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A Thrilling Scene in Tennessee.

"WE illustrate on page 193 a thrilling scene which took place in Eastern Tennessee in connection with the recent uprising of Union men in that region of country. We take the following account from the Knoxville Register of February 8.

The facts connected with the burning of the Lick Creek Bridge; as they appeared in the testimony elicited by the Court-martial, have come into our possession from an authentic source, and are as follows:

A man by the name of David Fry, in connection with William B. Carter, both citizens of East Tennessee, but who had lately deserted the land of their birth, fled to Kentucky, and connected themselves with the enemies of their country, returned to East Tennessee after the repulse of General Zollicoffer's command at Rockcastle Hill, for the purpose of inciting a conspiracy with the traitors on this side, which would result in the entire destruction of the railroad facilities here, and then break up and entirely cut off communication between Virginia and the remaining States of the Confederacy, prevent the transportation of troops, provisions, and munitions of war, and thus open the way for the successful invasion of our State. These two men, as is supposed, came first into the county of Anderson, and then, concealed at the house of a Union man, sent, as one of the witnesses heard, for William Pickens, of Sevier, who made the attempt upon Strawberry Plains Bridge, but who, with his gang of fifteen men, was repulsed by Keelan single-handed and alone, Pickens himself falling seriously wounded.

It is known that Fry and Carter passed on into Roane County, and parted at Kingston. At this point we lose sight of Carter, as no evidence has yet appeared of his whereabouts after that time. Fry, however, proceeded on his journey up the country, passing through Loudon (no doubt making every arrangement for the destruction of that bridge), then passing through Blount County, and finally reaching Greene County two days before the burning of Lick Creek Bridge.

Traveling, as he did, at nights, and lying by in day-light, stealthily and treacherously creeping from one traitor's house to another, his movements could not be traced until he arrived, on the night of Wednesday, the 6th of November, at the house of Anderson Walker, in Greene County. Here he remained until the night of Thursday, the 7th, when he proceeded to Martin Walker's, arriving about eight o'clock at night. At Martin Walker's he met his wife, and remained until two o'clock in the moaning of the 8th, stating to Walker that he was on his way to Kentucky, but wanted to see a friend near Midway (Lick Creek Bridge), and asking if Jacob Harmon was as good a Union man as ever. As appeared from the testimony, Fry made no revelations to Walker of his plans; but starting, as he did, at two o'clock, and not being familiar with the roads, Walker piloted him about three miles in the direction of Midway.

After leaving Walker, Fry stopped at the house of Daniel Smith, a noted Union man, living five or six miles from the bridge, arriving there about one hour before daylight. Immediately Fry laid his plans before Smith, who agreed to act as a messenger from Fry to Jacob Harmon to communicate to Harmon that he (Fry) was at Smith's house; that he had come to destroy the railroad, and that he wanted to see Harmon at Smith's house that morning. This message was communicated by Smith to Jacob Harmon about eight o'clock on the morning of the 8th of November; and accordingly Harmon, who was a leading Union spirit in the neighborhood, repaired to Smith's house, where the plans were unfolded, and the plot and programme agreed upon. Harmon was to go home, circulate the fact throughout the neighborhood, and gather the Unionists, assembling them at his house on that night, while Fry would remain at Smith's until nightfall, and then repair to Harmon's house to consummate the conspiracy.

Harmon did his share of the work well, for as early as nine o'clock at night between thirty and forty conspirators had met at his house, ready to be led by their chief on his arrival, and eager for the destruction of the property. At that hour Fry alighted from his horse and bounded into the yard, exclaiming: "Friends, I am Colonel Fry, and am come to share with you." The party immediately assembled in the house, when Fry commenced haranguing the crowd by revealing his plans, and urging them on to deeds of violence, until the crowd were almost unanimous in their expressions of approbation, and with one accord determined that the bridge should be destroyed—that Fry should be their leader, and that they would follow him, if necessary, to death.

Fry drew forth a United States flag, and spreading it upon a table in the centre of the room, called upon his followers to surround that emblem of the Union, and take with him the oath of allegiance. This was late in the night; and after the whole plot had been fully understood, the conspirators surrounded the table in groups, and, by direction of the leader, placed their left hands upon the folds of the flag, raising aloft their right hands, and swearing to support the Constitution of the United States, to sustain the flag there spread before them, and to do that night whatever may be impressed upon them by their chief. This oath was taken by all, except two or three, in solemn earnest, and in silence; the darkness relieved alone by the dim and flickering light of a solitary candle. The scene was impressive—the occasion was full of moment—the hour was fit, and every thing conspired to fill the hearts of the traitors with a fixed determination.

Aroused thus to the highest pitch of malice and revenge, the chief of the conspirators immediately led the way to the bridge, and was followed in eager haste by the willing crowd. The Confederate guard, consisting of five soldiers, watching the bridge, were immediately surrounded by the infuriated mob, and were held in close confinement, while Fry, still leading the way and still followed by the boldest of his clan, hastened to the wooden structure, applied the torch, and the whole was consumed and burned to the ground in an hour."

From Harper's Weekly March 29, 1862



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