Relegated to Oblivion


I desire to supplement the article in the July VETERAN with the above title by answers to criticisms made and doubts cast upon the charges therein.

As to the charge that at the burning of the large cotton mills at Roswell, Ga., General Sherman caused all the operatives of those mills (a few men, but mostly women and children over twelve years) to be collected, loaded onto freight trains, transported to Louisville, and dumped out at the freight yards without food or money and with few husbands or fathers to look after them: On making inquiry recently from old residents of Louisville and Lexington, Ky., these charges are corroborated in every detail, these operatives having been dumped out from freight cars, it is charged, to the number of nearly one thousand, the number probably being overestimated.

These facts were published in the papers at the time, and the charitable people of Louisville and all the contiguous region of Kentucky responded nobly to this sudden tax on their charity. It is said that H. D. Newcomb and Nicholas Coleman, of Louisville, owning cotton mills in Kentucky or Indiana, took quite a number of them, giving them employment. The noble Sisterhood of Nuns of Nazareth, near Bardstown, Ky., came over there and took many of the children. The remainder were distributed throughout the country wherever homes could be found. The fathers and husbands and brothers of these unfortunates were at the time in the Confederate army, and could not look up their children until peace came. As an instance, one of these fathers came to Lexington in search of his child, but up to that time had been unsuccessful. He had followed a clue up into Vermont and had found one of these children; but it was not his, but a child of his brother.

Supposing the destruction of the Roswell mills was within the usages of civilized warfare, can there be given one valid reason for the sudden deportation of these unfortunates from the comforts and protection of home? The act being that of one who was a father himself can only have had its origin in a bad heart. Was it too much to say, “These acts will be forever a stain upon the character of the Federal commander,” Sherman?

Some doubt has been cast as to my authority for making other charges contained in that article, and it is simply necessary to state that during all the operations connected with these events I was a staff officer of Lieut. Gen. W. I. Hardee. I heard the first shell thrown by the Federal artillery into Atlanta, and am familiar with the correspondence between General Hood and General Sherman in regard thereto, as also in regard to the depopulation of Atlanta. It so happened that while this depopulation was going on I was at General Hood’s headquarters as a member of a court of inquiry, and was familiar, through the staff officer having the matter in charge, with each day’s progress with that movement. Soon after the fall of Atlanta General Hardee was, at his request, relieved by the President of the command of his old corps in the Army of Tennessee and given the command of the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. I was transferred with him, and was present at all the operations around Savannah and, on its evacuation, at the transfer of its small army to the vicinity of Charleston. I had charge of the flag of truce on the steamer that met the transport steamer off the harbor of Charleston containing the officers’ wives and refugees, sent around by sea by General Sherman (about five hundred souls). During their transfer and for several days thereafter, until they scattered to their several destinations, I mingled freely with them. They all agreed as to the threats freely published by General Sherman as to what would be done when South Carolina soil was reached and as to the time of his leaving Savannah. That these threats came from Sherman’s headquarters is proven by the fact that the threats were literally carried out.

On the advent of Sherman’s army on its northerly march through South Carolina it became a matter of the utmost importance to prognosticate its destination. On the solution of this problem depended the policy of the evacuation of Charleston and its defenses or the contrary. From the latter part of January to the 12th of February I was kept almost continuously in Sherman’s front, reporting any information obtained by myself or from Wheeler’s Cavalry by telegraph each day. More than once my reconnoissance was so close to Sherman’s front that his position could be closely located by those black pillars of smoke. In some cases families, in terror from the threats sent out from Savannah, would desert their plantations, in which case they were almost invariably fired. From the accounts of refugees there were few dwellings saved. The most of them were burned, and even in the presence of weeping women and children. On the approach of Sherman’s army to the vicinity of Orangeburg, S. C., its destination was sufficiently developed to justify the evacuation of all the defenses around Charleston, for which preparations had been made, and the transfer of the small army under Hardee to North Carolina, his rear guard skirmishing with the advance of Sherman’s army on the evacuation of Cheraw, S. C.

