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Report of the history Committee

Of the grand Camp C. V., Department of Virginia, at Petersburg, Va., October 25, 1901.

By Hon. Geo. L. Christian, Chairman.
A contrast between the way the War was conducted by the Federals and the way it was conducted by the Confederates, drawn almost entirely from Federal sources.

To the Grand Camp of Confederate Veterans of Virginia:

Before entering upon the discussion of the subject selected for consideration in this report, your committee begs leave to tender its thanks to the camp, and to the public, for the many expressions it has received of their appreciation of its last two reports. These expressions have come from every section of the country, and they are not only most gratifying, showing, as they do, the importance of the work of this camp in establishing the justice of the Confederate cause, but that this work is also causing the truth concerning that cause to be taught to our children, which was not the case until these Confederate camps effected that great result. Our report of 1899, prepared by your late distinguished and lamented chairman, Dr. Hunter McGuire, was directed mainly to a criticism of certain histories then used in our schools, and to demonstrate the fact that the South did not go to war either to maintain or to perpetuate the institution o [100] slavery, as our enemies have tried so hard to make the world believe was the case. That of 1900 was directed—

(1) To establish the right of secession (the real question at issue in the war) by Northern testimony alone, and

(2) To establish the fact that the North was the aggressor in bringing on the war, and by the same kind of testimony.

These two reports have been published, the first for two years, and the second for one year, and as far as we know, no fact contended for in either has been attempted to be controverted. We feel justified, therefore, in claiming that these facts have been established.

How the War was conducted.

Having then, we think, established the justice of the Confederate cause, and that the Northern people were responsible for, and the aggressors in bringing on the war, and both of these facts by testimony drawn almost exclusively from Northern sources, it is only left for us to consider how the war, thus forced upon the South by the North, was conducted by the respective combatants through their representatives, both in the cabinet and in the field? We fully recognize that within the limits of this report it is impossible to do more than to ‘touch the fringe,’ as it were, of this important inquiry. The details of the horrors of the four years of that war would fill many, many volumes, and it is not our purpose or desire to go fully into any such sad and harrowing recital. We propose, therefore, only to give the principles of civilized warfare as adopted by the Federal authorities for the government of their armies in the field during the war, and then cite some of the most flagrant violations of those principles by some of the most distinguished representatives of that government in the war waged by it against the South. Of course, in doing this we shall have to refer to some things very familiar to all of us; but the repetition of them in this report would nevertheless seem necessary and proper to its completeness.

In performing this distasteful task we wish, in the beginning, to disclaim any and all purpose or wish on our part to reopen the wounds or to rekindle the feelings of bitterness engendered by that unholy and unhappy strife. As we said in our last report, we recognize that this whole country is one country and our country, and we of [101] the South are as true to it, and will do as much to uphold its honor and defend its rights, as those of any other section. But we are also true to a sacred past, a past which had principles for which thousands of our comrades suffered and died, and which are living principles to-day—principles which we fought to maintain, and for which our whole people, almost without exception, willingly and heroically offered their lives, their blood and their fortunes; and whilst we do not propose to live in that past, we do propose that the principles of that past shall live in us, and that we will transmit these principles to our children and their descendants to the latest generations yet unborn. We believe that only by doing this can we and they make good citizens of the republic, as founded by our fathers, and that not to do this would be false to the memory of our dead and to ourselves.

Then let us enquire, first: What were the rules adopted by the Federals for the government of their armies in war? The most important of these are as follows:

(1) Private property, unless forfeited by crimes, or by offences of the owner against the safety of the army, or the dignity of the United States, and after conviction of the owner by court-martial, can be seized only by way of military necessity for the support or other benefit of the army of the United States.

(2) All wanton violence committed against persons in the invaded country; all destruction of property not commanded by the authorized officer; all robbery; all pillage or sacking, even after taking place by main force; all rape, wounding, maiming, or killing of such inhabitants, are prohibited under penalty of death, or such other severe punishment as may seem adequate for the gravity of the offence.

(3) Crimes punishable by all penal codes, such as arson, murder, maiming, assaults, highway robbery, theft, burglary, fraud, forgery and rape, if committed by an American soldier in a hostile country against its inhabitants, are not only punishable, as at home, but in all cases in which death is not inflicted, the severer punishment shall be preferred, because the criminal has, as far as in him lay, prostituted the power conferred on a man of arms, and prostituted the dignity of the United States.

Now, as we have said, these were the important provisions adopted by the Federals for the government of their armies in war. [102]

General McClellan, a gentleman, a trained and educated soldier, recognized these principles from the beginning, and acted on them. On July 7, 1862, he wrote to Mr. Lincoln from Harrison's Landing, saying, among other things:

This rebellion has assumed the character of a war; as such it should be conducted upon the highest principles of Christian civilization. It should not be a war looking to the subjugation of the people of any State in any event. It should not be at all a war upon populations, but against armed forces and political organizations. Neither confiscation of property, political executions of persons, territorial organization of States, nor forcible abolition of slavery, should be contemplated for a moment.

In prosecuting the war, all private property and unarmed persons, should be strictly protected, subject only to the necessity of military operations. All property taken for military use should be paid or receipted for; pillage and waste should be treated as high crimes; all unnecessary trespass sternly prohibited, and offensive demeanor by the military towards citizens promptly rebuked.

See 2 Am. Conflict (Greely), p. 248.

The writer's home was visited by the Army of the Potomac, both under McClellan and under Grant. At the time McClellan was in command guards were stationed to protect the premises, with orders to shoot any soldier caught depredating, and but little damage was actually done; none with the consent or connivance of the commanding general. But, when the same army came, commanded by Grant, every house on the place, except one negro cabin, was burned to the ground; all stock and everything else of any value was carried off. The occupants were only women, children and servants; nearly all the servants were carried off; one of the ladies was so shocked at the outrages committed as to cause her death, and the other, and the children were turned out of doors without shelter or food, and with only the clothing they had on. So, the writer has had a real experience of the difference between civilized and barbarous warfare. To show how little the advice of McClellan, as to the principles on which the war should be conducted, was heeded at Washington, and as it would seem, stimulated in an opposite course by his suggestions, we find that in two weeks from the date of his letter to Mr. Lincoln, just quoted—viz: on July 20, 1862—that General John Pope, commandng the ‘Army of Virginia,’ issued the following order:


General Pope's orders.

(1) ‘The people of the Valley of the Shenandoah and throughout the region of the operations of this army, living along the lines of railroad and telegraph and along the routes of travel in rear of the United States forces, are notified that they will be held responsible for any injury done to the track, line or road, or for any attack upon trains or straggling soldiers by bands of guerrillas in their neighborhood. * * * * Safety of life and property of all persons living in the rear of our advancing armies depends upon the maintenance of peace and quiet among themselves, and of the unmolested movement through their midst of all pertaining to the military service. They are to understand distinctly that this security of travel is their only warrant of safety. It is therefore ordered, that whenever a railroad, wagon road, or telegraph is injured by parties of guerrillas, the citizens living within five miles of the spot shall be turned out in mass to repair the damage, and shall, besides, pay to the United States, in money or in property, to be levied by military force, the full amount of the pay and subsistence of the whole force necessary to coerce the performance of the work during the time occupied in completing it. If a soldier or legitimate follower of the army, be fired upon from any house, the house shall be razed to the ground, and the inhabitants sent prisoners to the headquarters of the army. If an outrage occurs at any place distant from settlements, the people within five miles around shall be held accountable, and made to pay an indemnity sufficient for the case.’

