Official Report Relative to The Conduct of Federal Troops in Western Louisiana during the Invasion of 1863 and 1864.
Compiled from testimony under the direction of
Governor Henry W. Allen
Genl. Banks, US Army was quoted as saying “The horse is no more your property than the rest. Louisiana is mine. I intend to take everything.”
Page 7, 8 —
—and who sympathizes with the demoniacal joy exhibited by Gen. A. J. Smith, at Alexandria, where, surrounded by the flames of a peaceful village, in the midst of falling timbers, crumbling walls, and flying women and children,he waved his sword in an exultation inspired by so congenial a scene, exclaiming “This, boys, is something like war !”
— Meeting with no opposition, the progress of his column was marked by scenes of spoliation and devastation unparalleled in civilized warfare.
—While some were attacking with sword and bayonet the domestic animals, and shooting into the poultry yards, others penetrated to the negro quarters, and endeavored, with inquisitorial ingenuity’, to extract from the slaves the secret of the buried treasures of their masters, or to excite them to revolt.
From the many statements of eye-witnesses to these scenes of plunder and pillage, we select the description of a venerable and accomplished lady, living by the way-side. ” I was” she says ” watching from my window, the apparent orderly march of the first Yankees that appeared in view and passed up the road, when, suddenly, as if by magic, the whole plantation was covered with men, like bees from an overthrown hive; and, as far as my vision extended, an inextricable medley of men and animals met my eye. In one place, excited troopers were firing into the flock of sheep; in another, officers and men were in pursuit of the boys’ ponies; and in another, a crowd were in excited chase of the work animals. The kitchen was soon filled with some, carrying off the cooking utensils and the provisions of the day; the yard with others, pursuing poultry, and firing their revolvers into the trees. They penetrated under the house, into the out-buildings, and went into the garden, stripping it in a moment of all its vegetables, and trenching the ground with their bayonets, in search of buried treasures. This continued during the day, as the army was passing, amid a bewildering sound of oaths and imprecations, mingled with the clatter of the poultry and the noise of the animals. At one time during the day, passing through the house, my attention was attracted to a noise in the parlor. I opened the door, and was just in time to see two soldiers springing out of the window, in possession of some books and daguerreotypes they had taken from the table. Securing the windows, I turned to other parts of the house. In the children’s room, I found a trunk broken open, and its contents strewn upon the floor, and I discovered that some articles had been taken. When the army had passed, we were left almost “destitute.”
A gentleman of high character, and distinguished in the political annals of the State, was arrested at his residence near Vermilionville, and carried, on the line over which was passing this motley crowd,