S.H.A.P.E.
 
Main Menu
 Home
 About SHAPE/ Joining
 Forum
 Downloads
 Members
 Image Gallery
 S.H.A.P.E Store
 Other Websites
Welcome
Username:

Password:


Remember me

[ ]
[ ]
Online
Members: 0

Click To Show - Guests: 10

Last Seen

Patrick Mon 00:34
gpthelastrebel Sat 17:08
MatthewBlile Fri 15:50
Robray Wed 14:28
D. L. Garland Wed 18:09
Forums
Moderators: gpthelastrebel, 8milereb, Patrick
Author Post
gpthelastrebel
Tue Feb 15 2011, 08:35PM

Registered Member #1
Joined: Tue Jul 17 2007, 02:46PM
Posts: 3698
http://www.dnj.com/article/20061210/OPINION02/612100307/History-tells-real-story-of-Forrest

By MICHEAL KELLEY • December 10, 2006

Recently with the situation and discussions at MTSU about the demands of an "insulted" student to change the name of the Forrest ROTC building several Letters to the Editor and op-eds in the DNJ have discussed Forrest in terms of the folk legend that has come to be accepted as history. Even people writing in support of Forrest have made the same fundamental errors.

What is presented as "history" is instead what is necessary for scholars to be published. Just as it is easy to be published praising Lincoln and virtually impossible to be published criticizing Lincoln it has come to pass that getting published repeating old lies about Forrest is a lot easier than publishing the truth.

In 1871 at the height of Radical Reconstruction William Tecumseh Sherman chaired a Radical Republican Congressional investigation into the KKK and its activities. Among the former Confederate officers investigated and interviewed was N.B. Forrest since his name was used in forming and recruiting the original Klan.

Sherman was never a friend or ally of Forrest, referring to him as "That Devil Forrest," and was noted to have stated before the investigation convened that, "We are here to investigate Forrest, charge Forrest, try Forrest, convict Forrest and hang Forrest."

The congressional committee completed its investigation — which included revisiting the alleged "Ft. Pillow Massacre" — and concluded that while Forrest's name had been used in forming the Klan that it was likely done without his permission and that his only activities related to the Klan were his persistent and public efforts to compel it to disband. They concluded he was not the founder or first leader of the KKK.

The congressional investigation also found that there was no evidence of a "massacre" at Ft. Pillow (see http://37thtexas.org/html/grandfab.html) with "isolated incidents along the riverbank" which Forrest stopped as soon as he arrived on-scene. The Federal Official Records document that a Union lieutenant, not Forrest's men, set fire to Union barracks with wounded Union soldiers inside. Forrest transferred the 14 most severely wounded United States Colored Troops to the U.S. Steamer Silver Cloud — hardly the act of someone having committed a "massacre

While Forrest was a slave dealer prior to the war he was known for humane policies. When the war started he then owned 45 black men and had to consider their fates.

"Forty-five of Forrest's own slaves, indeed served through the war with him as teamsters. 'I said to forty-five colored fellows on my plantation...' Forrest told a Congressional committee after the war, 'that I was going into the army; and that if they would go with me, if we got whipped they would be free anyhow, and that if we succeeded and slavery was perpetuated, if they would act faithfully with me to the end of the war, I would set them free. Eighteen months before the war closed I was satisfied that we were going to be defeated, and I gave those forty-five men, or forty-four of them, their free papers, for fear I might get killed.'" — "'First With the Most' Forrest" by Robert Selph Henry, Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs-Merrill, 1944, page 14.

How did these men serve in Forrest's comand? The most reliable military resource concerning the Civil War documents their real roles.

"The forces attacking my camp were the First Regiment Texas Rangers [8th Texas Cavalry, Terry's Texas Rangers, ed.], Colonel Wharton, and a battalion of the First Georgia Rangers, Colonel Morrison, and a large number of citizens of Rutherford County, many of whom had recently taken the oath of allegiance to the United States Government. There were also quite a number of negroes attached to the Texas and Georgia troops, who were armed and equipped, and took part in the several engagements with my forces during the day." — Federal Official Records, Series I, Vol XVI Part I, pg. 805, Lt. Col. Parkhurst's Report (Ninth Michigan Infantry) on Col. Forrest's attack at Murfreesboro, Tenn, July 13, 1862.

On July 4, 1875, Forrest gave the following speech when he was invited to speak by the Jubilee of Pole Bearers, a political and social organization in the post-war era comprised of black Southerners:

Memphis Daily Avalanche, July 6, 1875, 1.

"July 4, 1875 - Memphis, Tennessee -

Miss Lou Lewis was introduced to General Forrest then presented him with a bouquet of flowers and said: 'Mr. Forrest — allow me to present you this bouquet as a token of reconciliation, an offering of peace and good will.'

Gen. Forrest received the flowers with a bow, and replied:

'Miss Lewis, ladies and gentlemen — I accept these flowers as a token of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the South. I accept them more particularly, since they come from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God's great earth who loves the ladies, it is myself.

'This is a proud day for me. Having occupied the position I have for thirteen years, and being misunderstood by the colored race, I take this occasion to say that I am your friend. I am here as the representative of the Southern people — one that has been more maligned than any other.

'I assure you that every man who was in the Confederate army is your friend. We were born on the same soil, breathe the same air, live in the same land, and why should we not be brothers and sisters.

'When the war broke out I believed it to be my duty to fight for my country, and I did so. I came here with the jeers and sneers of a few white people, who did not think it right. I think it is right, and will do all I can to bring about harmony, peace and unity. I want to elevate every man, and to see you take your places in your shops, stores and offices.

'I don't propose to say anything about politics, but I want you to do as I do — go to the polls and select the best men to vote for. I feel that you are free men, I am a free man, and we can do as we please. I came here as a friend and whenever I can serve any of you I will do so.

'We have one Union, one flag, one country; therefore, let us stand together. Although we differ in color, we should not differ in sentiment.

'Many things have been said in regard to myself, and many reports circulated, which may perhaps be believed by some of you, but there are many around me who can contradict them. I have been many times in the heat of battle — oftener, perhaps, than any within the sound of my voice. Men have come to me to ask for quarter, both black and white, and I have shielded them.

'Do your duty as citizens, and if any are oppressed, I will be your friend. I thank you for the flowers, and assure you that I am with you in heart and hand.'"

It is clear when one considers the factual records of the period without three or four layers of academic interpretation that much of what is considered "accepted fact" about Forrest is instead "accepted fallacy."

If we are to consider Forrest and the merits of his name let us consider him as a man and as a soldier but let us consider him based on the facts rather than hysteria and folk legend.

Michael Kelley, of Pascagoula, Miss., is a member of the 37th Texas Cavalry Confederate re-enactment group. More information can be found about it at 37thtexas.org.


[ Edited Tue Feb 15 2011, 08:36PM ]
Back to top
gpthelastrebel
Thu Sep 21 2017, 01:56AM

Registered Member #1
Joined: Tue Jul 17 2007, 02:46PM
Posts: 3698
Author: United States. Congress.

Title:
Report of the Joint select committee appointed to inquire into the condition of affairs in the late insurrectionary states, so far as regards the execution of laws, and the safety of the lives and property of the citizens of the United States and Testimony taken.

Publication info:
Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Library
2005

Availability:
Where applicable, subject to copyright. Please go to http://quod.lib.umich.edu/t/text/accesspolicy.html for more information. (Public Domain, requirements met)

Print source:
Report of the Joint select committee appointed to inquire into the condition of affairs in the late insurrectionary states, so far as regards the execution of laws, and the safety of the lives and property of the citizens of the United States and Testimony taken.

United States. Congress., Scott, John, 1824-1896., Poland, Luke Potter,
Washington: Govt. print. off., 1872.

Subject terms:
Reconstruction
Southern States -- History
Ku-Klux Klan (1866-1869)


Part 1 page 3-5

The complete unedited testimony of Gen. N. B. Forrest before the

TESTIMONY. CONDITION OF AFFAIRS IN THE SOUTHERN STATES. MISCELLANEOUS. WASHINGTON, D. C., June 24, 1871.

WASHINGTON, D. C., June 27, 1871. N. B. FORREST sworn and examined.


3) Question. In what portion of the country has your business taken you within the last year or eighteen months?

Answer. Mostly between Memphis, Tennessee, and Selma, Alabama; that is, in a southeast direction from Memphis; I am on that line most of the time.

Answer. My residence is in Memphis, Tennessee.


4) Question. In what business have you been engaged?

Answer. I am president of two railroads that we are trying to build in that country; they are now consolidated, but have been two up to within the last few days.

Question. Has your business brought you in contact, to a large extent, with the people of the country through which your road passes?

Answer. Yes, sir, it has.

Question. We desire to ascertain the manner in which the laws are executed in the Southern States, and the security there enjoyed for person and property. So far as your observation enables you to speak, will you state what are the facts in that respect?

Answer. So far as I know, I have seen nothing that prevented the law from being executed; I have not seen anything at all to prevent the laws from being executed.

Question. Do you know anything of any combinations of men for the purpose either of violating the law, or preventing the execution of the law?

Answer. I do not.

Question. I have observed in one of the Western papers an account of an interview purporting to have been had with you in 1868, in which you are reported to have spoken of the organization of what was called the Ku-Klux in Tennessee, their operations, their constitution, the numbers of the organization; and also a correction in one or two particulars afterward made by you of the facts stated in that interview. You recollect the article to which I refer?

Answer. Yes. sir.

Question. Upon what information did you make the statement in regard to the organization and constitution of the Ku-Klux in Tennessee?

Answer. Well, sir, I had but very little conversation with that party.

By Mr. VAN TRUMP: Question. Do you mean with the reporter?

Answer. With the reporter. He misrepresented me almost entirely. When he came to see me he was introduced to me by another gentleman. I was in my office, suffering with a sick headache, to which I am subject at times, so that I was disqualified from doing anything. I was just going to my residence, and I said to him that I had nothing to say. That was the most of the conversation that occurred betwixt us. I remember talking to him may be three or four minutes. He asked me if there was an organization in Tennessee, and I told him that it was reported that there was. That, I think, was about the conversation that we had in regard to the organization. So far as the numbers were concerned I made no statement.

By the CHAIRMAN: Question. I will call your attention specifically to the report of the interview, as reported in the Cincinnati Commercial of Tuesday, September 1, 1868; also to a letter in the paper, dated Memphis, September 3, and published in the paper of September 6, the letter purporting to have been written by yourself. In the interview, as reported in the paper of the 1st of September, these sentences occur: "' In the event of Governor Brownlow's calling out the militia, do you think there will be any resistance offered to their acts?' I asked. "'That will depend upon circumstances. If the militia are simply called out, and do not interfere with or molest any one, I do not think there will be any fight. If, on the contrary, they do what I believe they will do, commit outrages, or even one outrage, upon the people, they and Mr. Brownlow's government will be swept out of existence; not a radical will be left alive. If the militia are called out, we cannot but look upon it as a declaration of war, because Mr. Brownlow has already issued his proclamation directing them to shoot down the Ku-Klux wherever they find them, and he calls Southern men Ku-Klux.' "'Why, General, we people up North have regarded the Ku-Klux Klan as an organization which existed only in the frightened imaginations of a few politicians.' "' Well, sir, there is such an organization, not only in Tennessee, but all over the South, and its numbers have not been exaggerated.' "'What are its numbers, General?' "' In Tennessee there are over 40,000; in all the Southern States they number about 550,000 men."' Is there any other portion of that statement incorrect than the portion to which you called attention in your letter?

Answer. Well, sir, the whole statement is wrong; he did not give anything as it took place. So far as numbers were concerned, I knew nothing about the numbers of the organization. It was reported that there was such an organization in Tennessee, in fact throughout the United States; but I knew nothing about its operations.

Question. I will read your correction on that point in the letter of the 3d of September. In that letter yon say: " I said it was reported, and I believed the report, that there are 40,000 Ku-Klux in Tennessee; and I believe the organization stronger in other States. I meant to imply, when I said that the Ku-Klux recognized the Federal Government, that they would

5) obey all State laws. They recognize all laws, and will obey them, so I have been informed, in protecting peaceable citizens from oppression from. any quarter." Is that the correction which you make of the statement that I read to you in regard to your saying that there were 40,000 Ku-Klux in Tennessee?

Answer. I made that statement. I believed so then, for it was currently reported that there were that number of men.

Question. That correction goes to the number; that you believed it was so reported, and that you believed there were 40,00 Ku-Klux in Tennessee. Upon what authority did you make these statements that the organization existed?

Answer. I made it upon no authority, nothing of my personal knowledge at that time.

Question. Did you in this letter of the 3d of September correct all that you believed required correction in the account of the interview as published in the paper of the 1st of September?

Answer. I do not think I did. As I said before, I was very sick at the time and was unable to talk to this man. I did not talk to him five minutes. He said to me, "I will go and write down what you have said and let you see it." He went off, and I did not see anything more of him.

Question. I find that in your letter of correction you used these words: "The portions of your letter to which I object are corrected in the following paragraphs." Did you not correct all the portions of the letter to which you objected. Was not that the purpose of the letter?

Answer. That was the purpose of the letter, yes. That was the intention of it.

Question. Where did you obtain your information as to the number of Ku-Klux in Tennessee? You said it was reported and that you believed the report.

Answer. I got it from common reports circulated through the country.

Question. Can you give us any definite information of any particular person from whom you got that report?

Answer. No, sir; I never heard any one say that they knew any particular number of that society; just a report circulated through the country.

Question. Was it from the same source that you got the report that there were 550,000 in all the Southern States?

