Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January 24, 1863 (Saturday): Violence in Alabama

General Grenville Dodge

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CORINTH, Corinth, Miss., January 24, 1863. Captain R. M. SAWYER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Memphis:
    CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit a statement of a few of the outrages committed upon citizens of Alabama by the Confederate troops. While all their leaders, from the President down, are boasting of their carrying on this war in accordance with the laws that govern nations in such cases, and are charging upon our troops all kinds of depredations and outrages, I think a few simple facts must put them to the blush, and make those parties and our press and people who are seconding the efforts of Davis to cast stigma upon us ashamed of the work they are doing. I will merely state what I know to be true. Abe Canade and Mr. Mitchell were hung two weeks ago for being Union men. They lived on the Hackelborough Settlement, Marion County, Alabama. Mr. Hallwork and daughter, of same county, were both shot for the same cause; the latter instantly killed. The former is yet alive, but will probably die. Peter Lewis and three of his neighbors were hunted down by one hundred bloodhounds and captured. The houses of Messrs. Palmer, Welsly, Williams, the three Wright-mens, and some thirty others were burned over their heads, the women and children turned out of doors, and the community notified that if they allowed them to go into other houses, or fed or harbored them in any manner, that they would be served the same. Mr. Peterson, living at the head of Bull Mountain, was shot, &c. I am now feeding some one hundred of these families, who, with their women and children, some gray-haired old men, and even cripples on crutches, were driven out and made their way here, through the woods and by-ways, without food or shelter-all done for the simple reason they were Union men, or that they had brothers or relations in our army. The statements of these people are almost beyond belief, did we not have the evidence before us. I am informed by them that there are hundreds of loyal men and women in the woods of Alabama, waiting for an opportunity to escape.
    I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

   G. M. DODGE,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 23, Part 2 Page 11.

While Alabama may be thought of as strongly pro-Confederate, there were portions of the northwest portion of the state which were divided.  Marion County was rural and there were few plantations and little slavery.  Many small farmers wished not to be involved in the war and were referred to locally as "Tories" or "hold-outs."  There were a number who joined the Union Army when it was in the area, and others who joined in on raids against pro-Confederate communities.  Oddly, the Stars and Stripes flew above the county court house for much of the war until a local judge who lost a son in the Confederate Army in Virginia raised the Stars and Bars.  Neither flag was bothered and the community of Pikeville was considered to be a sort of neutral ground.  There were attacks from both sides which involved civilians and the ones described here against Union sympathizers were particularly brutal.  After the war many Union sympathizers left for Texas.


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