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THE loyalty of Andrew Johnson and his ener
getic defense of the Union in the Senate of the United States called public attention with peculiar force to Eastern Tennessee. Nominally, the whole State was in rebellion; really, nearly one-third of its people, occupying about one-third of its territory, remained firm in their attachment to the Government. By repeated public conventions, by a solemn appeal to the Legislature, and an overwhelming popular vote, the region known as East Tennessee protested against the usurpation and military domination which made them, against their will, aliens and enemies to the Constitution and flag they revered. At an election held on the 8th day of June, 1861, at which the people were asked to ratify the military league with the South
ern Confederacy and the Provisional Constitution Goodspeed, of the Confederate States, twenty-nine counties of of Tennes Eastern Tennessee cast only 14,780 votes for sepapp. 632-534. ration and 32,923 votes against separation. Still
further, when the rebel Governor ordered an election, on the first Thursday in August, for delegates to the rebel congress (that being the day fixed by the State constitution and laws for electing Representatives to the Congress of the United States), the
“ Contested Elections
Union electors in the second and fourth districts CHAP. IV. cast their ballots for Horace Maynard and Andrew J. Clements in such numbers (estimated at 10,000 votes in the second and at 2000 votes in the fourth) that they were admitted to seats as Representatives pp. 367, 368. in the Thirty-seventh Congress.
The people of East Tennessee, finding no redress in petition or ballot, gave signs of a determination to liberate themselves by force of arms. Upon unmistakable evidence of their loyalty, the Lincoln Government made efforts to render them all possible assistance. A considerable supply of arms and ammunition was sent to Lieutenant William Nel-' son in Kentucky to be forwarded to the Unionists in East Tennessee, and another navy lieutenant, S. P. Carter, was commissioned specially to organize Union regiments of Tennesseeans willing to enlist; this, however, was a work of no little trouble and danger. Transportation was extremely difficult over the long mountain route without a railroad. The rebel authorities were constantly watchful of this weak point in their offensive and defensive plans. From the first, Governor Harris treated East Tennessee as a hostile and conquered country, and his successive letters to Jefferson Davis form a continuous call for additional mili- August 16, tary force to hold that region in subjection. The IV., p. 389.
1 “Twelve or fourteen thou- States south of us to that point, the sand men in East Tennessee adoption of a decided and enerwould crush out rebellion there getic policy (which I am resolved without firing a gun, while a upon so soon as I have a suffismaller force may involve us in cient force to sustain it), the arscenes of blood that will take long rest and indictment for treason years to heal. We can temporize of the ringleaders, will give perwith the rebellious spirit of that fect peace and quiet to that divipeople no longer. If you can order sion of our State in the course of a sufficient number of troops from two months.”
Walker, W. R. Vol.
CHAP. IV. rebel General Zollicoffer's earliest duty had been to
overawe the Union sentiment of East Tennessee and protect the important railroad line connecting distant parts of the Confederacy, the possession of which was indispensable to its military operations. Despite his vigilance, Union arms and ammunition were smuggled in and secret combinations begun. Between rigorous military repression on one side and chronic Union uprising on the other, a desperate condition of affairs grew up, still further embittered by the gradual development of a malignant persecution of bolder Unionists in the civil tribunals of the State-an evil of which Jefferson Davis himself felt obliged to take notice.
