Thomas Francis Haile (Jan.7, 1816-Jan. 9, 1865) was partner in the store in Flynn's Lick on the Cumberland.  He had married Elizabeth Gipson, whose family still lives there.  She lies just off the road south of town, looking out over a deep valley to the mountains beyond.  Her husband remains in the prison ground at Camp Chase in Columbus Ohio, where he succumbed to pneumonia, his grave marked with a Federal stone to "Tom Hale."  The story goes that the local resistance in the Cumberland Valley had supplies from Tom's store. Federal soldiers are said to have come to his home and taken him away in chains.  This story is credible, as Camp Chase was originally used for political prisoners only (Tom was well into his forties before the outbreak of hostilities).  Before long every prison was crowded with all sorts, and by war's end they had become unspeakably fetid, filthy and disease-ridden.  Few survived.  Tom's son, who  carved the family name on his father's coffin, recalled his father's last words to him:  "Always tell the truth, Tom, to a hair's breadth."

        The following scraps from the Jones & Haile store
incorporate a typical formula for making payments at a time when gold was legal tender (prior to the fiat currencies issued by the Confederacy in 1861, and the Union "greenbacks" after 1862). The first note reads:

$125.  One day after date I promise to pay Thomas Hale One Hundred and Twenty five Dollars One half of the debt the Bank of Tennessee had against Charles Hopkins.  for valueRecd.
this April 4th 1859
                            Thomas F. Jones

The second reads:
        One day after date I promis to pay Thomas F. Jones sixteen dollars for value Recd.  this note which is be credited on his Blacksmith acct with me [?] in the [?] Year [?] 1858 of this Febr 22 1860
                                                    Thomas Haile (seal)
                                                     Joshua Haile Jr

The note above reads:
    Flynns Lick Ten.
            Sept 28 / 59
Twelve monts from the 25 of December next I promis to pay Jones & Haile Six hundred dollars for val. recd of him  this Sept 28 / 59
                                    Thos Haile (seal)

       That is about all we know of Tom:  that he was a storekeeper in the village of Flynns Lick who died in Ohio at a Federal prison among political detainees and, soon, mainly for Confederate soldiers.  The conditions in the prison probably caused his death in April of 1865. 

    Tom's store seems to have sustained his widow after his death.   His father, Amon, on the other hand
had lost everything to the War.  In debt, in need of immediate money, Amon sold a parcel of land to his daughter-in-law in May of 1867.  He took partial payment in gold, part with Elizabeth's sorrel mare, and she gave him her note for the balance.   Amon and Elizabeth recorded their transaction before a witness, but deferred drawing up title until her son, resp. Amon's grandson--the lawyer Joshua--should return from his practice in a neighboring county.  In September, before young Joshua arrived, Amon was reported killed by a falling tree.

       That Elizabeth eventually had to go to court to obtain title to her land provides us with some useful records, but  may also tell us something about attitudes and conditions
in Tennessee at the time.  She had lost several members of her family, including her husband and at least one son.  Another son, Lafayette, came home an emotional cripple.  Several of her other children left Tennessee for good.  Her generation might have felt even more devastated by war than did the generation of my own parents by that horror which began with the "Holocaust" and ended in "Armageddon,"  killing some 407,316 American boys in Europe and in the Pacific theater.

Deaths in the War

          In the invasion of the American South, the Federal Army itself lost nearly that number from its own ranks: 359,528. The Federals killed an additional 198,524 boys from the defending armies.  Merely counting up the fallen on either side does not of course reflect proportionate losses, because the northern states had more than double the population of the Confederacy.   To place the numbers in context, therefore, we would have to compare the males of military age, estimated at 4,070,000 for the North and 1,140,000 in the Confederacy.* That would mean eighty-eight boys of every thousand were sacrificed to the invasion of the South, while more than twice that many died defending their homes:  a hundred seventy-four per thousand.
by Shelby Foote, The Civil War (Random House, 1986), I, 61, who excludes slave youths.

        And the numbers only begin to tell the story, for this became a war against the population.  Mr. Lincoln's was the first modern military to renew the ancient terror practiced by the hosts of Hannibal, Marius, Sulla and Julius Caesar, commanders who laid waste their enemy's means of subsistence and routinely put
families to the sword.  The  United States generals' self proclaimed program of pillage, rape and arson was a throwback all the way to those legendary words of Alexander the Great as he publicly cast his sword upon the conquered scales of justice:  vae victis, "woe unto the defeated!"

