War of the Rebellion: Serial 099 Page 0968 OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND E. FLA. Chapter LIX.

Search Civil War Official Records

It is my duty now to tell you that the cemetery infringed upon by Federal orders is the property of the Catholic Church, and has been by a solemn benediction devoted to the purpose of burying the dead. I must tell you that cemeteries are, in the views of the Catholic Church, consecrated ground, entitled to the same respect as churches of which they are an appendage. I must also state that there is a sentence of excommunication passed by the Church against those who usrp, invade, and occupy church property, or the property of pious places. Brutal force or infidel ideas may nmake light of such an ecclesiastical penalty, but there is a Power above which sidces with the weak and defenseless and will act in due time, slow or obscure its operation may be.

Military necessity must not be a cloak to usurpation, bigotry, or impropriety. Thnce of ground to the right and to the left, in front and the rear of that little graveyard, which covers only three of four acres of ground. Fortifications might have been erected there without any desecration of a revered spot. This case involuntarily reminds me of the doomed vineyard of Naboth. The fortifications erected by the preceding Government are yet extant near the spot. The Confederates did not think it necessary to infringe upon the right of churches and cemeteries, although they had to defend the city against overpowering numbers. It is hard to see how such a military necessity should have arisen so suddenly now that there is no opposing force at all, and that the Confederates, far from being able to attack, evacuate everywhere what they had.

I thought I cold not do les than send my humble protest in behalf of the Catholic Church, whose right and privileges I deem to be infringed by this proceeding; in behalf of an outraged community obliged now to carry away where they can the moldering remains of their relatives and friends; in behalf of the Irish-Catholic soldiers, who are obliged to perform the work of hyenas, and in behalf of those who will have to stand in the midst of exhalations arising from opened and mutilated graves,

I have the honor of being, very respectfully, yours,


Bishop of Savannah.

CITY POINT, VA., March 23, 1865.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

Richmond papers received. The following is from the Dispatch:


It is understood in official circles that no fighting has occurred in North Carolina since Sunday, and from all we can learn it appears that Sherman has attempted no advances since his check on that day. General Hardee's victory on the 16th instant was a very important one, as as regards the enmey a most bloody affair. General Johnston telegraphs that in that battle the Confederate loss was 450, while that of the enemy was 3,300. The fight took place at Averasborough, on the Cape Fear River, half way between Raleigh and Fayetteville. General Johnston's defeat of the enemy last Sunday, the 19th instant, occurred at Bentonville, near the Neuse River. By these facts we are informed that Sherman has been pushing toward Raleigh in two columns, one moving due north from Fayetteville, the other northwest from New Berne. General Hardee fought the former, General Johnston the latter.