Department of Justice.
UNITED STATES MARSHAL,
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA.
Asheville, N. C., October 7th, 1918.
Hon. T. W. Bickett,
My dear Governor:-
I received your letter relative to deserters in Madison County.
From all the information I can get I think the situation there has been very much exaggerated to you by Dr. Burnett. Just a few days before you telegram came Mr. Jordan, my Chief Deputy, received similar information that there were a number of deserters collected together in the western part of Madison County, and he organized a posse and went in there and searched one whole night but could not get any definite information about a single deserter. They searched a number of houses and one of the men who wrote you himself stated that all he knew were rumors.
Dr. Burnett is here today and when called upon by me to give me a list of the names of these deserters he could not do so. He said that he had heard that there were from eleven to fifteen and that a large number of them had come from Tennessee. I think as a matter of fact, that there are three or four in that section. Only a few days ago four deserters from another part of Madison County came in and surrendered and were taken by me to Camp.
However, I am turning the whole matter of to Mr. L. D. Knott, Special Agent of the Department of Justice, and he will endeavor to get these men to come in and surrender. Unless they do this, it will be almost impossible to arrest them as they are hiding out in the most mountainous and rugged part of Madison County.
Yours very sincerely,