All summer long President Lincoln heard with sympathy, from Andrew Johnson and others, the reports of the patriotism and sufferings of their people. It will be remembered that in the memorandum made by him after Bull Run, he suggested a military movement from Cincinnati on East Tennessee. Since the culmination of affairs in Ken
1 Robertson Topp writing to to poison the minds of the people Robert Josselyn under date of against the Government, and if October 26, 1861, says:
tolerated and persisted in, the “More than one hundred per- people of that end of the State sons have been arrested in East at a critical moment will rise up Tennessee, without warrants in enemies instead of friends. You some cases, marched great dis- ask me who makes these arrests. tances, and carried into court on As far as I can learn they are no other charge than that they instigated by a few malicious, were Union men.
troublesome men in and about “I have spent much time this Knoxville. . ." summer and fall in trying to con
[Indorsement.) ciliate the people of East Ten 6 Referred to the Secretary of nessee. I thought I had succeeded. War, that such inquiry may be Just as the people were quieting made and action taken as will down, getting reconciled, raising prevent, as far as we may, such volunteers, etc., they commenced proceedings as are herein dethese arrests, which have gone far scribed.
tucky, with the prospect of early active operations, Chap. IV. such a project had acquired a new importance. Late in September he went to the War Department and made the following memorandum, which, though not in the form of an express order, was nevertheless intended as a substantial direction of military affairs :
On or about the 5th of October (the exact day to be determined hereafter) I wish a movement made to seize and hold a point on the railroad connecting Virginia and Tennessee, near the mountain pass called Cumberland Gap. That point is now guarded against us by Zollicoffer, with six or eight thousand rebels, at Barboursville, Kentucky, say twenty-five miles from the Gap towards Lexington. We have a force of five or six thousand, under General Thomas, at Camp Dick Robinson, about twenty-five miles from Lexington and seventy-five from Zollicoffer's camp, on the road between the two. There is not a railroad anywhere between Lexington and the point to be seized, and along the whole length of which the Union sentiment among the people largely predominates. We have military possession of the railroad from Cincinnati to Lexington and from Louisville to Lexington, and some Home Guards, under General Crittenden, are on the latter line. We have possession of the railroad from Louisville to Nashville, Tennessee, so far as Muldraugh's Hill, about forty miles, and the rebels have possession of that road all south of there. At the Hill we have a force of eight thousand, under General Sherman, and about an equal force of rebels is a very short distance south, under General Buckner.
We have a large force at Paducah, and a smaller at Fort Holt, both on the Kentucky side, with some at Bird's Point, Cairo, Mound City, Evansville, and New Albany, all on the other side; and all which, with the gunboats on the river, are perhaps sufficient to guard the Ohio from Louisville to its mouth.
About supplies of troops my general idea is, that all from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Ilinois, Missouri, and
CHAP. IV. Kansas, not now elsewhere, be left to Frémont. All from
Indiana and Michigan, not now elsewhere, be sent to Anderson at Louisville. All from Ohio needed in Western Virginia be sent there, and any remainder be sent to Mitchel, at Cincinnati, for Anderson. All east of the mountains be appropriated to McClellan and to the coast.
As to movements my idea is, that the one for the coast and that on Cumberland Gap be simultaneous, and that in the mean time preparation, vigilant watching, and the defensive only be acted upon, this, however, not to apply to Frémont's operations in Northern and Middle Missouri. That before these movements Thomas and Sherman shall respectively watch but not attack Zollicoffer and Buckner. That when the coast and Gap movements shall be ready Sherman is merely to stand fast, while all at Cincinnati and all at Louisville, with all on the line, concentrate rapidly at Lexington, and thence to Thomas's camp, joining him, and the whole thence upon the Gap. It is for the military men to decide whether they can find a pass through the mountains at or near the Gap which cannot be defended by the enemy with a greatly inferior force, and what is to be done in regard to this.
The coast and Gap movements made, Generals Mc
Clellan and Frémont, in their respective departments, Series III., will avail themselves of any advantages the diversions pp. 465, 466. may present.
Notwithstanding President Lincoln's earnest interest in this project, and the almost express order above quoted, one obstacle after another arose to prevent its being carried out. The special attention of General Thomas was also upon it. A brigade of East Tennesseeans was being enlisted at Camp Dick Robinson, who came there because they could not with safety be organized in their own homes, under the eyes of Zollicoffer. From them, and more especially from Lieutenant Carter, Thomas obtained such current information as made him