[The following affidavit was contained in the report of the committee of citizens who investigated the burning of Columbia
, but was by some means omitted from the copy from which we printed the report.
It is of sufficient value to be now subjoined:]
Of the suffering and distress of the individual inhabitants some conception may be collected from the individual experience of one of them, Mrs. Agnes Law
, a lady more venerable for her virtues even than for her age, whose narrative, almost entire, we venture to introduce:
‘ “I am seventy-two years old,” she deposes, “and have lived in this town forty-eight years. My dwelling was a brick house, three stories, slate roof, with large gardens on two sides.
was burned my sister was with me, also a niece of mine, recently confined, who had not yet venturned out of the house.
When General Sherman
took possession I got four guards; they were well-behaved and sober men. I gave them supper.
One lay down on the sofa; the others walked about.
When the city began to burn I wished to remove my furniture; they objected and said my house was in no danger.
Not long afterwards these guards themselves took lighted candles from the mantelpiece and went up stairs.
At the same time other soldiers crowded into the house.
My sister followed them up-stairs, but came down very soon to say, ” They are setting the curtains on fire.
“ Soon the whole house was in a blaze.
When those who set fire up-stairs came down they said to me, ” Old woman, if you do not mean to burn up with your house you had better get out of it. “ My niece had been carried up to the Taylor house
, on Arsenal Hill
I went to the door to see if I could get any person I knew to assist me up
I had been very sick.
I could see no friend-only crowds of Federal soldiers.
I was afraid I should fall in the street and be burned up in the flames of the houses blazing on both sides of the street.
I had to go alone.
I spent that night at the Taylor house
, which a Federal officer said should not be burned out of pity for my niece.
The next two nights I passed in my garden without any shelter.
I have been for over fifty years a member of the Presbyterian Church.
I cannot live long.
I shall meet General Sherman
and his soldiers at the bar of God, and I give this testimony against them in the full view of that dread tribunal.”