Union Occupying South: Abuse, Theft, Starvation

hat was how Bettie Blackmore recounted in her diary the terrifying night of February 11, 1863, when Yankee troops in occupied Murfreesboro, Tenn., had set fire to and destroyed Bromfield Lewis Ridley's majestic plantation home, Fairmont. Ridley, a chancellor of the court in Murfreesboro and one of Middle Tennessee's wealthiest slave owners, had built Fairmont on 3,000 prime acres along the Stones River, in the nearby town of Jefferson. When the Federals established a military government in the region in early 1863, he was removed from office—along with just about every other local public official—and fled to Georgia with one of his daughters to avoid being jailed.

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