Tinker Dave's Men

contributed by John German

The following is from an unidentified newspaper clipping marked only by the date May 25, 1864:

The Plea of a Brave Tennessee Soldier
and a Staunch Patriot:

We publish this letter as an interesting chapter in the history of Tennessee during the rebellion showing how deep and pure is the patriotism of some of our humble citizens, and also with the hope that it may be at least indirectly the means of hastening an act of justice to Capt. Beaty and his faithful band who have sent many a rebel and guerilla to their final [faded].

Jamestown, May 13, 1864

Generals Johnson and Gitlem: The following is a correct list of my men, showing their number and times of entering the service against the rebels:

David Beaty, Captain, Feb. 1, 1862
James Beaty, 1st Lieut., Feb. 1, 1862
James Shillins, 2d Lieut., Nov. 1 1862
Claybern Beaty, Feb. 1, 1862
Christopher Choat, Feb. 1, 1862
John Boles, March 25, 1862
George Boles, July 1, 1862
John Smith, Sept. 1, 1862
Acey Smith, July 1, 1863
James Shreet, Feb. 20, 1863
William Tipton, Dec. 1, 1862
Sabrel Choat, Feb. 1, 1863
John Conatser, May 1, 1863
Siles Wright, Oct. 22, 1863
Hiram Milsaps, April 1, 1863
J. P. Cravens, Dec. 1, 1862
John King, May 1, 1863
Robert Boles, Oct. 1, 1862
John Whitehead, April 1, 1864
John Boles, jun., June 1, 1862
George Shreet, Dec. 1, 1862
Seth Winningham, April 1, 1862
Samnel Hooser, May 1, 1863
Jackson Stephens, (killed), May 1, 1863
Thomas Culver, (killed), Feb. 1, 1862
William Smith, (killed), April 1, 1862
William Wragen, (killed), Feb. 20, 1863
D. Shreet, (killed), Dec. 1, 1862
Jonathan Moody, (killed), May 1, 1863
Peter Beech, (killed), Jan. 1, 1863

The above list, including myself, numbers thirty men. The reasons that no officers but first and second lieutenants are mentioned is, they are all who now hold their offices. Seven out of my small company have been killed - I may say barbarously killed - while the rest have suffered incredibly. Some have left me because I have never received anything from State or Federal government. To them it appeared that I would not ask any aid. Some of them have joined the regular army, but with great love for our country's cause a few brave hearts have constantly rallied around me to save their country from ruin.

And now my main purpose is to ask whether we can draw any pay from the time we entered the service till the present. You are the authorities, and to you I look for assistance. Can you make the arrangements for us to draw pay? We cannot fight always without any aid. If you think it is not due to me and my men, don't attempt to get it for us. I cannot avoid thinking that if any set of men deserve it, we do. The families of those who have been slain are in very indigent circumstances, and badly need the money due their husbands, if there be any due them. I know the government or State is richly able to pay us. Justice to me and my men is all I ask.

Those who have been acquainted with this section of the country since the Fishing Creek fight, know how it has been hemmed in, and forced to rely, nearly entirely, on her own resources. This has nearly exhausted everything. Stock has been driven off, farmers threatened and alarmed until hardly half crops have been raised. And now we need immediate assistance. Breadstuff is so scarce that families are positively suffering. They have worked their way thus far, but now starvation looks them in the face. The citizens have befriended me and my men. They have sided with us when we needed assisstance, and now we must try to supply them with the necessaries of life. My plan is to have something run up the river that will save life until something is made. I am asking for assisstance because it is greatly needed. If you can supply us (I mean the suffering) with corn, flour or crackers, send them to the nearest point - (Mill Springs) - I suppose.

I know it is the custom of the government to supply sections that need them with provisions. If any country ever needed them this does. I do not want to see our citizens, my neighbors, starve; but without some aid, they must. For the sake of humanity, supply this country with BREAD!

One other thing I wish to mention. If you will, by your order, give me the command of Capt. Dowdy's men for a short time, I will rid this country of men who are robbing, thieving, plundering, and shooting regular soldiers as they pass about. Such is the character of a few men now infesting part of this country. Wolf River, the hills and mountains of Overton county, are their hiding places. Some of them have been caught by regular soldiers and released upon oath. What! release guerrillas and bushwackers on oath? I want to hunt the mountains and kill them; catching them and releasing them will never do, because it will never break the thieving crew.

Please address me at Monticello, Kentucky, immediately, giving me full satisfaction.

Yours, - Capt. David Beaty


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