I am traveling with the Twentieth Corp and we reached Sandersville about the same time as the Fourteenth Corp. I was traveling with the head of the column. A brigade of rebel cavalry was deployed before the town, and was driven in and through it by our skirmish-line. I saw the rebel cavalry apply fire to stacks of fodder standing in the fields at Sandersville, and gave orders to burn some unoccupied dwellings close by. On entering the town, I told certain citizens (who would be sure to spread the report) that, if the enemy attempted to carry out their threat to burn their food, corn, and fodder, in our route, I would most undoubtedly execute to the letter the general orders of devastation made at the outset of the campaign.
As our troops had been fired upon from some houses, I had ordered those houses burned. Some of my men brought to me a Reverend Morris who claimed to speak for the town leaders and had some papers to surrender the town. He pleaded that firing on my men came from Wheeler’s cavalry who we chased out of the town. I agreed to spare the houses, but ordered the jail and courthouse burned and destroyed because it had been used to fire on our troops.
At Sandersville I halted the left wing until I heard that the right wing was abreast of us on the railroad. During the evening a negro was brought to me, who had that day been to Tenille station about six miles south of the town. I inquired of him if there were any Yankees there, and he answered, “Yes.” He described in his own way what he had seen.
“First, there come along some cavalry-men, and they burned the depot; then come along some infantry-men, and they tore up the track, and burned it;” and just before he left they had “sot fire to the well.” I will see Howard tomorrow.