previous next
[703] the city being impressed therefor. The U. S. Arsenal was thus saved from destruction, as were large quantities of Confederate rice, which were distributed among the poor of the city.

Georgetown was at the same time evacuated — Hardee,with 12,000 men, gathered from all lower South Carolina, making all haste to cross the Santee and Pedee before Sherman could turn upon and crush him; which, as Sherman did not attempt to intercept him, having other objects in view, was safely accomplished.

Gen. Gillmore, then in command on the coast, reports the guns captured in Charleston and its defenses at 450; a good part of them 8 and 10-inch Columbiads and 7-inch rifled guns — many of foreign make. Much good ammunition, 8 locomotives, with many passenger and platform cars, also escaped the Rebel conflagration, and came into possession of the victors.

Before proceeding with the narrative of Sherman's Great March, it is but just to speak of the devastation of South Carolina by his army.

Sherman's general order, prescribing the conduct of his troops in their march, was precise and considerate, though its execution would naturally seem harsh to those it despoiled. He says:

IV. The army will forage liberally on the country during the march. To this end, each brigade commander will organize a good and sufficient foraging party, under the command of one or more discreet officers, who will gather, near the route traveled, corn or forage of any kind, meat of any kind, vegetables, corn-meal, or whatever is needed by the command: aiming at all times to keep in the wagon-trains at least ten days provisions for the command and three days forage. Soldiers must not enter the dwellings of the inhabitants or commit any trespass; during the halt or at camp, they may be permitted to gather turnips, potatoes, and other vegetables, and drive in stock in front of their camps. To regular foraging parties must be intrusted the gathering of provisions and forage at any distance from the road traveled.

V. To army corps commanders is intrusted the power to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, etc.; and for them this general principle is laid down: In districts and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested, no destruction of such property should be permitted; but, should guerrillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, then army corps commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless, according to the measure of such hostility.

VI. As for horses, mules, wagons, &c., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit; discriminating, however, between the rich, who are usually hostile. and the poor or industrious, usually neutral or friendly. Foraging parties may also take mules or horses to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to serve as pack mules for the regiments or brigades. In all foraging, of whatever kind, the parties engaged will refrain from abusive or threatening language, and may, when the officer in command thinks proper, give written certificates of the facts, but no receipts; and they will endeavor to leave with each family a reasonable portion for their maintenance.

Of course, “the inhabitants” did “burn bridges, obstruct roads,” and “otherwise manifest local hostility.” Most of them were quite willing; but they would have been compelled so to act if unwilling. And such manifestations of “local hostility,” according to the terms of the order above given, constrained the corps commanders to “enforce a devastation more or less relentless, according to the measure of such hostillity.” But the mere necessity of subsisting such an army off the country, while passing rapidly through it, necessarily involved its devastation. It was like a cloud of locusts, devouring every thing edible, and many things that were not. And Gen. Sherman, in

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
South Carolina (South Carolina, United States) (2)
Charleston (South Carolina, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
William T. Sherman (5)
Hardee (1)
Quincy A. Gillmore (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: