View Full Version : Sherman's March to the Sea


Godwynn
Oct 12, 2006, 03:12 PM
So I hear that his soldiers raped slave women during his rampage through the South, but I have never heard or read anything about this before.

True?
Did his soldiers do it on their own, or did he overlook it?

steviejay
Oct 13, 2006, 09:07 AM
I haven't heard anything about that personally but my American Civil War is rusty so it might have been.

From my understanding he raised holy hell with his scorched earth policy and that, as a result, makes him not the most favourite person in Georgia, rather than the conduct of his troops but I'm hoping someone a bit more versed in the conflict could set the record straight. Perhaps the stories of rape and rampage of Sherman's troops were propaganda as a result of the scorched earth policy?

Godwynn
Oct 13, 2006, 02:12 PM
Sherman's troops were propaganda as a result of the scorched earth policy?

I was thinking the same, wikipedia has no mention of it.

Irish Caesar
Oct 13, 2006, 10:53 PM
Phlegmak posted a couple of links in the OT thread about Sherman and civ leaders.

But I found that wiki really doesn't have a whole lot to say about Sherman's march.

Elta
Oct 14, 2006, 01:53 AM
Steven ColbertThe peach state? How about the burned to the ground by Sherman stateI don't know why I found that so funny. :king:

sydhe
Oct 14, 2006, 02:06 AM
It seems doubtful. I've always heard the escaped slaves mobbed Sherman's Army for obvious reasons.

Godwynn
Oct 14, 2006, 09:48 AM
Phlegmak posted a couple of links in the OT thread about Sherman and civ leaders.

I didn't find that site very trustworthy. I'm too tired to dig it up.

Irish Caesar
Oct 14, 2006, 10:49 AM
I didn't find that site very trustworthy. I'm too tired to dig it up.

I agree; I don't think it had any references or anything.

Here's one that briefly mentions rape; it doesn't have citations, but it takes quotes from a book by an eyewitness: http://www.lewrockwell.com/jarvis/jarvis19.html

This site also mentions rape, but it says that letters exist which attest to this instead of actually citing them: http://www.plpow.com/Atrocities_QuotesFromSherman.htm

I must admit, I'm not really up on the March to the Sea as I should be; I'll probably do some reading about that after the semester is over and I have a chance--I'll let y'all know what I find.

Bugfatty300
Oct 14, 2006, 06:05 PM
It seems doubtful. I've always heard the escaped slaves mobbed Sherman's Army for obvious reasons.

Which would have made Slave women more obvious targets for rape by Union Soldiers. They certainly would have been easy targets.

Its certainly plausible that rapes took place. I'd say its almost certain.

.Shane.
Oct 14, 2006, 09:06 PM
Here's one that briefly mentions rape; it doesn't have citations, but it takes quotes from a book by an eyewitness: http://www.lewrockwell.com/jarvis/jarvis19.html

Sorry, but that articles an embarrasment. No sources, no citation, just re-writing of history by a Soutern apologist:

Gail Jarvis [send him mail] is a CPA living in Beaufort, SC, an unreconstructed Southerner, and an opponent of big government.

As to the 2nd source...

but it says that letters exist which attest to this instead of actually citing them: http://www.plpow.com/Atrocities_QuotesFromSherman.htm

Also, laughable, its says letters exist, but offers ZERO sourcing.

That said, given the size of the army, etc... I'm sure it happened, I'd be surprised if it didn't. What matters is what was the disposition of the leadership toward these actions if they were reported.

And please no more "thesouthwillrise.com"-type articles (a term I use very loosely here), assuming you're interested in a discussion and not an exercise in re-writing history.

I'm sorry, but your sources are the near equivalent of using the KKK for information on Martin Luther King.

.Shane.
Oct 14, 2006, 09:15 PM
Here's a quote from Sherman's autobiography:

I never heard of any cases of murder or rape; and no army could have carried along sufficient food and forage for a march of three hundred miles; so that foraging in some shape was necessary

but, its an autobiography, so take that was a massive grain of salt. This work (http://www.amazon.com/Shermans-March-Full-Length-Narrative-Devastating/dp/0394757637/sr=1-4/qid=1160881997/ref=sr_1_4/102-2896625-6191339?ie=UTF8&s=books) looks promising, let me see what I can find about the author...

