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[204] referred to: “We were strung out from Nashville clear down to Atlanta. Had I then gone on, stringing out our forces, what danger would there not have been of their attacking the little head of the column and crushing it? Therefore, I resolved in a moment to stop the game of guarding their cities, and to destroy their cities. We were determined to produce results, and now what were those results? To make every man, woman and child in the South feel that if they dared to rebel against the flag of their country they must die or submit.” The plan of subjugation adopted by General Sherman was fully comprehended and approved of by his army. His officers and men universally justified their acts by declaring that it was “the way to put down the rebellion by burning and destroying everything.” Before the surrender of our town the soldiers of General Sherman, officers and privates, declared that it was to be destroyed. “It was,” deposes a witness (Mrs. Rosa J. Meetze), “the common talk among them (at the village of Lexington) that Columbia was to be burned by General Sherman.” At the same place, on the 16th of February, 1865, as deposed to by another witness, Mrs. Frances T. Caughman, the general officer in command of his cavalry forces, General Kilpatrick, said, in reference to Columbia: “Sherman will lay it in ashes for them.” “It was the general impression among all the prisoners we captured,” says a Confederate officer, Colonel J. P. Austin, of the Ninth Kentucky cavalry, “that Columbia was to be destroyed.”

On the morning of the same day (February 16, 1865) some of the forces of General Sherman appeared on the western side of the Congaree river, and without a demand of surrender, or any previous notice of their purpose, began to shell the town, then filled. with women, children and aged persons, and continued to do so, at intervals, throughout the day. The Confederate forces were withdrawn and the town restored to the control of the municipal authorities on the morning of the 17th of February. Accompanied by three of the aldermen, the Mayor, between 8 and 9 o'clock A. M., proceeded in the direction of Broad river, for the purpose of surrendering the city to General Sherman. Acting in concert with the Mayor, the officer in command of the rear guard of the Confederate cavalry, General M. C. Butler, forbore from further resistance to the advance of the opposing army, and took effectual precautions against anything being done which might provoke General Sherman or his troops to acts of violence or severity toward the town or its citizens. The surrender of Columbia was made by the

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