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Union Orders, Reports and Letters -- North Carolina

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 47, Part 3 (Columbia) OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND E. FLA. Chapter LIX. Page 458

Raleigh, N. C., May 10, 1865.


SIRS: I notice in your paper this morning an editorial complaining of the conduct of officers in Raleigh. If you or any other citizens feel aggrieved by the conduct of any in the army, your remedy is to apply to me or other commanders having jurisdiction in the case. The public is not the tribunal authorized to judge of such matters, and their public discussion will not be tolerated. Your ground of complaint may be just, and, if so, I shall be most glad to remove it upon its being pointed out to me. It is proper, however, for me to remark that many of the citizens of Raleigh, whose property has been forfeited to the United States under the confiscation laws, have shown so little disposition to accommodate officers with necessary quarters, and have treated them with so little civility that I shall probably find it necessary to take possession of all confiscable property in the town, as the law directs. To save you future trouble I wish simply to correct the error which you seem to be laboring under, about your "right to grumble. " After the kindness and protection which have been extended by the army to the people of Raleigh, such grumbling is intolerable ingratitude. You will please publish this letter or stop the publication of your paper, as you may prefer.

Very respectfully,



Shermans reply to Grant asking about takinng Wilmington, N. C.


Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, Commander-in-Chief, City Point, Virgina.

------------------------ The utter destruction of Wilmington, North Carolina, is of importance only in connection with the necessity of cutting off all foreign trade to our enemy, and if Admiral Farragut can get across the bar, and move quickly, I suppose he will succeed. ------------------

Then the reduction of that city is the next question. It once in our possession, and the river open to us, I would not hesitate to cross the State of Georgia with sixty thousand men, hauling some stores, and depending on the country for the balance. Where a million of people find subsistence, my army won't starve; but, as you know, in a country like Georgia, with few roads and innumerable streams, an inferior force can so delay an army and harass it, that it would not be a formidable object; but if the enemy knew that we had our boats in the Savannah River I could rapidly move to Milledgeville, where there is abundance of corn and meat, and could so threaten Macon and Augusta that the enemy world doubtless give up Macon for Augusta; then I would move so as to interpose between Augusta and Savannah, and force him to give us Augusta, with the only powder-mills and factories remaining in the South, or let us have the use of the Savannah River.
I will send a force to the Alabama and Appalachicola, provided you give me one hundred thousand of the drafted men to fill up my old regiments; and if you will fix a day to be in Savannah, ( I didn't know there were that many men drafted!!!!!)

Yours as ever,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 47, Part 1 (Columbia)


Numbers 5. Report of Bvt. Brigadier General Orlando, M. Poe, Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, Chief Engineer. WASHINGTON, D. C., October 8, 1865.

SIR: *

Third. The campaign from Savannah, Ga., to Goldsborough, N. C., from January 25, 1865, to March 22, 1865.

------------------ Page 170
Left Wing pontoon bridge was built over the Saluda at Zion Church, nine and one-half miles above Columbia, and some force crossed. On the 17th a pontoon bridge was built just above the ruins of the former bridge over Broad River, three miles above Columbia, and the Right Wing crossed to the north bank and occupied the city, the greater part of which was burned during the night. Many reasons are given for this flagrant violation of General Sherman's orders, but, as far as I could judge, it was principally due to the fact that the citizens gave liquor to the troops until they were crazily drank and beyond the control of their officers. The burning cotton, fired by retreating rebels, and the presence of a large number of escaped

Page 171
prisoners, excited the intoxicated soldiers to the first acts of violence, after which they could not be restrained. I don't know that I am called upon to give an opinion respecting this matter, but I volunteer the above. One think is certain, the burning houses, lighting up the faces of shrieking a scene which no man of the slightest sensibility wants to witness a second time.

On the 18th the Left Wing crossed the Broad River on a pontoon bridge thrown at the mouth of Wateree Creek, near Freshly's Mill, s and commenced the destruction of the Greenville and Columbia Railroad from Alston toward Columbia. On the 19th, by direction of General Sherman, I destroyed all the railroad shops, depots, city gasworks, &c., in Columbia, the Michigan Engineers furnishing the working parties.

At Fayetteville it was found that the enemy had greatly enlarged the capacity of the old U. S. Arsenal. The major-general assigned to me the special duty of destroying it. The Michigan Engineers were at once set a work to batter down all masonry walls, and the break to pieces all machinery of

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whatever kind, and the prepare the two large magazines for explosion. The immense machine-shops, foundries, timber sheds, &c., were soon reduced to a heap of rubbish, and at a concentrated signal fire was applied to these heaps, and to all wooden buildings and piles of lumber; also to the powder trains leading to the magazines. A couple of hours sufficed to reduce to ashes everything that would burn, and the high wind prevailing at the time scattered these ashes, as that only a few piles of broken bricks remained of that repossessed arsenal. Much of the machinery here destroyed had been brought at the beginning of the war from the old arsenal at Harper's Ferry.

173 --

Fully one-eighth of the whole army was without shoes, and nearly as badly off for the other articles of clothing, having now marched through the heart of the enemy's country, over swamps and through forests, nearly if not quite 500 mils, occupying sixty days of time, during which they drew but little more than their sugar and coffee from the Government, gathering subsistence for themselves an animals from the enemy's country.

Page 176---

All of which is respectfully submitted.

O. M. POE,

Captain, U. S. Engineers, Brevet Brigadier-General, U. S. Army.

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 42, Part 2 (Richmond-Fort Fisher) OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV. Page 653 - 654
NEW BERNE, N. C., September 1, 1864.

Major General B. F. BUTLER,

Commanding Department of Virginia and North Carolina:

GENERAL: The negroes will not go voluntarily, so I am obliged to force them. I have sent seventy-one and will send this afternoon about 150. I expect to get a large to-morrow. I have done all that could be done, but I am not as fortunate as you expected me to be. I shall keep working.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,


Captain and Aide-de-Camp.

New Berne, N. C., September 1, 1864.

Major R. S. DAVIS,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of Va. and N. C.:

MAJOR: The matter of collecting the colored men for laborers has been one of some difficulty, but I hope to send up a respectable force. The matter has been fairly explained to the contrabands, and they have been treated with the utmost consideration, but they will not go willingly. Now, I take it that state of the country needs their services, and that if they will not go willingly they must be forced to go, ----------

I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,