the cavalry in the Army of Northern Virginia, had come to take command of the cavalry rendezvoused at Columbia
He had at about this time been appointed a Lieutenant-General
; there were, if I mistake not, but two other Lieutenant-Generals
of cavalry in the Confederate
service, Generals Forrest
Of all the officers of this grade in the army, my impression is, only two attained the rank who had not received a technical military education, and these were Generals Hampton
, both of the cavalry.
It is needless to attempt a description of the distinguished soldier and statesman Hampton
, whose brilliant services in war, and his exalted wisdom in peace, which resulted in the liberation of his State from bondage, have made his name known and honoured by the English-speaking race everywhere.
Besides our division, there was in front of Columbia
but a very slender force of cavalry, consisting mainly of fractions of regiments from the West
, in a more or less demoralized condition, some of whom proved more of a nuisance to the friends than a terror to their enemies.
The consolidation of our command with the garrisons of Charleston
, and some other places, took place after the retreat from Columbia
The importance of holding Columbia
did not arise from its strategical value, for it possessed very little of this for friend or foe. It was protected by no fortifications, nor was there military stores there of any practical importance.
It was for these reasons deemed not impossible that Sherman
would not come in force against the place, as no military reasons existed for his doing so, and that if a feeble demonstration were made against it, we might be able to frustrate it.
As the capture of the city was needless strategically, it follows that its subsequent destruction was without a vestige of justification or excuse.
The desire of our commander to keep the town intact from the enemy doubtless did not proceed so much from his instincts as a soldier, as from his feelings as a man. This place had been for several years an asylum of refuge for the homeless, not only from its own State, but also measurably from all parts of the Confederacy
Being far from the coast, and remote from where the tragedy of war had hitherto been enacted, and food being accessible, it was supposed to be a safe retreat for the impoverished, weary wanderers from once happy homes.
Thither had fled from the advance of the invader, and too frequently from his torch, enfeebled, gray-haired men, bowed down under the weight of years and misfortunes, tenderly-nurtured women, ill able to withstand the buffets of adversity, gentle maidens in the first bloom of loveliness, and innocent little children, crying aloud to God for bread