We defy investigation in the history of modern warfare to find anything emanating from a general commanding an army as cowardly and as cruel as this order. Just think of it: The women, children and non-combatants, living within five miles of the rear of an invading army, ordered to protect it from the incursions of the opposing army, or upon failure to do this, whether from inability or any other cause, to forfeit their lives or their property.

Again, this same commander, on July 23, 1862, issued the following order:

Commanders of army corps, divisions, brigades and detached commands, will proceed immediately to arrest all disloyal male citizens within their lines, or within their reach, in rear of their respective stations. Such as are willing to take the oath of allegiance to [104] the United States, and will furnish sufficient security for its observance, shall be permitted to remain at their homes and pursue, in good faith, their accustomed avocations. Those who refuse shall be conducted South, beyond the extreme pickets of this army, and be notified that if found anywhere within our lines, or at any point within our rear, they will be considered spies and subjected to the extreme rigor of military law’ (i. e., death by hanging).

(See ‘The Army under Pope,’ by Ropes, pp. 175-6-7.

This last order Mr. John C. Ropes, of Boston, a distinguished Northern writer, one generally fairer to the South than others who have written from that locality, criticises most harshly, and he does this, too, although he is about the only apologist, as far as we have seen, of this bombastic and incompetent officer.

General Steinwehr, one of Pope's brigadiers, seized innocent and peaceful inhabitants and held them as hostages to the end that they should be murdered in cold blood should any of his soldiers be killed by unknown persons, whom he designated as ‘bushwackers.’

On the very day of the signing of the cartel for the exchange of prisoners between the Federal and Confederate authorities (July 22, 1862), the Federal Secretary of War, by order of Mr. Lincoln, issued an order to the military commanders in Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, directing them to seize and use any property belonging to the inhabitants of the Confederacy, which might be ‘necessary or convenient for their several commands,’ and no provision was made for any compensation to the owners of private property thus seized and appropriated.

This order was such a flagrant violation of the rules of civilized warfare—those adopted by the Federal government itself, as hereinbefore quoted—that the Confederate government sought to prevent it being carried into execution by issuing a general order, dated August 1, 1862, denouncing this order of the Federal Secretary, and and those of Pope and Steinwehr, as ‘acts of savage cruelty,’ violative ‘of all rules and usages of war,’ and as converting the ‘hostilities hitherto waged against armed forces into a campaign of robbery and murder against unarmed citizens and peaceful tillers of the soil.’ And by way of retaliation, declared that Pope and his commissioned officers were not to be considered as soldiers, and therefore not entitled to the benefit of the cartel for the parole of [105] future prisoners of war, and ordered that if Pope, Steinwehr, or any of their commissioned officers, were captured, they should be kept in close confinement as long as the foregoing orders remained in force.

(See 1 South. His. Society Papers, 302-3.)

General Robert E. Lee, on receiving this order from the Confederate authorities, at once sent a communication to ‘The General Commanding the United States Army at Washington,’ in which, referring to these orders of Pope and the Federal War Department, he said:

Some of the military authorities of the United States seem to suppose that their end will be better attained by a savage war, in which no quarter is to be given and no age or sex will be spared, than by such hostilities as are alone recognized to be lawful in modern times. We find ourselves driven by our enemies by steady progress towards a practice which we abhor, and which we are vainly struggling to avoid.

He then says:

‘Under these circumstances, this government has issued the accompanying general order (that of August 1, 1862), which I am directed by the President to transmit to you, recognizing Major-General Pope and his commissioned officers to be in a position which they have chosen for themselves—that of robbers and murderers— and not that of public enemies, entitled, if captured, to be treated as prisoners of war.’

At this day, it may be safely said, that there are few, if any, either at the North or in the South, who will question either that General Lee knew the rules of civilized warfare, or that he would have denounced those who were guilty of violating these rules as ‘robbers and murderers,’ had they not been justly entitled to this distinction. And let it be distinctly borne in mind, that the order of the Federal Secretary of War was issued by order of the President, Mr. Lincoln, and if he ever rebuked Pope or Steinwehr, or any of the others, to whom we shall hereafter refer, for their outrages and cruelties to the Southern people, the record, as far as we can find it, is silent on that subject.

General Milroy's order.

On the 28th of November, 1862, General R. H. Milroy had an [106] order sent to Mr. Adam Harper, a man 82 years old, and a cripple, one who had served as a soldier in the war of 1812, and who was a son of a revolutionary soldier, who had served throughout that war, which was as follows:

Sir,—In consequence of certain robberies which have been committed on Union citizens of this county, by bands of guerrillas, you are hereby assessed to the amount of($285.00) two hundred and eighty-five dollars, to make good their losses, and upon your failure to comply with the above assessment by the 8th day of December the following order has been issued to me by General R. H. Milroy:

You are to burn their houses, seize all their cattle and shoot them. You will be sure that you strictly carry out this order. You will inform the inhabitants for ten or fifteen miles around your camp, on all the roads approaching the town upon which the enemy may approach, that they must dash in and give you notice, and upon any one failing to do so, you will burn their houses and shoot the men.

By order of Brigadier-General R. H. Milroy.

H. Kellog, Captain Commanding Post.

Could the most brutal savagery of any age exceed the unreasoning cruelty of this order.

(See 1 So. His. Society Papers, p. 231.)

General Sherman's conduct.

But we must go on. In the earlier part of the war, General William T. Sherman knew and recognized the rules adopted by his government for the conduct of its armies in the field; and so, on September 29, 1861, he wrote to General Robert Anderson, at Louisville, Ky., saying, among other things:

I am sorry to report, that in spite of my orders and entreaties, our troops are committing depredations that will ruin our cause. Horses and wagons have been seized, cattle, sheep, hogs, chickens taken by our men, some of whom wander for miles around. I am doing, and have done, all in my power to stop this, but the men are badly disciplined and give little heed to my orders or those of their own regimental officers.

(See Sherman's Raid, by Boynton, page 23.) [107]

Later on, General Sherman said: ‘War is hell.’ If we could record here all the testimony in our possession, from the people of Georgia and South Carolina, who had the misfortune to live along the line of his famous ‘march to the sea,’ during nearly the whole length of which he was waring against, and depredating on, women, children, servants, old men, and other non-combatants (as to which he wrote in his telegram to Grant, ‘I can make this march and make Georgia howl,’ Boynton, page 129), it would show that he had certainly contributed all in his power to make war ‘Hell,’ as he termed it; and has justly earned the distinction of being called the ruling genius of this creation.

We will first let General Sherman himself tell what was done by him and his men on this famous, or rather infamous, march. He says of it in his official report:

‘We consumed the corn and fodder in the region of country thirty miles on either side of a line from Atlanta to Savannah; also the sweet potatoes, hogs, sheep, and poultry, and carried off more than ten thousand horses and mules. I estimate the damage done to the State of Georgia at one hundred million dollars, at least twenty million of which enured to our benefit, and the remainder was simply waste and destruction.’

But we will introduce other witnesses, and these some of his own soldiers, who accompanied him on his march: Captain Daniel Oakley, of the Second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, in Battles and Leaders, says this:

It was sad to see the wanton destruction of property, which was the work of “bummers,” who were marauding through the country, committing every sort of outrage. There was no restraint, except with the column of the regular foraging parties. * * The country was necessarily left to take care of itself and became a howling waste. The ‘Coffee Coolers’ of the Army of the Potomac were archangels compared to our “bummers,” who often fell to the tender mercies of Wheeler's cavalry, and were never heard of again, meeting a fate richly deserved.

