20, 1866. Lieutenant Colonel T. S. Hall sworn and
examined. By Mr. WASHBURNE :
Question. What official
position have you been lately occupying?
Answer. I lately occupied
the position of lieutenant colonel of the 43d
United States colored troops. I have been, for
the last three months, sub-assistant commissioner
for freedmen in the northeastern district of
Texas. I lost my arm in the mine before
Question. Where have you
Answer. Marshall, Harrison
Question. What have been
your opportunities for learning the present
condition and feeling of the people of Texas?
Answer. I have been thrown
in contact with a great many of the most wealthy
and influential planters, as well as professional
men, of fifteen or twenty different counties in
north eastern Texas, and have been intimately
associated with them in matters of business.
Question. What did you find
the state of feeling to be with the parties with
whom you have come in contact, in regard to the
restoration of the Union?
Answer. There seems to be a
very general desire an eaiuest wish to be
immediately admitted into the Union, which takes
the shape of a demand of an absolute right. But
there is no real love expressed for the
government, on the contrary, there is an
expression of hatred for the people of the north,
and of Yankees generally, while the idea seems to
be that they should at once obtain possession of
the political privileges and powers which they
once had. They seem to have the idea that they
are entitled to all the rights under the
Constitution which they ever had.
Question. What is the
expression of their feeling toward the
government, and toward those who control the
Answer. Their expressions
are used more particularly in a party sense. They
express a great deal of bitterness against the
party which they term "the radicals "
in Congress. Generally they are in favor of what
they term the President s policy; but they
denounce most bitterly the policy of the party
which they term the radical party.
Question. What do they say
about the Freedmen's Bureau?
Answer. They consider that
an unmitigated nuisance. They think it can be
much better dispensed with than not.
Question. What shape does
their opposition to the Freedmen's Bureau take?
Answer. They give it no
definite form, any more than expressions in
Question. Has there ever
been any interference with the operations of the
Freedmen's Bureau? If so, to what extent?
Answer. There never has
been any direct opposition to any of the officers
or the men employed by the government in that
bureau, in that part of Texas. There never have
been any acts opposed to the operations of the
bureau. In most instances they come forward and
make contracts under the regulations adopted by
the bureau, simply because they are under
military jurisdiction, and are compelled to.
Question. What won "
would be the state of the country in which you
hove been, should the militaiy force be
withdrawn, and the officers of the Freedmen's
Bureau be also withdrawn?
Answer. Judging from the
state of the country in counties where there is
no military force, I can say there would be
neither safety of person nor of property for men
who had been loyal during the war; and there
would be no protection whatever tor the negro.
Question. What would be the
condition of the negro under the circumstances,
as compared with his former condition as a slave?
Answer. He would be, in
many instances, forced to labor without any
compensation, under some system of compulsion,
nearly the same as formerly, lie would
l>e liable TO worse treatment
than ever before to assaults in many instances,
and even to murder. Frequent instances of murder
have occurred in those counties where there has
been no military force.
Question. Can you
particularize some of those instances
Answer. One case I can cite
was that of a negro woman named Lucy Grimes. She
was taken in to the woods in the month of
December last, by two men, and there stripped and
beaten until she died. These men named Anderson
and Simpson were well known in the county. On the
case being presented to the chiet justice of the
county, who was appointed by Governor Hamilton,
he stated that he could not issue a warrant lor
their arrest on the evidence of a negro, as there
was no other evidence but that of the son of the
murdered woman, and that he could do nothing
whatever in the case. I made an effort to arrest
the murderers, but they could not be found. They
were secured and concealed by parties in the
Question. Do you state
these matters from your own personal knowledge?
Answer. From my own
personal knowledge. The case was brought before
me. A complaint was made to me of the murder, in
the first place.
Question. What were the
circumstances attending or leading to the murder
of this woman?
Answer A child of this
negro woman had taken some money which was lying
about some part of the house occupied by Mrs.
