By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: A Letter to Hon. Charles Sumner, with 'Statements' of Outrages upon Freedmen in Georgia
Author: Pierson, Hamilton W. (Hamilton Wilcox), 1817-1888
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Letter to Hon. Charles Sumner, with 'Statements' of Outrages upon Freedmen in Georgia" ***

book was produced from scanned images of public domain

  Outrages Upon Freedmen in Georgia,






NEW YORK, _November, 1861_

To the Rev. H. W. PIERSON, D.D.,

_President of Cumberland College, Kentucky:_

DEAR SIR: The undersigned beg leave respectfully to suggest to you the
propriety of repeating your paper read before the Historical Society at
a recent meeting, on the Private Life of Thomas Jefferson, and making
public a larger portion of your ample materials, in the form of public
lectures. The unanimous expression of approbation on the part of the
Society, which your paper elicited, is an earnest of the satisfaction
with which your consent to lecture will be received by the public at

We have the honor to be, very respectfully, yours,

  And many others.


WASHINGTON, D. C., _March 15, 1870_.

MY DEAR SIR: It would not become me to express an opinion upon any of
the legal questions involved in the Georgia bill now before the Senate,
but I respectfully call your attention to the following "statements" of
facts. I certainly am not surprised that Honorable gentlemen whom I
greatly esteem, should express their belief that the outrages committed
upon the Freedmen and Union men in Georgia have been greatly exaggerated
in the statements that have been presented to Congress and the country.
I know that to persons and communities not intimately acquainted with
the state of society, and the civilization developed by the institution
of slavery, they seem absolutely incredible. Allow me to say, from my
personal knowledge, and profoundly conscious of my responsibility to God
and to history, that the statements that have been given to the public
in regard to outrages in Georgia come far short of the real facts in the
case. Permit me to add that I went to Andersonville, Ga., to labor as a
pastor and teacher of the Freedmen, _without pay_, as I had labored
during the war in the service of the _Christian Commission_; that I had
nothing at all to do with the political affairs of the State; that I did
not know, and, so far as I am aware, I did not see or speak to any man
who held a civil office in the State, except the magistrate at
Andersonville; that a few days after my arrival there I performed the
first religious services, and participated in the first public honors
that were ever rendered to the 13,716 "brave boys" who sleep there, by
decorating the cemetery with procession, prayer, and solemn hymns to
God, as described in Appendix A.

My time and labors were sacredly given to the Freedmen. In addition to
the usual Sabbath services I visited them in their cabins around the
stockades, and in the vicinity of the cemetery, reading the Bible to
them, and talking and praying with them. It was in the prosecution of
these labors that I saw and heard more of sufferings and horrible
outrages inflicted upon the Freedmen than I saw and heard of as
inflicted upon slaves in any five years of constant horseback travel in
the South before the war, when I visited thousands of plantations as
agent of the American Tract society, the American Bible Society, and as
President of Cumberland College, Princeton, Kentucky. As illustrations
of the sufferings of these oppressed, outraged people, and of their
utter helplessness and want of protection from the State or Federal
courts, I give a few of the "statements" that I wrote down from their
own lips. I know these men, and have entire confidence in their


Cane Cook now lives near Americus, Sumter County, Georgia. I heard
through the colored people of the inhuman outrages committed upon him,
and sent word to him to come to me if possible, that I might get a
statement of the facts from his own lips. With the greatest difficulty
he got into the cars at Americus, and came here to-day. He says:

     "I worked for Robert Hodges, last year, who lives about two
     and-a-half miles from Andersonville, Georgia. I had my own stock,
     and rented land from him, agreeing to give him one-third of the
     corn, and one-fourth of the cotton for rent. We divided the corn by
     the wagon load, and had no trouble about that. I made three bags of
     cotton, weighing 506, 511, and 479 pounds when it was packed. Mr.
     Hodges weighed it again, and I don't know what he has got it down,
     but that was the right weight; one-fourth was his, and
     three-fourths mine. He told me he would buy my cotton and pay me
     the market price, which was twenty-one cents that day, and I told
     him he might have it. I got some meat and corn and other things
     from him during the year, and he paid me $50 in cash Christmas. I
     went to him last Friday a week ago, (January 29th, 1869) for a
     settlement. When he read over his account he had a gallon of syrup
     charged to me, and I told him I had not had any syrup of him. He
     asked me if I disputed his word. I told him that I did not want to
     dispute his word, but I had not had any syrup from him. He got up
     very angry, and took a large hickory stick and came towards me. I
     went backwards towards the door, and he followed me. He is a strong
     man and I did not want to have any trouble with him, and I gave him
     no impudence. I had a small piece of clap-board in my hand, that I
     had walked with. He told me to throw it down. I made no attempt to
     strike him, but held it up to keep off his blow. I went backwards
     to the door and to the edge of the porch, and he followed me. As I
     turned to go down the steps--there are four steps--he struck me a
     powerful blow on the back of my head, and I fell from the porch to
     the ground. I was not entirely senseless, but I was stiff and could
     not move hand or foot. I lay a long time--I do not know how
     long--but he did not touch me. Jolly Low was at work upon the
     house, and he came down where I was, and Mr. Hodges told him he
     might lift me up if he was a mind to. He lifted me up and set me on
     the steps. Mr. Hodges then sent about three miles for Dr.
     Westbrook, and he came and bled me in both arms; but I was so cold
     my left arm would not bleed at all, and my right arm bled but a
     very little. The Doctor then told me to go to my friend's house and
     let him take care of me. Two colored men--Anthony Dukes and Edward
     Corrillus--took me under each arm and carried me to Burrell
     Corrillus' house, about one hundred and fifty yards. I could not
     bear my weight upon my feet or stand at all. The Doctor rode by and
     told Mrs. Corrillus to take good care of me and keep me there a
     couple of days. I staid there until Sunday afternoon, when two men
     lifted me into a buggy and Mr. Corrillus carried me to my wife near
     Americus. My hands, arms, back, and legs are almost useless. I have
     not been able to lift a bit of food to my mouth. I have to be fed
     like a baby. I have not gone before any of the courts. I have no
     money to pay a lawyer, and I know it would do no good. Mr. Hodges
     has not paid me for my cotton, and says he will not settle with me,
     but will settle with any man I will send him. While I lay before
     his door he told me that if I died he would pay my wife $50. I hope
     there will be some law sometime for us poor oppressed people. If we
     could only get land and have homes we could get along; but they
     won't sell us any land."