Another Northern soldier writing for the Detroit Free Press, gives the following graphic account: After describing the burning of Marietta, in which the writer says, among other things, ‘soldiers rode from house to house, entered without ceremony, and kindled [108] fires in garrets and closets and stood by to see that they were not extinguished.’ He then further says:

Had one been able to climb to such a height at Atlanta as to enable him to see for forty miles around, the day Sherman marched out, he would have been appalled at the destruction. Hundreds of houses had been burned, every rod of fence destroyed, nearly every fruit tree cut down, and the face of the country so changed that one born in that section could scarcely recognize it. The vindictiveness of war would have trampled the very earth out of sight had such a thing been possible.

Again he says:

‘At the very beginning of the campaign at Dalton, the Federal soldiery had received encouragement to become vandals. * * * * When Sherman cut loose from Atlanta everybody had license to throw off restraint and make Georgia “drain the bitter cup.” The Federal who wants to learn what it was to license an army to become vandals should mount a horse at Atlanta and follow Sherman's route for fifty miles. He can hear stories from the lips of women that would make him ashamed of the flag that waved over him as he went into battle. When the army had passed nothing was left but a trail of desolation and despair. No houses escaped robbery, no woman escaped insult, no building escaped the firebrand, except by some strange interposition. War may license an army to subsist on the enemy, but civilized warfare stops at live stock, forage and provisions. It does not enter the houses of the sick and helpless and rob women of their finger rings and carry off their clothing.’

He then tells of the ‘deliberate burning of Atlanta,’ by Sherman's order, of the driving out from the city of its whole population of all ages, sexes and conditions in the fields of a desolated country to starve and die, as far as he knew or cared. You have only to read these recitals and you have the picture which Sherman made and which he truly denominated ‘Hell.’

The correspondence between Mayor Calhoun and two councilmen of Atlanta, representing to General Sherman the frightful suffering that would be visited on the people of that city by the execution of his inhuman order, and General Sherman's reply, can be found in the second volume of Sherman's Memoirs, at pages 124-5; we can only extract one or two paragraphs from each. The letter of the former says, among other things: [109]

Many poor women are in advanced state of pregnancy, others now having young children, and whose husbands, for the greater part, are either in the army, prisoners, or dead. Some say, I have such a sick one at my house, who will wait on them when I am gone? Others say, what are we do? We have no house to go to, and no means to buy, build or rent any; no parents, relatives or friends to go to.

This being so (they say) how is it possible for the people still here (mostly women and children) to find any shelter? And how can they live through the winter in the woods—no shelter or subsistence, in the midst of strangers who know them not, and without the power to assist them much if they were willing to do so.

This (they say) is but a feeble picture of the consequences of this measure. You know the woe, the horrors and the suffering cannot be described by words; imagination can only conceive it, and we ask you to take these things into consideration.

* *

To this pathetic appeal, Sherman coolly replied on the next day, his letter commencing as follows:

“I have your letter of the 11th, in the nature of a petition to revoke my orders removing all the inhabitants from Atlanta. I have read it carefully, and give full credit to your statements of the distress that will be occasioned, and yet I shall not revoke my orders, because they were not designated to meet the humanities of the case, but to prepare for the future struggles in which millions of good people outside of Atlanta have a deep interest,” &c. * *

After he had started on his ‘march to the sea,’ he gives an account of how the foraging details were made and carried out each day, and concludes by saying:

Although this foraging was attended with great danger and hard work, there seemed to be a charm about it that attracted the soldiers, and it was a privilege to be detailed on such a party.

Lastly, they returned mounted on all sorts of beasts, which were at once taken from them and appropriated to the general use, but the next day they would start out again on foot, only to repeat the experience of the day before. No doubt (he says) many acts of pillage, robbery and violence were committed by these parties of foragers, usually called “bummers,” for I have since heard of jewelry taken [110] from women and the plunder of articles that never reached the commissary, &c. * * *

(See 2 Mem., p. 182.)

He not only does not say that he tried to prevent his army from committing these outrages, but says, on page 255, in referring to his march through South Carolina:

I would not restrain the army, lest its vigor and energy should be impaired.

He tells on page 185 how, when he reached General Howell Cobb's plantation, he ‘sent word back to General Davis to explain whose plantation it was, and instructed him to spare nothing.’

To show what a heartless wretch he was, he tells, on page 194, about one of his officers having been wounded by the explosion of a torpedo that had been hidden in the line of march, and on which this officer had stepped. He says:

I immediately ordered a lot of rebel prisoners to be brought from the provost guard, armed with picks and spades, and made them march in close order along the road, so as to explode their own torpedoes, or to discover and dig them up. They begged hard, but I reiterated the order, and could hardly help laughing at their stepping so gingerly along the road, where it was supposed sunken torpedoes might explode at each step.’

It may be fairly inferred from General Sherman's middle name (Tecumseh), that some of his ancestors were Indians. But whether this be true or not, no one can read this statement of his without being convinced that he was a savage. But he was not only a confessed savage, as we have seen, but a confessed vandal as well. He says, on page 256, in telling of a night he spent in one of the splendid old houses of South Carolina, where, he says, ‘the proprietors formerly had dispensed a hospitality that distinguished the old regime of that proud State. I slept (he says) on the floor of the house, but the night was so bitter cold, that I got up by the fire several times, and when it burned low I rekindled it with an old mantel clock and the wreck of a bedstead which stood in the corner of the room—the only act of vandalism that I recall done by myself personally during the war.’ Since the admissions of a criminal are always taken as conclusive proof of his crime, we now know from his own lips that General Sherman was a vandal [111]

But we also find, on page 287, that he confessed having told a falsehood about General Hampton, so that we cannot credit his statement that the foregoing was his only act of vandalism. Indeed, we think we have most satisfactory evidence to the contrary. (It will be noted, however, that Sherman makes a distinction between his personal acts of vandalism and those he committed through others.) A part of this evidence is to be found in the following letter from a lieutenant, Thomas J. Myers, published in Vol. 12, Southern Historical Society Papers, page 113, with the following head note:

The following letter was found in the streets of Columbia after the Army of General Sherman had left. The original is still preserved, and can be shown and substantiated, if anybody desires. We are indebted to a distinguished lady of this city for a copy, sent with a request for publication. We can add nothing in the way of comment on such a document. It speaks for itself.

The letter, which is a republication from the Alderson, West Virginia, Statesman, of October 29, 1883, is as follows:

Camp near Camden, S. C., February 26, 1865.
my dear wife:

I have no time for particulars. We have had a glorious time in this State; Unrestricted license to burn and plunder was the order of the day. The chivalry have been stripped of most of their valuables. Gold watches, silver pitchers, cups, spoons, forks, &c., &c., are as common in camp as blackberries. The terms of plunder are as follows: The valuables procured are estimated by companies. Each company is required to exhibit the result of its operations at any given place. One-fifth and first choice falls to the commanderin-chief and staff, one-fifth to corps commander and staff, one-fifth to field officers, two-fifths to the company. Officers are not allowed to join in these expeditions, unless disguised as privates. One of our corps commanders borrowed a rough suit of clothes from one of my men, and was successful in his place. He got a large quantity of silver (among other things an old milk pitcher), and a very fine gold watch from a Mr. DeSaussure, of this place (Columbia). DeSaussure is one of the F. F. V.'s of South Carolina, and was made to fork out liberally. Officers over the rank of captain are not made to put their plunder in the estimate for general distribution. This is very unfair, and for that reason, in order to protect themselves, the subordinate [112] officers and privates keep everything back that they can carry about their persons, such as rings, earrings, breastpins, &c., &c., of which, if I live to get home, I have a quart. I am not joking. I have at least a quart of jewelry for you and all the girls, and some No. 1 diamond pins and rings among them. General Sherman has gold and silver enough to start a bank. His share in gold watches and chains alone at Columbia was two hundred and seventyfive.