Grimes, for whom she was working. The child had
taken it out of the house and was playing with
it. Mrs. Grimes accused the child of stealing the
money, and required the mother to whip it ; the
mother declined doing so. Then Mrs. Grimes went
and had an interview with these two men Anderson
and Simpson. Next morning they came and took away
the negro woman, Lucy, saying that they designed
taking her to Marshall to present the case to me;
instead of which, they took her to a piece of
woods two miles from the house, and there
stripped her and beat her. She lived till next
morning. The son found her and reported the case
to me, and I immediately sent out a surgeon with
some cavalry. The body was found, and the facts
were reported to me by the surgeon. No trace of
the murderers could be found.
Question. State the
condition in which the body was, and all the
circumstances, as you learned them from the
Answer. The body was found
entirely naked, with the exception of a shirt.
The back was very much beaten and bruised,
apparently with some sort of whip or strap.
Across the head and face there were several
severe bruises, evidently made with a club; and,
finally, there was a break in the skull, which
the surgeon stated undoubtedly caused the death
of the woman, made by a club.
Question. What were the
antecedents of the murderers?
Answer. They were
discharged rebel soldiers. Anderson was the son
of a gentleman who was considered quite
respectable in Harrison county. Simpson was a
desperado, not a resident of that part of the
country, but of Georgia or Alabama.
Question. Was the mistress
of this woman examined by you?
Answer. She was not.
Question. What part did she
take in the matter, so far as you could learn?
Answer. I could not learn
of he taking any part, except conferring with
Simpson and Anderson, requesting them to have
this negro punished in some way, simply because
she refused to whip the child.
Question. How^old was the
child? Answer. Ten or twelve years.
Question. Who came to see
you about it?
Answer. A grown man; a
negro man 21 or 22 years of age ; a son of the
woman who was killed. He came to report the
murder of his mother.
Question. You say the chief
justice of the county court refused to issue a
Answer. Yes ; the chief
justice, who is now collector of internal revenue
for that district, refused to issue a warrant
because there was no testimony in the case but
Question. What is the name
of that chief justice?
Answer. D. B. Bonuefoy.
Question. What are his
Answer. He has been
considered an out-and-out Union man during the
Question. Do you think that
his real motive for refusing to issue a warrant
was his want of legal authority?
Answer. I believe it was,
because he was firmly of the opinion that he had
not the legal authority to do so.
Question. You think he
Answer. Yes, sir ; I think
he acted honestly.
Question. That is the law
of Texas ; is it recognized as being in existence
Answer. Yes, sir ; while
that is the case, they at the same time punish
negroes under the same statute as they punish
white men at present. They send them to the
penitentiary and punish them in the same manner.
Question Do you know of any
other instances in which outrages have been
committed on colored people? If so, state them.
Answer. Dming the month of
November a young man named Webster fired upon a
negro woman who was in his employment for some
language which he considered impudent. The ball
struck her in the back of the head, resulting in
a serious wound, but not causing death. For that
offence he was arrested by the military
authorities and tried, and fined $IOU. That
was before I arrived at that post. The post was
then commanded by Brevet Brigadier General Sheetz,
of the eighth Illinois regiment of infantry.
Question. Is that the usual
penalty imposed by military officers down there
for shooting colored people?
Answer. That was the usual
punishment in that part of the State. It had been
for the reason that there were no other means of
punishment in the hands of the military
authorities. That portion of Texas has been
considered as belonging to General Canby s
department. I have never made any written
communication to his headquarters, but I asked
General A. J. Smith \vhat I should do in case I
succeeded in arresting men who committed murder,
where there was no testimony but negro testimony.