Here's some info on the author. (http://www.ncwriters.org/services/lhof/inductees/bdavis.htm) Seems credible and has a wide-ranging body of respected work.

Its not hard to find legitimates sources, if you're so interested. I'll try and dig more up later, its certainly an interesting question. :)

Irish Caesar
Oct 14, 2006, 09:31 PM
I'm sorry, but your sources are the near equivalent of using the KKK for information on Martin Luther King.

I did a quick Google search and put the first two related links I saw; I noted that there weren't citations. I never claimed to stand by those sources.

I did read some from Sherman's letters, but I certainly wouldn't just take his word for it, either.

North King
Oct 14, 2006, 09:54 PM
I was reading the book Lies My Teacher Told Me (a lovely read, really ;)) just today, and it happened to have a passage where it described that Sherman's army actually had to turn away escaped slaves from joining his army, and that the whites were far from united in their resistance against him, while at the same time the Confederates deserted in mass amounts opposing him. It is hard to understate the dislike of slavery that had begun to permeate all areas, including the South, at this time; it is mostly the rewriting of history by Confederate apologists who try to paint as noble a picture of the CSA and as horrible a picture of the Union as they possibly can.

Godwynn
Oct 14, 2006, 10:11 PM
Its not hard to find legitimates sources, if you're so interested. I'll try and dig more up later, its certainly an interesting question. :)

Please do, I am very interested. I'm sure that rapes did happen, but I am more concerned if Sherman overlooked them, did not know about them, or if he did, was punishment given.

Bugfatty300
Oct 15, 2006, 04:10 AM
it is mostly the rewriting of history by Confederate apologists who try to paint as noble a picture of the CSA and as horrible a picture of the Union as they possibly can.

Of course the white washing and dismissal of Union atrocities and the highlighting of Confederate atrocities have been more successful than the vice versa.

luiz
Oct 15, 2006, 10:42 AM
I always read that Sherman was a brutal man who burned Atlanta to the ground.

I think it's silly to dismiss the obvious and plentyful attrocities commited by the Union. We all know that the Confederates were slave-owning aristocrats, but that doesn't give the Union carte-blanche to behave like Mongols the way they did.

North King
Oct 15, 2006, 11:59 AM
Of course the white washing and dismissal of Union atrocities and the highlighting of Confederate atrocities have been more successful than the vice versa.

Oh, those poor Southerners, having an invading army marching through, who take away their precious slaves. :rolleyes: The statistics are there--The Confederate army facing Sherman was having mass desertion. That doesn't sound like people enraged to fight a brutal enemy to me.

North King
Oct 15, 2006, 12:08 PM
I always read that Sherman was a brutal man who burned Atlanta to the ground.

I think it's silly to dismiss the obvious and plentyful attrocities commited by the Union. We all know that the Confederates were slave-owning aristocrats, but that doesn't give the Union carte-blanche to behave like Mongols the way they did.

Sherman apparently evacuated the civilian population, while the Confederates burned their own supply depots. It's fairly ridiculous to compare that to the Mongol campaigns.

Sherman did what he had to do to hasten the war's end. The slaves welcomed him as a liberator, and the aristocrats were usually allowed to leave in peace--hardly the most brutal behavior ever displayed by an invading army. When the Confederates invaded the Union, they took captured blacks and pressed them into slavery back down south.

The supposition that the war was a noble Southern populace fighting for states' rights against the evil Union oppressor is a myth invented by Confederate apologists. The plain and simple truth is that the CSA was a declaredly racist and slaveholding nation, who was forced to reanalyze their convictions after it became clear that black soldiers could fight just as well as whites. It eventually was a war of survival, but mainly because they knew they'd be harshly punished if captured by the Union. At the beginning, the war was simply about slavery, and once it became clear that slavery was wrong--which was evident to Confederates after a while, they lost popular support, and the whole Confederate edifice collapsed like a house of cards.

Comparing Sherman's men to the Mongols is like comparing Patton to Attilla. It simply does not work. There were, undoubtedly, some rapings and pillaging going on. There's always raping going on in warfare up to the modern day, and pillaging is usually the only way an army can stay alive. Yes, Sherman ordered the destruction of southern infrastructure--to pull them apart and win the war. It would be foolish to blame him for that.

Bugfatty300
Oct 15, 2006, 12:20 PM
Oh, those poor Southerners, having an invading army marching through, who take away their precious slaves.