Answer. I never made that statement, because I knew nothing about how many there were.

Question. I find in the report of that interview another statement, as follows: "' But is the organization connected throughout the States? "'Yes, it is. In each voting precinct there is a captain who, in addition to his other duties, is required to make out a list of names of men in his precinct, giving all the radicals and all the democrats who are positively known, and showing also the doubtful on both sides and of both colors. This list of names is forwarded to the grand commander of the State, who is thus enabled to know who are our friends and who are not. " I do not remember that there is in your letter any correction of that statement.

Answer. Well, sir, I made no such statement at all to this man as that.

Question. Did you correct that statement in your letter?

Answer. I do not know whether it was corrected in the letter or not. If it was not, I wish to do it here. I made no such statement. I did not have as much conversation with him as you and I now have had. There were gentlemen there who heard what was said. I was suffering very much with a headache at the time, and told him I could not talk to him, that I did not wish to talk to him. He asked me a few questions.

Question. Is this statement as reported in the account of that interview a correct statement: "' Can you or are you at liberty to give me the name of the commanding officer of this State?' "'No; it would be impolitic.'"

Answer. No, sir; I never made that statement. I have received a letter from that reporter, acknowledging that he did misrepresent me. I do not have it here. Afterward, when he wrote another letter stating that he went with me to Fort Pillow, and that I had shown him where the negroes were killed, and how the battle was fought, he went on to make statements of all the facts, which statements were entirely false. I had never traveled with the man ten feet in my life.

Question. Is the whole account of this interview a misrepresentation?

Answer. Not all of it. I told him that I believed there was an organization in Tennessee, and that it had been reported 40,000 strong. I told him that; I said that.

Question. I find these sentences near the close of your letter of correction: " I cannot consent to remain silent in this matter, for, if I did so, under an incorrect impression of my personal views, I might be looked upon as one desiring a conflict, when, in truth, I am so adverse to anything of the kind that I will make any honorable sacrifice to avoid it.




[ Edited Sun Oct 08 2017, 04:34PM ]
Back to top
gpthelastrebel
Thu Sep 21 2017, 03:12AM

Registered Member #1
Joined: Tue Jul 17 2007, 02:46PM
Posts: 3698
Part 2 Page 6 - 11

6) " Hoping that I may have this explanation placed before your readers, I remain, very respectfully," &c.

I will put the question again: Did you, in this letter, correct all that you deemed a misrepresentation in the account of the interview with you?

Answer. I do not think I did, and my friends thought so afterward. But I am not accustomed to writing letters, or to be interrogated by reporters. That was something entirely new to me; I did not expect it.

Question. Is this statement in that account correct: "' Do you think, General, that the Ku-Klux have been of any benefit to the State?' "'No doubt of it. Since its organization, the leagues have quit killing and murdering our people. There were some foolish young men who put masks on their faces and rode over the country, frightening negroes; but orders have been issued to stop that, and it has ceased. You may say, further, that three members of the Ku-Klux have been court-martialed and shot for violations of the orders not to disturb or molest people.''

Question. Is that statement correct?

Answer. No, sir; not the last part of it.

Question. That is, as to the shooting of three members of the Ku-Klux?

Answer. No, sir; that is not correct.

Question. Is the other portion of it correct?

Answer. A portion of it is.

Question. That orders had been issued to stop using masks?

Answer. I did not say that orders had been issued, but that I understood orders had been issued. I could not speak of anything personally.

Question. Well, with your assent, I will put the whole of this account of the interview, and your letter of correction, into the testimony. [See page 32.] I will now ask if, at that time, you had any actual knowledge of the existence of any such order as the Ku-Klux?

Answer. I had, from information from others.

Question. Will you state who they were who gave you that information?

Answer. One or two of the parties are dead now.

Question. Who were they?

Answer. One of them was a gentleman by the name of Saunders.

Question. Did he reside in Tennessee?

Answer. No, sir; he resided in Mississippi then. He afterward died by poison at Asheville, North Carolina.

Question. Did any other person give you that information?

Answer. Yes, sir; I heard others say so, but I do not recollect the names of them now. I say to you, frankly, that I think the organization did exist in 1866 and 1867.

Question. In what portions of the country?

Answer. I do not think it existed anywhere except in Middle Tennessee. There may have been some in a small portion of West Tennessee; but if there was any, it was very scattering.

Question. Under what name is it your belief it existed at that time?

Answer. Some called them Pale Faces; some called them Ku-Klux. I believe they were under two names.

Question. Had they an officer known as a commander?

Answer. I presume they did.

Question. Was their organization military in its character?

Answer. No, sir; I think not.

Question. Were they subject to command and drill in any military form?

Answer. They were like the Loyal Leagues, and met occasionally and dispersed again. The Loyal Leagues existed about that time, and I think this was a sort of offset gotten up against the Loyal Leagues. It was in Tennessee at the time; I do not think it was general.

Question. Had it a political purpose then?

Answer. I think it had not then; it had no political purpose.

Question. You say it was organized like the Loyal Leagues, or in opposition to them?

Answer. I think it was in opposition.

Question. Was the purpose of the Loyal Leagues political?,

Answer. I do not presume it was; I do not know what it was.

Question. What did you understand to be the purpose of the two organizations?

Answer. I can tell you what I think the purpose of the organization that you first spoke of was; I think it was for self-protection.

Question. You mean now what is called Ku-Klux?

Answer. Yes, sir; I think that organization arose about the time the militia were called out, and Governor Brownlow issued his proclamation stating that the troops would not be injured for what they should do to rebels; such a proclamation was issued. There was a great deal of insecurity felt by the southern people. There were a great many northern men coming down there, forming leagues all over the country. The negroes were holding night meetings; were going about; were becoming very insolent;

7) and the southern people all over the State were very much alarmed. I think many of the organizations did not have any name; parties organized themselves so as to be ready in case they were attacked. Ladies were ravished by some of these negroes, who were tried and put in the penitentiary, but were turned out in a few days afterward. There was a great deal of insecurity in the country, and I think this organization was got up to protect the weak, with no political intention at all.

Question. Do I understand you to say that the Loyal League organization in Tennessee countenanced or promoted crimes of the kind which you have mentioned?

Answer. I do not know that they promoted them; but those crimes were not punished; there was very little law then.

Question. Was this before the organization of the State government, or did it continue afterward?

Answer. Well, it continued so for a year afterward.

Question. How long, according to your information, did this Ku-Klux organization exist?

Answer. I think it was disorganized in the early part of 1868.

Question. Did it continue until after the presidential election?

Answer. No, sir; I think it was in the latter part of 1867, or the early part of 1868; I do not know the exact date.

Question. Where can we get the information as to the manner of its dissolution and the time of it?

Answer. I do not know where you can get it. I never got any positive information except that it was generally understood that the organization was broken up.

Question. Who were understood to belong to it?

Answer. Men of the Southern States, citizens.

Question. Did they speak to you without hesitation of the organization, as if it required no concealment?

Answer. No, sir; they did not.

Question. Did they deny or admit its existence?

Answer. They did not do either; they did not deny it or admit it. It was understood though, among the southern people, that this organization had disbanded about the time of the nomination of candidates for President of the United States.

Question. When they proceeded to carry out the objects of the organization, did they do it in numbers, by riding in bands?

Answer. I do not know; I never saw the organization together in my life; never saw them out in any numbers, or anything of the kind.

Question. Did you get the same information in regard to that as you did in regard to its origin and its disbanding?

Answer. Yes, sir; I understood that they patrolled communities, rode over neighborhoods.

Question. Did they go in disguise?

Answer. I suppose some of them did.

Question. Was that the general understanding?

Answer. That was the rumor.

Question. Did they proceed to the extent of whipping or killing men?

Answer. I heard of men being killed, but I did not know who did it.

Question. Was it done by these persons in disguise?

Answer. Well, yes, sir; there were men killed in Tennessee and in Mississippi by bands in disguise. There were men found down there disguised, white men and negroes both.

Question. Your residence is in Memphis?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Close to the Mississippi line. Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Did not the same organization extend into Mississippi?

Answer. I do not know whether it did or did not.

Question. Have you any knowledge of any secret organization in Mississippi?

Answer. I never heard of but one case where there was anything of that sort over there, that came under my direct knowledge.

Question. Where was that?

Answer. At Holly Springs.

Question. I-Iow long since?

Answer. In 1867.

Question. In that portion of the State of Mississippi through which your road runs, have yon any knowledge of any outrages by persons in disguise having been committed since 1867?

Answer. Only one instance, and that was not an outrage.

Question. Where was that?

Answer. At Greensboro, Alabama. Well, I heard of another one.

Question. What occurred at Greensboro?

Answer. Well, a man was taken out of jail for stealing horses.

8) Question. Did they release him?

Answer. Yes, sir. I was not there at the time; I was in Memphis at the time; they passed my camp on the road.

Question. Were they in disguise?

Answer. It was reported that they were.

Question. How late was that?

Answer. I suppose it was eighteen months ago; may be not so long as that.

Question. In what county is Greensboro?

Answer. It is in Hale County.

Question. What was the other instance to which you were about to refer a moment ago?

Answer. The other was at Eutaw, on the line of my road.

Question. In Greene County, Alabama?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Through what counties does your road run?

Answer. It runs through Perry, Hale, Greene, Dallas, and Pickens Counties, Alabama; through Lowndes, Monroe, Pontotoc, Chickasaw, Union, Benton, Marshall, and De Soto Counties, in Mississippi; and Shelby County, in Tennessee. It runs across the corners of those counties, not directly through the most of them.

Question. What was the occurrence in Eutaw to which you referred?

Answer. That was the case of Miller, I think; I heard that; I do not know it to be so. It was currently reported there that this man was killed one night by a band of disguised men.

By Mr. BECK: Question. Was it Boyd?

Answer. Yes, sir; Boyd was the name. Miller was an uncle of Boyd.

By the CHAIRMAN: Question. Have you any knowledge of any visit by disguised men in the county of Pontotoc, Mississippi?

Answer. I have not.

Question. Have you heard of none there recently?

Answer. I heard something about some men being disguised coming there, and one of them was shot; but I do not know anything about it.

Question. Do you know a man in Pontotoc by the name of Pollard?

Answer. No, sir; I do not know him.

Question. Did you meet a man of that name there in 1867 or 1868?

Answer. I have no recollection of meeting a man there of that name. I was in the county in 1869, canvassing the county, and I made a speech in every civil district in the county, for subscriptions to the road I am interested in. In 1868 I made a speech at Pontotoc in regard to the same road, and I met a great many men there I did not know.

Question. Did this organization of Ku-Klux exist there at that time?

Answer. I do not think it did; I never heard of it.

Question. Had you any communication with Pollard about establishing it there?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. You did not know Pollard?

Answer. I never saw him or heard of him, that I recollect. I do not know many men there in that county, except those who were in the army. There was one regiment from that county that served under me, and I knew a few of the leading men in Pontotoc.

Question. Then I understand you to say that this whole statement, giving the idea that you knew of your own knowledge of the organization of the Ku-Klux, or that you knew of their numbers or their discipline, is incorrect?

Answer. I never said to that man that I knew anything about it.

Question. Had you ever a constitution of the order?

Answer. I saw one; yes, sir.

Question. Where was that?

Answer. That was in Memphis.

Question. Who had it?

Answer. Well, it was sent to me in a letter.

Question. Have you that constitution yet?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. What has become of it?

Answer. Well, I burned up the one I had.

Question. Who sent it to you?

Answer. That I cannot tell.

Question. Did it come anonymously?

Answer. Yes, sir; it came to me anonymously.


9) Question. What was the purport of it?

Answer. The purport of that constitution, as far as I recollect it now, was that the organization was formed for self-protection. The first obligation they took, if I recollect it aright, was to abide by and obey the laws of the country; to protect the weak; to protect the women and children; obligating themselves to stand by each other in case of insurrection or anything of that sort. I think that was about the substance of the obligation.

Question. Was it a secret organization?

Answer. I presume it was.

Question. Did it so purport to be in the constitution?

Answer. Yes, sir; I think so.

Question. The constitution required secrecy?

Answer. I think it required secrecy.

Question. Did it require the members of the society to obey the orders of all superior officers?

Answer. Yes, sir; I think so.

Question. Under what penalty?

Answer. I do not think there was any penalty attached; I do not recollect now.

Question. Did it refer to a ritual, or a mode of initiation?

Answer. I think it did.

Question. What was the name of the organization given in that constitution?

Answer. Ku-Klux.

Question. It was called Ku-Klux?

Answer. No, sir; it was not called Ku-Klux. I do not think there was any name given to it.

Question. No name given to it?

Answer. No, sir; I do not think there was. As well as I recollect, there were three stars.in place of a name. I do not think there was any name given to it.

Question. That is, when it came to the name there was a blank, and stars in the blank?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Signifying that the name was to be kept secret?

Answer. You are to place your own construction on that.

Question. That is the way it stood —the name of the organization left blank, and stars in its place-that is the way it stood in the constitution?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Have you any idea how that came to be sent to you?

Answer. No, sir; I do not know how it came to be sent to me.

Question. From what point was it sent?

Answer. It was mailed from some place in Tennessee; I do not recollect now what point it was mailed from. I was getting at that time from fifty to one hundred letters a day, and had a private secretary writing all the time. I was receiving letters from all the Southern States, men complaining, being dissatisfied. persons whose friends had been killed, or their families insulted, and they were writing to me to know what they ought to do.

Question. Was there any request of any character to you in connection with this constitution?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. There was no written communication along with it?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Nothing to signify from whom it came?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Was there anything to show where it was printed? Answer. No, sir.

