Former Forrest-escort loses Franklin home to Federals during Civil War

Franklin resident, and Confederate escort to Nathan Bedford Forrest – Moses S. Royce (1825-1873) – also served as rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Royce was captured during a guerilla detail near Nashville and served some time in the state prison. He escaped February 29, 1864.

After the war, Royce returned home with his family only to learn that his home on Lewisburg Pike, near the railroad crossing, was utterly demolished by the Federal troops.  The Federals used the materials apparently to help construct Fort Granger in the spring of 1863.

After the war, Royce sought compensation from the government through a a local Franklin lawyer named David Campbell.

Franklin (TN)
August 28, 1865

David Campbell Esquire

Dear Sir,

Moses S. Royce (1825-1873)

I neglected to speak to you yesterday in regard to prosecuting a claim for damages for my wife’s property which was destroyed by the Federal army under General Granger. I will therefore make a brief statement of the facts in the case and would like to be advised what steps are necessary to be taken in the matter. The house where we formerly lived was deeded by me and W. S. McLemore (the former trustee for my wife) to myself as trustee for my wife and children some two years before the war – The deed was drawn by John Marshall and I had a perfect night to make the deed as I had sufficient property outside of that to meet all my debts and have a surplus. At the time my wife was ordered out of the lines she informed the authorities that the house was her property and she delieverd the key to General Granger’s Adjutant notifying him that she should hold him responsible for its safe keeping. She had never been required to take the oath of allegiance and of course had never refused [end page one] to take it. She had never been charged with doing any act prejudicial to the U.S. Army and as a matter of fact had done no such act. She had not been off her lot for three months previous to her being sent away, except twice, and no one was with her in the house except my two little girls, one eight and the other six years old. You are aware how the house was destroyed after she left, being hauled away by government wagons to the fort for the purpose of making barracks for soldiers. I estimate the damage to the property at five thousand dollars ($5,000) as I am satisfied it could not be restored for anything less than that amount. If there us any reasonable prospect of obtaining damages I wish to have steps taken immediately to prosecute the claim, and would like to be furnished with papers in proper form if it is necssary for me to certify to any such. All the facts satted here can be proven by witnesses now in Franklin.

I am yours very truly,

M.S. Royce

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