Columbia, South Carolina
Having utterly ruined Columbia, the right wing began its march northward, toward
Winnsboro, on the 20th. The command moved in good order to Muddy Springs. On our arrival at that point we found a scarcity of water and moved on about two miles and a half north of the Muddy Springs where the Fifteenth Army Corps is now in camp. The headquarters are near the crossing of the Winnsborough and upper Camden roads. The rear guard swept everything clear of Columbia, and at 2 p.m., when some of Howard’s staff officers left, the city was clear of all stragglers and very quiet. A small squad of the enemy’s cavalry, about 100, appeared on our right flank, but were driven off without disturbing our march.
Estimates of our damage done to Columbia:
1,000 bales of cotton burned.
19 locomotives (these comprised all the locomotives in and about the city, they were destroyed by burning the wood work and breaking everything breakable about their machinery and punching holes in their boilers and tenders);
20 box-cars (all that were left of a large number destroyed by the incendiary fires of the 17th instant);
All the buildings not previously burned belonging to the South Carolina Railroad and depot, 2 large freight sheds being included; in these freight sheds were destroyed 60 sets complete of six-mule team harness, 1,000 pounds of trace chains, 40 kegs of nails, 25 kegs railroad iron spikes, 5 tons of railroad machinery of various kinds, and a large miscellaneous collections of articles valuable to the enemy, which it was impracticable under the circumstances to classify and make an inventory of;
650 car wheels (destroyed by sledging off the flanges);
2 buildings filled with stationery belonging to the so-called Confederate States, consisting of note, cap, letter, and envelope paper, envelopes, steel pens, penhilders, ink, and quartermasters’ and other blanks. These things were mixed up in a heterogeneous mass estimated at two tons’ weight.
Twenty-five powder mills. These comprised all the powder mills along the Congaree River; the machinery was destroyed and the mills blown up.
The so-called Confederate States armory, situated on the Congaree River, comprising warehouses, machine shops, foundry, and offices; the machinery of the shops and a large amount of other machinery which had not been taken out of the original packages was broken thoroughly by sledging, and the ruin completed afterwards by burning the buildings.
A large amount, probably half a ton, of all varieties of files and other gun-making tools in the original packages were destroyed; the gunstocks and barrels and muskets destroyed as reported by the orndance officers.
The smoke-stacks of six manufactories of various kinds were thrown over or blown up.
Ten tons of machinery, said to belong to the Confederate States, found packed in boxes under a shed on the common, was destroyed, consisting of a stationary engine and lathe and other machinery, the use of which could not be ascertained.
The destruction of all property mentioned in the directions is believed to be entire and complete. The above list does not include the entire amount, but is as accurate as the circumstances will admit.
The left wing is all up and marching on Winnsboro.