Digital Library of Georgia > Materials from the Hargrett Library > Cornelius C. Platter Diary, 1864 - 1865

Cornelius C. Platter Civil War Diary, 1864 - 1865
Pages 109 - 114

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never saw it before - We halted about 30 minutes on the plain. - In full view of the city - During this time we were skirmishing with the enemy across Congaree River - They replying with artillery - and we answering with "fife and drum" - Brass bands and waving of flags - Such a sight one seldom sees. We then advanced down opposite the city where we lay untill [until] 4 p.m. Our battalions shelling the town and [added the] Rebels who seem to be evacuating the city - WE advanced several mile up the River (above where the Saluda and Broad Rivers unite and form the Congaree.) Crossed the Saluda and went into camp 8 p.m. but it was 11 1/2 P.M. before the wagons got over and 12 1/2 before eating our supper. - distance marched 6 mile - I think we will cross Broad River tomorrow and enter Columbia. Owing to the width and shallowness of the River (Congaree) opposite

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Columbia it could not be "pontooned". It said the "Rebs" have left the city and only a skirmish line remains. We shall see tomorrow.

Friday Feby 17th 1865 [View Civil War timeline for this date]

This has been a day long to be remembered - We entered the Capital of the state which first passed the Ordinance of Secession. We rec'd [received] orders to march at 7 a.m. but we did not get off at the time ordered. After breakfast Lieut [Lieutenant] Johnson Captain McCain and I went down to Broad River. Our men were busy laying pontoons. Col [Colonel] Stones Brigade 1st Div [Division] 15 A. C was thrown across in pontoon boats and were advancing and driving the enemy easily before them. At 12 N. we rec'd [received] orders to move with 4 days Rations and no transportation allowed except one ambulance. We crossed Broad River in rear of 1st Div [Division] and went through Columbia with bands playing Colors flying &c. [et cetera] &c. [et cetera]

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It was indeed a grand sight to see a "victorious army" marching through the "stronghold of secession." A great many stores were plundered. and the negroes were wild with delight. A great many soldiers were drunk having obtained whiskey from a distillery. Columbia was quite a nice city. Contains some splendid residencies - The new state House will be a splendid edifice when completed. We went in camp one mile from the city - 15th Corps in line of battle. About dusk the city was set on fire and from then untill [until] midnight the fire raged. and as the wind was blowing fiercely the sight is said to have beggared description -- It was indeed grand as seen from our Camp. The streets were full of drunken soldiers, guards, firemen women and children &c. [et cetera] &c. [et cetera] - All was confusion & excitement and as the wind was very high it was just impossible to extinguish

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the flames. The boys were loaded with delicacies. Tobacco was plenty - more than we know what to do with - Most of it was taken from the stores in the city. The burning of Columbia does not reflect much credit on our army - A very disgraceful affair - but whisky done it and not the soldiers.

Saturday Feby 18th 1865 [View Civil War timeline for this date]

Ordered to march at 7 A.M - Prepared and equipped to destroy RR. - We left a camp guard expecting to Return this eve. We proceeded down the C&C RR 4 mile and began to tear up the tracks. On the way down we passed the ruins of a Rebel Commissary which had been destroyed by fire - We also saw an innumerable number of darkies on their way to Columbia - all happy that the day of jubilee had come. This beats all the places for Contraband I ever saw. - After tearing up a mile of

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R.R. we were ordered down to the 12 mile station and there destroyed another mile - By this time it was Sun down. but it was decided that we should return to Columbia. After marching 6 mile the Division was halted and ordered to go in camp - Officers all hungry - as mess wagons were not brought along. We sent for our cooks who remained behind but it will be very late before They get here. We are in camp on the Hampton (Frank) Plantation - The house was destroyed by fire. Today - It is quite cool this evening and I haven't Nary Blanket - but Maj [Major] Henry and I have built a huge fire and we will get along finely. Marched 17 mile.

Sunday Feby 19th 1865. [View Civil War timeline for this date]

Up early - as it was too cold to sleep. Our cooks arrived sometime during the night and we had something for the inner man. As we

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anticipated we [added were] ordered to destroy RR today again, and we marched back to the very same place we left last night and spent the day in tearing up track. About 3 p.m. our ambulance train and a few ammunition wagons came up. At 4 oclock we quit work and marched 2 mile north of the RR and went into camp for the night near an old mill. It is said we will join the corps tomorrow. Our blankets came with the ambulance train and we will sleep warm tonight. Heard some very loud explosions said to be our troops destroying ammunitions in Columbia - A pleasant day. Marched 12 mile.

Monday Feby 20th 1865 [View Civil War timeline for this date]

Up early and started at 7 A.M. Marched 22 mile and went in camp at " Muddy Springs" about sun down. We traveled in a north west direction and were about the same distance from Columbia all day

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