     ANDERSONVILLE, GA., _Feb. 7, 1869_.

Mr. Cook is about fifty years old, has a large frame, has been an
industrious, hard-working man, but is now almost entirely paralized and
helpless. He is the most shattered, complete, and pitiable wreck from
human violence I have ever seen. Mr. Hodges, I am told, owns about six
thousand acres of land, and is one of the most prominent and respected
citizens of Sumter County. He is a Methodist preacher, and Mr. Reese
informs me, as I write, that he has heard him preach a great many times
in the last twenty years to both white and colored people at
camp-meetings and different meeting-houses in this region. He refuses to
sell any of his land to the colored people, and will not allow them to
build a school-house on it.


Floyd Snelson, foreman of the hands employed by the Government in the
National Cemetery, Andersonville, Georgia, says:

     "That in July, 1868, after the work was suspended in the cemetery,
     and the Lieutenant in charge had gone to Marietta, Georgia, and the
     schools for the freedmen were closed, and the teachers had left for
     the North, Mr. B. B. Dikes notified all the colored people who
     occupied buildings on the land now claimed by him, formerly
     occupied by the Confederate Government, in connection with the
     Andersonville prison, that they must get out of their buildings
     within four days, or he would have them put out by the Sheriff, and
     they would have the cost to pay. Nearly all of these men had been
     in the employ of the Government, at work in the National Cemetery,
     many of them from the commencement of this work after the
     surrender. They all occupied these buildings by permission of the
     officer in charge of the cemetery, by whom they were employed. Many
     of them had built these houses at their own expense, and cleared,
     fenced, and cultivated gardens of from one to four acres, which
     were covered with corn, potatoes, and other vegetables, which, with
     their houses, they were required to leave without any compensation.
     Including these laborers and their families, about two hundred
     persons occupied these buildings. On account of the great
     difficulty of getting homes for so many on such short notice, most
     of these colored people applied to Mr. Dikes for the priviledge of
     occupying their houses and paying rent, either in money or a part
     of the crops that they were growing. But he refused, and said they
     could not stay on any terms. On the day appointed by Mr. Dikes,
     (Wednesday, July 29th, 1868,) the most of the white people in from
     six to ten miles around, appeared in Andersonville, with their
     arms, and Mr. Souber, the magistrate of the district, and Mr.
     Raiford, the Sheriff of the county, accompanied by a party of some
     twenty-six or thirty armed white men, went to the houses of all
     these people, (except a very few who had vacated their premises,)
     and threw all their furniture, and provisions of every kind, out of
     doors. They then nailed up the doors of all their cabins, on the
     inside, and punched off a part of the roofs, and got out in this
     way. By about two P. M., all these people, with their furniture,
     bedding, provisions, and everything that they possessed, were
     turned out of doors.

     "About four o'clock, the most violent rain storm, accompanied with
     the most terrific thunder and lightning ever known here, commenced
     and continued the most of the night. Every mill-dam and many of the
     mills in a circle of ten miles were washed away and so completely
     destroyed that but one of them has been repaired so as to be used.
     The women--some of them about to be confined--children and invalids
     were exposed to this storm during the night. Their beds, clothing,
     provisions, and themselves were as completely drenched as if they
     had been thrown into a brook. Some of these people got homes by
     working for their board. Some able-bodied men got twenty-five cents
     a day. Some of them, (Deacon Turner Hall, of the Congregational
     Church, Andersonville, among the number,) walked from ten to twenty
     miles a day, and could get neither homes nor work at any price at
     all. Many women and children lay out of doors guarding their
     things, and exposed to the weather nearly a week, before they could
     get any shelter at all--their husbands and fathers roaming over the
     country to find some kind of a home. The Rev. F. Haley, of the
     American Missionary Association, arrived the next day, to look
     after the property of the mission. His life was threatened, but the
     colored people rallied around him to protect him, and he left the
     next day unharmed. Large numbers of the white people, from the
     neighborhood, assembled at Andersonville every day until Saturday
     night, when they set fire to nine (9) of the buildings, that had
     been built by the colored people, and burnt them up, and tore down
     their fences and destroyed their crops. The colored people,
     supposing that they intended to burn the buildings occupied for the
     "Teacher's Home" and the "Freedmen's School," rallied and protected
     them. No one of the men engaged in these outrages, has ever been
     arrested or punished in any way, and no one of these freedmen has
     ever had any redress for his sufferings and losses. I will make
     oath to these statements."

     ANDERSONVILLE, GA., _Feb. 12, 1869_.


