MEESVILLE, BRADLEY COUNTY, TENN., July 11, 1861. President DAVIS.
SIR: The startling state of the public mind in this country lying as it does upon the Georgia boundary impels me to again importune your early attention in some effective manner to this section of the South. It is fortunate that we are not now left to conjecture the purposes of the Union men in East Tennessee who are in arms, or the probable number of them in this county. On a Sunday, July 7, an alarm was given that a troop of secessionists had entered the county to disarm the Union men. By some means unknown to our friends here in twelve hours near 1,000 Union men were in arms at different rendezvous and disclosed a most complete organization, secret hitherto in its character and numbers. The alarm proving to proceed from a mere jest the party immediately dissolved only to hold themselves in readiness at like short notice to rally again with their rifles and shotguns and with such ammunition as they have.
I must assure you that from the Georgia line to Cumberland Gap a like feeling to that here developed exists and not the slightest obstacle could be interposed by the Southern men so overwhelmed are they by numbers to the movement of Lincoln’s troops should they enter our territory in the direction of Georgia; nei- ther can we unaided strike a singly blow with any effect to suppress an out- break which may any day occur here.
If it be true as we understand that a large majority of the people of Eastern Kentucky are like to our East Tennessee people then may an army move from the Ohio River to the Georgia line (north) without the slightest impediment from our present defenses.
Can you not take action to avert disaster now so threatening not only to the true men in East Tennessee but so demoralizing to the great movement of the South! No moral influence of any kind whatever will do it; physical power when exhibited in force sufficient may and I believe will prevent it.
WILLIAM G. SWAN, Knoxville, Tenn.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. I, p. 828.