February 7, 1865: A deal from Wheeler

Gen. Joseph Wheeler

Wheeler has a proposal to Howard’s troops; he’ll quit burning cotton if they’ll quit burning houses.

Official Records 99:330


GRAHAM’S, S. C.,
February 7, 1865.
Major General O. O. HOWARD, U. S. Army,
Commanding, etc.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to propose that if the troops of your army be required to discontinue burning the houses of our citizens I will discontinue burning cotton. As an earnest of the good faith in which my proposition is tendered I leave at this place about 300 bales cotton unburned, worth, in New York, over a quarter of a million, and in our currency one million and a half. I trust my having commenced will cause you to use your influence to insure the acceptance of the proposition by your whole army. I trust that you will not deem it improper for me to ask that you will require the troops under your command to discontinue the wanton destruction of property not necessary for their sustenance.

Respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
J. WHEELER,
Major-General, C. S. Army.

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