20, "There is no rest with the Union folks more than with the Southern." Federal Soldiers of the second Tennessee Regiment Vandalize Domiciles. An Entry from the Diary of Eliza Rhea Anderson Fain
The events of this day have been quite exciting. Before daylight this morning between 3 and 4 o'clock perhaps I was aroused from my sleep by a noise in the back part of my house. I thought at first it was [our slave] Lewis coming into the kitchen. I listened, then raised myself in my bed. In a short time I felt all was not right. I sprung from my bed, lit my candle and drew on my clothes, opened my door and hallooed to the top of my voice who is in my house. By this time they had made their way into my dining room through the old opening the window from that room. I repeated the question who is my house several times. When they came out they had a candle but blowed it out before they came on the porch. I spoke to them and asked if they had broken into my house. They replied no madam their pretext was hunting rebels. I told them as sure as there was a righteous God upon the throne of Heaven no revels were hid about me. They told me they must search my house and I might go along. I talked to them a while telling them they might rely upon what I had said. After some more words they concluded they would take my word for it. Told me not to be afraid. I told them I was not afraid of any of them. That the same Heavenly Father was watching over me which had ever been protecting me. I came to the conclusion after they left when I looked into my dining room that they were after the rebels' meat and bread. They took a large loaf of light bread, had broken upon my spring house and taken my butter and some 4 or 5 chickens. They had intended, I think, to make a comfortable meal on the other small loaf of bread and apple butter but could not get along very well after I came on them rather suddenly.
They asked if I had a son. I told them yes I had a son but he was not at home and not of age for a soldier, that he was at his aunts across the way. After they left I felt uneasy least they should get him and take him on to town. My first thought was to follow on but was afraid they might hear me coming and think I was some one after them and shoot at me. I waited until day began to dawn when I threw my shawl around me and set off with [Sallie] Dick as my company leaving the children who by this time were all awake (I believe) to the care of my loved Mollie Ruth who had been staying with me for several days.
After I found out they had been in my house I went to the cabin and found from Caroline they had been in there to light the candle letting on to her they had roused me up and I had no fire. When I got to Sarahs I found that they had been in here smokehouse and kitchen. They had taken some beef. I came back home and got things ready for breakfast when a Negro girl of Mr. Watterson's with her bundle of clothes came to the kitchen door. She has left her home to go to the Yanks. I told her she would miss leaving her old Master and Mistress as long as she lived. Caroline seemed troubled. I got her to stay today. She still says she will go in the morning to town [Russellville].
Got through with this when two men from Fentress Co (name of one Brandon and the other forgotten) came up asking if they could get dinner about 10 o'clock. I told them I had nothing prepared hardly but would get them something if they desired it. I began to talk about being Christians. One of them seemed to listen attentively. As I talked I thought he seemed moved. I asked them would they read a tract. They seemed to not understand what I meant but a length got them to know. When they agreed to take one I gave to one Are you prepared, and the other Jesus the Soldiers Friend. They left after getting a piece of bread and things moved on quietly until we were eating our dinner.
Jennie McCarty saying I ant aunt Eliza. I got up from the table and met her on the porch where she told me a number of men had been or were at Mr. Powels destroying everything. I left and went on to Sarahs. She and I took across the field and upon the road caught up with Ann, Eliza Ruth and Jennie. We went on briskly but when we got there they were all gone. The poor Negroes were gathered around looking like some one was dead saying to her you are just ruined. We went into the house and a sad sight met our eyes. Her preserves, canned fruit, drawers, letters, beds were in utter confusion. Preserves eaten or destroyed. Cans of fruit taken, drawers pulled and contents of some carried off. Others lay drawers pulled out and contents of some carried off. Others lay strewn over the floor. I felt sad to look at such destruction but every scene of this kind only makes me adhere more strongly to our Southern Cause feeling our Father who sitteth on his throne is beholding with an eye of forbearance these deeds of darkness and letting them fill up their cup of iniquity. He who hath said vengeance is mine will repay and will avenge the wrongs we suffer.
While we were there two officers of the second Tennessee Regiment came having been spoken to by Ann as she came out. They seemed to feel mortified and spoke very kindly about aiding her in the search for her things. Her nice bed quilts were the work of her mother who has been dead for several years. She seemed to regret this loss so much. We went to work packing up remained to send to town.
E. Ruth got Mr. Todd's wagon and driver. We got through and set out for home with E. Ruth riding in the wagon. The girls wanted me to ride but I felt the load was enough without my big body piled on.
We met several on the way. One was hunting a horse, another hay. I left them at the shop where we met several person. Mr. Starnes, Looney, Mrs. Click and others I did not know. The whole world in East Tennessee is in a ferment. There is no rest with the Union folks more than with the Southern. The fearful though of retribution is ever staring them in the face looking for he Confederates all the time.
20, A Protest Against Military Governor Andrew Johnson's Franchise Guarantee and Lincoln's Defense of the Test Oath
The Tennessee Test Oath.
From the New York Commercial Advertiser.
