THE OPPRESSED PEOPLE OF EAST TENNESSEE.
A late number of the Knoxville Register, a secession paper, has the following communication in refutation of a statement recently made in the Confederate Congress in regard to the sentiment of the people of East Tennessee:
"Messrs. Editors: A statement made by Hon. W. G. Swan, member elect to Congress from the second district of this State, is now going the rounds of the press, which has produced no little astonishment here.
"The statement is that there is but little disaffection in East Tennessee-only confined to but a few localities. Such an announcement, coming from such a source, is well calculated to misled our authorities at Richmond, and divert their attention from our true condition. These authorities, in fact, have never believed we were in much danger in this region" at least they have so acted.
"Why Mr. Swan has made such a statement I cannot conjecture. It is a great mistake. There is much disaffection in every county in East Tennessee. At this moment of writing our forces are probably engaged with a force of fifteen hundred Union men in Cocke county.
"We have cried peace, peace, when there is no peace. We have only received taunts in return. The infamous traitors have burnt our railroad bridges, and done everything in their power to invite and aid the invading foe in desecrating out soil. And yet we are still told there is no danger. Maybe our authorities will yet wake up to the true and real state of affairs in East Tennessee when a few more of our bridges are destroyed and some more of our quiet citizens are butchered.
"We have a large number of prisoners in the Confederate jail. We presume, of course, they will be released, as this is the order of the day here. You recollect, no doubt, the Thornburg affair. He was found actually in arms against the South, was at the head of a company, and was trying to make his way to Kentucky. This man, by Richmond['s] authority, was released without the form a trial; and on the day of election, when every one supposed he would vote for Mr. Davis, he indignantly tore off his name from his ticket. My latest information is that Brownlow is to be allowed to leave the State attended with an escort to protect him. Why should the underlings suffer, when the ringleaders are allowed to go where the like?"
Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, D. C.), December 16, 1861.