War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0927 UNION REBELLION IN EAST TENNESSEE.

Search Civil War Official Records

prison. As you are no doubt aware I have not able to write for several days; and this hastly letter I indite while propped up in bed. But I write to give you an account of my treatment by those associated with you and preceding you.

I think I may venture to say by way prelimitary that I am not prone to utter complaints but usually exercise a good degree of patience. For the first five weeks of the last seven that a guard has been placed around and in my room I have voluntarity given them three meals in each day, seating them at my table with my family, considering it no hardship as I knew most of them to be Union men forced into the service. When even a different class of men were selected who took possession of my liberty and office where my two sons sleep; when I say this was seized upon and turned into a guard-house, rocking-chairs broken to pieces, carpet ruined and books damaged; when my coal and wood were taken and consumed though dear and difficult to procure; and when I have furnished their guard-house candles all the time though none are to be had in the market I have not complained. When your predecessor, Colonel Leadbetter, has refused my son John the privilege of collecting debts due me from the clerks and sheriffs of surrounding counties which they are ready and anxious to pay me and which in my broken-down condition I ready need to live on I have uttered no words of complaint. When for several days past out of family of thirteen in number only my wife, my son John and two negroes were off the sick list; when both the mumps and measles were introduced by armed sentinels standing day and night in my room and at my doors I have not uttered even a single word of complaint. When my house and especially my passage and front portico have been shamefully abused by these sentinels disfigured with mud and tobacco I have submitted in silence though conscious of the bad treatment give me. When we have all been keep from sleep by the walking, talking, singing and swearing and by a change of these guards every two hours; when they have rudely rushed into my bedchamber as they said to get warm I have submitted without one word of complaint. I have felt that there is a better day coming for me and my family if I am not assassinated which is threatened me on every had. I have and I still have confidence in the final success of the principles for which I am to suffer these cruel indignities; and hence I have been silent.

But last night when my wife attempted to close and fasten a back door by which my bedroom is entered and it the only fastening to my room in the rear of the building she was insultingly notified by the sentinel, a drunken secessionist, that it must stand open all night and that such were his orders from Captain Cook to whose company he was attached. She told him that it could not and should not stand open; that there were three other sick persons in the room besides me and one of them a little daughter with fever; and she accordingly closed it upon him and locked it expecting him to break it down.

Of this treatment, Colonel Vance, I do complain and especially as threats are made that the door shall be kept open to-night. My appeal for relief is to you. To your predecessor, Leadbetter, I can make no appeal for he never had a gentlemenly emotion of soul in his life; and if he were capable of such feelings he is the willing and malicious instrument of a villianous clique here of most corrupt, vindicate and despicable scoundrels-of whom John H. Crozier, J. C. Ramsey and W. G. Swan are chief.