Keep in mind that when compared proportionately to the CSA population, 95% of the 50,000 to 100,000 civilians who perished in the Union's rampage through the Southeast were not slave owners.

And if compared proportionately to the CS Army, 97% of the 30,000 Confederates who died in Union prison camps were not slave owners.

I know it must gives make you tingle all over to think about how baddly the Union punished those evil aristocrats but the unfortunate fact is that over 95% of their victims were lower-class regular American farmers and soldiers who did not diserve to die like that at the hands of their American brothers.

.Shane.
Oct 15, 2006, 01:14 PM
Please do, I am very interested. I'm sure that rapes did happen, but I am more concerned if Sherman overlooked them, did not know about them, or if he did, was punishment given.

I think these 2 would make a nice contrast of perspectives. One is from the perspective of the Northern soldier in Sherman's army. The other, from the perspective of the Confederates who witnessed and were affected by this.

Confederate view... (http://www.amazon.com/When-Sherman-Marched-North-Sea/dp/0807828092/sr=1-4/qid=1160939550/ref=sr_1_4/102-2896625-6191339?ie=UTF8&s=books)

Northern soldier's view... (http://www.amazon.com/March-Sea-Beyond-Carolinas-Campaigns/dp/0807120286/sr=1-1/qid=1160939550/ref=sr_1_1/102-2896625-6191339?ie=UTF8&s=books)

Its not hard to find credible works on Amazon of academic quality.

luiz
Oct 15, 2006, 01:53 PM
Sherman apparently evacuated the civilian population, while the Confederates burned their own supply depots. It's fairly ridiculous to compare that to the Mongol campaigns.

Sherman was the first one in the Civil War to attack civilians in large scale.


Sherman did what he had to do to hasten the war's end.

Indeed. What he did was analogue to dropping the A-Bomb in Hiroshima or fire-bombing Germany. There's no doubt he hastened the end of the war, just as there is no doubt that he commited acts of terrorism even for the standards of the time.


The slaves welcomed him as a liberator

Well, duh.


and the aristocrats were usually allowed to leave in peace--hardly the most brutal behavior ever displayed by an invading army.

There are also acocunts of Sherman killing his priosioners to the last man, burning churches with enemies inside, etc.


When the Confederates invaded the Union, they took captured blacks and pressed them into slavery back down south.

I never said the Confederates were the morally superior side.


The supposition that the war was a noble Southern populace fighting for states' rights against the evil Union oppressor is a myth invented by Confederate apologists. The plain and simple truth is that the CSA was a declaredly racist and slaveholding nation, who was forced to reanalyze their convictions after it became clear that black soldiers could fight just as well as whites. It eventually was a war of survival, but mainly because they knew they'd be harshly punished if captured by the Union. At the beginning, the war was simply about slavery, and once it became clear that slavery was wrong--which was evident to Confederates after a while, they lost popular support, and the whole Confederate edifice collapsed like a house of cards.

And stating that the war was Lincoln's noble crusade against slavery is even more foolish.

Fact is, as per the existing treaties, the South had the right to break from the Union. Lincoln started the war (yes, it was the Union who started the war, regardless of the nonsense I sometimes hear) because he didn't want to be the president who lost half of the country, not because he was particularly moved by ill-treatment of blacks in the South. It was in fact a war of Northern Agression, even if the southerners lost any moral high ground with the absurdly immoral institution that is slavery.

It was the Union who later re-wrote history in order to make it look like the Confederates fired first, which is patently absurd since they would never start a war they knew could never be won.


Comparing Sherman's men to the Mongols is like comparing Patton to Attilla. It simply does not work. There were, undoubtedly, some rapings and pillaging going on. There's always raping going on in warfare up to the modern day, and pillaging is usually the only way an army can stay alive. Yes, Sherman ordered the destruction of southern infrastructure--to pull them apart and win the war. It would be foolish to blame him for that.
Sherman was the biggest war criminal of the American Civil War. It surprises me that you of all people justify attacks on enemy civilians and infra-structure, given your opinions on the israeli-palestinian conflict and the invasion of Iraq.

.Shane.
Oct 15, 2006, 02:02 PM
Gotta call major BS here...
Sherman was the first one in the Civil War to attack civilians in large scale.

Define "attacking".