Question. No printer's name on it?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. No place at which it was printed?

Answer. No: there was nothing indicating where it was printed; there was nothing to indicate that; I am certain there was not.

Question. It was the constitution of a secret society, organized where?

Answer. Well, it did not say.

Question. Do you believe that constitution was the basis of the organization which you say existed in Tennessee?

Answer. I think it was.

Question. Did it require an organization in each county?

Answer. Well, I cannot say whether it did not; I do not know whether they had an organization in each county or not.

Question. Did the constitution require it?

Answer. I think not.

Question. Was there a mode of getting up subordinate and superior organizations?

Answer. Well, I presume there was; I do not recollect now. Well, if I had thought

10) this thing would have come up in that shape, I would have tried to have gotten hold of one of these prescripts, as they were called, to give to you.

Question. Is it your impression that there were subordinate camps, or lodges, or divisions, whatever they were called, in each county?

Answer. Well, yes, sir; I reckon there was.

Question. Under the control of a superior officer in the county?

Answer. Yes, sir; I presume that was the intention of it. Question. Were they required to report to a superior organization in the State?

Answer. I do not think they were; I do not recollect that they were.

Question. In the account of this interview you are represented as saying, " This list of names is forwarded to the grand commander of the State, who is thus enabled to know who are our friends and who are not."

Answer. I do not think there is anything in this prescript indicating anything of that sort.

Question. There may not be a " grand commander;" may there not be a chief officer of this organization in the State?

Answer. I do not know whether there was or not.

Question. You read the prescript?

Answer. Yes, sir; there was no name given in the prescript.

Question. I am not speaking of the name of the man; but was there not such an officer, to be appointed or selected in the State?

Answer. It looks as if there would be in an organization of that sort.

Question. Is not that your impression, that there was a State organization, organizations in the counties, and interior organizations in the counties?

Answer. No, sir; I did not consider it a State organization.

Question. Then each county was an organization in itself?

Answer. There might have been an organization in the State, but, from all the information I could get, it was laid off in counties of the State. I think this organization was more in the neighborhood of places where there was danger of persons being molested, or in large negro counties, where they were fearful that the negroes would rise up. I think that is where the organization existed mostly. I do not think it existed at all in the poorer neighborhoods, where there was no danger of insurrection. There were a great many fires at that time, burning of gin-houses, mills, &c.

Question. Had there been any disturbance of that kind in your neighborhood?

Answer. No, sir; there was no difficulty there in my neighborhood, with one exception.

Question. Did you act upon that prescript?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Did you take any steps for organizing under it?

Answer. I do not think I am compelled to answer any question that would implicate me in anything. I believe the law does not require that I should do anything of the sort.

Question. Do you place your declination to answer upon that ground?

Answer. I do not.

Question. I only wish to know your reasons for declining to answer. I will communicate to you the fact that there is an act of Congress which provides that such a reason shall not excuse a witness from answering. If you desire, I will read it to you. It is as follows: " That the provisions of the second section of the act entitled' An act more effectually to enforce the attendance of witnesses on the summons of either House of Congress, and to compel them to discover testimony,' approved January 24, 1867(?), be amended, altered, and repealed, so as to read as follows: That the testimony of a witness examined and testifying before either House of Congress, or any committee of either House of Congress, shall not be used as evidence in any criminal proceeding against such witness in any court of justice: Provided, however, That no official paper or record produced by such witness on such examination shall be held or taken to be included within the privilege of said evidence so to protect such witness from any criminal proceeding as aforesaid; and no witness shall hereafter be allowed to refuse to testify to any fact, or to produce any paper touching which he shall be examined by either House of Congress or any committee of either House, for the reason that his testimony touching such fact, or the production of such paper, may tend to disgrace him or otherwise render him infamous: Provided, That nothing in this act shall be construed to exempt any witness from prosecution and punishment for purjury committed by him in testifying as aforesaid." I will repeat the question: Did you take any steps for organizing an association or society under that prescription?

Answer. I did not.

Question. Did you communicate it to any other person for the purpose of having an organization made?

Answer. The organization was made, I presume, before I ever saw the prescript or knew anything about it.


11) Question. Did you communicate this prescript, or any copy of it, to any person, for the purpose of enabling them to organize under it?

Answer. I never sent out any of the prescripts, or anything of that kind, to any one.

Question. Did you give this particular prescript, or any copy of it, to anybody, so that they might use it for organizing under it?

Answer. I have just stated that I never gave out any or sent out any for the purpose of organizing.

Question. I am now inquiring about this particular prescript, not about distributing others.

Answer. No, sir, I never did; I burned that one up.

Question. Did you show it to any one, read it to any one, or allow any one to read it?

Answer. I am not able to answer that question; I do not recollect whether I ever did or not; I might have shown it and I might not have shown it; I do not recollect.


Question. Were there any organizations of this order, whatever it may be, in your neighborhood 'after that time?

Answer. I presume there were before.

Question. Were there any afterward?

Answer. I think there were.

Question. Do you know any of the members of them?

Answer. No, sir, not now, I do not recollect the members of them.

Question. Did you know at that time who were the members?

Answer. I do not remember.

Question. Can you now tell us who were the members, or any single member, of that organization?

Answer. [After a pause. ] Well, that is a question I do not want to answer now.

Question. You decline to answer?

Answer. I would prefer to have a little time, if you will permit me.

By Mr. STEVENSON: Question. What is your reason for wanting time?

Answer. I want to study up and find out who they were, if I have got to answer the question; that is the reason.

By the CHAIRMAN: Question. What length of time will you probably require?

Answer. Well, sir, I do not know that I could say now, as I am in the midst of this examination. I would like you to pass that over for the present and let me have some time to think over it.

Question. Do you remember whether there were any signs or pass-words referred to in the prescript?

Answer. I think there were.

Question. Were they given in it, or did the prescript refer to a ritual or mode of initiation for the signs? Answer. I think the prescript referred to a ritual.

Question. Do you know what any of those signs and pass-words were?

Answer. I did know, but I have not thought of it in two years, and I do not know that I could give one of them.

Question. If you can give one now, do so.

Answer. I do not believe I could. You will have to let that pass over a little while, if its necessary to answer it, for it is a matter that has gone out of my knowledge for eighteen months or two years; I have not thought of it in that time.

Question. Your impression is that the pass-words and signs were not given in the prescript, but were referred to in the ritual or mode of initiation?

Answer. I am not able to answer that question; I do not know whether they were or not.

Question. Have you ever seen those signs used among any of the men in Alabama or Mississippi.

Answer. I never have; I have never seen the organization together.

Question. Or in Tennessee?

Answer. I have never seen the organization together in numbers.

Question. Well, without seeing it together, have you ever seen those signs used for the purpose of recognition between individuals?

Answer. Yes, sir, I think I have.

Question. You recognized the signs?

Answer. Well, yes, I understood it.

Question. Understanding it, then, do you still wish time to consider whether you could give them or not?

Answer. I cannot give you one of them correctly now to save my life, I have no idea I could. It was a matter I knew very little about; I had very little to do with it. All my efforts were addressed to stop it, disband it, and prevent it.



[ Edited Fri Oct 13 2017, 02:02PM ]
Back to top
gpthelastrebel
Thu Sep 21 2017, 02:33PM

Registered Member #1
Joined: Tue Jul 17 2007, 02:46PM
Posts: 3698
Part 3 page 12 -

12) Question. How did you get to know the sign?

Answer. It was given to me by one who, I suppose, was one of the members.

Question. Did he understand you to be one?

Answer. No, sir, not at that time.

Question. How came he to give it to you?

Answer. I asked him to give it to me in order that I might try and check the thing; I was trying to keep it down as much as possible.

Question. Who was he?

Answer. This man Saunders, who, I told you, died at Asheville, North Carolina; he was poisoned by his wife there.

Question. When was it?

Answer. In 1867; the early part of 1867.

Question. Were you trying to suppress the organization, or the outrages you speak of?

Answer. I was trying to suppress the outrages.

Question. Outrages committed by colored men?

Answer. By all people; my object was to keep peace

Question. Did you want to suppress that organization?

Answer. Yes, sir; I did suppress it.

Question. How?

Answer. Had it broken up and disbanded.

Question. What influence did you exert in disbanding it?

Answer. I talked with different people that I believed were connected with it, and urged its disbandment, that it should be broken up.

Question. In the light of that statement, is it not probable that this part of the account of the interview with you is correct? "Since its organization the leagues have quit killing and murdering our people. There were some foolish young men who put masks on their faces, and rode over the country, frightening negroes; but orders have been issued to stop that, and it has ceased."

Answer. I never uttered such words; I did not talk to that man twenty words?

Question. You say you were trying to stop the proceedings, and that they did stop?

Answer. Yes, sir; and I think they completely stopped. I do not hear of anything of that kind now-of difficulties there-any more than I hear of thenm here. I think that since 1868 that organization has been disbanded. I do not think there has been any organization together; if there has been, it has been by irresponsible parties, without any organization at all.

Question. What was the object of their pass-word?

Answer. I presume like any other pass-word.

Question. What was their pass-word?

Answer. I cannot tell you now.

Question. Did you know?

Answer. At one time I believe I did know one of their pass-words, but I have forgotten what it was.

Question. Was it Shiloh?

Answer. No, sir, I never heard that given as a pass-word.

Question. When you got the sign and the pass-word, did you not also get the name of the organization, so as to be able to fill the blank in the prescript?

Answer. Well, I believe it was called the Ku-Krux organization; I do not know whether the young man gave it to me at that time or not. It was in the road, when we were talking about it.

Question. Then you at least had the confidence of the organization?

Answer. I had the confidence of the southern people, I think.

Question. Was there any political object whatever in this organization

Answer. There never was, that I ever heard of.

Question. You say you have seen this sign recognized; where?

Answer. The sign I saw recognized, I believe-well, I do not recollect now where it was; whether in the house or on the road.

Question. Was it in Tennessee?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Did you ever see it recognized any place else?

Answer. No, sir, I never did.

Question. Against whom did this organization operate?

Answer. I do not think it operated against any person particularly; I think it was, as I said before, an organization for the protection of southern people against mobs, and rapes, and things of that sort. I never knew any portion of the organization to commit any deed.

Question. Did you never understand that they went out and took persons from their homes and whipped them?

Answer. That was the newspaper rumor.

Question. Of all those you have heard of being whipped were any democrats?

Answer. Well, I do not know that they were; I do not recollect whether they were

13) democrats or what they were. I heard of some men who had been stealing horses being whipped, and I heard of men being whipped who had been whipping their wives; and I heard of negroes being whipped who had been committing outrages, or something of that sort-caught on the road with things in their possession. They were thrashed.

Question. Did you ever hear of any other persons except those charged with offenses of this kind being visited by this party?

Answer. I heard of Boyd and others being killed; but that came more directly under my eye, from the fact that I was building my road and passing through the country there.

Question. Was it not your information that the men who killed Boyd came there in the same kind of uniform and disguise as was used by these men in Tennessee?

Answer. I never heard; I understood they were disguised, but I never understood what was the disguise.

Question. What was the manner in which these men were disguised in Tennessee?

Answer. In almost every shape.

Question. Did they have masks over their faces?

Answer. I think some had masks.

Question. Did they have high caps on their heads?

Answer. Some of them had caps, some had none at all.

Question. Did they have loose gowns?

Answer. I do not think there was any uniform that they adopted. I heard of some having on black gowns, some red gowns, and some with white sheets wrapped around them. I do not think there was any uniform.

By Mr. BECK: Question. How long since you have read over this article in the Cincinnati Commercial of September 1, 1868, purporting to give the interview with you?

Answer. I have never read it since shortly after it was published. It was a matter like many others. There were a great many things said in regard to myself that I looked upon as gotten up merely to affect the elections in the North. I felt that was the object of it. I passed it by, and have not thought of it since.

Question. They have been in the habit of writing a great many things about you in the newspapers.

Answer. Particularly about that time the papers were full of them, not only all the papers, but people all over the Northern States were making speeches denouncing me; at least they were so reported in the papers.

Question. You did not profess to answer what you saw generally in the newspapers?

Answer. I did not; I felt it was useless, that it would have no effect.

Question. You do not even now know the contents of this article, except such portions of it as the Chairman has read to you to-day?

Answer. I do not; I do not recollect having read it since that time. By Mr. POLAND:

Question. The letter which you wrote yourself, and which was published, you wrote after reading the article in the newspaper?

Answer. Yes, sir; I wrote that letter after reading the article in the paper.

Question. You then knew what it was?

Answer. Yes, sir.

By Mr. BECK: Question. This is your letter: "MEMPHIS, September 3, 1868. "DEAR SIR: I have just read your letter in the Commercial, giving a report of our conversation on Friday last. I do not think you would intentionally misrepresent me, but you have done so, and I suppose you mistook my meaning. The portions of your letter to which I object are corrected in the following paragraphs: "I promised the legislature my personal influence and aid in maintaining order and enforcing the laws. I have never advised the people to resist any law, but to submit to the laws until they can be corrected by lawful legislation. " I said the militia bill would occasion no trouble, unless they violated the law by earring out the governor's proclamation, which I believe to be unconstitutional and in violence of law, in shooting men down without trial, as recommended by that proclamation. " I said it was reported, and I believed the report, that there are 40,000 Ku-Klux in Tennessee; and I believe the organization stronger in other States. I meant to imply, when I said that the Ku-Klux recognized the Federal Government, that they would obey all State laws. They recognize all laws and will obey them, so I have been informed, in protecting peaceable citizens from oppression from any quarter. " I did not say that any man's house was picketed. I did not mean to convey the idea that I would raise any troops, and, more than that, no man could do it in five days, if they were organized.

