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The citizens of Hickman were joined in their request by General Solomon Meredith, who had led the "Iron Brigade" at Chancellorsville and was at the time commander of the post at Paducah, Kentucky. On 9 December, Meredith added this note to the integral blank of the petition: "I am personally acquainted with Parson N. N. Cowgill and know him to be an honest, patriotic and loyal man. The petition of which he is the bearer asking that Hickman be made a permanent military post I would most earnestly recommend to be granted. The Government will be benefited equally with the citizens by adopting the course proposed, and the benefit both receive will be so much taken from the enemy who now occupy in little squads of guerrillas the whole country in that vicinity, and run off every thing of value to their army which they can lay hands on."
Lincoln forwarded the petition to Edwin Stanton: "Submitted to the Sec. of War who is requested to see the bearer." Perhaps in response to Lincoln's endorsement, General Meredith added a postscript: "I strongly recomend that a military post may be established at Hickman Ky. by the Secy of War." While Hickman did not receive a permanent military post, in August, Lincoln had declared martial law in this area of Kentucky, suspending the writ of habeas corpus to empower Union commanders such as Meredith to unilaterally arrest Confederate spies, sympathizers and bandits.
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