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570

BURNING OF THE CAPITAL.

and bagging cut, and tufts of cotton were blown about in the wind, lodged in the trees and against houses, so as to resemble a snow storm. Some of these piles of cotton were burning, especially one in the very heart of the city, near the Court-House, but the fire was partially subdued by the labor of our soldiers." It must be remembered that the army did not enter Columbia. The Fifteenth Corps alone marched through, and encamped beyond on the Camden road. The Seventeenth did not enter the place at all, while the entire left wing and cavalry did not come within two miles of it. A single brigade was placed within it on duty. Sherman says: “Before one single public building had been fired by order, the smouldering fires set by Hampton's order were rekindled by the wind, and communicated to the buildings around About dark they began to spread, and got beyond the control of the brigade on duty within the city. The whole of Wood's division was brought in, but it was found impossible to check the flames, which by midnight had become unmanagable, and raged until about four A. M., when, the wind subsiding, they were got under control. I was up nearly all night, and saw Generals Howard, Logan and Wood, and others, laboring to save houses and to protect families, thus suddenly deprived of shelter, and of bedding, and wearing apparel. I disclaim on the part of my army, any agency in this fire, but, on the contrary, claim that we saved what of Columbia remains unconsumed." He acknowledges, what any one acquainted with armies, would know must be inevitable—that, while the officers and men worked hard to extinguish the flames, "others not on duty, including the officers who had long been imprisoned there, rescued by me, may have assisted in spreading the fire, after it had begun, and may have indulged in unconcealed joy to see the ruin of the Capital of South Carolina.”

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PILLA GING PARTIES.

571

All know what soldiers and released prisoners will do in a burning city, whether set on fire by friend or foe. The lawless and vindictive, and mercenary, will help to swell the conflagration, and add plunder and cruelty to the destruction caused by the flames. Hence those familiar with the history of invading armies will be prepared for the follow ing description of an officer who was an eye-witness :

“Pillaging gangs soon fired the heart of the town, then entered the houses, in many instances carrying off articles of value. The flame soon burst out in all parts of the city, and the streets were quickly crowded with helpless women and children, some in their night-clothes. Agonized mothers, seeking their children, all affrighted and terrified, were rushing, on all sides, from the raging flames and falling houses. Invalids had to be dragged from their beds, and lay exposed to the flames and smoke that swept the streets, or to the cold of the open air in back yards.

" The scene at the convent was a sad one indeed. The flames were fast encompassing the convent, and the sisters and about sixty terrified young ladies huddled together on the streets. Some of these had come from the North, previous to the war, for their education, and were not able to return. The superioress of the convent had educated General Sherman's daughter, Minnie. He had assigned them a special guard of six men; so they felt secure, and were totally unprepared for the dreadful scene that ensued. Some Christian people formed a guard around this agonized group of ladies, and conducted them to the Park.

“I trust I shall never witness such a scene again-drunken soldiers, rushing from house to house, emptying them of their valuables, and then firing them; negroes carrying off piles of booty, and grinning at the good chance, and exulting, like so many demons; officers and men reveling on the

572

A SAD SPECTA OLE.

wines and liquors, until the burning houses buried them in their drunken orgies.

“I was fired at for trying to save an unfortunate man from being murdered.

“The scene of desolation the city presented next morning was fearful. That long street of rich stores, the fine hotels, the court-houses, the extensive convent buildings, and last the old Capitol, where the order of secession was passed, with its fine library and State archives, were all in one heap of unsightly ruins and rubbish. Splendid private residences, lovely cottages, with their beautiful gardens, and the stately rows of shade trees, were all withered into ashes.

“The ruins alone, without the evidences of human misery that every-where met the view, were enough to inspire one with feelings of deep melancholy.

“Here was desolation heightened by the agonized misery of human sufferings.

“There lay the city wrapped in her own shroud—the tall chimneys and blackened trunks of trees looking like so many sepulchral monuments, and the woe-stricken people, that listlessly wandered about the street, her pallid mourners.

"Old and young moved about seemingly without a purpose. Some mournfully contemplated the piles of rubbish, the only remains of their late happy homesteads.

"Old men, women, and children were grouped together. Some had piles of beucing and furniture which they saved from the wreck; other, who were wealthy ihe night previous, had not now a loaf of bread to break their fast.

- Children were crying with fright and hanger; mothers were weeping; strong men, who could not help either them or themselves, sat bowed down, with their heads burieu vetween their hands.

“The yards and offices of the Lunatic Asylum were crowded pitch people who had fled there for protectiou the

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night previous. Its wards, too, had received new subjects, for several had gone crazy from terror, or from having lost. their children'or friends in the flames." *

Having finished his work, and leaving behind enough provisions to sustain, for some time, the homeless population of the place, Sherman marched north toward Charlotte, followed by a horde of negroes' and refugees. The army being spread out as much as possible, to obtain forage, it moved over the fertile country like the locusts of Egypt. “A garden was before them, a desert behind them." The steady, on-pouring columns, with their long trains, filled the inhabitants with unbounded terror, and well they might, for throughout the army, there reigned a feeling of intense hatred against this traitorous, rebellious, little State—and though plundering and violence were forbidden, in an army spread over such a vast extent of country they could not be prevented, and no soldier felt inclined to inform against even a reckless camp-follower, for firing a South Carolinian's house.

Says an officer:-"In Georgia few houses werr burned; here, few escaped; and the country was converted into one vast bonfire. The pine forests were fired, the resin factories were fired, the public builings and private dwellings were fired. The middle of the finest day looked black and gloomy, for a dense smoke arose on all sides, clouding the very heavens. At night the tall, pine trees seemed so many huge pillars of fire. The flames hissed and screeched, as they fed on the fat resin and dry branches, imparting to the forests a most fearful appearance.

“Vandalism of this kind, though not encouraged, was seldom punished. True, where every one is guilty alike, there will be no informers; therefore the Generals knew little of what was going on.

* Captain Conyogham,

674

MARCHING ON FAYETTEVILLE.

“The ruined homesteads of the Palmetto State will long be remembered. The army might safely march the darkest night; the crackling pine woods shooting up their columns of fame and the burning houses along the way would light it on, while the dark clouds and pillars of smoke would safely cover its rear." : Slocum, with the left wing, and Kilpatrick's cavalry covering his left flank, moved to Winnsboro', lying north-west of Columbia, which the foragers set on fire before he could arrive with his columns to prevent it.

Beauregard had fallen back on Charlotte from Columbia, thinking that it would be the next place on which Sherman would move.

Cheatham's Corps, of Hood's old army, was striving to make a junction with him at this place—having marched all the way from Augusta almost parallel with Kilpatrick's cavalry.

A heavy rain storm now set in, making the roads almost impassable, yet Sherman, for two days, pushed on toward Charlotte—but on the 23rd the army suddenly made a grand right-wheel, and facing the rising sun, left this place, as it had Augusta and Charleston, far in the rear. Breasting the pitiless storm, this noble army pushed forward toward Fayetteville—the line of march cutting the swollen rivers that a hundred years before so obstructed Cornwallis in his pursuit of Greene,

Kilpatrick, in the meantime, covered this movement as long as he could, in order to enable the arny to get across these formidable rivers without opposition. But when it was discovered that Sherinan was actually crossing the country to Fayetteville, Hampton and Wheeler, with the rebel cavalry, aitempted to reach the place first, on which Hardee, in his retreat from Charleston, was marching. In endeavoring to prevent this junction, Kilpatrick undertook to hold three roalls, over any one of which lie thought the enciny might

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