18 August 2010

Final Revenge

A documentary on Sherman's March -
Sherman's March ~ Final Revenge:

Website with sources.

*Note: Thanks to Scott Manning for providing this comment: "On YouTube, part 3 is incomplete, which ironically contains much of the meat in the documentary. However, their website contains the full version albeit in QuickTime or Windows Media formats."


Chaps said...

Haven't had time to watch all as yet. Does it end with Sherman hanged as a war criminal?

Dick Stanley said...

It's pathetic the way some modern historians try to deny the extent of Sherman's burning and destruction, though he himself was quite explicit about what he intended to do and why. To break their will, etc. I imagine we'll be hearing a lot more of the denial over the next few years.

It was a very modern war, as has so often been said. A war of no-quarter, for military or civilians, of murderous hatred on both sides. Some of it enduring. If the South had more time, resources and opportunities, would there have been more attacks such as Early's on Chambersburg? I think so.

Scott Manning said...

On YouTube, part 3 is incomplete, which ironically contains much of the meat in the documentary. However, their website contains the full version albeit in QuickTime or Windows Media formats.

Assuming the video is accurate, it reminds me of a medieval/ancient siege. Many commanders in history have struggled in vain to control their soldiers after long marching and hard fighting. Saladin could not control his men from looting Jaffa in 1192 during the Third Crusade. In other instances, conquerors have used the sacking of cities to subjugate whole regions. For example, Alexander sacked Thebes in 334 BC and Greece was relatively docile for the rest of his reign. This is not a justification; just an observation. From the video and reading a little about it, Sherman has been accused of both purposefully destroying Columbia and being unable/unwilling to control his men. I am not sure which angle I subscribe to yet and the truth may be a combination of both.

Prior to reaching Columbia, Sherman was masterful in his manipulation of the Confederates by getting them to split their forces. Every time I learn more about him, I get a better understanding why people tend to list him in their “best generals” lists.

The accusations of rape make up the worst part the affair. Do you have any idea how many people testified to that? Was it just Cunning?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Scott - thanks for the note on Part 3. I'll post a notice about that. A person who frequently comments here, Professor Michael Bradley, has done some study on this subject. Perhaps he'll chime in. Another good source on this topic is Brian Cisco's "War Crimes Against Southern Civilians."


Brian W. Schoeneman said...

Scott, the problem I have with Sherman is that the level of violence was, in general, unnecessary. He completely outnumbered the Confederate troops he faced, and Hood's men were effectively dealt with, leaving less than 13,000 rebel troops to deal with compared with Sherman's 60,000+ federals.

If this were South Carolina, I could see the need for total war. But he was marching from Tennessee, not exactly a hotbed of secession, through Georgia. I can understand the burning of war industries and infrastructure, but the attacks on civilians were just unnecessary. These were fellow Americans, as Lincoln believed, and they didn't deserve that kind of treatment.

Scott Manning said...

re: “If this were South Carolina, I could see the need for total war.”

Brian, the documentary was about the burning of Columbia in South Carolina.

Brian W. Schoeneman said...

I know. I was talking about the first leg of Sherman's march. I can see the need for total war in South Carolina. That much had been obvious, from Andrew Jackson's presidency on.

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of how many of the highminded liberal historians of this era describe the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan that ended WWII as cruel,vengeful,and unnecessary(BTW a view I don't hold).But some of those same historians turn around and praise Sherman as the first great modern general and approve of his tactics,calling them brillant because they believe it brought the war to a quicker end end.

Tom Gann

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Good point Tom. Thanks.

msimons said...

Ah Gen Sherman the only man my Grandma said she would spit on his grave. serap

Anonymous said...

I do not believe that Sherman should be on any "best generals" list. He made three major blunders at Atlanta and should have been repulsed. Mistakes by Confederate generals at Atlanta, most notably, General Hardee helped secure Atlanta's fate. I believe that Grant and Sherman were succesful as a result of vastly superior numbers and resources. Give Robert E. Lee equal numbers and resources and I believe that he could have wiped the field up with either Grant or Sherman.