Indeed. What he did was analogue to dropping the A-Bomb in Hiroshima or fire-bombing Germany. There's no doubt he hastened the end of the war, just as there is no doubt that he commited acts of terrorism even for the standards of the time.

Hardly analagous. Its a joke to even make such a comparison. I'm wondering if you have an axe to grind. The gross misrepresentation of the facts throughout your post, surely make me wonder about your motivation. I know that a lot of former Confeds settled in SA.

There are also acocunts of Sherman killing his priosioners to the last man, burning churches with enemies inside, etc.

Citation, please? And not a list of circularly pointing websites, please.

And stating that the war was Lincoln's noble crusade against slavery is even more foolish.

That's not what he said.

Fact is, as per the existing treaties, the South had the right to break from the Union. Lincoln started the war (yes, it was the Union who started the war, regardless of the nonsense I sometimes hear) because he didn't want to be the president who lost half of the country, not because he was particularly moved by ill-treatment of blacks in the South. It was in fact a war of Northern Agression, even if the southerners lost any moral high ground with the absurdly immoral institution that is slavery.

This is completely asinine. I'll agree he wasn't motivated by a love for blacks or slaves, but his motivation was not selfish, as you say, hardly at all.

It was the Union who later re-wrote history in order to make it look like the Confederates fired first, which is patently absurd since they would never start a war they knew could never be won.

ROFL, now you're into the range of conspiracy theory.

Sherman was the biggest war criminal of the American Civil War.

Hardly, but I'd love to read any credible sources you have on this. I'm waiting.

luiz
Oct 15, 2006, 02:18 PM
What exactly do you disagree with in my post?

That Sherman killed prisioners and burned buildings with people inside? This is so well-known that even in History Channel documentaries it is featured.

And why do you object with my analogies? Terrorising civilians with the purpose of ending the war quicker is exactly what he did.

And what else? You honestly think the Southerners would have fired first? All they wanted was to peacefully break free (which, I repeat, was legal). Why would they cause a war against a more populous and far more industrialised opponent? You see, nobody outside the US actually believes the Confederates started the war.

You say Lincoln's motivation was not "love for the black slaves" (as your history books tell you), but were not selfish either. I don't know how selfish they were, but his motives were not noble in the least so who cares. It was an illegal war for territorial integrity, and the fact that the southerners were immoral slave-owners (a fact which I never denied) was used as a justification.

BTW really a nice argument to "accuse" me of Confederate heritage. I'm of belgian, italian, german and spanish ancestry, and when my ancestors arrived here the American Civl War was over for decades.

Irish Caesar
Oct 15, 2006, 06:53 PM
And what else? You honestly think the Southerners would have fired first? All they wanted was to peacefully break free (which, I repeat, was legal). Why would they cause a war against a more populous and far more industrialised opponent? You see, nobody outside the US actually believes the Confederates started the war.

The CSA did indeed fire first, it was the only way Lincoln would have recognized their independence.

The statistics are there--The Confederate army facing Sherman was having mass desertion. That doesn't sound like people enraged to fight a brutal enemy to me.

It's not like the CSA was in a position to stand and fight in Georgia in 1864--they were pretty much already beaten long before.

The supposition that the war was a noble Southern populace fighting for states' rights against the evil Union oppressor is a myth invented by Confederate apologists. The plain and simple truth is that the CSA was a declaredly racist and slaveholding nation, who was forced to reanalyze their convictions after it became clear that black soldiers could fight just as well as whites. It eventually was a war of survival, but mainly because they knew they'd be harshly punished if captured by the Union. At the beginning, the war was simply about slavery, and once it became clear that slavery was wrong--which was evident to Confederates after a while, they lost popular support, and the whole Confederate edifice collapsed like a house of cards.

Which made me think of:

There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil.

...from a letter dated December 27, 1856.

I know it must gives make you tingle all over to think about how baddly the Union punished those evil aristocrats but the unfortunate fact is that over 95% of their victims were lower-class regular American farmers and soldiers who did not diserve to die like that at the hands of their American brothers.

:yup:

It amazes me how when talking about the War Between the States, people quickly forget that both sides were Americans.

Godwynn
Oct 15, 2006, 08:52 PM
Indeed. What he did was analogue to dropping the A-Bomb in Hiroshima or fire-bombing Germany.

Sherman ordered the people to flee before he burned it to the ground.

