July 30, 1864
Maj. J.R. McLean
My attention has been called by Mrs. Speer to your letter of the 27th to her husband, the Sheriff. The Sheriff is absent and will be for a day or two and Mrs. Davis leaves here this morning for Camp Vance. I write to give you some information in regard to the “Yadkin refugees” now in your custody.
There are bills of indictment and capiases in the hands of the Sheriff against Wm, Lee and Ben Willard for the murder of James West & John Williams in the School House fight. Also against Enoch Brown and Hardee Allgood who are said to have been captured with the Willards. These men are all conscripts and have been ordered into service and one of them, Allgood, is a deserter from the Army. It will not do to send them to the county to be imprisoned, our jail is entirely unsafe, to say nothing of the danger of their being rescued by their friends as heretofore. Elkaha did assist in forcing the jail a few weeks ago as can be proven. He did not try to disguise himself.
A very important question is, what is to be done with the balance of these men who went off in that company with the Willards. It is worse than idle to send them to the army, better turn them loose here, because if sent to the army they will be certain to desert and will bring arms with them and perhaps induce others to desert. Doubtless, some better meaning men were persuaded off with them, but very few. If these men are allowed to get back to this country, we are now in a fair way to clean it out. At least the prospect is better than it ever has been. If they come back we shall have terrible times. As to what should be done with the Willards I can only suggest that they be kept in some very safe place until some action is taken in the matter.
I concur with the above. The Willards must not come back, and if they are sent to the army they will come.
I concur fully in this letter
Source: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 1. Original in the Clewell Letters, North Carolina State Archives.
The story of the “Bond School House Affair” can be found in Frances Harding Casstevens” The Civil War and Yadkin County, North Carolina: A History. http://books.google.com/books?id=VLWLlOHsVIMC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false