14) " I said that General Grant was at Holly Springs and not at Corinth; I said the charge against him was false, but I did not use the word 'liar.' " I cannot consent to remain silent in this matter; for if I do, under an incorrect impression of my personal views, I might be looked upon as one desiring a conflict, when, in truth, I am so adverse to anything of the kind that I will make any honorable sacrifice to avoid it. " Hoping that I may have this explanation placed before your readers, I remain, very respectfully," &c. Did I understand you to tell the Chairman that you did not undertake to correct all the misrepresentations of the correspondence, but only such things as you thought did you personal injustice?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Leaving the false misrepresentations to stand for what they were worth?

Answer. That is what I intended to do. In fact, I did not want to go into a long detail of the thing. I said to this gentleman that I believed there was such an organization from the best information that I could get. But as to the numbers I did not tell him, because I knew nothing about the numbers. I said to him that I did not believe there would be any conflict with the people of Tennessee, unless the militia went out and attempted to destroy the people, as Governor Brownlow's proclamation indicated.

Question. What was your understanding of that proclamation of Brownlow? I have forgotten all about it.

Answer. I have not read the proclamation since it first came out. I was very actively engaged, and have been since that time, in trying to build railroads and establish factories and foundries in the country. I have been traveling and working all the time, and I have not thought anything about these things. My recollection of his proclamation is that the militia should not be punished, or would not be punished, for any depredations they might commit upon rebels; that the people there would be treated ad rebels, &c.; intimating that if a man killed a man who had been in the southern army, there would be nothing done with him.

By Mr. VAN TRUMP: Question. That proclamation was issued after the close of the war?

Answer. Yes, sir; in 1866 or 1867, I believe; about the time of this organization.

Question. Do you not know the fact that these leagues were organized before the Ku Klux was heard of?

Answer. I do not know whether it was or not; but that was my understanding-that this organization was organized after the proclamation and after those leagues.

By Mr. BECK: Question. What was the effect upon the people of Tennessee as to their sense of security of life and property, and the safety of their wives and children, after that proclamation of Brownlow; whatever may have been the language of it, what impression was produced upon the people of Tennessee by it?

Answer. It produced a great deal of fear and trepidation on the part of the people; they feared the militia would undertake to carry out the idea of the proclamation.

By Mr. VAN TRUMP: Question. It was a kind of amnesty for any future depredations this militia might commit.

Answer. Yes, sir; that was the intent of the proclamation; at least the southern people so looked upon it. If a man belonging to the militia should shoot you and me down, if we were southern men, there would be nothing done to him.

By Mr. BECK: Question. That was the impression made upon the people?

Answer. Yes, sir; and then the Loyal League coming in about the same time, and these rapes being committed, and the impudent colored people constantly toting about arms, firing in the night-time, created a great deal of uneasiness in the thick neighborhoods, where there were negroes; but in the poorer neighborhoods I do not think that insecurity was felt.

Question. Were the white people disarmed by Brownlow's orders, and forbidden, in organized bodies, to carry arms?

Answer. I think so; I do not recollect now.

Question. Was that the fact?

Answer. That was the understanding.

Question. Were the militia composed mostly of colored men?

Answer. No, sir; not in that part of the State; I think that in the middle portion of the State the most of them were white men, but I think some colored troops were out.

15) Question. That militia was organized under that proclamation, and substantially took possession of the police of the country?

Answer Yes, sir.

Question. While they were in power, was it the fact that there were cases of rape, arson, house-breaking, and other crimes?

Answer. There were cases of that sort reported throughout the country; I do not know to what extent; and there were cases where they were tried and put in the penitentiary, and the governor pardoned them at once; they were turned loose; I merely heard of one or two cases, but I do not recollect them now.

By Mr. VAN TRUMP: Question. Was not the very name of Brownlow at that time a terror to the people of Tennessee?

Answer. It was; they were very much frightened.

By Mr. BECK: Question. So that his militia were not regarded as being put out in good faith for the protection of the people, but to put down one party and elevate the other for his own political aggrandizement.

Answer. That was the understanding, and a great many. men had to fly the country in East Tennessee; and a great many have not gone back yet. A great many who had been in the southern army were killed, when they returned home, by Union men. There was more bitterness there than in any other part of the country.

By Mr. VAN TRUMP: Question. East Tennessee was Brownlow's residence before he was governor?

Answer. Yes, sir.

By Mr. BECK: Question. You say that whatever organization of Ku-Klux, or anything else, took place in the region of country with which you are familiar, it was gotten up through fear of depredations by the militia, and was the result of that state of things?

Answer. That is my understanding of it. Question. And for the protection of themselves where the law was considered powerless?

Answer. According to my understanding, the organization was intended entirely as a protection to the people, to enforce the laws, and protect the people against outrages.

Question. Without any regard to whether they were perpetrated by democrats or republicans?

Answer. Yes, sir, I do not think that would make any difference; that is, that is my impression, while I do not know that is so; that was the general understanding in the community.

Question. So far as you had any understanding or information, was it to act upon elections in any shape or form?

Answer. No, sir, I never heard it said it was to have anything to do with elections.

By Mr. VAN TRUMP: Question. In Tennessee you did not care much about elections then?

Answer. A large portion of the people in the State were disfranc12sed, and they did not attempt to make any effort to carry elections.

By Mr. BECK: Question. Did there not come a change for the better over Tennessee in 1868, in the management of their laws?

Answer. As I said before, this organization was dispersed.

By Mr. STEVENSON: Question. When was it dispersed?

Answer. In the early part of 1868.

Question. Do you mean in the spring of 1868?

Answer. Yes, sir; well, it might have been in the early part of the summer months; I cannot say, I do not know now.

By Mr. BECK: Question. This communication, in the Cincinnati Commercial, bears date of the 1st of September, 1868. Were you speaking of the then existing state of things, or a previously existing state of things?

Answer. The letter I wrote was in answer to the letter this man had written.

Question. That was in September?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. And you think that at that time the organization had been disbanded?

Answer. Well, it must have been later than that; it must have been in the latter part of 1868, I reckon, that it was disbanded.

16) Question. Later than you first thought?

Answer. Yes, sir, I think it must have been in the latter part of 1868.

Question. The date of this communication would indicate that it was later than you first said?

Answer. Yes, sir. Question. When was Senter elected governor of Tennessee; in 1868 or 1869?

Answer. I do not recollect; I have never voted, and have not paid any attention to the elections.

Question. You never have voted?

Answer. I voted a short time ago at Memphis for a subscription to build a railroad.

By Mr. VAN TRUMP: Question. That was not a political vote?

Answer. No, sir; I have never offered a political vote; that is the only vote I have cast since the war.

By the CHAIRMAN: Question. Did you vote in 1868?

Answer. No, sir.

By Mr. BECK: Question. You could not?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. At that time there was a large number of men in Tennessee disfranchised?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. And you were one of them?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. When that organization was disbanded in 1868, what was the information you had as to the reason why it was disbanded?

Answer. That there was no further use for it; that the country was safe; that there was no apprehension of any trouble.

Question. You believed the laws would be vindicated without any interference of the people to protect themselves?

Answer. Yes, sir; Governor Brownlow had modified himself very much; the laws were going on and being respected and executed.

Question. Is it your understanding that persons who, of late, within the last year or two, have been disguising themselves and violating the law, have been doing it as mere temporary organizations?

Answer. I think it has been among wild young men and bad men; I do not think they have had any such organization.

Question. They have been called by the same name of the original organization that once existed?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. What is the length of your line of railroad?

Answer. It is two hundred and eighty miles.

Question. Running through the counties you have named?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. During the last year or two has there been any serious trouble among the people, white or black, along that line of road?

Answer. I have heard of but three cases. One is where they took out a man who had been arrested and put in jail for stealing horses. Another was at Greensboro in regard to the probate judge, who was a southern man living there. I understood these men came to his house; in fact, Judge Blackford came to me for protection, and I did protect him for a week.

By the CHAIRMAN: Question. He was the probate judge?

Answer. Yes, sir; they got after him, but he made his escape.

By Mr. BECK: Question. In what county was that?

Answer. In Hale County.

Question. How long ago?

Answer. I suppose five or six months ago.

Question. That was the horse thief?

Answer. No, sir; these men went there and turned out the horse thief. They went down after Blackford, who made his escape. I myself came there the next day, and he came to me and I protected him until he went away; finally he left the country. I do not know where he went. I heard that he had been appointed an agent in the mail service; probably, in Alabama.


[ Edited Fri Oct 13 2017, 02:10PM ]
Back to top
gpthelastrebel
Thu Sep 21 2017, 09:07PM

Registered Member #1
Joined: Tue Jul 17 2007, 02:46PM
Posts: 3698
Part 4 Page 17- 21


17) Question. What was the pretext for annoying him?

Answer. Be was looked upon as a man who had given a great deal of bad advice to the negroes, and kept them in confusion, and off the plantations. He was a southern man, who had been in the confederate army, and had gone over to the radical party. He had large meetings of the negroes at his house, firing around and shooting, and it had become very dissatisfactory to the people. He was a drinking man, and when drunk would make threats. I do not myself believe there was any harm in him. I had had a great deal to do with him; he and I had canvassed two counties together.

By Mr. VAN TRUMP: Question. Canvassed for railroads Answer. Yes, sir; he assisted me in my elections. In fact I had the assistance of republicans in all the elections I held in each county, except Greene County.

By the CHAIRMAN: Question. Upon the question of local subscriptions to railroads?

Answer. Yes, sir.

By Mr. VAN TRUMP: Question. There has been some intimation in the testimony about your road being used to carry men in disguise. Has there been anything of that sort done on your road with your knowledge or consent?

Answer. I am satisfied there has been nothing of that sort done.

By the CHAIRMAN: Question. Is your road finished? Answer. Fifty miles, on which I am running trains every day.

By Mr. COBURN: Question. Where? Answer. From Marion Junction out to Warrior River, near Eutaw.

By Mr. BECK: Question. The attack on Blackford was because of his official misconduct?

Answer. I understood so; they never understood whether it was by white men or by black men; they were all strangers there, I understood. They were in the street, and I believe they got down and went into the hotel.

Question. Were they disguised?

Answer. I do not think they had any disguises on their faces at all Question. Blackford was not hurt?

Answer. No, sir. Question. You have stated two cases; what was the third case?

Answer. That was the case in Pontotoc; I do not think anybody was hurt there, except that one of the men who were in disguise was killed.

By Mr. STEVENSON: Question. Do you refer to the attack on Flournoy?

Answer. That case and the two cases of Boyd and Blackford are the only three cases I have heard of on the line of my road. And the cases of Boyd and Flournoy were on the portions of the road that were not being worked at the time; we were not occupying that portion of the road; but at Greensboro we were working on the road.

By Mr. BECK: Question. Has there been any difficulty with your hands along the line of your road?

Answer. Not a bit.

Question. Do you work many negroes?

Answer. I have about four hundred.

Question. They vote as they please, as far as you know?

Answer. They voted as they pleased at the last election. About three hundred had come from North Carolina, but they were not entitled to vote; had not been in Alabama long enough; they had been working a portion of the time in Mississippi, and they did not vote. But all those who were entitled to vote voted without any molestation. I said when I started out with my roads that railroads had no politics; that I wanted the assistance of everybody; that railroads were for the general good of the whole country. We have had no political discussion along the line of my road; we have had no difficulty. I hired three hundred colored men in North Carolina, and they worked for me twelve months; their time was outlast May; they were paid off. About one hundred and fifty of them returned, and a portion of them, in fact I think all but about fifteen, have come back. They got one-half of their money monthly until the end of the year, when they were paid off.

2B ( not sure what this refers to.)

18) Question. You say you canvassed every civil district in those counties for your railroad?

Answer. Yes, sir. Question. In the course of that canvass did there seem to be any difficulty in enforcing the laws where you have been, and protecting men in their lives, liberty, and property?

Answer. I have not heard of any; the laws are regularly executed.

Question. In the course of your experience have you heard of a man being molested for his political opinions upon one side or the other?

Answer. This man Blackford I suppose was molested because he was thought to be tampering with the negroes and preventing them from working.

Question. It was believed that he had gone out of the legitimate sphere of politics, and perhaps advised violence?

Answer. Yes, sir.

By the CHAIRMAN: Question. Had Blackford advised violence?

Answer. It was a rumor through the town that he had been talking with the negroes.

Question. Had he been advising violence?

Answer. I heard him once advise violence when we were canvassing together. He was drunk. I do not think he was responsible then. He came to me the next day and said that he was ashamed of himself; that was at Hay's Mound.

Question. What did he say?

Answer. I do not recollect exactly his words; but it was something about fighting their own way, having their own way, and if people did not let them have it, make them do it; stand up to them; it was very offensive. While I did not think much of it, southern men did who were there and heard it. I told him that we ought not to let such things as that get into the road. I was very much abused by some of the presses in Alabama for having anything to do with Blackford, and was accused of being a radical myself. The papers went on to abuse me about going over to the republican party.

Question. Was the substance of what Blackford said that they should assert their rights?

Answer. It was in a loose, drunken way that he was talking to them; I do not think he really knew what he was saying.

By Mr. STEVENSON: Question. You have stated the substance of what he said?

Answer. Yes, sir.

By Mr. BECK: Question. That they ought to take their rights if they were not given to them, and he would stand by them?

