November 20, 1864: Kilpatrick feints on Macon, Blair’s men plunder plantations


From Sherman’s official report:

During the 22nd [20th] General Kilpatrick made a good feint on Macon, driving the enemy within his intrenchments, and then drew back to Griswoldville, where Walcutt’s brigade of infantry joined him to cover that flank, whilst Howard’s trains were closing up, and his men scattered, breaking up railroads.

Savannah Campaign

While Kilpatrick was feinting, Blair’s column apparently was foraging liberally on plantations in Clinton, GA, a little northeast of Macon. Note the litany of outrages in this southern newspaper account begins with appropriation of property, mentioning violation of black women as sort of an afterthought. While there were virtually no reports of rape of white women during Sherman’s march, the same can’t be said for black women. Though the accounts of Southern slaveholders in his path are not necessarily reliable, there are enough reports like this, as well as some from union soldiers who were disgusted by their peers’ behavior, to indicate that there is some underlying truth.

SAVANNAH [GA] REPUBLICAN, December 2, 1864, p. 1, c. 1

From Clinton.

The following is an extract from a private letter dated Clinton, Nov. 20:

“I snatch a moment to advise you of the destruction committed by the enemy here. Many of us are utterly ruined; hundreds of our people are without anything to eat; their stock of cattle, hogs, are killed; horses and mules with wagons taken off; all through our streets and commons are to be seen dead horses and mules; entrails of hogs and cattle killed, and in many instances, the hams only taken; oxen and carts even taken away, so that we are not able to remove this offensive matter; our school houses and most of the churches burned; Captain Romen’s beautiful residence in ashes, together with everything of his that could be found, destroyed. He was from home. Atrocities most heinous were committed; Morgan’s Tannery with a quantity of government leather destroyed and his family, like many others, deprived of all food; clothes taken off the backs of some of the contrabands, and female servants taken and violated without mercy, by their officers, and in some instances when they were reared as tenderly as whites. But I cannot recapitulate in detail the many outrages; residences of J. McGray, Dr. Blount, J. H. Blunt and others, burned.” 

This entry was posted in Francis Preston Blair, Georgia, Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, Sherman's March, William Tecumseh Sherman. Bookmark the permalink.

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