(Correspondence of the Louisville Democrat.)
BOWLING GREEN, Feb. 18, 1862.
A man reported here this evening who left Nashville last Friday morning. He has been engaged in the railroad business in the South, but being loyal in all his sentiments desired to come to the North when the rebellion commenced; but could never succeed in doing so before. He says he twice succeeded in making his way as far north as Bowling Green, after its occupation by the arch traitor Buckner, but was refused by him permission to continue his journey.
He says the rebels have destroyed all the wooden structures in the way of bridges and tressle [sic] work on the railway road between Franklin and Bowling Green, and was informed that it had been committed on the remainder of the road. He says the rebels evacuated Bowling Green in the most unceremonious and hasty manner, on the approach of Gen. Mitchel’s [sic] division. The rebel General Hardee was in the town when Gen. Mitchel commenced shelling it, and left in such “hot haste” as to leave his battle charger behind him, which was taken off by the Texan Rangers, who were last to leave. In his haste to leave town, Hardee absolutely ran across the pubic square. My informant told me he had received the statement in relation to Hardee from a rebel officer. He says the rebels had collected large quantities of grain, chiefly wheat, at various points on the railroad, which not having the means of removing in their precipitate flight, they burned. He also informs me that Gen. Hindman, in his retreat from Cave City to Bowling Green, had the horses and cattle of Union men driven into the large ponds, which occur at frequent intervals along the road, and shot, with a threat of hanging the owners if they removed the carcasses. I presume his object was to prevent the use of the water in the ponds by the troops of the United States; but by this atrocious and infamous act he inflicted very great injury and inconvenience on the citizens of the country. From the fact that there is not a running steam on the road between Green and Barren rivers, the sole dependence of all passengers and citizens for stock water, at least, is on the pond or surface water. Truly a refined method of making war, worthy of this enlightened age! What would the London Times, Morning Post, Herald, and other English journals, and the Moniteur, whose sensitive nerves have been so terribly shocked by our use of the “stone blockade,” say of this method of conducting hostilities?
I am informed by most respectable gentlemen, resident in the southern part of the State, who have come to this place since the abandonment by the rebels of the country south of Green river, that no adequate conception can be formed of the destruction and desolation committed on that region.
– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 1, 1862, p. 2