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of the heroism of the women of Fredericksburg than the gratitude of our army; for, afterwards, when subscriptions for their relief came to be added up, it was found that thousands of dollars had been contributed by ragged soldiers out of their pittance of pay to the fund of the refugees. There could be no more eloquent tribute than this offered to the women of Fredericksburg—a beautiful and immortal souvenir of their sufferings and virtues.
What was endured in the Yankee sacking of the town, finds scarcely anywhere a parallel in the history of civilized races. It is impossible to detail here the murderous acts of the enemy, the arsons, the robberies, the torture of women, and the innumerable and indescribable villanies committed upon helpless people. The following extract from the New York Tribune, wrritten by one of its army correspondents in a tone of devilish amusement, affords a glimpse of Burnside's brigands in Fredericksburg, and of ihe accustomed barbarities of the enemy.
"The old mansion of Douglas Gordon—perhaps the wealth"iest citizen in the vicinity—is now used as the headquarters "of General Howard, but before he occupied it, every room "had been torn with shot, and then all the elegant furniture "and works of art broken and smashed by the soldiers, who "burst into the house after having driven the rebel sharp"shooters from behind it. When I entered it early this morn"ing, before its occupation by Gen. Howard, I found the sol"diers of his fine division diverting themselves with the rich "dresses found in the wTardrobes; some had on bonnets of the "fashion of last year, and were surveying themselves before "mirrors, which, an hour or two afterwards, were pitched out "of the window and smashed to pieces upon the -pavement; "others had elegant scarfs bound round their heads in the "form of turbans, and shawls around their waists.
"We destroyed by fire nearly two whole squares of build"ings, chiefly used for business purposes, together with the "fine residences of 0. McDowell, Dr. Smith, J. H. Kelly, A. "S. Cott, William Slaughter, and many other smaller dwell"ings. Every store, I think, without exception, was pillaged "of every valuable article. A fine drug store, which would "not have looked badly on Broadway, was literally one mass "of broken glass and jars."
The records of the Spanish and Moorish struggles, the wars of the Roses and the thirty years war in Germany, may be safely challenged for comparisons with the acts of barbarity of the Yankees. Their worst acts of atrocity were not committed in the mad intoxication of combat, but in cold and cowardly blood on the helpless and defenceless. While the lawless and savage scenes in Fredericksburg, to which wre have referred, were still fresh in the public mind, the enemy in another department of the war, was displaying the same fiendish temper, stung by defeat and emboldened with the prospect of revenging her fortunes on the women and children of the South. The Yankee incursions and raids in North Carolina in the month of December are companion pieces to the sack of Fredericksburg.
"On entering Williams town, North Carolina," says an eyewitness, " the Yankees respected not a single house—it mat"tered not whether the owner was in or absent. Doors were "broken open and houses entered by the soldiers, who took "everything they saw, and what they were unable to carry "away they broke and destroyed. Furniture of every des"cription was committed to the flames, and the citizens who "dared to remonstrate with them were threatened, cursed and "buffeted about. * * * * The enemy stopped "for the night at Mr. Ward's mill. Mr. Ward was completely "stripped of everything, they not even leaving him enough "for breakfast. While on a sick bed his wife was, in his pre"sence, searched and robbed of five hundred dollars. The u Yankees went about fifteen miles above Hamilton, when, for "some cause, they suddenly turned and marched back, taking, "with some slight deviations in quest of plunder, the same "route they had come.. The town of Hamilton was set on "fire and as many as fifteen houses laid in ashes. During the "'time the Yankees encamped at Williamstown everything "which they left unharmed when last there, was demolished. "Every house in town was occupied and defaced. Several "fine residences were actually used as horse stables. Iron '" safes were broken open, and in the presence of their owners "rifled of their contents. Several citizens were seized and "robbed of the money on their persons. * * * *
"On Sunday morning Williamstown w7as fired and no effort "made to arrest the flames until several houses were burnt. "No attempt was made by the Yankee officers, from General "Foster down, to prevent the destruction of property. On "the contrary, they connived at it, and some of the privates "did not hesitate to say that they were instructed to do as "they had done. Two ladies at Williamstown went to Gen. "Foster to beseech protection from his soldiers, and were "rudely and arrogantly ordered from his presence."
