previous next

[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.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Columbia (South Carolina, United States) (1)
Cheraw (South Carolina, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
W. T. Sherman (4)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: