previous next

[514] and west for several squares. Around the superb promise of a building, which was to be the pride of the State, and to rival the public edifices of the national capital itself, was piled the debris of costly material destroyed in every conceivable and inconceivable manner. The exquisitely carved pilasters were calcined and broken; immense blocks of dressed granite, which could not otherwise be injured, were smoked and defaced by huge fires; on either side of the great front door-way was work, in basso-relievo, of acorns, fasces, and medallion heads, all wrought with the famous chisel of Henry Duke Brown, the sculptor, and now with wanton and malicious ingenuity so mutilated as to be a mere blot upon the lintels. In the hall below were pillars of pink Tennessee marble, supporting the groined arches, so highly finished that it resembled translucent agate; these were literally carved by some sharp instrument in long, jagged streaks, as a child's careless pencil delights in marring a sheet of clean paper.

Similar in its defacement was the bronze statue of Washington, whom these so-called ‘defenders of the Republic’ evidently regarded as a traitor and rebel—probably because he was not only a Virginian by birth, but a gentleman by principle. That work of art, also, the palmetto tree of wrought iron, erected to the memory of the regiment that gave so many noble lives for the preservation of American liberty and an inviolate constitution, was so defaced as to be utterly useless until entirely renewed in later years. It seemed a motto with this Grand Army of Destruction to leave nothing that could possibly be marred, broken, burnt, or annihilated. It was therefore not to be expected that any monument of State pride or tradition should be spared by them, or that the ‘Father of his Country’ should be recognized by the foreign mercenaries which in this case, as a hundred years before, composed the main body of the army of invasion. Even the native conscripts, fighting ostensibly for the ‘Old Flag,’ were, to all intents, but mere machines of destruction and death, and were so regarded by their general officers. They neither knew, nor could know, anything of that divine enthusiasm which nerves the

Freeman battling on his hills,’

and which fired the rank and file of the Confederate Army, educated men as well as voluntary soldiers.

The secret history of the burning of Columbia has not yet been written. It lies not within the province of the present narrative to enter into the details of heartrending cruelties and savage outrages of

Creative Commons License
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.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Tennessee (Tennessee, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Freeman (1)
John Brown (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: