Johnson enclosed a news clipping from the Cincinnati Commercial titled "Conflict of Authority in East Tennessee" and asked for a report on the situation. I've made a larger copy of the news clipping below. It is interesting to see Thornhill characterized as a "guerilla" since he previously had commanded Company B in the US 9th Cavalry.
As noted previously, this case eventually went to the US Supreme Court, but was sent back down to the courts in Tennessee. I don't have the history on the case after it was sent back in 1870. Next step for this is to write to the Tennessee State Archives to see what they have.