By and with Permission from Bernhard Thuersam; Chairman of
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial
North Carolinian Estimate of Sherman's Associates
“On March 7, 1865 General William T. Sherman and his army of mercenaries from Germany, Ireland,
Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and Prussia, as well as the northern United States, many of whom
could not speak English, crossed the North Carolina State line.
Behind them lay the smoking ruins of sacked Georgia and South Carolina cities, homeless widows
and orphans, and death by starvation. At Laurel Hill, NC, Sherman halted to refresh his troops, and from
here he wired General Schofield in Wilmington that he would be in Goldsboro, NC March 20, 1865
via Fayetteville, NC. On March 12th Sherman and his army of barbarians reached Fayetteville.
After plundering the residential section, it was then burned. Also destroyed were four cotton mills,
the churches, banks, courthouse and warehouses. Sherman then moved on looting and burning.
Any item that could not be carried, including furniture, carpets and farm equipment, was destroyed.
Even the cabins of the slaves were robbed by the Yankees.”
(Land of the Golden River, page 101)
The Cruel Yankee Enemy:
June 7 (1863). Sunday (Diary entry):
"From every side evidences of the barbarity, savageness, and insolent assumption of the
Yankee government in the policy on which they have resolved in the conduct of the war, thicken.
The policy fully disclosed is to trample out all opposition in all places which come into their possession,
even if it leads to a deportation of the whole population. They have Negro regiments in every military
department except Hooker's, mostly enrolled in the South. Massachusetts with
characteristic regard for consistency, principle, and thrift is sending her [non-resident] Negroes
to the wars to be killed off, a clear gain every way.
A letter (circular) was captured on a vessel taken on the Neuse (N.C.) some days ago, addressed
to General (John G.) Foster by (Augustus S. Montgomery) dated Washington City, which proposed
a plan for organizing a general insurrection on August 4 next throughout the Confederate States
to be supported by United States armies.
The slaves were to be informed through the contrabands, and the circular was to be passed from
one military commander to another, each writing below, without his signature, the word "approved"
so that the friends of the enterprise might know how far it had the support of the military authorities,
and that they might each be aware that it was generally known and approved. Copies of this were
sent by [North Carolina] Governor Vance to the War Department and to General Lee. This diabolism
was not authenticated by any government authority, but bore evidences of having
the countenance of the United States Government.
There is nothing which they suppose tends to the destruction of the South which they are not prompt
to embrace....The Earth contains no race so lost to every sentiment of manliness, honor, faith or humanity,
at once so servile and so tyrannical, so mean and so cruel, such willing slaves, and so bent on
destroying the independence and existence of their enemy."
(Inside the Confederate Government, pp. 69-71)
"In The Country of the Enemy"
Dec. 22, 1862
"At one point the column was confronted by a spunky secesh female, who, with the heavy
wooden rake, stood guard over her winter's store of sweet potatoes. Her eyes flashed defiance,
but so long as she stood upon the defensive no molestation was offered her. When...she changed
her tactics and slapped a cavalry officer in the face, gone were her sweet potatoes and other stores
in the twinkling of an eye."
Feb 8th, 1863
"Leaving the Washington [North Carolina] road on our right.....we were not long in ascertaining the fact
that we were on a foraging expedition, and if history should call it a reconnaissance, the misnomer will never
restock the stables and storehouses, the bee-hives and hen-roosts, that night depleted along the road of Long Acre.
We received an early hint that we were going to capture a lot of bacon twelve miles out of Plymouth,
but if the residents along the road this side that point managed to save their own bacon and things,
they certainly had reason to bless their stars. If it would not be considered unsoldierly and sentimental,
your correspondent might feel inclined to deprecate this business of foraging, as it is carried on.
It is pitiful to see homes once, perhaps, famed for their hospitality, entered and robbed; even if the robbers
respect the code of war. It is not less hard for women and children to be deprived of the means of subsistence
because their husbands and sons and brothers are shooting at us from the bush. But war is a great,
a terrible, an undiscriminating monster, and no earthly power may stay the ravages of the unleashed brute."
"In The Country of the Enemy," Diary of a Massachusetts Corporal, pp. 102-103
Pianos and Furniture for Northern Homes:
".....(I)t was during the winter of 1862-63 that General Foster made a raid from New Berne up to near
Tarboro, NC, and as soon as I could ascertain his designs and objective I began to concentrate troops
to meet him. Foster was at a village about twelve miles distant. In the morning Foster was far away
on his road to New Berne....it was cold and snow covered the ground,
and pursuit was useless except by cavalry.
I am quite sure vandalism (especially stealing) commenced in New Berne, for the pianos and furniture
shipped from there decorate to-day many a Northern home. At Hamilton most of the dwellings had
been entered, mirrors broken, furniture smashed, doors torn from their hinges, and especially were the
feather beds emptied into the streets, spokes of carriage wheels broken , and cows shot in the
fields by the roadside, etc. It was a pitiful sight to see the women and children in their destitute
condition. Alas! Toward the end (of the war) it was an everyday occurrence, and the main object
of small expeditions was to steal private property."
(Two Wars, General Samuel G. French, pp. 150-152)
"Fall of the Confederacy Unexpected to the Last"
“Dear Children – One warm day in April , a great many ladies and children assembled in the public
square in Raleigh, near the Capitol, all anxious to hear the news…some one said “It is reported that Lee
has surrendered” -- such consternation on the faces of the people, then as the news became more general,
such weeping and wringing of hands, such heavy hearts – privation, sorrow, death, defeat and poverty.
Raleigh was now filled with wounded and disabled soldiers; the churches and every available space turned
into hospitals. I did what I could, but it seemed nothing. The Episcopal church being nearer to me, I went
there mostly; many poor men were on the benches, some in high delirium, some in the agony of death.
A young soldier passed away, none knew his name or home; as the coffin lid was being screwed down,
a dear lady pressed her lips to his brow, and said: “Let me kiss him for his Mother.”
Every heart responded and all eyes filled with tears. Volumes of heartrending and pathetic incidents could
be written of our four years’ cruel war. Although we were becoming less hopeful, yet the Fall of the
Confederacy was unexpected to the last.
(A Grandmother’s Recollection of Dixie, page 28)
"Hung for Defending His Country"
“Dear Children – Soon our troops began to pass through [Raleigh, April 1865], weary, dirty fellows,
and hungry also, every one that could, fed them; they could not stop but in passing, we stood at the gate
and handed them bread and ham; they were marching to the tune of Dixie, the war song that we vainly
thought was going to lead them to victory.
Our soldiers retreated towards Hillsboro, the Federal soldiers pursuing.
One reckless Confederate soldier from Texas was in the rear guard; he fired on a Yankee soldier,
so close were the pursuers to the pursued. After firing he turned and put spurs to his horse, but
unfortunately his horse stumbled, and he was captured. The next morning under a guard of soldiers,
he was carried by our home, (I looked on with anguished heart) to the grove back of your Grandfather’s,
and hung to the limb of a huge tree, under which your uncles and aunts had played in childhood.”
(A Grandmother’s Recollection of Dixie, page 29)