But I said I could not go into particulars. All the general officers, and many besides, have valuables of every description, down to ladies' pocket handkerchiefs. I have my share of them, too.

We took gold and silver enough from the d—d rebels to have redeemed their infernal currency twice over. * * * I wish all the jewely this army has could be carried to the Old Bay State. It would deck her out in glorious style; but, alas! it will be scattered all over the North and Middle States.

The damned niggers, as a general thing, preferred to stay at home, particularly after they found out that we wanted only the able-bodied men, and to tell the truth, the youngest and best-looking women. Sometimes we took them off by way of repaying influential secessionists. But a part of these we soon managed to lose, sometimes in crossing rivers, sometimes in other ways. I shall write you again from Wilmington, Goldsboro, or some other place in North Carolina. The order to march has arrived, and I must close hurriedly.

Love to grandmother and Aunt Charlotte. Take care of yourself and the children. Don't show this letter out of the family.

Your affectionate husband,

Thomas J. Myers, Lieutenant, &c.
P. S.—I will send this by the first flag of truce, to be mailed, unless I have an opportunity of sending it to Hilton Head. Tell Lottie I am saving a pearl bracelet and earrings for her. But Lambert got the necklace and breastpin of the same set. I am trying to trade him out of them. These were taken from the Misses Jamison, daughters of the President of the South Carolina Secession Convention. We found these on our trip through Georgia.

T. J. M.

This letter is addressed to Mrs. Thomas J. Myers, Boston, Mass.


This letter was published in the Southern Historical Society Papers, in March, 1884. About a year thereafter, one Colonel Henry Stone, styling himself ‘Late Brevet-Colonel U. S. Volunteers, A. A. G. Army of the Cumberland,’ realizing the gravity of the statements contained in this letter, and the disgrace these, if uncontradicted, would bring on General Sherman and his army, and especially on the staff, of which he (Colonel Stone) was a member, wrote a letter to the Rev. J. William Jones, D. D., the then editor of the Historical Society Papers, in which he undertook to show that the Myers letter was not written by any officer in General Sherman's army. (This letter can be found in Vol. 13, S. H. S. Papers, page 439.) The reasons assigned by Colonel Stone were plausibly set forth, and Dr. Jones, in his anxiety to do justice even to Sherman's ‘bummers,’ after publishing Colonel Stone's letter, said editorially, he was ‘frank to admit that Colonel Stone seems to have made out his case against the authenticity of this letter.’ If the matter had rested here, we would not have thought of using this letter in our report, notwithstanding the fact (1) that we think the letter bears the impress of genuineness on its face; (2) it is vouched for by what Dr. Jones termed a.‘responsible source,’ and what the first paper publishing it cited as a ‘distinguished lady,’ who, it also stated, said that the original was ‘still preserved and could be shown and substantiated;’ (3) the statements contained in Colonel Stone's letter are only his statements, uncorroborated and not vouched for by any one, or by any documentary evidence of any kind, and being those of an alleged accomplice, are not entitled to any weight in a court of justice; (4) we think the reasons assigned by Colonel Stone for the non-genuineness of this letter are for the most part not inconsistent with its genuineness; and (5) some of his statements are, apparently, inconsistent with some of the facts as they appear in the records we have examined, e. g., He says ‘that of the ninety regiments of Sherman's army, which might have passed on the march near Camden, S. C., but a single one—a New Jersey regiment—was from the Middle States. All the rest were from the West. A letter (he says) from the only Thomas J. Myers ever in the army would never contain such a phrase,’ referring to the fact that Myers had said this stolen jewelry, &c., would be scattered ‘all over the North and Middle States.’ Sherman's statement of the organization of his army on this march shows there were several regiments in it from New York and Pennsylvania, besides one from Maryland and [114] one from New Jersey (all four Middle States). But we think this, like other reasons assigned by Colonel Stone, are without merit.

But, as we have said, notwithstanding all these things which seemingly discredit the reasons assigned by Colonel Stone for the non-genuineness of this letter, we should not have used the letter in this report, had not the substantial statements in it been confirmed, as we shall now see. The Myers' letter was first published on October 29, 1883. On the 31st of July, 1865, Captain E. J. Hale, Jr., of Fayetteville, N. C., who had been on General James H. Lane's staff, and who is vouched for by General Lane as ‘an elegant educated gentleman,’ wrote to General Lane, telling him of the destruction and devastation at his home, and in that letter he makes this statement:

You have doubtless heard of Sherman's “bummers.” The Yankees would have you believe that they were only the straggling pillagers usually found in all armies. Several letters written by officers of Sherman's army, intercepted near this town, give this the lie.

In some of these letters were descriptions of the whole bumming process, and from them it appears that it was a regularly organized system, under the authority of General Sherman himself; that onefifth of the proceeds fell to General Sherman, another fifth to the other general officers, another fifth to the line officers, and the remaining two-fifths to the enlisted men.

Now, compare this division of the spoils with that set forth in the Myers' letter, published, as we have said, eighteen years later, and it will be seen that they are almost identical, and this statement was taken, as Captain Hale states, from ‘several letters written by officers of Sherman's army,’ intercepted near Fayetteville, N. C., and as we have said, they confirm the statements of the Myers' letter, and its consequent genuineness, to a remarkable degree. It is proper, also, to state, that we have recently received a letter from Dr. Jones, in which he states that after carefully considering this whole matter again, he is now satisfied that he was mistaken in his editorial comments on Colonel Stone's letter, that he is now satisfied of the genuineness of the Myers' letter, and that in his opinion we could use it in this report ‘with perfect propriety and safety.’1 [115]

We have discussed this letter thus fully because we feel satisfied that the annals of warfare disclose nothing so venal and depraved. Imagine, if it is possible to do so, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson commanding an army licensed by them to plunder the defenceless, and then sharing in the fruits of this plundering!

We can barely allude to Sherman's burning of Columbia, the proof of which is too conclusive to admit of controversy. On the 18th December, 1864, General H. W. Halleck, major-general and chief-of-staff of the armies of the United States, wrote Sherman as follows: * * *

‘Should you capture Charleston, I hope that by some accident the place may be destroyed, and if a little salt should be thrown upon its site, it may prevent the future growth of nullification and secession.’

To this suggestion from this high (?) source to commit murder, arson and robbery, and pretend it was by accident, Sherman replied on December 24, 1664, as follows:

‘I will bear in mind your hint as to Charleston, and do not think that “salt” will be necessary. When I move the Fifteenth corps will be on the right of the right wing, and their position will naturally bring them into Charleston first, and if you have watched the history of that corps, you will have remarked that they generally do their work pretty well; the truth is, the whole army is burning with an insatiable desire to wreak vengeance upon South Carolina. I almost tremble for her fate, but feel that she deserves all that seems in store for her. I look upon Columbia as quite as bad as Charleston, and I doubt if we shall spare the public buildings there, as we did at Milledgeville.’

