Clarksville, Tenn. , October 17, 1862His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS, Richmond:
Dear Sir: Permit me to make known to you the Rev. Mr. Taylor and his young friend Mr. William Hume, both among the most respectable of our citizens. They have been commissioned to deliver you a memorial adopted at a town meeting today, asking the protection of the Confederate Government against marauders from the Northwest who are daily committing the most gross outrages upon our citizens, briefly set forth in the memorial, and will be more fully explained by the Rev. Mr. Taylor, who is conversant with the facts, and who is a gentleman of undoubted integrity and possesses the entire confidence of this community and a thorough knowledge of the operations of our armies in this section embracing the valleys of the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, which can and will furnish an immense quantity of provisions for the Confederate armies if they can be made secure from the depredations of these jayhawkers from Iowa and Northern Illinois. I am confident there are not less than 50,000 or 60,000 barrels of flour in the mills in this immediate neighborhood, and immense crops of corn ready for gathering. Two or three regiments of these thieves and robbers are stationed at Forts Henry on the Tennessee, and Donelson, on the Cumberland, who are daily visiting and destroying everything that comes in their way and seem likely to lay waste the whole section. Our immediate neighborhood has furnished three regiments for the Confederate service-the Fourteenth, Forty-Ninth, and Fiftieth-who have taken most of the arms out of the country left us entirely without the means of defense. Unless some protection can be afforded before the winter freshets in our rivers take place most of our citizens will be compelled to abandon their homes and seek protection in other sections not within the reach of their gunboats.
There is but little difference among our citizens, indeed I may say none, upon the great questions now in contest between the North and the South, and therefore the Federals more willingly harass and oppress us than in other sections less united.
I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your friend and servant,
Clarksville, Tenn., October 17, 1862.At a meeting of some citizens of Clarksville, held this day for the purpose of appraising the War Department of the Confederate States of America of the manner in which the people of this portion of the country have been treated by Col. [W. W.] Lowe, and Col. A. C. Harding, of the Eighty-Third Illinois Regiment, and other Federal officers commanding at Fort Donelson, on motion of the Hon. Cave Johnson was called to the chair and Rev. Dr. McMullan was appointed secretary.
The following statement of facts was then made and unanimously adopted by the meeting as an expression of a part of the outrages that have been committed as above mentioned:
The commanders above named and others have been and still are engaged in arresting many of the citizens of this portion of the country and placing them in a loathsome dungeon and keeping them there unless they take the oath of allegiance, these citizens being in no way connected to the Confederate Army. They have gone to the premises of many citizens, seizing them, and destroying or carrying away their property of every description. In some cases they burn everything before them. They have taken away many hundreds of negroes. They have visited houses, insulting ladies, and threatening to shoot, stab, bayonet or even burn them. They have robbed them of their wardrobes, not only of those men, but even those of women and children. They are in the habit of taking all the negroes wherever they go and also all the horses. They have burned the rolling mill of Woods, Lewis & Co., destroying everything, and taking away 240 negroes. They have also broken up or destroyed the various iron mills and furnaces in this region of country, so that this interest, so important to the Government, is now and until we can be protected must remain, wholly inoperative. We in this city have been visited by these men and treated in a savage and brutal manner, and they daily threaten that they will return and utterly destroy the city and inprison all the citizens who do not take the oath of allegiance to the Federal Government. The aforesaid Harding visited a church in the country and arrested two ministers of the Gospel and placed them in prison, where they still are. He also took the horses and carriages of the congregation, and required the persons present, both male and female, to take the oath or go to prison, and he proclaims that every man in the country shall be arrested and either take the oath or go to the dungeon. This is our present condition. Now, we are wholly unprepared to repel these insults and oppressions. It is true there are still many men here who are willing to meet them, but we are wholly destitute of both arms and ammuntion, nor is there military force in this vicinity that is able to repel them.
We think it will appear to the Department, as it is perfectly manifest to ourselves here, that unless these marauders can be driven from this region of the country this whole region will soon be devastated by them.
We earnestly call the attention of the War Department to this subject in the hope that whatever can be done for the suppression and prevention of these evils will soon be accomplished.
In order that the whole matter may certainly and speedily be laid before the Department we send this paper by William Hume, as our special agent and messenger.
B. B. McMullen, Secretary.
October 25, 1862.
Respectfully submitted to the President.
This information, coming from reliable sources, seems to justify the outlawry that has been denounced against Pope and others. The messenger returns on Monday and wishes to carry some assurance that the Government will act in the matter. I therefore recommend that he be authorized to say that the Government will exert itself to redress the wrongs of the people of Clarksville, and will immediately declare Colonels Harding and Lowe not be entitled to the treatment of prisoners of war, and that if captured they will be treated as felons.
G. W. Randolph
Secretary of War.
To the Secretary of War:
The outrages as set forth in this paper and the enclosed letter of the Hon. C. Johnson call for the most strenuous efforts to redress the wrongs suffered. It would be well to bring the matter to the special notice of General Bragg and to give him a copy of these communications; also to declare, for the reasons set forth, that the officers named would not be (unless exculpated by evidence) regarded as entitled to the consideration accorded to soldiers and treatment of prisoners of war, who are by stipulation of cartel to be released of captured, upon parole.
November 1, 1862.
Furnish copies to General Bragg, and prepare and submit for consideration a general order carrying out the President's instructions; also a general order rescinding the order against Pope in consideration of his having left the army operating in Virginia and of an assurance from the Adjutant-General of the United States Army that his obnoxious orders were not considered to be in force.
G. W. RANDOLPH
Official Records, Series 1, Volume 17, Part II.