A traveller in East Tennessee gives the following graphic pictures of life in that region:
“In Dry Valley lived the Methodist preacher named Dugan, (of Brownlow notoriety,) weighing some two hundred and fifty pounds, that these devils incarnate arrested for his loyalty to the Government, making him walk some ten miles through the hot sun, and riding in his buggy themselves. The poor old man fainted time and again on the journey, but there was no relenting with them. They told him they would sweat the Lincoln fever out of him. They robbed him of all he had, and imprisoned him; but he managed in some way to escape, and is now preaching again at his old stand. What rendered the crime more heinous was the fact that his enemies (some of them) were those with whom he had taken sweet counsel in the house of God, and with whom he had knelt around the altar of prayer. What can be more appropriate to this persecuted class of men than those lines of Captain Grisham, of the 10th East Tennessee cavalry:
They struggled, fell; their life-blood stained
The cruel murderer's hand;
They clasped their country's flag, and cried,
"God and our native land!"
Let angels spread their wings above;
Let flowers forever bloom;
Let bays, green bays, spring forth to mark
The martyr's sacred tomb.'
“At early dawn. we left our kind friend and his family, and rode on towards Athens. It was a lonesome ride, resembling very much some of the bluff roads on the Illinois River. We passed only one house the whole distance, and that was a miserable log house situated in a clump of pines. As we rode past the house, we were astonished at the number of tow-head children at the woodpile—the tallest of whom was not over three feet in height. We commenced counting, two, four, six, eight; and to the question asked the oldest, ‘Are you. all here?' ‘O no,' says he, ‘the two little ones are in the house.' They hurrahed for Old Abe, and we rode on. We travelled this lonesome road a few miles farther, and came at last to the crest of the hill, some five hundred feet, directly overlooking the valley. There it lay at our feet, extending north as far as the eye could reach, and at least three miles in width —dotted with neat farm-houses, and just below us Mouse Creek Station, with its dozen or more neat white cottages, and one large brick mansion. A couplet in that beautiful hymn by Heber, as I surveyed this beautiful valley, ran through my head continually:
'Where every prospect pleases,
And only man is vile.'
“We passed on through this valley, and, night overtaking us nine miles south of Loudon, we called at a fine farm-house, and requested permission to tarry, which was readily granted. To the question, ‘Are you Union or rebel ?' the answer was, ‘Both.' ‘Well,' says I, ‘that is a new state of things, which I do not understand.' This was the house of a widow lady, and her story was a simple statement of facts, which we listened to very attentively. When she had finished her story, she drew one long, deep sigh, and retired. I pitied the poor woman from the bottom of my heart. She said she had two sons in the rebel army, and one in the Union. Her son now at home had fled to the mountains to avoid conscription. Her two daughters now at home, young ladies, eighteen and twenty years of age, were divided, one Union and one rebel. For herself, she had nothing to say —the divisions in her family had made her prematurely gray, (holding up a lock of hair,) and the only wish she had was, that the war might speedily end in some way; and when I asked the usual question, the Union girl stepped into the other room, and returned with a beautiful silk Union flag. If a rebel officer should stay there next week, the rebel girl, no doubt, would bring out just as neat a rebel flag. Such is life in Eastern Tennessee."
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Page updated 05/25/2006.