Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Things to Ponder about Sherman and His March

In the Fall, 2014 issue of Hallowed Ground, the Civil War Trust magazine is an article titled Scorched Earth, Sherman's March to the Sea, by John F. Marszalek. I think we could safely say Sherman and Grant were the two men most hated by the South during and after "the War", but here is something to think about.

Marszalek says " Major General William Tecumseh Sherman carved a swath of destruction through Georgia, then offered generous surrender terms." Did he? I didn't know that. The author goes on, "His vision of hard war brought the Confederacy to its knees, but forestalled thousands of battlefield and civilian deaths." Again, I did not know that.

Marszalek makes the case that Sherman was not a brute but "that he wanted to wage a war that did not result in countless deaths. He saw destruction of property as less onerous than casualties." Less than 3000 casualties resulted from the six weeks march through Georgia. The author concludes" Yet the March is remembered to this day as barbarism unleashed. there was glory to die in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, but only humiliation to have one's barn burned..."

1 comment:

  1. W.T Sherman had a mission, to take Georgia out of the war as a contributor to Confederate Success. And he did it. The march was not always regulated, foraging was required, they did not have the food resources for the army that would have allowed them not to forage. There are too many stories of families being left with nothing as the Union foragers took off with cattle, pigs, corn, chickens, etc. But in the case of Madison, Monroe, and Washington Ga, the towns were spared when they met the officers on the outskirts and declared their towns , open cities. The only way to save lives in a full war is to end it as quickly as possible, for instance, dropping the A bombs rather than invading Japan, sadly in ending a war, many people including men, women and children are lost. Thomas Jefferson said, one time, that the tree of liberty has to be watered from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots. I find this sad but probably true.