FIRE IN COLUMBIA
(On the evening of February 17, Jefferson Moses witnessed a terrible fire in Columbia, South Carolina. With many cotton bales stored in the city and high winds to fan the flames, the city was destroyed. Both sides blamed the other for deliberately setting the fire. These diary entries take us from Columbia through the remainder of the march in South Carolina.)
February 17, 1865
This morning the 2nd Iowa crossed the river and captured quite a number of prisnors. We have ordr now to march. To day we crossed the Broad river and marched through the city of Columbia. It is a very nies town and lots of things in it. This commands new house. I supose it was to be the reble capital but even they dont want it now but I never seen so many negroe as I did here and lots of whit folks here. Our whole corps is campt around the town and part of the 17th corps. We marched 1 mile out of town and campt in a nies place.
February 18, 1865
There was a large fire in town last night. The greater part of the town is burnt I do not doubt. I do pity the woman and poor little children that so many are made homeless and without anything. O what a pity for them.
February 19, 1865
To day I was in town. It is nearly all destroyed.
February 20, 1865
This morning we leave again. To day we marched 20 miles. We had very nies roads but very sandy. There were two divisions on one road the 3 and fourth. The contry through here is very hilly and water is prety scarce.
February 21, 1865
This morning we still lay in camp but think we soon start out. We have no order yet to march. To day we started at noon and marched till mid night. We marched 18 miles and through the timber nearly all the way. We had to march along side of the road to give the teams more and better chance.
February 22, 1865
To day we marched 12 miles. We got to the Wateree river. We got within a quarter of a mile and stoped awhile. Then moved to the river. Then we had to guard some mules that they had taken.
February 23, 1865
To day we marched very hard. We come 18 miles and got to camp at 3 o clock.
February 24, 1865
To day we marched 14 miles and got to camp after dark. It rained nearly all day and was quite mudy. To day our advance met (unidentified word) rebles and captured lots of teams.
February 25, 1865
To day we lay in camp. The rebel caverly made a dash on our foragers and took 5 teams and some prisnors. We fortified all afternoon. To day John Templeton died of the wounds he received at the explosion of shells at Columbia. (John Templeton was the wagoner for Company G and was involved in an accidental explosion while unloading shells at Columbia).
February 26, 1865
This morning we are are redy to march again. We marched at 11 0 clock and came 12 miles. We got to camp before sundown.
February 27, 1865
Last night I was on picket. I was on an out post. It is prety cool this morning. This evening we are relieved. We lay in camp to day.
February 28, 1865
This morning we had order to be redy to march at 6. We were redy to go but lay in camp yet. I guess we stay to day yet.
March 1, 1865
To day our regt went out to make codoroy road. (A corduroy road was formed of logs laid side by side). We got done and come back to camp again. Now we wait for order to march.(The regiment had camped at Wiley Kelly's plantation for three days waiting to cross the swollen Lynches Creek)
March 2, 1865
This evening about dark we crossed Linchs Crick (Lynches Creek). It was awful high. They had to make a long trusel work for a bridge about a half mile. We got to camp after marching 5 miles.
March 3, 1865
To day we marched 27 miles. It was a prety hard march for us. When we come to the camp where the 4th Div lay the rebls made a dash on our pioners capturing one Lieut colonel of the 69 Ill killing two men right in front of our advance.
March 4, 1865
Last night I was on picket. I was prety tired last night. To day we marched 12 miles and got to Cheraw right on the river bank. We got to camp at 10 after night.
March 5, 1865
To day we marched 5 miles and went in camp. We crossed the Pee Dee river on the pontoon. The enemy lost considerable Artillery. They left some stand in the road.