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In Their Own Words

November 08, 1864

Georgia Man Wrote of Yankee Looters

A Georgia man wrote to his sister, with an example of why so many Southerners hated Yankees, and would continue to do so for long after the war.

“…last Friday the infantry came around, and I never saw meaner men before. … Carrie thought she would have her hogs in a little house in the yard, so if they came for them she could beg for them. Well, Friday about 2 o’clock, they commenced coming. They walked in the yard and before Carrie could say a word [they] had both of her hogs killed, the last hog[s] she had around. And they were neither one of them fit to eat, just shot them down at the house. Others were killing her chickens, another killed a goat, while others were ransacking the house. Some of them came in and went to the meal barrel and, finding about a half bushel of meal there, took a sack hanging near and emptied nearly all the meal out, went to her [meat] safe and took our everything she had cooked, then into the little back room and took all the salt they could find and anything else that they wanted. When they were taking the things, Carrie begged them not to take all she had. Their answer was that many a woman below was left without anything at all. ‘Why,’ said Carrie, ‘What am I to do? How am I to live if you take all that I have?’ ‘Go North!’ was the reply, as curtly as it could be spoken. After witnessing in what an unfeeling manner they deprive woman and children of everything they have to live upon, after hearing the taunts they cast upon us all as rebels, is it any wonder that we should wish them evil? I can not wish them any good in this world, and I have heretofore prayed that God would save their souls. But feeling as I do now, I cannot continue even that prayer. God forgive me if I sin in hating as I do. …”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), “Dear Mother: Don’t grieve about me. If I get killed, I’ll only be dead.”: Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), pp. 333-334.