A few days ago, we adverted to the course of Andrew Johnson in Tennessee, in ordering a strange and unusual, not to say illegal, test for those who would vote at the coming election, and the hope was expressed that the President would at once repudiate the "plan" of his Military Governor and disavow any suspicion or intention of interfering with a free ballot in Tennessee.
It is impossible for any right-minded man, free from partisan bias, to approve the Tennessee test oath and the manner of its requirement. Mr. Johnson, who orders the oath, is on the same ticket with Mr. Lincoln, who regards opposition to it as a "political" concoction. They desire to have the votes of Tennessee, and, in order that they may get them all, compel the voter to take an oath which obliges him to vote against the Democratic nominee, and to pledge himself to any possible terms of peace or negotiations therfor, until the rebels are utterly subdued. This requirement reacts upon the President also, who, in his "to whom it may concern" letter, proposed to "receive and consider" propositions "which come by and with an "authority that can control the armies now at war against the United States." A person having such control must be a "rebel in arms," against whom the Johnson test is directed. Mr. Lincoln further said that such propositions from a rebel in arms would be "met by liberal terms." Mr. Lincoln, if "honest" in his letter, would be debarred from a vote in Tennessee. He could not take the oath prescribed by Andrew Johnson, and could reach the ballot-box only by a resort to the "war power."
It is precisely such a course as this taken in Tennessee that changes doubtful men in the Border States to open enemies; that encourages the opponents of the Administration and gives them fresh war cries: that makes the "judicious grieve," because a "wild hunt for office" renders those to whom grave public trusts are committed so careless of the limitations of their prerogatives; and that loosens the respect for our free institutions by placing the mandate of a ruler above the plainest suggestions of justice toward political opponents.
Let us not be understood. The openly disloyal must not be allowed to vote in those States. The ballot-box may be purified and the rights of loyal men regarded without resort to a test so utterly indefensible as that required in Tennessee, and which may yet be exacted in other States.
We publish elsewhere the report of the interview with Mr. Lincoln, and a portion of the protest of the Tennesseeans. That they are the McClellan electors does not preclude them from the possession of rights which the President "is bound to respect," while it should have entitled them to a dignified hearing. The President's talk of "political concoctions," his preferring to manage his "side" in his own "way," and his hint, only, that he may give the delegation an answer, are all unworthy of the chief of the nation, who should be above mere partisan motives, and whose "side" should in reality be the "side" of the people. As well might James Buchanan in 1860 have required the voters to swear to sustain the platform of the Charleston Convention, as for Mr. Lincoln to require an oath against that of Chicago in 1864. It is not in this way, non tali auxilio, that the power and influence of republican institutions are to be sustained. And we do most earnestly hope that the President, instead of issuing a "smart" letter in reply to the Tennessee complaint, will "manage his side" by strict adherence to the right.
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From the New York Sun of October 18th.
[Report of the interview with Mr. Lincoln:]
The inherent power of a people to an untrammeled selection of public officers is the fundamental principle of republican government-the corner-stone of liberty. For this right the war of the Revolution was inaugurated; for its perpetuation the Federal Union was erected. It is the sacred inheritance which the Fathers of the Republic have warned us, more repeatedly than any other, to guard with the most anxious solicitude-to protect with the most jealous care. They knew that freedom of election is the great barrier which protects republic and government from the encroachments of despots, and they foresaw the inevitable consequence that would follow its destruction. An ordeal like that through which our country is now passing was perhaps never anticipated by the founders of our Government; but they were aware of the general truth that the tendency of civil war is to generate despotism, and no doubt they sought to counteract the influence of centralization by unlimited freedom of ballot.
In those districts which at the present time are under military occupation, and where there is unquestionably an element of opposition to the Government it is right and proper that a test of loyalty should be adopted. To this no plausible objection can be made, for it is demanded alike by justice to our cause and consideration for the interests of the loyal classes in those districts. Further than this, however, the Government has no constitution right to go. Neither the President nor his subordinates is justifiable in making any distinction between electors, unless that distinction is for the sole purpose of separating loyalty form disloyalty.
[A portion of the protest of the Tennesseeans:]
In Tennessee the Military Governor of the State, who also happens to be the President's colleague in the present political canvass, has practically nullified the privilege of free ballot in his State. He has issued an order for the government of the forthcoming election, and has appended an oath which he prescribes as a qualification for voting. This oath provides that the voter shall swear to "oppose all armistices or negations for peace with the rebels in arms until the Constitution of the United States, and all laws and proclamations made in pursuance thereof, shall be established over all the people of every State and Territory embraced within the National Union," etc. This means that the elector must endorse the President's emancipation proclamation, the confiscation act, and all the anti-slavery edicts and proclamations which have emanated from the present Administration.
But this proceeding of Governor Johnson is not an isolated case. In every other district which is under military surveillance the same general course has been pursued, although to some extend modified in certain instances. The one alluded to, however, is sufficient to illustrate the dangerous encroachments that are being made upon the freedom of election. It teaches that if the American people would preserve those rights which they have inherited from their fathers, they must by all loyal means insist upon a rigid observance of the Constitution by those whom they have elevated to power.
James B. Jones, Jr.
Tennessee Historical Commission
2941 Lebanon Road
Nashville, TN 37214