Secretary of War to the General-in-Chief, directing that Colonel Gillem's First Tennessee Infantry be detached from general service