The hot tears streamed over my face. My heart ached as if it would break. How cruel, how hard it all seemed. ‘Oh, Liberty!’ I cried in those words of historic eloquence, ‘what crimes are committed in thy name!’ My companion was silent with a great sympathy. I saw his broad chest heave, and he hid his face from the distressing sights around. He had been one of that noble band. ‘The Old Maryland Line,’ and his heart was with the cause for which he was expatriated. When we drew up at last before the door of my home, he held out his hand, ‘God be with you!’ he said, ‘for man has no comfort for grief like yours.’ Then the coach drove away, and I never saw him again. I must pass over that meeting with dear ones in the desolated home. It was enough that we were ‘all there’ once more; brothers from the war, sisters from exile, father from long wandering in search of food for a dependent family, and a heroic mother, who had met single-handed and alone under this roof the vandals of the notorious Fifteenth Army Corps. I heard her story a few days later, and though it may be similar in some points to many others, there are details so characteristic that I cannot forbear the recital. ‘On that fatal day, February 16th, hearing of the approach of Sherman, I went,’ she said, ‘to the third story, and, looking across the river, caught the gleam of bayonets and heard the echo of sharpshooting. About noon the servants came flying in breathless, exclaiming that the Yankees were entering the city. A triumphant burst of brilliant music was the first verification of what seemed a hideous dream. Down the main street they came, with waving banners and resounding bands. A few moments later the stars and stripes floated over the State-house. That sight was too much for me. I went down to my own room and remained there alone with my only Refuge and Comforter.’ During the day a few stragglers appeared, and demanded food or drink; the orchard and garden were filled with bivouacs and campfires. With closed doors but steadfast heart the lonely woman awaited the worst. She saw the signal-rockets go up which announced the inauguration of a night of license and diabolic orgies unparalleled in the annals of civilization. She heard the wild shouts of frenzied bacchanals mingled with the shrieks of women and children surrounded by a belt of fire, and yet freezing under the pall of a wintry sky. She saw the glare of burning homes, and the huge debris hurled by a pitiless wind through the lurid air, like
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
General Ewell at First Manassas .
Colonel Campbell Brown 's reply to General Beauregard .
The Merrimac and the Monitor ���Report of the Committee on Naval Affairs.
Report: [to accompany bill H. R. 244 .]
Official reports of the battle of Gettysburg .
Report of Colonel Bryan Grimes , of Fourth North Carolina .
Operations of detachment from Cashtown to Williams -Port���report of Major Charles Richardson .
From the Rapidan to Spotsylvania Courthouse .
Report of General R. S. Ewell .
Report of General A. L. Long , from 4th to 31st of May , 1864 .
Evacuation of Richmond .
Reunion of the Virginia division Army of Northern Virginia Association.
Orations at the unveiling of the statue of Stonewall Jackson , Richmond, Va. , October 26th , 1875 .
Governor Kemper 's address.
The battle of Honey Hill .
Battle of Chickamauga .
Report of Brigadier-General B. R. Johnson .
Letter from General Hagood on recapture of a flag.
The cavalry affair at Waynesboro .
General Sherman 's method of making war.
Letter from Colonel Stone .
Gleanings from General Sherman 's despatches.
The Wee Nee Volunteers of Williamsburg District, South Carolina , in the First ( Gregg 's) Regiment���Siege and capture of Fort Sumter .
The Kilpatrick - Dahlgren raid against Richmond .
Statement of Lieutenant Bartley , of the United States signal corps .
The Confederate account.
Authenticity of the Dahlgren papers.
The opening of the lower Mississippi in April , 1862 -a reply to Admiral Porter .
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.