February 28, 1865, U.S.
Steamer Hastings, Off Hickman, Ky.,
Lieutenant J. S. Watson to Commander Andrew Bryson
U.S. STEAMER HASTINGS,
Off Hickman, Ky., February 28, 1865.
Commander ANDREW BRYSON,
Commanding Eighth District:
SIR: I respectfully beg leave to report to you a raid made upon this place yesterday in the absence of the gun-boat by a party of guerrillas said to belong to Quantrill's command. They came in about 10 a.m., commenced plundering the stores and dwelling houses, abusing and beating the citizens, women and children included, shooting at them, compelling them to give up the money in their possession; set fire to their buildings, one of which was entirely burnt up; remained in town until 4 p.m., leaving on the appearance of the Hastings coming up the river. They carried with them a large amount of money, supplies, and whisky, the latter articles having been landed recently from transports. I have been informed that whenever the gun-boat is absent there are always from five to thirty rebels in the town. They are enticed here principally by the large amount of goods landed and permitted from Cairo. It has been the custom of persons living in the western part of Tennessee to go to Cairo, purchase goods, have them permitted to some point in Kentucky, usually Hickman and Watson's Landing--the former only five miles, the latter half a mile from the State line--and carry them to Tennessee. These people informed me that the question is never asked at Cairo whether they live in Kentucky or Tennessee. I am also informed that nearly all the goods landed at this point are sold in Tennessee, which, by the military regulations, is prohibited, unless received in exchange for cotton. The trade and travel to this point is very extensive. One boat landed $25,000 worth of goods, nearly all of which went to Tennessee, permitted for Kentucky from Cairo.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. S. WATSON,
Acting Volunteer Lieutenant, Commanding.
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