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55 Series I Volume XXIII-II Serial 35 - Tullahoma Campaign Part II

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Page 55 Chapter XXXV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

armed men to be the enemy's scouts, and took means to brush them away. The unarmed parties ran and concealed themselves, apparently as anxious to be out of sight of the armed parties as of our own force. After the armed parties were driven back, the others rushed into the road and joined our column, expressing the greatest delight at our coming, and at beholding again what they emphatically called "our flag." These men had been driven to the hills to escape conscription, and were daily being hunted up by conscription agents, aided by mounted men. Food was carried to them by women, children, and old men. As the column passed the houses of these persecuted loyal men, their women and children crowded the doors to bid us welcome and beg us to stay. As we approached Alexandria, the loyal sentiment increased, and men and women marched along with our column, staring at the old flag, and conversing about the good clothes and general good appearance of the men. These people were generally illiterate and somewhat timid, and did not seem to understand much about the present troubles, except that their more wealthy and better-informed neighbors insisted upon the poor people taking up arms to oppose the Government that they had been taught to love, and which had nebr oppressed them, to support a so-called Government which they knew only by the fact that they had been oppressed by it from its very beginning, and had been torn from their families to fight against their real friend, and for those whom they only knew by name and sight, as wealthy and overbearing, and for the defense, as they were told, of a species of property with the possession of which they had never been burdened, and were not likely to be. Liberty and Alexandria both exhibited much loyal feeling. Lebanon had been quite a stronghold for the rebels, though not without its devoted loyal inhabitants.

There were loyal men living here and there on our route for whom I sent, and conversed freely with. The observation of one day would serve as a sample for all - the property of loyal men despoiled, that of rebels protected.

The mode of procedure generally seems to have been for the rebels to call upon their friends to contribute supplies and forage for their camps; the rebels assent, and haul to their camps (they say) all they can spare; more is wanted, the loyal men are visited, and, without consulting them as to quantity, their provisions, corn, wheat, forage, and animals are taken without limit, until they are left in a condition that is rapidly becoming one of absolute want.

The sentiment was universal among the loyal men that nothing would affect their rebel neighbors but a course of treatment such as had been visited on them by the rebel army. Instances are plenty and came under my own observation where one of two near neighbors would be almost destitute from the ravages of the rebels, while the rebel next door was very slightly inconvenienced; in fact, the rebels many times refused to furnish supplies to their own soldiers, in which cases they would be taken from the nearest loyal man.

We have been shocked at cases coming to our knowledge, exhibiting a total disregard of the commonest claims of humanity. Old men and women have been left to shift for themselves as best they could, and their sons all conscripted. When we had occasion to take an animal from a secessionist, the Union men would rejoice, and say we might have the last they had if we would only serve the rebels as the rebel army had served them. (My military report will show what was done on this point). If the present state of things is permitted to exist much longer, the Union people will be without subsistence, and will be compelled to


Page 55 Chapter XXXV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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