Your correspondent from Georgia thinks my commendation of General Grant as to his soldierly and gentlemanly bearing toward noncombatants was misplaced, as he gave Sheridan positive orders by telegraph to devastate the Shenandoah Valley in the manner it was done. Your correspondent is certainly mistaken. Sheridan acted from his own heart and brain. If his savagery in that matter is correctly outlined in that famous “crow-fly” dispatch of exultation to Grant, his name should be coupled with that of Sherman, and both names should go down in history coupled with that of Hanan, that Austrian general who made reputation along the same lines in the war between Austria and Hungary, and who on his first appearance in London was mobbed by the bakers. A friend “would suggest Attila instead of Hanan.” But I say no. Attila was a savage. The horde of Asiatics and Slavs he precipitated upon Central Europe were savages, and it was to be expected that they were to carry on war as savages. Not so with these two officers. Born and reared under Christian influences, they were graduates from West Point, an institution not excelled by any institution of its age in the world in the number of distinguished soldiers it has turned out from its portals—distinguished alike for their valor and ability in command of armies, as well as for all the qualities that adorn the Christian gentleman.

It is impossible for an army commander to march a large army through a hostile country without more or less hardships to the noncombatant population. My information as to Grant’s campaigns in the Southwest is that he was kind to noncombatants and protected them in their noncombatant rights. So it was with Gen. Don Carlos Buell, General Rosecrans, and General Macpherson. General Buell marched a large army nearly a thousand miles through North Alabama and Tennessee, and, if it were possible, partially demoralized, by his kindness and protection to noncombatants, those people. The death of General Macpherson, on July 22, 1864, was heard of with genuine regret by those Confederate soldiers familiar with his record around Vicksburg. All of these army commanders are remembered with the kindliest feelings by the Southern people. On the contrary, the name of Sherman is recalled with a feeling akin to horror; that of Sheridan only in a lesser degree.

For the sake of the many brave officers and soldiers of Sherman’s army who condemned and deplored those acts of wandalism that famous song, “Marching through Georgia,” so often heard in the past, should be consigned to eternal oblivion. To me and most Southern people conversant with that famous “march” it brings to mind visions of those columns of black smoke against the sky, the gaunt outlines of lonely chimney stacks against the moonlight, reminders of the destruction of happy homes and the weeping of women and children. I shall never forget the last time that famous piece was heard by me and the rebuke that was administered against its performance from the throats of over twenty thousand of the patriotic citizens of New York and surrounding States.

This occurred during the celebration of the centennial of the inauguration of the first President in the vicinity of New York City in the year 1889. The first day was given up to the naval display in the harbor. The second day was given up to the parade and review of the National Guard of most of the States, together with all of the regular army that it was convenient to have present, including the West Point Cadet Battalion. At least forty thousand troops passed in review before the President, as fine a body of soldiery as could be organized in any country, most of whom were thrown into the city within eighteen hours from leaving their barracks. The reviewing stand was on Madison Square, facing Fifth Avenue (I believe). Having been one of the commissioners appointed by Governor Moonlight to represent the then Territory of Wyoming, I was given a good position on this stand near the President, and had an excellent opportunity of seeing the parade as well as everything else that transpired. The sidewalks below as well as the street, as far as the police would allow, were a dense mass of humanity. The opposite block of buildings, five or six stories high, with their awnings, every window, and the roofs of the houses, were
simply black with people. Moreover, that mass of people were fully enthused with the amenities of the occasion. There had not been one allusion to the past. All the pictures in the shops and all the flags displayed were of the Revolution and the Continental army. Patriotism and fraternity were in the air. There had been no allusion to that conflict between the sections. There appeared again a reunited country.

The troops from each State passed as per a regular programme, headed by its Governor, with a full military band preceding him. As it turned out, there had been stationed on the sidewalks a band, cocked and primed by some contemptible character for its rôle. In proper rotation the Georgia Battalion appeared, headed by its Governor, John B. Gordon. As soon as he had advanced far enough to be recognized that band struck up that then well-known air, “Marching through Georgia.” As soon as the situation was realized that vast crowd appeared to be stunned into impenetrable silence. The silence was painful, the intended insult was so marked. Suddenly a band just in the rear of the Georgia troops struck up that soul-inspiring air, “Dixie” (that music that Mr. Lincoln claimed “we have captured”). The tension was broken, and from the twenty-five to thirty thousands of throats there came a roar that shook the earth, accompanied with the waving of flags and handkerchiefs and every demonstration of good fellowship, all indicating a determination to administer a stunning rebuke to the thought that sought to humiliate and insult the guests of a great State and maybe a guest of the nation. These cheers and demonstrations of good fellowship followed Gordon and his men until they disappeared from the reviewing stand. Gordon and his troops thoroughly appreciated this ovation. Gordon, always handsome and graceful, appeared at his best as he gracefully acknowledged the plaudits of that immense and congenial multitude. The President, Mr. Benjamin Harrison, appeared to enter into the spirit of the occasion, and it seemed to me was unusually gracious as he acknowledged Gordon’s salute. I shall always recollect that splendid, patriotic, and enthusiastic multitude. I shall always recall Gordon’s gallant bearing as he acknowledged his thanks.

