Saturday, May 2, 2015

Emmala's War: Many drunken demons

Emmala Reed lived at Echo Hall, which was between Main Street and McDuffie Street south of downtown.

Second of three episodes

This eyewitness account of Stoneman's Raid in Anderson May 1-3, 1865 is reprinted with permission from "A Faithful Heart: The Journals of Emmala Reed, 1865 and 1866," edited by Robert Oliver and published in 2004 by USC Press. Click here to start on May 1 or to buy the book.

Tuesday, May 2, 1865

Emmala Reed Miller
     Tuesday, May 2nd dawned at last. A long day of terror. All up & watchful with the early dawn. Three ladies came early to ask Pa to help them get a guard. 
     The Broyles had been searched—horses, arms, the vegetables in the garden taken and their father’s watch. [Dr. Broyles was the father of Emmala's beloved "Robere."] The faithful old timepiece, by which he had connoted pulses—30 years—snatched from him—to the regret of all.
      Gus (Broyles) & Tiny Bacon fled from the Enrolling officer in Greenville and that day had just entered the house and been thus surprised. Robert & Tom and John, the three youngest brothers, just from the Army. The two just paroled from Lee’s army & could have stayed at home safely, but all were taken by surprise. Thought it was Kirk’s desperate raiders & so all started at the first alarm and rushed to the woods and swamps for safety.
     The Williams mounted their fine horses & leaping the fence, were gone like a flash and escaped all. John and Gus—too late to mount—horses taken—ran off on foot one way, but were captured next day and paroled, though they threatened to take Capt. Gus to Tenn. He & all the Enrolling office here escaped after much pleading. Robere & Col. Edward B ran toward their farm on Rocky River—pursued and shot at, but escaped throughout by lying in swamps several days. (Manuell feeding them.) And all that time I had no token from him—only my fears & suspense. What did it mean?
     We all sat talking the day away in anxious suspense—a long, bright, sunny day. Stragglers would come around—with evil intentions, no doubt, but were repelled by the guard. Our Lt. took every meal with us—talking much. Meanwhile, the ruffians were let loose & were throwing open the stores, public & private, in town—pillaging everything, assisted by poor whites & negroes who made themselves rich for once. Quantities of cloth & thread and a variety of articles, fancy and useful. Bacon, flour—salt& sugar were cast away.
     All our negroes & everybody’s were there, taking off loads. Some shared with their owners. We got some fine thread & writing paper only. They all roamed about free & careless for several days & no work done. They no doubt thought the year of Jubilee had come. All dreamed of freedom & discussed the prospect, no doubt, but were too sensible to go off with this wild raiding party, save the reckless boys—who dashed around on horses. Proudly and defiantly! Dozens went off from here, but many were sent back or willingly returned to good homes and owners and get on now as usual. We thought some of ours might go, but didn’t care much. Let them choose their own fate. May it be for the best!
     The wild crew tore up everything in the depot—cars & railroad—fruit &c. Then on to the University—the Treasury Dp’t now, which no doubt attracted them here. We could hear the destruction all morning, as all the iron presses & works were broken to pieces & confederate paper money scattered all over the earth—books &c burned up. All totally demolished!  Much of the money was not signed and valueless. So it all will be soon. Every negro & child had piles of it. Hundreds of dollars which we took as worthless, but 'tis so useless and so humiliating now to think that this is the fate of our currency and our Gov’t!
     All of our old school relics were destroyed up there, except Mrs. Daniel’s tablet—safe here. 
     So the work of destruction went on all day. Many houses were entered and plundered of clothes—silver, jewels, provisions & everything, but it was because the wretches had broken into the stores of liquors which we should have poured out.  Many drunken demons did fearful damage—with oaths & insults to many poor creatures without guards. We feared our town would be destroyed by the drunken mad-men as was Columbia, but thank heaven—'twas spared!
     The Tuppers lost everything & suffered much. The Silcoxes were plundered and alarmed—poor Tillie sick & fainting. The old man hidden out & half crazy. Mr. Myers, who suffered so much in Columbia, had spasms since, and was hung up until nearly dead, to make him reveal about their gold—failed. Dr. Cater’s place and clothes torn up. He hung up for the same purpose. So at the Winthrops: Dr. W was hung up & beaten with a shovel. Even good old Mrs. W threatened with hanging. The Ruccors’ house, being empty, was sacked—furniture and & destroyed. Whitener’s house threatened with burning, Mrs. Glover & other ladies made to play the piano for them.
     Elias Earle’s family suffered most perhaps—pointed out as rich. Palmer’s brigade—coming from Greenville—had camped there. He & staff in the house, but protected nothing. Destroyed all the provisions & clothes. Took negroes & made them give up jewels and silver & gold. Shot at the ladies & made them produce the buried treasure or would burn. Started to hang up poor Preston, but all stood out bravely. Said burn or hang, I won’t yield.
     On the whole, no lives were lost, & everyone can manage to live, I guess. Many horses were taken, but they left mean ones behind and gave to other people. So some crops can be made, perhaps. A fearful prospect still, but thank heavens it was no worse.
     At noon, our Yankee Lt. came & brought some of the fine wines and brandy as a present to Clif &c, to my regret, for he and Tom loved to drink it too well. 'Twas old and very fine, & may serve us in sickness yet. 
     Then we heard their band of music playing in the courthouse finely. Many stirring airs, which we couldn’t help admiring. It broke sweetly on the calm, sunny air of noon—filled with bloom and fragrance, but I wept sadly. Our Lt. promised to bring the band to serenade us, but did not fortunately or it might have been spoken of.
     At last that weary day had dragged over & brought another long sleepless night. Our Lt. had talked much & asked me to play and sing, which I didn’t like to do—but did. Sang a few tame songs. Didn’t care to attempt any national air & provoke words. He said nothing—asked Eleanor for Dixie.
     Suddenly about 10 o’clock there was a bugle call to mount. They started up in surprise & wouldn’t tell what it meant—settled down to stay anyway, as we hoped, for we feared it was a signal to burn or something, but it wasn’t repeated. They were sent for by a young bugler—who ate supper & then they went—saying they expected to march on but wouldn’t say why or where they were in such hot haste. Gave hints that it was in pursuit of Pres’t Davis, as we heard he was passing through with many guards to the Trans-Mississippi, & we hoped they will escape.
     Our Lt. rode off in haste, saying "my love to you all!" & he would return if they stayed. Our guard lingered around for some time, willing to stay and protect us, but he too mounted his tall Rosinante & rode off with some rations for our thanks. We listened then to the different bugle calls & orders to mount! Forward! March, &c, whilst their band played “Yankee Doodle.”
     We heard the dull, heavy tramp of retreating thousands at the hour of midnight, until all was silent. We knew not their object and trembled for the result, thinking that they had left orders to burn the public works. There were many threats made about Pa’s & Col. Orr’s houses, & we trembled. 
     All night long we watched in suspense, hearing still the dashing of patrols I suppose, but many houses were robbed & threatened. We just escaped several times—thank heaven! At least that weary night was over!

No comments:

Post a Comment