George Smith now resides five miles from Ellaville, in Schley County,
Georgia. He says:

     "Before the election of Grant, large bodies of men were riding
     about the country in the night for more than a month. They and
     their horses were covered with large white sheets, so that you
     could not tell them or their horses. They gave out word that they
     would whip every Radical in the country that intended to vote for
     Grant, and did whip all they could get hold of. They sent word to
     me that I was one of the leaders of the Grant club, and they would
     whip me. I saw them pass my house one night, and I should think
     there were thirty or forty of them. They looked in the night like
     Jersey wagons. I supposed they were after me, and I took my blanket
     and gun and ran to the woods and lay out all night, and a good many
     other nights. Nearly all the Radicals in the neighborhood lay in
     the woods every night for two weeks before election. The Kuklux
     would go to the houses of all that belonged to the Grant club, call
     them to the door, throw a blanket over them and carry them off and
     whip them, and try and make them promise to vote for Seymour and
     Blair. The night I saw them they went to the house of Mr. Henry
     Davis and ordered him out. He refused to come out and they tore
     down both of his doors. He fired at them and escaped. I heard a
     good many shots fired at him. He lay out about a week in the woods,
     and then slipped back in the night and got his family and moved
     off. He had bought a place and paid $250 on it but he could not get
     a deed, and he has gone off and left it. They then went to the
     house of Tom Pitman and Jonas Swanson, called them to the door,
     threw blankets over their heads, carried them off and whipped them
     tremendously. They told them that they were damned Radicals and
     leaders of the Grant club, and that they would whip every one that
     voted for Grant, and would not give any work to any but Democrats.

     "Bob Wiggins, a preacher, was whipped all most to death because they
     said he was preaching Radical doctrines to the colored people. It
     was supposed for a good many days that he would die, but he finally

     "I attended the election at Ellaville. None of the Radicals that had
     been Ku-Kluxed tried to vote; but a good many Radicals did try to
     vote, but the judges made them all show their tickets, and if they
     were for Grant they would not let them vote. I saw how they treated
     others and did not try to put my vote in. I went early in the
     morning, and the white and colored Democrats voted until about
     noon, when I went home."

     ANDERSONVILLE, _February 7, 1869_.


Richard Reese, President of the Grant club of Schley County, confirms
the statements of George Smith in regard to the treatment of the
Radicals in Schley County. He says:

     "When the Ku-Klux commenced riding about the country I was at Macon
     attending the colored convention. When I got home some white men,
     Democrats, who were friends of mine, told me that the Ku-Klux would
     certainly kill me if I staid at home at nights. I took my blanket
     and hid in the woods. I have never had a gun or pistol in my life.
     I lay in the woods every night until after election. Day times I
     came home and worked my crop. One day, as I was in my yard, Mr.
     Jack Childers, a Democrat, came along from Americus, and said to
     me, 'Where is old Dick, the damned old Radical?' I said, 'Here I
     am.' He said, 'Well, you will be certain to be killed.' I said,
     'Well, if they kill me they will kill a good old Radical, and I
     haven't got much longer to live noway.' He then started to get out
     of his buggy and come at me, but the man with him held him in and
     drove on. I had the Grant tickets in my house, and went to the
     Bumphead precinct, but there were more Radicals than Democrats
     there, and they would not open the polls at all. We staid there
     till twelve o'clock, then started for Ellaville. The white and
     colored Democrats were voting, but they would not let a Radical
     vote until about two o'clock, when Charley Hudson got upon a stump
     and said no man could vote unless he had paid his taxes. He then
     got down, and he and nearly every white man there went around to
     the colored voters and told them that if they would vote the
     Democratic ticket their tax was paid. I offered my ticket, and they
     said my tax was not paid, and if I put in my ticket they would put
     me in jail, and send me to the penitentiary. I had already agreed
     with a white man, who owed me $50, to pay my tax, and he said he
     had done it, but when I found him, and he found what was the
     matter, he said he had not paid it. They demanded $4.50 poll-tax,
     and I paid it and put in my vote. They were determined that I
     should not vote, and I was determined that I would vote for Grant
     any way, as I was the president of the club. They told me if I
     would vote for Seymour and Blair I need not pay my taxes. After I
     got my vote in I took all my Grant tickets and scattered them among
     the crowd, and told my club they need not try to vote, it would do
     no good. Grant would be elected without Schley County, and we all
     went home.

     "Last spring we built a school-house, and hired a white lady to
     teach our school for several months. We held meetings and schools
     every Sunday. Friday night, February 5, 1869, our school-house was
     burned up.

     "Last night we had a meeting to see what we could do about building
     another house. We have a deed of one-and-a-half acres of land, but
     there is no timber on it, and the owners of the land around have
     put up a paper forbidding us to cut a stick on their's, and see how
     tight they have got us. We want the Government or somebody to help
     us build. We want some law to protect us. We know that we could
     burn their churches and schools, but it is against the law to burn
     houses, and we don't want to break the law or harm anybody. We want
     the law to protect us, and all we want is to live under the law."

     ANDERSONVILLE, _Feb. 7, 1869_.


Charles Ennis informs me that he was sixty-two years old last June; that
he was the slave of Mr. G. C. McBee, who kept the ferry on the Holston
river, fifteen miles from Knoxville Tennessee; that he has often ferried
the Hon. Messrs. Brownlow and Maynard over the river; that he learned to
read when a small boy, and that he is now a preacher and teacher. He is
the most intelligent colored man I have seen at Andersonville. He says:

     "My wife has been a midwife for many years, and has attended upon a
     good many white and colored women in child-birth. Last year we
     lived in Mitchell County, and Mr. Henry Adams, of Baker County,
     sent for her to attend his wife, who was about to be confined. The
     child was born and did well. After the riot at Camilla we were
     afraid to remain in Mitchell County. I lived within three miles of
     Camilla, and a good many of the dead were very near me, but I did
     not see any of them. I was afraid to go from home. Dr. Sanders, who
     attended upon those who were shot, told me that more than fifty
     were killed and wounded. Mr. Adams said his wife liked my wife so
     well that he wanted us to go to Houston County with him, and he
     would pay our expenses there; and then he would certainly get me a
     school, and I could live on his place with my wife, and he would
     pay her $50 a year wages. I told him we would not engage by the
     year, but only by the month, so long as we could agree. Mr. Robert
     Adams, his uncle, was his partner, and managed the plantation. On
     the 19th of January, 1869, he told my wife he wanted breakfast very
     early, as he was going to attend the burying of his nephew's wife
     next morning. She got up before day and got it, and I carried it to
     him and he ate it by candle light. After breakfast, as my wife was
     going to milk, he came out doors, and when he saw her he said: 'O
     you d----d old b----h, I have catched up to you, you G----d d----d
     old rogue,' and a good deal more of the same sort. I was surprised
     at this, as I knew she had got the breakfast all right, and I had
     carried it in to him. I went out and asked him in a mild manner,
     'Mr. Adams, what is the matter? what has she done?' He made no
     reply at all, but rushed at me and caught me by the hair and
     commenced beating me. He struck me several times on the head. I
     made no resistance at all, but said, 'Mr. Adams, I will make you
     pay, for this.' This made him still worse, and he took out his
     knife and said he would give me something to make him pay for--he
     would kill me.

