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April 7, 1863 - Report on subversive civilian activities in West Tennessee

April 7, 1863 - Report on subversive civilian activities in West Tennessee


Lieut.-Col. BINMORE, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Memphis:

SIR: I have the honor to inclose to you copies of letters captured in Richardson's camp, showing some of the schemes resorted to by those permitted to trade at Memphis and other points. I am keeping a black list, upon which all such individuals are registered.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,


[Inclosure No. 1.]

RALEIGH, December 4, 1862.



We have daily application by deserters from the Federal camp at Memphis for paroles, and if we had any authority to do so, we could, through some friends at Memphis, induce hundreds to come to us. There is a great dissatisfaction in their camps, especially with the late levies, and by proper management they could be drawn off in large numbers. They come out, but are afraid to travel far in the country till they are paroled, for designing persons have told them that they would be captured by rebels and put in the Southern army, and their clothing taken. Two were sent to us on yesterday, who were anxious to be paroled, and we sent them in the direction of your camp. They said there were 50 men in their regiment who would escape if they were not afraid of our men harming them. We told them not to fear. We have an arrangement already in Memphis whereby we can induce many to come to us if we are authorized to parole them. We can procure from them a large number of side-arms at reduced prices, and we will let your men have them at cost. We can have them bring with them the best of arms, and thus weaken their stock of arms as well as men. We therefore ask you to authorize J. M. Coleman and myself to parole such as come, and we think we can in this manner contribute largely in reducing the strength of the enemy at Memphis, and also help to arm your regiment. If you approve our suggestion, we wish you to send us blanks printed for us all. Please answer us by the first one who comes from your regiment. We wish our names not known in the matter, because such would subject us to the baser outrages of the Federals, and we can at the same time conduct the matter so it will not be discovered. You can likewise keep the same with yourself, alone.

Hoping to hear from you soon, we remain, your friends,


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pt. III, pp. 176-177.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

NEAR SOMERVILLE, TENN., January 29, 1863.


On my way home I sold one of my black horses to Mr. Broadenax, near Belmont. He belongs to Jackson's cavalry, and if Maj. Buery will show him the other, he will buy him also. I have contributed $25 toward buying Mr. Sharpe a horse for the service, and hope it will be all right with you. I shall start to Memphis to-day, and would be off before this, only I found my child very sick. I understand Grant has gone down the river, and that he left some 2,500 troops at Memphis in a disorganized state that he could not make go with him. You shall hear from me as soon as I return.

Respectfully, yours, &c.,


[Inclosure No. 3.]

FEBRUARY 1, 1863.


When I was at your camp I understood you to say that you had orders to break up the entire trade with

Memphis; consequently I now write to you upon a subject that interests a good many good citizens of this section. Since seeing you, one of Col. [R. F.] Looney's aides obtained from him permission for me to take five loads of cotton to Memphis, and Mr. George Hood, by a similar permit, has just returned from taking some down. Now, I wish to [know] if your orders and Col. Looney's are liable to conflict, or if I would be molested by soldiers belonging to your command, or not. My view about the one article of cotton is this, that most all of the people have sold all their cotton, while others equally as deserving of these privileges have not sold any, and that it would fall heavy on them now to have their cotton destroyed, and that it must be disposed of in one of these ways; that is, to hunt it up a burn it, let the people sell it, or wait till the Yankees come and take it for nothing. I don't think Gen. Pemberton fully understood the situation of the people here or he would not have given such orders.

I, myself, never thought of selling a bale of cotton until the Yankees got south of us, and I saw persons making money out of it that cared nothing for the South and gave themselves no trouble to accommodate Southern citizens or soldiers except at large profits.

My situation was this: I had lost all my property in Missouri. I have eight children there with my mother, by my first wife, who have been made destitute by the war. I had my wife and one child with me, and but $13 in my pocket, so it is not to be wondered at if I wanted to make something for their support, and while I have been taking cotton to market and selling it for both citizens and soldiers, I have been working out contraband articles of every kind for them and letting them go at Memphis prices. I will name some of the articles: Salt, domestics, soldier clothing, dress goods, cavalry boots, saddles, and horses, military buttons, gold lace, revolvers, caps and cartridges, medicines, &c. I have been spoken to how to bring out over a dozen revolvers and cavalry boots, hats, &c., and shall take my wife and several others down with the in doing so.

