- Historic Sites
From Atlanta To The Sea
A newly discovered Union diary shows that Sherman’s march was about as Ruthless as Southerners have always said it was
December 1978 | Volume 30, Issue 1
Nov. 26th. Marched at 6 A.M. Our Regt, again in advance of the corps. We had proceeded about 3 miles when we found the road blockaded near Sandersville and signs of the enemies’ pickets. Skirmishing soon commenced. The 113th being in front of course we were elected to go ahead and clear the way. Two companies were deployed as skirmishers, soon we had warm work, but we rushed it through and soon drove them from the town. Their force proved to be but about 300 cavalry belonging to [Joseph] Wheeler’s command. They took refuge behind the houses and in them, firing from the same. We had 1 killed, 3 wounded. Rebs’ loss 2 killed, 5 wounded. At least that was all we could find.
Sandersville is the county seat of Washington Co., pop. 1200. It contains 2 churches, several fine stores, large hotel buildings and several fine residences. Here again was enacted a scene which went ahead of anything I had yet seen. Every store building and dwelling was gutted (excuse the term) from the cellar to the garret. The boys were allowed to do just as they pleased. We had fought for the town and it was our plunder. I went into a large drug store after the boys had cleaned it out and I never saw such a mixture of medicines and glassware. I would hate to take some prescriptions which were compounded. The town was completely ruined and then burned. In the jail we found a man who had been confined in a dungeon for 5 years for manslaughter. He was a happy man I assure you when we let him loose. In front of the court house stands a monument erected to the memory of Ex. Gov. [Jared] Irwin, now deceased. It is a splendid structure erected by the State and if the epitaph upon the same is all it reads, he never halted short of the 3rd heaven for the same covers the four entire sides. We camped near the town for the night, marching 6 miles upon that day.…
Nov. 28th. Marched at 6 A.M. During day found bridge burned over creek which detained us several hours. Having rebuilt bridge we crossed and soon entered Louisville, County Seat of Jefferson Co. Here again another scene of destruction took place, everything was destroyed. It was far from a beautiful place when in its glory and when we left it it was far from anything but a heap of smouldering ruins. We encamped for the night late in the evening 3 miles beyond the town, having marched 15 miles.
Nov. 29th. We lay in camp without any change. I went out in charge of foraging party of 50 men. Upon arrival at the first plantation and finding it tolerable well cleaned out, learning from the negroes that he had another plantation adjoining and in rear about 2 miles from where we were, I concluded to go there. We proceeded without any difficulty. Upon arrival we found all we wished for, the great difficulty being transportation. Having scared a nigger until he was almost white, he finally confessed that he knew where the oxen were. I sent him in charge of guard and soon they brought up a fine yoke. Now we were surely in luck. But as we were filling a cart large enough to haul one half of the Southern Confederacy, a squad of Johnnies appeared and commenced firing upon us. We soon were in condition to return the compliment. We were annoyed but a short time when they withdrew. We were not long in finishing our business at that point I assure you, but we got all we could haul away.… We had enough to feed the entire Regt. Take it altogether it was a regular frolic, besides burning 2 cotton gins and upwards of 600 bales of cotton.