Answer. Yes, sir; it was in a boasting, bragging, drunken manner, that I did not think amounted to anything. There were some who tried to make something out of it; but I tried to excuse Blackford on the ground that he was drunk. I wanted the subscriptions and tried to carry all the votes I could. I set out by saying that railroads had no politics. I do not think they ought to have or will have as long as I can help it.

By the CHAIRMAN: Question. I have here before me a communication published in a paper called the Southern Argus, at Selma; do you know that paper?

Answer. Yes, sir. Question. Is it a democratic paper

Answer. I cannot tell you really what its politics are.

Question. The communication is very short; I will read it. It is from the Southern Argus, published at Selma, Alabama, February 3, 1871: THE LATE GREENSBORO AFFAIR. " To the editor of the Argus: " SR: I see from your article in your last issue, January 27, that you accuse a body of disguised men of going to Greensboro, on Tuesday last, and releasing a man from the jail in that place who had been confined for horse stealing. We inform you, sir, that your author has told a malicious falsehood. The man who was released on that evening was not confined for horse stealing, but for killing a negro and the taking of a Yankee's horse, openly, that it might enable him to make his escape from a court (like Blackford's) of injustice; and we say to you, sir, that the party did not visit Greensboro on that evening for the purpose of releasing this man McCrary, but for the purpose of catching and giving Mr. Blackford what he lawfully deserves, and will get be ---

19) fore the lst day of March. We do not communicate to you for the purpose of clearing ourselves of but one thing, and that is the release of a horse-thief. Sir, it is not our object to release thieves; but, on the other hand, it is our sworn duty to bring them all to justice; and we in this section of country intend and will see that all thieves shall be punished to the extent of the law; and in cases where the law cannot reach them, the party that released the man in Greensboro will give them all they deserve, and perhaps a little more. "Yours, truly, &c., "K. W. C."

" P. S.-The writer is a subscriber to your paper, and would be pleased to see this and an additional article by you in your next issue.

"K. "ALABAMA, January 31,1871." Is the sentiment contained in that article really a sentiment which receives countenance in the community? Answer. I do not think so. I never read that article; I heard it spoken of and very much condemned by the best men in the county.

Question. You think, then, that the sentiment there that killing a negro is a less offense than stealing a horse —

Answer. I never heard of this man killing a negro.

Question. This writer says: "( We do not communicate to you for the purpose of clearing ourselves of but one thing, and that is the release of a horse-thief. Sir, it is not our object to release thieves * * The man who was released on that evening was not confined for horse-stealing, but for killing a negro." Is that sentiment sustained there at all-that it is a lighter offense to kill a negro than to steal horses?

Answer. No, sir; there is no man who believes that the offense of killing a negro is less than killing a white man.

By Mr. STEVENSON: Question. Did you know who this correspondent was who published the account of the interview with you?

Answer. I never saw him before.

Question. When you saw him did you learn who he was?

Answer. Yes, sir; he told me who he was afterward.

Question. You got his name?

Answer. I do not think I did at the time.

Question. When? Answer. After the article was written.

Question. Did you get it from the communication?

Answer. Probably he told me his name. I reckon he did; but it was just as I say to you; I was in that condition that I do not recollect anything. I was suffering from a sick-headache, and had started to my house.

Question. Did he walk along with you?

Answer. I sat on the steps for three or four minutes, and then he walked along to my gate.

Question. How far?

Answer. Sixty or eighty yards.

Question. You walked along talking? Answer. Very little, I think.

Question. May it not well be that you were in such a condition at that time that you do not remember now what you did say?

Answer. I do not pretend to say that I recollect all that was said.

Question. How many men did you surrender at the end of the war

Answer. About 6,000; I think between six and seven thousand. Question. Was it not about 7,000?.

Answer. Well, it is likely it was. I do not recollect the number now.

Question. You would have been more likely to have remembered in 1868 than now

Answer. No, sir; I do not think I would.

Question. Did you accept a parole at that time t

Answer. I did, and issued an address when I did accept the parole-I do not know whether you have had it or not-it was published in all your papers. I said to my men that they had been good soldiers and could be good citizens; that they should go home and obey the laws of the country. And so far as I know, not one soldier who served under me has been molested for any offense since the war.

Question. Were you pardoned?

Answer. I was. Question. How? Answer.

By President Johnson. Question. By a special pardon?

Answer. Yes, sir.

20) Question. When? Answer. In 1868, probably, immediately after his proclamation. I was then on my plantation in Mississippi, and I felt it to be the duty of every good man to try to restore a good condition of things to the country. I went to Jackson and made my application for a pardon to Governor Sharkey, in order that others might do it.

Question. Did not the general amnesty cover your case?

Answer. I think it did; I never held a political office in my life.

Question. Did you speak with this correspondent about the bad state of things in Tennessee, about Brownlow and his proceedings?

Answer. It is more than likely we did have some conversation about that.

Question. Was the condition of things pretty bad about that time?

Answer. There was great turmoil all over the country.

Question. Excitement running high? Answer. Yes, sir; on both sides.

Question. You understood that Brownlow by his proclamation had outlawed what he called rebels?

Answer. That is the way the Southern people looked upon it.

Question. Was not there danger of collision about that time?

Answer. Yes, sir, imminent danger; and we came very near having it in many places between the troops and the citizens. I think they did have it at Jackson, and probably one man was killed.

Question. Did you say anything to Mr. Woodward about your regard for the old Government in 1861?

Answer. I do not recollect now what was said. I have said, and have always said, that there was no time during the war that I would not have been willing to have taken up the old flag with the Northern people and fought any other nation, and given the last drop of blood I had. I have said that, and I say it yet.

Question. Did you not tell of your love to the old Government of 1861, and your love to the Constitution?

Answer. I cannot tell.

Question. Those were your sentiments?

Answer. They were, and are yet.

Question. Did you not talk about negro suffrage?

Answer. Well, I do not know whether we did or not.

Question. You were opposed to negro suffrage then, were you not?

Answer. No, sir. My views in regard to this war are probably different from those of most men. I looked upon it as a war upon slavery when it broke out; I so considered it. I said to forty-five colored fellows on my plantation that it was a war upon slavery, and that I was going into the army; that if they would go with me, if we got whipped they would be free anyhow, and that if we succeeded and slavery was perpetuated, if they would act faithfully with me to the end of the war, I would set them free. Eighteen months before the war closed I was satisfied that we were going to be defeated, and I gave these forty-five men, or forty-four men of them, their free papers, for fear I might be killed.

Question. When was that?

Answer. In 1863. When the war closed I looked upon it as an act of Providence, and felt that we ought to submit to it quietly; and I have never done or said anything that was contrary to the laws that have been enacted.


Question. Did you not talk with Woodward about the fact that they were then voting in Tennessee upon the question of enfranchising the whites, removing all disabilities from them?

Answer. I do not think we talked upon that subject; I do not think we had time.

Question. That is the reason you did not talk upon it?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Was not that on your mind at the time?

Answer. Of course; that and everything else connected with the political condition of the country was on my mind at that time.

Question. That was the great question in Tennessee, whether the whites should be enfranchised again?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. You were trying to get the negroes to vote for that; I do not mean you individually, but your people..

Answer. I think the object was to get them to vote for it.

Question. You carried it?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Did you not say to Mr. Woodward that if the negroes would vote in favor of enfranchising the white people you would not be in favor of disfranchising them?

Answer. I advocated the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments before the people, and told our people that they were inevitable and should be accepted.

Question. Do you not remember saying to Mr. Woodward that if the negroes would vote to enfranchise the whites you would not be in favor of disfranchising them?

21) Answer. I do not remember saying it, though I might have said it.

Question. Was not that your feeling?

Answer. Of course it was.

Question. Did you talk with Mr. Woodward about General Grant?

Answer. I think something was said about General Grant, in regard to some abuse heaped upon him at that time, in reference to his taking pianos from Holly Springs. I said I did not believe it; that I had talked with parties in Holly Springs who denied it; that I did not believe General Grant, or any other officer occupying his high position, would be guilty of such conduct.

Question. Did you ever investigate that matter?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Did you say so to Mr. Woodward?

Answer. I did not investigate it thoroughly, but I asked parties who lived in Holly Springs in regard to it, and they contradicted it?

Question. You inquired into it?

Answer. Yes, sir; afterward.

Question. Before you had this conversation with Woodward?

Answer. I reckon it was before that, because I had heard the charges made and did not believe them, and could no- believe them.

Question. When this letter of Woodward was published, did it not create some talk and excitement among your friends there?

Answer. Yes, sir; a great deal; not among my friends particularly, but among those of both parties.

Question. I notice that it was published in the Cincinnati Commercial of the 1st of September, 1868.

Answer, Yes, sir.

Question. That was pending the presidential election?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. The excitement was running pretty high there?

Answer. Probably not so high there as in other parts of the State.

Question. You had a State question in addition?

Answer. Yes, sir. Question. It created some talk, did it not, that a man in your position should make such statements, and you conferred with your friends about it?

Answer. Very little.

Question. Did they not come to you and talk about it?

Answer. No, sir; very few people talked with me about it.

Question. How many?

Answer. I cannot tell; I do not think I have had a half a dozen men come to me and talk upon that subject exclusively.

Question. I mean this subject and others.

Answer. I was consulting about political affairs as well as other affairs.

Question. And incidentally they would mention this letter?

Answer. I do not recollect of but very few men who mentioned that letter to me.

Question. You say this letter of explanation is the only one you have made with regard to the charges made against you in newspapers or speeches, making charges against you?

Answer. No, sir; I did not say that.

Question. I understood you so. Answer. No, sir.

Question. How many have you written in answer to newspaper articles?

Answer. I cannot tell you. I think I wrote one other letter, probably two, making some explanations in regard to Fort Pillow.

Question. You said awhile ago that you did not have twenty words talk with Mr. Woodward; did you mean to be understood in that way?

Answer. I should have said twenty minutes, I reckon; because I sat down on my doorsteps, as I said awhile ago, and sat there a little while, a part of the time vomiting; then I got up and walked to my house, which was about eighty or ninety yards from my office, and he walked with me to the gate. I said that I was too unwell to talk with him, and went up stairs and went to bed. He said he would come there again that evening, but I never saw him.

Question. When you wrote this letter of the 3d of September you were in good health?

Answer. No, sir; I have not been in good health since the war; but I was in my usual health.

Question. You were not then suffering from any headache or pain?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Did you say that you believed the Ku-Klux was organized only in Middle Tennessee?

Answer. No, sir; I did not say that, I do not think.

[ Edited Fri Oct 13 2017, 01:33PM ]
Back to top
gpthelastrebel
Sat Sep 23 2017, 02:24PM

Registered Member #1
Joined: Tue Jul 17 2007, 02:46PM
Posts: 3698
Part 5 page 22 - 27

22) Question Where did you believe it was organized?

Answer. I have no idea where it was organized.

Question. I want your opinion about it, not your knowledge, your impression about it?

Answer. I remarked that I thought it originated in Middle Tennessee.

Question. Where did this thing spring up?

Answer. I do not know. Question. What is your impression, what place?

Answer. I have no knowledge.

Question. Do you say in Middle Tennessee?

Answer. I think in Middle Tennessee. I have no idea what place, or who started it.

Question. Have you never heard?

Answer. It has been said I organized it; that I started it.

Question. Is that so?

Answer. No, sir; it is not.

Question. You do not know who did?

Answer. I do not know who did it. It was afterward said that it was gotten up at Johnson's Island when there were prisoners there.

Question. Among the rebel prisoners?

Answer. Yes, sir; but nobody knows, I reckon, where it was started. I never heard a man say that he knew who started it; I do not know myself.

Question. You were then living in Memphis?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Did you not know that an organization of it was talked of there and exposed in the papers?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Did you never hear of that?

Answer. Yes, sir; I heard of it, but it was not an organization.

Question. What was it?

Answer. I understood it was a lot of twelve and fourteen-year old boys who had got it up.

Question. Something like the Ku-Klux organization?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. From whom did you understand that?

Answer. From rumor; I was not in Memphis at the time that was talked of, but it was always my impression that it was a farce; that it was a lot of boys.

Question. They seemed to have a constitution?

Answer. I do not think they had; I never heard they did. I knew a part of the boys; they were twelve or fourteen or fifteen years old; that is, I knew boys who, it was said, were caught there that night.

Question. Did not the Ku-Klux admit young boys?

Answer. I think not.

Question. How old did they require them to be?

Answer. I do not know; but I do not think they admitted boys, though.

Question. What is your knowledge on that subject?

Answer. My information was that they admitted no man who was not a gentleman, and a man who could be relied upon to act discreetly; not men who were in the habit of drinking, boisterous men, or men liable to commit error or wrong, or anything of that sort; that is what I understood.

Question. Into what States did you understand that the organization extended?

Answer. It was reported that there was an organization in Mississippi; that was the rumor.

Question. In what other State?

Answer. And it was reported that there was one in North Alabama.

Question. Where else?

Answer. Probably it was reported that it was in North Carolina, about where this man Saunders died, about Asheville; those are the only States I recollect of.

Question. Did you not hear of it in Louisiana?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Did you hear of the Knights of the White Camelia there?

Answer. Yes; they were reported to be there.

Question. Were you ever a member of that order?

Answer. I was.

Question. You were a member of the Knights of the White Camelia?

Answer. No, sir; I never was a member of the Knights of the White Camelia.

Question. What order was it that you were a member of?

Answer. An order they called the Pale Faces; a different order from that.

Question. Where was that organized?

Answer. I do not know.

Question. Where did you join it?

Answer. In Memphis.

23) Question. When?

Answer. It was in 1867; but that was a different order from this.

Question. What was that?

Answer. Something like Odd Fellowship, Masonry, orders of that sort, for the purpose of protecting the weak and defenseless, &c.