Mr. Pierce, Mr. McFadden, Mr. Yancey, and several others belonging to your command want me to take their cotton; also several ladies, whose husbands are south, in the army, and they need the money and several other things that they may want me to bring out; but I have nothing to lose, and don't want to get into trouble is the reason I write to you, and also thinking that possibly you and Col. Looney had decided any points about other things, and being of that opinion, I will make a proposition, and that is this: For every bale of cotton I am permitted to take to market, I will contribute to you $10 in Tennessee money, for the benefit of your soldiers, to be used as you may think proper, which, after paying $20 per bale for hauling, will not leave a very large margin for profits. At the same time I will ever be ready to serve you or your cause in any way that I can half-way consistent with my safety. I do not make this proposition to induce you to deviate from what you may conceive to be your duty, but thinking it might redound to the benefit of all concerned.

When I got home from your camp, I found my child sick with croup. Getting out also came very near laying me up, for my constitution has been had ever since I had congestive chills, in 1852, and I am fearful I have delayed going to Memphis so long that the revolvers and powder I spoke for may be disposed of; but I will learn in a few days. Please write to me by bearer, if you think it right and proper, also indorse [inclose?] me a pass to Memphis for myself and wagons, and I will come and see you upon my return.

Respectfully, yours, &c.,


N. B.-Strictly confidential.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pt. III, pp. 177-178.

[Inclosure No. 4.]

FEBRUARY 4, 1863.


On my way home I sold one of my black horses to Mr. Broadenax, who bought him for his son, who was a soldier, and, I believe, belongs to Jackson's cavalry. I then gave Mr. Sharpe $25 toward buying him a horse, and wrote you a few lines by him, and inclosed your receipt for the horses. He will be there, possibly, by the time you get this. I hope, as a Southern soldier, even true, you will be satisfied with what I have done. In regard to bringing out ammunition and pistols, caps, &c., I can only say this: If any Southern man can get them in Memphis, I can, and if I can get anything that your men want I will do so, and you can have them at cost; but by having several teamsters with me, I will be materially aided in doing so. I fear no damage, except some Union Scoundrels should find out what I am and have been doing, and go to Memphis and inform the Yankees. Everything you say or do with me shall be between us, and I hope to become better acquainted with you.

Yours, &c.,


HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, LaGrange, Tenn. April 7, 1863.

Lieut. Col. HENRY BINMORE, Asst. Adjt. Gen.:

COL.: Following the example of Maj.-Gen. Hurlbut in the matter of removing beyond our lines disloyal families for offenses, I have caused the accompanying letter to Col. W. W. Sanford, commanding Fourth Brigade, to be written. If it meets with the approval of the general commanding the Sixteenth Army Corps, I will see that the directions contained therein shall be promptly executed. I inclose also the letter from Col. Sanford, which called it forth.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



HDQRS. FOURTH Brig., FIRST DIV., SIXTEENTH A. C., Germantown, Tenn., April 7, 1863.

Capt. H. ATKINSON, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.:

SIR: I have the honor to report that on the night of the 5th instant, a company sent out from Buntyn Station to patrol the road west of that place, discovered some obstruction placed on the railroad in two different places, composed of cross-ties and rails. They were sufficient to have thrown a train from the track. They were removed and a vigilant watch kept during the night, but the perpetrators were not discovered nor the object of these obstructions determined. I have caused a patrol of 20 men, under charge of an officer, to be sent out from each station every night, with instructions the road all night and keep a vigilant watch.

I have the honor to be, very truly, your obedient servant,

W. W. SANFORD, Col., Cmdg. Fourth Brigade.


Col. W. W. SANFORD, Comdg. Fourth Brigade, Germantown:

COL.: In answer to your communication of this date, in reference to obstructions having been placed at two different points on the railroad on the night of the 5th instant, the general commanding the division directs that you notify the six rebel families who live nearest the scenes of this outrage that they remove south of our lines within ten days, not to return during the war. You will see that this order is enforced. The most undoubted proofs of loyalty will be required when any doubts exist as to the proper subjects of this order.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HOFFMAN ATKINSON, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pt. III, pp. 178-180.

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