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‘ [305] the act of a tyrant only, who hates and is hated by his subjects, to exact by force and terror a reluctant and unwilling obedience.’

While it is admitted that the chief of an army may levy contributions on the enemy's country in order to compass the maintenance of his troops; while he may forage for corn, hay and provisions when circumstances render it impossible to proceed in the regular way of taxation; it is absolutely obligatory upon a commander, who is actuated by sentiments of honor and observes the recognized rules of civilized warfare, that he take from the enemy ‘only what he strictly wants,’ and that he adopt all possible means to prevent extortion or personal violence at the hands of his subordinate. ‘He is guilty of revolting cruelty who permits his soldiers to put inhabitants of a belligerent nation to torture or otherwise subject them to bad treatment to force them to disclose the places where their wealth or provisions are concealed. Nothing may be taken as personal booty. Excepting the cases of taxation, contribution, or absolute necessity,’ international law commands that all property, personal or real, belonging to individuals, be scrupulously respected. Any infraction of that rule must be punished as pillage or marauding.

Tested by these accepted rules of civilized warfare, the conduct of General Sherman's army, and particularly of Kilpatrick's cavalry and the numerous detached parties swarming through the country in advance and on the flanks of the main columns during the march from Atlanta to the coast, is reprehensible in the extreme. Not content with the violent and inordinate destruction of everything which might be regarded as even remotely contributing to the military strength and resources of the country, and not satisfied with the appropriation of such animals and provisions as were necessary for the efficiency and maintenance of the army, the Federals indulged in wanton pillage, wasting and destroying what could not be used. Defenseless women and children, and weak old men were not infrequently driven from their homes, their dwellings fired, and these noncombatants subjected to insult and privation. The inhabitants, white and black, were often robbed of their personal effects, were intimidated by threats and temporary confinement, and occasionally were even hung up, to the verge of final strangulation, to compel a revelation of the places where money, plate, and jewelry were buried, or plantation animals concealed. Private residences along the line of march were not exempt from rude search and the application of the torch. Articles of value which they contained were carried off at

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Atlanta (Georgia, United States) (1)
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W. T. Sherman (1)
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