Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/317
Diary of Captain Robert E. Park.
Georgia, of his expelling the citizens of Atlanta from their homes, and the destruction of the entire city, and of his bloodthirsty letter to Honorable J. M. Calhoun, Mayor of Atlanta, declaring his purpose "to shorten the war by increasing its severity." The Northern papers, too, gloat over his cruel and boasted "march to the sea," and of his capture of Savannah, December 21st. During his unopposed march, he put his cruel principles into rough practice. General Hood left Georgia for Tennessee, with the main body of his sadly diminished army, and only the gallant General Wheeler, with a small body of cavalry, offered any opposition. Totally disregarding all the laws and usages of civilized war, unrestrained and uninfluenced by the humane and Christian conduct of General Lee, when in Pennsylvania, Sherman says in his official report: "We consumed the corn and fodder in the region of country thirty miles on either side of a line from Atlanta to Savannah; also the sweet potatoes, hogs, sheep and poultry, and carried off more than 10,000 horses and mules. I estimate the damage done to the State of Georgia at $100,000,000, at least $20,000,000 of which inured to our advantage, and the rest was simple waste and destruction." Here he confesses to have wantonly destroyed $80,000,000 worth of property of private citizens. Attila, Genseric and Alaric were not more cruel to the conquered Romans, than the brutal Sherman has been to the defenceless, utterly helpless old men, women and children of pillaged and devastated Georgia. No wonder our reflections and conversation on the first day of the new year were of a sad character. Added to our gloom at the news from the South was the painful intelligence that all hope of our exchange was now at an end, and we are to be carried to Old Capitol Prison as soon as transportation is furnished.
January 2d—After 9 o'clock at night all the officers at Point Lookout, except Major Hanvey, who was too sick to be removed, were put on board the boat "Johnson," and at 1 o'clock in the morning were carried to the mail boat "James T. Brady," bound for Washington city, and sailed up the Potomac. The wind blew fearfully cold, and as we were compelled to sleep on deck and in the gangway, our suffering was severe indeed. Fortunately I got near the boiler, and fared better than the majority of the party. As we advanced towards the city, the river was blocked by ice, covering it several inches in thickness, from shore to shore. The passage was slow, as the ice had to be broken in front of the steamer every foot of the way.