had relatives and friends at the South
, and that he felt for us; that his heart bled to think of what was threatening.
‘Ladies,’ he wrote, ‘I pity you; leave this town; go anywhere to be safer than here.’
This was written in the morning; the fires were in the evening and night.”
One of our citizens of great intelligence and respectability, William H. Orchard
, was visited about 7 P. M. by a squad of some six or seven soldiers, to whose depredations he submitted with a composure which seemed to impress their leader.
Of his conversation with this person the gentleman referred to testifies as follows: “On leaving the yard he called to me and said he wished to speak to me alone.
He then said to me, in an undertone: ‘You seem to be a clever sort of a man, and have a large family, so I will give you some advice; if you have anything you wish to save, take care of it at once, for before morning this d — d town will be in ashes — every house in it.’
My only reply was, ‘can that be true?’
He said ‘yes, and if you do not believe me you will be the sufferer; and if you watch you will see three rockets go up soon, and if you do not take my advice you will see h — ll.’
” Within an hour afterward three rockets were seen to ascend from a point in front of the Mayor
But a few minutes elapsed before fires in swift succession broke out and at points so far apart that they could not have been communicated from the one to the other.
At various parts of the town the soldiers, at the appearance of the rockets, declared that they were the appointed signals for a general conflagration.
The fire companies, with their engines, promptly repaired to the scene of the fires and endeavored to arrest them, but in vain.
The soldiers of General Sherman
, with bayonets and axes, pierced and cut the hose, disabled the engines, and prevented the citizens from extinguishing the flames.
The wind was high and blew from the west.
The fires spread and advanced with fearful rapidity and soon enveloped the very heart of the town.
The pillage, which had begun upon the entrance of the hostile forces, continued without cessation or abatement, and now the town was delivered over to the accumulated horrors of sack and conflagration.
The inhabitants were subjected to personal indignities and outrages.
A witness, Captain W. B. Stanley
, testified that several times during the night he “saw the soldiers of General Sherman
take from females bundles of clothing and provisions, open them, appropriate what they wanted, and throw the remainder into the flames.”
Men were violently seized and threatened with the halter or pistol to compel