War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0924 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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before the State was formally voted out? You may rest assured if this is understood to be the policy it will be sure to involve us in renewed trouble. The reports of great excitement about the Brownlow affair are greatly exaggerated; indeed are almost wholly without foundation in fact. There is not a gentleman in or out of the army who after learning the facts of the case does not fully indorse your noble sentiment: "But that even the most dangerous enemy however criminal should escape than that the honor and good faith of the Government should be impugned or even suspected".

I may say with truth that all disinterested parties regard the arrest and imprisonment of the men under the circumstances as shameful and it has done more injury to the fair name of the Confederacy than a thousand Brownlows are worth. He is said to be now in a sick and dying condition. I pray you will telegraph and insist on a safe-conduct for him and his family at once across the lines and everybody else that desire to leave. It this were done it would be worth 10,000 men to the Southern cause.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


P. S. - I inclose the paper containing the original article of Bronwlow; also two copies of the Attorney-General's organ referring to the matter*.

[Inclosure Numbers 1.]


[From the Knoxville Register, December 7, 1861.]

William G. Brownlow was arrested yesterday upon a charge of treason on a warrant ordered by the C. S. commissioner and drawn up by the district attorney. He was committed to jail. His trial will come up in due course before the Confederate court-perhaps next week. The rumor of an order from the War Department for his safe conduct to the North in the last two days has created intense excitement throughout this country, especially among those who have friends and relatives now languishing in prison on account of his teachings.

[Inclosure Numbers 2.]


[From the Knoxville Register, December 13, 1861.]

Why is this ringleader of all the Toryism and devilment in East Tennessee dealt with so leniently and others not half so guilty punished extremely? We insist upon it that all who have been apprehended and are now in prison ought to be released without further trouble. They have only done what Brownlow, Johnson, Nelson, Maynard, Fleming, Trigg and others who were leaders in trying to ruin the country told them to do. And now why keep any others in custody? Why weary the troops in hunting them out and bringing them to justice? Justice should be meted out to all alike; and if the principal leader is not only released but furnished a safe escort it should so be


* The Brownlow article referred to is inclosure Numbers 2 with Ramsey' letter to Benjamin of December 17, p. 911. "The Attorney-General's organ" refus to the Knoxville Register, the cited articles from which appear herewih as inclosures.