Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 406
James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
Page 406
of the right wing, thus described what he had seen, “First there come along some cavalrymen and they burned the depot; then come along some infantry men and they tore up the track and burned it; and just before I left they sot fire to the well.” 1 In the main, the General forebore destroying private property but, in nearly all his despatches after he had reached the sea, he gloated over the destruction along the line of his march, writing from Savannah: “We have consumed the corn and fodder in the region of country thirty miles on either side of a line from Atlanta to Savannah as also the sweet potatoes, cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry and have carried away more than 10,000 horses and mules as well as a countless number of their slaves. I estimate the damage done to the State of Georgia and its military resources at $100,000,000; at least $20,000,000 of which has inured to our advantage and the remainder is simple waste and destruction. This may seem a hard species of warfare but it brings the sad realities of war home to those who have been directly or indirectly instrumental in involving us in its attendant calamities.” 2 Well might he say afterwards, “War is hell.”  8
  Various orders given from time to time show that there was not only lawless foraging but that there was an unwarranted burning of buildings. A more serious charge against these men of the western army is pillage. Sherman admitted the truth of it as did likewise General Cox. After the campaign, Sherman heard of jewelry being taken from women and was of the opinion that these depredations were committed by parties of foragers usually called “bummers.” Cox dubbed with that name the habitual stragglers
Note 1. W. Sherman, II, 191. [back]
Note 2. O. R., XLIV, 13. These are undoubtedly exaggerated estimates. The assessed value of real estate and personal property in Georgia in 1860 was $618,232,387. [back]


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