        The slow triumph of Christendom over many centuries at last led to d
isavowal of that savage doctrine.  By the time of the founding of the United States the sanctity of civilian populations had at last become firmly ingrained in the military mind and culture.  The young British Colonel George Washington was mortified by an accusation that he had not honored the surrender of French troops after a battle on the Ohio River in 1756.  In any case, Washington's later conduct of the Continental Army exemplified the Enlightenment insistence upon honorable treatment of prisoners and humanitarian protection of civilians.  During this same struggle for American independence, Thomas Jefferson is said to have played violin duets with English officers, and to have allowed that "even the great cause which divides our countries must not lead to individual animosities."  Another example of the humane tradition shows up in Sam Houston's solicitous care for Mexican camp followers after Santa Anna's defeat in1836.  A Christian view of war seems finally to have emerged.  It called upon belligerants to set aside notions of "justice" or "revenge" in the treatment of noncombatants.  Lincoln's policy (as current Lincoln scholars agree) was more in line with the dictum of Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831), the Prussian general who theorized that war is a mere continuation of policy, by other means. 

The Laws of War
       Perhaps Lincoln had not read Clausewitz, but Lincoln did hear of the series of public lectures being held at Columbia University in the fall semester of 1861 on "the civilized laws and usages of war" by the Swiss scholar Francis Lieber.  Lieber had in the previous summer been dispatched to Washington to award the President an honorary degree.  The two men at that time spent about a half hour in conversation.  Lieber was of course quite familiar with Clausewitz, from whom he drew the conviction that virtually all "other means" are legitimate for bringing war to a rapid and successful conclusion, including starvation, siege of cities, etc.  Lincoln comissioned Professor Lieber to prepare a comprehensive summation of the "laws of war."  Lieber moved to Washington so as to begin the assigned task immediately.   He divided his opus into 10 sections with 157 articles in all.  Lincoln issued it in April of 1863, as GENERAL ORDERS NO. 100.  It was as if Lincoln were taking the opportunity to authorize Sherman's frightful depredations a year in advance.  See John Fabian Witt,  Lincoln's Code.  The Laws of War in American History (Free Press, 2012).

       By this time, Lincoln's own understanding of warfare had matured.  Already in the previous December, at the same time Lieber was working through the nights on Lincoln's GENERAL ORDERS NO. 100, the Confederacy had followed bloody Sharpsburg with decisive victory at the Battle of Fredricksburg.  Recognizing that his enemy was commanded by superior generals, Lincoln had at last removed McClellan from command of the Army of the Potomac and cast about for commanders less queasy about combat with their fellow Americans. The president was forced to recognize that the people in the South sincerely desired separation from the North, and
in emulation of the Minutemen of old were skirmishing in resistance to the invaders.  This was called at that time "guerilla," or "little war."  It proved to be a phenomenon with a life of its own.

           Not only was Lincoln's understanding of the Southern opposition developing.  The Union's declared purpose for the invasion had become different, too. In his Inaugural Address Lincoln had disavowed any intention to tamper with the institution of slavery.  He declared that his sole purpose was to preserve the Union. 

I do but quote from one of [my] speeches when I declare that "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations, and had never recanted them.

This was on March 4th, 1861.

       By the subsequent spring, Lincoln was contemplating a proclamation freeing those slaves behind Confederate lines, and discussing it with his cabinet.   He said such a proclamation lay within his war powers as commander-in-chief, i.e., was a matter of tactics legal in wartime. But at some point Lincoln's sentiments did shift from those of a Kentucky boy who accepted slavery, to those of an abolitionist who espoused Emancipation as a worthy cause. These sentiments were internalized as a sacred mission.  Lincoln now looked upon fellow southerners as the enemy, a people whom he must defeat at war.  Emancipation thus evolved from just a military tactic, into an exalted goal.  As such, it obviated traditional constraints. More than that:  mere defeat of the Confederacy could not now end the War.   Mere preservation of the Union, as declared in the First Inaugural, was now merely a first step on the way to the higher mission.