Then let that song be relegated to oblivion; but let the name of the man who gave cause for its origin be held up in the “lime light” of a Christian civilization until history shall have forced him “to lie in the bed he has made for himself.” Let the children and their children be taught of this name. But, on the other hand, let them be taught to treat with respect and esteem the names of those other army commanders of the West who, soldiers and gentlemen themselves, carried on the war in accordance with the usages and rules of Christian civilization. I speak of Ulysses S. Grant, Don Carlos Buell, William S. Rosecrans, and J. B. Macpherson. But, above all, let them be taught to revere the flag of the now reunited nation.

Confederate Veteran, vol. XIV, no. 9, September 1906.

Nomenclature of Our Southern Armies

Sheet music cover for the piano piece entitled Beauregard's March, published by Miller & Beacham, Baltimore, c. 1861.
Sheet music cover for the piano piece entitled Beauregard’s March, published by Miller & Beacham, Baltimore, c. 1861.

The North Carolinians are called “Tar Heels;” South Carolinians, “Rice Birds;” Georgians, “Goober Grabbers;” Alabamians, “Yaller Hammers;” Texans, “Cow Boys;” Tennesseans, “Hog Drivers;” Louisianians, “Tigers;” Floridians, “Gophers;” Virginians, “Tobacco Worms;” Arkansians, “Tooth-picks;” Missourians, “Border Ruffians;” Kentuckians, “Corn Crackers;” and Mississippians, “Sand Lappers.” The Cavalry, “Buttermilk Rangers;” Infantry, “Webfoot.” A regiment of deserters from the Federal Army, kept behind by us to build forts, “Galvanized Rebs.” The Federals called us “Johnnies;” we called them “Yanks” and “Blue Bellies.”

Battles and Sketches of the Army of Tennessee, Journal of B. L. Ridley, Lieut. General A. P. Stewart’s Staff, C.S.A.

Our Cause Is Just and Holy

Confederate Second National Flag carried by the Consolidated 6th & 7th Arkansas Infantry Regiment.
Confederate Second National Flag carried by the Consolidated 6th & 7th Arkansas Infantry Regiment.

Come, all ye sons of freedom, and join our Southern band,
We are going to fight the Yankees and drive them from our land.
Justice is our motto and providence our guide,
So jump into the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

Secession is our watchword, our rights we all demand;
To defend our homes and firesides, we pledge our hearts and hands;
Jeff Davis is our president, with Stephens by his side;
Brave Beauregard, our General, will join us in the ride.

Our wagon is the very best, the running gear is good;
Stuffed ’round the sides with cotton, and made of Southern wood.
Carolina is the driver, with Georgia by her side,
Virginia holds the flag up, and we’ll all take a ride.

There are Tennessee and Texas also in the ring;
They wouldn’t have a government where cotton wasn’t king.
Alabama and Florida have long ago replied;
Mississippi and Louisiana are anxious for the ride.

Old Lincoln and his Congressmen with Seward by his side,
Put old Scott in the wagon just for to take a ride.
McDowell was the driver, to cross Bull Run he tried,
But there he left the wagon for Beauregard to ride.

Manassas was the battleground. the field was fair and wide;
They Yankees thought they’d whip us out, and on to Richmond ride;
But when they met our “Dixie” boys, their danger they espied;
They wheeled about for Washington, and didn’t wait to ride.

The Tennessee boys are in the field, eager for the fray;
They can whip the Yankee boys three to one, they say;
And when they get in conflict with Davis by their side,
They’ll pitch into the Yankee boys and then you’ll see them slide.

Our cause is just and holy, our men are brave and true;
We’ll whip the Lincoln cutthroats is all we have to do.
God bless our noble army; in Him we all confide;
So jump into the wagon and we’ll all take a ride.

