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Notes and Queries.

How many Confederate towns did the enemy burn during the war?

As General Sherman chose to raise some time ago the question of the “Conduct of the war,” and to try to make it appear that the Federals were humane and civilized, and the Confederates cruel and barbarous — as Northern “historians” are accustomed to write in the same strain — and as even some of our own people, in their eager desire for peace and fraternity, seemed disposed to smooth over the matter and admit that one side was about as bad as the other, we propose to vindicate the truth of history and bring out some of the orders issued on both sides, and some of the details of their execution. We shall not allow the fair name of our people to be smirched without an indignant protest. Meantime we are glad to print the following from our friend, Rev. Horace E. Hayden, of Wilkes-Barre, Pa.:

Editor Southern Historical Society Papers:
Reverend and Dear Sir,--While the burning of the City of Columbia, S. C., by General W. T. Sherman of the U. S. Army is still fresh in the memory of your readers, is there not some one, with material at hand who can give through your pages, some account of the various actions of the same kind, committed by the Federal troops during our late War for Independence? [93]

Chambersburg Penn., was burned July 30th, 1864, by orders of General Early in retaliation for the destruction by General Hunter of the public buildings and private houses at Lexington, Va., and elsewhere during his infamous raid to Lynchburg. Columbia was burned from pure revenge. The heart-rending accounts of the destruction of Chambersburg are only exceeded by the terrible sufferings of the impoverished and homeless people of Columbia. Chambersburg was the only town destroyed by the Confederates, and that was done for a specific purpose. The record on the other side is in fearful contrast.

In 1862 the following towns within the limits of the Confederates States were burned in whole or in part by the Federal army: Fredericksburg, Va.; Williamstown, N. C.: Hamilton, N. C.; Donaldsonville, Louisiana; Simsport, Louisiana.

In February, 1864, during the march of Sherman (whose military career was a success only so far as he destroyed property, for he never won a battle) from Vicksburg to Merridan, Miss., with 26,000 men, the following towns were burned in whole or in part: Merridan, Miss.; Canton, Miss.; Okalona, Miss. Contrast with this, the action of the Confederate army, as they invaded and retired from Pennsylvania without plunder. In this march of Sherman's to Merridan, he burned 10,000 bales of cotton, 2,000,000 bushels of corn, stole 8,000 slaves, and, according to a Federal writer, destroyed $50,000,000 worth of property, making thousands homeless and destitute. This was five months before Chambersburg felt the keen edge of the war. The burning at Lexington, Va., was six weeks before Chambersburg was destroyed.

It is stated, on good authority, that during the march through South Carolina, in which Sherman burned Columbia, the following towns in South Carolina were burned in whole or in part by his troops, without there being any cotton in them to give a colouring to a charge against the Confederates of having committed the vandalism: Robertville, Grahamsville, McPhersonville, Blackville, Barnwell, Orangeburg, Lexington, Winsboro, Camden, Lancaster, Chesterfield, Cheraw, Darlington, Charleston.

In November, 1864, Sherman destroyed Atlanta and Rome, Ga.

Had I the material at hand I would not ask that another should work up this interesting page in our Confederate war; but I am too far from the archives. I hope some of the facile writers who have added to your pages and who have the archives near by, may tell us how many more towns were burned by the Federal forces and the circumstances of the destruction of all that thus fell into the hands of the enemy.


Did the Confederates ever capture a flag of the regular army?

The following seems to us an incredible statement, and we give it, that we may secure replies from those in position to know the facts:
Admiral Preble says in his history of the flag: “I am informed from the War Department, Washington, there is no record of any flags or flag having been captured by the rebels from the regiments in the Regular Army, and it is believed that none were captured by them.”

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