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An Old Confederate Soldier Speaks His Mind to Democrats of Hawkins County, Tennessee

  Surgoinsville, Tennessee, July 14, 1934

I have been young, and now am old; 96 years of age and one of the three surviving ex-Confederate soldiers in Hawkins County. As many of the Democrats of this county had fathers, grandfathers or great-grandfathers in the Confederate Army, I take the liberty of writing this in behalf of the son of one of those who followed the stars and the bars of the Lost Cause.

From Kingsport, in the good old county of Sullivan, four splendid young men entered the service of the Southern Confederacy. After the final gun was fired at Appomattox the Confederates returned home to pick up the broken threads of civil life. With us the war was over; all we wanted was the chance to build back. Our property was destroyed and our future looked hopeless, but we went to work.

Then followed the darkest period in the history of our government. We were disfranchised. We were indicted in court as vile traitors. Many Confederate soldiers and sympathizers were murdered in cold blood. There was no law to punish the murderer of a "rebel." Our little property was stolen with impunity. The "bush-whackers" were in the saddle and riding hard. Rapine and violence were the order of the day. I do not mention these things to wave the bloody shirt, but only to illustrate what I am about to say.

I have mentioned the four brothers who served with me in the Confederate Army. They were Jonathan W. Bachman, J. Lynn Bachman, Robert L. Bachman and Samuel Bachman. Only three came back; Capt. Samuel Bachman having given his life to the cause he loved. Jonathan W. Bachman was a captain under Stonewall Jackson, and may I add, could a greater tribute be paid to any man? When the war closed he came to Hawkins County and made his home here. He was a minister of the gospel and preached at New Providence and Rogersville. He lived here during the troublous times I have referred to. Being a good soldier he was a good citizen. From the pulpit and in his contacts with his fellow man he preached the gospel of honesty and fairness; he condemned the persecution of the Confederates and their sympathizers. It was only natural that this should arouse the hatred of the ‘bush-whackers" and their supporters. His life was threatened but he was not to be deterred. Frequently he would preach with his pistol on the pulpit. He was like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land; a place of refuge for the oppressed and disheartened. His courageous preaching awakened the conscience of the victor and around him rallied such gallant Union soldiers as Captain John Wolfe, Major Thurman, and many other valiant and honest souls. We were saved from extermination and degradation. No man did more to save us than Captain Jonathan W. Bachman.

His son, Senator Nathan L. Bachman, is a candidate for the nomination for United States Senator in the Democratic primary of August 2nd, 1934. Must I say that I write this in behalf of Capt. Johnny Bachman’s boy? The Democrats of Hawkins County and of Tennessee owe it to this departed old soldier to vote for his son. I ask you to do it for him. It will show the appreciation we have for his work for us.

With me I have but a little way to go, and when I cross the river to rest under the shade of the trees I want to see Johnny Bachman and his brothers, Lynn, Bob and Sam and tell them how the Hawkins County Democrats paid the debt they owe.




(ROGERSVILLE REVIEW, Thursday, July 19, 1934)

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