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Chapter 55:

On April 25th, at Raleigh, North Carolina, General J. E. Johnston capitulated to General Sherman, as has been stated, and his army was disbanded. On May 4th General R. Taylor capitulated with the last of our forces east.

The number of men brought into the field by the government of the United States during the war, according to the official returns in the Adjutant General's office, Washington, was 2,678,967. In addition to these, 86,724 paid a commutation.

The rapidity with which calls for men were made by that government during the last eighteen months of the war, and the number brought into the field, were as follows:

Men furnished
Calls of October 17, 1863, and February 1, 1864, for 500,000 men for three years 317,092
Call of March 14, 1864, for 200,000 men for three years 259,515
Militia for one hundred days, April to July, 1864 83,612
Call of July 18, 1864, for 500,000 men 385,1631
Call of December 19, 1864, for 300,000 men 211,752
Total men furnished in eighteen months 1,257,134

The number of men furnished on call of the United States government, previous to October 17, 1863, was as follows:

Men furnished
Call of April 15, 1861, for 75,000 men for three months 91,816
Call of May 3, 1861, for 500,000 men 700,680
Men furnished in May and June, 1862, for three months 15,007
Call of July 2, 1862, for 300,000 men for three years 421,465
Call of August 4, 1862, for 300,000 militia for nine months 87,588
Proclamation of June 15, 1863, for militia for six months 16,361
Volunteers and militia at various times, of sixty days to one year 13,760
Volunteers and militia at various times for three years 75,156
Total 1,421,833


The number of men furnished to the armies of the United States by the states of Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and Tennessee, was as follows:

States Men furnished
Kentucky 75,760 equal to 70,832 three years men.
Maryland 46,638 equal to 41,275 three years men.
Missouri 109,111 equal to 86,530 three years men.
Tennessee 31,092 equal to 26,394 three years men.
Total 262,601 225,031

The public debt of the government of the United States on July 1, 1861, and on July 1, 1865, was as follows:

Debt, July 1, 1861 $90,867,828.68
Debt, July 1, 1865 2,682,593,026.53
Increase in four years $2,591,725,197.85

Of the manner in which our adversaries conducted the war I had frequent occasion to remark. Those observations made at the time present a more correct representation of facts than could be given in more recent statements. In a message to Congress on August 15, 1862, I said:

The perfidy which disregarded rights secured by compact, the madness which trampled on obligations made sacred by every consideration of honor, have been intensified by the malignancy engendered by defeat. These passions have changed the character of the hostilities waged by our enemies, who are becoming daily less regardful of the usages of civilized war and the dictates of humanity. Rapine and wanton destruction of private property, war upon noncombatants, murder of captives, bloody threats to avenge the death of an invading soldiery by the slaughter of unarmed citizens, orders of banishment against peaceful farmers engaged in the cultivation of the soil, are some of the means used by our ruthless invaders to enforce the submission of a free people to a foreign sway. Confiscation bills, of a character so atrocious as to insure, if executed, the utter ruin of the entire population of these States, are passed by their Congress and approved by their Executive. The moneyed obligations of the Confederate Government are counterfeited by citizens of the United States, and publicly advertised for sale in their cities, with a notoriety that sufficiently attests the knowledge of their Government; and the soldiers of the invading armies are found supplied with large quantities of these forged notes as a means of despoiling the country people by fraud out of such portions of their property as armed violence may fail to reach. Two at least of the generals of the United States are engaged, unchecked by their Government, in exciting servile insurrection, and in arming and training slaves for warfare against their masters, citizens of the Confederacy.


Again in January, 1863, I said, with regard to the conduct of the war by our adversaries:

It is my painful duty again to inform you of the renewed examples of every conceivable atrocity committed by the armed forces of the United States at different points within the Confederacy, and which must stamp indelible infamy, not only on the perpetrators, but on their superiors, who, having the power to check these outrages on humanity, numerous and well authenticated as they have been, have not yet in a single instance, of which I am aware, inflicted punishment on the wrong-doers. Since my last communication to you, one General McNeil murdered seven prisoners of war in cold blood, and the demand for his punishment has remained unsatisfied. The Government of the United States, after promising examination and explanation in relation to the charges made against General B. F. Butler, has, by its subsequent silence, after repeated efforts on my part to obtain some answer on the subject, not only admitted his guilt, but sanctioned it by acquiescence. . . . Recently I have received apparently authentic intelligence of another general by the name of Milroy, who has issued orders in West Virginia for the payment of money to him by the inhabitants, accompanied by the most savage threats of shooting every recusant, besides burning his house, and threatening similar atrocities against any of our citizens who shall fail to betray their country by giving him prompt notice of the approach of any of our forces. And this subject has also been submitted to the superior military authorities of the United States, with but faint hope that they will evince any disapprobation of the act.

A proclamation, dated on January 1, 1863, signed and issued by the President of the United States, orders and declares all slaves within ten of the States of the Confederacy to be free, except such as are found in certain districts now occupied in part by the armed forces of the enemy. We may well leave it to the instinct of that common humanity, which a beneficent Creator has implanted in the breasts of our fellow-men of all countries, to pass judgment on a measure by which several millions of human beings of an inferior race—peaceful, contented laborers in their sphere—are doomed to extermination, while at the same time they are encouraged to a general assassination of their masters by the insidious recommendation ‘to abstain from violence, unless in necessary selfdefense.’

The war, which in its inception was waged for forcing us back into the Union, having failed to accomplish that purpose, passed into a second stage, in which it was attempted to conquer and rule our states as dependent provinces. Defeated in this design, our enemies entered upon another, which could have no other purpose than revenge and plunder of private property. In May, 1864, it was still characterized by the barbarism with which it had been previously conducted. Aged men, helpless women and children appealed in vain to the humanity which should be inspired by their condition, for immunity from arrest, incarceration, or banishment from their homes. Plunder and devastation of the property of noncombatants, destruction of private ** [601] dwellings, and even of edifices devoted to the worship of God, expeditions organized for the sole purpose of sacking cities, consigning them to the flames, killing the unarmed inhabitants, and inflicting horrible outrages on women and children, were some of the constantly recurring atrocities of the invader.

On June 19, 1864, Major General Hunter began his retreat from before Lynchburg down the Shenandoah Valley. Lieutenant General Early, who followed in pursuit, thus describes the destruction he witnessed along the route:

Houses had been burned, and helpless women and children left without shelter. The country had been stripped of provisions, and many families left without a morsel to eat. Furniture and bedding had been cut to pieces, and old men and women and children robbed of all the clothing they had, except that on their backs. Ladies' trunks had been rifled, and their dresses torn to pieces in mere wantonness. Even the negro girls had lost their little finery. At Lexington he had burned the Military Institute with all its contents, including its library and scientific apparatus. Washington College had been plundered, and the statue of Washington stolen. The residence of ex-Governor Letcher at that place had been burned by orders, and but a few minutes given Mrs. Letcher and her family to leave the house. In the county a most excellent Christian gentleman, a Mr. Creigh, had been hung, because, on a former occasion, he had killed a straggling and marauding Federal soldier while in the act of insulting and outraging the ladies of his family.2

A letter dated Charleston, September 14, 1865, written by Rev. Dr. John Bachman, then pastor of the Lutheran Church in that city, presents many facts respecting the devastation and robberies by the enemy in South Carolina. So much as relates to the march of Sherman's army through parts of the state is here presented:

When Sherman's army came sweeping through Carolina, leaving a broad track of desolation for hundreds of miles, whose steps were accompanied with fire, and sword, and blood, reminding us of the tender mercies of the Duke of Alva, I happened to be at Cash's Depot, six miles from Cheraw. The owner was a widow, Mrs. Ellerbe, seventy-one years of age. Her son, Colonel Cash, was absent. I witnessed the barbarities inflicted on the aged, the widow, and young and delicate females. Officers, high in command, were engaged tearing from the ladies their watches, their ear and wedding rings, the daguerreotypes of those they loved and cherished. A lady of delicacy and refinement, a personal friend, was compelled to strip before them, that they might find concealed watches and other valuables under her dress. A system of torture was practiced toward the weak, unarmed, and defenseless, which, as far as I know and believe, was universal throughout the whole course of that invading army. Before they arrived at a plantation, they inquired the names of the most faithful and trustworthy family servants; these were immediately seized, pistols were presented [602] at their heads; with the most terrific curses, they were threatened to be shot if they did not assist them in finding buried treasures. If this did not succeed, they were tied up and cruelly beaten. Several poor creatures died under the infliction. The last resort was that of hanging, and the officers and men of the triumphant army of General Sherman were engaged in erecting gallows and hanging up these faithful and devoted servants. They were strung up until life was nearly extinct, when they were let down, suffered to rest awhile, then threatened and hung up again. It is not surprising that some should have been left hanging so long that they were taken down dead. Coolly and deliberately these hardened men proceeded on their way, as if they had perpetrated no crime, and as if the God of heaven would not pursue them with his vengeance. But it was not alone the poor blacks (to whom they professed to come as liberators) that were thus subjected to torture and death. Gentlemen of high character, pure and honorable and gray-headed, unconnected with the military, were dragged from their fields or their beds, and subjected to this process of threats, beating, and hanging. Along the whole track of Sherman's army, traces remain of the cruelty and inhumanity practiced on the aged and the defenseless. Some of those who were hung up died under the rope, while their cruel murderers have not only been left unreproached and unhung, but have been hailed as heroes and patriots. The list of those martyrs whom the cupidity of the officers and men of Sherman's army sacrificed to their thirst for gold and silver, is large and most revolting. If the editors of this paper will give their consent to publish it, I will give it in full, attested by the names of the purest and best men and women of our Southern land.

