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A REPORT BY A FORMER GOVERNOR OF TENNESSEE ON THE CONFEDERATE DEFEAT AT THE BATTLE OF CHATTANOOGA AND AN ATTEMPT TO RAISE AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN REGIMENT; Four-page letter from Neill S. Brown, a former Tennessee governor, to John Reid, a volunteer aide of General Price
Cartersville, Georgia to LaFayette, Alabama, 1863. Unbound. Very good. The letter and envelope are both dated Dec 3, 1863. The envelope is addressed to John Reed at LaFayette, Alabama and franked with a 10-cent blue Jefferson Davis stamp (Scott CSA#12) that is canceled with a circular Cartersville, Georgia postmark also dated Dec 3. The letter and stamp are in very nice shape; the letter has some minor wear and soiling. Brown describes the South's defeat at Chattanooga, expresses remorse at being unable to return to his home in Tennessee, and announces an effort to raise a Confederate African-American regiment. "[Nathan Bedford] Forest has gone to west [actually, east] Tennessee with his command where he expects to recruit & make Okolona his head quarters. . . . You will have heard of our disaster at Chattanooga. . . . it is not so bad as at first supposed. We lost 30 or 40 pieces of artillery & a great deal of camp furniture, but the loss in men was not so great, probably three thousand. . . . The slaughter of the enemy was severe. The whole thing resulted from the weakness at one point of our line where we had but one man for every five feet . . . it was not cowardice or treachery. The army made good its retreat & repulsed the enemy with every attack & . . . the troops are fast recovering. . . . Longstreet still [has] Knoxville invested. . . . reinforcements will be sent up soon. Two brigades have already gone up . . . Georgia state troops, 15000 strong, are . . . occupying a supporting position. There is unacceptable disinformation by our papers & people give the highest coloring to our misfortunes. Whether we succeed or not depends upon the people themselves. . . .I am not going back home until peace is made. Nothing could induce me to go under present circumstances. . . . It is said that James Trimble [Brown, Neill's son] is engaged in making up a negro regiment this summer.". Neill Brown, a founding member of the Tennessee Whig Party, served as governor in the late 1840s. An ardent Unionists and still politically influential at the onset of the Civil War, Brown initially campaigned against secession and even offered to lead fellow Unionists in battle, but in the face of secessionist fervor, he soon reversed his position and became an ardent Confederate. When the Union occupied Nashville in 1862, Brown was temporarily jailed, and his house was burned. The Nashville Union newspaper of December 1, 1863 reported that following his release, Brown reversed position once more and gave a speech in federally-occupied Columbia proclaiming imminent defeat for the Confederacy and encouraging citizens to "return to the Union." His blatant opportunism infuriated Columbian Unionists and, the paper also reported, Brown "vamoosed for Dixie [where he began] imploring old men and youths, and even the women, to take to the field for Dixie and 'Drive the Vandals from the soil of Tennessee.'" James Trimble Brown's attempt to form "negro brigade" died on the vine; the Encyclopedia of Virginia reports that "In December 1863, Confederate general Patrick R. Cleburne wrote a memorandum advocating the emancipation and enlistment of black men as Confederate soldiers. He circulated the proposal among his peers and gained fifteen additional signatures before sending it to his commanding officers, Secretary of War James A. Seddon, and President Davis. The Davis administration, receiving the proposal in January 1864, not only declined to present it to Congress, but also ordered Cleburne and his colleagues to cease all discussion of the subject." A unique account from influential-though politically expedient-Southern politician.
      [Bookseller: Read 'Em Again Books, ABAA]
Last Found On: 2017-10-06           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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