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PoP's Southern American: The Vandals Were Only Following Orders:

9/29/2011

The Vandals Were Only Following Orders:

November 19, 1864 [Diary of Dolly Lunt]

“Slept in my clothes last night, as I heard the Yankees went to neighbor Montgomery’s on Thursday night at one o’clock, searched his house, drank his wine, and took his money and valuables. I hastened back to my frightened servants and told them that they had better hide, and then back to the gate to claim protection and a guard. But like demons they rush in!

To my smoke-house, my dairy, pantry, kitchen, and cellar, like famished wolves they come, breaking locks and whatever is in their way. The thousand pounds of meat in my smoke-house is gone in a twinkling, my flour, my meat, my lard, butter, eggs, pickles of various kinds – both vinegar and brine – wine, jars, and jugs are all gone.

My eighteen fat turkeys, my hens, chicken, and fowls, my young pigs, are shot down in my yard and hunted as if they are rebels themselves. Utterly powerless I ran out and appealed to the guard. “I cannot help you, Madam, it is orders.” As I stood there, from my lot I saw driven, first, old Dutch, my dear old buggy horse…my mare, who for years had been too old and stiff for work, with her three-year-old colt, my two-year-old mule, and her last baby colt. There they go! There go my mules, my sheep, and, worse than all, my boys (slaves)!

Alas! little did I think while trying to save my house from plunder and fire that they were forcing my boys from home at the point of the bayonet. One, Newton, jumped into bed and declared himself sick. Another crawled under the floor, -- a lame boy he was, -- but they pulled him out, placed him on a horse, and drove him off…threatening to shoot him if he did not go…” Their [slave] cabins are rifled of every valuable, the soldiers swearing that their Sunday clothes were the white people’s, and that they never had money to get such things as they had. Poor Frank’s chest was broken open, his money and tobacco taken. He has always been a money-making and saving boy; not infrequently has his crop brought him five hundred dollars and more.

All of his and Rachel’s clothes, which dear Lou gave her before her death and which she had packed away, were stolen from her. Ovens, skillets, coffee-mills, of which we had three – not one have I left. Seeing that the soldiers could not be restrained, the guard ordered me to have their remaining possessions brought into my house, which I did, and they all, poor things, huddled together in my room, fearing every movement that the house would be burned.

Such a day, if I live to the age of Methuselah, may God spare me from ever seeing again!

(The Blue and the Gray,) Henry Steele Commager, editor, Bobbs-Merrill

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