(See 2 Sherman's Memoirs, pages 223, 227-8.)

We say proof of his ordering (or permitting, which is just as bad) the destruction of Columbia is overwhelming. (See report of Chancellor Carroll, chairman of a committee appointed to investigate the facts about this in General Bradley T. Johnson's Life of Johnson, from which several of these extracts are taken.) Our people owe General Johnson a debt of gratitude for this and his other contributions [116] to Confederate history. And Sherman had the effrontery to write in his Memoirs that in his official report of this conflagration, he ‘distinctly charged it to General Wade Hampton, and (says) confess I did so pointedly to shake the faith of his people in him.’

(2 Sherman's Memoirs, page 287.)

The man who confessed to the world that he made this false charge with such a motive needs no characterization at the hands of this committee.

General Sherman set out to ‘make Georgia howl,’ and preferred, as he said, to ‘march through that State smashing things to the sea.’ He wrote to Grant after his march through South Carolina, saying:

The people of South Carolina, instead of feeding Lee's army, will now call on Lee to feed them.

(2 Memoirs, page 298.) So complete had been his destruction in that State. He also says:

Having utterly ruined Columbia, the right wing began its march northward, &c.

(2 Memoirs, page 288.)

On the 21st of February, 1865, only a few days after the burning of Columbia, General Hampton wrote to General Sherman, charging him with being responsible for its destruction, and other outrages, in which he said, among other things:

You permitted, if you have not ordered, the commission of these offences against humanity and the rules of war. You fired into the city of Columbia without a word of warning. After its surrender by the mayor, who demanded protection to private property, you laid the whole city in ashes, leaving amid its ruins thousands of old men and helpless women and children, who are likely to perish of starvation and exposure. Your line of march can be traced by the lurid light of burning houses, and in more than one household there is an agony far more bitter than death.

The Indian scalped his victim, regardless of age or sex, but with all his barbarity, he always respected the person of his female captives. Your soldiers, more savage than the Indian, insult those whose natural protectors are absent.

(3 Great Civil War, 601.)


Sheridan's orders and conduct.

But whilst no one will dispute the fact that Sherman has a clear title to the distinction we have accorded him in this report, yet, unfortunately for the people of the South, he has other willing and efficient aids in his work of devastation, destruction and vandalism; and we must now take up, for a time, the work of his ‘close second,’ General Philip H. Sheridan. This officer is reputed to have said that the true principles for conducting war are—

First. Deal as hard blows to the enemy's soldiers as possible, and then cause so much suffering to the inhabitants of the country that they will long for peace and press their government to make it.

Nothing ’ (he says) ‘should be left to the people but eyes to lament the war.’

He certainly acted on the last of these principles in his dealings with the people of the beautiful Valley of Virginia, which, by his vandalism, was converted from one of the most fertile and beautiful portions of our land into a veritable ‘valley of the shadow of death.’ He actually boasted that he had so desolated it, that ‘a crow flying over would have to carry his own rations.’

In Sheridan's letter to Grant, dated Woodstock, October 7, 1864, he says of his work:

In moving back to this point the whole country, from the Blue Ridge to the North Mountain, has been made untenable for the rebel army.

I have destroyed over 2,000 barns filled with wheat and hay and farming implements; over 70 mills filled with flour and wheat; have driven in front of the army over 4,000 head of stock, and have killed and issued to the troops not less than 3,000 sheep. This destruction embraces the Luray Valley and Little Fort Valley, as well as the main valley.

A large number of horses have been obtained, a proper estimate of which I cannot now make.

Lieutenant John R. Meigs, my engineer officer, was murdered beyond Harrisonburg, near Dayton. For this atrocious act all the houses within an area of five miles were burned.

It is not generally known, we believe, that this policy of devastation on the part of Sheridan was directly inspired and ordered by General Grant, who, in his Memoirs, writes with great satisfaction [118] and levity of the outrages committed by Sherman, before referred to, and which he, of course, understood would be committed, from the terms of Sherman's telegram to him, and which he, at the least, acquiesced in.

On the 5th of August, 1864, he (Grant) wrote to General David Hunter, who preceded Sheridan in command of the Valley, as follows, viz:

‘In pushing up the Shenandoah Valley, where it is expected you will have to go first or last, it is desirable that nothing should be left to invite the enemy to return. Take all provisions, forage and stock wanted for the use of your command; such as cannot be consumed destroy.’* * *

And, says Mr. Horace Greeley:

‘This order Sheridan, in returning down the Valley, executed to the letter. Whatever of grain and forage had escaped appropriation by one or another of the armies which had so frequently chased each other up and down this narrow but fertile and productive vale, was now given to the torch.’

(2 Am. Conflict, 610-11. 2 Grant's Memoirs, 581, 364-5.)

The facts about the alleged murder of Lieutenant Meigs, for which Sheridan says he burned all the houses in an area of five miles, are these: Three of our cavalry scouts, in uniform, and with their arms, got within Sheridan's lines, and encountered Lieutenant Meigs, with two Federal soldiers. These parties came on each other suddenly. Meigs was ordered to surrender by one of our men, and he replied by shooting and wounding this man, who, in turn, fired and killed Meigs. One of the men with Meigs was captured and the other escaped. It it was for this perfectly justifiable conduct in war that Sheridan says he ordered all the houses of private citizens within an area of five miles to be burned.

(See proof of facts of this occurrence, to the satisfaction of Lieutenant Meigs' father, 9th South. His. Society Papers, page 77.)

Butler's order.

Butler's infamous order, No. 28, directing that any lady of New Orleans who should ‘by word, gesture or movement insult or show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States, she shall be regarded and treated as a woman of the town, plying her avocation,’ not only infuriated the people of the South and caused the author [119] to be ‘outlawed’ by our government and denominated the ‘beast,’ but Lord Palmerston, in the British House of Commons, ‘took occasion to be astonished to blush and to proclaim his deepest indignation at the tenor of that order.’ (2 Greeley, p. 100.)

But we are sick of these recitals, and must conclude our report, already longer than we intended it should be. We, therefore, only allude to the orders found on the person of Dahlgren, to burn, sack and destroy the city of Richmond, to ‘kill Jeff. Davis and his Cabinet on the spot,’ &c.

The infamous deeds of General Edward A. Wild, both in Virginia and Georgia, and that of Colonel John McNeil in Missouri, some of which can be found set forth in the first volume of the Southern-Historical Papers, at pages 226 and 232, are shocking and disgraceful beyond description.

Now, contrast with all these orders and all this conduct on the part of the Federal officers and soldiers, the address of General Early to the people of York, Pa., when our army invaded that State in the Gettysburg campaign; or, better still, the order of General Robert E. Lee to his army on that march. We will let that order speak for itself. Here it is:

General orders no. 73.

headquarters A. N. V. Chambersburg, Pa., June 27, 1863.,
The commanding general has marked with satisfaction the conduct of the troops on the march and confidently anticipates results commensurate with the high spirit they have manifested. No troops could have displayed greater fortitude or better performed the arduous marches of the first ten days. Their conduct in other respects has, with few exceptions, been in keeping with their character as soldiers, and, entitles them to approbation and praise.

