Cyrus Norman's Civil War Claim
The Act of Congress of March 3, 1871 was intended to reimburse Union supporters who had suffered losses inflicted from the Union Army during the Civil War. People asking for reimbursement had to prove their case against the Union, prove their loyalty to the Union, and provide witnesses supporting their claim. Twenty-two thousand claims were made, but less than a third were paid. Only those who could prove unquestionable loyalty and proof of loss were even considered. One such claimant was Cyrus Alexander Norman, who lived in one of the southern seceding states≠Tennessee. The following text is copied from National Archive records. Included are depositions by J.C.Tipton, Andrew J. White, Robert E. Johnson, William H. [Dow?] and William Cate.
Remarks by the Special Commissioner- "The claimant in this case [Cyrus Norman] was a man of poor health but a good farmer. None of the Union men about Cleveland [Tennessee] doubt his loyalty to the cause of the United States. Although unfit for military service-being ruptured-yet he would not stay about when the rebels were and thus had to lie out in the thickets much of his time. His witnesses are men of intelligence and character (I know them all) and the facts testified to by farmers who saw them. I am favorably impressed with the claim. signed John W. Ramsey, Special Commissioner.
Cyrus Norman's answers to questions asked on his claim application. (Typed as closely as could be deciphered from the handwriting of the Special Commissioner.)
#2 "I [Cyrus Norman] resided the first part of the time [civil war] on my farm two & a half miles north of Cleveland [Tenn.] and my family resided there all the time. It was my own farm, about 80 acres were in cultivation and about 80 were woodland. My occupation at the time I was at home was farming. After I went through the lines [union lines], I was employed about June 1863 at Nashville by the United States Government in loading and unloading boats at the wharf under Capt. J.B. Cobb."
#3 "I went from my home near Cleveland in January 1862 with a load of beef cattle to Savannah Ga., sold them and got back by the 10th of that same month. I was within the Confederate lines at home and all the time of the war up to the time I left and went to Nashville."
#13 "I left & went to Nashville to keep from being conscripted." [forced into confederate service.]
#22 "On the 10th of December 1862. I tried to go through to the Federal lines and with nine others travelled by night making our own skiff to cross Tennessee river & crossed it in the night and went into [Sequatshe?] Valley, say about sixty miles from Cleveland where I took sick and was not able to go on. I remained there about fifteen or twenty days and then slipped back home. From this time I was hid at home and about home till the 17th of May, 1863. This was the first time I had a chance to get a pilot to take me through the lines. At this time my family heard that a pilot named Thomas Spurgen, who was recruiting for General Spear's Brigade, was in the county that night. I met a party of Union men and these men collected in Candys Creek Valley and on the night of the 18th of May, 1863 we crossed Tennessee River. There were eighty-three of us got through under the guidance of Spurgen to Somerset in Kentucky inside of the Federal lines. There I went to Louisville and there to Nashville, Tennessee. I went to get out of the influence & control of the rebels. I got employed at Nashville under the Federal Goverment in loading and unloading boats and remained about the 15th of August, 1863 when knowing that my wife was on the eve of confinemen; I started backčexpecting the Federal lines to reach Cleveland every day. I got home about the 1st of September, 1863. I had to hide out a few days till the rebels got off south of us. After the Battle of Chickamauga, the Rebels got control of Bradley County again≠till the battle of [Mission?] Bridge. After the battle of Chickamauga, I left home & piloted some friends to the Federal lines about ≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠≠all the rebels again fled south after the battle of [Mission?] Bridge.
#25 I had one fine bay mare taken by the Confederate. I had a larger quantity of corn taken by them. I also had a large fat cow killed by them. They took up about a hundred dozen of sheaf oats. They in fact took all the corn and oats that I had got raised in 1863. There were proceedings commenced against my property in the latter part of the year 1862 while I was lying out. They supposed that I had got through the Union lines. I never received any pay for the property taken by the rebels.
#26 I heard of threats being made again and again but after I first left I never showed myself any more. Others did, but did not hear them myself.
#27 I was. They took my property and told my family I got drowned in crossing Tennessee River.
#28 I aided all the Union men that I could that passed my house to the Union lines. After the Union armies got the country I always gave them what I could to eat but my property had so nearly all been taken that I had but little to help or to spare.
#29 I did what I could for it. I piloted a few dismounted Federal Cavalry men to a point within the union lines and at different times gave officers and soldiers all the information I could to help on the cause.
