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Three classes of burners.

When the two brigades of Confederate cavalry marched to your town the order came to certain regiments and portion of regiments to enter and burn it. Our regiment, as a whole, according to the best of my recollection, was not sent in, but there were several detachments from it on different kinds of duty sent there, and I was with one of them. It was afterward a source of congratulation to our men that they had not been detailed for the purpose, for although they regarded it as a proper measure of retaliation, they did not seek the unpleasant task. The men who actually applied the torch may be classed in three divisions: First, those whose own homes had been ravaged or destroyed, or whose relations had suffered in that way. These men were anxious for the work to begin, and the spirit of revenge which actuated them made them apparently merciless. There were many such in the brigade. Second, the far larger portion who simply obeyed orders, as soldiers, and who saved what they could, and to whose humanity and liberal construction of the orders given them no doubt you must be thankful for the portion of the city that was saved. Thirdly, the men to be found in all armies who looked upon the occasion as an opportunity to plunder, and who rejoiced in wanton destruction. This last element was, I am glad to say, small, but I have no doubt to those who unfortunately came in contact with them they were but types of the whole command.


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