Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 30.djvu/312
304 Southern Historical Society Papers.
ter 1 s command was badly used up in the Lynchburg expedition" (.Id., 33L)
These assaults, and many others of a like nature, wounded Gen- eral Hunter so greatly that he not only asked to be relieved, but wrote a letter to Grant, in which, after speaking of the depressing effect upon him of these comments, he unstopped the vials of his wrath against his subordinates, upon whom he put the blame of his defeat.
In this letter he says that Sullivan, who commanded one of his divisions, was " not worth one cent; in fact very much in my way," and, again, he says: "I dashed on toward Lynchburg, and should certainly have taken it if it had not been for the stupidity and conceit of that fellow Aver ell, who unfortunately joined me at Staunton, and of whom I unfortunately had, at the time, a very high opinion, and trusted him when I should not have done so." (71 War of Rebel- lion, 366.)
With these quotations from the correspondence of his associates, General Hunter may be left to the verdict which will be accorded him by the future historian of the stirring events in which he took part.
War is not a gentle occupation, and its customs are harsh. To make it effective, it is clearly within the rules of civilization to strip an enemy's country through which a hostile army is passing of every- thing which will sustain the life of either men or beasts. Hence Grant's historic order about the crow carrying his rations, while cruel, is within the line of legitimate warfare. But putting non-com- batants to death, insults to women and children, the wanton destruc- tion of household goods and clothes, the application of the torch to dwellings, factories and mills, or the destruction of public buildings, and especially of institutions of learning and their libraries, and works of art and science, is a style of warfare long since relegated to the savage. The disgrace of reviving this barbaric strife in modern times was reserved for Hunter. General Crook, one of his division commanders, a soldier brave and true, felt constrained to note the conduct of the troops, and published an order in which he says he ' ' regrets to learn of so many acts committed by our troops that are disgraceful to the command." Hunter knew all this, but there was no word of protest or repression from him.
It is to be regretted that later in this campaign, when we carried the war across the Potomac, some of our troops retaliated for these brutal acts upon innocent parties. That Hunter had set the example