Part 3: The Burning of Austin
Before leaving, the General had instructed me to carefully search all the houses, since he had good reason to believe that medicines and hospital stores were finding their way through this town, into the Confederate lines. I shall never forget my experience in executing the General’s order. I tried to conduct the search of houses in such manner as might be least offensive to the women in the homes. I took with me a sergeant and two guards. Going into the houses, I would tell the occupants what I came for, and give the woman of the house the privilege of going with us, and, under my direction opening the bureaus, trunks, beds, etc., promising that if she would do this we would withhold our hands from her possessions; otherwise we would make the search ourselves and in our own way. In most cases the women appreciated this offer, and complied with it But in some cases they refused the courtesy, and in one or two cases well nigh spit in our faces. It required a good deal of self-control to stand this, and more than once I wished myself with the main part of the Command, facing the husbands, sons, brothers and lovers of these Amazons. The search, however, revealed nothing of importance, and no considerable capture of contraband stores was made.”
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