Partisan activity in East Tennessee, summer 1864

Jonesboro [Tennessee]

June 11th 1864

Dear Mother
This being the first opportunity I have had to write you since I left you in N.C. Will try to give you the news as best I can since my arrival. We reached home safely Tuesday after I left you but learned after our arrival that we were pursued by thirty one bushwhackers from Mount Laurel to Paint Rock finding they couldn’t overtake us which I don’t suppose they were very anxious to do they retraced their steps stopping a Mrs. Garretts and again robbing her which makes the fourth time. Poor old Lady I don’t suppose she has much left. There is desperate state of feeling exists between the Southern + Union parties in E Tenn at this time worse than I ever knew. The Southerns have been stripped of everything while the Union people are living sumptuously and are allowed to have as many fine Horses as they wish. But this state of things will not always exist. The evening I reached home there was a Yankee raid passed through taking with it — all the negroes + horses they could find. Osborne at the time was in Green County dealing death among the Bushwhackers. The raid passed through without paying us a visit. Last Monday week Col Fry came into Greenville with about four hundred men, surprised Arnold and captured twelve or fifteen of his men. I talked with several citizens as I came up and they say that he positively shot several men after they surrendered. Gen Arnold says he saw two shot after they gave up. Sergt Hanshaw with whom Father is acquainted threw down his arms told Fry he was his prisoner he cursed him told him it was too late to surrender and shot him through three times. They then moved down to Cany Branch and remained there until Wednesday morning. Capt. Osborne had heard that Anderson Walker intended to establish a Provost Marshals Office at Newport on that week so as to get the Genl in trap. Osborne left our house Tuesday morning went to Parrottsville and from there to Warrensburg, he advised Dr Rhea + myself to get out for a few days, that he would be back in a few days. So we started came as far as Parrottsville with Osborne. We were coming up here to pay them a visit not dreaming that there was a Yankee force above us, but our course was suddenly changed, when we got within about three hundred yards of Cany Branch some one called us to a halt and before we could answer there was a volley of bullets sent at us. We wheeled our horses, run about three hundred yards, came to a halt and finding we were not followed rode leisurely on to Mrs. Maloys and put up for the night – left next morning about an hour before the Yankees came. It was Genl Wallsen with a guard of 90 men paying his wife a visit and getting all the information he could before he established his office at Newport. He moved down to our house, staid all night, pastured down the meadow, fed about thirty bushels corn, stole nearly a hundred pounds bacon, aside from half a beef we had killed a few days, shot five hogs, tried to kill the sheep but they were too smart for them took the woods. Next morning they mounted and started taking with poor old Mashburn the Peters’ mare + an old rig that Dr Rhea had bought for sister. They then went their way rejoicing. Sister told them take the horses she didn’t care but that she would own horses as long as Union men – Col Fry told in Newport that he intended to have me shot whenever I was captured, said that I fired on his picket at C Branch, also that I had been fighting him for eight months. They left our house in the morning and we went home that evening, you may know from that we were not far off. It is reported Bradford’s Regt is to move down in a few days, if that be true, I will go back home, if it is a mistake and there is not any force going down I will be with you in a few weeks. Wish I had time to write more but the gentleman is waiting to take this to Bristol there being no mail here. Kirk passes through Greenville Tuesday night with a hundred + ten men going on to Knoxville. Osborne left here yesterday morning for Newport. There is no Yankee force this side of Strawbury Plains. This is written in such a hurry I know there are a number of mistakes but I haven’t time to correct them. Dr. Rhea’s family send love to all.

In haste
Yr Afft Son

(signed)J M Smith
P.S. I direct this to Asheville care of Col Pullium think you will be more liable to get it.

confed-3f

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