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Union Orders, Reports and Letters --- South Carolina

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 47, Part 2 (Columbia) OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND E. FLA. Chapter LIX. Page 518 - 519

In the Field, Winnsborough, February 21, 1865.

Major-General KILPATRICK,
Commanding Cavalry:

GENERAL: I presume you now to be about Lemon's or Buckhead Post-Office, and base my present calculations on that supposition ---------

I would like to have the railroad bridge across Broad River at the mouth of Tiger burned, and think the enemy himself will burn it if you approach it or send a small party to threaten it; also several of the bridges and trestles on the same railroad below where it crosses Broad River about Ashford's Ferry and Dawkins'. I hope you have already damaged that road considerably. I wish, as a rule, whenever you are near a railroad, you will, unless cautioned otherwise, have your men burn bridges, depots, and water-tanks, and break witches; also, all sawmills should be destroyed, not only burned, but the engines and boilers disabled.

Yours, truly,

Major-General, Commanding

A Yankee letter with comments-----

Elijah S. Coleman

Subject: A Letter was found on a street in S.C. that was written by a Yankee Officer on 2-26-1865 at a Union Camp near Camden, S.C. while the troops were held up by rain, swollen rivers, and mud.

Our Southern Heroes who wrote the volumes of Southern Historical Society Papers and two newspapers published the letter as being authentic. The North wanted this letter discredited and even assigned a Union Colonel to the cover up. Some report today that this Lt. Myers has even been removed from the rosters of Union soldiers. They claim Lt. Thomas J. Myers never existed. But in his letter to the SHSP's you will see that Union Col. Stone (Lt. Myers's accomplice) , back in 1865 had no trouble finding this soldier. But he did claim that this Myers was discharged earlier (records were easy to change) than this date and that Lt. Myers was in Alabama at an earlier time period (convenient). (This only proves that Lt. Myers most certainly did exist, but does not prove that he didn't write the letter in S. Carolina)

One doubting Thomas reported that the Union Army was not even near Camden on February 26, 1865. My proof was found in this book: "The Civil War Day By Day An Almanac" by E.B. Long and Barbara Long Foreword by Bruce Catton p. 643 Thursday Feb. 23rd
"There was a skirmish near Camden. But heavy rains now set in, causingdelays until the 26th, although some movement continued." Union Col Stone cast doubt about the letter being authentic, and before the SHSP's authors began their investigation, they were willing to go along with the Yankee Colonel's statements. In the end, they decided the Myers letter is authentic, and included the letter in the SHSP.
Their reasons will be included later in this report.

Some in the South, especially with Yankee ancestors, wish to have this letter discredited.
The reader may come to a conclusion after reading this entire report. If the reader does not believe the Union Army ACCOMPLICE of Myers (Col. Stone) capable of this cover up, then his conclusion about the letter may be different.
I wish to cover this subject as I was taught back in the fifties: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.
It was found in a street in South Carolina as reported by the Columbus, Georgia Sun and Times, and in THE STATESMAN, an Alderson, West Virginia newspaper. Later, it appeared in the Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XII, page 113,: and the following book: "THE LAST REBEL YELL" by Michael Andrew Grissom,
And: Henry Clay Dean's Crimes of the Civil War and Curse of the Funding System.
Published in 1868. This letter is included on pages 82-83 -- only three years after the date of the letter -- Dean's book (which is available through (Crown Rights Books) predates The Statesman by 15 years and is therefore probably the earliest publication of the letter. Dean also would seem to carry more weight since he was a Northerner.

"Camp near Camden, S. C., Feb 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 [meaning the Honourable & Chivalrous people of the South] have been stripped of most of their valuables. Gold watches, silver pitchers, cups, spoons, forks, &c., are as common in camp as blackberries.

The terms of plunder are as follows: Each company is required to exhibit the results of its operations at any given place--one-fifth and first choice falls to the share of the commander-in-chief and staff; one-fifth to the corps commanders and staff; one-fifth to field officers of regiments, and two-fifths to the company.
Officers are not allowed to join these expeditions without disguising themselves as privates. One of our corps commanders borrowed a suit of rough clothes from one of my men, and was successful in this place. He got a large quantity of silver (among other things an old-time milk pitcher) and a very fine gold watch from a Mrs DeSaussure, at this place. DeSaussure was one of the F. F. V.s of South Carolina, and was made to fork over 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, subordinate officers and privates keep back every thing that they can carry about their persons, such as rings, earrings, breast pins, &c., of which, if I ever get home, I have about 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 rings and pins among them.