Question. Something on the same principles that the Ku-Klux afterward had?

Answer. Something similar to that, only it was a different order, for the purpose of preventing crime, and for the purpose of protecting each other in case of sickness, or, anything-preventing disorder.

Question. By whom?

Answer. By anybody.

Question. From whom did you apprehend disorder?

Answer. We apprehended disorder at that time from nearly everybody. There was a great deal of disorder from all political parties.

Question. Particularly from what class

Answer. From both classes. There was the greatest bitterness there betwixt the soldiers of the two armies-not particularly so in my neighborhood, but in East Tennessee, and in portions of Middle Tennessee. About Memphis we had no trouble at all; we never had any trouble at Memphis.

Question. You had this order there?

Answer. It existed there.

Question. Did it extend over Tennessee?

Answer. I do not know whether it did or not.

Question. Had that order any constitution?

Answer. I never saw any, if it had one.

Question. Had it any sort of ritual?

Answer. No, sir; I think not. Question. Had it any limitations as to membership?

Answer. I cannot tell you that, for I was never in the organization but once or twice. I went there more to see what was going on than anything else, and paid very little attention to it.

Question. Did they admit boys into the order

Answer. I do not think they did.

Question. Did they admit negroes?

Answer. I do not think they did.

Question. Did they admit women?

Answer. I do not think they did.

Question. It was an organization of white men?

Answer. I think so.

Question. And from that they called it Pale Faces?

Answer. Yes, sir. Question. Had it any signs?

Answer. I do not recollect any of them.

Question. They had them?

Answer. I suppose they had.

Question. Did it have any pass-words?

Answer. I do not recollect whether it did or not; I never was in it but twice.

Question. Did it have any grips?

Answer. I do not think so.

Question. Did you take any oath?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Was it a secret organization?

Answer. I suppose it was. I was invited around there once or twice, and they sup. posed I was all right and would not divulge anything.

Question. Who invited you?

Answer. Some of the members.

Question. Who were they?

Answer. I cannot tell you now.

Question. Why not?

Answer. I do not recollect.

Question. How many were there?

Answer. I do not think there were more than one or two.

Question. How many were present?

Answer. I do not recollect.

Question. About how many?

Answer. I have no idea.

Question. Were there forty or fifty?

Answer. I do not think there were more than a dozen when I was these.

Question. Where did they meet?

Answer. In a hall or a room

24) Question. In Memphis?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Where in Memphis?

Answer. I believe it was on Second street. Question. In whose building?

Answer. Well, I do not recollect that now. Question. Do you remember who were present?

Answer. No, sir. Question. You do not remember any of them?

Answer. I do not remember.

Question. You do not remember the name of one of them?

Answer. No, sir; I might, if I had time to think the matter over, recollect these things. In the last two years I have been very busily engaged. I came out of the war pretty well wrecked. I was in the army four years; was on the front all the time, and was in the saddle more than half my time; and when I came out of the army I was completely used up-shot all to pieces, crippled up, and found myself and my family entirely dependent. I went into the army worth a million and a half of dollars, and came out a beggar. I have given all my time since then, so far as was in my power, to try to recover.

Question. About this order of Pale Faces; you understand that to be a secret order?

Answer. Yes, sir; just as Odd Fellowship and Masonry would be, and I presume the Loyal League was.

Question. So when I asked you if you belonged to the Knights of the White Camelia, and you said you did, you at first thought I was referring to the Pale Faces?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. The principles were about the same? Answer. I do not know what the White Camelia's were. Question. It professed to be an order for the protection of white people against disorders, particularly by the blacks.

Answer. The great fear of the people at that time was that they would be dragged into a revolution something like San Domingo.

Question. A war of races?

Answer. Yes; a war of races. The object of the people was not to disobey the laws of the country, but to see them enforced and to fortify themselves against anything of the sort. That was my understanding of all these things.

Question. Of all these orders, Ku-Klux, Pale Faces, Knights of the White Camelia?

Answer. No, sir; I do not know anything about the Knights of the White Camelia; I never heard of them before. The object of the organization was to prevent a general slaughter of women and children, and to prepare themselves to resist anything of the kind.

Question. Was not that same apprehension broadcast all over the South, so far as your being in fear of a negro insurrection or a war of races?

Answer. I think it was. During the war our servants remained with us, and behaved very well. When the war was over our servants began to mix with the republicans, and they broke off from the Southern people, and were sulky and insolent. There was a general fear throughout the country that there would be an uprising, and that with those men who had stopped among us —those men who came in among us, came there and went to our kitchens and consulted with the negroes-many of them never came about the houses at all. It was different with me. I carried seven Federal officers home with me, after the war was over, and I rented them plantations, some of my own lands, and some of my neighbors'. In 1866 those seven officers made a crop in my neighborhood. I assisted those men, and found great relief from them. They got me my hands, and they kept my hands engaged for me.

Question. The negroes had confidence in them because they were Northern men?

Answer. Yes, sir. I persuaded our people to pursue the same course. These men were all young men, and they made my house their home on Sundays.

Question. It seems you had more confidence in Northern men than others down there had?,

Answer. I think I had.

Question. You say there was a general feeling all through the South, at least there was in Tennessee, of apprehension of general trouble with the negroes, out of which grew this organization?

Answer. That was the cause of it.

Question. Is it not your impression that this organization and that same feeling extended generally through the South?

Answer. I cannot say; I never heard of that.

Question. What is your impression?

Answer. My impression is that it did not.

Question. Would not the same cause produce like effects?..

Answer. I think it would; but I do not think they existed throughout the South

25) Question. Simply because you have not heard of them?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Did you hear of them in Arkansas?

Answer. I cannot say I did. They had a terrible difficulty in Arkansas there; the militia was brought out and hung a great many men.

Question. I am not speaking of those troubles. But did you not hear of the existence of Ku-Klux, or something of that kind, in Arkansas?

Answer. It was reported that they were on White River; that is the only place I heard of them.

Question. On the Upper White River? Answer. In Arkansas. Question. Was it on the Upper White River?

Answer. I do not know whether it was the Upper or the Lower White River; I think it was about the middle; I think about Circe, Arkansas.

Question. Did you not hear of troubles in Louisiana-massacres, bloodshed there, conflicts of the races?

Answer. We frequently heard of them in different places.

Question. Was there nothing said about Ku-Klux, or Knights of the White Camelia, in connection with that?

Answer. I never heard anything of it.

Question. Your business led you East?

Answer. Immediately after the war, in 1866, I planted.

Question. I am speaking more particularly of 1868.

Answer. In 1867 I was in the insurance business, as president of a fire-insurance company, and I organized a life-insurance company. My business was principally in Tennessee and Alabama, but my health became so bad that I could not travel, and remained at home. In 1868 I went into this railroad business, and since the fall of 1868 my whole time has been occupied in that.

Question. And your railroad business leads you East?

Answer. Southeast, in the direction of Selma, Alabama.

Question. So that you would not be so likely to hear of what took place west of the Mississippi?

Answer. Of course I would have heard; I suppose it is published in the papers.

Question. Have you heard of anything of this sort in Texas?

Answer. I do not think I have; I have heard of some difficulties there among the republicans, radicals as we call them, and scalawags, what we called renegades, Southern men who joined the federal army; they had difficulty all over the country.

Question. Do you call everybody who was in the rebel army and afterwards joined the republicans-do you call them scalawags?

Answer. Yes, sir, generally.

Question.. And the people from the North who go down there are called carpet-baggers?

Answer. They are distinguished in that way; they are not all called carpet-baggers.

Question. Why not?

Answer. There is a difference betwixt them. Some men go down there and go to planting, and do not have anything to do with politics; behave themselves, and do not mix with the negroes more than white people. They are looked upon as a different class of people.

Question. They are not called carpet-baggers.

Answer. I do not know that they are called anything except Southern citizens. I know some men who stand as fair in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama as anybody we have there.

Question. Men who go there, spend money, attend to business, and keep out of politics.

Answer. I suppose they vote; but then they are not running all over the country holding Loyal Leagues and negro meetings.

Question. Making stump speeches?

Answer. Yes, sir; but they are quiet people, attending to their business as most other people do.

Question. What do you call Southern gentlemen who go about the country making democratic speeches, organizing the democratic party, and getting it into line?

Answer. They are called democrats, I reckon.

By the CHAIRMAN: Question. Suppose one of that class of whom you have been speaking who has gone down there and attended to planting, but has been quiet politically, although he is a republican, suppose he should take the stump and go to making political speeches, would that change the current of opinion against him?

Answer. Very much. I do not mean if he was a gentleman, and took the stump and made a canvass like other gentlemen did; he would not be looked upon just as those who go around with the negroes, and board and sleep with the negroes.

26) Question. Suppose he asserts publicly on the stump the political opinions he entertains, in a proper manner, would he be visited with any reprobation or ostracism for taking that position?

Answer. I think not; I never heard of one that was. Question. Take General Warner, of Alabama; I understand that he went down there and went to planting.

Answer. I do not know him; I never saw him but once in my life; he was introduced to me in Montgomery. I would suppose that if General Warner was to behave himself and act as I have said, I am satisfied he would be treated as I have indicated.

By Mr. STEVENSON: Question. Now to go back to this talk with Mr. Woodward; did you not tell him that you believed there were forty thousand Ku-Klux in Tennessee?

Answer. I did not, most emphatically; I told him no such thing, because I did not know how many there were.

Question. Did you not tell him that it was reported and that you believed there were forty thousand of them in Tennessee?

Answer. I told him it was reported so.

Question. And did you not tell him that you believed so?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Did you not believe it?

Answer. I did not, for I had no more idea than you had how many there were there.

Question. Did you tell him that it was reported that there were forty thousand in Tennessee, and you believed it, and that they were stronger in other Southern States?

Answer. I did not. I told him it was reported-I may probably have said that to him-that there were forty thousand in Tennessee. It was reported so, and your
papers stated it.

Question. And you thought it was false? Answer. No; I did not say I thought so.

Question. Did you think so?

Answer. I did not know; I did not form any opinion about it, because I had no way of forming an opinion; I had no accurate knowledge about the fact.

Question. Before you wrote this letter of yours did you ascertain that fact?

Answer. No, sir, I did not.

Question. Did you change your belief?

Answer. No, sir; I did not; that communication did not change me at all.

Question. Between the time you talked to Mr. Woodward and the time you wrote this letter you did not change your belief?

Answer. No, sir; so far as numbers, position, conduct, and condition of the country was concerned, I made no change, because it was only a few days, and I had no opportunity to do so. I have a copy of a letter here, one of hundreds that I wrote. When I started away, my secretary, who was then the secretary of my company, brought it to me, with his affidavit that it was a true copy. I wrote a great many letters; my right shoulder was shot all to pieces and I write very badly, and he does all the copying. I have that letter with me; it was written in 1868, and the committee can have the use of it if they wish. By the CHAIRMAN:

Question. Do you desire to have it incorporated into your testimony? Answer. I certainly do, as showing my feelings at that time. The affidavit and letter are as follows: "STATE OF TENNESSEE, City of Memphis: "Before me, J. P. Boughner, a notary public for Shelby County, this day personally appeared Walter A. Goodman, to me well known, who being first duly sworn deposeth and says: On the 28th of August, 1868, General N. B. Forrest wrote a letter to J. T. Brown in reply to a letter received from him. At General Forrest's request I made a copy of his letter and now file that copy as a part of this affidavit. To identify the copy I have marked it "Exhibit A" and have written my name upon it. The copy hereto attached is a literal copy of the original letter, which was mailed on the day of its date. During the greater part of the year 1868 and a part of 1869, I occupied the same office with General Forrest and was on intimate terms with him. During that time I saw many letters received and written by him, and heard many conversations held by him with different persons, in regard to matters of public and political interest, and on all occasions he uniformly opposed and discountenanced all acts of violence or disorder, and counseled moderation, quiet and obedience to the laws.' W. A. GOODMAN.: Sworn and subscribed to before me this 17th day of June, 1871. [SEAL.] "J. P. BOUGHNER,' "Notary Public."

27) "MEMPHIS, August 28, 1868. "DEAR Sin: Your favor of the 26th instant has been received. While I sympathize with your desire to bring those who were guilty of murdering your brother to justice, and would willingly do anything in my power to aid you in this, I cannot consent to become a party, either directly or indirectly, to any act of violence, or to the infringement of any law. On the contrary, all my efforts have been, and shall be, exerted to preserve peace and order, and to maintain the law as far as possible. "' It is especially incumbent upon all good men at this time to keep the peace. Every act of violence, no matter by whom or for what cause committed, works an injury not only to the persons engaged it, but to the community in which it occurs, and through it to the whole South. Our enemies gladly seize upon such acts as the pretexts for further oppressions, and hence it becomes, more than ever before, the duty of every man to refrain from them, no matter how great the provocation he may have received. I beg, and insist therefore, that you abandon the purpose you indicate, and hope that no one will be so unwise as to aid you in carrying it out. "You will excuse me, I hope, for saying that it was very imprudent to send your letter by mail. If it had fallen into the hands of others it might, without some explanations, have caused some trouble to both of us. " Hoping that you may receive what I have said in the same spirit in which it is written, I am, your obedient servant, "N. B. FORREST. "J. T. BROWN, Esq., Humboldt, Tenlnessee. "Original of above mailed August 29, 1868. C W. A. GOODMAN. " Exhibit A to affidavit of W. A. Goodman."

By the CHAIRMAN: Question. What was the proposition made in his letter?

