Browsing "Looting the Conquered"

Yankee’s Issued Matches

The hatred of the North engendered by Sherman’s devastation in Georgia and the Carolina’s would not easily subside. In 1898 President William McKinley, himself a Northern major during the war, visited Atlanta in December 1898 for a Peace Jubilee. McKinley wore a Confederate badge on his lapel and declared in an address to the Georgia legislature that “Confederate graves were “graves of honor” and it was the duty of the United States government to keep them green.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Yankee’s Issued Matches

“When word [of Sherman’s invasion of South Carolina] reached the plantations of the Low County, terror bordering on panic swept the towns and countryside . . . and with only old men, women, children and a few slaves who had not deserted left on the lands, [all] lay vulnerable before the invaders.

Some of the families moved farther north, ostensibly out of Sherman’s path. Three families who lived in the area south of Allendale fled to the plantation of Dr. Benjamin William Lawton. An occupied house was less subject to being burn; deserted houses, left vacant, were usually torched.

But the three families who set up housekeeping in the basement of Dr. Lawton’s house in Allendale were no safer than they might have been in their own homes. Sherman’s forces routed out the families, and set fire to the house of that signer of the Ordinance of Secession, Dr. Benjamin W. Lawton. All Lawton’s possessions dissolved in flames.

Lawton’s wife, Josephine, was warned [of this] and hastily took her children and house servants to Gaffney, South Carolina, where they were given haven by friends . . . There Josephine’s seventh child was born. In early 1865 another Lawton, Dr. James Stoney . . . returned [from Georgia] to find his house in ashes.

At least one Lawton home escaped destruction by fire. Major-General High Judson Kilpatrick . . . ordered his men to keep their issue of matches in their pockets while he occupied Rose Lawn, the home of Reverend and Mrs. Joseph A. Lawton in Allendale, as his headquarters during the days of battle and destruction in the area.

With his mistress said to have been ensconced in a large front bedroom – she accompanied [Kilpatrick] from one headquarters to another in his sweep from Savannah to Columbia – he delegated a small back room to the elderly owners. To the godly couple who had to stand by while the woman of “ill-repute” occupied their bedchamber, this must surely have added basest insult to dastardly injury.

[South Carolina] lay in ruins, and the Southern cities of Richmond, Atlanta, Charleston and Columbia were blackened rubble. Sherman’s men under [Kilpatrick] had used their issues of matches to fire countless towns, villages, plantations, farms, and railroads; open fields and pine forests were reduced to shambles.”

(Kith and Kin, A Portrait of a Southern Family, 1630-1934, Carolyn L. Harrell, pp. 209-212)

Yankee Chaplain Caught Looting

The plantation of Josiah Collins, Somerset Place, on Lake Phelps had been looted by invading Northerners who occupied northeastern North Carolina. After Plymouth, North Carolina was liberated by General Robert F. Hoke in April 1864, the misdeeds of the invader came to light.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Yankee Chaplain Caught Looting

“Many years after the war, Dr. Joseph G.D. Hamilton happened to run across Hoke and his son-in-law at a restaurant in Raleigh. As the men sat together on the porch before dinner, Hoke rested quietly, gazing off in the distance.

In a tone designed not to arouse the reticent old soldier, Hamilton began to relate a newspaper story about an event that had occurred after the surrender of Plymouth. A Federal chaplain who had been denied officer’s privileges and “his” library called on Hoke, who responded favorably to his pleas.

After the chaplain left, the general noticed two large wooden boxes. When he enquired about the contents, a soldier responded, “They are the books of that Yankee chaplain.”

Hoke noticed that the top of one of the boxes was broken, so he removed a book. It bore the bookplate of Josiah Collins of nearby Somerset Place in Washington County. When the boxes were torn open, it was seen that all the books were likewise marked.

The chaplain was immediately summoned to Hoke’s headquarters, where the general dressed him down and stripped him of all privileges.”

(General Robert F. Hoke, Lee’s Modest General, Daniel W. Barefoot, John F. Blair, 1996, page 153)

 

 

The Great Policy of Liberation

The relatively untold story of the looting of post-WWII Germany is told in Kenneth D. Alford’s “The Spoils of World War Two.” The author writes of Major General Harry J. Collins of the 42nd Rainbow Division, and the standing joke at the time that his battle strategy was “one man fighting, two men looting, and three men painting rainbows.” Collins lived comfortably in a liberated 15th century Prielau Castle in Austria, as did General Mark Clark in Vienna.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

The Great Policy of Liberation

“[I thought] it would take the Germans a hundred years just to dig out of their debris. But they had new cities set up on the old bombed-out sites within five or six years from the time they began. Not everything they did was for the best.

If war’s destruction got rid of a lot of ancient ugliness, as well as wiping out a lot of ancient beauty, the builders demonstrated the usual lack of taste which we show and which other nations show in their embracing of the modern. There are some gosh-awful Hollywood-type-alleged-American-Californian buildings and store fronts adorning the German streets today.

The Germans lost a certain identity, a certain originality and national flavor, when they performed the new building. But the roofs don’t leak; there is heat in the winter.

[My wife and I took over the stripped Henkell] house in Wiesbaden . . . [Gen. Omar] Bradley’s troops had descended on it in the first place, when we invaded Germany in 1945, and I should like to have seen the mansion originally. Folks talked enthusiastically of the objets d’art – rugs, statuary, paintings, everything else. I regret to state in all honesty that, in 1945, when these [American troops] left the house . . . they backed up their trucks and took anything they wanted along. This was the great policy of so-called liberation. It went on all over Germany. Seems rather shocking now to consider it, and it even seemed a little shocking to certain people at the time.

When we arrived in Wiesbaden we met up with a handsome servant, a man in his late twenties, who bowed deeply and greeted us in perfect English: “Good morning, sir and madam. I am so happy you have arrived safely. I am glad to serve you. I am an American bastard.” He was the post-World War I illegitimate son of a German girl; his father was an American.”

(Mission with LeMay, My Story; Gen. Curtis E. LeMay with MacKinlay Kantor, pp. 405-406; 408-409)

Pages:«12345678