General McClellan, a gentleman and a trained soldier, wrote to Mr. Lincoln from Harrison's Landing on July 7, 1862, saying, among other things:
"In prosecuting the war, all private property and unarmed persons should be strictly protected, subject only to the necessity of military operations. All property taken for military use should be paid or receipted for, pillage and waste should be treated as high crimes, and all unnecessary trespass sternly prohibited, and offensive demeanor by the military towards citizens promptly rebuked." (See 2 Am. Conflict, by Greeley, page 248.)
And yet, within two weeks from that time, the Federal Secretary of War, by order of Mr. Lincoln, issued an order to the military commanders in Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, directing them to seize and use any property belonging to the inhabitants of the Confederacy which might be necessary or convenient for their several commands; and no provision whatever was made for any compensation to the owners of private property thus directed to be seized and appropriated.
General Sherman says in his official report of his famous (or rather infamous) march to the sea:
"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 ten thousand horses and mules. I estimate the damage done to the State of Georgia at one hundred million dollars, at least twenty millions of which inured to our benefit, and the remainder was simply waste and destruction."
General Halleck, who was at that time Lincoln's chief of staff, and, therefore, presumably in daily contact with him, wrote to Sherman on the 18th of December, 1864:
"Should you capture Charleston, I hope that by some accident the place may be destroyed, and if a little salt should be thrown upon its site it may prevent the future growth of nullification and secession."
To which Sherman replied on the 24th of the same month: