Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bachman Letter Part 4 of 7

A letter dated Charleston September 14, 1865, written by Rev. Dr. John Bachman, then pastor of the Lutheran Church in that city, presents many facts respecting the devastation and robberies by the enemy in South Carolina. So much relates to the march of Sherman’s army through part of the state is here presented:

"Now comments scenes of licentiousness, brutality, and ravishment that have scarcely had an equal in the ads of heathen barbarity. I conversed with aged men and women, who were witnesses to these infamous acts of Sherman’s unbridled soldiery, and several of them, from the cruel treatment they had received, were confined to their beds for weeks afterwards. The time will come when the judgment of Heaven will await these libidinous, beastly barbarians.

During this time the fourth party, who I was informed by others, we had the most reason to dread, had made their appearance. They came as they said, in the name of the great General Sherman, who was next to God Almighty. They came to burn and lay in ashes all that were lest. They had burned bridges and depots, cotton-gins, mills, barns and stables. They swore they would make d----d rebel women pound their corn with rocks, and eat their raw meal without cooking. They succeeded in thousands of instances.

I walked out at night, and innumerable fires were burning as far as the eye could reach, in hundreds of places, illuminated the whole heavens, and testified to the vindictive barbarity of the foe. I presumed they had orders not to burn occupied houses, but they strove all in their power to compel families to fly from their houses that they may afterwards burn them.

The neighborhood was filled with refugees who had been compelled to fly from their plantations on the seaboard. As soon as they fled, the torch was applied, and, for hundreds of miles, those elegant mansions, once the ornament and pride of our inland country, were burned to the ground.