Tennessee State Library & Archives Nashville Tn. - Photostats Of Certified Copies - Ro1l 71 Confederate - Letter written by Thomas Beverly Herrin (probably supervised by Dr. Charles J. Bain of Camden Tn) to the Pension Board of Confederate Veterans to show cause why Thomas Beverly Herrin should receive his pension rights
March 1, 1920
To the Honorable Pension Board of Confederate Veterans
I write you as to the last letter in referring to my record of my soldering. I will restate and refer you to the proof that I made when making on filing my application for pension witnessed by J.B. Jones my orderly sergent and W.S.Brewer my comrade in my company; also ~ my recruiting officer and Judson Hargis my comrad in arms which should be on file in your office. Comrad Hargis is dead long since as well as Jones, but Steel and Brewer is still living and will test: that I was sworn in to the proper officer of General Bedford Forrest at Jackson Tenn. Dec. 18,1863 for twelve months only and I furnished my own horse, clothes and money and did not draw one of money or a suit of clothes from the Confederate government and I testify that my service began as a recruit under W.A. Steel in Nov. 1863. We tried to make our way to Decater, Ala., but could not get there for Federal troops between us and the place that we was to report where he received his furlow so heard that there was troops at Jackson, Tenn. We made our way there once and found General Forrest there and went to the provost marshall office to get a pass on on to Decater, Ala, but he said that we could not get to our place for Federal troops and sent us to Gen. Forrest headquarters and he examined us separately and that we could not get to our command but he was going south in a few days and he knew young soldiers like we looked to be so he called a sargeant to pilot me to the inspection general office and have me duly sworn in to the confederate service for travel which was done in good time and order, and we reported to Captain Barbee at the courthouse. Mcdonal*Batteran Forrest he went general post first regiment made up in Shelby county, Tenn. that is most of them good men and old soldiers, first lineman Cris Dance and all good officers and brave men we resided three days at Jackson, Tenn. then our*batsdan and two regiments was sent to Jackson Creek. there we met the enemy in full force and fought them all day, got several horses killed and several men and officers wounded, so we retreated out of the place and went through Denmark Xmas day and on to Big Hatchy river-had a hard fight near Sommersville Tenn. got several of our men killed, 75 prisoners then we went to LaFayette and Colyersville, Tenn. We forced the Federals out of Stackards for two days there then General Forrest got his wagon train and artillary through to Hollysprings, Miss. Down on Coldwater we got prisoners and rested four days. After ___? days our force marched and fighting, then Captain George made a detail of 30 men to carry the prisoners to Oxford, Miss. Steele and myself was given a dispatch to carry to Captain George and a letter to the provost marshall at Oxford and Captain George to send us or pass us on to Decator, Ala. So we made the trip in a bushwacking country, the coldest weather in Jan. 1864 that I ever saw, with my feet frost bit. We reported to Major Falconett at Decater in due time, then a detail of 12 men was sent to Sumerville, Ala. Sargent McCracken commandering the post there on provost duty for the winter.
Thomas B. Herrin's Letter to Pension Board of Confederate Veterans (Continued) So they did for a few days, but one morning I was ordered to report to the provost marshall office. I was reported as a spy and sent to Nashville and placed in prison until May 5, 1865 when all prisoners took an amnesty oath paroled and given Terms 0f Federation to Johnsville, Tenn. and I walked home--and now we call that oath the "damnasty oath". I was ordered to report every 30 days to Johnsville to the provost marshall until I was exchanged. I reported in June 1865 and told the marshall __?__ was free from reporting anymore in August 1865. I was arrested with comrad William Warmack and one private N.H. Smith and Scott Brewer with a civil warrant for arresting a union soldier, and our ~ had joined the Confederate Army in 1861, and his father a union man hired a substitute armed man, who died in a short time, Later, this said Alsup joined the Federal Army but soon deserted and came back home but remained armed and caused some (trouble until our orderly, J. B. Jones the prisoner's cousin went to his fathers by request to make terms of peace, but said. Eligia Alsup did not show up, but comes in sight of the house and waved a pistol at him and went back in hiding so all of us as above stated went to the house at daybreak next morning to arrest him, but he ran and fought until he was wounded and captured and disarmed but was sorry for him and got him paroled to stay at home if he would keep peace--but later on he was waylayed by his cousin, Fred Jones, a Confederate soldier and shot him in the back after sleeping with him the night before--Jones died five days later--it was later said that Jones was killed by Jones' friends; so his father to get revenge had us taken with a warrant by a sheriff with 25 deputies and carried before J.P.J. Finetton and also McDaniel who could hardly write his name and was appointed by Extra government Brownlow, but it was a find duty to arrest a peaceable and just citizen and taking his pistol and ammunition and sentenced to Davidson County jail as it was not a bailable case called battery. The jail at Nashville was overrun and the sheriff said to carry us back home and let us make for our appearance in court and ask us if we could give bond. We told him we could, but our sheriff and his three deputies carried us to the provost marshall and he let him send us to the Federal prison so we were placed there until our fathers employed a lawyer. In September we were taken out of prison and sent back to Camden, Tenn. and we employed another lawyer, a counsel in the Federal Army for one hundred dollars cash borrowed from a southern man, credit was in silver. Our case was called and we were ready for trial, but our prosecutor was ready to put it off and it was no job for us to give bond for our appearance. Next court our prosecutors wanted to put it off, the trial, again but insisted and our trial came and it went to a character case and they tried to prove us a band of thieves, but we proved by good authority that we were regularly properly enlisted Confederate soldiers of good and honorable character, and was cleared of all charges and honored by the court and by the jury that tried us. Now this was not done in ______? but in ____? court so mighty God, Amen. So I have wrote you already and set up all the proof that you have asked me for but one, and that was as to my whereabouts from Dec. 20, 1864 until you say I was arrested and taken the oath to get out of prison May the 5, 1865. Now I certify that if I had not done anymore service as to time stated I had duly and truly served out my time as to oath to my country, but I did this
Thomas B. Herrin's letter to the Pension Board of the Confederate Veterans (Cont.)
secret service as stated and could not do anything else under the established circumstances so how can you expect me to prove what you ask me in your last letter when my comrades and parties that had this matter in hand. Now if you will not hear me or believe me or my living witnesses. I have no home of my own. I gave it up to pay my debts made when in bad health in year 1895. I went west and stayed 2 years and one month and come home to somewhat improved in health, and am now peddling and buying junk to try to keep soul and body together. Now when I get disabled to work and my pension is gone I have been thinking of going to the home of the old soldiers, but it would not be prudent for me to go there after the disgrace that I have brought on the name of the old soldiers, but I have a place of home and a home at the Widows and Orphans Masonic home. I have been living with my grandson in laws for 2 years and will not stay any longer unless I could pay part on board. My hearing is very bad and my eyes are not good and my legs are weak, but I have the grit to get up and walk on my job so this is the truth of the whole matter, and if this is not satisfactory to the board plase let me know if it will be so kind as to state what is lacking yet. So I remain your most obedient servant for success.
Note: This letter was possibly dictated and transcribed in the office of Dr. Charles J. Bain, Physician & Surgeon Camden, Tenn. as it was written on the doctor's stationary heading.