....Heard this evening that Gen [sic] Zollicoffer's forces were defeated and he killed [sic] in Ky. The fight took place last Sunday, 19th. Mr. Bradsahw came down after dark to hear the news. The battle of Fishing Creek or Mill Spring was a complete rout of the Southern Army....
Diary of Myra Adelaide Inman, p. 128.
January 23, 1863 - Daniel Ellis' account of the murder of James Taylor, Samuel Tatum, Alfred Kite, Alexander Dugger, and David Shuffield, East Tennessee Unionists seeking to escape Confederate East Tennessee.
....some of the men whom I had agreed to conduct through to Kentucky had the misfortune of being captured and cruelly murdered by the rebels. The infamous men who perpetrated these murders belonged to Folk's regiment, accompanied by some of the home guards of Johnson County, who had been ranging all over the country for conscripts, taking these home guards along with them for guides.... January 23, 1863 - Daniel Ellis' account of the sadistic and cold-blooded murder of James Taylor, Samuel Tatum, Alfred Kite, Alexander Dugger, and David Shuffield, East Tennessee Unionists seeking to escape Confederate East Tennessee.
....some of the men whom I had agreed to conduct through to Kentucky had the misfortune of being captured and cruelly murdered by the rebels. The infamous men who perpetrated these murders belonged to Folk's regiment, accompanied by some of the home guards of Johnson County, who had been ranging all over the country for conscripts, taking these home guards along with them for guides. The names of the poor fellows who were killed at the time were James Taylor, Samuel Tatum, Alfred Kite, Alexander Dugger, and David Shuffield. They were all together when the rebels discovered them, they being on one side of the Watauga River and the rebels on the other. When the first observed these men, they at once dashed across the river on their horses and surrounded them on a small ridge. Some of these men had arms, which, however, were nothing more than a pistol or a knife, which so enraged the rebel demons that they rushed forward like blood-thirsty tigers, and butchered these poor men in cold blood, without pity and without mercy. And if these black-hearted scoundrels had ever been unchained devils from the infernal regions, they could not have imbrued their hands in the blood of their innocent victims with more cool determination than they did upon this occasion.
When the rebels first fired, poor Taylor surrendered; they continued to shoot at him, while he begged them to treat as a prisoner, but instead of this, one of these incarnate devils ran up and soon silenced in, by shooting the top of his head off with a musket. Two of them then caught him by his feet, and pitched him violently over a large rock down a steep declivity, which bruised his body and broke his limbs in a most shocking manner; and, not yet content with this display of barbarity, they then threw great rocks upon him. They then took from his mangled person a very fine watch and a considerable sum of money. Tatum was killed nearly at the same time that Taylor was, he being first wounded in the shoulder, and then dispatched with great cruelty. The other three men ran some distance, while the rebels were shooting at them as fast as they could; at length they surrendered, and commenced imploring for mercy; but they might as well have asked for mercy from a gang of blood-thirsty tigers as to take it at the hands of these devils in human shape, for they were entirely heedless of their piteous cries and lamentations. In vain these poor supplicating prisoners told their reckless and infuriate[d] captors that they had done nothing deserving death, and were only trying to keep out of the Southern army. All their asservations could not save them from the dreadful doom th which their inflexible tormentors at once proceeded to assign them. Their hands were tied behind them, and they were taken to a bending sapling and hung. Some of the rebel soldiers took the ropes which they carried with them for the purpose of carrying forage on their horses, and tied them around the necks of their victims, while others would hold them up until the rope was tied to a limb, and them let them go. In this way all three of these poor men were hung up to torture, and suffer a thousand pangs of death; for they were hung so as not to break their necks, but rather to be choked by degrees, which was the refined and cruel mode of punishment which was resorted to by these inhuman murderers. Two of the poor fellow, before they were hung, begged hard for a time to pray; but even this privilege was not allowed them. The other one had been severely wounded in the beginning of the bloody affray, and was not able to talk. While they were suspended by their necks, and before life was extinct, they were treated with the greatest brutality, by their reckless murderers beating them with their guns. Captain Roby Brown, a citizen of Johnson County, Tennessee, and one of the home guard in that county, enjoyed himself very much at this miserable feast of blood. He had a complete frolic around them while they were struggling in all the agonies of a terrible death. He knocked them with his gun, and would then dance upon them, and turn them around violently, telling them to "fact their partner." He would say to them that "he did not like to dance with any person that would not face him;" while they, with their tongues as black as ink protruding out of their mouths, and their eyes bursting from their sockets, exhibited a spectacle of horror which was enough to strike terror to the very soul of any person who was not perfectly hardened in villainy and crime, and callous to the most wretched displays of human suffering, and steeped in the deepest depths of infamy. But I can not presume to say that this most desperate and incorrigible scoundrel, Roby Brown, was in the possession of a human heart; if he was, it was entirely impervious to human feeling and to human sympathy, and was as cold and hard as the glacier rock of Mount Jura's bleakest hill-top. He may rest assured that he will receive a just recompense of reward for his terrible crimes, both in this world and in the world to come, for an avenging Nemesis will pursue him with her terrible whip of scorpions around the whole orb of his earthly existence; and when the Dim Unknown shall unlock the casket which confines his guilty soul in its tenement of clay, and hurries it to appear before the great Omnipotent in all its naked deformity, there he will receive that just retribution which in iniquitous and wicked life richly deserves, in the "everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels."
The rebel soldiers remained where they hung these poor men until they thought they were quite dead, and then left the place. Some kind citizens, who had been watching the conduct of the rebels not far off, immediately hurried down to the place where they were hanging and cut them down, hoping to find that the spark of life had not fled from all of them; but they were all perfectly dead, and presented a sight too shocking to behold. Some of their ribs were broken, and their bodies were badly bruised, where the rebels had stuck them with their guns. They were not taken up, and were taken a short distance from where they were hung, and buried quite secretly and in a very rough manner, as the Union citizens were afraid to make any noise or display when they were committing them to their last resting-place. Taylor was a gentleman. He had been a recruiting-officer in the Federal army, and was captured by the rebels and put in prison. He had escaped from the prison...and had come into Carter County, on his way back to his command, and was waiting when he was captured....The other men who were killed were nice young men, belonging to our own mountains, and would have made good soldiers in the Federal army.
The massacre which I have detailed in the forgoing pages occurred on the 23d day of January, 1863.
Daniel Ellis, Thrilling Adventures of Daniel Ellis, The Great Union Guide of East Tennessee for a period of Nearly Four Years During the Great Southern Rebellion. Written by Himself. Containing a Short Biography of the Author, Will Illustrations; (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1867; rpt, Johnson City, TN; The Overmountain Press, 1987), pp. 107-110.
[Life was cheap & death was free.]
23-27 Scout from Cumberland Gap
JANUARY 23-27, 1865.--
Brig.-Gen. TILLSON, Scout from Cumberland Gap, Tenn.
Reports of Lieut. Col. William C. Barlett, Second North Carolina Mounted Infantry.
CUMBERLAND GAP, January 28, 1865.
GEN.: On Monday last I sent out a scout under Lieut. J. N. Jennings, of Second North Carolina Mounted Infantry, which returned yesterday, having killed 12 rebel guerrillas, wounded a number, and captured 10, besides having captured from the rebels 40 horses, some of them saddled.
W. C. BARLETT, Lieut.-Col., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. I, p. 9