Harrison Self is a very good-natured, unsuspecting man, easily to be deceived, imposed upon or misled. I never knew a man that had a kinder heart. I cannot belive from what I know of him that he designed burning the Lick Creek bridge. I am indeed informed that when the plot was formed to burn the bridge he advised against it and would not go into it. That night he undressed to go to bed and finding his two sons gone, one sixteen and the other eighteen years of age, and fearing they had been inveigled into the conspiracy went in search of them and in this way he was present when the bridge was burned all the time advising the mad men who committed the act not to do so. I understand his sons were forced to go there and did nothing when they went. I understand his sons are both anxious if they will be permitted to volunteer. Previous to this they were yound men of good character. The young men have been used as witnesses against the maliganant plotters of the rebellion and arson and have not concealed anything but told the whole truth on all concerned. Would it not be best to let the young men volunteer and hold their father as a hostage for their good behavior? We wold lose nothing by this course but we would probably gain much. Let us economize the muscle and sinew of the South and never let an opportunity pass to turn it to our account.
If examples are to be made let them be made of the leaders not of the unfortunate, the ignorant, the deceived. God it seems has prospered our cause and I believe He will to the end. He has put many of our enemies into our hands. Let us then exercise that highest attribute of God, mercy and show ourselves worthy of his continued favor. I think mercy in this case will strengthen our cause, and it will make our cause and our Government to be loved and idolized in the little circle of this man's distressed family where before they did not know the principles or appreciate the men who are the head of our Government.
If you think the evidence of what I have written will be worth anything in the make and if you shall want to know anything further of me than appears in this letter you can inquire of Judge Robert L. Caruthers, Member of Provisional Congress, Tennessee.
I am, most respectfully,
Lieutenant-Colonel Twenty-ninth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers.
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., January 16, 1862.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.
SIR: I submit as you direct the following report on the proceedings of the court-martial which tried Harrison Swlf for bridge-burning and having found him guilty sentenced him to be hanged:
As accused was not in the army and the crime alleged against him was treason he claimed by his counsel the right as a citizen of Tennessee and the Confederate States to be tried by the civil authorities. Considered by the court and overruled.
Hacker, first witness for prosecution, does not allude to Harrison Self nor mention his name.
McDaniels, second witness for prosecution, saw accused at the place of rendezvous, a neighbor's house, which had been appointed for the bridge-burners. He thinks Harrison Self was in the room when some of the men swore to support the Stars and Stripes, &c., and he thinks he took the oath. Party went from Harmon's house, the place of ren-