There have, however, been instances of forgetfulness on the part of some, that they have in keeping the yet unsullied reputation of the army, and the duties exacted of us by civilization and Christianity are not less obligatory in the country of the enemy than in our own. The commanding general considers that no greater disgrace could befall the army, and through it to our whole people, than the perpetration of the barbarous outrages upon the innocent and defenceless and the wanton destruction of private property, that have marked the course of the enemy in our own country. Such proceedings not only disgrace the perpetrators and all connected with [120] them, but are subversive of the discipline and efficiency of the army and destructive of the ends of our present movements. It must be remembered that we make war only on armed men, and that we cannot take vengeance for the wrongs our people have suffered without lowering ourselves in the eyes of all whose abhorrence has been excited by the atrocities of our enemy, and offending against Him to whom vengeance belongeth, without whose favor and support our efforts must all prove in vain. The commanding general, therefore, earnestly exhorts the troops to abstain, with most scrupulous care from unnecessary or wanton injury to private property; and he enenjoins upon all officers to arrest and bring to summary punishment all who shall in any way offend against the orders on this subject.

R. E. Lee, General.

The London Times commented most favorably on this order, and its American correspondent said of it and of the conduct of our troops:

‘The greatest surprise has been expressed to me by officers from the Austrian, Prussian and English armies, each of which have representatives here, that volunteer troops, provoked by nearly twenty-seven months of unparalleled ruthlessness and wantonness, of which their country has been the scene, should be under such control, and should be willing to act in harmony with the long suffering and forbearance of President Davis and General Lee.’

To show how faithfully that order was carried out, the same writer tells how he saw, with his own eyes, General Lee and a surgeon of his command repairing a farmer's fence that had been damaged by the army. Indeed we might rest our whole case on the impartial judgment of a distinguished foreigner, who, writing in 1864, drew this vivid picture and striking contrast between the way the war was conducted on our part and on that of the Federals. He says:

‘This contest has been signalized by the exhibition of some of the best and some of the worst qualities that war has ever brought out. It has produced a recklessness of human life, a contempt of principles, a disregard of engagements, * * the headlong adoption of the most lawless measures, the public faith scandalously violated, both towards friends and enemies; the liberty of the citizen at the hands of arbitrary power; the liberty of the press abolished; the suspension of the habeas corpus act; illegal imprisonments; midnight arrests; punishments inflicted without trial; the courts of law [121] controlled by satelites of government; elections carried on under military supervision; a ruffianism, both of word and action, eating deep into the country * *; the most brutal humanity in the conduct of the war itself; outrages upon the defenceless, upon women, children and prisoners; plunder, rapine, devastation, murder—all the old horrors of barbarous warfare which Europe is beginning to be ashamed of, and new refinements of cruelty thereto added, by way of illustrating the advance of knowledge.’

He further says:

It has also produced qualities and phenomena the opposite of these. Ardor and devotedness of patriotism, which might alone make us proud of the century to which we belong; a unanimity such as was probably never witnessed before; a wisdom in legislation, a stainless good faith under extremely difficult circumstances, a clear apprehension of danger, coupled with a determination to face it to the uttermost; a resolute abnegation of power in favor of leaders in whom those who selected them could trust; with an equally resolute determination to reserve the liberty of criticism, and not to allow those trusted leaders to go one inch beyond their legal powers; a heroism in the field and behind the defences of besieged cities, which can match anything that history has to show; a wonderful helpfulness in supplying needs and creating fresh resources; a chivalrous and romantic daring, which recalls the middle ages; a most scrupulous regard for the rights of hostile property; a tender consideration for the vanquished and the weak. * * * And the remarkable circumstance is, that all the good qualties have been on the one side and all the bad ones on the other.

In other words, he says that all the good qualities have been on the side of the South, and all the bad ones on the side of the North. (See Confederate Secession, by the Marquis of Lothian, p. 183.)

And all this was written prior to the conduct of the armies under Sherman and Sheridan, some of which we have herein set forth. How could the learned Marquis find words to portray those things?

We could cite other authorities to substantially the same effect; but surely this arraignment from this high source ought to be sufficient. If anyone thinks this distinguished writer has overdrawn the picture, especially in regard to illegal arrests and imprisonments and brutal conduct towards women and children, and the defenceless generally, let them read a little book entitled ‘The Old Capital and Its Inmates,’ which has inscribed on its cover what Mr. Seward boastingly [122] said to Lord Lyons, the British Minister at Washington, on September 14, 1861, viz:

“My Lord” (he says), ‘I can touch a bell on my right hand and order the arrest of a citizen of Ohio. I can touch a bell again and order the arrest of a citizen of New York. Can the Queen of England in her dominions do as much?’

The late Judge Jeremiah S. Black, of Pennsylvania, at one time President of the Supreme Court of that State, and afterwards Attorney-General of the United States under Mr. Buchanan, one of the most distinguished lawyers and writers of his day, thus writes of Mr. Seward and his little bell:

Now as to the little bell. The same Higher Law which gave the Federal Government power to legislate against the States, in defiance of the Constitution, would logically justify any executive outrage that might be desired for party purposes, on the life, liberty and property of individuals. Such was Mr. Seward's theory, and such was the practice of himself and his subordinates, and some of his colleagues.

He says further to Mr. Charles Francis Adams (to whom he was writing):

‘I will not pain you by a recital of the wanton cruelties they inflicted upon unoffending citizens. I have neither space nor skill nor time to paint them. A life-size picture of them would cover more canvas than there is on the earth.’ * * * ‘Since the fall of Robespierre’ (he says), ‘nothing has occurred to cast so much disrepute on republican institutions. When Mr. Seward went into the State Department he took a little bell to his office, in place of the statute book, and this piece of sounding brass came to be a symbol of the Higher Law. When he desired to kidnap a free citizen, to banish him, to despoil him of his property, or to kill him after the mockery of a military trial, he rang his little bell, and the deed was done.’

(See Black's Essays, page 153.)

In speaking of the murder of Mrs. Surratt, he says:

In 1865, months after the peace, at the political capitol of the nation, in full sight of the Executive mansion, the Capitol and the City Hall, where the courts were in session, a perfectly innocent and most respectable woman was lawlessly dragged from her family [123] and brutally put to death, without judge or jury, upon the mere order of certain military officers convoked for that purpose. It was, take it all in all, as foul a murder as ever blackened the face of God's sky. But it was done in strict accordance with Higher Law, and the Law Department of the United States approved it.

Now this is what a Northern man, living in Washington at the time, a profound lawyer and statesman, has to say of these things.

As a matter of course, the North will attempt to reply (about the only reply they can offer with any apparent justification): Well, they will ask, was not Chambersburg burnt by General Early's order? Yes, it was; but under circumstances which show that that act was no justification whatever for the outrages we have set forth in this paper, and was only resorted to by General Early by way of retaliation, and to try if possible, to stop the outrages then being committed. It was only resorted to, too, after full warning and an offer to the municipal authorities of Chambersburg to prevent the conflagration by paying for certain private property just previously destroyed by General Hunter. But this offer these authorities refused to accede to, saying ‘they were not afraid of having their town burned, and that a Federal force was approaching.’ General Early says in his report:

I desired to give the people of Chambersburg an opportunity of saving their town by making compensation for part of the injury done, and hoped that the payment of such a sum (one hundred thousand dollars in gold, or five hundred thousand in greenbacks), would have the desired effect, and open the eyes of the people of other towns at the North to the necessity of urging upon their government the adoption of a different policy.

(See Early's Memoirs, where the full report of this occurrence is given.)