There are also acocunts of Sherman killing his priosioners to the last man, burning churches with enemies inside, etc.

I have never heard of this.

Fact is, as per the existing treaties, the South had the right to break from the Union. Lincoln started the war (yes, it was the Union who started the war, regardless of the nonsense I sometimes hear)

The confederates fired on Fort Sumter.

It was the Union who later re-wrote history in order to make it look like the Confederates fired first, which is patently absurd since they would never start a war they knew could never be won.

The confederates were winning the war to begin with.


Sherman was the biggest war criminal of the American Civil War. It surprises me that you of all people justify attacks on enemy civilians and infra-structure, given your opinions on the israeli-palestinian conflict and the invasion of Iraq.

Pro-Israel and anti-war in Iraq so I should hate Sherman for ending the war?

sydhe
Oct 15, 2006, 11:31 PM
It was the Union who later re-wrote history in order to make it look like the Confederates fired first, which is patently absurd since they would never start a war they knew could never be won.


Luiz, you don't know your rear end from a hole in the ground. The Confederates fired the first shot at Fort Sumter (to prevent Union resupply of the fort, which was in Charleston harbor), and this is a matter of historical record.

Dark Ascendant
Oct 16, 2006, 01:39 AM
You say Lincoln's motivation was not "love for the black slaves" (as your history books tell you), but were not selfish either. I don't know how selfish they were, but his motives were not noble in the least so who cares. It was an illegal war for territorial integrity, and the fact that the southerners were immoral slave-owners (a fact which I never denied) was used as a justification.

Lincoln was trying to keep the country in one piece; that was always his primary motivation for fighting the war, before or after the Emancipation Proclamation. That's not selfish and it certainly isn't illegal.

El Justo
Oct 16, 2006, 07:55 AM
this is an interesting discussion in between the nonsense "History Channel quotes". one will have to come w/ better and non-partisan assertions than that.

anyway - i do recall reading some things about Sherman's troops raping. i can't put a citation on it but i do recall this being mentioned.

i also know that Sherman was in contact w/ Lincoln during his march and he wanted to present Savannah i think as an "x-mas gift" to the president.

and Sherman did indeed evacuate or at least ask for non-combatants to evacuate prior to assaulting Savannah.

i also recall Sherman reprimanding his soldiers for trashing libraries and art galleries along the way.

Sherman ordered his troops not to destroy Charleston, SC on the way north from GA. iirc, Sherman himself admitted that Charelston was one of the most beautiful cities he ever had seen and ordered that it not be touched. of course, the damage had been done already. but the fact remains that Sherman was not some ill-disciplined savage. instead, he was, imo, a brilliant albeit rough-around-the-edges tactician.

Tank_Guy#3
Oct 16, 2006, 08:18 AM
As much as I wouldn't like to think so, it probably did happen. He was burning and murdering all the way to the coast, scorched earth style, and a general can't keep complete control over all of his soldiers at all times, even today. I mean look at the prison scandal things. It's unfortunate, but it happens.

Irish Caesar
Oct 16, 2006, 11:06 AM
Pro-Israel and anti-war in Iraq so I should hate Sherman for ending the war?

I find this to be an interesting statement, considering the nature of the current situation in Iraq and the War Between the States. Unless you supported the initial invasion of Iraq but think the occupation has gone the way of Reconstruction.

privatehudson
Oct 16, 2006, 12:44 PM
I'm currently in the process of watching the Ken Burns documentary of the Civil War (which btw is a work of genius IMO), so far it cites a Southern lady called Mary Chesnut saying:

They say no living thing is found in Sherman's track, only Chimneys. Like telegraph poles to carry the news of his attack backwards.... As far as the eye could read the flames of burning buildings lit up the heavens. I could stand out on the veranda and for two or three miles watch the Yankees as they came on. I could mark when they reached the residents of each and every friend on the road

Admitedly this source must be taken with a pinch of salt given the undoubted bias she would have.

Shelby Foote comments in it that Sherman was possibly the first really modern general in that he understood the value of civilians to a country's war effort, the ability of an army to live off the land and the impact that attacking civilians (directly or indirectly) had. His march through Georgia was only possible due to the seizure of farm goods and livestock. His attitude, quoted in the documentary was basically that war was hell, and the worse it was the sooner it ended. He may well have been right but whether it was wise for the country's chances of reconstruction is another matter entirely. He seemed to believe in the principle that it was better to smash Southern desire for war through making the current war so horrific.

