answer I have to state that I do believe we can prescribe such terms of release and so dispose of the question as to exert a powerful influence throughout the State in our favor, and to a great extent make secessionists dependent upon Union influence, though it would impose great labor and trouble upon me and friends. I answer distinctly that I do desire the disposition of the question of releasing the Tennessee prisoners. I will add that there are many cases that ought to be well considered before releasing them. Many of them should be dealt with severely, while others should be treated with great leniency.
NASHVILLE, TENN., June 5, 1862.
His Excellency A. LINCOLN, President:
There are seventy East Tennesseeans now lying in prison at Mobile-among them the most respectable and valuable citizens of this section. They are there simply for being Union men. They are treated with more cruelty than wild beasts of the forest. I have taken this day steps to arrest seventy vile secessionists in this vicinity and offer them in exchange and if they refuse to exchange I will at once send them South at their own expense and leave them beyond our lines, with the distinct understanding that if they recross or come again within said lines during the existing rebellin they shall be treated as spies and with death accordingly. Does this meet your approval? It is no punishment now t send secessionists North. In most instances they would rather go to the infernal region than to be sent South at this time?
Everything is moving on well. We are having large Union meetings which are doing the work of restoration with fine effect.
NASHVILLE, June 5, 1862.
Your dispatch received and will be immediately attended to. There are many refugees from the Confederate Army all through this part of the State. Large numbers of them are coming forward voluntarily and renewing their allegiance and seem gratified of the opportunity of doing so. There is a great reaction taking place here in favor of the Union and the restoration of the State. If poor East Tennessee could be relieved it would produce a thrill throughout the nation. They are being treated worse thatn beasts of the forest and are appealing to the Government for relief and protection. God grant that it may be in your power ere long to extend it to them. If there could have been more forces left in the middle part of the State it would have convinced the rebels that there was no chance of a successful rising up, and by this time the disunionists would have been put completely down and the forces could have entered East Tennessee by way of Chattanooga while General Morgan would have entered by way of Cumberland Gap and the whole enemy in East Tennessee would have been bagged and the people relieved. God grant that all your efforts in the noble work in which you are engaged may be crowned with success and the hearts of the people made glad.