     "Henry Ottrecht, a German, and a colored boy named Wash caught him
     and begged him not to kill me, and told me to promise him that I
     would not report him. He held on to me until I promised him that I
     would not report him, and then let me go. He told these men that he
     would have killed me if they had not prevented him. As he started
     away to attend the burying of his nephew's wife, he said to me,
     'Now you may go to Perry,' (the county seat,) 'and report me if you
     want; but if you do I'll be d----d if I don't kill you.' At night
     my wife heard him tell Charles Evart, a freedman, about the scrape,
     and he said he would have killed me if they had not held him, and
     he would kill me anyway, if I reported him. I was a slave until
     freed the by war, but I never received such treatment during all my
     life as a slave. I waited on officers in the Confederate army from
     1862 until the surrender. The last six months I was with Lt. Col.
     Jones, Second Georgia Reserves, at Andersonville. I never received
     a blow or a harsh word from one of them. I have traveled a great
     deal before and since the war. I know that the colored people are
     more brutally treated now than they were in slavery times. A great
     many more are beaten, wounded and killed now than then. I know a
     great many cases where they have been beaten to death with clubs,
     killed with knives and dirks, shot and hung. We have no protection
     at all from the laws of Georgia. We had rather die than go back
     into slavery, but we are worse treated than we ever were before. We
     cannot protect ourselves; we want the Government to protect us. A
     great many freedmen have told me that we should be obliged to rise
     and take arms and protect ourselves, but I have always told them
     this would not do; that the whole South would then come against us
     and kill us off, as the Indians have been killed off. I have always
     told them the best way was for us to apply to the Government for
     protection, and let them protect us."

     ANDERSONVILLE, GA., _February 10, 1869_.


Mr. B. B. Dikes, referred to in the foregoing statement of Floyd
Snelson, is not the only claimant who has endeavored to secure
possession of the grounds in and around the stockades at _Andersonville,
Georgia_. I should have said that he has entered a suit in the U. S.
Court for the possession of these lands, but in the absence of the
military he judged the ejectment of the freedmen, and getting possession
in the manner I have described, as more sure and speedy than the "law's

A Mr. Crawford claims that the land which lies within and around the
south stockade, in which are the hospital sheds, where so many of our
soldiers died, where even now the bare ground upon which they lay shows
the indenture made by the bodies of our suffering dying soldiers,
belongs to certain heirs, and he, too, has been endeavoring to get
possession of these grounds. My pastoral visitations led me to the
cabins in and around the stockades, that have been built upon the land
now claimed by Mr. Crawford. As was most natural, they poured into my
ears the sad, the almost incredible, accounts of the wrongs they have
suffered "since freedom came," or, as they more frequently expressed it,
"since the surrender came through." One of these men came to me in
January, in great distress, and told me that the day before he had been
notified by Mr. Souber, the magistrate of the district, that he must
leave his house by the next Monday night, or he would bring the Sheriff
and turn him out. Mr. Souber told him that he had charge of the land for
Mr. Crawford, _and that he was agoing to fence it in, and raise a cotton
crop in and around these stockades_. There are thousands who know how
this soil has been ensanguined and enriched. I had frequently walked
over these grounds, and seen evidences of what is both too indelicate
and too horrible to be described. I confess that my indignation was
roused to the highest degree. I sat down immediately and wrote a
statement of these facts to Hon. J. M. Ashley, and begged him to call on
General Grant, and see if there was any power in the Government to
prevent these outrages.

The Lieutenant in charge at Andersonville called upon me some days
later, and informed me that my letter to Congressman Ashley had been
referred, by General Grant to General Meade, who had referred it to him.
I furnished him the facts upon which it was based, and also wrote
General Meade as follows:


    ANDERSONVILLE, GA., _January 30, 1869_.

     GENERAL: I send you the accompanying "statements" in regard to the
     matters referred to in my letter to the Hon. J. M. Ashley, M.C. My
     letter was based upon _part_ of these statements. Those additional
     to what had then been communicated to me are the result of
     investigations made since Lieutenant Corliss informed me that my
     letter had been referred to General Meade and to himself.

     I have been acquainted with colored people in the South more than
     twenty-five years I know the difficulty of getting at the truth in
     such matters. But I think these "statements" can be depended upon.