His reply was that General Canby would not permit
any citizen to be punished by military
commission. That, of course, left the military
authorities there perfectly powerless to punish
adequately any offences upon negroes. Another
case of outrage was reported to me as having
occurred at Novara county. There
is a family of Ingrahams there, very wealthy and
influential. An unknown negro came along and
asked for work. A son of Hugh Ingraham, and
son-in-law, said they would give him work. They
armed themselves with revolvers, took the negro a
short distance from the house, in a piece of
woods, and there tied him and flogged him to
Question. How do you know
Answer. This case was
reported to me by a citizen of that county. His
name I am not able to give; but it is on the
records of the office.
Question. Did you take such
testimony in the case as satisfied you of the
truth of the statement that you now make?
Answer. Yes, sir ; I
applied to the commander of the post for a force
to send out to arrest those parties. For two or
three weeks I was unable to obtain it ; the force
there not being adequate. The gentleman who
reported these facts further stated that he had
designed to remove his family to Arkansas ; that
he had engaged a number of negroes in the
neighborhood of Ingraham s, and
started them for a plantation in Arkansas; that
his family had been stopped and taken back to his
house, the house surrounded by citizens of that
part of the country, and threats made that if he
made his appearance there again they would take
his life. I never was able to get a force of
troops to send there, and am not able to give the
result. The place is ninety-five miles distant
from where I am stationed.
Question. Outside of the
influence of the military, what was the condition
disordered ; no security for person or property,
for white or black. I received a letter from
Judge Simpson, chief justice of Upshur county, in
reply to a communication of mine requesting him
to collect the wages of some negroes who
complained to me of being defrauded of their
wages. He replied that he was unable to act in
the matter without a military force, and that it
was impossible for him to arrest anybody or hold
any body accountable for acts committed against
the negroes. That letter I forwarded to Gal-
veston to the assistant commissioner. I also
received a "letter from Chief Justice
Priest, of Cherokee county, asking that an
officer be sent there with a military force.
There is a similar state of affairs in Panola
county. In the month of December last four
discharged United States soldiers, returning to
their homes at the north, from San Antonio, were
followed by a party of desperadoes and murdered
in cold blood. The facts were reported to the
military authorities at Shreveport, and a force
of cavalry was sent out to apprehend the
murderers. They passed through Panola county on
their track, and reached the town of Henderson,
in Rusk county. The advance guard of four or five
men entered the town, when the citizens gathered
together, some with brickbats and some with
revolvers, threatening them, and saying they
could whip any number of Yankees that could be
sent there. Their numbers continued increasing
until the whole cavalry party, about twenty men,
under the charge of an officer, came up, when
they quietly slunk away. The officer who had
charge of the party reported the facts to me on
his return to Shreveport. He did not succeed in
apprehending the murderers.
Question. What were the
circumstances attending the murder of these
Answer. As far as I was
able to learn, it was a murder committed more for
the purpose of robbery than for anything else.
Avith feelings of revenge?
Answer. I was not informed
whether there was any feeling of revenge or
spirit of bitterness against them because they
had been soldiers.
Question. Of what had they
Answer. Of very little
except their horses. They were cavalry soldiers
returning home with their horses.
Question. Do you know the
names and regiments of the soldiers?
Answer. I am not able to
give you that information.
Question. You are
satisfied, from the evidence you had, that they
were really murdered
Answer. I am satisfied of
Question. Did you get any
clue as to who the murderers were?
Answer. The name of the
principal actor was reported to me, but I am not
able to recollect it no<v.
He had been a soldier in the rebel service, and
had lost an arm.
Question. Do you know any
other instances of violence committed there?
Answer. In the town of
Jefferson, Marion county, Mr. R. H. Robinson,
United States treasury agent, had seized some
tithe-cotton ; he was arrested by the civil
authorities and indicted by the irraml
jury of the county, on a charge of
swindling. The telegraphic communication between
Jefferson and Shreveport was interrupted, and the
despatch which he attempted to send to General
Canby in New Orleans was not allowed to go. He
was held in custody until he could report the
facts to the commanding officer of the force at
Marshall, who sent immediately an order to the
chief justice, Judge Gray, to release him. Judge
Gray refused to release him on the order of the
commanding officer, who again sent another order
requiring the judge to release him immediately or
he would have him arrested and tried before a
military commission. Before the second order
reached, a file of soldiers, with a captain,
which had gone into the town for the purpose of
protecting the office there, went to the
courtroom and released Mr. Robinson. This case
was afterwards reported to General Canby, at New
Orleans, and to Colonel Burbridge,
the supervising special agent of the treasury. On
the case being reported the action of Mr.
