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Diary of Rice Bull, April 30, 1865


Diary of Rice Bull, April 30, 1865


Rice C. Bull held a minor role in the Union Army as he marched with General William Sherman through the South in 1865. Bull was only a sergeant in Sherman’s army but he possessed similar views when it came to the purpose and decline of destruction as other higher ranked members of Sherman’s army after the war ended. Bull looked forward to no longer destroying property, like Sherman, and considered the peace march the best one yet. Orders were given for soldiers to no longer destroy property or take food, unless it was paid for. Bull’s account demonstrated how once the war ended, he and other soldiers had no reason to continue the destruction they had done previously. His account and preference for peace was quite similar to Item 406 and the beliefs of General Sherman. The image is of Rice Bull as a soldier.


Rice C. Bull


Diary of Rice Bull, April 30, 1865, Soldiering: The Civil War Diary of Rice C. Bull, 123rd New York Volunteer infantry (San Rafael, CA: Presidio Press, 1977), 242-243.






Raleigh, North Carolina
Wake County, North Carolina

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April 30th, 1865, we began the “Homeward March” from Raleigh, N.C. the last, and to me, I can truly say, the happiest made by Sherman’s Army. It was to differ greatly from any made bus that preceded it. As in our other marches we were to carry our usual load of goods and equipment but our cartridge boxes were emptied of all but five cartridges. We were to go through the country form Raleigh to Washington in an orderly manner, no straggling would be allowed; there were to be no foragers to gather food from the area through which we passed and no destruction of property of any kind would be permitted.
Every consideration was to be given to the people we met on our line of march who were to be no longer regarded as enemies but as friends. It was to be, indeed, a peaceful march through a peaceful country. All were cautioned to conduct themselves in as friendly a way as though they were marching through Pennsylvania or New York. The usual army ration was to be issued us; food other than that, when needed, was to be paid for when acquired. Everything connected with the Army, as when on a war basis, was to accompany us. Our trains, our ambulances, our pontoons, our artillery were all to go with us. Happily on this march no many guards were required to protect property. We were to take the most direct route, first to Richmond and from there to Washington.


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Rice C. Bull, Diary of Rice Bull, April 30, 1865, Civil War Era NC, accessed April 14, 2024,