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Who Burned Columbia?

Who Burned Columbia? image
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The Washington ChronieU of the 15th nst. published the following letter trom Gen. Sherman in relatiun to the burning of Columbia : 11 i:. DiiUAKTERS ARMY UNITED BTATES, } Washington, Sept. 1 1. To the Editor of the Chronide : Dkar. Sik. - Wlien you applied to me some time ago for material bearing on the controversy of " Who bumt Coluuibia," I gave you two printed pauiphlets whioh I had obtaiuod trom Judge Holt containing all the testimony taken in the cotton cases growing out of that event, and submitted to the mixed oommission appointed to adjudícate these casos undei the troaty with Great Britain. Judge Holt could have obtained the testimony of all the eight or ten thousand ofiicera and soldiers who were at or near Columbia when the confiagration occurred, but he thought he had enough without putting the government to the expense of bringing more witnesses trom a distance. I suppo8e he did not sumtnon Col. Stone, who cominanded the leading brigade of the fifteenth corps, because he did not know where to tind him. I surely did not know his whereabouts till he voluntarily published his statement. In my official report of the affair published before the close of the war when General Wade Hampton was fighting ua, and not when, as he alleges, he was a prisoner of war, I referred immediately to a fact of which I had knowledge, that a small detachment of the 17th corps had passed over the Cougaree, had entered Columbia and hoisted a tlag on the new State house in advance of the regular entry of the löth corps, which had made a circuit to cross the two branches of tho Solmada and Broad, which inake the Congaree. I treated the performance of this detachïnent as somewhat irregular, but the men who coinposed it now become important witnesses, and 1 herewith endose copies of their writtun statements, together with official reports which explain the whole affair. These witnesses go back to a time three-quarters of an hour before the entry of the head of Stone's brigade and about two hours ahead of the linie personally reached piles ot' buriiing cotton, of whieh there were many, and I invite your careful perusal ot' thoir statements, tor they are positivo thoy saw the rebel cavalry soldieis ripping open bales of ootton and applying fire. They also saw rebel soldiers plundering stores on the main street, whieh General Hampton attributes to our men, and they íurther positively assert that Haniptuu had already gone out of Columbia so that he could not and did not see his men applying the fire. Now Hauipton admits that the cotton was rolled out in the streets "tbr the purpose of burning," but that he forbade the burning lust the fire should extend to the houses, and I reitérate that no matter what his orders were the men of his army, either his rear guard or his stragglers, did apply fire, and that this was a suffieient cause for all else that followed. With great respect, yours, W. T. Shebman, General.


Old News
Michigan Argus