able fact and coincidence is that very many of those who were in town the day Brownlow was here were engaged in the raid to Sevier County on Monday and Tuesday after the burning of the bridges.
Another circumstance I will mention. On the Monday morning the news was circulating in town of the bridges being burned a Mr. Sesler, a respectable citizen of the place, was telling the news in his family. A several girl, a white woman living in his family, instantly remarked, "La me! Pheobe Smith told me at the spring last Wensday that the bridges were to go burned Friday night but I didn't believe it". Upon inquiry of Mr. Sesler she related the following facts: She was at the spring on the Wednesday before the bridges were burned. There she met Pheobe Smith, a white several gril going to the mountain shortly". "What for?" "The Northern Army is coming". "How do you know?" "Mr. Brownlow and Mr. Cumming and some other gentlemen were at our house the other day and Mr. Dowell had some papers in his hand and asked me to go out of the room. I went out and they locked the door. I went back and put my ear to the key-hole and heard Mr. Dowell reading something about the Federal Army coming and about the bridges going the burned Friday night".
Mr. Sesler came back up in town and very foolishly made these facts public. In a short time Dowell came down the street and gave notice that the girl Pheobe Smith denied having made any such statement and in an hour or two Dowell left town as before stated. The girl Pheobe has since been seen and talked to on the subject. She continues to deny the truth of the statement of the girl at Sesler's, the latter however still asserting most positively that they did have such a conversation. The characters of the two girl are equally good. They are both obscure, and nothing much ever having been known or said about either neither one of them I pursuance could be impeached. Whether there is truth in the statement it is not necessary for me to express and opinion. It is very difficult to imagine how an ignorant servant girl could instantly manufacture such a tale and make as it were a spontaneous expression of it upon hearing the news Sesler was telling while we might imagine how the other girl could be procured or induced to that the girl at Sesler's tells the facts as they occurred. The matter is in just such a fix that no legal evidence can be made of it is I doubt not but that Dowell's girl will deny it upon oath.
This is about all the information I can give you on the subjects of your inquires. We have tried to get facts out to the Union men but they will not divulge and I do not believe they would tell anything prejudicial to Brownlow on oath. They seem to understand the object of all inquiries addressed to them they also seem determined to screen their leaders.
JESSE G. WALLACE.
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, December 22, 1861.
J. C. RAMSEY, Esq.,
C. S. District Attorney, Knoxville.
SIR: Your letters of the 17th and 19th instant have been received. In relation to Brownlow's case the facts are simply these: Brownlow