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Diary of Thomas Osborn, March 8, 1865


Diary of Thomas Osborn, March 8, 1865


Thomas Osborn served as an artillery officer with Major-General William Sherman of the Union Army as Union troops marched through the South in 1865. The account provided by Osborn occurred as he left South Carolina and walked through the final state in Sherman’s March - North Carolina - in early March of 1865. The account came after Sherman and his army left South Carolina in ruins. The capitol, Columbia, was destroyed partly because of the Union soldiers. Even after accomplishing the goal of destroying South Carolina physically, and making its infrastructure useless, Osborn was not satisfied. Osborn still viewed South Carolina as a degraded state, which could only boast of treason. The account helped show why Union soldiers were so harsh on South Carolina, a state that betrayed the Union. The main image is of Thomas Osborn. 


Thomas Osborn


Thomas Osborn, Diary of Thomas Osborn, March 8, 1865, The Fiery Trail: A Union Officer's Account of Sherman's Last Campaigns, eds. Richard Harwell, William McFeely and Philip Racine (Knoxville, Tennessee: The University of Tennessee Press, 1986), 170-171.




Tim Justice




South Carolina/North Carolina

Original Format



Laurel Hill
Richmond Co., N.C.
March 8, 1865
There is little of interest today, we have moved fifteen miles through a fine country, well cultivated, and affording plenty of forage. It has rained all day, the roads would have been good but for the rain; they became very bade before night.


We crossed the South Carolina and North Carolina line at 8 o’clock this A.M. and we felt relieved in getting out of the most contemptible state in the Union, as regards the face of the country and in fact everything in it.  There is nothing in it or its people to place it on an equality with the meanest state of the Union, much less to place it in the van in all great movements, political and military. It has but one element of which it can boast, and that is Treason.


We have travelled about 350 miles in the state and have seen all the characteristic portions of it, and I insist that it is the meanest patch of country in America. The people are a cringing sycophantic race, who have always been led and gulled by a dozen ambitious blockheads.


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Thomas Osborn, Diary of Thomas Osborn, March 8, 1865, Civil War Era NC, accessed May 27, 2024,