Camp opposite Grand Gulf, Mississippi,
May 6, 1863.
It is done of course by the cursed stragglers who won't fight, but hang behind and disgrace our cause and country. Dr. Bowie had fled, leaving everything on the approach of our troops. Of course devastation marked the whole path of the army, and I know all the principal officers detest the infamous practice as much as I do. Of course I expect and do take corn, bacon, ham, mules and everything to support an army, and don't object much to the using offences for firewood. But this universal burning and wanton destruction of private property is not justified in war.
SOURCES: M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Editor, Home Letters of General Sherman, p. 259-60. A full copy of this letter can be found in the William T Sherman Family papers (SHR), University of Notre Dame Archives (UNDA), Notre Dame, IN 46556, Folder CSHR 2/04.