Day by Day

Friday, November 14, 2003

I was surfing around and found the following. It is a quick summary of William T. Sherman's march to the sea.

Sherman, you will recall, is like a hero to today's American Left, because his end was to eradicate slavery. They give him a pass on his means, of course, because the ends were so compelling.

"War is cruelty. You cannot refine it."

That's what Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman told Atlanta officials in September 1864. He arrested factory workers who had made Confederate uniforms and sent those women north as prisoners. In October, after his supply train was fired upon, Sherman ordered his men to "burn 10 or 12 houses of known secessionists, kill a few at random, and let them know it will be repeated every time a train is fired upon."
Sherman put his theory into practice. During 1863 his forces in Mississippi pillaged and burned towns. In the summer of 1864, Sherman pressed down on Atlanta and bombarded the city's residences with cannons that could, as he wrote in August, "pick out almost any house in town" and "make the inside of Atlanta too hot to be endured."

In 1865, as Sherman's troops marched into South Carolina, the first state to secede, Sherman informed Washington that "the whole army is burning with an insatiable desire to wreak vengeance upon South Carolina. I almost tremble at her fate, but feel that she deserves all that seems to be in store for her."
Northern journalist David Conyngham described the night of Feb. 17, 1865, when South Carolina's capital city, Columbia, burned: "The streets were soon crowded with helpless women and children, some in night clothes. Agonized mothers, seeking their children, all affrighted and terrified, were rushing on all sides from the raging flames and falling houses. Invalids had to be dragged from their beds, and lay exposed to the flames and smoke that swept the streets, or to the cold of open air in backyards."

The New York Herald also described devastation and noted that soldiers "throw in an occasional murder 'just to bring an old hard-fisted cuss to his senses.'"

Nice, hunh?

Did Sherman do the right thing by sacking Atlanta and South Carolina in his drive to defeat the Confederacy and end slavery, even though it cost tens of thousands of civilians their lives?

Ask a Liberal today!


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