Incidents at Shelton-Laurel, N.C. 
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January 1863, Warm Springs, N.C.
Brigadier General W. G. M. Davis to Governor Zebulon B. Vance

Warm Springs, N.C., January --, 1863.

 His Excellency ZEBULON B. VANCE,
Governor of the State of North Carolina:

SIR: I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that upon full investigation I am convinced that the late attack on Marshall was made by a band of men numbering about 50 only, who were instigated by desire of plunder, and that there is no treasonable organization of citizens of North Carolina in the mountain region having in view the injury of the Government of the Confederate States or the giving aid to that of the United States. Having an ample force of Confederate soldiers I have informed Colonel McElroy that he can disband his militia, who will be no doubt of more service at home attending to their own domestic affairs, there not being any necessity for keeping them longer in the field. I am pleased to hear that they have been active and zealous in searching for the outlaws, and would no doubt have been very efficient had the trouble been as serious as reported. I have directed all the citizen prisoners to be turned over to the civil authorities of Madison, requesting Colonel McElroy to guard them to such safe jail as they may be committed to. You will be furnished, I suppose, by Colonel McElroy with a list of the prisoners and the evidence against them. They are all implicated in the [burning of the] town of Marshall. I have placed Maj. [W. N.] Garrett, Sixty-fourth North Carolina Volunteers, in charge of a force of about 200 of his regiment, one company of cavalry, and 30 Indians, which force is now on Laurel Creek. Major Garrett has orders to pursue and arrest every man in the mountains, of known bad character, whether engaged in any of the late outrages or not. the will be aided by six companies of cavalry, scouring the mountain regions in Washington, Carter, and Johnson Counties, Tennessee. Col. W. H. Thomas, with 200 whites and Indians of his legion, is operating in Madison, and will go into Harwood. Jackson, and Cherokee Counties, North Carolina, and Clay County, Georgia, with orders to arrest all deserters and recusant conscripts and all tories who have been engaged in unlawful practices on the Tennessee line of the mountains. He will be aided by cavalry and infantry. I have ordered Major Garrett to arrest all deserters he may find and to clear the counties lying adjacent to the mountains of them before he returns to his command. I am satisfied they are leagued with disloyal men frequently and perpetrate many of the crimes which are committed in this part of the State. Believing that it will be of service to your State to get rid of such a population as that inhabiting the Laurel region I have proposed to allow all who are not implicated in any crime to leave the State and to aid them in crossing into Kentucky. I am informed that nearly the whole population are desirous of accepting this offer. They will be driven to do so from necessity, as I learn our troops have consumed all the corn and meat in the settlement. If the people alluded to agree to emigrate I will cause them to be paid for their property used by our troops. Those who are of good character and who have not been guilty of any offense have not been molested by our troops, and will not of course be included among the number who are to be induced to emigrate as mentioned. I propose to give all tories of bad character who may be arrested the option of going to prison (unless they find security for good behavior) or of enlisting in the army. If they enlist they will he sent to Mississippi, from whence they will not find it so easy to desert. I am in hopes the measures adopted will secure peace and security to the families of our soldiers and to the good citizens living in this region of the State. I feel gratified in being able to assist in producing such results, and shall at any future trial be glad to serve your State, which has become endeared to the army by the patriotism exhibited by her children at home and the valor of her soldiers in the field.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Your Excellency's obedient servant,

 W. G. M. DAVIS,

 Brigadier-General, Comman


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