Answer. His brother had been killed by some Union men, and he wanted to try and get revenge, and he wrote to me to assist him.

Question. Did he propose to do it by organizing a party for that purpose? Answer. I do not know that he did. He was an old soldier, and his brother had been murdered, and he wrote to me.

Question. Have you the letter in answer to which this letter of yours was written?

Answer. No, sir, I burned his letter.

By Mr. COBURN: Question. You have said that you were at that time receiving from fifty to a hundred letters a day relating to matters in the South. Have you any of those letters now?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Who was your secretary at that time?

Answer. A young man by the name of Lindsay.

Question. What is his given name?

Answer. I am not able to tell you now.

Question. Is he in Memphis?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Where is he?

Answer. I do not know where he is. He was a telegraph operator. I have not seen him in eighteen months; perhaps I can ascertain his name.

Question. You say you suppressed the Ku-Klan.Klan. How did you do it? By writing letters?

Answer. I wrote a great many letters to people, and counseled them to abstain from all violence, and to be quiet and behave themselves, and let these things take their course.

Question. Did you get any answers to your letters?

Answer. To some of them I did. Question. What did you do with them?

Answer. Perhaps I have some of those; but most of the other letters I burned up, for I did not want to get them into trouble; I supposed they were excited at the tune; there was a great deal of excitement in 1866 and 1867, immediately after the war.

By the CHAIRMAN: Question. Were all of these people personal acquaintances who wrote to you? Answer. A great many of them I never saw. Question. How came they to write to you?

Answer. I do not know; I suppose they thought I was a man who would do to counsel with.

[ Edited Fri Oct 13 2017, 01:39PM ]
Back to top
gpthelastrebel
Fri Sep 29 2017, 04:00PM

Registered Member #1
Joined: Tue Jul 17 2007, 02:46PM
Posts: 3698
pages 28 - 31

28) By Mr. VAN TRUMP: Question. They of course knew your history, as having been a prominent man in the confederate army?

Answer. Yes, sir; I was rather a prominent man in the confederate army; I probably fought more battles than any other man in it; I was before the people probably more than any other man that was in it.

By Mr. STEVENSON: Question. Look at this [handing witness a printed document] and say if it is a copy of the prescript that you received.

Answer. [After looking at the document.] I cannot say to you whether it is or not.

Question. Is it like it in general terms?

Answer. It looks something like it.

Question. To the best of your belief is that or not a copy of the prescript you received?

Answer. It looks very much like it; I would not say from memory that it is a true copy of it.

Question. This is proved to have come from Tennessee, and purports to be a prescript of a secret order there; and to the best of your belief this is a copy of the one you received?

Answer. I see there are some things in it, while I cannot say it is verbatim; it looks a great deal like it. I have not seen one of them since 1868.

Question. If you want to examine it further you can do so.

Answer. I do not think that is necessary; I would not be able to say positively that it is or is not.

Question. It looks like it?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Do you think this differs from the other in any respect?

Answer. I think there are several things if I could recollect them; but I do not know that I can explain them now.

Question. If you see any important difference you can state it.

Answer. [After examining the document again.] This is not what I saw.

Question. It has a general resemblance to it?

Answer. Something similar, but this is not what I saw.

Question. You think you saw something additional to this?

Answer. Something different; I do not know that it was additional, because I do not think I ever saw this before.

Question. Did you ever see anything like it?

Answer. It was gotten up something on this plan, but I do not think it was this; I could not say this was the same.

Question. Something on this general plan?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Were the same terms used?

Answer. No, sir, I do not think they were.

Question. None of them?

Answer. There may have been some of them used; but I do not think the other used all these terms.

Question. What were the terms used in the other differing from those used in this?

Answer. As I said to you to-day, I could not tell; it was two or three years ago; I have been very busily engaged; it was a matter that gave me but very little thought at the time, and of course I did not charge my memory with it, for I was engaged in other matters.

Question. Do you think you would know the prescript now if you saw it?

Answer. I doubt it; I doubt whether I would know it if I should see it.

Mr. STEVENSON. I ask that this document be attached to the testimony of this witness. It will be found in Miscellaneous Document No. 53, second session Forty-first Congress, House of Representatives; being one of the papers in the contested election case of Sheafe vs. Tillman, from the fourth congressional district of Tennessee. (See page 35 of this testimony.).

By Mr. COBURN: Question. You have said something about a war of races being apprehended. Had you any more reason to apprehend a war of races after the rebellion was over than during the rebellion?

Answer. A great deal more.

Question. Why was that?

Answer. For the reason that during the war the negroes remained at home working and were quiet, and were not organized. After the war, they left their homes, traveled all over the country, killed all the stock there was in the country to eat, were holding these night meetings, were carrying arms, and were making threats.

29) Question. Is not the negro naturally submissive and quiet? Answer. Generally so. Question. Were they suffering from the hands of the white men as many wrongs after the war as before and during the war?

Answer. I think more; I do not think they were suffering any during the war.

Question. What wrongs?

Answer. They were dissatisfied and disposed to fight and be abusive. They would kill stock, and when arrested large crowds of them would gather around the magistrates' offices, and threaten to take them away, and they did in several instances; and they had fights.

Question. You say there was a general apprehension throughout the whole country that there would be a war of races?

Answer. I think so; there was great fear.

Question. What class of men organized to prevent this war of races; were they rowdies and rough men?

Answer. No, sir; worthy men who belonged to the southern army; the others were not to be trusted; they would not fight when the war was on them, and of course they would not do anything when it was over.

Question. Do you think that had any effect throughout the South to prevent a war of races?

Answer. I think the organizing of these men, and showing a disposition that we were prepared to resist it, prevented it.

Question. You think the negroes understood that to be the fact, that there was an organization throughout the South of that kind?

Answer. I think so.

Question. And hence they behaved themselves better?

Answer. I think so; I know one man in Maury County told me that he had lost nearly everything that he had; that the pike that passed his house used to be lined from dark till daylight with negroes traveling forward; that these men traveled up the road one night, about twenty of them, in disguise; that it had been a month since those men had passed up the road, and he had not seen a negro there at.night since then.

Question. Were there no lawless white men who went around robbing?

Answer. I think so, and on the negroes' credit, too.

Question. By what means did these "Pale Faces" expect to prevent these disorders

Answer. By organizing themselves and holding themselves in readiness to resist anything of that sort that did occur.

Question. By what means?

Answer. Of course they had but one way to resist; they did not expect any assistance from the government of the State of Tennessee.

Question. Prevent it by punishing the offenders?

Answer. And defending themselves.

Question. Suppose an outrage was committed and they caught the offender, what would they do?

Answer. There was more or less mob law about that time through the Southern States.

Question. The object was to resist outlawry and punish offenders?

Answer. Yes, sir; I do not think the people intended to go and violate or wrong any one; but it was to punish those men who were guilty, and who the law would not touch; and to defend themselves in case of an attack.

Question: What reason have you to believe that they have disbanded?

Answer. From the fact that I do not hear anything of them, and it was generally understood that they were to be disbanded; it was generally understood throughout the country I have been in that they have disbanded, that there was no organization, and nothing in that line, except amongst lawless men-men who were trying to do something they ought not to do, to violate the law.

By the CHAIRMAN: Question. You desired time to consider whether you would give us the names of those persons whose names were asked of you?.

Answer. I cannot give you the names of those people; I do not recollect them.;

Question. You gave the name of one man who was dead; another who was also dead you did not give the name of?

Answer. Two of these men have gone out of the country; they are not in the country now.

Question: Who are they?

Answer. One was named Jones.

Question. What was his first name? Answer. He has gone to Brazil, and has been there for two or three years.

Question. What was the name of the other?

Answer. I am trying to think who he was; I cannot call his name to mind now(?).

30) Question. Are those all the names you wish to give or can give?

Answer. I might give you more names if I had time to think about the thing. Of course I have not had time to think this thing over since we spoke about it a while ago, for I have been interrogated all the time busily.

Mr. STEVENSON. I should like to have it understood that this witness will give us these names as soon as he can remember them. If he cannot remember them in time to appear before the committee and give them, then that he will send in writing to the chairman a list of such names as he may hereafter remember.

The CHAIRMAN. That will be very desirable.

The WITNESS. I am disposed to do all I can to try and fetch these troubles to an end. I went into the army as a private, and fought my way up to the rank of lieutenant general. I tried to do my duty as a soldier, and since I have been out of the war I have tried to do my duty as a citizen. I have done more probably than any other man in the South to suppress these difficulties and keep them down. While I have been vilified and abused in the papers, and accused of things I never did while in the army and since, I have no desire to hide anything from you at all. I want this matter settled; I want our country quiet once more; and I want to see our people united and working together harmoniously.

By the Chairman: Question. So far as this secret organization is concerned, the purpose of this committee is not merely to ascertain who are members of it for the purpose of prosecuting them for crime, but to ascertain whether it continues to exist, and who are responsible for the present commission of crimes of this character, wherever they occur in the Southern States.

Answer. I am satisfied, from my knowledge of the affair, that no such organization does exist; that it was broken up in [1868, and never has existed since that time as an organization.

Question. Do you mean that to apply to all the late insurrectionary States? Answer. I mean that to apply to this organization of the Ku-Klux Klan.

Question. In Tennessee?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. And Alabama and Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina?

Answer. So far as I know; that was the understanding, that it was to be broken up wherever it existed, and to be no longer countenanced.

Question. Can you say that other men who were in the organization, and who felt differently from you, have not kept it alive for political purposes?

Answer. I do not think it has been done as an organization; I think all this that has been done in the course of eighteen months has been done by parties who are not responsible to anybody.

Question. Were those who were in the organization, which you say you believe has been disbanded, principally men who had been soldiers in the confederate army?

Answer. I think they were. Question. Almost entirely?

Answer. Yes, sir.

By Mr. STEVENSON: Question. You say they were men of character and position?

Answer. Well, they were men who it was thought would behave themselves, and act friendly, and do discreetly.

Question. Not rash, wild men?

Answer. No, sir. The object of the organization was to keep out everything of that sort, and to prevent difficulty as far as it could.

Question. So far as you know, it was composed of the best class of southern citizens?

Answer. I do not know whether you might term them the best class or not.

Question. Let us have your understanding of it; were they men of substance and property?

Answer. My understanding is that those men who were in the organization were young men mostly; men who had been in the southern army, and men who could be relied upon in case of a difficulty-of an attack from the negroes-who could be relied upon to defend the women and children of the country.

Question. Were they men of sufficient substance and means to go about from one place to another?

Answer. Well, they were in the habit, about the close of the war, of going almost everywhere and anywhere without much assistance. We traveled about very freely sometimes during the war; this was immediately after the war.

Question. Let me understand; suppose that, when the organization was in full working order, a conflict should have occurred, for instance, at Memphis, between the whites and blacks. The blacks outnumbered you there, did they not?:

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. And in all that river valley?

31) Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Suppose a conflict had occurred there, was the organization composed of such men that they could have come from other parts to assist the whites in that region?

Answer. In a case like that they would have come, from the fact that they would have gathered up everything available in the way of transportation.

Question. From where would they have come?

Answer. From the country wherever they heard of it. Question. As many as were needed?

Answer. Yes, sir. I will mention one case that occurred in 1868. At Crawfordsville, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, the citizens and negroes had a difficulty, and the negroes threatened to burn the town. It was telegraphed up to West Point, forty miles above there, and to Columbus also. I was then on my way to Memphis. When I got to the Mobile road I found these men had got all the trains they could and started down, and I went with them. The negroes were about eight hundred strong, and were out at the edge of the town; the people of the town had fortified themselves; the negroes had burned one house. When I got there I got the white people together, organized them, and made speeches to them. I told them to be quiet, and we would see if this could be settled. I then got on a horse and rode aver to the negroes and made a speech to them. The negroes dispersed and went home, and nothing was done; there was nobody hurt, nobody molested. But they were just on the point where it was liable that fifty or five hundred men would be killed. Those negroes had fallen out with a young man who was going down the road; his horse had got scared when they came along, had kicked out a little, and run against their trumpeter and knocked him down. They followed him into town to beat him, and then they gathered together. I am satisfied I prevented bloodshed there by getting those men together and talking to them, and by talking to the negroes and getting them to go home.

Question. What do you suppose would have happened if you had not taken the course you did?

Answer. There would have been a general fight.

Question. Suppose the negroes had succeeded and whipped the whites? Answer. The whites would have called in more help. You would have gone I reckon, if you had been there. I do not suppose there is a white man that would not take sides against the blacks, and with his own race.

Question. Men at a great distance would not know which side was to blame, would they? Answer. But in the case of a fight like that

By Mr. VAN TRUMPr: Question. In the event of a war of races down there, do you not think the excitement would reach North?

Answer. I think it would. I think we would find a great many people up here who would go down there and help us if we had the worst of it.

By Mr. STEVENSON: Question. Might they not stop to inquire who was right and who was wrong?

Answer. I think they might. Question. Those people did not, in that case? Answer. They had not done anything we were going there to protect the people. They did not fire a gun.

Question. Had they organized?

Answer. Both had organized; the negroes had organized, and the white people had organized. They went there with their arms, but they went there after these people at Crawfordsville had telegraphed that they were about to be attacked by an overwhelming force of armed negroes.

Question. You say you think the people North would join with you in such a war as that

Answer. I did not say that.

Question. Do you or not think that the people of the North would join in it?

Answer. I do not know whether they would or not; but I think their sympathies would be with their own people.

Question. Suppose the whites of the South were getting the worst of it t

Answer. I think if the people of the North have the same feelings that the people of the South have, they would assist them. That is all owing to what is the feeling here; whether they have the same sympathy with the white people, one with another, that they do in the Southern States.