We may read with tears today the exchange at Appomatox between Generals Lee and Grant.  Both men write so longingly of peace.  But when it comes to stipulating a proposed conference, the Union general must limit protocol to acceptance of surrender from the Army of Northern Virginia (albeit on startlingly generous terms).  For the War was by no means over.  Wartime powers and martial law had to remain in force.  Southern states were to be occupied for another dozen years, and the former Confederate states were to continue without representation until the 13th and 14th Amendments had fundamentally altered the legal relationship of states to the Union.

        Amon and Lockey are buried at Brown's Cemetery, just on down the road from where Elizabeth lies.  Elizabeth's fortunate family has not yet again been scourged by war, nor has a mother lost a son to war since Lockey's Tom died in Federal prison.  For any reader who may be equally innocent, I offer a remark of the already cited Francis Baily, who toured Tennessee while Amon was still a small boy there.  Commenting on the American secession from the English crown, Baily was so indignant at British destruction of the Princeton library that he compared his own fellow Englishmen to the Goths and the Vandals, then went on to generalize on the horrors of any invasion:  "The conduct of the Goths and Vandals is generally held up as an example of the bad effects and unbounded devastation of an unprincipled banditti; but we shall find that in most countries, when a state has been overrun by an invading enemy, the conquering soldiers . . . are generally made up of the dregs of society . . . and in modern times we have too many instances of both falling sacrifices to their unprincipled habits and inveterate fury."   Elsewhere, Baily refers to the American War of Independence as a "fratricidious war."  I think Baily's was a better term for the terrible onslaught which historians now call the American Civil War, for the vanquished were not mere losers, but were notorious miscreants.

       Vae victis! remained the watchword for so long as the South was administered
under martial law by an occupation army , i.e., until the 1877 Compromise whereby the disputed election (Tilden v. Hayes) was settled by granting Rutherford B. Hayes the presidency in return for the withdrawal of Federal troops from the South.  Vae victis! may indeed still in the 21st century motivate Federal measures on voting rights in the Southern States.

        President Lincoln's revival of the ancient concept of total war also had far reaching consequences, perhaps as early as
against the Indian squaws and papooses at Sand Springs in 1864, but probably also for later Federal prosecution of Indian warfare, including Wounded Knee as late as 1890It can certainly be argued that the behavior of those Federal troopers was not planned, or ordered by their officers, or directly inspired by the example of Sherman's vaunted command to sack and to burn homes and crops across Georgia before the winter of 1864.  But Curtis LeMay's ingeniously devised firestorms in population centers, 1944-45, clearly did represent long-term United States strategy.  Nor has the 21st century seen the end of terror as policy.  It remains the military strategy of those who believe in their cause.  One need not be a pacifist to deplore it.

         This was the term used by the historian Cornelius Tacitus for Roman life after the civil wars in the last century B.C.:   [Constrained by]


ackson County court house records of the 1870s
offer glimpses into whar that was like.  We see families devastated, the countryside desolate.  Eastern Tennessee, its sentiments divided between Federal and Rebel, constituted "the theater of a large guerilla," to use a word first attested in the London Times of 1862.   By 1877, a witness before a Jackson County court is using the same word, but in its current meaning:

 The condition of this county from 1862 to the latter part of 1865--law was in abeyance. The society of this county was in bad condition, thievery and pillaging was common. There were roving bands of guerillas all through this country.

. . . When we captured a guerilla it was our custom to kill him.

Another testifies:

The rebels first had possession of that section of country, then the Yankees and then they alternated and towards the close of the war the Yankees had possession all around that country.

One returning soldier explains why he dare not show his face:

We had been in the Rebel Army and did not consider it safe to come home on account of slaves and other Federal souldiers.

(his testimony reminds us that  most Union volunteers had by now been released from the army and their places taken by Freedmen). 

The courts of the Confederacy had long been disabled, all sorts of documents rendered invalid, e.g.,

In 1863 although courts were closed, Brewington procured judgment on said note with interest before one Terrill Byrenn who was pretending to be a J. P. of said county or was carrying on some kind of a court in a Government controled  by Rebels called by some a Southern Confederacy and by others Dixieland. He had no remedy... proper remedy is a Court of Chancery. 3 April 1866.

