A letter from Martin L. Williston, a Union soldier serving in the 52nd Infantry, sent to his sister, Annie, while his battalion occupied Baton Rouge. Williston describes his journey by boat from the Gulf of Mexico up the Mississippi in great detail. His encounter with enslaved persons laboring on Southern plantations solidified his moral outrage and belief in the necessity of winning the war: "I believe that the mission of our great army henceforth should be to lay waste and destroy. Let cities and towns be wiped out that they may not give aid and comfort to this hateful cause. Let misery and death be sown wide-cast over this polluted country till the scourging be sufficient to wipe away the guilt that has brought upon the nation this flood tide of evil."