Foragers Threatened on March to the Sea
Henry Hitchcock, military secretary to General Sherman, wrote in his diary that they were facing no military threat, but individuals who went off foraging did face danger.
“Camp in pine grove near ‘Rocky Creek,’ Fourteenth day out Gilkeson (?) Co. Ga.–November 29/64 Certainly this is the perfection of campaigning. Since we left Sandersville I have seen nothing of an enemy. We know, however, that it is dangerous to go off the roads or to get either before or behind the army. But no orders nor danger can prevent squads of men going off foraging, and only yesterday a lieutenant and small party were ‘gobbled’ in our rear on the very road we had just come over in the morning. And this though it is well understood that to be made prisoner probably means to have one’s throat cut at once.” A member of the group of Texas Rangers shadowing the Union army wrote in his diary - they had “sport” with the small party mentioned in the entry above.
“Nov. 29th. Turned out early, and within four miles of Soursville we found our enemies, charged the lot, killed three, captured three, and run the whole brigade for a mile. We then turned off to the left, and soon found nine Yanks, burning some houses, cotton, cotton gins, barns, &c.; charged them at once, and in a very few minutes the whole lot were in kingdom come. We then moved back and camped, satisfied with the day’s sport.”
Photo of a Confederate Soldier, Thanksgiving Day - 1864
Sources: Diary of Cpl Enoch John
Source: M.A. DeWolfe Howe (ed.), Marching with Sherman: Passages from the Letters and Campaign Diaries of Henry Hitchcock, Major and assistant Adjutant General of Volunteers, November 1864-May 1865 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995), p. 110.