Just across the border to the north, a young school teacher had joined the Kentucky Cavalry.  His name was Landon McMillin.  In April of 1865, just weeks after Lee's surrender at Appomattox, McMillin visited his mother's home in TennesseeThe scene appears to transpire at a typical "dog trot" house, with two rooms  set on either side of an open hallway leading between front and back porch.  Constructon was typically of split logs.  His wife gave testimony about a decade later:

  STATE OF TN VS. JOHNSON, JOHN T.  CIRCUIT. 1873.  Deposition taken: 12 Jan. 1876.  DEPOSITION: CATHERINE MCMILLIN, JR.  I am the widow of Landon R. McMillin, for the killing of whom defendant John Tom Johnson and others are indicted and for which defendant is now on trial. The homicide took place early in the morning of the 26th April 1865 . . .  Early in the morning I went out to feed some chickens . . . I saw three men riding up fast. I turned and walked toward the house and when I got behind some shrubbery I ran. I got to the door, and when I got to the door in the hall, the three men were at the gate, and had their pistols cocked and pointed right at me. They said come here, come here quickly, who are you talking to there? They asked me several times, and asked who I was talking to, and who was in there. I knew one of them, to wit, James A. Dixon. He did the talking. All had their pistols cocked and had them pointed at me. They came in at the gate. As they were moving around me, Dixon asked me if Landon McMillin was in there. They had (unreadable) me, and I got nearly to the gate before they got in. Said if he was, would you hurt him. He said no; all he wanted is his pistol. Said I, stop then, I have it and will go and get it. We were then hurrying into the house and by that time had got into the porch. Landon was in the room south of the hall. There was a door into the hall and one opening into the porch west. There was a door entering the north room from the hall. I turned towards the latter, to go and get the pistol. They stopped now and told me to tell him (Landon) to come out, they wanted to talk with him. I then went to the south room and to the door opening on the porch west. I tapped on the door. He opened it, I told him it was Dixon and two other men, and they said all they wanted was his pistol. He said go get it, and give it to them. I turned to the north door in the hall again. They said tell him to come out, we want to talk with him. I looked at each in the face, to see if I could trust them. Then I said to Dixon, will you give your word of honor that you will not hurt him? He said yes, I have already said it. I went to the door and tapped on it. Landon opened it. I went in and told him they said come out, they wanted to talk to him and gave their word of honor that they would not hurt him. He said here, they will want this, and handed me his pocket book. He then pointed to Frank Goodbar's pistol, sticking in pillow slip, with some cotton in it. It was on the floor under the foot of the bed, that is the pillow slip. He and I walked out of the west door together. They were all standing together. Dixon said to me, get that pistol and get it quick. I then went into the north room and upstairs and got the pistol and came down. Mother, Catherine McMillin Senr. was sitting by the fire. I told her Landon was out there and some soldiers with him. She rose and went out with me. They were all standing at the same place and (unreadable) was together. I handed the pistol to Dixon. He said where is the ammunition. I told him there was none that I knew of. He looked at Landon and said where is your cavalry saddle? As Landon commenced speaking, Dixon shot him, rather in the left side of breast. Landon threw his hand to his side and turned to go into the west door, from which he came. I jumped between and threw Dixon back as far as I could send him. The other two immediately caught me and jerked me out of the way. Then Dixon shot again, and still fired the third shot before Landon reached the door. Landon fell in the door, or rather across it, with his feet pointing north and his head south. There was blood on the door and the casing, as if he had attempted to catch it in falling.  Dixon followed him in. I was screaming and struggling to get loose. Mother came up to help me and got me loose. I told her to go to Landon, that they would not let me. She went and squatted down by him. There was one of them who wore long hair which I now recognize as defendant Johnson. I am sure he is the man. He and the other was still holding me. They gripped me so hard that my wrists were black next day and were paralyzed. Defendant Johnson let loose his hold at that time and went to the door and shot in twice. His upper lip, that is Landon's upper lip, was cut with a bullet, and two bullet holes went in the floor in a slanting direction and just beyond his head, where he lay. Papa came out in his night clothes. He was old and feeble--not able to dress himself. He said what are you robbing her for. I said Papa, they are not robbing me, they have killed Landon. He said men, you have done wrong and if my boys were here they would kill you. Dixon had been in the room, in which Landon was, all that time. Dixon stepped towards Pappa and talked some to him. He then started towards the gate, and said hold her. The other was still holding me. They got half way to the gate, then the other let loose. I then sprang into the house, ran to Frank Goodbar's pistol, and got it. As I raise up with it, Vickers had his cocked and put it against me and said if I cocked it, he would blow my brains out. I said I would kill you if I could, you have killed my husband. He said I never shot. I know that but you held me till the others did it. Said I would kill you if I could. He had me by the arm with the pistol against me and I had him by the sleeve. Mother came up then and shook him and said look at me, for God's sake don't kill her, for her sake don't kill her. My hand was so deadened that I could not cock the pistol, could scarcely hold it in my hands. Then Dixon and Johnson ran back and reached me and ran the pistol out of my hand. All then turned and started out. I followed them to the porch door. I said Dixon, why did you kill him. He said he would have killed me. I said he would not, he would have murdered no man. I remarked that I wished God would strike them with lightning, that I would kill them if I could. They galloped off, up the lane, towards where Milton McMillin lived.

