Tinker Dave Beaty - Patriots & Guerillas
Tinker Dave Beaty - an excerpt from:

The Patriots and Guerillas
of East Tennessee and Kentucky

The Sufferings of the Patriots Also the Experienceof the Author as an Officer in the Union Army Including Sketches of

By Major J. A. Brents
New York: J. A. Brents, HENRY DEXTER, PUBLISHER'S AGENT, 113 NASSAU STREET, 1863 - LOST CAUSE PRESS; Louisville, Ky., 1970

I will mention another Tennessean, who has attracted attention since the commencement of the rebellion. Tinker Dave Beaty, as he is commonly called, is a citizen of Fentress county, and has made his mark. He may be called a rough, uneducated mountain man, or in other words a backwoodsman, who has never forsaken the flag of his country. His operations have chiefly been in Fentress and Overton counties. Rebel troops have been in these counties ever since Tennessee seceded, with the exception of very short periods; but Beaty is so well acquainted with the country, being familiar with every road and path, it was almost impossible to catch him. If he is seriously menaced he retires to the mountains. He sometimes has sixty men with him, and again not more than fifteen or twenty. His men are all mounted. He has no camp, no wagons, tents, or camp equipage, but stays where he can best conceal his men. At all times, Beaty has out scouts and pickets; he never permits himself to be surprised. Whenever an opportunity is presented, he pounces upon a party of soldiers or guerillas, cutting them to pieces, capturing arms, ammunition, etc. By these attacks Beaty keeps his men supplied with equipments, and partly with provisions.

The rebels by some means obtained a large quantity of medicine at Louisville, Ky., and smuggled it through Union lines, via Burksville, Ky. They had reached Fentress county with the medicine, and thought it entirely safe. But the keen eye of Beaty detected them. He seized upon their wagons and captured several thousand dollars' worth of medicine. This was a very severe loss to the South, as medicine with them was very scarce.

Upon another occasion, the rebels were driving south a large number of cattle they had taken from the citizens of Wayne and Clinton counties, Ky. Beaty heard of their movements, and concealing his men by the road side, at the proper moment attacked them with such fierceness that they fled in confusion, leaving their cattle and six of their companions, who had been shot. Although the rebel troops have been on every side of Beaty, and a large army one hundred and fifty miles in his rear (General Bragg's forces when in Kentucky), yet he remains in his favorite locality. He still continues to make successful raids upon the rebels, and has become a perfect terror to them. Beaty and his men have never been mustered into the regular service. They receive no pay, no clothes, no camp equipage, rations, nor military stores of any kind. They are no expense to the government, yet render as valuable service as the same number of men anywhere. Neither does he impose upon Union citizens. He sustains his brave little band upon the enemy.

I might mention other names, but enough has already been said to indicate the loyalty, devotion, and sufferings of these people. Probably eight thousand of loyal Tennesseans are in the Union army. They left their homes and went forth to battle for their country. Their wives and children and kindred are at home, persecuted, and suffering great privations. It is the duty of the Government to send aid to these loyal people. While the men are in the army, fighting under their country's banner, rebels are burning their houses and turning their wives and little children out of doors. One little boy said to his mother, while their house was burning, "Mother, where will we stay to-night?" The mother replied, "I will build a pen, and we will stay in that." A rebel said, "Not a bit of it; if you are found here after this we will burn you."

The Kentuckians upon the Tennessee lines have suffered greatly. They have exhibited as much loyalty as any people that ever lived. When a call was made, they rushed to arms and filled Kentucky's quota. Let us take Clinton county, for an example. This county had about nine hundred voters, yet she has furnished six hundred soldiers for the Union army. They bade farewell to their dear ones at home, and gave their lives to their country.

This county has been in possession of the rebels for more than a year, with two or three exceptions, when the Union forces occupied Albany, the counry town of Clinton. The citizens have been insulted, arrested and imprisoned, and a number of them murdered in the most fiendish manner. All the property in the county of any value that could be moved, has been carried off, and the citizens left in a destitute condition. Slaves have been taken from their owners and conveyed south, and free negroes sold into slavery; men of character and distinction have suffered the grossest outrage; soldiers' families have been compelled to flee from their homes and property, and seek refuge among strangers. This is no fancy sketch. My home is in this county, and having visited it since these troubles commenced (being a refugee myself), I aver that these are truths.

I will mention the names of a few individuals, and state their losses and sufferings. Joshua L. Chilton, an industrious and peacable citizen, was not permitted to remain at home. He was threatened and hunted, but nothing could deter him from his duty to his country. He was too old to join the army, but had two boys who could go, and he sent them both--the younger only seventeen years old. the eldest, James L., joined the first company raised in the county, and was appointed a sergeant. He greatly distinguished himself for bravery at the battle of Mill Springs, and has been one of the best soldiers in the regiment, 1st Kentucky cavalry. The father was quite active, and rendered the Union cause good service. For this he was hated and driven from his home, and becamse a refugee. While General Bragg was in Kentucky, a portion of his soldiers killed Chilton, Ambrose, Huddleston, a Tennessean, and others, at Liberty, Ky. J. P. Pickens, a merchant of Albany, lost a stock of goods and other property. He was threatened, and forced to flee across the Cumberland river for safety. His family were also driven from home, and became refugees. Dr. Elza Beckett, a physician, who has an extensive practice, and whose professional services were greatly needed, was banished from his home; and his family, who endured the insults and abuse of rebels for some time, were compelled to leave their homeand seek protection among strangers. D. P. Wright, a farmer, was chasd and fired upon, and kept from his home: he lost a large amount of property. Elijah Koger, an old, peacable, and quiet citizen, who never did any one injury, lost about fifty horses and mules, and other property: he was compelled to hide in the hills to save his life. Lewis Wright, an old citizen, who was almost helpless, had no slaves except one negro man, thta he had bought to attend him in his old age. This man was stolen from him and taken south, and the old gentleman left in helpless condition. Van Buren Hopkins, a good citizen, was arrested and sent to Nashville. He was fed upon tainted beef until nearly dead, and was only released upon the urgent applications of his brother, who was a rebel. John S. Stockton, the three Dickens, Crezelius, and other citizens, were seized and sent with Hopkins to Nashville. They did not have the same luck as Hopkins. They had no rebel relations to intercede for them, and were sent to Salisbury, N.C., where they are yet, having been closely confined for more than ten months. Soldiers who have been released from the same prison report them in a half-naked and starved condition. Reuben Wood, Frogge, the two Johnsons, Elisha Koger, Isaac Story, young Zackary, and other citizens, have been murdered in the most brutal manner. These are only a few individual cases. All the citizens have suffered; no discrimination was made between Union citizens. Can the loyalty of a people be more severely tested? Are they not truly patriotic? Should they not receive the sympathies of all loyal men and the protection of the Government?

See Also: David "Tinker Dave" Beaty

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This page was last updated on 09/25/98.