Extracts from a letter of Mr. Thompson, containing an account of his second arrest, & his being carried to Camp Gilmer; dated
July 1. 1831
I was conducted on foot to the house of Major Dawson, where Col. Nelson had lodged during the night, about two and a half miles distant from the mission. When I arrived I inquired as to the ground of my arrest. His reply was, "I have found you here, and that is a sufficient ground." I requested the privilege of riding my own horse to head quarters, assigning as a particular reason, a degree of indisposition which I had felt for more than a week. He replied that he should treat me as a prisoner, and that when I became fatigued with walking, I might ride in the baggage wagon.
The day was spent at Major Dawson's. During the whole of which I was closely guarded. At night major D. became security for my appearance the the next morning, which favor relieved me from lying in chains, as I suppose, during the night
July 24. At eight o'clock this morning we commenced our march for head quarters, distant fifty miles.
Two others, one white man and one Cherokee, were fellow prisoners with me. We were put under the command of a corporal and four privates. At first I was compelled to walk about six miles, and during the day nearly as far besides.
Care was always taken to have the prisoners seen walking, when coming to, and leaving stopping places.
But there was little to choose between walking and riding. For when in the wagon we had for our seats, cooking vessels, sacks of bacon and meal, saddle-bags, blankets, &c. [et cetera], of which the greater part, as well as the sides of the wagon, were besmeared with grease and filth. For companions I had the three species of the human family, black, red, and white. They indulged freely in the use of whiskey; while oaths and cursing, and language which cannot be named by me, pained my ear almost incessantly.
A little before sunset we arrived at our lodging place for the night, Owing to the fatigue of the day, and having been somewhat unwell before, by this time I was greatly afflicted with a pain in my head, which was attended with considerable fever. Very soon, notwithstanding, chains were produced, and the prisoners directed to sit together. As I was indisposed, I requested the privilege of lying down before the chains were put on me.
My request was granted and the woman of the house kindly furnished me with a good bed. The chain was attached to my right ankle, and extended to one which confined the other prisoners together. After a few min-
utes Col. Nelson, who had taken a different route, rode up and gave orders, as I presume, to release me from chains on account of my ill health. At a late hour I obtained some rest, and in the morning felt somewhat better.
25th. When we commenced our march this morning, the prisoners were ordered into the baggage wagon. We had twenty two miles to ride. Both our driver and road were literally rough, and our passage consequently rough.
At two o'clock, P.M., we came in sight of the camp. The prisoners were directed to walk, and the guard to march in close order. Before the wagon rode two of the guard; immediately behind were the prisoners; while the remaining part of the company brought up the rear. As we approached the camp, the massy gates leading into the yard were opened by the sentinel within, and with all due formality the wagon, prisoners, and guard moved onward, passing in front of the quarters of Col. Sanford, Col. Nelson, and those of all the privates, when we found ourselves at the jail. A halt was made. The door was unlocked; and with peculiar emphasis it was said to the prisoners, "This is your house." We entered. The door was locked, and I began to survey the mansion to which I had been conducted with so much military display. But soon a messenger at the door turns the key and announces that Col. Sanford wished to see me at his quarters. With him I had a few moments conversation, and he then said that I was at liberty to go where I pleased. No intimation
was given either that I would be detained there, or delivered over to the civil authority. No particular inquiries were made as to the fact whether my residence had been legally removed. A few complaints merely were made as to the freedom which I had used in conversation with certain Georgians, and some general denunciation of missionaries.
Thus I had been dragged fifty miles from the place appointed for preaching, and set at liberty ninety miles from my family, with the privilege of going where I pleased.
I might walk home, or hire a horse, or resort to any other course I might choose. Not the least apology was given for putting me to all this inconvenience. I am not disposed to comment upon a transaction so strange. You have the facts before you.