Andrew Kaeiser's 1861 Letters
From the Gov. John Shorter 1861 December Administrative Files, SG6485, Folder 1
Transcribed by Peter J. Gossett
Marion, Ala., Dec. 7th 1861. Hon. John Gill Shorter, Gov. of Ala., Montgomery.
I inclose you a letter from Dr. A. Kaeiser, of Winston County. I hope the action of the military alluded to in Dr. K’s letter has reached you. I was present at the meeting & drafted the Preamble & Resolutions alluded to. The state of affairs in that county is really alarming, not, perhaps so made to the Government as to the few loyal citizens among them. I visited Winston in a tour to raise companies for a regiment. There are organized companies in the county which will regularly with the avowed purpose of defending the Union. I send you a copy of one of their circulars, marked "A." Many men in that county told me proudly, if they had to fight for anybody, they would fight for Lincoln. And without repeating I may say that the facts stated in the preamble of the resolutions sent you by Dr. K & the other gentlemen acting with him, are not only literally there, but they do not express the whole truth_ "the half has not been told you." Dr. Kaeiser is a very intelligent gentleman, as you may see from his letter, nor is he by any means a timid man or one to conger up imaginary fears. You will see from Dr. K’s letter that the citizens of Winston (the loyal citizens) have no confidence in Sheets, their representative, and whatever may be his late protestations of loyalty, they advise that he cannot be trusted. When his people change he may change, but so long as they are in a majority, there is no hope of a change in him. I would urge that something be done to strangulate the rebelion & treason in that quarter; & from all I could learn, when in that county, there is very little doubt but that they have regular communication with our enemies through East Tennessee. For instance, they spoke of the late bridge-burning in E. Tenn almost simultaneously with that foul and traitorous act. But I need not enlarge_ Nor need I make suggestions. I only add Something must be Done, & if I can serve my state in that quarter, command me, & I am ready to aid in suppressing the rebelion even by the sword, if necessary.
I shall be going in that quarter soon on interest connected with my Regt, & hope to hear from you soon, & especially would I like to be advised as to what course you intend persuing with those people. I am raising a Regt for the war, & should like to have the privilege of drafting about 400 of the Lincoln men of Winston.
Blue Spring, Winston County Ala Dec. 3rd 1861
Dr. P.C. Winn, Marion, Perry County Ala.
Please find enclosed the procedings of a meeting held by a portion of the citizens of Winston County, Ala. on the 30th day of Nov. 1861.
We make these statements in confidence not wishing our witnes made publick, unless it would become actually necessary for the good of the Confedracy; not that we fear any personal violence, but knowing these persons as well as we do we fear private injury; but if it should become necessary for the good of the State or Confedracy we are willing to shoulder the responsibility and risk the concequences.
His Excilency the Govrnor can enquire of Rev. J.A. Hill our Senator as to the character and standing of the persons whose names are embodied in the resolutions.
As to Sheets our Reprisentative he being the one? elected by their votes, and an avowed Unionist at home, would not be a riliable man to enquire of, and I have no doubt if aware of these procedings, would use it to our injury if in his power.
Since writing the above, we have news? of a threatened invasion of N. Ala. of the Tennessee river, from Kent. Conciquently we thought it best to send the prociding derict to the Gov. and request your cooperation and assistance to have the resolutions carried out; in fact we are of opinion it would be better to call out the whole mailitia of the mountain counties for the safety of the loyal citizens as our families would be in less danger if the unionists ware removed in any other portion of the State; and it will not do for the loyal citizens let their arms go to the army unless a good portion of the unionists ware removed; for I assure you unless something is done we shall have to protect ourselves against them.
They are already saying the Southern men are in danger, as Lincoln has promised them protection (the Unionists)
Yours with much esteem
P.S. If you cannot go to Montgomery please write to the Gov. immediately AK
Blue Spring, Winston County Ala, December 3rd 1861
John Gill Shorter
Gov. of Alabama
Please find enclosed the procedings of a meeting held by a portion of the citizens of Winston County ala. on the 30th day of November Ult.
We make these statements in confidence not wishing our names made publick, unless it should become actually necessary for the good of the Confdracy; not that we fear personal violence, but knowing these persons as well as we do, we fear private injury; but if it should become necessary for the good of the State or Confedracy we are willing to shoulder the responsibility and risk the consiquences.
Your Excellency can enquire of J.A. Hill our Senator and Judge Picket one of the Rep. from Lawrence, as to the character and standing of most of the persons whose names are embodied in the resolutions.
As to Sheets our Rep. he being elected by their votes and an avowed Unionist at home would not be a reliable man to enquire of, and I have no doubt if aware of these procedings, would use them to our injury if in his power.
