Diary of Orrin Brown—April 4, 1865

Penfield-Harper's MarchDiary of Orrin Brown, Goldsboro, North Carolina

Tuesday–Apr. 4th

We have had a very warm day I was on drill this AM and Battalion drill and dress parad again this PM. We drew 3 days rations of Hardtack 5 of Coffee and Sugar, 2 of Salt Poark one of Codfish one of Beans and some Vinegar. My head begins to feel bad again this evening. I read 5 Chapts. today.

When Gen. Sherman returned from his meeting with Gen. Grant and President Lincoln in Virginia, he continued preparations to move his troops north to support the Army of the Potomac at Richmond and Petersburg.  He also needed to continue foraging to help feed his 60,000+ troops.  Foraging had always had a second—perhaps primary—purpose in destroying the war making capacity of the Confederacy.  In the countryside, this meant removing all surplus animals that might serve the enemy forces.  With spring approaching, that meant farmers were facing planting the year’s crops without horses or mules.  When local planters approached the general, his reply on 4 April 1865 was brusk:

I cannot undertake to supply horses or to encourage peaceful industry in North Carolina until the State shall perform some public act showing that, as to her, the war is over.
I sympathize with the distress of families, but cannot undertake to extend relief to individuals.
With respect, your obedient servant,
W.T. Sherman, Maj. Gen., Com’d’g.



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