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In Their Own Words

August 09, 1864

Unpleasant Union Officer Not Typical

William King of Cobb County wrote in his diary of an unpleasant conversation he had with a Union officer, but fortunately he did not believe this man to be typical.

“…During the afternoon I had some conversation with Maj’r Carter, being the first of any length I have had with him, there seemed to be so little congeniality between him & myself either in mind or spirits, that I have had but little intercourse with him, contrary to my course with all the other officers who have been here– in this interview I found him to be a fair set off against our fire eating disunion men at the South. With him as with them, governed by passion and not by reason; he considered all the Citizens at the South rebels, and as such had forfeited all their rights to life, liberty and property, and not only had the government a right to do with them as it pleased, but the individual soldiers had also the right to appropriate to their own use all they could find of Rebel property which would contribute to their comfort & gratification, the depredations comm’d by his Reg’t exhibits some of the fruits of his opinions & feelings. It affords me much gratification however to record the fact, that this case of Major Carters is the first instance I have yet found of such opinions & feelings in officer or private, after a free and extensive intercourse with the Federal Army for more than 6 weeks, and this single exception can have but little influence in affecting my very favorable opinion I have had occasion to form of the sound sense, good feelings & good conduct of the officers & privates of the Federal Army…”

Source: Diary of William King; Cobb County, Georgia, 1864