27, Confederate orders for an immediate and secret expedition to neutralize Union population in Montgomery and Huntsville, Scott County
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE, Knoxville, March 27, 1862.
Brig. Gen. D. LEADBETTER, Kingston, Tenn.:
GEN.: If your camp is established near Kingston the town should be taken in charge by the military authorities, liquor establishments closed, and such other measures taken as you may deem necessary for keeping up the discipline of your command.
You will organize immediately and secretly and expedition to Montgomery, and if possible to Scott County and Huntsville. Let your force be as large and effective as you may judge necessary; but it must be so organized as to move lightly and without impediments. The force in that section, as well as I can learn, is not over 600, principally the Tory population of the country. They are reported to have thrown up some defenses 16 miles beyond Montgomery. A rapid march of infantry in their rear may effect something. I give you carte blanche, and will sustain you in any course you may find it necessary to adopt in those counties.
Supplies should, as far as possible, be withdrawn or destroyed in Scott County. All self-constituted Tory organizations summarily dealt with; all the arms removed from that neighborhood. When you find any friends to our cause you may make exceptions in their cases.
In your move on Scott County from Montgomery observe the road to Jamestown. There have been rumors that East Tennessee was to be threatened from that direction. Spare no money in obtaining reliable information by that route from Kentucky. It will give security to your flank in your operations in Scott County. I inclose you a report of Capt. Eblen's. You will find him active, intelligent, and patriotic. He can give you information regarding that country.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH, Maj.-Gen. Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. II, p. 369.
27, "If the fugitives now lurking about Memphis could return to their homes in the city and vicinity, and their former owners would receive them and treat them kindly until the final determination of their status, much of the misery and vice which infest the city and vicinage would be removed." Major-General S. A. Hurlbut asks President Lincoln for assistance for a solution to the contraband and farming crisis in West Tennessee and Memphis
HDQRS. SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tenn., March 27, 1863.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States:
SIR: I avail myself of the fact that Mr. Leatherman, a prominent citizen of Memphis, is about to visit Washington, to lay before the Commander-in-Chief the serious difficulties which embarrass the citizens of this region, as well as the army, in relation to negroes. There are within the limits of my command about 5,000 negroes, male and female, of all ages, supported by the Government, independent of those regularly organized and employed as teamsters, cooks, pioneers, &c., and enrolled as such. Most of these, say, from two-thirds to three-fourths, are women and children, incapable of army labor-a weight and incumbrance. In addition, there is a very large number, not less in Memphis alone than 2,000, not supported by the Government, crowded into all vacant sheds and houses, living by begging or vice, the victims of fruitful sources of contagion and pestilence. Pilfering and small crimes are of daily occurrence among them, and I see nothing before them but disease and death. At the same time many valuable farms and plantations within our lines, despoiled of fences from the necessities of a winter campaign, deprived of customary servile labor, stripped of horses and mules, either from the needs of regular service or by marauding guerrillas, lie waste and desolate. The owners are ready to cultivate, but have no labor. It is spring, the time to put in crops, either of cotton or of corn, or, what is not least in a military point of view, those garden vegetables, the free use of which is so singularly beneficial to the health of an army. None of these things are down, except on a limited scale. The land is here, ready, the labor is here, but I know no authority which I possess to bring them together. There are many who point out and desire to hire those who were their slaves. I have no power to permit it, or, rather, none to enforce the contract if entered into. There are no civil or criminal courts, and, hence, the responsibility of the commanding officer, already heavy enough, is enhanced by the want of aid from legal tribunals.
I believe, from careful examination and partial reflection, that the condition of the fugitives would be improved in every respect by causing them to be hired, either for wages or for clothing, subsistence, or an equivalent in the crops, to such persons as would give bond to take care of them, and put them at such work as they can do, and enforcing the contract of hire on the parties. It is, however, not to be denied that a very serious risk must be run in so doing. The spirit of marauding and robbery, which gave rise to guerrilla parties, grows by use, and there is danger that they may be seized and run off to some portion of the South as yet not under our control, or it may be that parties obtaining them may misuse their power over them, although I feel less apprehension of the latter. If the fugitives now lurking about Memphis could return to their homes in the city and vicinity, and their former owners would receive them and treat them kindly until the final determination of their status, much of the misery and vice which infest the city and vicinage would be removed.
In the present anomalous situation of the State of Tennessee--neither exactly loyal or altogether disloyal, but yet wholly deprived of all the machinery by which civil government operates--it is impossible for any one to say whether the state of slavery exists or not. The laws of Tennessee recognize and establish it, but the law is in abeyance; no judges to interpret and administer, no sheriff to execute, no posse to enforce. The State is exempted from the effects of the proclamation, but the military authorities, both from choice and under orders, ignore the condition of slavery. If they come within our lines, we allow them to do so, if they voluntarily go out, we allow; and all this works no difficulty when troops are in the field in their limited camps; but when the lines inclose a vast space of country, or fence in, as here, a great city, this incursion of ungoverned persons, without employment and subject to no discipline, becomes vitally serious. Especially the police and administration of justice are thrust upon officers of the army. The evil is pressing, the necessity for prompt action paramount, both from feelings of humanity to the people around us and to relieve the army from this burden. I have not considered myself at liberty to adopt any course. Id is difficult for me to reach my department commander, and it is doubtful whether his pressing duties would leave him time to decide. It was hoped Congress would adopt some plan of the kind. This has not been done. The question is one not purely military, and I respectfully submit to the President the establishment of some general rule by which this difficulty may be overcome.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pt. III, pp. 149-150.
27, "General Orders, No. 17." appointment of Nashville Public Health Officer
Headquarters, U. S. Forces
Nashville, Tenn., March 27, 1864.
I. Pursuant to orders from the Assistant Surgeon General U. S. A., Surgeon L. A. James, 4th O. V. C., is announced as Health Officer for the Post of Nashville. He will be obeyed and respected accordingly,
By order of Brig. Gen. R. S. Granger
Nashville Dispatch, March 30, 1864.
 Not found.
James B. Jones, Jr.
Tennessee Historical Commission
2941 Lebanon Road
Nashville, TN 37214
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