#30 I had no near relatives in the Confederate army.
#40 From the beginning to the end, my sympathies were with the United States. My feelings and language was on that side and my influences. I voted against "separation" from the U.S.A. We never had a chance to vote for the rejection of their scheme of separation. I clung to the Union and let the State go.
On the subject of property taken. [by the Union Army] On May 1864 a Cavaly Regiment [Union] if I recollect right took possession of my clover field of twenty acres of good clover and pastured and fed it away so as to entirely destroy the field so that the clover did not after that produce any other crop; though I tried it the next season, till I saw it would not make anything. The clover would have averaged a ton and a half to the acre. This was all the clover I had.
The bacon charged for is the meat of thirteen hogs I had that were taken by Genr'l O.O. Howard's Division [11th army] of General Sherman's riding on their return from their relief of Knoxville. A body of men were sent out and got the hogs. Some officers sent word to me by a neighbor to come and get a voucher for my hogs but before I got the word the army had moved on and I did not get any voucher or showing of any such. These hogs were estimated by neighbors to well over a hundred pounds each. Pork was worth at least 12 1/2 cents per pound. I got no voucher for the pork or hay. I did not at the time know anything about getting receipts or vouchers or the necessity for them. I was so glad to see the Federal army around me that I thought but little of the property at the time. It was only after the army was gone & I found myself without provisions or money or any provider with which to raise a crop, or get a start again in the world that I saw the necessity for a little pay to help me again get a start in the world.
The hogs were taken December the 13th, 1863.
No others but soldiers took my hay. And it was soldiers got my hogs-as I learned, for I did not see the hogs taken. A neighbor named [Emmet] Johnson sent me word that the Lieutenant in charge of the men who got my hogs said for me to come and get the voucher but I did not get the word for some four or five days. [Emmet] Johnson sent the word by Joseph B. Cobb but Cobb failed for the four or five days to give me the word. The hogs were brought to Cleveland and killed and eaten by the army.
They were taken in the daytime.
I know that the army was on the return from the forced march for the relief of Gen'l [Burnside?] at Knoxville and that the army was living off of the country. The hay was used on the farm for the regiment [were recruiting?] up their horses.
No complaint was made either about the hay or the pork.
No part of this claim has ever peen paid.
Sworn statements were made by witnesses and neighbors of C.A.Norman attesting to the facts he gave.
My name is J.C.Tipton, my age is 58, residence Cleveland Tenn. I am Clerk of the Circuit Court of Bradley County. Tenn. I am not related to the claimant C.A. Norman and have no interest in his claim.
I was well acquainted with the family of the claimant for many years but the clamaint was a young man and I was not so well acquainted him, but had a slight acquaintance with him.
I understood at the time that he left in 1862 or so that he left and went to the Federal Army. I am satisfied that he was loyal to the cause of the Union. Such was his reputation and this was understood among the Union men of Cleveland, Tenn. But I do not now remember that I ever talked to him before he left for the Union Army. But I saw him repeatedly after the Federal troops got possession of the county. For he came back with them or about the same time.
My name is William H. Low. My age 52 years, residence Cleveland Tenn.
I am a blacksmith. I am not related to the claimant and have no interest in his claim.
I have known the claimant for more than 20 years and lived, until we both left and went to the Federal lines, in about two miles of him. I knew both him and his father intimately and they were the firmest of Union men. I knew him intimately till he left and frequently talked to him about the war. His father was one of our main minute men that rode about the county to get the news for us.
I knew the sentiments of the claimant and they were all the time for the Union.
I was an adherent of the Union cause and the claimant knew it and did not fear to speak to me confidentially. I also knew his public reputation that he was a firm and steadfast Union man and the Union men about Cleveland all knew it.
I knew that he left this part of the county to avoid the rebel rub and went to Nashville. I saw him at that place and he did not return to Cleveland till the Federal army reached Cleveland. I know that his devotion to the Union cause never failed, and I am satisfied that he never did anything to aid the rebel cause.
My name is Andrew J. White, age 59, reside in Cleveland, Tenn. I am Public Trustee for Bradley county, Tenn. I have know the claimant 18 or 20 years and I lived about five miles from him. I knew that the claimant was a Union man. i talked with him frequently in the early part of the war before he left this part of the country and went inside the Union lines.