I, who have been a witness to these acts of barbarity that are revolting to every feeling of humanity and mercy, was doomed to feel in my own person the effects of the avarice, cruelty, and despotism which characterized the men of that army. I was the only male guardian of the refined and delicate females who had fled there for shelter and protection. I soon ascertained the plan that was adopted in this wholesale system of plunder, insult, blasphemy, and brutality. The first party that came was headed by officers, from a colonel to a lieutenant, who acted with seeming politeness, and told me that they only came to secure our firearms, and when these were delivered up nothing in the house should be touched. Out of the house, they said, they were authorized to press forage for their large army. I told them that along the whole line of the march of Sherman's army, from Columbia to Cheraw, it had been ascertained that ladies had been robbed and personally insulted. I asked for a guard to protect the females. They said that there was no necessity for this, as the men dare not act contrary to orders. If any did not treat the ladies with proper respect, I might blow their brains out. ‘But,’ said I, ‘you have taken away our arms, and we are defenseless.’ They did not blush much, and made no reply. Shortly after this came the second party, before the first had left. They demanded the keys of the ladies' drawers, took away such articles as they wanted, then locked the drawers and put the keys in their pockets. In the mean time, they gathered up the spoons, knives, forks, towels, table-cloths, etc. As they were carrying them off, I appealed to the officers of the first party; they ordered the men to put back the things; the officer of the second party said he would see them d——d first; and, without further ado, packed them up, and they glanced at each other and smiled. [603] The elegant carriage and all the vehicles on the premises were seized and filled with bacon and plunder. The smokehouses were emptied of their contents and carried off. Every head of poultry was seized and flung over their mules, and they presented the hideous picture in some of the scenes in “Forty Thieves.” Every article of harness they did not wish was cut in pieces.

By this time the first and second parties had left, and a third appeared on the field. They demanded the keys of the drawers, and, on being informed that they had been carried off, coolly and deliberately proceeded to break open the locks, took what they wanted, and when we uttered words of complaint were cursed. Every horse, mule, and carriage, even to the carts, was taken away, and, for hundred of miles, the last animal that cultivated the widow's corn-field, and the vehicles that once bore them to the house of worship, were carried off or broken into pieces and burned.

The first party that came promised to leave ten days provisions, the rest they carried off. An hour afterward, other hordes of marauders from the same army came and demanded the last pound of bacon and the last quart of meal. On Sunday, the negroes were dressed in their best suits. They were kicked, and knocked down and robbed of all their clothing, and they came to us in their shirtsleeves, having lost their hats, clothes, and shoes. Most of our own clothes had been hid in the woods. The negroes who had assisted in removing them were beaten and threatened with death, and compelled to show them where they were concealed. They cut open the trunks, threw my manuscripts and devotional books into a mud-hole, stole the ladies' jewelry, hair ornaments, etc., tore many garments into tatters, or gave the rest to the negro women to bribe them into criminal intercourse. These women afterward returned to us those articles that, after the mutilations, were scarcely worth preserving. The plantation, of one hundred and sixty negroes, was some distance from the house, and to this place successive parties of fifty at a time resorted for three long days and nights, the husbands and fathers being fired at and compelled to fly to the woods.

Now commenced scenes of licentiousness, brutality, and ravishment that have scarcely had an equal in the ages of heathen barbarity. I conversed with aged men and women, who were witnesses of these infamous acts of Sherman's unbridled soldiery, and several of them, from the cruel treatment they had received, were confined to their beds for weeks afterward. The time will come when the judgment of Heaven will await these libidinous, beastly barbarians. During this time, the fourth party, whom, I was informed by others, we had the most reason to dread, had made their appearance. They came, as they said, in the name of the great General Sherman, who was next to God Almighty. They came to burn and lay in ashes all that was left. They had burned bridges and depots, cotton-gins, mills, barns, and stables. They swore they would make the d——d rebel women pound their corn with rocks, and eat their raw meal without cooking. They succeeded in thousands of instances. I walked out at night, and the innumerable fires that were burning as far as the eye could reach, in hundreds of places, illuminated the whole heavens, and testified to the vindictive barbarity of the foe. I presume they had orders not to burn occupied houses, but they strove all in their power to compel families to fly from their houses that they might afterward burn them. The neighborhood was [604] filled with refugees who had been compelled to fly from their plantations on the seaboard. As soon as they had fled, the torch was applied, and, for hundreds of miles, those elegant mansions, once the ornament and pride of our inland country, were burned to the ground.