General Sherman has silver and gold enough to start a bank. His share in gold watches alone at Columbia was two hundred and seventy-five. But I said I could not go into particulars. All the general officers and many besides had valuables of every description, down to embroidered ladies' pocket handkerchiefs. I have my share of them, too. We took gold and silver enough from the damned rebels to have redeemed their infernal currency twice over. This, (the currency), whenever we came across it, we burned, as we considered it utterly worthless.
I wish all the jewelry 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 rule, prefer to stay at home, particularly after they found out that we only wanted the able-bodied men, (and to tell the truth, the youngest and best-looking women). Sometimes we took off whole families and plantations of niggers, by way of repaying secessionists. But the useless part of them we soon manage to lose; [one very effective was to "shoot at their bobbing heads as they swam rivers" after the army units crossed over], sometimes in crossing rivers, sometimes in other ways.

I shall write to 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 children. Don't show this letter out of the family.
Your affectionate husband, Thomas J Myers, Lieut.,

P.S. I will send this by the first flag of truce to be mailed, unless I have an opportunity of sending it at Hilton Head. Tell Sallie I am saving a pearl bracelet and ear-rings for her; but Lambert got the necklace and breast pin 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."
End of Letter.

The letter was addressed to Mrs. Thomas J. Myers, Boston, Massachusetts. end

When: February 26, 1865 after Georgia and S. Carolina had been looted and burned.
Where: This letter was written at a Union Camp near Camden, South Carolina and sometime afterwards turned up in a street in South Carolina.
Who: Lt. Thomas J. Myers of the Union Army.
Why: The looting was done because Sherman wanted to make the "South howl".
Sherman had lost a son in Mississippi to disease and became a madman.
How: There was nothing but women, children, elderly men, and slaves in front
Sherman's hoards of looters, rapists, arsonists, and murderers as documented by hundreds of books and even the Official Records of the War. The historical fact forever remains condemning Sherman as being no higher than Attila the Hun and certainly no better than the Roman hordes sweeping across Europe and erasing all cultures, pillaging, raping, looting, and just being the barbarian as naturally as you please.
And here's the letter to the Southern heroes who were writing the Southern Historical Society Papers from the Union Colonel Stone, an accomplice to Sherman and
Lt. Myers.:
Secretary Southern Historical Society, Richmond, Va.:

DEAR SIR,--In the number of the SOUTHERN HISTORICAL SOCIETY PAPERS for March, 1884, under the heading, "How they made South Carolina 'Howl'--Letter from one of Sherman's Bummers," you publish what purports to be "a letter found in the streets of Columbia after the army of General Sherman
had left."

The contents of the letter are enough to satisfy any unprejudiced mind that it could not have been written by any officer of General Sherman's command--except, possibly, as the broadest kind of a hoax. But conceding, for the moment, that such a letter might have been written by "one of 'Sherman's Bummers,'" it is demonstrable that the letter under consideration is not genuine. If any such letter exists, it is a forgery.

The statement is that it was "found in the streets of Columbia after the army of General Sherman had left." The last of that army left Columbia on or before February 21. This letter purports to be dated "Camp near Camden, S.C., February 26, 1865." Camden is at least thirty miles east of Columbia, and on the opposite side of the Catawba river. By the roundabout course pursued by the army, it is double that distance. The crossing of the river occupied several days, and was effected twenty or thirty miles north of Camden. The waters were very high, and once across, there was no such thing as returning. Everybody and everything was moving away from Columbia as rapidly as possible. Only a small part of Sherman's army marched through or near Camden. The knowledge or consideration of these facts shows how improbable, if not absolutely impossible, it was, under the circumstances, that any letter written by one of "Sherman's Bummers," near Camden, South Carolina, could afterwards have found its way to the streets of Columbia.

It so happens, also, that no officer named Thomas J. Myers--the name purporting to be signed to the document you have reprinted--belonged to General Sherman's army. The records show that, throughout the war, there was but one officer in the military service of the United States with that name, and he was not in Sherman's army, and did not--as is implied in the direction, Boston, Mass., and the reference in the letter to the "Old Bay State"--belong to any Massachusetts regiment. "Alas," cries the weeping Thomas, "it (the captured jewelry) will be scattered all over the North and Middle States." It so happens, also, that of the ninety regiments of Sherman's army which might have passed on the march near Camden, South Carolina, but a single one--a New Jersey regiment--was from the Middle States. All the rest were from the West--never called the North, in the local idiom of Western people. A letter from the only Thomas J. Myers ever in the army would never contain such a phrase.

