They were arrested by a scouting party on the 16th of July. Says he is a citizen of the United States, opposed to the present administration of that Government and determined to give no aid to the war. He says he has relations in the South and before the war commenced he promised them not to take up arms. Names the Rev. Mr. Bittinger as the person to whom he first made the promise. His conduct in prison I an informed has been uniformly correct. I recommend he be held as a prisoner of war, and as has been here six months I respectfully recommend he be placed in the first exchanges.
George Ryan. - Born in Abingdon, Va. ; raised in Carter County, Tenn. Was working in Wytheville when arrested. Says he was against secession, but afterward wished to be neutral. When the rebellion* occurred in East Tennessee he opposed it and desired to prevent it. Expected to be neutral. Says if Northern troops came to kill his neighbors he would be with the South. Admits Tennessee had the right to secede. When pressed to decide his position says if compelled to decide now must go with the North. I recommend he be held as a prisoner.
Joseph Snapp. - Born in Woodstock. When fourteen years old taken to Augusta County; then to Greenbrier; thence to Monroe; thence he moved to Mercer County, where he was arrested and sent here. He says he was arrested by the Yankee and compelled to take the oath of allegiance. On his return he was trying to get his family out of Mercer to take them to his father's in East Tennessee when he was arrested. Says he is entirely Southern in his feelings and does not regard the forced oath of allegiance to the United States binding. Says he intended to volunteer as soon as his family were placed in safety. Is willing now to volunteer. I have learned from persons I have examined, particularly from Northern soldiers I have examined that the U. S. troops in Western Virginia compel citizens unfriendly to them to take the oath of allegiance, and very often the persons thus compelled to take the oath become the most deadly and dangerous enemies of the Northern army. I recommend he be permitted to volunteer.
Peter Couse. - Born and raised in New Jersey; in May, 1840, came to Virginia and settled in Spottsylvania. Was negotiating with Doctor Grinnan to exchange his land in Virginia for property in Iowa, Kansas and Missouri and was arrested before the negotiation closed. Is a farmer and gets lumber for market in Fredericksburg. Says he had a Government contract to get ship timber. His contract was under one Peleg Clark. Does not know what Government Clark's contract was with. Clark is a Northern man. Has taken no part on the secession question. Wishes to be neutral. Has done militia duty but will not go into the army. Will not take the oath of allegiance to the Confederacy but wishes to take an oath not to interfere. I recommend this man be held as a prisoner.
Thomas N. Fisher. - Aged seventeen. Born in Loudoun; moved to Fairfax. Says when arrested he was coming in to volunteer in Bob Radford's cavalry. Passed our lines (not knowing it) in the night; was arrested. It appeared no evidence before me this boy is warm in the Southern cause. On two occasions he borrowed a gun from a neighbor
* See Volume I, this series, p. 824, at seq., for "Union Rebellion in East Tennessee".