     With great respect, yours very truly,

     H. W. PIERSON.



Albert Williams states to me that in January after the surrender he was
employed by the Government to work in the cemetery, and worked there
until last spring. That Mr. Van Dusen, Supt. of the cemetery, gave him
the privilege of moving into the house he now occupies, near the
stockade that enclosed the hospital buildings; that afterwards Captain
Rench gave him the privilege of clearing off the ground east of the
stockade and raising a crop; that he hired hands and cleared and fenced
about fifteen acres; that his wife and children helped to raise a crop;
that after it was "laid by," Mr. Crawford, who claims the land, called
on him and demanded rent, that he also called on Lewis Williams, Howard
Ingraham, and Butler Johnson, who were raising crops around the
stockades by permission of Captain Rench, and demanded rent, that Mr.
Crawford called upon us four, with Mr. B. B. Dikes and Esquire Souber,
and compelled us to sign a written contract, which they had prepared,
that each of us four would pay forty bushels of corn each for rent; that
he (Williams) was unable to pay the forty bushels of corn, but did pay
ten dollars in money, ten bushels of corn which he gathered and hauled
to Mr. Dikes' crib, for which he was allowed fifteen dollars in rent.
None of the four men were able to pay the forty bushels of corn; but Mr.
Crawford brought the Bailiff, John Law, and took what corn he could, and
a sow and pig from Howard Ingraham. All these men but me have left their
places that they had cleared and fenced, because they could not pay such
rent, and Mr. Crawford has put the places in charge of Mr. Souber, and
brought him two males to cultivate the grounds. Mr. Williams states that
twice the stockade has been set on fire in the night, and he and his
boys have toted water and put it out.

Mr. Williams states that Mr. Souber came to his house some two or three
weeks ago, and told him he must get out of the house and leave the
place, that he had charge of it now, that he was going to fence in the
grounds and raise a crop in and around the stockade, and that he would
not let any body live there but those that worked the place. That some
time after this Mr. Souber sent him word by Bob Stevens that he had
rented the place to him, and that he must get out or Mr. Souber would
have him put out by the Sheriff, Mr. Raiford; that Mr. Stevens and his
wife have both been to his house several times with this message from
Mr. Souber; that last Saturday (January 23, 1869,) his wife told him
that Mr. Souber came to his house while he was away and told her we must
get out by Monday night or he would bring the Sheriff and have us put
out. Mr. Williams says he will make oath to these statements.

Mrs. Martha Randall and Mrs. Jane Rogers live very near Mr. Williams.
They state to me that they occupy the house by permission of Mr. Souber,
as they have agreed to work for him. They both say to me that they heard
Mr. Souber tell Mrs. Williams, last Saturday, that "they must get out of
the house or he would have the Sheriff put them out."

NOTE--You will see that there are three witnesses to these statements of
Mr. Souber. I saw each of them "separate and apart" from the others, and
no one knew what the others had said, and their statements agreed in
every particular.

Benjamin Weston states to me that Major Anthony gave him permission to
raise a crop east of the stockade, where the small-pox hospital was
located. That he cleared and fenced about six acres; that there was no
clearing on the land--only some of the underbrush was cut out; that
there was not a rail on the place; that he cut and split all the rails
and made a good fence, and raised a crop of corn; that about the first
of August Mr. Crawford came to him and said the land was his, and
demanded thirty-five bushels of corn for rent, and required him to sign
a contract and give security for that amount; that the place only
yielded about twenty bushels, of which his family and stock used ten
bushels, and he gave ten bushels for rent.

Mr. Weston states that he heard that Mr. Souber had charge of the land,
and about the first of January he applied to him to rent what he had
cleared and fenced. Mr. Souber told him that he had charge of the land
but it was not for rent; he was agoing to tend it himself. He then asked
me what Mr. Williams was agoing to do. I told him I did not know. He
said well, he had better hunt him a house, for I am agoing to tend that
place myself. Mr. Weston says he has never had any pay for clearing and
fencing the land, only about ten bushels of corn, as above stated. He
says he will make oath to the above statements.

     _January 29, 1869._

     GENERAL: I do not know the boundaries of the land claimed by
     Crawford, but as far as I am able to learn, the mob that burnt the
     buildings here last summer, and threats and treatment like that
     detailed above, have driven off all the families that occupied
     these grounds by authority of officers of the United States
     Government, except Mr. Williams, and Mr. Rhodes who occupies a
     building in the large stockade, which he tells me he has been
     warned to leave. Through the means above detailed Mr. C. has very
     nearly secured possession, which is nine-tenths in law.

     With great respect, yours, very truly,

     H. W. PIERSON.


On the 10th of February, 1869, Captain Bean called on me and introduced
himself as a member of General Meade's staff, and said he had come from
Atlanta to Andersonville by order of General Meade to make
investigations in regard to the matters referred to in my letters. I
went with him to the stockade and pointed out the new fences made and
the grounds claimed by Mr. Souber. At his request I went with him to the
office of Mr. Williams, the superintendent of the cemetery, and in my
presence he told him _to notify Mr. Souber to suspend all work upon
these grounds_.

I confess that I was exceedingly gratified at this complete success of
my efforts. I felt that these historic grounds, this Gethsemane of the
nation, had been rescued from what I could but esteem a sacrilegious use
and possession, and that the flag that floated over the dead at
Andersonville had been honored by this order. When I told the Freedmen
the result of Captain Bean's visit their joy was great. In describing to
me, as they often had, the suffering and losses they had endured when
they were driven from their homes, and their cabins were burnt last
summer, they always, in their simplicity, spoke of it as the time "when
the Government busted up." And this truly described the condition of the
Government from that time to the present, so far as they were
concerned, for these facts show that no matter how horrible and brutal
the outrage and personal violence committed upon them there had been no
punishment to the perpetrators and no redress to the Freedmen. Now they
felt that the Government would again afford them some protection.

But great as was my joy, and the joy of the suffering Freedmen, it was
nothing to the _rage_ of those who, after so long a struggle, had been
defeated in their efforts to get possession of these grounds just as
they were about to become completely successful. Captain Bean visited
and left Andersonville on the 10th. On the 12th I received a Ku-Klux
letter, of which the following is a true copy:

     * Skull and    *
     * cross-bones. *
     ****************                              "FEBRUARY 12, 1869.

     "Dr. PEARSON (so-called).

     "SIR: For your especial benefit I am instructed to write you this
     special communication of warning and instruction.