Robinson was fully approved, and he was not only
relieved from any charge in the matter, but he
was sent back to his district at Jefferson.
Question. How long was he
held in confinement?
Answer. About three days.
On Christmas day two soldiers of the 46th
Illinois, stationed there at that time, furnished
with whiskey by the citizens of Marshall, and
under their influence, murdered a negro by
shooting him. The two soldiers were at once
arrested by Major Cliugman, who
was commanding the post. Charges were preferred
against them, and a request was forwarded to
General Smith for a military commission. The
civil authorities, through the chief justice,
issued a warrant for their arrest, and a demand
was made on the major to turn over the soldiers
to the civil authorities. The major very properly
refused to comply with the request. No further
action has been taken in the matter, but this
simply shows the spirit of the civil authorities
Question. Do you know any
other instances of outrage except those you have
Answer. I do not know any
case of so serious a nature from my own personal
knowledge ; I have heard of cases frequently, but
I am not prepared to make any statement about
Question. What do you know
of the political sentiment of the State as
developed by the action of the State convention
Answer. In the county of
Harrison, the candidates for the convention were
Mr. Ware, a conservative man, though not known as
a thorough Union man, and Colonel John Burke, who
was said to have held the honorable position of
spy in the rebel service. Burke announced, on his
nomination, that he was opposed to the adoption
of the constitutional amendment, opposed to the
abolition of slavery, opposed to repudiating the
rebel debt, opposed to declaring the ordinance of
secession null and void, and opposed to
renouncing the right of secession. He was elected
by a majority of some eighteen in the county,
over the conservative gentleman. In the county of
Smith there were two conservative candidates
against Judge Roberts, who had been president of
the convention which passed the ordinance of
secession, and an ex-colonel of the rebel army.
Judge Roberts and the ex-colonel were elected
over the conservatives. The same thing happened
in Rusk county and in Panola county, so far as I
was able to learn. I passed through the country
from Marshall to Galveston, and that was
generally the case along the route to Houston.
Question. Did you have
conversation with their political men going to
Answer. Yes. I travelled in
company with Judge Fraser, a member of the
convention, and met many of his associates who
had been elected members of the convention. In
nine-tenths of the cases of those I met their
election had been based on the action they had
taken, during the war. As a general rule they
were elected because they had been secessionists,
and out-and-out rebels, and had taken an active
part against the government of the United States.
Question. What were their
sentiments as expressed to you, in relation to
the position which they had been occupying during
Answer. The only regret I
heard expressed for any action during the last
five years was, that they did not succeed. They
were anxious now to be admitted into the Union,
hoping to unite the agricultural interests of the
northwest with those of the South in order to
obtain the political power which they had staked
on the issue of war, and lost.
Question. Did any of them
yield up their favorite doctrine of the right of
Answer. The expression was,
that the question had been decided against them
by the war not that they were convinced.
Question. What is your
judgment, from all you saw and could learn when
you were in Texas, as to the practicability and
propriety of admitting the State back into the
Union with all its rights?
Answer. In my opinion it
would be unsafe to admit them back as long as
they continue to. select such men as they do to
Question. How long is it
since you left Texas?
Answer. I left Marshall the
21st of January, and came down through the
country to Galveston, where I left on the 2d of
Question. Can you state any
other matter or thing in reference to this
general subject which would be of interest to the
Answer. I will relate an
incident to illustrate the spirit of the people
there. About the Christmas and New Year s
holidays there was a general cry that there would
be a negro insurrection. Governor Hamilton
authorized the chief justices to arm patrols for
the purpose of suppressing anything of the kind.
