think faith in him is much shaken in Georgia, and before we have done with her, South Carolina will not be quite so tempestuous. I will bear in mind your hint as to Charleston, and do not think “salt” will be necessary. When I move, the Fifteenth Corps will be on the right of the right wing, and their position will bring them into Charleston first; and if you have watched the history of that corps, you will have remarked that they generally do their work pretty well. The truth is, the whole army is burning with insatiable desire to wreak vengeance upon South Carolina. I almost tremble at her fate; but feel that she deserves all that seems in store for her.This is susceptible of but one meaning: That General Halleck had hinted that Charleston should be laid in ashes, and the ruins sowed in salt. Sherman avows that he was ready for this, and that nothing was too bad for South Carolina. But for what follows, it might have been urged that Charleston was especially singled out as the scapegoat of the State. In the very same letter from which we have quoted, Sherman says: ‘I look upon Columbia as quite as bad as Charleston.’ Mark Sherman's words, and the wholesale destruction of property in South Carolina. Join to this fact that it was the Fifteenth Corps that entered Columbia and occupied it. Can it be doubted, for a moment, that the corps again did its work ‘pretty well,’ and that Sherman acted upon the feeling, which animated him from the moment that he crossed the State line, that South Carolina deserved all that was in store for her, by reason of his own wishes and the insatiable desire of his troops for vengeance! General Sherman forgets—or he says what is untrue. We are constrained to believe that he wilfully mis-states the facts. This we believe, because he has done it before. In his Memoirs (page 287) and, in substance, in his Hartford speech, General Sherman says that the fire which destroyed Columbia was ‘accidental’ On the same page he says: ‘In my official report of this conflagration I distinctly charged it to General Wade Hampton, and confess I did so pointedly, to shake the faith of his people in him, for he was in my opinion a braggart, and professed to be the special champion of South Carolina.’ Knowing, by his own account, that the fire was accidental, General Sherman charged it on General Hampton—not because he believed him to be guilty, but to shake confidence in him. Even our Northern brethren, or some of them, will reluctantly admit that a commanding general who will boast that he accused an opponent of a crime of which he knew him to be innocent is capable, at this late day, of lying squarely to gratify his spite and save himself from blame.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
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.