Friday, June 6, 2008

General Thomas C. Hindman and Rep. Henry S. Foote

In July 1863, Major General Thomas Carmichael Hindman made his way across the Mississippi in order to take command of a Confederate division in Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee. Hindman had some serious allegations aimed at him prior to taking on his newly assigned duties as a division commander in Tennessee. One of his more famous critics was a member of the Confederate House of Representatives.

Hon. Henry S. Foote (MS) had a fairly interesting career in the United States Senate before entering the Confederate House in 1861. For example, he had once pulled a pistol on Senator Thomas Hart Benton during an altercation on the Senate floor over the compromise resolutions in 1850. Foote adamantly spoke out against President Jefferson Davis, General Braxton Bragg, and Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin. In 1865, Foote noticing the end of the Confederacy was eminent, crossed into Union lines, made it to Canada, and sailed to London. After the Confederacy's collapse, Foote sailed back to the United States and moved to Washington, D.C., where he practiced law. President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed him as Superintendent of the New Orleans Mint in 1878. Foote died in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1880.

Thomas C. Hindman survived the war, only to be killed by an assassin's bullet on September 28, 1868. The motivation of the assassination was never determined, and he was buried in Helena, Arkansas.

Here is what the Hon. Henry S. Foote had to say about General Hindman in his book, Casket of Reminiscences (1874):

Perhaps the most cruel and atrocious conduct perpetrated by any of President Davis’ military servitors during the war was that practice by his especial favorite, General Hindman, in the State of Arkansas. I have formerly asserted, and my assertion has never yet been denied, nor can it be, that this person as his own formal report to the War Department evidenced, finding, as he said, that the very comprehensive provision of the conscription law were not quite comprehensive enough to suit his purposes, deliberately amplified them by proclamation; declared martial law throughout Arkansas and the northern portion of Texas, and demanded the services of all whom he had thus lawlessly embraced in his wide-sweeping conscription list. All who refused to obey his mandate, as he in terms confesses, were apprehended, subjected to trial by military court, appointed by Hindman himself; and when convicted, as a good many of them were, of an offense which he himself unblushingly acknowledges in this same official report was wholly unknown to the law of the land, he had them all executed; and going even beyond the example of the infernal Jeffreys himself in barbarity, he (as he also most ostentatiously declares, in the same report) took care to be personally present, that he might witness the dying agonies of his unfortunate victims. This man seized upon all the cotton and other property for which he had use, (as he boldly avows,) burned some, retained some, and appropriated a third portion to such purposes as he pleased. His cruelties were so enormous in Arkansas that it became unsafe that he should remain there longer, when he was brought across the Mississippi river under order of the Confederate War Department, made president of a court of inquiry for the trial of General Lovell, and, after having made such a report as was deemed to be necessary to the shielding of certain officials in Richmond from blame in connection with the capture of New Orleans, was immediately thereafter put in command of one of the largest divisions in the army of Tennessee, where he remained snug and comfortable until, running into collision with a more potential presidential favorite, the well-beloved Bragg, he was quietly relieved from command. I exposed all the enormity of this fiend in human form in open session of the Confederate Congress on more than one occasion, and took pains to have my exposition put in print, and yet I could not persuade Mr. Davis or Mr. Seddon to make the slightest notice of these outrageous enormities (395-396).

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