Below we give our readers an account of the vandalism and savage brutality of the Yankees
at the time the gunboats came up to Florence, Ala.
, which was announced by telegraph some days ago. The account is from the pen of the editor of the North Alabamian
published at Tuscumbia
His office was destroyed by them:
Early Sunday morning, the 22d inst., five Yankee gunboats came up Tennessee river
They did not land at Tuscumbia landing, but proceeded on up to Florence
Here two of them landed and destroyed the ferry-boat; the other three went on up to Bainbridge
, at the foot of the Muscle Shoals
and destroyed the ferry boat at that place.
The C. S. steamer Dunber
had been lying at Bainbridge
for some time but had taken advantage of the high water and gone over the shoals, where the gunboats could not follow.
About three o'clock the gunboats all went down the river, without making any attempt to land or showing any warlike disposition except giving three cannon shot at a party of little boys on this side of the river.
Late in the evening, when the excitement caused by the gunboats had, in a great measure, abated, the rattle of small arms and the galloping of horses announced the arrival of the Yankee
There was, at this time, about 30 of Baxter
's Battalion in town, about 15 of them were quickly feeding their horses and getting supper at their barracks on Main street, the balance were scattered over town.
At the first alarm these 16 men got in line in front of the Franklin Hotel
, Capt. Baker
being absent) telling them to gland flour — that it took more than one Yankee to stampedes his men. The advance guard of the Yankees
, about sixty men, charged upon those sixteen men; our boys gave a yell and galloped so meet them; the Finks turned and fled as last as their horses could carry them.
Our boys pursued them back a mile, until they met the main body of the enemy, consisting of the 10th Missouri, 5th Ohio, two battalions of Illinois
, one company of Mississippi
, and one company of Alabama
cavalry, was a battery of mounted howitzers, in all about 1,200 men — some estimate them at 800.
The enemy fired several volleys and charged in town, our boys falling back slowly until they were about to be flanked, when they retreated hastily into town; here they made a short stand, killing the orderly of the Yankee
commander and wounding one or two others.
By this time the Yankees
, guided by renegade Alabamans, had got the remaining few of our boys nearly surrounded, out they made a desperate effort and broke through the enemy's ranks and escaped.
We lost six men taken prisoners but not a man was killed or wounded on our side.
It was now duck, and the enemy did not pursue beyond the suburbs of the town.
The wagons, teats, and camp equipage of Baxter
's Battalion were saved having been sent out or town in the morning when the gunboats appeared.
After returning from the pursuit the enemy camped in and around the public square, tore the fencing from around fine private residences for firewood, picketed their horses in the front yards among flowers and shrubbery.
The Yankee commander took up his quarters in the fine residence of Dr. L. C. Chisholm
; his officers broke open closets and pantries and helped themselves.
Every corn-crib and smoke-house in the neighborhood was forced open, the camp was strewn with flour, bacon, preserve and pickle jars, ladies' dresses, infants' clothing, and every imaginable kind of plunder.
Before morning nearly every residence in town had been hutted, ladies pulled out of bed and searched, money, watches, plate, jewelry, forcibly taken; as last as one set would leave a house another would come in, and the same search gone over with.
Officers vied with the privates, every one deemed to be trying to act worse than his predecessor.
The mate citizens, if they remonstrated were hurtled to prison.
The churns were vilely polluted, organs scathed, carpe's torn up, and the flag of the "best Government the world ever saw" hoisted in triumph over the church Steeple.
Now these things were not the work of a few; all were at it. Col. Cornyn
, upon being remonstrated with for allowing such things, replied: ‘"I don't care a dame what my men do."’ The vilest gestures and language were used towards ladies; acts were committed which I cannot shock your readers by mentioning.
Wednesday morning, after the commander had lot his men get all the money and valuables in the town by the knock down and drag one method, he played another same his last and biggest trump.
Here it is, a fac simile
of several that were served upon citizens of the town and neighborhood:"
The United States Government having ordered assessments to be made on the wealthy citizens of the States now in rebellion against said Government, I have ordered an assessment upon your property to the amount of -- dollars, payable immediately.
You are, therefore, commanded to pay over to Maj. W. M. Lusk
of this Brigade, the above sum, or the same will be collected from you at the sacrifice of your property.
The lowest assessment that I have heard of under this edict, was $500, the highest $5,000. --One gentleman, Mr. William Warren
, for falling to pay his assessment, was carried off.
I should have mentioned before that all the stores in town were entered, and what the devils did not want they threw out in the muddy streets.
To our inexpressible relief the scoundrels left town on Wednesday afternoon, taking with them about fifty bales of cotton all the mules and horses they could find, and as many negroes as they could force off, about sixty in all. They took the plantation teams to haul their cotton.
Owing to the bad roads they left: 14 bales of cotton between the town and the mountain and I understand they were compelled to leave much more further on, which they burnt.