Skip to content

Letter John B. Floyd to General Samuel Cooper

Camp Jackson,  June 26, 1861

General S. Cooper:

My dear sir,

I desire to furnish the President with some facts relative to the state of affairs in this region of the State, which it is important, in my judgment, he should understand. The remnant of the Union shriekers in this southwestern part of the State cannot relinquish the idea of building up a political power and party which will control affairs here and in the State generally. An important object with them is to get control of the military organization whenever they possibly can, and to prevent any where they cannot.

In the county of Washington, at Abingdon, a military depot was established by the direction of the governor for the reception of volunteers from the counties of Lee, Scott, Russell, and Washington. A good many men convened there, and after being mustered into the service of the State were sent to Richmond. After this a colonel appointed by the governor (Colonel Moore) was assigned to the command of the post. He is a worthy, brave, and excellent man, of the strongest secession opinions. A major was sent there with him.

Recently Mr. John A. Campbell, the present submission, member of the Convention, from Washington County, has been parading the county with a view of raising what he calls “his regiment, and left the impression that he had received the commission of colonel from the governor. There was convened about two hundred men under different captains at the Abingdon post, who refused to be mustered into the service, but who desired to stay in camp at public expense, under their own organization, awaiting the appointment of Mr. Campbell to a colonelcy, and in default of that determining to disband and go home. This is an expiring effort to keep alive the influence of the Union party in the county, and to extend it, if possible, to the surrounding ones. Colonel Moore refused to issue rations to these people unless they would muster into service, which they refused to do, and disbanded.

That little village is the seat of all Union-shrieking influences, and they are exerted to their utmost upon all volunteer companies that come there. I am sure the best thing that can be done is at once to order away all the companies now there to Richmond, and to break up the encampment. Lynchburg will answer every purpose now for a receiving depot for all the west, and Colonel Moore could be assigned to duty in the field, which he would be glad of. If Campbell is allowed to get the commission of colonel, and to establish himself at Abingdon, it will exert a very injurious influence in this section of the State, by encouraging the Union spirit; now struggling for life in the county of Washington, but which is in the ascendency in the adjoining counties of Carter and Johnson, in Tennessee. The brother-in-law of this man Campbell is one of the prominent leaders of the Lincoln party in Tennessee, a coadjutor of Johnson, Nelson, and Brownlow, and any exercise of military authority by his brother-in-law in Virginia would prove extremely baleful to the cause we have so much at heart. I am afraid this long letter will worry you, but I know the facts and views it contains are important to this section of the country, and I did not feel at liberty to withhold them from the President.

I am, very truly, your friend,

John B. Floyd