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In Their Own Words

November 30, 1864

Colorful Encounter on March to the Sea

Little seems to have transpired on this day during Sherman’s March to the Sea. From somewhere south of Louisville, Sherman’s secretary, Henry Hitchcock, wrote in his diary:

“Fifteenth day out, in camp on east bank of Ogeechee River at Burton, The ‘wire-grass region’ proper extends east to the Ogeechee River; rode all morning through or among pine forests, whose aromatic odor is delightful tome … . All through this pine country there are better farms than we expected, and large stores of corn, fodder and potatoes (sweet) … . Railroad here at Station is say 200 to 250 yards from river bank. Very good brick station house was - that is we shall say was after tomorrow morning … no good houses here save one frame, of old Johnny Wells, R.R. agent here … Old man Wells came to see General - sat us with us all evening by camp-fire - jolly old brick, great talker, full of jokes, some coarse ones … . He claims to be utterly opposed to J.D. & Co. - damns the lying editors and warlike preachers in heartiest style, - says, as all we have met, almost, that a minority not only did force, but are still forcing on the war in the South… . Here as everywhere same terrible stories and lies have been spread about us - killing everybody - burning all houses, including dwellings, etc, etc.”

Source: M.A. DeWolfe Howe (ed.), Marching with Sherman: Passages from the Letters and Campaign Diaries of Henry Hitchcock, Major and assistantAdjutant General of Volunteers, November 1864-May 1865 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995), pp. 116-119.