The Southern Wagon (1861).

Enuf to Make Your Hed Swim

Historical marker near the birthplace of Charles Henry Smith, the Georgia politician and humorist who used the nom de plume Bill Arp.
Historical marker near the birthplace of Charles Henry Smith, the Georgia politician and humorist who used the nom de plume Bill Arp.

But talkin the way I see it, a big feller and a little feller, so called, got into a fite, and they fout, and fout, and fout a long time, and evry boddy all around a hollerin hands off, but kep a helpin the big feller, till finally the little feller caved in and hollered enuf. He made a bully fite, I tell you, selah. Well, what did the big feller do? Take him by the han and help him up, and bresh the dirt offen his close? Nary time! No, sur! But he kiked him atter he was down, and throwd mud on him, and drug him about and rubbed sand in his eyes, and now he’s a gwine about a huntin up his poor little property. Wants to konfiskate it, so called. Blame my jacket if it ain’t enuf to make your hed swim. Bill Arp Addresses Artemus Ward.

A Compleat Description of the Province of Carolina

A compleat description of the province of Carolina in 3 parts : 1st, the improved part from the surveys of Maurice Mathews & Mr. John Love : 2ly, the west part by Capt. Tho. Nairn : 3ly, a chart of the coast from Virginia to Cape Florida.
A compleat description of the province of Carolina in 3 parts : 1st, the improved part from the surveys of Maurice Mathews & Mr. John Love : 2ly, the west part by Capt. Tho. Nairn : 3ly, a chart of the coast from Virginia to Cape Florida; Edward Crisp, c. 1711; Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, 2004626926.

Make Old Scott the First Victim

Letter From a Georgia Lady.

We have been favored, by a venerable gentleman of this city, with the following extract of a letter from his niece, now living in Georgia, which fully shows the spirit which animates the matrons of the South, and evidences that they are the worthy descendants of the women of ’76:

You know that it has always been from childhood a subject of regret to me that I was not of the other sex; but never have I felt it more bitterly than at this time. A poor weak woman, that can do nothing for her country, unless it is to nurse the sick and wounded, which I know I would do to the best of my ability; but you may rest assured, if there is a gun lying idle that could be made effective, here is an individual that would not stop to think of petticoats, but put it to the best use she knows how, and I would not hesitate to make old Scott the first victim if I could.

My boys are healthy and strong fellows; I wish they were old enough to do duty. I would willingly give them up for this cause.

— Charleston Mercury, 16 January 1861, p. 1, c. 3.

A Dasdard’s Glove

Georgia state flag prior to 1879.

The Ladies of the Empire State

Waynesboro’, Burke Co., Ga.,}
January 1, 1861.}

Editor Mercury:  The following patriotic resolutions were adopted, among others, by the ladies of this town and county, at an enthusiastic meeting held by them on Saturday last.

The following was presented by Mrs. Col. I. Carter, and received with a joyous outburst of applause:

Resolved, That the ladies of Burke county do tender their warmest sympathies, and pledge their love and devotion to the proud, gallant, chivalrous and “free people” of South Carolina, for the fearless and heroic act of December 20th, 1860, which has opened a page in the history of human greatness that the pride of man shall herald through all time, and woman’s holiest and noblest affection embalm for all eternity.

A Committee of young ladies presented the following, which was adopted:

Resolved, That we, the young ladies of Burke county, do, henceforth, reject with haughty scorn and proud disdain, all civilities from any gentleman who refuses, or neglects, to join the ranks of any Southern State that shall, in her sovereign capacity, withdraw her allegiance from this unconstitutional Confederacy, holding it to be self-evident — that a dasdard’s glove can never win a woman’s love, or defend her honor.

Very respectfully,
A Native Carolinian.

— Charleston Mercury,  4 January 1861, p. 1, c. 2.

Here’s to Our Confederacy

Cover of sheet music for the popular song The Bonnie Blue Flag.

The third verse of the song misstates the order in which the states seceded from the Union. The dates on which the states seceded are as follows:

South Carolina (December 20, 1860), Mississippi (January 9, 1861), Florida (January 10, 1861), Alabama (January 11, 1861), Georgia (January 19, 1861), Louisiana (January 26, 1861), Texas (February 1, 1861), Virginia (April 17, 1861), Arkansas (May 6, 1861), North Carolina (May 20, 1861), and Tennessee (June 8, 1861).

