United States' Brief of Mary Buie's Loyalty

United States Attorney's Summary

In the Court of Claims
John M. Buie
The United States
Transcribed by Linda Durr Rudd


The claimant herein, who resided in Lincoln County, Miss. during the late war, presented the claim, in the name of the widow, to the Southern Claims Commission, who dismissed the same in the following report.

This claim was originally filed by Mary Buie, the widow who has since died. It is not presented by John M. Buie who was appointed Administrator on his fatherís death in September 1862. It is a suspicious circumstance that the widow filed this claim instead of the Administrator, and the suspicion seems well founded, for three of the sons, including the administrator, were in the Confederate army, who, however, claims that he was conscripted and forced in, and soon after bought himself off. The testimony is meager and unsatisfactory but it seems that the loyalty of the parties in interest cannot be established. One of their witnesses testifies that although they were opposed to secession originally, when the title to their slaves, of whom they had a good many, was assailed, they sympathized with the Southern Cause. We reject the claim.

Since the reference of the claim to this court under the Bowman Act, the testimony of several witnesses has been taken which has been abstracted in the brief of the Attorney for the claimant.

John M. Buie, the Administrator, in whose name the suit is now pressed, was appointed Administrator of his fatherís estate (Daniel Buie) in December 1862. There has been no petition filed in this Court, but the petition before the Southern Claims Commission alleges the property to have been taken in April 1863, presumably from the possession of the Administrator John M. Buie.

The fact remains that the Administrator and two of his brothers were in the Confederate army. Of course there is the usual and inevitable allegation about conscription and about the service being involuntary and against their wills et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nausium. But they do not show any force or compulsion beyond the mere allegation of it, and, in the absence of such proof, the statement amounts to nothing.

It may be that these people were Whigs before the war and that at the inception of hostilities were opposed to the doctrine of secession, but, from the testimony, the conclusion is irresistible that, after the war began, and especially after the threatened emancipation of the slaves, they like all the southern Whigs, warmly espoused a cause which they had formerly opposed. And such, in effect, is the testimony of their witness Pleasant Hemphill.

Several witnesses give it as their opinion that the claimants were loyal, but upon reading their cross examinations, it soon appears that these opinions are worthless guides. For example Calvin Blue, who says he thinks claimant was loyal, says that John M. Buie was opposed to secession, but voted a compromise ticket which was regarded as favorable to the Union. He (witness) also voted that ticket and "I was much opposed to secession as any man could be from principal, I was a Union man. As a matter of course, I cast my lot with the Confederacy after the war broke out. Mr. Buie took the same basis on this matter as I did. he was opposed to war like I was and I was a Union man."

So his witness, B. F. Anding, says: "I was a Union man like Mr. Buie. I was not conscripted, but I would have been had I not volunteered beforehand."

No act of loyalty alleged or proven. I regard the allegation of loyalty as wholly without foundation in fact. The petition should be dismissed.

G. H. Gowan
Assistant Attorney


NARA - Record Group 123 - United States Court of Claims - Congressional Jurisdiction - Southern Claim File of Mary Buie - Case # 2568

Southern Claims Case of Mary Lemons Buie

Remembering Their Names