Southern Claims Commission
Claims No. 7515, John L. Fletcher
This document provided by Athol K.Foster
On December 8, 1878, John L. Fletcher (son of Moses and Elizabeth Foster Fletcher) who was living in Obion County, Tn. at Union City, gave a “Power of Attorney” to a Gilbert Moyers of Washington, D. C. and a G. E. Green of Jackson, Tn. to file a claim to the “Commissioners of Claims” under the act of Congress of March 3, 1871. The claim was for 12 acres of Corn, estimated at 80 barrels worth $240.00, that was taken by Federal soldiers who were members of Col. George E. Warring’s 2nd New Jersey Cavalry.
In the deposition John says that his brother in law (Thomas Dixon, possibly the husband of Louisa N. Fletcher) was a pilot for the Federal Forces in that area. John also stated that his brother (J. R. Fletcher) of Gibson County, had joined the rebel forces even though he had tried to convince him not to. An Isaac Foster was mentioned, but it is not known at this time who he is or if any relation. John also states that his Mother and Father were living in Perry County, Il. during the war.
There was a standing set of Questions that was asked of all claimants and witnesses in the deposition. Following are the Questions put to John and his answers. I have not included the questions and answers of the witnesses.
The following questions will be put to every person who gives testimony:
1. What is your name, your age, your residence and how long has it been such, and your occupation?
A. The deposition of John L Fletcher taken in Claims No. 7515. Witness being duly sworn to question No. 1 answers, My name is John L. Fletcher, age 45 years, residence, Union City, Obion Co., Tenn., has been for about 20 years. Occupation, Cabinet Maker and Farmer.
2. If you are not the claimant, in what manner, if any, are you related to the claimant or interested in the success of the claim?
A. I am the claimant.
The following questions will be put to every claimant, except claimants who were slaves at the beginning of the war.
3. Where were you born? If not born in the United States, when and where were you naturalized? Produce your naturalization papers if you can.
A. In Wilson Co. this State.
4. Where were you residing and what was your business for six months before the outbreak of the rebellion, and where did you reside and what was your business from the beginning to the end of the war? And if you changed your residence or business, state how many times, and why such changes were made.
A. I was residing at this place. I never left the neighborhood. Before the war I was working at the House Carpenters business. When the war came on I went to farming.
5. On which side were your sympathies during the war, and were they on the same side from beginning to end?
A. For the Federal Government all the time.
6. Did you ever do anything or say anything against the Union cause; and if so, what did you do or say, and why?
A. No I never did.
7. Were you at all times during the war willing and ready to do whatever you could in aid of the Union cause?
A. I was anything that they asked me to do, I always tried to do for them.
8. Did you ever do anything for the Union cause, or its advocates or defenders? If so, state what you did, giving times, places, names of persons aided, and particulars. Were the persons aided your relations?
A. I advocated the Union cause and took a wounded union soldier to my home and kept him until the Government officers came and took him to Columbus, Ky. I think he belonged to a Tenn. Reg. He was a (unable to read) and I believe that he was a Lt. He was wounded in the arm at this place by some rebels that run in upon them there was two union soldiers killed at the time. I believe it occurred in June 1863. I went and found him wounded and took him to my house and kept him all night and the next day when he was taken away. I boarded four Federal soldiers about two weeks without charge in Jan. 1863. They were of the first soldiers that came to this place after Gen. Forrest had captured it. That got here before their camp equipage and had no cooking vessels so they came to my house and eat. They belonged to a Missouri reg. I dont recollect their names. Adams S. Wright an asst. to the 24th Mo. frequently eat at my house under the same circumstances and other soldiers as they were passing without pay – they were not my relatives.
9. Had you and near relatives in the Union Army or Navy? If so, in what company and regiment, or on what vessel, when and where did each one enter service, and when and how did he leave service? If he was a son, produce his discharge paper, in order that its contents may be noted in this deposition, or state why it cannot be produced.
A. I don’t know that I had any except a brother in law (Thomas Dixon). He was a pilot for the federal army in this County. At that time he lived in this County. He now lives in Ills.
10. Were you in the service or employment of the United States Government at any time during the war? If so, in what service, when where, for how long, under what officers, and when and how did you leave such service or employment?
A. No Sir.
11. Did you ever voluntarily contribute money, property, or services to the Union cause; and if so, when, where, to whom, and what did you contribute?
A. Only as stated before.
12. Which side did you take while the insurgent States were scceding from the Union in 1860 and 1861, and what did you do to show on which side you stood?
