Citizens in the Outskirts
From the previous section we had a picture of Sherman's entrance to Goldsboro, and saw that destruction seemed to trail him wherever he went. Citizens that lived outside the city of Goldsboro, and its protection from the Union army, lived a completely different life than those within the city limits. Bummers were the main culprits during Sherman's march that contributed to unsanctioned and sanctioned raids of southern citizens. These citizens in the outskirts of Goldsboro were at the mercy of the pillaging and foraging of the Union forces. This essentially viewed as no different than any other treatment of southern citizens, except for the fact that protection was given to those within the city. It was a difficult life for many of the citizens outside of the city. They had to craft ways to protect their property, food, valuables, and sometimes even their lives. Towns outside of Goldsboro like Everettsville (to the south) and Pikeville (to the north) were practically destroyed so that Union forces could survive. Encounters with these Union forces were often times hostile and tension coursed throughout the countryside as Union forces sought to make sure that their needs were met by any means necessary.
In the small village of Everettsville, south of Goldsboro, Elizabeth Collier detailed her encounter with Union "bummers" in her diary entry on April 20, 1865. In it she discussed the treatment from the "bummers" and the actions they took. She wrote: "On Monday morning the 20th the first foraging party made their appearance at Everettsville...They asked for flour and seeing that we were disposed to give it, made a rush in the house and took it himself--the cowardly creature even pointed at us--helpless women." (Item 664) In this encounter with the "bummers" Collier described them as desperate and essentially needy. Her resistance to assist the Union pillager resulted in a course of action that seemingly displeased the man so much that he pulled a gun out on the women. This instance shows the desperation for supplies throughout Sherman's entire army. Much of the march through the Carolinas the army had been living off of the land of the states and had become dependent on it. This certainly factored in to how the treatments of citizens were undertaken by Union pillagers. The more desperate an individual was, the more desperate measures they would take to secure some type of sustenance for oneself. On the other side of this encounter, Elizabeth Collier appears to be a resilient Confederate woman who will not give away her supplies to the Union cause. This encounter with a Union man fueled her dislike for the Union and grows a seemingly already strong Confederate pride in her. This would make sense and line up with what Jacqueline Glass-Campbell described in her book mentioned earlier in the Introduction. She discovered that even though instances like this sought to instill fear into Confederate loyalists eyes, it appeared to do the opposite, especially to Southern women. (Campbell 2003, 6)
To the north of Goldsboro, lied a small township, Pikeville, which was pillaged like Everettsville. A newspaper article in the Goldsboro News-Argus in 1947 described the account of Sherman's "bummers" entering the township and destroying practically everything in it. The article stated that the local tavern and inn (two of the only buildings in Pikeville at the time) were burned to the ground and pillaged for everything it had in them. These two buildings were noted due to the popularity of them. They were used for travelers going from New Bern to Fayetteville. It had been known to house Confederate soldiers when they were in Wayne County during the early stages of the Civil War. A peculiar instance in Pikeville occurred with the destruction of Sarah Pike's property as well, who was the widow of the man in which the town was named after, Nathan Pike. As we will see later in the city, individuals of power or wealth were often treated better than most citizens within the city. In this instance, Pike, who was well known throughout Wayne County, yet her home and Sherman’s forces destroyed the township. This example provides evidence that without the security that surrounded Goldsboro anyone was susceptible to a bummer attack, no matter your social standing. It is unclear whether or not the Pikes were Confederate loyalists or Union sympathists. What is known was that Nathan Pike fought in the Revolutionary War and was well known among the state as a good man who provided for any who needed assistance and was in the town of Pikeville. With this knowledge is it safe to assume that Sarah Pike was an elderly woman at the time of the destruction and had little to no chance of providing resistance like that of Elizabeth Collier.
Another incident in Pikeville occurred on April 11, 1865. A party of hospital attendants was returning to Goldsboro to resume their duties when they encountered a group of Confederate "bushwhackers" who opened fire on them. Correspondence between General Logan and a solider S.C. Rogers detailed the experience. In it he stated: "I have been informed by a soldier who was in the vicinity at the time of the attack (which was about 4:00 P.M.) that just before dark he heard a volley of fifteen to twenty guns. I fear they have all been shot." (Item 835) The attack on the Union group showed that Confederate loyalists still remained within the Goldsboro area. Since no security had been afforded to them when Schofield and Sherman entered Goldsboro, they had to fend for themselves. Not only that but they sought to take any opportunity to take out any portion of the Union force that occupied their home land. This interaction advances the fact that Confederate morale still existed in Goldsboro, and while some of these men who obviously weren't apart of the Confederate army still sought to fight for the Confederate cause and would do anything necessary to try and preserve it. While this wasn't a major military battle it still showed that there was fight left in the South, and that while the war seemed to be coming to an end, those who wanted to keep the cause alive would continue their loyal fight for the Confederacy.
