Profiles in Resistance: Major Lewis Redmond

Posted: May 24, 2015 in SWIG

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Redmond was a product of the times. A time of guerrilla insurgency and resistance of an occupying army, with lines blurred between combatants and non-combatants. Mixed loyalties further fueled the fires, and ultimately Reconstruction was more than many people could take. Also thrown into the mix was a newly enacted federal tax on distilled spirits instituted to help pay federal war debt. A tax that criminalized a practice that mountaineers considered a sacred birthright that was handed down from generation to generation. The market rate for a gallon of corn whiskey in this period was around 1.10$ a gallon. The federal government’s excise tax on this product was $.90. (Raised to 1.10$ in 1894) Farmers in the mountains had the choice of either selling a bushel of corn for 50 cents, or turning that bushel of corn into 3 gallons of whiskey, which was easier to transport. It cost a farmer 10$ to haul 20 bushels of corn to town that sold for around 8$. The tax was more than people could take. It was a complete assault not only on their natural liberty, but their livelihood. And this all came at a time of military rule and the tax was viewed as nothing more than a tool of domination by the Northern State to further deny Home Rule to the besieged mountain dwellers. Mountain people slowly declared an all out declaration of refusal and used violence in defense of their lives, liberty and sacred honor against an all out federal assault.

The federal response was further escalation. The Bureau of Internal Revenue soon was granted authority under the Force Act of 1871 to call federal military to their aid in enforcing their will on the southern mountain population. President Grant responded in kind by sending in the 7th Cavalry and men from the 2nd and 8th Infantry regiments to aid the federal tax collection effort. Bayonet rule of a conquered people vying for the last vestiges of freedom was in full swing. Soon the people had a figure to rally behind.

Full Story @ [ZeroGov]

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