Why did they kill Landon McMillin?   To remain free from preconception, our inquiry must often forego asking "why?" Perhaps we must be content merely to learn what exactly happened, leaving even this modest, provisional question open.  For example, did the killers think the War was over?  As we have seen, when the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered a fortnight earlier, no peace had been accepted.

        According to the records, the trial of John T. Johnson was transferred from Clay County, where McMillan's killers might not get a fair trial, to Jackson County.  It ended in a hung jury.  There was partly contradictory testimony that McMillan had acted as a "spy" and a "guide" for the Union (he was a Federal cavalryman)--on the other hand, that he had protected some Rebels from a nearby Federal threat.  There is repeated testimony that McMillan had commissioned a search for the same men whom his wife here identifies.  This may be consistent with Dixon's retort that "He would have killed me."

         Tom's younger brother, Dudley Brown Haile, serves as a reminder to us that the American frontier was deeply religious.  Back in Virginia, the Browns, the Littons, the Hailes--all descended from the Church of England--had met up with Presbyterians, like the McClures.  These were people  of Calvinist backgound, much interested in doctrine, and sometimes even querulous.  Take the seven sacraments of the Roman Church as an example.  Already in England they had been reduced to just two:  Holy Eucharist and Baptism. The Eucharist itself had been hotly contested for a generation or so.  While Thomas Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer brought over by the settlers still defended the"true presence" of Christ, it conceced the ceremonyto be just an "outward sign."  By early colonial times, focus had shifted to the other remaining sacrament, Baptism.  The Reverend John Smyth (d. 1612) insisted that this outward rite had to occur as an inward transformation of the self so profound as actually to constitute a rebirth.  These so called Baptists would abide only one book and accept no model other than the original Apostles. They hewed to total immersion, just as in the third chapter of Matthew.  A Pennsylvania Presbyterian about Amon's age, Alexander Campbell (1788-1866), even rejected infant baptism, holding that becoming a Christian must be a considered act.  One of Amon's sons was drawn up into the Campbellite movement, sometimes called the Restoration.


       Although Dudley was a full-time farmer and made his entire living from the soil, he was
celebrated  in Tennessee for preaching the Campbell doctrine.  Dudley's religious commitment was not unusual among backwoods families.   His great grandfather had founded a Baptist church in the Watauga valley.  His great, great grandfather had been that strong supporter of St. Paul's in Baltimore whom I call Nicholas of Bedford because he had joined the Quakers and followed them to Virginia.

       These "overmountain" generations bring out a quality on the frontier not yet noted by Francis Bailey when he compared the Carolinians with their British contemporaries.  The Hailes are now born again Evangelicals who set up independent churches.  For more than two centuries, Evangelicism and independence remained pronounced in America.  --Now I am generalizing, like an historian.  These backwoods people have to count on goodness, honor, and natural morality in their  neighbors.  This necessity affects their religion and their outlook.  As a consequence, they begin to find government--beyond its office of policing vagrants,crooks, and newcomers--dispensable.


