soldiers, in defiance of your safeguard, came and took all his oats; others threatened to break open his smoke-house and insulted his family in his absence, and were with great difficulty restrained by my persuasions and entreaties from forcibly taking his provisions. He has been and is daily annoyed in every conceivable way without the power of resistance. I sincerely hope that you may devise some plan to relieve him from further vexation and loss.
Although I do not understand that you are in command of the army of East Tennessee, I hope that, as a native of the country, you will exert your influence to mitigate the horrors of war among us. Supposing that Governor Johnson and Mr. Maynard had in charge the interests of our people, I, in common with others, cherished the hope that they would use their influence with the President to cause the army to be instructed before they came here that they were about to enter the country of friends and not of enemies, and that, by their good conduct, they should make the contrast broad and deep between the behavior of the hostile armies, and especially that as the Union population had suffered greatly from the rebels, they should be promptly paid for everything that might be taken by the Federals in the same way as our army paid the Mexicans during the Mexican war. I suppose that the exertions which it is to be presumed our members of Congress made have been unavailing, as the Union Army is more destructive to Union men than the rebel army ever was. Our fences are burned, our horses are taken, our people are stripped in many instances of the very last vestige of subsistence, our means to make a crop next year are being rapidly destroyed, and when the best Union men in the country make appeals to the soldiers, they are heartlessly cursed as rebels; or when certificates ar given as to property taken, they are generally for much less than the true amount, and a citizen in attempting to enforce a claim against his Government has to run the gauntlet of "the circumlocution office," until, discouraged and disheartened, he turns away, feeling that the Government which he loved and honored and trusted, and which never did him any harm before the war, has at last become cruel and unjust, and cares nothing for his sorrows and sufferings. In many instances soldiers take property without giving any certificates, and the result is a fearful and alarming state of robbery and plunder.
Can you do nothing to remedy these evils? Can you not, in behalf of an outraged and disappointed people, urge General Foster to hold all officers to the strictest accountability for the conduct of their soldiers and compel them to listen to and redress the wrongs of the people? If nothing is done and promptly done, starvation and ruin are before us, and there will be nothing here to support the army next summer. Let me urge you, as you love East Tennessee, and as you would preserve the Union party from ruin, to exert a prompt and energetic influence on the whole subject.
THOS. A. R. NELSON,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Chattanooga, Tennessee, December 26, 1863.
G. W. LUMPKINS,
SIR: The major-general commanding the department authorizes yourself and your neighbors to organize yourselves into a body of