Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 29.djvu/130

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114 Southern Historical Society Papers.

one from New Jersey (all four Middle States). But we think this, like other reasons assigned by Colonel Stone, are without merit.

But, as we have said, notwithstanding all these things which seem- ingly discredit the reasons assigned by Colonel Stone for the non- genuineness of this letter, we should not have used the letter in this report, had not the substantial statements in it been confirmed,- as we shall now see. The Myers' letter was first published on October 29, 1883. On the 3ist of July, 1865, Captain E. J. Hale, Jr., of Fayetteville, N. C., who had been on General James H. Lane's staff, and who is vouched for by General Lane as "an elegant edu- cated gentleman," wrote to General Lane, telling him of the destruc- tion and devastation at his home, and in that letter he makes this statement:

"You have doubtless heard of Sherman's 'bummers.' The Yankees would have you believe that they were only the straggling pillagers usually found in all armies. Several letters written by offi- cers of Sherman' s army, intercepted near this town, give this the lie.

" In some of these letters were descriptions of the whole bumming process, and from them it appears that it was a regularly organized system, under the authority of General Sherman himself; that one- fifth of the proceeds fell to General Sherman, another fifth to the other general officers, another fifth to the line officers, a?id the remaining two- fifths to the enlisted men."

Now, compare this division of the spoils with that set forth in the Myers' letter, published, as we have said, eighteen years later, and it will be seen that they are almost identical, and this statement was taken, as Captain Hale states, from " several letters written by offi- cers of Sherman's army," intercepted near Fayetteville, N. C. , and as we have said, they confirm the statements of the Myers' letter, and its consequent genuineness, to a remarkable degree. It is proper, also, to state, that we have recently received a letter from Dr. Jones, in which he states that after carefully considering this whole matter again, he is now satisfied that he was mistaken in his editorial com- ments on Colonel Stone's letter, that he is now satisfied of the gen- uineness of the Myers' letter, and that in his opinion we could use it in this report "with perfect propriety and safety."*

  • Since this report was submitted, we have received a letter from the hus-

band of the lady who had the original of this Myers' letter, setting forth the time, place and all the circumstances under which it was found the day after