February 28, 1863, Raleigh, N.C.,
Governor Z. B. Vance to Secretary of War James A. Seddon
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA,
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War:
SIR: Some six months since a disturbance occurred in Madison County, North Carolina, near the Tennessee border, by some disloyal persons capturing the little county town and seizing a lot of salt and other plunder. An armed force was promptly sent from Knoxville, under command of General Davis, to suppress the insurrection, which was accomplished before the local militia could get there, though ordered out immediately. But in doing so a degree of cruelty and barbarity was displayed, shocking and outrageous in the extreme, on the part of Lieut. Col. J. A. Keith, Sixty-fourth North Carolina Troops, who seems to have been in command, and to have acted in this respect without orders from his superiors, so far as I can learn. I beg leave to ask you to read the inclosed letter (copy) from A. S. Merrimon, State's attorney for that judicial district, which you will see discloses a scene of horror disgraceful to civilization. I desire you to have proceedings instituted at once against this officer, who, if the half be true, is a disgrace to the service and to North Carolina. You may depend upon the respectability and fairness of Mr. Merrimon, who made an investigation officially by my order. I have also written General Davis.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Z. B. VANCE.
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