In all instances, where I had any knowledge of
these patrols, they were composed of the most
reckless and desperate men. Under pretence of the
authority given them, they passed about through
the settlements where negroes were living,
disarmed them took everything in the shape of
arms from them and frequently robbed them of
money, household furniture, and anything that
they could make of any use to themselves.
Complaints of this kind were very often brought
to my notice by the negroes from counties too far
away for me to reach.
Question. These patrols
were acting under the authority of the
Answer. Yes, sir. Question.
Were any of them prosecuted for it?
Answer. Not to my
Question. Is there any way
of punishing these men, except by our own
military authority? Have the negroes any rights
whatever under the existing laws there, as
administered at this
Answer. None whatever. I am
informed by General Gregory that in Galveston
they allow negroes to testify in the courts, and
to sue. There they give them some rights, but in
northeastern Texas none at all. The only instance
I know of his testimony being taken in the courts
is in the town of Marshall. The mayor of that
town came to me and asked me what he was to do in
the case of negroes, as the laws did not allow
him to take their testimony. I said to him:"
If the laws do not authorize you I will hear the
cases myself." He then said he would give
them their choice ; that, if they chose to be
tried by him, he would try them ; otherwise he
would refer the cases to me Under that
arrangement he tried several cases. But, to give
you an opinion as to how impartially justice is
administered : On Christmas day a citizen named
Turner passed through the streets of Marshall,
half-drunk, drew his revolver and struck three
negroes over the head, cutting their heads, and
injuring them seriously. For that offence the
mayor of the town fined him ten dollars. Two
negroes were found playing cards in a negro
boarding-house, and for that offence they were
fined $17 50 by the same mayor.
Question. Is he a
Answer. He has been a major
in the rebel service, I believe. That is the only
recommendation he has.
Question. Is there still a
military garrison in Marshall?
Answer. When I left, which
is a month ago, there were two companies of the
8th Illinois there white soldiers.
Question. Who was in
Answer. Captain Bishop.
Question. Have you passed
through any portion of the State of Texas where
we had not military control?
Answer. Strictly speaking
we have no military control after we leave
Marshall, ti: reach Crockett, in
Hunter county, 200 miles. there are no troops
between those points.
Question. What did you
learn of the situation of the colored people
outside of military jurisdiction and control?
Answer. It varies in
different localities; in some counties they are
employed wao-es, and treated
fairly and honestly. In other localities,
frequent complaints were made to me that the
negroes were held in slavery and compelled to
iabor as usual. In Rusk and Cherokee counties
these complaints were frequent that the negroes
were in the same condition as before the war,
where they were unable to leave home. I know of
many instances where! sent orders with negro men
for the former owners to surrender the negroes
wives and children, and the owners refused to
obey the orders. I had not sufficient force to
compel obedience, so that they had to live in
Question. How large is the
military force in northeastern Texas altogether?
Answer. There are two
companies at Marshall. That is the only force.
Question. Is that a mounted
Answer. No, sir ; a
Question. How much does
that force amount to in keeping the peace in that
portion of Texas?
Answer. It amounts to
Question. What force, in
your judgment, is necessary?
Answer I think that one
regiment of cavalry in that portion of the State,
with small garrisons in different towns, would be
amply sufficient. The influence would be felt far
beyond the bounds actually occupied by the force,
if they were mounted men, so that they could bo
used rapidly and expeditiously. But this little
garrison amounts to nothing except to preserve
order in the immediate town and neighborhood.
Question. What force is
there in Galveston?
Answer. Only two regiments
were on duty there when I was there.
Question. Is there any
military force at Houston
Answer. Yes, sir; I cannot
give the number. There is a small garrison at
Houston, and also a small garrison at Crockett.