A. I took the side of the Union and talked as long as I could in safety and voted against secession.
13. Did you adhere to the Union cause after the States had passed into rebellion, or did you go with your State?
A. I adhered to the Union cause during the entire war.
14. What were your feelings concerning the battle of Bull Run or Manassas, the capture of New Orleans, the fall of Vicksburg, and the final surrender of the Confederate forces?
A. I felt glad that the rebels was whipped. I thought good times was coming. I was glad when the war was over.
15. What favors, privileges, or protections were ever granted you in recognition of your loyalty during the war, and when and by whom granted?
A. I got passes all or lost except one which I put on file as part of my deposition. I know that I had a good many passes. I dont remember the names of the officers that gave them to me. I got passes and permits to by goods everytime I wanted them. I took the oath of allegiance which is herewith filed at the bottom of it was a protection paper which has been torn off and lost.
16. Have you ever taken the so-called “iron-clad oath” since the war, and when and on what occasions?
A. No sir.
17. Who were the leading and best know Unionists of you vicinity during the war? Are any of them called to testify to your loyalty; and if not, why not?
A. John Morgan Stephen, Isaac Foster, Geo. Isbell, J. B. Harrison, Nail Pursly decd., Wils Pursly decd., W. H. White, John J. Ward, J. F. Peck, H. A. Catron. Some of them will be called to testify.
18. Were you ever threatened with damage or injury to your person, family, or property on account of your Union sentiments, or were you actually molested or injured on account of your Union sentiments? If so, when, where, by whom, and in what particular way were you injured or threatened with injury?
A. The Rebels threatened to conscript me. I had to lay out to keep them from it. They got me once but I made my escape. I was threatened like other Union men of the County. A rebel took a horse from me. All the horse I had.
19. Were you ever arrested by and Confederate officer, soldier, sailor, or other person professing to act for the Confederate government, or for any State in rebellion? If so, when, where, by whom, for what cause; how long were you kept under arrest; how did you obtain your release; did you take any o9ath or give any bond to effect your release; and if so, what was the nature of the oath or the bond?
A. A Rebel Capt. Churchwell and about twenty five men in August or Sept 1864 came to my house and arrested me to put me in the Rebel Army & kept me about three hours. The weeds was very high at the time I slipped out into them and ran away from them. I took no oath and gave no bond.
20. Was any of your property taken by Confederate officers or soldiers, or any rebel authority? If so, what property, when, where, by whom, were you ever paid therefor, and did you ever present an account therefor to the Confederate government, or any rebel officer?
A. Nothing only the horse I mentioned. I never got a cent for him.
21. Was any of your property ever confiscated by rebel authority, on the ground that you were an enemy to the rebel cause? If so, give all the particulars, and other particulars connected with each transaction.
22. Did you ever do anything for the Confederate cause, or render any aid or comfort to the rebellion? If so, give the times, places, persons, and other particulars connected with each transaction.
A. I never did.
23. What force, compulsion, or influence, was used to make you do anything against the Union cause? If any, give all the particulars demanded in the last question.
A. Nothing, only the effort made to conscript me.
24. Were you in any service, business, or employment, for the Confederacy, or for any rebel authority? If so, give the same particulars as before required.
A. No sir I was not. They tried to hire me for a workman but I would not work for them.
25. Were you in the civil, military, or naval service of the Confederacy, or any rebel State, in any capacity whatsoever? If so, state fully in respect to each occasion and service.
A. No I was not.
26. Did you ever take any oath to the so-called Confederate States while in any Rebel service or employment?
27. Did you ever have charge of any stores, or other property, for the Confederacy; or did you ever sell or furnish any supplies to the so-called Confederate States, or any State in rebellion; or did you have any share or interest in contracts or manufactures in aid of the rebellion?
A. No I did not.
28. Were you engaged in blockade running, or running through the lines, or interested in the risks or profits of such ventures?
29. Were you in any way interested in any vessel navigating the waters of the Confederacy, or entering or leaving any Confederate port? If so, what vessel, when and where employed, in what business, and had any rebel authority any direct or indirect interest in vessel or cargo?
30. Did you ever subscribe to any loan of the so-called Confederate States, or for any rebel State; or own Confederate bonds or securities, or the bonds or securities of any rebel State issued between 1861 and 1865? Did you sell, or agree to sell, cotton or produce to the Confederate Government, or to any rebel State, or to any rebel officer or agent, and if so, did you receive or agree to receive Confederate or State bonds or securities in payment; and if so, to what amount, and for what kind and amount of property?
A. I never subscribed to any loan or owned any bonds or securities of the Confederate States or any Rebel State at anytime. And I never sold or agreed to sell Cotton or produce, horses, mules or any other thing to the Confederate Government or any Rebel State nor to any Rebel Officer or agent. I never owned any Confederate or State bonds or securities in my life. Neither did I ever make any coffins for any Rebel or other person. The Fletcher mentioned in the Archive office was not me. For I never owned but one mule in my life and but few horses. I made no Coffins for the rebel authorities or for any Rebel. I was at this place and vicinity during the whole war except a short time that I was in the State of Illinois to see my Father & Mother who were living in Perry Co. I was there from sometime in Dec. 1863 until Feb. 1864.
31. Did you contribute to the raising, equipment or support of troops, or the building of gunboats in aid of the rebellion; or to military hospitals or invalids, or to relief funds or subscriptions for the families of persons serving against the United States?
A. No sir.
32. Did you ever give information to any person in aid of military or naval operations against the United States?
33. Were you at any time a member of any society or organization for equipping volunteers or conscripts, or for aiding the rebellion in any other manner?
A. No sir.
34. Did you ever take an oath of allegiance to the so-called Confederate States? If so state how often, when, where, for what purpose and the nature of the oath or affirmation.
A. No sir.
35. Did you ever receive a pass from rebel authority? If so, state when, where, for what purpose, on what conditions, and how the pass was used.
A. Never did.
36. Had you any near relatives in the Confederate army, or in any military or naval service hostile to the United States? If so, give names, ages on entering service, present residence, if living, what influence you exerted, if any, against their entering the service, and in what way you contributed to their outfit and support.
A. I had a brother J. R. Fletcher he lived in Gibson county. I went to see him to keep him from going in the rebel army. He told me that he would not. The next I heard of him he had gone into it. I dont know how they got him in. I know that he did not stay long for he left & went to the state of Illinois where he staid until the war was over. He then came back to this county where he now lives. I think he was about 24 or 5 years old when he went in to the service. In 1862 and was at Island no. 10 where he left them. I dont know his command.
37. Have you been under the disabilities imposed by the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution? Have your disabilities been removed by Congress?
38. Have you been specially pardoned by the President for participation in the rebellion?
39. Did you take any amnesty oath during the war, or after its close? If so, when, where, and why did you take it?
A. Nothing only the oath of allegiance.
40. Were you ever a prisoner to the United States authorities of the United States during the war? If so, when, where, by whom, on what grounds, and when and how did you obtain your release?
A. No sir.
41. Was you ever arrested by the authorities of the United States during the war? If so, when, where, by whom, on what grounds, and when and how did you obtain your release?
42. Were any fines or assessments levied upon you by the authorities of the United States because of your supposed sympathy for the rebellion? If so, state all the facts.
43. Was any of your property taken into possession or sold by the United States under the laws relating to confiscation, or to captured and abandoned property?
The following questions will be put to all male claimants or beneficiaries who were not less that sixteen years of age when the war closed:
44. After the presidential election of 1860, if of age, did you vote for any candidates, or on any questions, during the war, and how did you vote? Did you vote for or against candidates favoring secession? Did you vote for or against the ratification of the ordinance of secession, or for or against separation in your State?
A. I voted against candidates for separation.
45. Did you belong to any vigilance committee, or comities of safety, homeguard, or any other form of organization or combination designed to suppress Union sentiment in your vicinity?
46. Were you in the Confederate army, State militia, or any military or naval organization hostile to the United States? If so, state when, where, in what organizations, how and why you entered, how long you remained each time, and when and how you left. If you claim that you were conscripted, when and where was it, how did you receive notice, and from whom, and what was the precise manner in which the conscription was enforced against you? If you were never in the rebel army or other hostile organization, explain how you escaped service. If you furnished a substitute, when and why did you furnish one, and what is his name, and his present address, if living?
A. Never was in any Army.
47. Were you in any way connected with or employed in the Confederate quartermaster, commissary, ordnance, engineer, or medical department, or any other department, or employed on any railroad transporting troops or supplies for the Confederacy, or otherwise engaged in transportation of men and supplies for the Confederacy?
48. Did you at any time have charge of trains, teams, wagons, vessels, boats, or military supplies or property of any kind for the Confederate government.
49. Were you employed in saltpeter works, in tanning or milling for the Confederate government, or making clothing, boots, shoes, saddles, harness, arms, ammunition, accouterments, or any other kind of munitions of war for the Confederacy?
