Solomon R. Burford to Andrew Johnson
May 11, 1862

In this letter to Tennessee Governor Andrew Johnson, Solomon R. Burford expresses his devotion to the Union and asks Johnson to provide "pecuniary assistence" to his cousin.

Gov. Andrew Johnson

Sir—When I left home I thought probable I would visit Nashville. But oweing to the prospects of a speedy opening of the Mississippi River I wish to make my way down the river as far as Memphis as soon as practicable.

I was born in Lawrence county Alabama and have lived twenty four years (I am 29 years of age) in DeSoto county Mississippi. I left my home in the latter place the 21st of last month, came through on horseback, contending with but little or no difficulty in the way of Rebel pickets.

I have been a Union man from the beginning. I have never by word act or deed countenanced the present rebellion. These I have no doubt will appear strange assertions hailing as I do from Miss.

Every word can I prove & even more establishing my Union principles.

Union men in Miss are scarce nevertheless there are a few. There would be more were not life & property jeopardized by an expression of such sentiment. The fundamental principles upon which our great & good government was established are not respected by the Davis usurpers: the liberty of speech the liberty of the press, & the right of trial by jury are in effect obsolete and have no practical existence in “Dixie.”

When I left home I parted with a Union cousin John B. Burford who I fear may be pressed into the Rebel army. If so he will desert and apply to you to find my whereabots. He is about 22 years old, light hair & eyes tolerably large, & more particularly distinguished by being reeled or crooked in his left foot. If he should call upon you for assistance, or information please bestow it upon him with the positive assurance that he is a Union man. Any pecuniary assistence you may bestow upon him will be immediately repaid upon application to A P Burditt & Co Memphis Ten (a union house).

As to myself I can give you no reference this side of Memphis. I was at the University of Va. In 1852 & 3 & 4 & if I had a catalogue I might refer you to some acquaintance this side of “Dixie.”

May 11th, 1862

Respectfully S. R. Burford
DeSoto County


Solomon R. Burford to Andrew Johnson, 11 May 1862, Andrew Johnson Papers, Library of Congress.