        In conclusion, I revert back to the beginning of this section:  Who is Joshua Haile jr., that cosigner of Tom's draft inserted above from the Jones-Haile store?  I would guess that he is Tom's older brother, but he might be a paternal uncle, or even Tom's cousin or a nephew.  Filial piety toward that Joshua who fell in the War of 1812 initiated another naming tradition in the family.   The attorney from Livingston, Tennessee  who represented Elizabeth in court was her own son Joshua Haile jr.  Another lawyer's name, Joshua F. Haile, appears on the auction record of Lockey's household displayed above.  He is the son of Tom's sister Nancy née Haile (who married a Haile cousin).  In short, attorneys named Joshua Haile filed a lot of Jackson County court records.   A good number are by Tom's brother Joshua, who was also a planter.  After the War, much of this Joshua's landed property was foreclosed.  He spent two years out in Texas, then came home and made a living selling Kentucky and Tennessee horses "in the south."  In 1873, he was required to make a deposition declaring his net worth, which would amount to a couple million in our vastly inflated 21st-century currency:

I was worth at the time I purchased the land [before the War] one hundred thousand dollars or more, consisting of land, Negroes and personal property and my wife was worth at that time fifteen or twenty thousand dollars that I had the control of, consisting of land and money.  At a moderate calculation, I think I am [now] worth seventy five thousand dollars.

        My tracing this particular attorney turned up articles published in the Smithsonian Institution Annual Report of the Board of Regents, in 1874 and 1881 (vols. 29 & 34).  They describe Indian graves near Flynn's Lick, as well as other antiquities found there. The author of the 1874 article signs himself Joshua Haile Sr., from Gainsborough, and finds the artifacts at "my place," on nearby Flynn's Lick (if the author is Tom's older brother he was sixty at this date).  The second article is by a Reverend Joshua Haile from Jackson County.  Both contributions could stem from one individual's pen, or also  from an older and a younger man (but "jr." and"sr." were not yet restricted to "son" and "father", so it could be that the Joshua Haile who signed himself "jr." in 1858 is the same as the "sr." of 1874).  If he is indeed Tom's older brother then he was forty-four years old in the first instance and sixty-seven when his second article appeared at the Smithsonian.  The essays are written in a pleasingly literate style, and may today be less valuable for their archeological content than for their depiction of the postbellum Cumberland River Valley.  This amateur archeologist from the last quarter of the century seems in comfortable enough circumstances.

       Neither Joshua nor Tom made any contribution comparable to their family's support of the establishment church in the seventeenth century.  But it can be said for them that they did cling to their dissident church through a materially and morally devastated time--and of course Dudley achieved some distinction in it.

       One other fellow I found in the records is no known relative (despite diligent research on my part).  He was probably at best a "kissing cousin," i.e., at least far enough removed to be eligible, as in the case of that Nicholas P. Haile who married Amon's daughter Nancy.  Still, I do want to offer a letter from the black sheep
James Madison Haile, because it points up several qualities of his lost generation, too.  It is written in pencil.

           Indian Nation, Apr 5. 1875

Mr Henry Jackson Dear Sir  I drop you
a few lines this leaves me
tolably well. Hoping may find
you all well, well Henry
I thought I would let you al know
that I do Not intend to live with
Agahta, mlvina [Agatha Melvina]. any more; though
she is a very nise, woman;  but I
can Not bee satisfied.  with her,
it looked like she was alwaies
doing something that she ought Not
I know when I was living abouve
town she got drunk so that she
could not walk.from morning
till night, & I never could see
how She could drink a hole  pint
of whisky in less than an hour her
self;  I never have said any
thing a ganst her, in that country yet
her people thinks it is my folt
and I am wiling for them to think it
as a man has a gratueel better chance
than a woman,

           Apr. 5. 1875
So she can get a divorse if
she wsus[?]. or she can do
as she pleases, it would bee
know truble for her to marry
again; & I think she would bee
better satisfied a married life;
so she need not depend opon
me; for I do not intend to
live with her any longer,
I like this country very well,
it is a beautyful country;
inhabited by indians, I came to Hotsprings
and stade a while the waters
ther are Not near as good as they
are Recomended to bee;
        J. M. Haile;
        by my saying for her to get a
        divorse; you may think I want
        to marry again; if I did I am
        out of the united states
but I write this for her on good
not to keep her waiting for me


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