GEORGE LITTLETON vs. JESSEE MATLOCK & CLAIBORNE HOTCHKISS
CIRCUIT COURT - 1865
Compiled by Robert L. Bailey
After the Civil War, there are several court cases in which former Rebel sympathizers were sued for damages to property and person. These are examples of such cases. As time permits, more of these cases will be transcribed and posted.
Be it remembered that on this 11th day of July A.D. 1866. This cause coming on for trial - The Plaintiff to maintain the issue on his part, offered as a witness Isom FRITTS who was sworn and testified in substance as follows to wit. In 1862 I think 7th of August, me and George LITTLETON and some others were up near Loudon within about 6 or 7 miles, laying in the woods. There was a party come upon us - Think the party was commanded by Colonel WEAVER - They belonged to the Rebel army - we knew they were hunting for us. Col. WEAVER ordered us to surrender & said he had five hundred men, we surrendered & they took us up to camp at big Springs near Rays, we there then sent to Loudon and from there to Kirby SMITH at Knoxville, we were put in jail & remained about seven days & were then sent to Madison Georgia we arrived there about 19th of August & were kept there untill the 11th of November following - I saw Jessee MATLOCK at Loudon on the next day after our arrest, am not sure but I saw him before. Also saw him at Knoxville several times & saw him talking with George LITTLETON there once but did not hear what was said. I also saw him talking to the Rebel authorities at Loudon and also at Knoxville. I saw Claiborn HOCHKISS at big springs just after our arrest, and he said to George LITTLETON that he had hoped he would never see him again. LITTLETON replied that if it was not for the bayonets around there he would not say so. The Guard interfered & told HOCHKISS we should not be abused - he followed us to Loudon - They kept us some time & sometimes gave us good food & sometimes not - The prison we were in was not clean - There was lice There George LITTLETON showed me the first I ever saw. There was a sink or privy & when we went there The Guard would go along keeping their bayonets close to us and sometimes threatening to stick us or run us through - We were treated pretty well going through Georgia a ST. SMITH I think of Monroe County had charge of us we bought our provisions we went through Atlanta and got to Madison about 10 o'clock - The food they gave us in prison was poor and sometimes we would throw it away as not fit to eat - They called us Citizens and required us to cook. The bread they would give us would often be burned on one side and raw on the other - The meat was bad handled it sometimes with a pitchfork with a short handle - There was a great many lice - used to pick them off of Persons standing round - saw MATLOCK after our return we got back to Knoxville the 12th or 13th think the 12th I got home the 14th November. I dont know how we come to be discharged except what I was told. We were in communication with our friends up here when we were in Georgia - There were Petitions gotten up - here and think the LITTLETONS were released by that means. I think MATLOCK was a man of Influence with the Rebels. Saw MATLOCK the day after our arrest at Loudon and saw him talking to the rebel authorities and he seemed to be enjoying himself. Cross Examination - Me & LITTLETON had been in Kentucky before our arrest - George LITTLETON had been a Capt. in the Federal army & in the 1st Tennessee Infantry Regiment - Think he left Kentucky about the last of May - he did not come back here with me - I left Bryants when I boarded(?) near Burbonsville about 27th of May - George LITTLETON went to Kentucky about August 1861 after our return here I first saw George LITTLETON at Jimmy LITTLETONS about 1st June and I started with him, a part of the time at his house but most of the time in the woods. He was not dressed in uniform - he had arms a pistol and I think a gun, we knew about 1 or 2 hours before our arrest that they were after us - we kept ourselves concealed. Re Examined by Pltff. - Plaintiff was a citizen of the county - I think Pltff. did not act as Captain after his return to Tennessee He did not act as a federal officer - I believe Isham YOUNG acted as Capt. of that Company after LITTLETON come back to Tennessee and was ??? of the company when I returned to Ky what I did before our arrest. While at Madison Georgia there was at one time from Wednesday untill Friday week after we had only a little meal to live on - no meat George LITTLETON appeared to grow thin and pale - I do not know that he was sick - he was considered a citizen of Tennessee. Re Examined by Defts. I have no interest whatever in This suit.
