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[424] laboring all night to save the houses and protect the families of their enemies, thus suddenly deprived of shelter and often of bedding and apparel. Thus, by a calamity, incident indeed to war, but brought about by the mad folly of one of the most reckless of the rebel commanders, who filled a city about to fall into the hands of an enemy with lint, cotton, and tinder, the capital of South Carolina was destroyed. There was a retributive justice in the conflagration, which, though not designed, was felt by the soldiers; for no man in either rebel or national army but remembered that South Carolina was the state which first seceded from the Union, and that in 1860 the legislature at Columbia did all in its power to precipitate the entire South into a war which many Southerners then deprecated as earnestly as the loyal people of the North.1

During the 18th and 19th of February, the destruction of public property was continued. Beauregard, meanwhile, and the rebel cavalry, had retreated upon Charlotte, in North Carolina, due north from Columbia; and on the 20th and 21st, Sherman followed as far as Winnsboro, sending Kilpatrick to the left, to keep up the delusion that a movement was contemplated in that direction, where Cheatham's corps, from Hood's army, was now expected to make a junction with Beauregard. At Wiinnsboro, however, Sherman turned his principal columns northeastward towards Goldsboro, still two hundred miles away. Heavy rains again impeded his movements,

1 There is a story that in one of the battles of the Wilderness a South Carolina regiment, panic-stricken, was flying from the field, when Early, a Virginian, riding up, exclaimed: ‘God damn you, you got us into this scrape; now help to get us out!’

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