Andrew Johnson: Plebeian and Patriot

By Robert W. Winston | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
MILITARY GOVERNOR

At the August elections the Confederates conceded the election of two Union Congressmen from East Tennessee, T. A. R. Nelson and Horace Maynard. Shortly after his election Nelson was captured on his way to Washington. Maynard, however, was duly seated as a Representative from the State of Tennessee. This action of Congress was in line with the resolutions of July. Tennessee had not been out of the Union and could not get out. Maynard, a native of Massachusetts, had represented a Tennessee district in Congress for some years. His judgment was sound, he had been a Henry Clay Whig and he was devoted to the Union. Tall, and of swarthy complexion, with long black hair, he seemed of Indian extraction. Hastening to Washington, Maynard sought out Andrew Johnson, his old political opponent. The two straightway went to the President, as Johnson had already done. They wished arms for East Tennessee and they requested that a Union army be sent to protect the loyal citizens of that section.

Mr. Lincoln was impressed with the importance of complying with their request and of saving East Tennessee to the Union. Going to the War Department, he left a memorandum as follows: "On or about the fifth of October (the exact date to be determined hereafter) I wish a movement made to seize and hold a point on the railroad connecting Virginia and Tennessee, near the mountain pass called 'Cumberland Gap.''' This suggestion of Lincoln was forwarded to General Buell in Kentucky, but he temporized. Promising to obey orders, he finally notified the President it was impossible to do so. To seize and hold a position within the enemy's line would violate the first rule of warfare. The President, however, was not satisfied with General Buell's decision. He agreed with Johnson and Maynard that East Tennessee could be held if the

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