Today in History:

69 Series I Volume XX-II Serial 30 - Murfreesborough Part II


intimation that negroes were included in the property to be sold. I caused a copy of the order to be given to the sheriff, with the reply that id apply to those sales, adding that a sale under the circumstances would scarcely be a fair one, since one-half of the community was excluded from town for disloyalty, and a majority of the remainder because they were without business before the court. This is the only action which I took in the case. Late in the afternoon, however, I was unofficially informed that the sheriff, with my order in his hands, had gone to the court-house, and, under the eyes of the provost guard, proposed to sell both land and negroes. The marshal prevented it. Any man will see that a sale, under such circumstances, should, in equity, be pronounced void; but I would like in this connection to know whether the fact of the land sale having been stopped was reported to the Governor, and, if so, why he singled out the negro sale for a ground of complaint. About the same time two droves of hogs coming to town for sale were turned back by the guards, and all the stores in the town were closed during the day.

This restraint I felt forced to impose upon public trade, but no complaint is called forth by my interference in the important transactions in land and stock, while a single negro is sufficient to demand the attention of the Governor.

In communicating these facts to His Excellency the Governor, I think that the commanding general might say, in addition, that there seems to be an evident design on the part of persons calling themselves Union men in Kentucky to crete trouble in relation to the matter of slave property, and to provoke a collision between the authorities of the State and those of the United States.

The men under my command are mostly new troops, consisting of regiments raised in the Northwest during the last three months, and are as fair a body of men as I have ever seen. When I joined them they were raw and undisciplined, and on the march did commit outrages upon private property, but by persuasion and reasoning, as well as wholesome discipline, the disposition to do so has been curbed, and I do not believe there are now more orderly men in the army. A few negroes have found their way into the camps, but the number has been vastly exaggerated, and had the owners been satisfied to exercise a little patience when the fugitive could not readily be found, the soldiers would soon have got tired of their new playthings and turned every black out of camp themselves. This, however, is not the policy, and whilst I and the most of my officers are unceasing in our efforts to prevent interference with what these people call their institutions, I am still constantly importuned for order to deliver up slaves, and the orders of other officers exhibited to me as a precedent, when the persons making the demand are fully cognizant of the act of Congress prohibiting such a course at my hands.

In a recent instance, when a prominent citizen, who claims to be an emancipationist, failed, through his own neglect, to take a slave from the camp of one of my regiments, he has announced that he would raise a test question between the State and the General Government. In a man making such pretensions at this time, such a course seems marvelous. But three or four weeks ago the rebel cavalry held Lexington, and at this moment a writ cannot be served in the counties adjoining this without the presence of a military force, whilst throughout the whole os this section, forty-eight hours withdrawal of the troops would insure its being overrun by rebels and bandits.

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


Brigadier-General, Commanding.