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In Their Own Words

November 17, 1864

Union Destruction of Property Witnessed

From his devastated plantation near Rockbridge, Thomas Maguire wrote in his journal of the damage and losses inflicted by Union soldiers:

“Still in the woods. Slept but little, was dodging about in the woods trying to see the Yankees from our hiding place. The Yankees all gone about 11 o’clock. I came home at 2 tired enough and sleepy but glad to find that home folks were not abused although there was great destruction of property. Gin house and screw burned, stables and barn all in ashes, fencing burned and destruction visible all around. The carriage and big wagon burned up, corn and potatoes gone, horses and steers gone, sheep, chicken and geese, also syrup boiler damaged, one barrel of syrup burned, saddles and bridles in the same fix. Now engaged in gathering up the fragments of the spoils. It is useless to try to record the destruction of property, still I hope we can live. I think we have plenty of corn & wheat & syrup hid out. There was some 20 bushels of wheat burned in the gin house of our own, some of Mr. Minor’s and others. Had much to do to save the corn cribs, gin house still burning and the straw piles, also three bales of cotton burned and the other cut open to make beds for the soldiers, all belonging to Mr. Ed Turner. The gin thrash and fan burned, the castings laying to cog wheel and other parts of machinery in ruins; the destruction of Jerusalem on a small scale.”

Source: Franklin M. Garrett, Atlanta and Its Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1969 reprint of original 1954 volume), pp. 648-649.