I've also been listening to Shelby Foote's 3 volume series now. I'd report on what he says about the subjet but I'm only just past Fredericksburg at the moment (and volume 1 was 44 hours long!) so it could be a while :D

I personally think that much of the excesses arose out of Sherman's lack of control and retaliation for events like Fort Pillow coupled with knowledge of the events in Andersonville POW camp. How far this excess went I do not know, (the documentary notes btw that they were greater in South Carolina than in Georgia) but I'll probably find out when I listen to volume 3.

El Justo
Oct 16, 2006, 01:24 PM
that is an excellent post privatehudson :goodjob:

burns' documentary is definitely a great piece of work that was showered w/ honors when it was released. i agree 110% w/ Foote's comments on Sherman. very accurate imo.

and imo, Sherman did indeed lose control somewhat of his soldiers as evidenced by the alleged rapes and razings. and Andersonville was absolutely on the mids of the soldiers as, iirc, Sherman's troops found some escaped POWs and were told of the horrific conditions there. great points :) thanks for sharing.

privatehudson
Oct 16, 2006, 02:07 PM
I think if there was much cause for Sherman being guilty as charged Foote would have mentioned it in the documentaries. He's a fair Author who occasionally leans towards the South but mostly treats events and people fairly based on the facts.

Also the fact that one of his chief opponents - Johnson kept his respect for Sherman would seem to indicate that the excesses were not too... well excessive. Hood despised him though, I believe commenting that he would die a thousand deaths rather than surrender (or words to that effect).

Andersonville was just horrific, the photos in the documentary of survivors looked almost identical to those of survivors of the Boer War camps or Concentration camps of WW2.

El Justo
Oct 16, 2006, 02:26 PM
was it Hood who rec'd Sherman's request for surrender but failed to respond and simply vacated Savannah?

Andersonville was despicable for sure. however, and i certainly ain't justifying the horrible treatment and all but it seemed that the CSA was so short on everything at this point of the war (ie man power, food, supplies etc) that the POWs were last on the list to recieve provisions. no excuse - no doubt. but i think that the CSA officers would have likely provided suitable dwellings and provisions had they the means to. i mean, the CSA were not barbarians, nazis or stalinists or anything...

privatehudson
Oct 16, 2006, 02:33 PM
Oh without a doubt I'd say it was more an imposition of circumstance than a deliberate choice, although that didn't save the commander of the camp, he was hung for warcrimes. Certainly men like Johnson and Lee (and probably even a firebrand like Hood) would have been adamantly opposed to such conditions.

.Shane.
Oct 16, 2006, 09:05 PM
... in between the nonsense "History Channel quotes". one will have to come w/ better and non-partisan assertions than that.

When you make assertions like this, its polite to specify who you're addressing so as to not make a blanket insult to all posters. I've offered some specific references that I think would give an interested party a well-balanced reading of the topic.

@Hudson, Foote is a fascinating author, as he's clearly a southerner who loves the south, yet can be very honest and candid about discussing the war w/out feeling he needs to justify his existance as a modern southerner by covering up or obscurring the past.

El Justo
Oct 17, 2006, 07:16 AM
When you make assertions like this, its polite to specify who you're addressing so as to not make a blanket insult to all posters. I've offered some specific references that I think would give an interested party a well-balanced reading of the topic.
this ain't charm school dude. if you made these remarks then include yourself in that "blanket insult". if not, then simply disregard it. the point is that the partisan crap should be left in the OT forum where it belongs.

Bast
Oct 17, 2006, 07:41 AM
So I hear that his soldiers raped slave women during his rampage through the South, but I have never heard or read anything about this before.

True?
Did his soldiers do it on their own, or did he overlook it?

Can I just say that I think Sherman is one of the most good looking men in history? :crazyeye: Nice avatar.

Tank_Guy#3
Oct 17, 2006, 07:43 AM
The Civil War isn't really my era. But I do agree that both sides did have horrible prison camps, and that if they had the means to properly supply them, they would have done so. Towards the end of the war, the Union generals had become experts in the art of pyschological warfare, I'm sure many a CSA citizen, upon seeing the remnants of the March to the Sea and the devastation in the Shenandoah were aghast at the level of destruction that had been inflicted. And common sense would make anyone would come to the conclusion that this needs to end before the entire South is just a pile of ashes.

