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Why Do Southerners Hate Sherman More Than Grant?

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  • Why Do Southerners Hate Sherman More Than Grant?

    Why does Sherman get most of the hatred of the Lost Cause backers? And by backers, I mean the Southerners who after the war started the mythology of the Lost Cause and their followers. Sherman marched to the sea and burned houses and farms, took food and horses and freed slaves. But at the same time, he killed hardly anyone while doing this. Compared to the casualty lists coming in from the East, Sherman was a piker. Yet, he is vilified far more in Southern leaning histories of the war than Grant, who killed thousands upon thousands of Southern men by his campaigns and battles. And Grant stated that that was his goal, to kill the Rebel armies or at least render them impotent, if kill is too strong a word. But there is no denying that Grant fought the bloodiest battles of the war. But Sherman is the "beast", "the devil" and "the war-lover"? I don't get it.
    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

  • #2
    Actually, Butler is "The Beast".
    The muffled drums sad roll has beat the soldier's last tatoo. No more on life's parade shall meet that brave and fallen few.

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    • #3
      Not too sure. My friend from Atlanta hates him just cause he (or rather his soldiers) burned the city. Also probably because Sherman's soldiers actually destroyed property and what not while Grant men were mainly on a military campaign (ie out to destroy Lee's army).

      Matt
      "We Will Stay Here, If We Must All Go to Hell Together"
      -Col. John R. Cooke, 27th NC

      Avatar: My Grandfather on the right. His twin on the left. Their older brother in the middle. In their Navy Blues

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      • #4
        Ever try to feed all those people he didn't try to kill? Add to the indictment sheet a few more things like robbery, rape, assault and few more misdemeanors and you will begin to understand a little.

        At this time "civilized warfare" was supposed to leave the civilians homes and property alone. If you engages in "babarities" how can a soldier stay at the front when his family is getting abused by the enemy? If some Yankee troops went through and messed with his womenfolk a Southerner would at least feel bound to take revenge under the code of conduct he was brought up under.

        While Southern Soldiers were never angels (Louisiana Tigers in the ANV!), their generals at least pretended to follow the rules.

        From what I have seen Lee's troops marching to Gettysburg were better behaved than Meade's (at least the locals weren't trying to sell river water at 50 cents a glass to marching Rebel troops!).

        Pruitt
        Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

        Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

        by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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        • #5
          I don't think hate is the right word. I would say more along the lines of revile or despise. The reason is faily obvious, at least as far as I am concerned -- Grant made war against R E Lee's ANV and associated Confederate forces while Sherman, facing no organized forces after leaving Atlanta, "made Georgia howl" by destroying people's homes, food supplies, and places of work. A truer comparison would be Sherman vs Sheridan -- and I suspect Sheridan is hated less because he destroyed on a smaller scale than Sherman did.
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          • #6
            Janos is right, it's because Sherman waged war not on the Confederate soldiers, but on the Confederate people. One reason was to not put HIS soldiers needlessly in battle, another was to force the rebels to come back home to "protect" their families, property and possessions.

            Sherman didn't target civilians with with conventional arms, rather used destruction as his weapon which in turn probably saved thousands of Union soldiers lives and quite possibly the lives of Confederate soldiers.

            Sherman knew the right way to wage war and I personally believe his method was a direct contributor to it's end. Had he waged conventional warfare the conflict, I believe, would have continued on much longer than it did.

            Sherman wanted the war OVER. His actions were to that end.
            Civil War in Missouri and Kansas
            If I cared for my life I would have lost it long ago; wanting to lose it I cannot throw it away.-- William T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson

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            • #7
              Exactly right, Notch.

              I see Sherman as the kind of guy who has an argument with me, and goes to my house and beats my wife when I'm not there. I have a heck of a hard time respecting a guy like that. Grant would have come and punched me in the nose.
              Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
              Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


              "Never pet a burning dog."

              RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
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              • #8
                Posted by Notch:

                "Sherman wanted the war OVER. His actions were to that end."


                I think this is an apt description of Sherman's mindset. He knew that the quicker the war could be brought to an end, the fewer would die because of it. Total war is the most effective means to wage war (else why do it at all?), but in Sherman's own words:

                "War is the remedy our enemies have chosen, and I say give them all they want. My aim, then, was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. Fear is the beginning of wisdom. " . . . William T. Sherman

                He also said this to the leadership of Atlanta prior to torching the place:

                "War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it."

                He was correct. This is also another reason he was, and sometimes still is, so hated.

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                • #9
                  Sitting in downtown Atlanta at this moment (looking at Kennesaw Mountain in the distance), I think Notch, Janos and Pruitt hit the nail on the head. Grant fought against an opposing army, while Sherman, having no army to fight, did the same sorts of things that the AOP did to Fredericksburg, just in a more drawn-out campaign.

                  While in his place I might do the same thing, the price for his approach is that history views him as a bully of women, children and old men rather than a fair fighter. (Admitting that fairness is more important in histories and movies than in wartime.)
                  "There are only two professions in the world in which the amateur excels the professional. One, military strategy, and, two, prostitution."
                  -- Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

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                  • #10
                    We can all judge for ourselves to some extent. Here is part of Sherman's Special Field Order #120, detailing how his troops were to conduct operations.

