‘The men began to come in by twos, threes, and dozens, loaded with every species and all sorts and quantities of furniture, stores, trinkets, etc., till one would be tired enumerating.
We had sofas, tables, pianos, chairs, mirrors, carpets, beds, bedsteads, carpenter's tools, cooper's tools, books, law-books, account-books in unlimited supply, china sets, tinware, earthenware, Confederate shinplasters, old letters, papers, etc. A private would come along with a slate, yard-stick, and a brace of chickens in one hand, and in the other hand a rope with a cow attached.’
But the crowning act of vandalism is thus set forth in one of Colonel Shaw
‘After the town was pretty thoroughly disembowelled, he [Montgomery] said to me, “I shall burn this town.”
He speaks in a very low tone, and has quite a sweet smile when addressing you. I told him I did not want the responsibility of it, and he was only too happy to take it all on his own shoulders. . . . The reasons he gave me for destroying Darien were that the Southerners must be made to feel that this was a real war, and that they were to be swept away by the hand of God like the Jews of old. In theory it may seem all right to some; but when it comes to being made the instrument of the Lord's vengeance, I myself don't like it. Then he says, “We are outlawed, and therefore not bound by the rules of regular warfare.”
But that makes it none the less revolting to wreak our vengeance on the innocent and defenceless.’
's express orders, therefore, the town was fired, only one company of the Fifty-fourth participating with the Second South Carolina, Montgomery
applying the torch to the last buildings with his own hand.
Fanned by a high wind, the flames eventually destroyed everything but a church, a few houses, and some lumberworks