I’ve just read an excellent article by Michael R. Bradley in the most recent issue of North & South Magazine. The piece is titled, In the Crosshairs – Southern Civilians Targeted by the US Army and provides details of crimes committed against southern civilians by Federal troops. Bradley details numerous incidents that took place in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama.
This is a subject not often discussed and one which, being a Southerner, has interest for me personally. My own family has been in the Shenandoah Valley for many generations and some of my ancestors witnessed
One personal anecdote I recall is from an elderly lady who lives in
While I know that Custer’s division was involved in
Some of Bradley’s closing words in the piece are most fitting:
“The neglect of the topic by Civil War historians has led to a widely-held assumption that such targeting of southern civilians did not occur; indeed, some argue that the war aims of the United States were so honorable and noble that such things could not possibly have been done. This has created a myth as misleading as that of the ‘Lost Cause’—the myth of the ‘Holy Cause.’”
Thanks to Keith Poulter and Mr. Bradley for reminding us of one of the lesser known aspects of the Civil War.
(This sketch by Alfred Waud is of Custer's division retiring from Mount Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley on 7 October 1864.)