All manner of expedients were now adopted to make the residents leave their homes for the second time. I heard them saying, ‘This is too large a house to be left standing, we must contrive to burn it.’ Canisters of powder were placed all around the house, and an expedient resorted to that promised almost certain success. The house was to be burned down by firing the outbuildings. These were so near each other that the firing of the one would lead to the destruction of all. I had already succeeded in having a few bales of cotton rolled out of the building, and hoped, if they had to be burned, the rest would also be rolled out, which could have been done in ten minutes by several hundred men who were looking on, gloating over the prospect of another elegant mansion in South Carolina being left in ashes. The torch was applied, and soon the large storehouse was on fire. This communicated to several other buildings in the vicinity, which, one by one, were burned to the ground. At length the fire reached the smoke-house, where they had already carried off the bacon of two hundred and fifty hogs. This was burned, and the fire was now rapidly approaching the kitchen, which was so near the dwelling-house that, should the former burn, the destruction of the large and noble edifice would be inevitable.

A captain of the United States service, a native of England, whose name I would like to mention here, if I did not fear to bring down upon him the censure of the abolitionists as a friend to the rebels, mounted the roof, and the wet blankets we sent up to him prevented the now smoking roof from bursting into flames. I called for help to assist us in procuring water from a deep well; a young lieutenant stepped up, condemned the infamous conduct of the burners, and called on his company for aid; a portion of them came cheerfully to our assistance; the wind seemed almost by a miracle to subside; the house was saved, and the trembling females thanked God for their deliverance. All this time, about one hundred mounted men were looking on, refusing to raise a hand to help us; laughing at the idea that no efforts of ours could save the house from the flames.

My trials, however, were not yet over. I had already suffered much in a pecuniary point of view. I had been collecting a library on natural history during a long life. The most valuable of these books had been presented by various societies in England, France, Germany, Russia, etc., who had honored me with membership, and they or the authors presented me with these works, which had never been for sale, and could not be purchased. My herbarium, the labor of myself and the ladies of my house for many years, was also among these books. I had left them as a legacy to the library of the Newbury College, and concluded to send them at once. They were detained in Columbia, and there the torch was applied, and all were burned. The stealing and burning of books appear to be one of the programmes on which the army acted. I had assisted in laying the foundation and dedicating the Lutheran Church at Columbia, and there, near its walls, had recently been laid the remains of one who was dearer to me than life itself. To set that brick church on fire from below was impossible. The building stood by itself on a square but little built up. One of [605] Sherman's burners was sent up to the roof. He was seen applying the torch to the cupola. The church was burned to the ground, and the grave of my loved one desecrated. The story circulated, that the citizens had set their own city on fire, is utterly untrue, and only reflects dishonor on those who vilely perpetrated it. General Sherman had his army under control. The burning was by his orders, and ceased when he gave the command.