Question. You think they have?

Answer. I have no reason to believe that they have not.

Question. What is your belief as to whether any of these orders extended into the Northern States; those " Pale Faces," or anything of that sort?

[ Edited Fri Oct 13 2017, 01:54PM ]
Back to top
gpthelastrebel
Fri Oct 06 2017, 02:51PM

Registered Member #1
Joined: Tue Jul 17 2007, 02:46PM
Posts: 3698
Page 32 to conclusion

32) Answer. I never knew anything of that sort. I understood you had similar orders here in the North; that is, you had the Grand Army of the Republic and other organizations here similar to that.

Question. Similar to such as you had down there?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. From whom did you understand that?

Answer. From rumor; nothing else.

Question. Did you get any letters from the North in your correspondence?

Answer. I got letters from northern citizens urging me to try and keep things quiet, and let it work itself off.

Question. All seemed to look to you?

Answer. No, sir; not particularly so. I suppose they looked to other men as well as to me.

Question. Did you ever hear of anybody else having such correspondence?

Answer. I understood that a great many of our southern men corresponded with their friends in the North, and that was the advice of the northern people generally, to try and keep this thing down.

Question. I did not understand you to say whether you would send us those names by mail or not.

Answer. I did not say whether I would or not.

By the CHAIRMAN: Question. Did you say you got advice from northern people in 1868 to have the KuKlux society suppressed?

Answer. No, not the Ku-Klux; I do not want to be understood that way. I got letters from persons in the Northern States whom I knew, giving it as their opinion that we should try and restrain everybody there from difficulty and violence, to let this thing blow over, work itself off in that way.

[See page 6.] (Special correspondence, Cincinnati Commercial.) MEMPHIS, TENN., August 28, 1868. To-day I have enjoyed " big talks" enough to have gratified any of the famous Indian chiefs who have been treating with General Sherman for the past two years. First I met General N. B. Forrest, then General Gideon A. Pillow, and Governor Isham G. Harris. My first visit was to General Forrest, whom I found at his office, at 8 o'clock this morning, hard at work, although complaining of an illness contracted at the New York convention. The New Yorkers must be a bad set indeed, for I have not met a single delegate from the Southern States who has not been ill ever since he went there. But to General Forrest. Now that the southern people have elevated him to the position of their great leader and oracle, it may not be amiss to preface my conversation with him with a brief sketch of the gentleman. I cannot better personally describe him than by borrowing the language of one of his biographers. "In person he is six feet one inch and a half in height, with broad shoulders, a full chest, and symmetrical, muscular limbs; erect in carriage, and weighs one hundred and eighty-five pounds; dark-gray eyes, dark hair, mustache, and beard worn upon the chin; a set of regular white teeth, and clearly cut features;" which, altogether, make him rather a handsome man for one forty-seven years of age. Previous to the war —i 1852-he left the business of planter, and came to this city and engaged in the business of "negro-trader," in which traffic he seems to have been quite successful, for, by 1861, he had become the owner of two plantations a few miles below here, in Mississippi, on which he produced about a thousand bales of cotton each year, in the mean time carrying on the negro-trading. In June, 1861, he was authorized by Governor Harris to recruit a regiment of cavalry for the war, which he did, and which was the nucleus around which he gathered the army which he commanded as a lieutenant general at the end of the war. After being seated in his office, I said: "General Forrest, I came especially to learn your views in regard to the condition of your civil and political affairs in the State of Tennessee, and the South generally. I desire them for publication in the Cincinnati Commercial. I do not wish to misinterpret you in the slightest degree, and therefore only ask for such views as you are willing I should publish."' I have not now," he replied, "and never have had, any opinion on any public or political subject which I would object to having published. I mean what I say, honestly and earnestly, and only object to being misrepresented. I dislike to be placed before the country in a false position, especially as I have not sought the reputation which I have gained."

33) I replied: " Sir, I will publish only what you say, and then you cannot possibly be misrepresented. Our people desire to know your feelings toward the General Government, the State government of Tennessee, the radical party, both in and out of the State, and upon the question of negro suffrage."

"Well, sir," said he, " when I surrendered my seven thousand men in 1865, I accepted a parole honestly, and have observed it faithfully up to to-day. I have counseled peace in all the speeches I have made. I have advised my people to submit to the laws of the State, oppressive as they are, and unconstitutional as I believe them to be. I was paroled and not pardoned until the issuance of the last proclamation of general amnesty; and, therefore, did not think it prudent for me to take any active part until the oppression of my people became so great that they could not endure it, and then I would be with them. My friends thought differently, and sent me to New York, and I am glad I went there."

"Then, I suppose, general, that you think the oppression has become so great that your people should not longer bear it."

"No," he answered, " it is growing worse hourly, yet I have said to the people,' Stand fast, let us try to right the wrong by legislation.' A few weeks ago I was called to Nashville to counsel with other gentlemen who had been prominently identified with the cause of the confederacy, and we then offered pledges which we thought would be satisfactory to Mr. Brownlow and his legislature, and we told them that, if they would not call out the militia, we would agree to preserve order and see that the laws were enforced. The legislative committee certainly led me to believe that our proposition would be accepted and no militia organized. Believing this, I came home, and advised all of my people to remain peaceful, and to offer no resistance to any reasonable law. It is true that I never have recognized the present government in Tennessee as having any legal existence, yet I was willing to submit to it for a time, with the hope that the wrongs might be righted peaceably."

"What are your feelings toward the Federal Government, general?"

"I loved the old Government in 1861; I love the old Constitution yet. I think it the best government in the world if administered as it was before the war. I do not hate it; I am opposing now only the radical revolutionists who are trying to destroy it. I believe that party to be composed, as I know it is in Tennessee, of the worst men on God's earth-men who would hesitate at no crime, and who have only one object in view, to enrich themselves."

"In the event of Governor Brownlow's calling out the militia, do you think there will be any resistance offered to their acts?" I asked.

"That will depend upon circumstances. If the militia are simply called out, and do not interfere with or molest any one, I do not think there will be any fight. If, on the contrary, they do what I believe they will do, commit outrages, or even one outrage, upon the people, they and Mr. Brownlow's government will be swept out of existence; not a radical will be left alive. If the militia are called out, we cannot but look upon it as a declaration of war, because Mr. Brownlow has already issued his proclamation directing them to shoot down the Ku-Klux wherever they find them; and he calls all southern men Ku-Klux."

"Why, general, we people up north have regarded the Ku-Klux Klan as an organization which existed only in the frightened imaginations of a few politicians?"

"Well, sir, there is such an organization, not only in Tennessee but all over the South, and its numbers have not been exaggerated."

"What are its numbers, general?"

"In Tennessee there are over forty thousand; in all the Southern States about five hundred and fifty thousand men."

"What is the character of the organization, may I inquire? "

"Yes, sir. It is a protective, political, military organization. I am willing to show any man the constitution of the society. The members are sworn to recognize the Government of the United States. It does not say anything at all about the government of the State of Tennessee. Its objects originally were protection against Loyal Leagues and the Grand Army of the Republic; but after it became general it was found that political matters and interests could best be promoted within it, and it was then made a political organization, giving its support, of course, to the democratic party."

"But is the organization connected throughout the State?"

"Yes; it is. In each voting precinct there is a captain, who, in addition to his other duties, is required to make out a list of names of men in his precinct, giving all the radicals and all the democrats who are positively known, and showing also the doubtfull on both sides and of both. colors. This list of names is forwarded to the grand commander of the State, who is thus enabled to know who are our friends and who are not."

"Can you, or are you at liberty, to give me the name of the commanding officer of this State?"

"No; it would be impolitic."
3B

34) "Then I suppose that there can be no doubt of a conflict if the militia interfere with the people; is that your view?"

"Yes, sir; if they attempt to carry out Governor Brownlow's proclamation, by shooting down Ku-Klux —for he calls all southern men Ku-Klux-if they go to hunting down and shooting these men, there will be war, and a bloodier one than we have ever witnessed. I have told these radicals here what they might expect in such an event. I have no powder to burn killing negroes. I intend to kill the radicals. I have told them this and more. There is not a radical leader in this town but is a marked man; and if a trouble should break out, not one of them would be left alive. I have told them that they were trying to create a disturbance and then slip out and leave the consequences to fall upon the negro; but they can't do it. Their houses are picketed, and when the fight comes not one of them would ever get out of this town alive. We don't intend they shall ever get out of the country. But I want it distinctly understood that I am opposed to any war, and will only fight in self-defense. If the militia attack us, we will resist to the last; and, if necessary, I think I could raise 40,000 men in five days ready for. the field."

"Do you think, general, that the Ku-Klux have been of any benefit to the State? "

"No doubt of it. Since its organization the leagues have quit killing and murdering our people. There were some foolish young men who put masks on their faces and rode over the country frightening negroes; but orders have been issued to stop that, and it has ceased. You may say further that three members of the Ku-Klux have been court-martialed and shot for violations of the orders not to disturb or molest people."

"Are you a member of the Ku-Klux, general? "

"I am not; but am in sympathy and will cooperate with them. I know they are charged with many crimes that they are not guilty of. A case in point is the killing of Bierfield at Franklin, a few days ago. I sent a man up there especially to investigate the case, and report to me, and I have his letter here now, in which he states that they had nothing to do with it as an organization."

"What do you think of negro suffrage?"

"I am opposed to it under any and all circumstances, and in our convention urged our party not to commit themselves at all upon the subject. If the negroes vote to enfranchise us, I do not think I would favor their disfranchisement. We will stand by those who help us. And there I want you to understand distinctly I am not an enemy to the negro. We want him here among us; he is the only laboring class we have; and, more than that, I would sooner trust him than the white scalawag or carpet-bagger. When I entered the army I took forty-seven negroes into the army with me, and forty-five of them were surrendered with me. I said to them If the start:
"This fight is against slavery; if we lose it, you will be made free; if we whip the fight, and you stay with me and be good boys, I will set you free; in either case you will be free." These boys staid with me, drove my teams, and better confederates did not live."

"Do you think the Ku-Klux will try to intimidate the negroes at the election "

"I do not think they will. Why, I made a speech at Brownsville the other day, and while there a lieutenant who served with me came to me and informed me that a band of radicals had been going through the country claiming to be Ku-Klux, and disarming the negroes, and then selling their arms. I told him to have the matter investigated, and, if true, to have the parties arrested."

"What do you think is the effect of the amnesty granted to your people?"

"I believe that the amnesty restored all the rights to the people, full and complete. I do not think the Federal Government has the right to disfranchise any man, but I believe that the legislatures of the States have. The objection I have to the disfranchisement in Tennessee is, that the legislature which enacted the law had no constitutional existence, and the law in itself is a nullity. Still I would respect it until changed by law. But there is a limit beyond which men cannot be driven, and I am ready to die sooner than sacrifice my honor. This thing must have an end, and it is now about time for that end to come."

" What do you think of General Grant?" I asked. "I regard him as a great military commander, a good man, honest and liberal, and if elected will, I hope and believe, execute the laws honestly and faithfully. And by the way, a report has been published in some of the newspapers, stating that while General Grant and lady were at Corinth, in 1862, they took and carried off furniture and other property. I here brand the author as a liar. I was at Corinth only a short time ago, and I personally investigated the whole matter, talked with the people with whom he and his lady lived while there, and they say that their conduct was everything that could have been expected of a gentleman and lady, and deserving the highest praise. I am opposed to General Grant in everything, but I would do him justice."

The foregoing is the principal part of my conversation with the general. I give the conversation, and leave the reader to form his own opinion as to what General Forrest means to do. I think he has been so plain in his talk that it cannot be misunderstood.

35) MEMPHIS, September 3, 1868. DEAR SIR:
I have just read your letter in the Commercial, giving a report of our conversation on Friday last. I do not think you would intentionally misrepresent me, but you have done so, and, I suppose, because you mistook my meaning. The portions of your letter to which I object are corrected in the following paragraphs:

I promise the legislature my personal influence and aid in maintaining order and enforcing the laws. I have never advised the people to resist any law, but to submit to the laws, until they can be corrected by lawful legislation.

I said the militia bill would occasion no trouble, unless they violated the law by carrying out the governor's proclamation, which I believe to be unconstitutional and in violence of law, in shooting men down without trial, as recommended by that proclamation.

I said it was reported, and I believed the report, that there are forty thousand KuKlux in Tennessee; and I believe the organization stronger in other States. I meant to imply, when I said that the Ku-Klux recognize the Federal Government, that they would obey all State laws. They recognize all laws, and will obey them, so I have been informed, in protecting peaceable citizens from oppression from any quarter.

I did not say that any man's house was picketed. I did not mean to convey the idea that I would raise any troops; and, more than that, no man could do it in five days, even if they were organized.

I said that General Grant was at Holly Springs, and not at Corinth; I said the charge against him was false, but did not use the word " liar."

I cannot consent to remain silent in this matter; for, if I did so, under an incorrect impression of my personal views, I might be looked upon as one desiring a conflict, when, in truth, I am so adverse to anything of the kind that I will make any honorable sacrifice to avoid it.

Hoping that I may have this explanation placed before your readers, I remain, very respectfully,
N. B. FORREST.

From this point on there seems to be the laws of the KKK which I believe is not relevant to this post. I will read ahead and for any information that may reflect on Forrest . GP


[ Edited Fri Oct 13 2017, 01:36PM ]
Back to top
 

Jump:     Back to top

Syndicate this thread: rss 0.92 Syndicate this thread: rss 2.0 Syndicate this thread: RDF
Powered by e107 Forum System