Opinion submitted by John B. Brownlow, U.S. Special Commission
May 12, 1875
(1st page missing)...out and was not, perhaps, so well acquainted with his course of conduct as claimant’s nearest neighbors. Of these I refer to the depositions of Leonard Carruth, A.E. Blount, J.C. Steed and John F. Larrison particularly the two latter who were residing during all the war on farms adjoining the claimant. All these witnesses are gentlemen of the highest character and of both political parties. They are farmers of substance and responsibility and of more than ordinary intelligence.
I do not believe from the testimony that the claimant had more property taken by the U.S. Army than he has already been paid for. That his estimate is extravagantly high is the universal opinion of all his neighbors of all parties. Post Quartermaster J.P Scott and Colonel Gibson, Commandant at Cleveland to whom claimant refers as having knowledge of certain alleged losses were both Northern men who left here with the army and whose present abode no on here knows anything of.
I have interrogated Pleasant Craigmiles and William Craigmiles to whom claimant refers in his evidence. The latter says if claimant left any papers in his stone house which were burned he does not know it. Pleasant Craigmiles who was one of the Board appointed by the military authorities to investigate claims positively contradicts claimant’s statement as to the burning of the papers referred to and he says he told the claimant of his error at the time he was having his testimony taken before the Commissioner. William Craigmiles says he does not remember whether claimant ever laid any papers before the Board of which he was a member but he knows if he did they were not burned as alleged in his brother’s store-house. That every receipt and paper deposited by anybody with that Board were delivered by the board to Brigadier General W.D. Whipple (now of the War Department in Washington) at General Thomas’s headquarters at Chattanooga. The board was dissolved by order of General Thomas before it had paid anybody.
I interrogated the claimant and his answers to my questions were unsatisfactory. He gives the name of his son as the “pilot” whom he sent to conduct Union soldiers to a place of safety. Doesn’t remember the name of any one of the soldiers. He says a man by the name of Ewing got his pasturage receipt but doesn’t know where Ewing is.
He gives the name of Captain William Brown as the Rebel officer who went to his house and threatened him as stated in his answer to question 27. Brown now lives in Georgia. He was a citizen of this county, raised his company here and his men live here but claimant is unable to give the name of any one of them who threatened as he alleged at his house.
He also fails to remember the name of any of the squad of rebels who arrested him except one Charles Reynolds who is not in the country and whose whereabouts he does not know. He says they arrested him, not on the charge of loyalty to the United State, but because he refused to give up his gun which they demanded when they were generally seizing arms which they needed and because he would not contribute money to support them telling him he was a man of means and it was his duty to give.
In reply to the question as to what Union officers or soldiers he ever gave information to as to the movements of the enemy he said he could give no name; said he had no information of movements of rebel troops except as what he got it from the Federals because the Rebels were south of Cleveland and he lived north of town.
He said he could not give the name of any man or woman who saw the Federals take his property except Jim Brown and his wife who were his tenants. Brown testified in the examination by the commissioner.
In answer to my question if he “ever received pay for anything taken from him by the Federal army” he said, “At one time they took from me $426 worth of hay and paid me full amount of price. In a day or two they got another load and paid me. they bought from me six or eight mules and horses and gave me straight-vouchers on which I have since been paid. Also paid me for fifteen or sixteen bushels of corn. Also paid me on hundred dollars for one hundred bushels of seed oats which the 1st Tennessee and 2nd Michigan regiments took.
Beside these specifications of the claimant I learned he was paid at one time 10 dollars for poultry which the Union soldiers got. This item the claimant failed to mention.
The claimant’s neighbors are at a loss to know who made the very large crop which he alleges to have been taken by the Union army besides that paid for by the Rebel and Union troops. The claimant says all the hands he had were the tenant Brown, heretofore referred to, and a father and son by the name of Kasey and one negro woman and small boy. The elder Kasey is dead and he can’t find the younger Kasey and the negro boy.
Of the large number of Union men to whom he gave money to take them to Kentucky he is unable to give the name of any save Captain Norman who died before his claim was filed.
John B. Brownlow
U.S. Special Commission
May 12th, 1875
p.s. The claimant’s farm is appraised at $5,100 for taxation
Part V - Additional Testimony for the Commissioners of Claims at Washington