                    ... IV. The army will forage liberally on the country during the march. To this end, each brigade commander will organize a good and sufficient foraging party, under the command of one or more discreet officers, who will gather, near the route traveled, corn or forage of any kind, meat of any kind, vegetables, corn-meal, or whatever is needed by the command, aiming at all times to keep in the wagons at least ten day's provisions for the command and three days' forage. Soldiers must not enter the dwellings of the inhabitants, or commit any trespass, but during a halt or a camp they may be permitted to gather turnips, potatoes, and other vegetables, and to drive in stock of their camp. To regular foraging parties must be instructed the gathering of provisions and forage at any distance from the road traveled.

                    V. To army corps commanders alone is entrusted the power to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, &c., and for them this general principle is laid down: In districts and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested no destruction of such property should be permitted; but should guerrillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, then army commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless according to the measure of such hostility.

                    VI. As for horses, mules, wagons, &c., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit, discriminating, however, between the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor or industrious, usually neutral or friendly. Foraging parties may also take mules or horses to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to serve as pack-mules for the regiments or brigades. In all foraging, of whatever kind, the parties engaged will refrain from abusive or threatening language, and may, where the officer in command thinks proper, give written certificates of the facts, but no receipts, and they will endeavor to leave with each family a reasonable portion for their maintenance.

                    VII. Negroes who are able-bodied and can be of service to the several columns may be taken along, but each army commander will bear in mind that the question of supplies is a very important one and that his first duty is to see to them who bear arms. ...

                    – William T. Sherman, Military Division of the Mississippi Special Field Order 120, November 9, 1864.
                    Last edited by Martok; 10 Oct 07, 11:20.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Janos View Post
                      Exactly right, Notch.

                      I see Sherman as the kind of guy who has an argument with me, and goes to my house and beats my wife when I'm not there. I have a heck of a hard time respecting a guy like that. Grant would have come and punched me in the nose.
                      Well, agree with his methods or not, his actions directly led to a quicker end to the war.

                      In war you do what is needed to:

                      1. Achieve victory
                      2. Achieve it quickly
                      3. Achieve it with minimal loss of life

                      Lincoln knew this and his actions, while some argue unconstitutional, were also a direct result in ending the war as quickly as possible. Sherman knew this as well and he made every attempt to address those three equations above.

                      "If the people raise a great howl against my barbarity and cruelty, I will answer that war is war, and not popularity seeking." - William Tecumseh Sherman.

                      You have two choices: Be victorious or be vanquished. Sherman chose to be the victor and if that meant being vilified I don't think he gave a rats patootie what they thought of him. His JOB was to achieve those three items above and he took the bull by the horns and made it happen.

                      Like it or not no one can deny that his actions saved the lives of many of his soldiers, brought the conflict to a quicker end and brought them victory.

                      The man did his job.
                      Civil War in Missouri and Kansas
                      If I cared for my life I would have lost it long ago; wanting to lose it I cannot throw it away.-- William T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Notch View Post
                        You have two choices: Be victorious or be vanquished.
                        Actually, being vanquished was not an option for the North. The South never had any desire to conquer the North. Did you just mean defeated? If so, I have no argument with that.

                        Victorious or vanquished were the South's options, certainly.
                        Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                        Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                        "Never pet a burning dog."

                        RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by revans View Post
                          Why does Sherman get most of the hatred of the Lost Cause backers? And by backers, I mean the Southerners who after the war started the mythology of the Lost Cause and their followers. Sherman marched to the sea and burned houses and farms, took food and horses and freed slaves. But at the same time, he killed hardly anyone while doing this. Compared to the casualty lists coming in from the East, Sherman was a piker. Yet, he is vilified far more in Southern leaning histories of the war than Grant, who killed thousands upon thousands of Southern men by his campaigns and battles. And Grant stated that that was his goal, to kill the Rebel armies or at least render them impotent, if kill is too strong a word. But there is no denying that Grant fought the bloodiest battles of the war. But Sherman is the "beast", "the devil" and "the war-lover"? I don't get it.
                          Many years ago, when I lived in Georiga, I was out aimlessly driving around Burke County, just south of Augusta, when I chanced on an historical marker which told how Sherman's troops had killed twenty-something mules in the nearby ravine. Now, at the time, mules were equivalent to modern-day farm tractors. They were needed for agricultural purposes. While recognizing that they could also be used for military purposes, the killing of these mules seems rather gratuitous to me. I think that the purpose of destroying the animals was to inflict pain and suffering on the populace, rather than to further a military objective. I argue that such behavior qualifies as a war crime, especially by the standards of the time (which are the proper standards by which to judge the matter).
                          Don't leave good whiskey for the damn Yankees!" John Hunt Morgan, Eagleport, Ohio, July 23, 1863

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Janos View Post
                            Actually, being vanquished was not an option for the North. The South never had any desire to conquer the North. Did you just mean defeated? If so, I have no argument with that.

                            Victorious or vanquished were the South's options, certainly.
                            OK, simpler terms:

                            You are either the winner or the loser. Both sides were susceptible to these options.
                            Civil War in Missouri and Kansas
                            If I cared for my life I would have lost it long ago; wanting to lose it I cannot throw it away.-- William T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Notch View Post
                              OK, simpler terms:

                              You are either the winner or the loser. Both sides were susceptible to these options.
                              Thanks, in which case see the last sentence of my first paragraph.
                              Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                              Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                              "Never pet a burning dog."

                              RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
                              http://www.mormon.org
                              http://www.sca.org
                              http://www.scv.org/
                              http://www.scouting.org/

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