William King Diary Entry
Cobb County, Georgia
21st. Aug’t 1864.
Sabbath again. A Rainy, dirty day. This morning the encampment of the 5th. & 6th. Ind. Cavalry under Maj’r Carter removed encampment to the North of town, near Mrs. Wilkins–it is the first time I can say I feel rejoiced at the removal of soldiers from me, until this command they have always contributed greatly to my enjoyment and comfort, nearly all of the officers being intelligent & gentlemanly in their deportment. I told the Chaplain that I should miss him, & a few of the officers & most of the privates greatly, but that I must candidly tell him that I was rejoiced that the Regiment was leaving me. Most of the officers were either drinking, ungentlemanly & bad principled men–I had very little to do with them & rejoiced at their departure, they afforded very little company for me, & very destructive to everything about, have done more damage to Fences & Trees than all who had preceeded them combined of the Federal & Conf’t Armies, occasioning me much annoyance, & yet I did not feel inclined to complain to the Commandant of the Post of their conduct. When they were about leaving Dr. Miller of the Hospital at the Mil. Inst. sent me a guard to protect against any depredations, I had to make them take out of the Wagons some chairs & other things they were about taking, with all my watchfulness of them they took off our last Water Bucket & I think some of our books are missing. Last night 2 of the officers got drunk as a closing scene. The conduct of the men was much better than the officers, I never saw one of the them under the influence of Liquor, nor any quarrelling & disorder among them.
These Reg’ts have destroyed all the fencing, they did but little injury to the Buildings. The wide Boards on the Smoke House, Corn House, Stable, 2 Barns & one of the Servants Houses unoccupied had been taken off by Dr. Miller for the large number of Wounded at his Hospital. I am glad that the 5th. & 6th. Ind. Reg’ts are going, joy go with them, but I pity Mrs. Wilkie or wherever Maj’r Carter’s Command may camp near–whoever it may be will remember Maj’r Carter. Men like him (which are scarce, I think) will never do much to bring this sad war to a close, either in fighting it’s battles, or soothing the irritated feelings of the Country. This afternoon my young friend O’y S’t Evans on his return to the front called to see me & spent an hour, he says he has not yet had an opportunity to send my message to my Wife; but will try to send it through our lines, he with his men are guarding the R.R. Bridge at the Chattahoochee, he informs me that one of their men was taken prisoner a few days ago, within their Picket lines. We have had heavy rain today–Our men seem to be all over the Country, whenever an encampment breaks up[torn] to see the multitude of harpies of all sizes & colors, prowling over the [torn] what they can pick up. Mrs. Brown & her 2 little girls made me a visit [torn] she says the soldiers have been taking some of her Corn, she [torn] that is her sole dependence, her Cow having been taken some time ago, her husband too sick to do anything for their help. I do not know what is to become of them, in common with the other poor in this country; she generally begs the soldiers to have mercy on them, most do, but others do not; we help them a little from time to time, I told Sharper he must not let them starve when I am gone. The sufferings of the poor here must be very great, the approaching winter, how sorely they are made to feel the horrors of this War. It surprizes me every day the bitter hatred the Northern men seem to feel towards the poor Negro. What is to become of the poor race among us–this sad war I apprehend is to end in their destruction like the Indians.
From Documenting the American South- UNC Chapel Hill