@ El Justo:
I believe it was on the History Channel (I may be wrong, I'll research shortly) about the Ten Plagues of Egypt all being caused by one catastrophic geological event. Anyway, it ended with about a 4 minute speech about leaving the decision up to you. Most shows on the History Channel I find to be unbiased (perhaps not Mail Call, but come on, that's R. Lee Ermey for gods sake).

El Justo
Oct 17, 2006, 07:49 AM
Tank Guy,

i've got no problem w/ the History Channel. i watch it myself. however, it's not that i think they're biased - not at all really. it's the partisan crap injected into this discussion that i think is BS. stuff like "Sherman and the North were a bunch of murderers and thieves". it's war for Christ's sake! not tiddly-winks! :) but my point was about the History Channel is that i just don't consider it a plausible source to cite, that's all.

Tank_Guy#3
Oct 17, 2006, 08:09 AM
Tank Guy,

i've got no problem w/ the History Channel. i watch it myself. however, it's not that i think they're biased - not at all really. it's the partisan crap injected into this discussion that i think is BS. stuff like "Sherman and the North were a bunch of murderers and thieves". it's war for Christ's sake! not tiddly-winks! :) but my point was about the History Channel is that i just don't consider it a plausible source to cite, that's all.

I believe the information is good, it's just when they get all those so-called experts is when it slowly spirals to that partisan crap. I do agree it's not the most credible source to cite, but it is a lot more credible than some that are out there.

I had better end this conversation before it becomes irreversibly OT :(

DBear
Oct 17, 2006, 12:29 PM
Camp Douglas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Douglas_(Chicago)), in Chicago, was far worse. Their commanders got off scott-free.

Tank_Guy#3
Oct 17, 2006, 01:55 PM
I still believe that Andersonville was the worst of the worst during the American Civil War.

Bugfatty300
Oct 17, 2006, 02:44 PM
I still believe that Andersonville was the worst of the worst during the American Civil War.

In sheer loss of life yes it was worse. 13,000 died in Camp Sumter compared to about 8,000 to 10,000 in Camp Douglas.

But when it came to mortality rate Camp Douglas was on par with the worst of the worst Japanese Allied POW camp of WWII. Depending which estimates you believe 45% to 60% of the Confederates who entered Camp Douglas died there. In fact the American Red Cross labeled it an "extermination camp" after they inspected it. Which wasn't a bad description of it.

Also its pretty well established that the conditions in Camp Douglas were deliberate. In comparison Camp Sumter for the most part simply reflected the state of the South where thousands of Confederate soldiers and civilians starved to death themselves. There were certainly acts of cruelty and the guards could have made conditions there a little better. Where as the Union with its wealth and excess could have easily fed and clothed all of its Confederate prisoners.

The commanders of Camp Douglas certainly deserved the same fate of Wirz. More so even.

sydhe
Oct 19, 2006, 05:03 PM
I think if there was much cause for Sherman being guilty as charged Foote would have mentioned it in the documentaries. He's a fair Author who occasionally leans towards the South but mostly treats events and people fairly based on the facts.

Also the fact that one of his chief opponents - Johnson kept his respect for Sherman would seem to indicate that the excesses were not too... well excessive. Hood despised him though, I believe commenting that he would die a thousand deaths rather than surrender (or words to that effect).

Andersonville was just horrific, the photos in the documentary of survivors looked almost identical to those of survivors of the Boer War camps or Concentration camps of WW2.

Johnston (not Johnson) was one of Sherman's pallbearers. He came down with pneumonia as a result and died from it

privatehudson
Oct 19, 2006, 05:34 PM
That's what I meant about respect, I just forgot the spelling.

Tank_Guy#3
Oct 20, 2006, 01:16 PM
But when it came to mortality rate Camp Douglas was on par with the worst of the worst Japanese Allied POW camp of WWII. Depending which estimates you believe 45% to 60% of the Confederates who entered Camp Douglas died there. In fact the American Red Cross labeled it an "extermination camp" after they inspected it. Which wasn't a bad description of it.
Well, that description really could fit any Civil War POW camp.

