the Tories of Tennessee--necessity of Vigorous Efforts to Suppress the rebellion — the strength of the forces — a company of Tories commanded by a Negro, &c.
[correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Blountville, East Tennessee, Nov. 16, 1861.
This portion of the State
has been a scene of wild excitement and commotion during the last week.
On every road could be seen citizens with their rifles and shot guns hastening to the scene of action.
On last Friday night, the 9th of this month, three railroad bridges were burnt on the East Tennessee
It appears to have been a preconcerted plan with the Tories of this end of the State
, as all the bridges were destroyed on the same night, and, as some of the incendiaries who were captured the same night declared, that every railroad bridge between Bristol
were in ashes by that time.
It certainly was planned with great secrecy and caution; for, considering the numbers engaged in the conspiracy, and the desperate work in which they were engaged, it seems strange that the plot was not revealed somewhere.
It will serve to show what an organization they have, and how resolute they are, by referring to the late diction.
The every Congressional district in East Tennessee
men were running for the Confederate Congress, professing to represent their sentiments, modified to acquiescence in the separation of the State
, and though professed Southern men were also running in these districts, there seemed to be no hope of their success, as the Union
men were largely in the majority; but on the day of the election they didn't vote at all, and this was not confined to any particular locality, but wherever there were any of that class.
The party seems to have but one heart, and its various organs act in perfect concert and harmony.
No Southern man knew of their determination not to vote.
This and their subsequent out rages will serve to show their disloyalty to the Southern Confederacy.
and their determination to aid the Yankees
in the subjugation of the South
This deserves the attention of the authorities.
Our State Executive has shown leniency long and unsparingly, with little or no effect, save to strengthen them in their opposition to the Government
, and precipitate a rebellion.
They despise a Government that shows mercy without power, and forbearance without virtue — They are in arms in several parts of the State
, and the Government
should crush this rebellion out, root and branch, immediately.
Threatened as our State is from invasion, the enemy being on the very border, delay to treat with the Tories of East Tennessee
as they deserve seems to be dangerous, if not ruinous.
Think of fifteen thousand Tennesseeans in the Federal
army which has crossed Cumberland mountain
, and has possession of the railroad.
Can you calculate the damage they would do to our cause; and is this impossible?
I fear if the Government
does not adopt some measures that it has not employed in this direction, that it is probable.
That the Tories or the Union
men of East Tennessee
will co-operate with the Federals
is unquestionable, so soon as the latter can sustain them.
They operate with perfect unanimity, and cover their designs in the darkest secrecy, until they are revealed in some outrage or political contest.
and West Tennessee
have been disposed ever since the war began to conciliate the disaffected in the Eastern
part of the State
, believing that the Southern
men had exercised too little clemency towards their neighbors of opposite views, but this favor gave too mach countenance to treason, added fuel to the flame, until Unionism has culminated in open rebellion.
is threatened with immediate invasion from three different points.
In the neighborhood of Pound Gap
it is reported that there are from four to five thousand Federal troops, while Col. Williams
, who is there to oppose them has comparatively a small force.
is at Cumberland Gap
to meet the invader there, but his force is greatly less than that of the enemy.
We have a small force at James
own, on the Cumberland mountain
, but considerable fear is expressed that it is unable to prevent invasion from that direction.
It is not well to think of security under such circumstances, when by a single defeat of our troops at either one of those points.
the enemy would be precipitated in our midst, the railroad would be seized, communication cut off from Virginia
, and the Tories turned lose on their neighbors to murder and plunder.
I am no alarmist, but I know the Union men
of East Tennessee
I tell you candidly that they are fatally bent on mischief.
There is no mistaking their purpose.
Long pent-up fury is now seeking an outlet.
Though the plot to burn the bridges was evidently premature, and failed in its effect, yet there is no doubt but the scheme originated with the enemy in Kentucky
, who intended to attack our forces on Cumberland mountain
, and this ill-timed stratagem was to cut off Confederate reinforcements.
The Tories were prompt to execute their part of the task, but the Federals
failed in theirs.
It is believed that this conspiracy came to the people first sanctioned and authorized by the Union
men of the late Legislature.
There were many Union members then who were avowed rebellionists before, but took the oath to support the Constitution
of the Confederate States
, with what sincerity may be inferred from this suspicion and the incautious declaration of one of them, that he did not consider the oath binding on his conscience.
They can do such things with impunity in Tennessee
Such is the result of political toleration.
The Tories are in force at Elizabethton, Carter county
, about twenty-five miles from Bristol
, to protect the bridge burners.
Their number is seven or eight hundred.
They sent in a flag of truce day before yesterday to the Commander
at Carter's Depot
, with a communication to the effect that they would pay for the bridge burnt at Huron
if they were not molested.
No terms were agreed upon, and I guess there is warm work in that tory county by this time, as I understand that Colonel Stovall
set out this morning with his command for Elizabethton, which is only six miles from Carter's Depot
Several of their men have — been taken prisoners.
One a negro, who was a Captain of a white company of Carter county
, and was at the time of his capture in a flashy uniform, which had been sent to him, he said, by his Mass Bill Carter
, the notorious traitor, now in Kentucky
I believe that Captain Darkey
is considered a ‘"contraband,"’ and has been sent off to be sold.
A man by the name of Stover
, a son-in-law of Andy Johnson
, is Colonel
of a regiment in Carter county
has another son-in-law, who bears the title of ‘"Judge
."’ who is not, like Cæsar's wife, above suspicion.
It is said that the Carterites are very indignant that Lincoln
failed in his part of the drama, and left them exposed to ridicule and danger; but, from appearances, I judge they will pull trigger for the ‘"old vag."’ But they are in a bad situation, hemmed in on all sides by Confederate soldiers and exasperated Southern citizens.
They might well exclaim--‘"Whithersoever we would fly, there is death."’
has won an unenviable name in this contest.
It is too just; but the patriot citizens bear it with writhing and horror.
Let it be remembered that there are as true and brave men in East Tennessee
as ever buckled on the armor of warfare, and women as noble and beautiful as ever encouraged the knights to deeds of valor or made champions of liberty.
I am not inclined to enter upon any unnecessary panegyric of my own people, but I do think, and am proud of it, that the patriots of East Tennessee
have buffeted the waves with more energy and made greater sacrifices for the Southern
cause than perhaps has been exhibited in the Confederacy
If they have not accomplished a great deal, yet adverse circumstances enhance the merit of what they have done A short time since, the Union
men requested that the Confederate
troops be withdrawn from East Tennessee
, pledging that they would not molest private citizens or injure private or public property.
Their request was acceded to, but no sooner were the soldiers all gone than they seized upon so favorable an opportunity to tear up the railroad and burn the bridges, showing at once their infidelity and villainy.
Torice were not treated in the Revolution as they have been in the present.
We have been engaged so long in peaceful pursuits that the rope
horrifies the soul, and blood
tortures the sense; but in these times traitors must be handled with vigor.
Let a few of them hang.
to point others from the way in which there is danger, as well as treason.
I will write you as soon as the result of the Carter
expedition is made known.