War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0866 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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KNOXVILLE, December 27, 1861.


My father, Harrison Self, is sentenced to be hung this evening at 4 o'clock on a carge of bridge-burning. As he is my only earthly stay I beg you to pardon him.


KNOXVILLE, December 27, 1861.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

The execution of Self suspended. Guilty with palliating circumstances. Will forward papers in the morning.


Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.


President of the Confederate States of America:

The undersigned, officers of the C. S. Army, now on duty in Knoxville, Tenn., would most respectfully represent to your excellency that Harrison Self, condemned to be hung for participating in the burning of the Lick Creek bridge on the line of the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, is now held here in close confinement for execution. Already five persons have expitated upon the gallows for the burning of this bridge. The public danger which called for such punishment has in the opinion of the undersigned passed away and the crime itself has been sufficiently atoned for in the ignominious death of others more guilty than he whose punishmen we seek to mitigate. We have heard and believe the fact to be true that Self who at first assented to the proposal to burn the bridge relented and abandoned the purpose; said it was a bad thing; and we have reason to believe that he tried to dissuade his comrades from the execution of their purpose but their stronger wills prevailed and he was thus dragged into a participation in it. In consideration of these facts we have understood that the court which tried him recommended a milder punishment than that of death. We respectfully join in this recommendation with an earnest hope that your excellency yielding to the dictates of mercy will spare this man's life.


Colonel, Commanding Regiment Tennessee Volunteers.


Colonel, Commanding Thirty-eighth Tennessee.

[And 25 other officers and citizens.]

KNOXVILLE, TENN., January 6, 1862.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

There has been a recommendation sent to you by the court-martial sitting at this place to commute the punishment of Harrison Self who has been sentenced to be executed for being concerned in bridge-burning. I understand the recommendation to have been made unanimously by the court-martial to commute his punishment and I do not know that it would be of any use for me to say anything further on the subject to you. But as I have lived a neighbor to him and know him well I have been requested to write to you.