After that I did not see him any more till he came back after the Union army got here.
I knew his public reputation for loyalty to the United States and it was that he was loyal all the time.
I was an adherent of the Union cause and claimant knew it. Our talks were private, for we were closely watched in this county in the early part of the war by rebels. I am satisfied the claimant never did anything intentionally to aid or comfort the Confederate cause.
My name is Robert E. Johnson, residence near Cleveland. I'm a farmer over forty five years of age.
I had in the fall or early of 1863 been asked by the father of the claimant to look after the claimant's hogs that ran near me. The claimant at that time being absent from that part of the country.
These hogs were hardly a half mile from my house and I was engaged hauling seed corn and saw the hogs frequently till the return of General Sherman's army to this place from Knoxville in December 1863, when one day an officer of the Federal army with some men came to my house with a drove of sheep and hogs taking to the army that was then camped about Cleveland. He stopped at my house and asked me about my sheep and whether he had any of my hogs in his drove. I told him I saw one. And I told him he had the neighbors hogs generally; for I knew some of them. Among the hogs that I knew were the claimants. I knew the claimants hogs, having for sometime paid attention to them. I do not now recollect the exact number, size or description, but there must have been at least ten of the hogs and some of them at least were good killing hogs and in good condition. They were taken on to camp. The officer told me to tell my neighbors to come next day and get vouchers and I tried to send word to the claimant by a neighbor of his, who had first got home from through the Federal lines, to come and get a voucher; but I found out afterwards that this neighbor failed to give the word to the claimant, who thus failed to come and get his voucher.
Pork was very scarce and dear. It was worth ten to fifteen cents per pound.
I do not know anything about the other matters in the claim. That part of the army remained but a few days at Cleveland.
The neighbor who I sent word by to the claimant was Joseph B. Cobb, who had been for sometime at Nashville, Tennessee.
The officer said they did not have anything to eat at camp.
My name is William Cate, age 61 years, residence 2 1/2 miles north of Cleveland. I am a farmer. I was acquainted with the claimants farm and our farms joined each other and in passing his farm in the spring of 1864 I saw the horses belonging to the Federal army and especially of the --- camp at Cleveland on his meadow. The crop of that year was eaten out. The land was not first crop, but was second crop and fresh and in the hands of a good farmer and yielded good crops. It was clover, though there was a slip of --grass along our side where the land was moist.
There was one field of about fifteen acres that was eaten out by the stock of the Federal army. But the Federal army pastured on two other fields of the claimant but did not entirely eat out the crop for that year. The claimant pastured these fields some himself.
One of these fields contained about twelve acres and the other field about forty acres.
The Federal army got at least two thirds of the good of the first crop from these two fields.
In my judgement, the field pastured out would at a very reasonable estimate have yielded from fifteen hundred to eighteen hundred pounds of hay per acre. The two others and smaller fields would have made not more than a thousand pounds of good cured hay. These two small small fields were thinner and older land.
I sold the Federal army that year a larger quantity of hay at one dollar per hundred pounds and that was the ---the government gave for hay in this country.
The Court of Claims final decision.
Cyrus Norman asked for compensation for 1,225 pounds of pork valued at $153 and 20 acres of clover valued at $600 ; a total of $753. The following is the courts findings.
"Cyrus Norman is a farmer over 45 years of age. He owned a farm near Cleveland Tennessee, which was his home throughout the war. In June 1863, he want to Nashville and was in the employment of the U.S. Government. He made one or two attempts previous to that time to escape from the Confederate lines but failed. Much of his property was taken by the Confederates without making payment. Supposing he had got within the Union lines, proceedings were commenced against his property in the fall of 1862. He aided Union men leaving the Confederate lines, furnished them with provisions, gave information to officers and soldiers of the Federal army and was threatened on account of his Unionism. The proofs establish his loyalty."
"Hogs were taken by the Union army in December 1863. The proof shows about ten hogs taken netting about 100 pounds each. Vouchers were promised, but never given. Bacon at that time was 8 cents per pound as appears on commissary prices. The 20 acres of clover was pastured by Federal horses in May 1864. At this time of the year no such amount of clover could have been grown and standing on the ground as is charged. This item is grossly extravagant. This is apparent from the testimony of Cate, the last witness. The claim has never before been presented for payment. We recommend the payment of $150
[ Cyrus apparently received this amount in March of 1877-four years after giving his claim.]