by Clyde Wilson
The History Channel’s recent presentation of "Sherman’s March"
has been rightly drawing a lot of criticism from those of us who care about such
things. In theory, historical events should become clearer as time passes and
the controversies they involved grow less heated. But that is not the case in
regard to the War to Prevent Southern Independence – because the myth of
a benevolent and righteous crusade against evil and its martyred saint is the
essential base of American state worship. The myth also seems to be a deeply felt
emotional necessity for the self-love of millions of Americans.
This TV docudrama is very peculiar. A whole team of third-string, half-baked
carpetbagger "historians" of the type that now staff all Southern
universities are presented to make the best possible case for the glory, brilliance,
justice, and benevolence of Sherman’s operations in Georgia and the Carolinas
in the winter of 1864–65. The peculiarity is that much of the actual evidence
that manages to come through contradicts the rationale that is presented. Historians
used to at least pretend to dig into the primary sources and examine all the
evidence before making judgments, but now they are rewarded by how well they
cherry pick bits to support the already established line.
Our scholars give us the official story, dressed up and paraded yet again.
Sherman’s March was a great military feat. A lie. An army of 60,000 men
marched through territory undefended except for a few thousand cavalry and home
guards. Even this opposition gave Sherman trouble whenever it became active.
And he was checked whenever he met a real Confederate force, even one greatly
Sherman’s army only seized food on its march because of necessity and
in keeping with recognized rules of foraging. A stupendous lie. One does not
need to look at a single Southern commentary but only at the words of Sherman
and thousands of his men. The expedition was deliberately intended and carried
out as a campaign of terrorism against the noncombatant population. The recognized
rules of foraging did not involve the wholesale burning of dwellings, schools,
and churches, destruction of crops and livestock, theft of everything portable
of value, molestation of women, brutality toward old men, boys, and slaves,
both male and female. This had been federal practice since the first day of
the war but had not been previously as systematized. But, Golly, Sherman should
not be criticized for burning Atlanta. He actually destroyed only a third of
Sherman’s army brought benevolent emancipation to grateful slaves. A
lie. Again, one need not consult a single Southern source to establish beyond
a doubt that Sherman and his men overwhelmingly despised the black population
of the South and preyed upon them as readily as upon white women and children.
If it had been a question of being there to free the slaves they would have
all gone home.
Any atrocities that Sherman ordered or allowed were only just retaliation against
Southerners, because the Southerners for some unaccountable reason, perhaps
their natural depravity, were "vicious." This lie speaks for itself.
The deliberate sack and destruction of Columbia, after it had been peacefully
surrendered, is no big deal and Southerners are emotional and deluded to resent
it. This only works if you start with the assumption that Southerners are inferior
beings and have no right to resent anything their betters do to them.
Much more could be said. But let’s finish by saying that it is a bad
cause that has to be defended by lies. And it can only be defended by lies,
then and now. Those who want to understand the facts have an invaluable new
source, just published last week by Pelican Press: Walter Brian Cisco's War
Crimes Against Southern Civilians, a concise and factual survey of a large subject,
such as has long been needed.
Copyright © 2007 LewRockwell.com
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