Thus, Alabama did not take South Carolina by the hand, but delayed its secession until the departure of Mississippi and Florida. The most likely reason for the discrepancy is literary license and a desire to fit within a certain poetic meter.

* * *

We are a band of brothers
And native to the soil,
Fighting for the property
We gained by honest toil;
And when our rights were threatened,
The cry rose near and far–
“Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag
That bears a single star!”

Hurrah! Hurrah!
For Southern rights hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag
That bears a single star.

As long as the Union
Was faithful to her trust,
Like friends and like brothers
Both kind were we and just;
But now, when Northern treachery
Attempts our rights to mar,
We hoist on high the Bonnie Blue Flag
That bears a single star.

First gallant South Carolina
Nobly made the stand,
Then came Alabama,
Who took her by the hand.
Next quickly Mississippi,
Georgia and Florida
All raised on high the Bonnie Blue Flag
That bears a single star.

Ye men of valor, gather round
The banner of the right;
Texas and fair Louisiana
Join us in the fight.
Davis, our loved president,
And Stephens statesman are;
Now rally round the Bonnie Blue Flag
That bears a single star.

And here’s to old Virginia–
The Old Dominion State–
Who with the young Confederacy
At length has linked her fate;
Impelled by her example,
Now other states prepare
To hoist on high the Bonnie Blue Flag
That bears a single star.

Then cheer, boys, cheer;
Raise the joyous shout,
For Arkansas and North Carolina
Now have both gone out;
And let another rousing cheer
For Tennessee be given,
The single star of the Bonnie Blue Flag
Has grown to be eleven.

Then here’s to our Confederacy,
Strong are we and brave;
Like patriots of old we’ll fight
Our heritage to save.
And rather than submit to shame,
To die we would prefer;
So cheer for the Bonnie Blue Flag
That bears a single star.

— Lyrics by Harry Macarthy (d. 1880).

The Bonnie Blue Flag.

Don’t Tread on Me!

Secession Quick Step: “The South, the whole South and nothing but the South”; Herman L. Schreiner; Macon, Georgia.

A Perpetual Sermon

Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk.

Upon the day appointed — being, by a happy coincidence, the Feast of St. Peter the Apostle — the local military force of Augusta, consisting of one full regiment of infantry, a battery of light artillery, and a company of cavalry, was drawn up on Telfair St., in the rear of the City Hall, at half-past nine o’clock, A. M.  The case enclosing the remains was brought and placed within the hearse by soldiers detailed for the purpose.  The hearse was draped in the flag of the Confederate States, with its broad folds of white and its starry cross of Trust and Truth upon a field of blood, and surmounted with wreaths of bay and laurel, and a cross of evergreen and snow-white flowers.

* * *

Leonidas Polk, Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana and General in the Army of the Confederate States.

Who can estimate the influence of such an act as that of our brother upon the cause which is so vital to every one of us? What could invest it with a higher moral grandeur than that a bishop of the Church of God should gird on the sword to do battle for it?  A faction of the Northern Church pretended — some of them engaged in acts infinitely more derogatory to the glory of Christ’s Church — to be shocked at it; but it, nevertheless, filled them with dismay.  They saw in it an intensity of feeling and of purpose at which they trembled, and when they found no echo of their pious horror from the Church of England, they ceased their idle clamor.  And our brother thus became, before even he had drawn his sword, a tower of strength to the Confederacy.  And who can say how much of the religious influence, which has diffused itself so remarkably among the officers of the army of the West may not have reached their hearts through the silent power of his example and his prayers!  Bishop Polk did not think the public exercise of his ministry a proper accompaniment of his military career, and in that I think he acted most wisely; but his dignified and irreproachable life was a perpetual sermon, and his private communion with God was his spiritual power.  It is a very striking fact that every officer of high rank in that army — the army which, in the language of Gen. Johnston, he created, and had always commanded — has become a professed disciple of the meek and lowly Jesus; and that the last act of our warrior-bishop was the admission into the Church of his Saviour and Redeemer, through the holy sacrament of baptism, of two of its most renowned commanders.  He lived long enough to see Christ recognized in its councils of war; and, his work on earth being done, he obeyed the summons of his Master, and passing away from earth, his mantle rests upon it.

— Funeral Address for General Leonidas Polk, Feast of St. Peter, 1864.