Among the private property destroyed by Hunter, for which this sum was demanded by General Early, were the private residences of Andrew Hunter, Esq. (then a member of the Senate of Virginia, who had prosecuted John Brown, as Commonwealth's Attorney of Jefferson county, Va.); of Alexander R. Boteler, Esq. (an ex-member of the Confederate and United States Congresses), and of Edmund J. Lee, Esq. (a relative of General Lee), with their contents, only time enough having been given the ladies to get out of these houses.

General Hunter had also just caused the Virginia Military Institute, [124] the house of Governor Letcher, and numerous other houses in the Valley, to be burned. Even General Halleck, writing to General Sherman on September 28, 1864, refers thus to this conduct of Hunter. He says:

‘I do not approve of General Hunter's course in burning private houses or uselessly destroying private property. That is barbarous.’ * *

(See 2 Sherman's Mem., page 129.)

No soldier in the Confederate army understood better than General Early the rules of civilized warfare, or was more opposed to vandalism in every form. His conduct at York, Pa., before referred to, and his address to the people of that town, show this in the most satisfactory manner. He says:

I have abstained from burning the railroad buildings and carshops in your town because, after examination, I am satisfied that the safety of the town would be endangered. Acting in the spirit of humanity, which has ever characterized my government and its military authorities, I do not desire to involve the innocent in the same punishment with the guilty. Had I applied the torch without regard to consequences, I would have pursued a course which would have been fully vindicated as an act of just retaliation for the unparalleled acts of brutality on our soil. But we do not war upon women and children.

General R. H. Anderson, in his report of the Gettysburg campaign, says:

The conduct of my troops was in the highest degree praiseworthy. Obedient to the order of the commanding general, they refrained from retaliating upon the enemy for outrages inflicted upon their homes. Peaceable inhabitants suffered no molestation. In a land of plenty, they often suffered hunger and want. One-fourth their number marched ragged and barefooted through towns in which merchants were known to have concealed ample supplies of clothing and shoes.

On the 2nd of July, 1863, when the battle of Gettysburg was being fought, and when President Davis had every reason to believe we would be victorious, he wrote:

My whole purpose is, in one word, to place this war on the footing of such as are waged by civilized people in modern times, and [125] to divest it of the savage character which has been impressed on it by our enemies, in spite of all our efforts and protests.

Hoke's Great Invasion, p. 52.)

Of course, we do not pretend to say that there were not individual cases of depredation committed, and even on our own people, by some of our soldiers. Indeed, it was often necessary for our army to subsist on the country through which it marched, which was perfectly legitimate. And when we remember the sufferings and privations to which our army had to be subjected by reason of our lack of necessary supplies of almost all kinds, it is amazing that so little ‘foraging’ was done by our men. But what we do contend for and state, without the least fear of contradiction, is that the conflict was conducted throughout on the part of the South—by the government at home and the officers in the field—upon the highest principles of civilized warfare; that if these were ever departed from, it was done without the sanction and against the orders of the Confederate authorities. And that exactly the reverse of this is true as to the Federal authorities, we have established by the most overwhelming mass of testimony, furnished almost entirely from Northern sources.

But we cannot protract this paper; it is already much longer than we intended or desired it should be. We would like to have embraced in it a full discussion of the treatment of prisoners on both sides; but we must leave this, and the treatment of Mr. Davis whilst a prisoner, for some future report. If anyone desires, in advance of that, to see a full discussion of these subjects, we refer, as to the former, to the very able articles by Rev. J. William Jones, D. D., in Vol. I., Southern Historical Society Papers, beginning with page 113, and running through several numbers of that volume, in which he adduces a mass of testimony, and completely vindicates the South. He shows—

(1) (As Mr. Davis states it) ‘From the reports of the United States War Department, that though we had sixty thousand more Federal prisoners than they had of Confederates, six thousand more of Confederates died in Northern prisons than died of Federals in Southern prisons.’

(2) That the laws of the Confederate Congress, the regulations of our Surgeon-General, the orders of our generals in the field, and of those who had the immediate charge of prisoners, all provided that they should be kindly treated, supplied with the same rations that [126] our soldiers had, and cared for when sick in hospitals and placed on precisely the same footing as Confederate soldiers.

(3) If these regulations were violated by subordinates in individual instances, it was done without the knowledge or consent of the Confederate authorities, which promptly rebuked and punished any case reported.

(4) If prisoners failed to get full rations, or had those of inferior quality, the Confederate soldiers suffered the same privations, and these were the necessary consequences of the mode of carrying on the war on the part of the North, which brought desolation and ruin on the South, and these conditions were necessarily reflected on their prisoners in our hands.

(5) That the mortality in Southern prisons resulted from causes beyond our control, but these could have been greatly alleviated had not medicines been declared by the Federal Government as ‘contraband of war,’ and had not the Federal authorities refused the offer of our Agent of Exchange, the late Judge Ould, that each government should send its own surgeons and medicines to relieve the sufferings of their respective soldiers in prisons-refused to accept our offer to let them send medicines, &c., to relieve their own prisoners, without any such privilege being accorded by them to us-refused to allow the Confederate Government to buy medicines for gold, tobacco, or cotton, &c., which it offered to pledge its honor should only be used for their prisoners in our hands-refused to exchange sick and wounded, and neglected from August to December, 1864, to accede to our Agent's proposition to send transportation to Savannah and receive without any equivalent from ten to fifteen thousand Federal prisoners, although the offer was accompanied with the statement of our Agent of Exchange (Judge Ould), showing the monthly mortality at Andersonville, and that we were utterly unable to care for these prisoners as they should be cared for, and that Judge Ould again and again urged compliance with this humane proposal on our part.

(6) That the sufferings of Confederates in Northern prisons were terrible, almost beyond description; that they were starved in a land of plenty; that they were allowed to freeze where clothing and fuel were plentiful that they suffered for hospital stores, medicines and proper attention when sick; that they were shot by sentinels, beaten by officers, and subjected to the most cruel punishments upon the [127] slightest pretexts; that friends at the North were, in many instances, refused the privilege of clothing their nakedness or feeding them when they were starving; and that these outrages were often perpetrated not only with the knowledge, but by the orders of E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War of the United States.

And (7) That the sufferings of prisoners on both sides were caused by the failure to carry out the terms of the Cartel for exchange, and for this failure the Federal authorities were alone responsible.

These propositions are stated substantially in the language employed by Dr. Jones, and although twenty-five years have since elapsed, they have never been controverted in any essential particular, as far as we have heard or known. Our people owe Dr. Jones a debt of gratitude for this able and effective vindication of their course in this important matter, which they can never repay.

As to the treatment of Mr. Davis whilst a prisoner:

Captain Charles M. Blackford, of Lynchburg, Va., in an article read before the Virginia Bar Association at its meeting at Old Point, in 1900 (the facts of which article were taken entirely from the official records of the Federal Government), showed in a masterly manner that this treatment was the refinement of cruelty and cowardice on the part of the Federal authorities, and such as should bring the blush of shame to the cheek of every American citizen who was in sympathy with, or a participant in, those acts. Our people owe Captain Blackford a debt of gratitude also for this article. It can be found in the printed reports of the Virginia Bar Association for 1900. Ten thousand copies of it were ordered by the Association to be printed for distribution. (See ante, pp. 45-81.)

