In Their Own Words
November 25, 1864
Bridges and Houses Burned
Sherman’s secretary, Henry Hitchcock, wrote about what happened to the 20th Corps:
“6 miles W. of Sandersville, Ga, tenth day out. Soon learned on the road that bridge or bridges over Buffalo Creek burned: a troublesome place, swampy, creek spreads, really nine successive short bridges … . Two or three stories about who burned bridge - negroes said done by this man, others by party from Sandersville. General very angry at it, no wonder …got to talk about proposed burning of this house - quite a good one, two story frame with several out-houses, cabins, etc. Good blacksmith shop with very good set carpenter’s tools. Ewing was for burning house. H.H. (referring to himself) opposed it without evidence that owner had burned or helped burn bridge … . General was sitting near, unobserved by H.H., but, as usual - for nothing escapes him - heard and noticed conversation. Presently he broke in ‘In war everything is right which prevents anything. If bridges are burned I have a right to burn all houses near it.’ Poe rebuilt bridges rapidly and well, and the whole delay was only about four hours… . Learned that rebel cavalry were on t’other side and a few shots exchanged at first but no harm done.”
Source: M.A. DeWolfe Howe (ed.), Marching with Sherman: Passages from the Letters and Campaign Diaries of Henry Hitchcock, Major and Assistant Adjutant General of Volunteers, November 1864-May 1865 (Lincoln; University of Nebraska Press, 1995), pp 91-93.