I was now doomed to experience in person the effects of avarice and barbarous cruelty. The robbers had been informed in the neighborhood that the family which I was protecting had buried one hundred thousand dollars in gold and silver. They first demanded my watch, which I had effectually secured from their grasp. They then asked me where the money had been hid. I told them I knew nothing about it, and did not believe there was a thousand dollars worth in all, and what there was had been carried off by the owner, Colonel Cash. All this was literally true. They then concluded to try an experiment on me which had proved so successful in hundreds of other instances. Coolly and deliberately they prepared to inflict torture on a defenseless, gray-headed old man. They carried me behind a stable, and once again demanded where the money was buried, or ‘I should be sent to hell in five minutes.’ They cocked their pistols and held them to my head. I told them to fire away. One of them, a square-built, broad-faced, large-mouthed, clumsy lieutenant, who had the face of a demon, and who did not utter five words without an awful blasphemy, now kicked me in the stomach until I fell breathless and prostrate. As soon as I was able, I rose again. He once more asked me where the silver was. I answered as before, ‘I do not know.’ With his heavy, elephant foot he now kicked me on my back until I fell again. Once more I arose, and he put the same question to me. I was nearly breathless, but answered as before. Thus was I either kicked or knocked down seven or eight times. I then told him it was perfectly useless for him to continue his threats or his blows. He might shoot me if he chose. I was ready and would not budge an inch, but requested him not to bruse and batter an unarmed, defenseless old man. ‘Now,’ said he, ‘I'll try a new plan. How would you like to have both your arms cut off,’ He did not wait for an answer, but with his heavy sheathed sword, struck me on my left arm, near the shoulder. I heard it crack; it hung powerless by my side, and I supposed it was broken. He then repeated the blow on the other arm. The pain was most excruciating, and it was several days before I could carve my food or take my arm out of a sling, and it was black and blue for weeks. (I refer to Dr. Kollock of Cheraw.) At that moment the ladies, headed by my daughter, who had only then been made aware of the brutality practiced upon me, rushed from the house, and came flying to my rescue. ‘You dare not murder my father,’ said my child; ‘he has been a minister in the same church for fifty years, and God has always protected, and will protect him.’ ‘Do you believe in a God, miss?’ said one of the brutal wretches; ‘I don't believe in a God, a heaven, nor a hell.’ ‘Carry me,’ said I, ‘to your General.’ I did not intend to go to General Sherman, who was at Cheraw, from whom, I was informed, no redress could be obtained, but to a general in the neighborhood, said to be a religious man. Our horses and carriages had all been taken away, and I was too much bruised to be able to walk. The other young officers came crowding around me very officiously, telling me that they would represent the case to the General, [606] and that they would have him shot by ten o'clock the next morning. I saw the winks and glances that were interchanged between them. Every one gave a different name to the officers. The brute remained unpunished, as I saw him on the following morning, as insolent and as profane as he had been on the preceding day.

As yet, no punishment had fallen on the brutal hyena, and I strove to nurse my bruised body and heal my wounds, and forget the insults and injuries of the past. A few weeks after this I was sent for to perform a parochial duty at Mars Bluff, some twenty miles distant. Arriving at Florence in the vicinity, I was met by a crowd of young men connected with the militia. They were excited to the highest pitch of rage, and thirsted for revenge. They believed that among the prisoners that had just arrived on the railroad-car, on their way to Sumter, were the very men who committed such horrible outrages in the neighborhood. Many of their houses had been laid in ashes. They had been robbed of every means of support. Their horses had .been seized; their cattle and hogs bayoneted; their mothers and sisters had been insulted, and robbed of their watches, ear and wedding rings. Some of their parents had been murdered in cold blood. The aged pastor, to whose voice they had so often listened, had been kicked and knocked down by repeated blows; and his hoary head had been dragged about in the sand. They entreated me to examine the prisoners and see whether I could identify the men that had inflicted such barbarities on me. I told them I would do so, provided they would remain where they were and not follow me. The prisoners saw me at a distance, held down their guilty heads, and trembled like aspen-leaves. All cruel men are cowards. One of my arms was still in a sling. With the other I raised some of their hats. They all begged for mercy. I said to them, ‘The other day you were tigers—you are sheep now.’ But a hideous object soon arrested my attention. There sat my brutal enemy—the vulgar, swaggering lieutenant, who had ridden up to the steps of the house, insulted the ladies, and beaten me most unmercifully. I approached him slowly, and, in a whisper asked him: ‘Do you know me, sir?—the old man whose pockets you first searched, to see whether he might not have a penknife to defend himself, and then kicked and knocked down with your fist and heavy scabbard?’ He presented the picture of an arrant coward, and in a trembling voice implored me to have mercy: ‘Don't let me be shot; have pity! Old man, beg for me! I won't do it again! For God's sake, save me! O God, help me!’ ‘Did you not tell my daughter there was no God? Why call on him now?’ ‘Oh, I have changed my mind; I believe in a God now.’ I turned and saw the impatient, flushed, and indignant crowd approaching. ‘What are they going to do with me?’ said he. ‘Do you hear that sound—click, click?’ ‘Yes,’ said he, ‘they are cocking their pistols.’ ‘True,’ said I; ‘and if I raise a finger you will have a dozen bullets through your brain.’ ‘Then I will go to hell; don't let them kill me. O Lord, have mercy!’ ‘Speak low,’ said I, ‘and don't open your lips.’ The men advanced. Already one had pulled me by the coat. ‘Show us the men.’ I gave no clew by which the guilty could be identified. I walked slowly through the car, sprang into the waiting carriage, and drove off.

1 Reduced by excess on previous calls.

2 Memoir of the Last Year of the War, by Lieutenant General Early.

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