One of the more disturbing incidents recorded around the city of Goldsboro during this occupation came by way of Georgia Hicks. Her family was located in Faison, North Carolina, 15 miles outside of the city of Goldsboro, well outside of the security perimeter of General Schofield. Her father, Dr. James H. Hicks, was taken from their household by Union soldiers and essentially tortured. In her account of the action she described her father was "hung by the neck twice, in their endeavor to secure information as to hidden valuables." (Item 773) Her father never recovered from these actions and returned looking like "a man who had almost seen death." His punishment for attempting to deceive Union soldiers almost cost him his life. Citizens like Hicks, who did not cooperate with the Union soldiers faced certain punishment or severe repercussions. Though punishment was not uncommon for resistant citizens, it had been common throughout Sherman's march from Georgia, instances such as the Hick's was not as common. In her entry Hicks also described her father's willingness to help others out. He was essentially an advocate for peace and wanted to "relieve suffering." This action by Hicks gives thought that perhaps citizens were wishing for the war to end and relieving suffering was for more than just one injured victim, but for an injured state and Confederacy. Historian John Barrett generalizes this treatment in his book, Sherman's March Through the Carolinas, by discussing that since citizens in the outskirts were more likely to resist due to the high tension between citizens and Union soldiers they were treated worse. The punishment of these individuals was much more severe and as seen above, in some cases almost fatal. (Barrett 1956, 190-191) Bummers knew their power when it came to citizens like the Hicks family. After they had asserted their power on them, days later a bummer entered their home once again and took silk dresses from the family. When ordered to stop he "laughed loud, jumped on his horse and galloped away." This gives way to the fact that bummers knew they could get away with most anything in the outskirts of Schofield's security, and did not fear embracing the power they had. The family was defenseless against the intruder, and had no way of stopping him other than asking him to stop what he was doing. This was certainly not the first time that a bummer had to entertain the powerless words of a helpless citizen in the South. Bummers knew that citizens of the Confederacy knew of the reputation that preceded Sherman, and had no problems with being intimidating forces to get what they wanted. The Hick's incident is a great example of what life was like for a citizen throughout the South, and more specifically outside the secure perimeter of Goldsboro.
Citizens from the outskirts of town were most desperate during Sherman's occupation. By the time Sherman had arrived in Goldsboro, they had word of protection inside the city, and some type of assistance from the Union forces. With treatment discussed above, citizens were just looking for some type of relief, and that could be found within the protection of Schofield's security. They would take whatever measures necessary for the hope of nourishment and protection within the city limits. Cornelia Spencer recalled watching women walking into the city with their infants in their arms, unconscious from lack of nourishment. They would enter the city and live off of scraps or whatever they could find from the Union forces that had taken what they had to begin with. She described it as "heart-rendering" watching these women walk into the town. They begged for most anything since the bummers of the army destroyed all they had. Her account of this difficult time showed that citizens that lived in the outskirts of Goldsboro were most desperate, and were so broken that they were willing to come to the Union forces that had stripped them of all they had in the first place. The morale of these citizens was certainly broken, just as Sherman had intended for upon beginning his Carolinas Campaign. They were now willing to cooperate with Union forces for their well-being and for the war to end in general so that life could return to as close to normal as possible. The way Sherman and his forces pillaged the outskirts of Goldsboro, much like they had done all along, changed the lifestyle of the citizens that inhabited it and left them at the mercy of the Union for survival.
Though citizens were most desperate during Sherman's occupation, there were some who had a sense of revival in their Rebel pride when Sherman's bummers came knocking at their door. The Union forces that came through Goldsboro heightened their hatred for the Union cause and the soldiers that fought for it. Elizabeth Collier wrote in her entry on April 25, 1865 about the past weeks in Goldsboro. This entry was written after the Confederacy had surrendered its forces to the Union. In it she described that she would rather "die than be in the hands of Reconstruction...how can we ever live in peace with the desecrators of our homes." (Item 178) The surrender of the Confederacy, and the treatment from the Union revived her Confederate loyalty, and seemingly angered her at the fact that peace with the Union could ever be achieved. Her experiences with the bummers in Goldsboro solidified her hatred for the Union and wanted the Confederacy to once again rise an revolt against the Union. Her two diary entries documented in this exhibit advance the argument that, while Sherman's goal was to demoralize the Confederate citizens, which he essentially did, there were still those who believed that the Confederacy would prevail with perseverance and a strong sense of "Southern pride."
Another example of a revival in Confederate pride came from Janie Smith in a letter written on April 12, 1865. She doesn't believe that the Union is truly fighting for what they say they are. She described the Negroes as being treated worse than whites in Smithville (where she resided). This fuels her will to continue the fight onward towards the North. She believed that the only policy for the Confederates at this point was to treat the Northerners like they had treated those in the South. In her entry she stated that: “When our army invade the North, I want them to carry the torch in one hand, the sword in the other. I want desolation carried to the heart of their country, the widows and orphans left naked and starving just as ours were left. I know you think this a very unbecoming sentiment, but I believe it is our only policy now." (Item 177) The animosity shown towards the North in her entry sheds light to the fact that the treatment the Confederate citizens have received should not be overlooked when the South invades the North. This entry shows that Smith is hopeful that the Confederacy will be successful in marching North and when they do to treat those their harshly. It displays the severity that citizens had to go through when Sherman marched through, that they would wish the same treatment on people who were the same as them. (i.e. women and children) It is interesting to note that those Smith talked about from the North were much like herself and others on the outskirts of Goldsboro, and the South in general.
The treatment of those citizens on the outskirts of Goldsboro did not differ much from that of the entire South in general, but they were aware of the fact that life was better in the city of Goldsboro than outside of it. The irony here is that Goldsboro was occupied by over 120,000 troops of the Union army, whom had destroyed the outskirts in the first place. Many of them sought shelter in the city as discussed above, since all they had was completely taken away from them. The treatment changed their lifestyles and left them desperate for assistance, even if that meant going into the heart of the army that had destroyed the South during the Civil War. Sherman's march also proved to revive some citizens Confederate loyalties through their pillaging and destruction. It made these citizens resent the Union even more. The sources provided here are from Confederate women, which Glass Campbell states were the one who were most resistant against the Union intrusion. The city of Goldsboro, however, seemed to be a completely different world than that of the outskirts.