To crown all, Thomas J. Myers resigned from the military service on the 18th of February, 1865--eight days before the date of the pretended letter--while his regiment was in Northern Alabama. I should not have taken pains to look up and analyze these facts if I did not think it matter for profound regret that a periodical, presumably published in the interest of historical truth, should give currency to this document. No possible good can come of its publication, if genuine, but much harm. It throws no light on one single fact or method by which the war was conducted. As to General Sherman's procedure, on his famous march, history will judge it on acknowledged and recorded facts--which are ample and accessible--not on any such irritating and preposterous assertions as are contained in the document under consideration. General Sherman has never shrunk from any responsibility for his actions. The genuine recollections and experiences of men and women in that exciting and passionate time are legitimate and useful matters for publication, even when they reveal things which, in the cooler days of reason and law, everyone
must regret, if not condemn--Inter arma, silent leges. Till men become perfect, war will be full, always, of cruelest outrages. When they do become perfect, there will be no war. So far as it may hello to restrain men's passions or ambitions, and lead to the adoption of better methods for redressing wrongs, real or fancied, than killing and robbery--which all war is, in its last analysis--every tale of suffering, privation, injury, spoliation, may prove useful, and so its publication justifiable. But when, as certainly seems the case in this instance, nothing but the provocation and perpetuation of ill-feeling and bitterness can result, I submit that a periodical of the character of the SOUTHERN HISTORICAL PAPERS might--as I am happy to see it does, in most instances--find better material than reprinting from obscure newspapers, matter which throws no real light on any single act or motive during the whole of the great contest.

Your periodical is taken by a society of which I am a member, but I did not happen to see the March number earlier, or I should have earlier written you. I do not write now for publication--though to that I have no objection--but simply to give you the facts, and let your own sense of justice decide what you will do.

Very respectfully yours,
HENRY STONE, Late Brevet-Colonel U. S. Volunteers, and A. A. G. Army of the Cumberland. End
Southern Historical Society Papers.
Vol. XXIX. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1901.
Report Of The History Committee.

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 clack 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. 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

Myers (Yankee Letter cut here as it is already above) 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 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 one-fifth o£ 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." (*)

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, 1864, 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 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 go 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."
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,
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."

End The Southern Historical Society Papers
Some items of Proof:
1. "According to my sources, it was found by "an old Negro woman outside of
Camden SC in 1865". > Tom Elmore
2. The Thomas Myers letter says he was near Camden, SC..
3. The Yankee army did fight on Feb. 24th at Camden, but due to the floods,
could not pull out until the 26th, as documented by "The Civil War Day By Day".
4. The letter is dated on the 26th, near Camden.
5. Yankee Colonel Stone admits the existence of a Yankee Officer--Thomas J. Myers
6. Even if Lt. Myers was discharged in Alabama, he would have headed toward
Sherman's Bummers in Georgia.
7. The SHSP concluded that Yankee Colonel Stone was an accomplice.

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 3, vol 4, Part 1 (Union Letters, Orders, Reports)


of the law without unnecessary collision. Every deserter from the late draft should, if possible, be arrested before the September draft commences. Report to me the arrival of troops and the disposition you make of them.

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



Hilton Head, S. C., August 16, 1864.

In view of the necessities of the military service, the want of recruits to complete the unfilled regiments in this department, the greater numbers of unemployed colored men and deserters hiding about to avoid labor or service, and in consideration of the large bounties now paid to volunteers by the Government, General Orders, Numbers 17, dated headquarters Department of the South, Hilton Head, S. C., March 6, 1863,* is hereby amended to read as follows:

I. All able-bodied colored men between the ages of eighteen and fifty, within the military lines of the Department of the South, who have had an opportunity to enlist voluntarily and refused to do so, shall be drafted into the military service of the United States, to serve as non-commissioned officers and soldiers in the various regiments and batteries now being organized in the department.

II. Whenever any laborer shall be taken from any of the departments of the army their places shall be filled from those who are exempted by the surgeons as unfit for military duty by the superintendent of volunteer recruiting.

III. Deserters from regiments organized in this department who shall give themselves up on or before the 10th day of September, 1864, shall receive full pardon and be restored to duty.

IV. The owners or superintendents of plantations, and all other persons throughout the department not in the military service, are hereby authorized and required to arrest and deliver to the local provost-marshal of the nearest military post al deserters in their employ or loitering about their plantations, and if it be necessary for a guard to make the arrest, it shall be the duty of such person or persons knowing of the whereabouts of any deserter, or person by common reports called a deserter, to report the fact to the nearest military commander, and also to render him all assistance in his power to cause the arrest. Any person found guilty of violating this section shall be severely punished.

V. District provost-marshals are hereby directed to cause the arrest of all idle persons, and all persons within the military lines of their respective districts, either white to black, who have not proper and visible means to support, and to turn them over immediately to the general superintendent of volunteer recruiting service or his agents for conscription.

The Provost-Marshal-General and general superintendent of volunteer recruiting are charged with a strict enforcement of this order.

by command of Major General J. G. Foster:


Assistant Adjutant-General.