previous next
[484] the ballots numbered in such manner as to mark and expose the Union voters. A Disunion paper, The Nashville Gazette, in urging the people to vote an open ticket, declared that “a thief takes a pocket-book or effects an entrance into forbidden places by stealthy means — a tory, in voting, usually adopts pretty much the same mode of procedure.” Disunionists, in many places, had charge of the polls; and Union men, when voting, were denounced as Lincolnites and Abolitionists. The unanimity of the votes in many large counties, where, but a few weeks ago, the Union sentiment was so strong, proves beyond doubt that Union men were overawed by the tyranny of the military law, and the still greater tyranny of a corrupt and subsidized press. * * * Volunteers were allowed to vote in and out of the State, in flagrant violation of the Constitution. From the moment the election was over, and before any detailed statement of the vote in the different counties had been published, and before it was possible to ascertain the result, it was exultingly proclaimed that Separation had been carried by from fifty to seventy thousand votes. This was to prepare the public mind, to enable the Secessionists to hold possession of the State, though they should be in a minority. The final result is to be announced by a Disunion Governor, whose existence depends upon the success of Secession; and no provision is made by law for an examination of the vote by disinterested persons, or even for contesting the election. For these and other causes, we do not regard the result of the election as expressive of the will of a majority of the freemen of Tennessee.1

The people of East Tennessee--a mountainous, pastoral region, like New Hampshire or the Tyrol, wherein Slavery never had and never could have any substantial foothold — she having about one slave to twenty freemen — earnestly petitioned and entreated permission to remain in the Union; and, if the residue of the State were resolved to go out, then they asked of it to be set off and quit-claimed, so that they might enjoy “the right, as a free and independent people, to alter, reform, or abolish our form of government in such manner as we see proper,” which the legislators of their State, in their Ordinance of Secession, had solemnly asserted. But they were at once given to understand that this could not be granted. The right aforesaid was recognized by the Confederates as inhering in all who sought to destroy the Union, not in those who essayed to preserve or adhere to it. So East Tennessee--isolated from her natural allies by the shameful neutrality of Kentucky--was ruthlessly trampled under the iron heel of the Rebellion. Her bolder Unionists were shot down like wolves, or hung by scores like sheep-stealing dogs; while those more cautious or reticent were outlawed and hunted from their State. For weary months and years, she lay helpless and bleeding in the grasp of her blood-thirsty foes, while thousands of her sons were torn from their homes by a merciless conscription, and compelled to fight and die for the traitorous cause they abhorred.

1 Parson Brownlow, in his “Experiences among the Rebels,” says:

For Separation and Representation at Richmond, East Tennessee gave 14,700 votes. One-half of that number were Rebel troops, having no authority under the Constitution to vote at any election. For No Separation and No Representation, East Tennessee gave 33,000 straight-out Union votes, with at least 5,000 quiet citizens deterred from coming out by threats of violence and by the presence of drunken troops at the polls to insult them.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Tennessee (Tennessee, United States) (5)
New Hampshire (New Hampshire, United States) (1)
Kentucky (Kentucky, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Baltimore Unionists (1)
Brownlow (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: