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In Their Own Words

November 10, 1864

Sherman Ordered Property in Rome Destroyed

Union forces evacuated Rome, Georgia, with Union General William T. Sherman giving the following order.

You will destroy tonight all public property not needed by your command, all foundries, mills, workshops, warehouses, railroad depots or other storehouses convenient to the railroad, together with all wagon shops, tanneries, or other factories useful to the enemy. Destroy all bridges immediately, then move your command tomorrow to Kingston.

[Order in Collection of Rome City Library]

An Ohio soldier with Sherman’s army wrote in his diary of obeying the order.

“During the last two weeks we have been expecting “marching orders”. More than a week since we rec’d [received] orders to prepare for a “long arduous & successful campaign”. Many different opinions have been expressed as to our probable destination - Some think we will make direct for Charleston S.C. others that we will visit Mobile - but the most general belief is that Savannah will be the objective point - Nothing definite however is known concerning the coming movement - Received orders this evening to move at six o’clock tomorrow morning - All tents and other government property which we can not take with us to be left standing undisturbed - The 52d [unclear: Ills. [Illinois] ] is to be left behind to destroy everything and bring up the rear. The Division wagon train moved out this evening on the Kingston road accompanied by the 3rd Brigade - they will go about six mile. Quarters and buildings in town were burning [deleted: on] all afternoon - Large fire in town tonight. All is the work of rowdy soldiers. …”

Source: Cornelius C. Platter, Civil War Diary, 1864-1865