50. Were you ever engaged in holding in custody, directly or indirectly, any persons taken by the rebel government as prisoners of war, or any persons imprisoned or confined by the Confederate government, or the authorities of any rebel State, for political causes?
51. Were you ever in the Union army or navy, or in any service connected therewith?
(There were several questions for witnesses and other claimants. If some numbers do not appear, the did not pertain to John L.)
The following questions concerning the ownership of property charged in claims will be put to all claimants, or the representatives of deceased claimants:
66. Who was the owner of the property charged in this claim when it was taken, and how did such person become owner?
A. I was the owner, I raised it.
67. If any of the property was taken from a farm or plantation, where was such farm or plantation situated, what was its size, how much was cultivated, how much was woodland, and how much was wasteland?
A. About a 1/2 mile from Union City. I had 12 acres in corn on rented land about 1 acre in a garden was all I had in cultivation. I did not own the land.
68. Has the person who owned the property when taken since filed a petition in bankruptcy, or been declared a bankrupt?
A. No I have not.
72. Were you present when any of the property charged in this claim was taken? Did you actually see any taken? If so, specify what you saw taken.
A. I was present when the corn was taken.
73. Was any of the property taken in the night time, or was any taken secretly, so that you did not know of it at the time?
A. In daytime publicly.
74. Was any complaint made to any officer of the taking of any of the property? If so, give the name, rank and regiment of the officer, and state who made the complaint to him, what he said and did in consequence, and what was the result of the complaint.
A. I went to Col. George E. Warring at Union City and asked him if he could not protect my corn the day after they began to take it. He told me first that he would put a guard around the corn & protect it, but they continued to take it. I went to him again and he told me that I would be paid for it.
75. Were any vouchers or receipts asked for or given? If given, where are the vouchers or receipts? If lost, state fully how lost. If asked and not given, by whom were they asked, who was asked to give them, and why were they refused or not given? State very fully in regard to the failure to ask or obtain receipts.
A. Col. Warring told me that he would see that I got my pay, but he went away without paying me or giving me any voucher or script.
76. Has any payment ever been made for any property charged in this claim.
A. I have got no pay for this or any other property or filed any other claim.
77. Was the property charged in this claim taken by troops encamped in the vicinity, or were they on the march, or were they on a raid or expedition, or had there been any recent battle or skirmish?
A. Camped at Union City near the cornfield.
78. You will please listen attentively while the list of Items, but not the quantities, is read to you, and as each kind of property is called off, say whether you saw any such property taken.
A. I will.
79. Begin now with the first item of property you have just said you saw taken, and give the following information about it. 1st. Describe its exact condition, as, for instance, if
corn, whether green or ripe, standing or harvested, in shuck, or husked, or shelled; 2d. State where it was. 3d. what was the quality; explain fully how you know the quality, and if estimated, describe your method of making the estimate. 4th. Describe the quality to your best judgment. 5th. State as nearly as you can the market value of such property at the time in United States money. 6th. Say when the property was taken. 7th. Give the name of the detachment, regiment, brigade, division, corps, or army, taking the property, and the names of any officers belonging to the command. 8th. Describe the precise manner in which the property was taken into possession by the troops, and the manner in which it was removed. 9th. State as closely as you can how many men, animals, wagons, or other means of transport, were engaged in the removal, how long they were occupied, and to what place they removed the property. 10th. State if any officers were present; how you knew them to be officers; what they said or did in relation to the property, and give the names of any, if you can. 11th. Give any reasons that you may have for believing that the taking of the property was authorized by the proper officers or that it was for the necessary use of the army.
A. The corn was green standing in the field, it was near fodder pulling time in this country. There was 12 acres in the field on rich land which would produce from 40 to 50 bushels to the acre. This corn would average about 8 barrels to the acre. Corn at the time was worth from 60 to 75 cts per bushel in U.S. money. Taken about 15th of Aug. 1863. They were two or three days taking it. By Col Geo E. Warring 2nd New Jersey Cav. The soldiers went into the field and gathered it. They carried it to their camps & fed it to their horses. There was all of Warrings command. Officers was with the soldiers. I was personally acquainted with Col. Warring. A. S. Wright asst. Gen. I talked with Col Warring & given what passed between us. I talked with no other officer about my corn. I believe it was taken for the use of the army because when they came they had no corn as soon as it was used up they went and got corn of other people in the neighborhood. I saw it fed to Army horses. and officers were present when it was taken. And further says not.
Signed: John L. Fletcher
Claims Commission’s Award:
John L. Fletcher received from the Claims Commission.
An award of $120.00.