War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0904 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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regardless of former political opinions shall be fully protected in all his rights and privileges to accomplish which I shall bend all my energies and have no doubt I shall be successful.


Brigadier-General, Commanding.


Richmond, Va., November 30, 1861.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,

Secretary of War, Richmond, Va., Present, &c.

MY DEAR SIR: The object of the interview which I sought on yesterday and which was so readily accorded to me by the President and yourself in reference to affairs in East Tennessee was to impress your minds with the importance of dealing justly and generously with the Union element of that section as the best means of securing their affections and loyalty to this Government. The causes which have induced such obstinate adhesion to the Federal Government on the part of so many were frankly stated in our coversation. Until they are made to feel that they will be recorgnized as citizens entitled to the same consideration and protection vouchsafed to those entertaining opposite views they will not yield a willing allegiance or active and efficient support to the Confederate Government. Whilst the Governmen therefore with a steady purpose inficts just punishment on actual offenders by due course of law it is essential that the Union men should be made to feel that they in common with the adherents of this Government are the object of solicitude on the part of this Government and that they will be protected against arrests for opinion merely and against lawless exactions and unauthorized impressment of their private property by the soldiery stationed among them. This can be most succussfully done by placing the civil and military power of that department in the hands of discreet men with enlarged, liberal and just views who are capable of rising above the influence and demands of local cominations and cliques, with instructions to proceed at once and discharge such prisoners as are now held without sufficient cause (for in my opinion there are quite a number of this character) and to redress the wrongs of citizens whose property has been seizedor improperly taken from them by the soldiery.

This policy will tend to repress violence and conciliate fatheir strong and deeply-seated hostility to this Government can be overcome. Followed by proper efforts they can be induced to volunteer for active service and so strongly committed and identified with the South as to render them useful and effective in achieving our independence and preventing the possibility of civil war in the event a Federal force should be able to force its way into East Tennessee.

If there is no good reason of public policy to the contrary I would be pleased to carry back a passport for Brownlow to leave the country as well as a copy of the instructions under which the military and civil authorities are required to act, because it is believed that if the spirit of the Government as manifested by its executive officer was better understood by the people of East Tennessee it would exert a salutary influence and remove some of the apprehensions which are now driving them to desperation and to violance.

It is my purpose to leave in the morning and with your permission I will call at 2 o'clock to learn your pleasure in the premises.

Respectfully, &c.,