Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant George G. Smith: April 28, 1864

Heavy skirmishing all day with cavalry, artillery and infantry. Afternoon preparations for a general engagement. Squadrons wheeling into line, and maneuvering at the front. At night the torch was again at work and soon the heavens were aglow with burning buildings. Firing ceased. Next day all was quiet. The enemy had felt our position, did not like it and withdrew. The notorious Quantrel, the bushwhacker was on the opposite side of the river so the Second brigade was ordered to cross and take positions to protect that part of the town. We encamped near a house in rear of Pineville. It was empty, and the soldiers re girded it as lawful plunder, and raided it, as was their custom. It seemed to be an unwritten law that, if the family fled, it was evidence of guilt, and the property was theirs; but if they remained the property was respected and a guard was placed over it to protect it. In the case in question the house was occupied by a lady who had gone to a neighbor's for a short time, but on returning and seeing what had been done she wept bitterly, and complained that she had been treated unfairly, and well she might, for it turned out that her husband was a union man, and had been hiding in the woods for several months to keep from being drafted into the rebel army, and she had been feeding him. It is needless to say she got her things back, and officers and soldiers chipped in and gave her a barrel of flour, and stocked her house well with provisions. And I might as well say that this was not an isolated case for we found many men, and women too, throughout the South faithful to their country and flag: ready to sacrifice property, and life too, if need be to protect them from that wicked rebellion. We raised a company of mounted Mexicans, and put many recruits in the union armies.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 105-7

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