We had made an arrangement with Dr. P.C. Winn of Perry County to to transmet these resolutions to him and he had promised to lay them before your Excellency and urge early attention to them; but recent developements in Tenn. Kent and the imminent danger of North Ala. renders speedy action necessary, therefore we transmit them to you.
At a meeting of a portion of the citizens of Winston County held this saturday the 30th day of November 1861, Dr. A. Kaeiser was called to the chair and J.M. Bibb Esqr was appointed Secy the chairman explained the object of the meeting to be the necessity of taking into consideration some measure for suppressing and holding in check a widespread spirit of disloyalty and rebellion, which is found to exist to an alarming extent in the County of Winston, and which if not checked by the intervention of the proper authorities must soon ripen into open hostility to the government of the Confederate States, & greatly endanger the safety of the loyal citizens of the County.
On motion of John York Esqr
The meeting resolved itself into a Committee to set forth the facts, & to memorialise His Excellency, the Governor of Alabama to interpose for the effectual suppression of the existing spirit of rebellion by all & whatever Constitutional & legal Authority he may be invested with for such purposes; and to this end the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted:
Whereas, according to the vote in the late election for Representatives, it appears that there are in this County only 128 Secessionists & loyal voters, & that there are about 515 avowed Unionists, who delcare themselves openly in favour of the Union; and whereas these said Unionists have formed themselves into volunteer Military Companies, for the purpose of defending the Union, and have banded themselves together in armed companies for the purpose of drilling & practising the use of fire arms in obedience to public notice a copy of which is hereto annexed marked "A," and whereas, the said Unionists having a large majority in the County, have invariable, whenever any vacancy occurred in any civil or military office, put forward their own men, which men, when elected have refused to take the oath of office, thus defeating the ends of justice & preventing the organization of the Militia according to the requirements of the laws of the Confederacy & Constitution of Alabama and whereas every effort has been made by the good citizens both by personal and public appeals to win the said Unionists to loyalty to the State of Alabama & the Confederacy; and whereas, by the special request of His Excellency Gov. A.B. Moore, the Hon. George S. Houston lately visited the County of Winston and made the most fervent and eloquent appeals to the said disaffected citizens with the hope of exciting in them a spirit of fealty to the government, and whereas all these efforts have not only failed to produce any good effect, but on the contrary it appears, that the spirit of rebellion grows more open and violent every day; and whereas, out of the 128 loyal citizens of the County, 70 are in the service of the army, but not one single man of the 515 Unionists has volunteered, but on the contrary, whenever effort is made to get volunteers, the said Unionists concert together to prevent it, and declare that they will fight for Abe Lincoln before they will fight for Jeff Davis; and whereas, strangers of suspicious character have been lately seen among said Unionists and from recent circumstances it is evident that they have communication with the enemy, & whereas from their late threats against loyal citizens, it appears that the lives and property of the few faithful men of the county are hourly in danger; now therefore in view of these facts, and many others which we might state,
Resolved 1st That we earnestly petition His Excellency the Hon. John Gill Shorter, Gov. of Alabama, to intervene by a vigorous exercise of the executive authority to suppress and strangulate the said spirit of disloyalty & rebellion.
Resolved 2nd That we recommend that each citizen of the county be required to take the oath of allegiance, & that all who refuse to do so be dealt with as Aliens.
Resolved 3rd That we recommend, if it can be constitutionally done, that a requisition be made upon the County of Winston for at least 250 soldiers for the Confederate Army.
On motion it was Resolved That a committee consisting of the Chairman, the Secretary and (22) twenty two other persons, to wit John York, Thos. M. Martin, Wm York, M.M. Moore, Van T. Davis, Joseph Davis, Millinton Ballard, Geo. Ballard, Ambrose Burns, D.J. McClesky, Thos. G. Poe, Geo. Wilson, Wm W. Beard, J.T. Noles, Saml Noles, Joseph Noles, Thos. Davis, Joel Manis, L.M. Doe, W.W. Fretwell, Early Fretwell, Daniel York be requested to forward the proceedings of this meeting to Gov. Shorter, and solicit his early attention.
A Kaeiser Chairm
J.M. Bibb Secrt
John Gill Shorter
Gov. of Alabama
This "inclosure" is really a circular that has a date of June 8, 1861 and was signed by W.B. Manasco, Silas Morphew, C.A. Taylor, A.J. Taylor, and A.J. Ingle. A quote from the circular: "All persons desiring to attach themselves to a union company to form a home guard for protection of our familys and property is earnestly requested to meet us at A.J. Taylors Store on the 14th Inst and at Wm Dodds Store on the 15th. Come one come all good patriotic Union men."