     "The citizens of this place are aware of a few facts relative to
     yourself that I will proceed to designate: In the first place, they
     know you to be a wandering _vagrant carpet bagger_, without visible
     means of support, and living at present on the earnings of those who
     are endeavoring to make an honest living by teaching. You have also
     proved yourself a _scoundrel_ of the deepest dye by maliciously
     interfering in matters which do not in the least concern you, to the
     detriment of some of our citizens.

     "This, therefore, is to warn you to LEAVE this county forthwith.
     Twenty-four (24) hours from the above date is the time allowed for you
     to leave. If after the said time your devilish countenance is seen at
     _this place or vicinity your worthless life will pay the forfeit_.
     Congressional reconstruction, the military, nor anything else under
     Heaven, will prevent summary justice being meted out to such an
     incarnate fiend as yourself.

     "By order of committee."

I should do great injustice to Mr. Dikes, Mr. Souber, and Mr. Crawford,
and their sympathising friends, the author and inspirers of the above
letter, were I to say, or convey the impression, that they were worse
men than their neighbors. From what I have seen and heard of them I am
sure that in _mental culture_, in _kindness of heart_, in _loyalty_,
and in _Christian civilization_ they are decidedly _above_ rather than
_below_ the over-whelming majority of their fellow citizens. They
represent not the _lowest_ but the _highest_ type of patriotism,
philanthropy, and Christianity prevailing in that region. I challenge
their late Congressional representative, the Hon. Nelson Tift, to go
before his constituents and deny my statements in regard to the social
standing of these men.

The above letter states my offence: "You have proved yourself a
_scoundrel_ of the deepest dye, by maliciously interfering in matters
which do not in the least concern you, to the _detriment_ of some of our
citizens." But General Grant, General Wade, and Captain Bean interfered
far more potentially than I did. If I am a "_scoundrel_ of the deepest
dye" what must they be?

The "skull and bones," the insignia of the Ku-Klux Klan and not the
stars and stripes, represent the dominant power in that region.
"Congressional reconstruction, the military, &c.," are successfully
defied. The power of the United States Government is not felt or feared.
They only know it as powerless to prevent the atrocities enacted before
their eyes during and since the war.

The flag that I had united with others to honor with procession, songs,
and cheers, was powerless to protect me, and floats dishonored above the
graves of the 12,848 martyr heroes who suffered and died in the
stockades at Andersonville, as prisoners of war never suffered and died

I need hardly say that with my knowledge of the condition of things
around me, as presented _only in part_ in this communication, I left
Andersonville as desired by the _Ku-Klux Klan_. I knew that human
life--that my life was not worth as much as the life of a chicken in any
law-abiding, law-governed community, for should any evil disposed person
there maliciously kill his neighbor's chicken he would be compelled to
pay some slight fine or endure some brief imprisonment; but no one of
all the perpetrators of the crimes I have named has suffered or has
dreamed or suffering any fine, imprisonment, or punishment whatever. I
knew that in their own language my life was "_worthless_." I went South
to reside in 1843, and there are few who know it as thoroughly. As agent
of the American Bible Society, and in other capacities, I have traveled
tens of thousands of miles over different States on horseback before the
war. Bishop Kavenaugh, of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, in
introducing me to the Louisville Conference in 1858, told them that
though a Presbyterian I had "out itinerated the itineracy itself." And
yet I have never seen or heard as much of outrage and personal violence
upon the colored people in any five years of slavery as I heard and saw
at Andersonville, Georgia, from December 22, 1868, to February 12, 1869.
I have never known crime to be committed in any community with such
perfect impunity. I have yet to learn of a _single_ instance where the
civil courts in that part of the State have rendered any punishment or
redress for outrages like those I have detailed. The fact that such
crimes have for years been committed with perfect impunity--that the men
who perpetrate them have not the slightest fear or thought of ever being
punished--that the Freedmen who have suffered outrages such as these,
and others entirely too gross for me to repeat, have not the faintest
shadow of a hope that their wrongs will ever be redressed, has reduced
these poor people to a state of almost utter hopelessness and despair.

Turner Hall, a freedman, a deacon in the Congregational church in
Andersonville, under whose black skin beats one of the most patriotic
and noble Christian hearts I have ever known, writes: "We seem to be
forsaken of God and man."

I have talked with many of these men, who in the late Presidential
election, with a spirit as noble as ever beat in the heart of a martyr,
slept in swamps for weeks, were hunted like wild beasts, and perilled
all means of livelihood for their wives and children, and their own
lives, that they might vote for General Grant for President. Those of
them that were employed in the National Cemetery at Andersonville,
Georgia, were threatened with dismission in case they voted for General
Grant. Notwithstanding this threat some of them went to the polls,
voted for General Grant, and were immediately dismissed by Henry
Williams, superintendent of the cemetery. This was done to deter the
others, but they went forward and executed a "freeman's will" by voting
for General Grant. (Mr. Williams has since been removed.) And what to
this hour has been their reward from their friends? I forbear to press
this question.

But with facts like these in mind can anyone suppose that a fair
election--an election in which the thousands of Freedmen in Georgia
shall give expression to their political wishes--can be held in that
State in 1870. The thing is simply impossible. Until these ignorant,
outraged people shall have some demonstration that there is power,
either in the State or Federal Government, to afford them protection,
and punish such outrages as that of Rev. Robert Hodges upon Cane Cook,
the Freedmen cannot be expected again to risk their _livings_ and their
_lives_ in voting for those whom they know to be their only friends.