Referring to the same scenes, a correspondent writes: "Fa"milies who fled in dismay at the approach of the invader, re"turned and found, as well as the few wh©" remained at home, "clothes, beds, bedding, spoons and books abstracted; costly "furniture, crockery, doors, harness and vehicles demolished; "locks, windows and mirrors broken; fences burned; corn, "potatoes and peas gathered from the barns and fields con"sumed; iron safes dug to pieces and thrown out of doors, "and their contents stolen."
The object of the enemy's movements in North Carolina, long a subject of anxious speculation, was at last developed, in time for a severe check to be given it. At the time that the enemy assaulted our lines in front of Fredericksburg, following his favorite policy of simultaneous attack in different departments, he had planned a movement upon the Wilmington and Weldon railroad; and on the same day that the battle of Fredericksburg was fought, occurred an important passage of arms in North Carolina.
On the thirteenth of December, Brigadier General Evans encountered, with two thousand men, the advancing enemy, and with this small force held him in check at Southwest creek, beyond Kinston. The Yankee force, commanded by Foster, consisted of fifteen thousand men and nine gunboats. Having delayed their advance for some time, General Evans succeeded in withdrawing his force, with small loss, to the left bank of the Neuse river at Kinston. He held the Yankees at bay until the 16th, when they advanced on the opposite side of the river, and made an attack at Whitehall bridge, about eighteen miles below Goldsboro'; in which they were driven back by General Robertson, with severe loss.
The important object on our side was to protect the railroad bridge over the ISleuse and the county bridge about half a mile above; and to effect this, reinforcements having reached us, a rapid disposition of our forces was made. During the 17th, the enemy appeared in force before General Clingman's three regiments, and he withdrew across the county bridge to this side of the river. The artillery of the enemy was playing upon the railroad bridge; and Evans' brigade had at last to move forward by the county road, and cross, if at all, the bridge a half mile above the railroad. About two o'clock in the afternoon one bold and daring incendiary succeeded in reaching the bridge, and covered by the wing wall of the abutment, lighted a flame which soon destroyed the superstructure, leaving the masonry, abutments and pier intact.
It was very important for us now to save the county bridge, the only means remaining of crossing the river in the vicinity. Evans' and Clingman's brigades were ordered to cross, supported by Pettigrew's brigade; and the Mississippi brigade, just coming in, was ordered to move forward at once. The enemy were driven back from their position on the line of the railroad, but on account of the lateness of the hour, the nature of the ground, and the fact that our artillery, cavalry and a large portion of the reinforcements had not yet arrived, it was not deemed advisable to attack their strong second position that evening. During the night the enemy made a hurried retreat to their fortifications and gunboats, moving with such celerity that it was useless to attempt pursuit with any other arms than cavalry, of which at that time, unfortunately, we had none.
Our loss in these engagements was inconsiderable—seventyone killed and two hundred and sixty-eight wounded. The enemy's occupation of Kinston and the bridge there prevented a body of our men, about five hundred in number, from escaping. The greater part were taken prisoners and paroled, and some few succeeded in escaping higher up on the river.
The substantial achievements of the grand army of invasion were, that they burned the superstructure of two bridges, which cost originally less than ten thousand dollars. They had utterly failed to attempt to take advantage of the temporary and partial interruption of our railroad line, for the purpose of striking a decisive blow at any important point before we could thoroughly re-establish our communication without it.
In other quarters of the war less important than Virginia or North Carolina, the early months of the winter were distinguished by some combats of various importance. The feeble campaign in the country west of the Mississippi was marked by one engagement, the dimensions of which were large for that campaign, but the situation of which was too distant to affect the general condition of the Confederacy.
On the 27th of November Gen. Hindman came up with the enemy at Prairie Grove, near Fayetteville, Arkansas, with a force of about nine thousand men. The enemy, under the command of Gen. Blount, was already largely superiour in numbers; and it was the object of Hindman to cut off-reinforcements of seven or eight thousand, which were on the march. In this he failed; but, nothing daunted, brought on the attack at daylight, capturing, in the first charge of Gen. Marmaduke's cavalry, a whole regiment, and twenty-three wagons heavily laden with quartermaster and medical stores. Soon after sunrise the fight commenced in good earnest, and with no cessation the artillery continued until night-fall. Our whole line of infantry were in close conflict nearly the whole