As we said in our last report, it will doubtless be asked by some, who have no just conception of the motives which actuate us in making these reports, why we gather up and exhibit to the world these records of a bitter strife now ended more than a third of a century? Does it not, they ask, only do harm by keeping alive the smouldering embers of that conflict? We reply to all these enquries, that such is not our intention or desire. But the four years of that war made a history of the people of the North and of the people of the South, much of which has been written only by historians of the North. In this history, all the blame concerning the war has been laid on the people of the South, and the attempt made to ‘consign them to infamy.’ There were two sides to the issues involved in that war, and the historians of the North, with the superior means at their command, [128] have used, and are still using, these means to convince the world that they were right and that we were wrong. They are striving, too, to teach our children that this was the case, and for thirty years their histories were taught in our schools, unchallenged, and in that way the minds of our children were prejudiced and poisoned against the acts and conduct of their parents in regard to that conflict. We therefore feel that we owe it to ourselves and to the memories of those who suffered and died for the cause we fought so hard to maintain, to let our children and the world know the truth as to the causes of that conflict, and how it was conducted. This Camp has, as we have said, done much in that direction; it can do much more; and, in our opinion, no higher or more sacred duty could be imposed or undertaken by men.

There were during the war, and there are now, many brave and true men at the North. There were many such in the Federal armies, and there were many of these who, whilst taking sides with the North on the question of maintaining the Union, were shocked and disgusted at the methods pursued by it to accomplish that result. These have written and spoken about these methods, both of what they thought and of what they knew, and we have only gathered up some of this testimony in support of the justice of our cause, and of the course pursued by us to maintain it. Surely the North cannot complain if we rest our case upon their testimony. We have done this almost exclusively, both in this and former reports. The history contained in these reports, then, is not only that made, but also that written by Northern men.

As we have said, many of these were brave and true men, and one of them wrote that the acts committed by some of their commanders and comrades were enough to make him ‘ashamed of the flag that waved over him as he went into battle.’ Is it surprising that such was the case?

It is said that General Hunter had to deprive forty of his commissioned officers of their commands before he could find one to carry into execution his infamous orders.

We have drawn this contrast, then, between the way the war was conducted by the North and the way it was conducted by the South, for many good reasons, but especially to show that the Confederate soldiers never made war on defenceless women and children, whilst the Federal soldiers did, and that this was done with the sanction of some of their most noted leaders, some of whom, as we have seen, shared in the fruits of the depredations committed on these defence- [129] less people. In doing this, we believe we have done only what was just to ourselves and our children.

It must be remembered, too, that a large number of persons at the North still delight to speak of that war as a ‘Rebellion’ and of us as ‘Rebels’ and ‘Traitors.’ We have shown by the testimony of their own people, not only that they rebelled against, but overthrew the Constitution to make war on us, and that when they did go to war, they violated every rule they had laid down for the government of their armies, and waged it with a savage cruelty unknown in the history of civilization.

The late commander-in-chief of the British armies has recently written of our great leader, that ‘in a long and varied life of wandering, I have’ (he says) ‘only met two men whom I prized as being above all the world I have ever known, and the greater of these two was General Lee, America s greatest man, as I understand history.’

The present Chief Magistrate of this country wrote twelve years ago, that ‘the world has never seen better soldiers than those who followed Lee, and that their leader will undoubtedly rank as, without any exception, the very greatest of all great captains that English-speaking people have brought forth.’ (See Life of Benton, page 38 )

Is it a matter of surprise, then, that the same hand should have recently written:

“I am extremely proud of the fact that one of my uncles was an admiral in the Confederate navy, and that another fired the last gun fired aboard the Alabama. I think” (he says) ‘the time has now come when we can, all of us, be proud of the valor shown on both sides in the civil war.’

If President Roosevelt really believed that his uncles were ever ‘rebels’ and ‘traitors,’ would he be ‘extremely proud’ of that fact? Would he be proud to be the nephew of Benedict Arnold? No; and no man at the North who knows anything of the foundation of this government believes for a moment that any Confederate soldier was a ‘rebel’ or ‘traitor,’ or that the war on our part was a ‘Rebellion.’ Even Goldwin Smith, the harshest and most unjust historian to the South, who has ever written about the war (as demonstrated by our distinguished Past Grand Commander, Captain Cussons), says:

The Southern leaders ought not to have been treated as rebels,

for, says he, ‘Secession was not rebellion.’ [130]

And so, we say, the time has come when these intended opprobrious epithets should cease to be used. But whether called ‘rebel’ or not, the Confederate soldier has nothing to be ashamed of. Can the soldiers of the Federal armies read this record and say the same?

Yes, our comrades, let them call us ‘rebels,’ if they will; we are proud of the title, and with good reason. More than a hundred years ago, when, as Pitt said, ‘even the chimney-sweeps in London streets talked boastingly of their subjects in America,’Rebel was the uniform title of those despised subjects (and as our own eloquent Keiley once said):

‘This sneer was the substitute for argument, which Camden and Chatham met in the Lords, and Burke and Barre in the Commons, as their eloquent voices were raised for justice to the Americans of the last century. ‘Disperse Rebels’ was the opening gun at Lexington. ‘Rebels’ was the sneer of General Gage addressed to the brave lads of Boston Commons. It was the title by which Dunmore attempted to stigmatize the Burgesses of Virginia, and Sir Henry Clinton passionately denounced the patriotic women of New York. At the base of every statue which gratitude has erected to patriotism in America you will find “Rebel” written. The springing shaft at Bunker Hill, the modest shaft which tells where Warren fell, * * * the fortresses which line our coasts, the name of our country's capital, the very streets of our cities—all proclaim America's boundless debt to rebels; not only to rebels who, like Hamilton and Warren, gave their first love and service to the young Republic, but rebels who, like Franklin and Washington, broke their oath of allegiance to become rebels.’

And so, we say, let them call us what they may, the justice of our cause precludes fear on our part as to the final verdict of history. We can commit the principles for which we fought; we can confide the story of our deeds; we can consign the heritage of heroism we have bequeathed the world to posterity with the confident expectation of justice at the hands of the coming historian.

In seeds of laurel in the earth
     The blossom of your fame is blown,
And somewhere waiting for its birth
     The shaft is in the stone.

[131] Yes, truly.

‘The triumphs of might are transient—they pass and are forgotten—the sufferings of right are graven deepest in the chronicle of nations.’

We have nothing to add to what has been stated in our former reports about the histories now used in our schools, since, as has been stated, we think they are the best now obtainable.

We are glad to note that the Rev. J. William Jones, D. D., has had issued a new edition of his school history of the United States, which is a great improvement on the first edition, and that he is now preparing an edition for use in High Schools and Colleges. We are also informed that the Rev. Henry Alexander White, D. D., of Washington and Lee University, has in press a history of the United States. Judging from Dr. White's Life of General Lee, we shall be disappointed if his book is not a good one.

We hail the advent of these works by Southern authors with the greatest interest and pleasure, and we feel satisfied that they are the natural and logical outcome of the efforts made by these Confederate Camps to have the Truth taught to our children. As we said in our last report, so we repeat here: We ask for nothing more, and will be satisfied with nothing less.

Fiat justicia ruat coelum.

1 Since this report was submitted, we have received a letter from the husband of the lady who had the original of this Myers' letter, setting forth the time, place and all the circumstances under which it was found the day after Sherman's army left Camden. (It was found near Camden, and not on the streets of Columbia.) And these statements, together with others contained in this letter and in the Myers' letter, too, establish the genuineness of the Myers' letter, in our opinion, beyond any and all reasonable doubt.

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