Aaron CORMANA was then introduced by Plaintiff who testified under oath in substance as follows to wit - Know The Parties to this suit live in the 2d civil district and about a mile from Jessee MATLOCKS - Knew MATLOCK in 1862 I had a conversation with MATLOCK in 1862 about two weeks before George LITTLETON was arrested. He said he understood George LITTLETON was in there and he intended to have him out, said something about his hireing(?) some body to get him out. MATLOCK said he was afraid of him - said he meant to get the Texas Rangers to hunt him out if it cost him fifty Dollars - never heard him say any thing about it after the arrest - The last conversation was two or three days after the first. The first was at my house the last near his mill. Cross examined - The first conversation I refer to was at my house - it was then generally known in the neighborhood That Captain LITTLETON was in there and near my field - I had not seen him - MATLOCK said he was afraid of him - I dont think he said he believed LITTLETON was watching for a chance to kill him - Dont know about many being hid out there - The first conversation with me was about the 1st of August or a little before that - I think LITTLETON had gone to Ky. about 9th or 10th of August 1861 This conversation was in 1862. Re-Examined by Pltff. - MATLOCK come to my house and enquired if I knew where LITTLETON was, dont remember his stateing any other business - It was about a mile from my house to the river and MATLOCK lives on the other side.
Robert PRESTON was the introduced by the Pltff. as a witness who under oath testified in substance as follows to wit - I was at MATLOCKS saw mill dont remember just where it was and he told me that he gave Foss CORNETT fifty dollars to watch George LITTLETON and find where he was - that Foss CORNETT had watched where George LITTLETON got water, and that he had seen LITTLETON go over the hill into a ravine & that CORNETT had come back and told him and that he had went to the Soldiers at Rays Springs and reported them and the soldiers took him - This conversation took place a very short time after the arrest took place - I refer to when LITTLETON was arrested & taken south - He appeared mighty well pleased with LITTLETONS arrest. Cross Examined - The conversation took place at MATLOCKS saw mill - Dont remember what time in the year it was - my home is about one & a quarter miles from MATLOCKS - Foss CORNETT was the man that gave the information to him he said - I didnt know that George LITTLETON was at home, and I cant recollect any thing else that was said - I cant say what time of year This was said - Polly VAN was present - she had come there to mill the saw mill was not running The Grist mill was - When the conversation took place we were in the saw mill & I was sitting on a long.
Harvey N. DALE was next introduced by Plaintiff as a witness who under oath testified in substance as follows to wit - Know LITTLETON the Pltff. and Jessee MATLOCK - I was in Knoxville in 1862 - There were some men in jail and William LITTLETON came to me to go with Jessee MATLOCK there to try and get his son out - we applied to the Provo Marshal Col. TOOLE & he said we could have them by giving security - one of them was a son of Dr. LITTLETON & MATLOCK said he did into want him until the LITTLETONS came and took the oath - Col. TOOLE was willing to turn them all out if good security was given - MATLOCK objected and said if they were all turned out his life and property was at stake - The conversation with Col. TOOLE. Cross Examination - I went with Jesse MATLOCK to Knoxville to get some men out of jail - MATLOCK was willing that all Except George & Thomas LITTLETON might be let out - he objected to letting them out on the ground that if they were released his life and property was in danger - we did not get George & Thomas LITTLETON released and I went back afterwards to give the security & procured their release - and on applying to Col. TOOLE - he said he had received a letter from a prominent man near Loudon, and that they could not let out.
