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[114] towards the other end of the town. It was a very impressive spectacle, and I am not likely to forget it, while I live. For the information of my many worthy friends in the militia, I would say, that their sweetly-pretty parades do not at all remind me of the scene then before me. Up to this time there had been no fires in the town except an accidental one in some military stores kept at a railroad depot, which did no damage elsewhere, and which is admitted to have had no connection whatever with the subsequent conflagration at night. On this hill I remained for several hours, and in the meantime the city had been completely and peacefully occupied by Sherman's forces. At one time a few infantry skirmishers had been thrown out towards us, and some harmless bullets from long range had whirred over our heads, but we did not return the fire, which soon ceased and was not renewed. It will be understood that being then a private, I have no memoranda written at the time, and that I would not usually take any special note of hours of the day, or even of dates. I am unable, therefore, to state the hour at which Sherman's entry began, or the number of hours during which our occupancy of the hill lasted. The facts which I relate, however, prove, it seems to me, the entire and undisputed occupation of the city by Sherman before any fires were visible. That is the vital point which, once admitted, makes it undeniable that the place was burnt with his responsibility. Undisturbed on an elevation, and watching with a keen and intense interest, which has photographed the scene forever in my memory, how could I have failed to notice the very thing that would have soonest challenged eager attention, a fire? General Sherman unconsciously corroborates the fact of our being on the hill referred to, and, I think, states the hour at which he saw us, either in his “Book,” or in some of his published letters on the subject. He mentions that after the occupation had been some time completed he was riding towards the Charlotte depot, but was advised not to do so by some of his men, as “rebel videttes” were visible on the hill beyond, as he himself saw. Such, unless my memory deceives me, is the substance of his statement.

I am able to remember at what stage of the retreat General Hampton left the city, by the following incident. Shortly before we had taken up our position on the little hill, which I have been alluding to, and when we were quite near it, I had obtained permission from my commanding officer to return to the town for a few minutes, and had dashed back accordingly, as fast as spurs liberally applied could take me. As I turned a corner with furious speed I suddenly found myself confronted by a small column of horsemen, coming on a walk from an

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