Diary of Orrin Brown, Sneedsboro, North Carolina
We had a cool windy night but it came off clear and warm about 10 AM and I think we will have some better weather than we have had for a few days back. We have no marching orders this morning and I think that we have to lay over here a day or two till they get the Pontoon Bridge down. There has been occasional canonadeing on our right front today. We had company inspection at 11.30 AM. I read 10 Chapts. in the Testament today.
In one month, from the 5th of February to the 4th of March, Pvt. Brown and the rest of Sherman’s troops had marched the breadth of the State of South Carolina and into her gentler twin, North Carolina. The two states had started out together as the Province of Carolina, and both attracted English and Scots plantation owners to the coastal Lowlands, while Scots-Irish, English and German Protestants settled the Piedmont (above the Fall Line). During the Revolution, the prosperous Lowlands tended to remain Loyalist, while the Uplands sprouted “Committees of Safety” leading the call for Independence.
In 1780-81, Lord Cornwallis had moved from Charleston up the Santee River system, chasing the rebels across the Piedmont. Sherman’s objective in 1864-65, however, was not to chase the rebels, but to destroy their next year’s crop and cut their supply lines—the railroad made it easier to move, but also made it easier to intercept reinforcements. Cornwallis had a glimmer of the idea, moving from Wilmington, North Carolina, on Patriot supply lines from Virginia, but by that point it was too late, as the French fleet trapped him at Yorktown.
General Sherman…claimed, and perhaps rightly, that reading-matter was necessary food, and that we had a right to forage for it.