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[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

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W. T. Sherman (2)
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