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
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