It will be proper for me to add that I did not come to Washington at the
suggestion or with the knowledge of any party in Georgia. I belong to no
"delegation." I came here at my own charges, in the interests of
patriotism and suffering humanity, to lay these facts before Congress
and the highest officers of the Government. All my self respect and
honor as a man, all my regard for the rights of _American citizenship_,
all my toils for the triumph of the starry banner, all my labors for the
education and protection of the ignorant and outraged Freedmen, and all
the emotions stirred in my soul as again and again I have walked amid
the graves of the nation's martyred dead at Andersonville, compelled me
to the performance of these unsought labors. _I ask that these Freedmen
may be protected and their wrongs redressed. I ask for the vindication
of the rights of American citizenship in Georgia and everywhere beneath
our own flag upon our own soil._

        With great respect, your obedient servant,
          H. W. PIERSON.

      _United States Senate_.


Emancipation Day in Andersonville, Ga.

JANUARY 1, 1869.


This day so full of interest to the freedmen, so identified with the
name and fame of the lamented Lincoln, and so glorious in the history of
our country, was duly celebrated in Andersonville, Georgia.

If called upon to state what have been the instrumentalities at work
among this people that have led to what I think all must esteem a most
appropriate and beautiful celebration of the day, I must name as first
and most efficient the _School for Freedmen_, established here by the
American Missionary Association, in the fall of 1866, and successfully
carried on up to the present time. Its first teachers were Miss M. L.
Root, of Sheffield, Ohio, and Miss M. F. Battey, of Providence, R. I.,
who labored here for two years, with a Christian heroism, wisdom and
success that have left their names indelibly engraved upon the grateful
hearts of all those for whom they toiled. During the second year, Miss
M. C. Day, of Sheffield, Ohio, aided them, and was a worthy and
efficient co-laborer.

For reasons unknown to the writer, none of these ladies returned the
third year, but were succeeded by Miss Laura Parmelee, of Toledo, Ohio,
and Miss Amelia Johnson, of Enfield, Conn., who are carrying forward the
work so successfully inaugurated with undiminished success. The colored
people have become so impressed with the value of the school that they
are contributing to its support with increasing liberality and

As the schools for the freedmen are all suspended during the Christmas
holidays, a number of teachers and their friends, in other places, had
availed themselves of this opportunity to visit Andersonville. At a
social gathering at the "Teachers' Home" it was found that, including
the visitors, the clerks in the service of the government, and the
teachers here, there were present representatives of seven northern
States, and all were ready to unite heartily with the freedmen in the
celebration of Emancipation Day. They were Miss Russell, of Maine; Miss
Champney and Miss Stowell, of Massachusetts; Miss Johnson and Misses
Smith, of Connecticut: Mr. Pond, of Rhode Island; Mr. North, of Indiana;
Mr. Haughton, of New York; Miss Parmelee, of Ohio, and Rev. Dr. H. W.

The committee appointed to make arrangements for the appropriate
celebration of the day, anxious to make the fullest possible exhibition
of the loyalty of all who were to unite with them in its celebration,
determined that it should include (1st,) Services in the Freedmens'
Chapel; (2d,) The decoration of the Cemetery; and (3d,) The Salutation
of the "Dear Old Flag," at the depot.

All entered with alacrity and delight upon the work of preparation for
these services. The colored people ranged the woods to find the choicest
evergreens, and the young ladies, with willing hearts and skillful hands
wrought the most elaborate and beautiful wreaths from the Magnolia, Bay,
Holly, Cedar, and other boughs with which they were so bountifully
furnished. Songs were rehearsed, and all arrangements were duly

On New Year's morning a deeply interested audience met in the room
occupied both for school-room and chapel, and at 10 a. m., Mr. Floyd
Snelson, (colored.) President of the day, called the meeting to order,
and services were conducted as follows: (1.) Singing--"From all that
dwell below the skies." (2) Reading the Scriptures, by Miss Johnson, of
Enfield, Connecticut. (3.) Prayer, by Deacon Stickney, (colored) (4.)
Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, by Miss Parmelee, of Toledo,
Ohio. (5) Singing--"Oh, praise and thanks,"--Whittier. (6) Address by
Rev. Dr. H. W. Pierson. This programme having been carried out, the
entire audience was formed into a procession and marched to the
Cemetery, about half a mile north of us, under the direction of Mr.
Houghton, of Brooklyn, New York, Marshal of the day. That procession,
embracing so many happy Freedmen and representatives from so many
States, moving with so much order, and bearing such beautiful wreaths,
was certainly one of the most impressive and beautiful I have ever seen.
I am sure the sight would have melted tens of thousands of hearts could
they have looked upon it. Onward they marched upon their sacred mission,
singing at times most appropriate and beautiful songs: winding down the
hillside, crossing upon a single scantling the muddy stream that
furnished water for our own prisoners, passing near the rude cabin where
the blood-hounds were penned, in full view of the stockades where so
many thousands yielded up their lives, moving onward and up the gentle
elevation with slow and solemn tread, they at length reached the front
(south) entrance of the Cemetery, where the procession halted. On the
right (east) of the gate is a post and tablet in the form of a cross,
bearing this inscription: "National Cemetery, Andersonville, Georgia."
On the left (west) of the gate is a similar post and tablet, bearing
this inscription:

  "On Fame's eternal camping-ground
    Their silent tents are spread,
  And Glory guards, with solemn round,
    This bivouac of the dead."

A young lady, designated for the purpose, left the procession and hung
one of our most beautiful wreaths upon the cross above this inscription.

The gates were then thrown open, and the entire procession entered the
Cemetery. But how shall I describe the scene spread out before us as we
entered this solemn, silent city of the nation's dead? The Cemetery
contains forty-three acres, which are enclosed by a high board fence. It
is divided into four principal sections by broad avenues, running north
and south, and east and west, intersecting each other at right angles at
the center of the grounds. There is a sidewalk and row of young trees on
each side of these avenues. And then on either side of these avenues and
walks, what fields, what fields of white head-boards, stretching away in
long white parallel lines to the north and south, each with its simple
record of the name, regiment, and date of death of him who lies beneath
it. So they sleep their long sleep, lying shoulder to shoulder in their
graves as they had stood together in serried ranks on many a field of

Resuming our march, and moving up the broad avenue, with rank upon rank,
and thousands upon thousands of these solemn sentinels upon either side
of us, we find on the left (west) side of the avenue, a tablet with this

  "The hopes, the fears, the blood, the tears,
    That marked the bitter strife,
  Are now all crowned by victory
    That saved the nation's life."

We paused, and hung a wreath above this inscription, and then moved on
to a tablet on the right (east) side of the avenue, with this

  "Whether in the prison drear,
     Or in the battle's van,
  The fittest place for man to die,
    Is where he dies for man."

We hung a wreath here, and again our procession moved forward and halted
on the left (west) side of the avenue, at a tablet bearing the inspired

     "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit
     shall return unto God who gave it."

Here we placed another wreath, and moved onward to a tablet on the right
(east) side of the avenue, where we read--

  "A thousand battle-fields have drunk
    The blood of warriors brave,
  And countless homes are dark and drear,
    Thro' the land they died to save."

Another wreath was placed here, and we marched to the last tablet in the
north of the Cemetery, standing in the midst of a section of graves
numbering thousands, and inscribed--

  "Through all rebellion's horrors
    Bright shines our nation's fame,
  Our gallant soldiers, perishing,
    Have won a deathless name."

After hanging a wreath here, we marched to the center of the Cemetery,
and hung our last wreath upon the flag-staff from which the stars and
stripes shall ever float above those who died in its defence.

It was no place for speech. The surroundings were too solemn. Our only
other services were to unite in singing "My Native Country, Thee,"
(America,) and Rev. Dr. Pierson offered prayer. And so we decorated the
National Cemetery at Andersonville, Georgia. It was little, very little,
we did, but we could not do more, and we dared not do less. Here are the
graves of 12,848 "brave boys," who died as prisoners of war in the
stockades. Eight hundred and sixty-eight other soldiers have been
disinterred and brought here from Macon, Columbus, Eufaula, Americus,
and other places in Georgia, so that now this Cemetery numbers 13,716
graves. We could not decorate them all, and we dared not decorate those
of the States we represented, or of any particular class. We dared not
single out any for special honors. We felt that all were worthy of equal
honor from us, and from the nation they died to save. And so we
decorated the Cemetery as a whole, as best we could, and our tribute of
affection was bestowed equally upon each one of all these 13,716
hallowed graves. And most earnestly did we implore the blessing of
Almighty God to rest upon our whole country, and upon all the fathers,
mothers, sisters, brothers, widows, and orphans, whose "dead" we thus
attempted to honor.

It will gratify the relatives and friends of all those buried here, to
know that the nation is watching over their dead with pious care.
Hundreds of men have been employed in making the improvements already
mentioned, and many others I have not time to notice, and a number are
still at work. They are planting trees, making and improving walks,
placing sod upon the graves, and otherwise beautifying the grounds.

But I am detaining my readers too long from what I have already
indicated as the third and final part of our programme.

Day after day the starry banner, the banner of peace ("Let us have
Peace") is thrown to the breeze from the flag staff in front of the
office of First Lieutenant A. W. Corliss, near the Andersonville depot.
This is the most beautiful sight; indeed, almost the only beautiful
sight that greets the vision of a lover of his country here.

We wished to give expression to the warm feelings of our own hearts, and
also to make a demonstration of our loyalty and love for the flag in the
presence of the unusual concourse of people assembled at the station for
the business or pleasure of New Year's day.

Our procession was re-formed in the Cemetery, and taking the broad
avenue that has been constructed by the government from the depot, a
distance of about half a mile, we marched slowly back in the same order,
and singing beautiful songs, as when we came. A part of the way our
procession was in full view of the residents of the place, and the
visitors there. Fortunately, as we reached the depot, the passenger
train arrived from the south, and witnessed our loyal demonstrations.
Arriving at the flag-staff, the entire procession formed in a circle
around it, and sang with enthusiasm Mr. William B. Bradbury's "See the
flag, the dear old flag," with the heart-stirring chorus--

  "Wave the starry banner high,
    Strike our colors, never!
  Here we stand to live or die,
    The Stripes and Stars forever."

Mr. Snelson, the President of the day, then proposed three cheers for
the "Dear old Flag," which were given with a will. Three cheers were
then proposed for Lieutenant Corliss and others, which were given in the
same hearty manner. Other patriotic songs were then sung, and after a
brief prayer and the benediction, by Rev. Dr. Pierson, the audience
quietly dispersed.

So we celebrated Emancipation Day in Andersonville, Georgia. To all of
us who participated in it, it was a joyful day. We also hope our
services may gladden and cheer many other hearts all over our broad

NOTE.--I may be mistaken in the name of the Captain who made the brief
visit to Andersonville, February 10, 1869.--See page 17. I shall regret
if I have not properly honored one whose bearing was so gallant and
gentlemanly.                                             H. W. P.

Transcriber's Notes:

  Passages in italics are indicated by _underscore_.

  Additional spacing after some of the quotes is intentional to indicate
  both the end of a quotation and the beginning of a new paragraph as
  presented in the original text.

  The following misprints have been corrected:
    "aad" corrected to "and" (page 6)
    "Confedearte" corrected to "Confederate" (page 6)
    "immedately" corrected to "immediately" (page 14)
    "Andersonvile" corrected to "Andersonville" (page 17)
    "sacreligious" corrected to "sacrilegious" (page 17)
    "Govvernment" corrected to "Government" (page 21)
    "cherrs" corrected to "cheers" (page 28)

  All other spelling is presented as in the original.

  When referring to a specific county, the "c" in the word "county" has
  been capitalized for standard presentation.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Letter to Hon. Charles Sumner, with 'Statements' of Outrages upon Freedmen in Georgia" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files. We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's search system for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.