Mrs. Rebecca DIXON - was next introduced as a witness by the Plaintiff who testified under oath in substance as follows to wit - on 1st August 1862 at his mill Jessee MATLOCK told me he had some news said he had seen one of George LITTLETONS negroes grinding a scythe ready to go to work, and from that he believed his Master was at home or near there and he intended to have him hunted out. I had another conversation with MATLOCK a short time after - I went to the mill to get some corn ground & no one was there. I waited some time & MATLOCK come there I told him what I wanted he said he could not do it as he was going to Knoxville - he said he understood the LITTLETONS and FRITZ were about to get out and he intended to go up there and have them kept safe untill The Rebellion was put down - Cross Examination - I was at that time a very particular Friend to Jessee MATLOCK, we have had some difficulty since I have wanted him to do me justice - but if I cant get I will let it go.
H.J. BACON was next called as a witness by the Pltff. who under oath testified in substance as follows to wit. I heard some conversation between Esq. PATTON and MATLOCK about Geo. LITTLETON - Esq. PATTON was getting a Petition to have George LITTLETON released and he asked Jessee MATLOCK if he would sign it - MATLOCK declined to do it saying he was probably where he ought to be - PATTON then said to MATLOCK that he MATLOCK had once frustrated an attempt to procure the LITTLETON discharge & if he done it again he would whip him he said This in a rather a jocular manner I dont know whether PATTON had a petition then or not - MATLOCK said nothing in reply. Cross examined - Dont remember that he said he and Pltff. had a fight or that MATLOCK complained that LITTLETON had shot at him. Re Examined by Pltff. MATLOCK placed his objects on the ground of his fear of injury from The LITTLETONS and not on the ground of Politics - he seemed to be afraid of George LITTLETON. The Pltff. here rested and submitted his case - remarking to the Court that they would want to introduce some rebutting testimony.
The Defendants then submitted their case without offering any evidence - The Plaintiff Attornies thereupon called Capt. Henry CRUMBLISS as a witness and had him sworn and proposed to prove by the said witness that the Plaintiff George LITTLETON had resigned and was out of the army before the happening of the wrongs(?) complained of - To the reception of which testimony The Defendants by their attorney then and there objected on two several grounds, 1st that the case had been closed 2nd that if was not competent to prove said facts it was true in that way as there was record Evidence which might be furnished - Pltffs. Attorney Then Offered in Evidence & read to the court an Affidavit in the words and figures as follows to wit (Clk. here insert said Affidavit in full) and again insisted on their right to prove by said witness that at the time of the committing of the several wrongs complained of the Plaintiff was a Citizen & not a soldier - The Defts. continued their objections and the court over ruled the objections & allowed the witness to testify which he did in substance as follows to wit - I was Adjutant of the 1st Tennessee Infantry The 15th March 1862 - We never(?) were mustered into United States Service as soon as other Regiments as we had no Governor The United States Government recognized us just the same as any other troops in the service & paid us - George LITTLETON was a Captain in said Regiment and Resigned about the last of March or the 1st of April 1862 and his resignation was accepted by The Department Commander and he was regularly released from the service. Cross Examination The Resignation is Entered on the Company Rolls and they go up as report. Through the superior officers to Washington where they are kept. The acceptance(?) of the resignation is given to the officer and is the original document in the matter the roll has only an entry made from it and is only a report. I expect it was in April that he was out of the service - his place was filled by Capt. YOUNG in April 1862. The Court permitted the foregoing testimony to be received by the jury The defendant then and there by their Attorneys excepted to the decisions and action of the court in permitting the same. The Defendants then called as a witness Mathias WILLIAMS who under oath testified in substance as follows to wit - I was in Kentucky in A.D. 1862 was there in August 1861 and remained there untill 1863. I was a soldier under Capt. George LITTLETON and we used to say if the secest(?) come against us we would kill them our company made some threats against Jessee MATLOCK I dont know that Capt. LITTLETON threatened Jessee MATLOCK. The foregoing is the substance of the all the evidence given in said cause - and the cause was here submitted to the Jury. The jury after consideration returned into court and rendered a verdict against Jessee MATLOCK for the sum of Five Thousand dollars and found in favor of the Defendant HOCHKISS.