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Saw no atrocities.

Now, I was there, and I never saw anything of the kind, and I am inclined to think the author of this book was drawing a decidedly ‘lung bow.’ He may not be as expert and varied at it as General Eagan in picturing General Miles, but approaches him gently. I had my eyes and ears open in the two hours the army was there, and I saw nothing and heard nothing of the atrocities said to have been committed. No doubt wrongs and atrocities were committed by some, but no such thing as deliberate, wanton burning was ever practiced by the Confederate army. The burning of Chambersburg was purely a war measure, as much so as the freeing of the slaves. Of course we all regretted that it was necessary to burn this city to teach our enemies a lesson, and every human heart must have sympathized with those who were so unfortunate as to be located there. It was a measure I have never justified.

The conflagration at its height was one of surpassing grandeur and terror, and had the day not been a calm one, many would have been licked up by the flames in the streets. Tall, black columns of smoke rose up to the very skies; around it were wrapped long streams of flames, writhing and twisting themselves into a thousand fantastic shapes. Here and there gigantic whirlwinds would lift clothing and light substances into the air, and intermingled with the weird scene could be heard the shrieks of women and children. Cows, dogs and cats were consumed in their attempt to escape. It was a picture that may be misrepresented, but cannot be heightened, and must remain forever indelibly impressed upon the mind of those who witnessed it.

There were 369 buildings consumed, and many of them valuable. [320] The courthouse was estimated to be worth $80,000; Colonel A. K. McClure's residence, $20,000; the German Reform printing establishment, $15,000; a banking-house, $20,000. In all, eleven squares were totally destroyed. In these houses there were all the household effects of these unfortunate citizens, which included fifty-nine pianos. The total loss in everything was estimated to be over a million of dollars. I have seen gentlemen from Chambersburg recently, who tell me that the burned squares have been replaced with handsome new buildings, much superior to those we destroyed. In the centre of the public square has been erected a monument commemorating the burning of the city by the ‘Rebels’ in 1864.

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