Also its pretty well established that the conditions in Camp Douglas were deliberate. In comparison Camp Sumter for the most part simply reflected the state of the South where thousands of Confederate soldiers and civilians starved to death themselves. There were certainly acts of cruelty and the guards could have made conditions there a little better. Where as the Union with its wealth and excess could have easily fed and clothed all of its Confederate prisoners.
I believe the Union did this because this is how their prisoners were treated. They did undoubtedly know that the Reb's weren't as well supplied as them, but they may have viewed it as "Eye for an eye".

Irish Caesar
Oct 20, 2006, 03:40 PM
I believe the Union did this because this is how their prisoners were treated. They did undoubtedly know that the Reb's weren't as well supplied as them, but they may have viewed it as "Eye for an eye".

The USA, I believe, refused any sort of prisoner exchange. I find this awful, that they would willingly subject CS prisoners and their own to such horrible conditions, but it fits in well with the Union idea of their troops being much more expendable than Confederate troops.

privatehudson
Oct 20, 2006, 04:20 PM
My understanding was that after Fort Pillow Lincoln called for the south to recognise the right of Black soldiers to be treated as POWs the same as their white colleagues. The refusal by the Southern leadership lead to the North calling a halt to prisoner exchanges. A refusal to treat POWs of different racial backgrounds the same, whilst entirely in keeping with Southern thinking was every bit as abhorent as the consequences of the refusal.

Irish Caesar
Oct 20, 2006, 09:32 PM
Hm, didn't know that, although I can believe it.

Bugfatty300
Oct 21, 2006, 12:13 AM
Well, that description really could fit any Civil War POW camp.

Not really. The 45% to 60% mortality rate makes it the worst POW of the war in terms of mortality. Andersonville was 30%.

I believe the Union did this because this is how their prisoners were treated. They did undoubtedly know that the Reb's weren't as well supplied as them, but they may have viewed it as "Eye for an eye".

That is exactly how they viewed it, though Camp Sumter was no an excuse for starving and freezing 8,000 people to death especially when those people had nothing to do with what was happening at Andersonville.

Stapel
Oct 24, 2006, 01:54 PM
At first, I should say I have no evidence in whatever way to support Sherman's soldiers did, or did not rape women.

However, I can give some 'neutral' info.

-Various psychological studies have shown that not the punishemnt, but the chance of getting caught is what keeps men from crimes. Historically, if there is one thing that minimises the chance of getting caught, it is being in a victorious army.
-During the interrogations in Nürnberg in 1945-1946, German general Heinz Guderian testified that 'total war orders' could very easily lead to 'unwanted situations'. What he meant to say is that if soldiers are ordered to burn down entire towns and villages, it is only a very small step towards rape (in a war situation).
-Soldiers that have seen four tough years of war, are more likely to forget the moral values they have learnt at home.


Quite frankly, I think it is bloody likely many women were raped during Sherman's march!

Godwynn
Apr 06, 2007, 01:16 PM
Sunday April 22nd, 9p.m., 8p.m. CST 'Sherman's March' on the History Channel, I'm going to watch it. Or tape it.

Elrohir
Apr 06, 2007, 04:05 PM
I think it's quite likely that many women were raped by soldiers under Sherman's command in his "March to the Sea". Indeed, I would be astonished if none were, as rape, murder and pillage have historically been quite common in nearly every military campaign.

So it's not really an issue of "did atrocities happen", but whether the atrocities were officially sanctioned by Sherman or his officers, or whether they looked the other way, or if they tried to stop them, but were unable to in all of the chaos. I don't think there is nearly enough evidence to support the idea that Sherman himself actually supported the rape and murder of civilians, so personally i lean towards a mixture of the last two options. In some cases, officers probably looked the other way, and in others they tried to stop it, but were unable to.

Sherman was a soldier who fought a war. In war, lots of bad things happen. That isn't an excuse for atrocities, but it is an explanation. Myself, while abhorring many of the things that happened in Sherman's march, admire his determination to end the war so quickly and his tactical genius.

Serutan
Apr 06, 2007, 04:16 PM
I think it's quite likely that many women were raped by soldiers under Sherman's command in his "March to the Sea".

If so, they weren't white. Very, very few white women
were raped. Black women was probably a much different
story, but I doubt if reliable figures could ever be established, since there was little if any legal recourse for them. Not to mention a lot of Sherman's soldiers thought little more highly of blacks than the slaveholders did.