Southern Civilians Under Fire
2 November 2002
by Rev. Tim Manning, Sr.
“Generosity and fairness dictate that we forget the past with all of its real, perceived and imagined wrongs. We cannot change the past. We can only live for today. Each day is a fresh new day and can be lived without the blame, guilt and baggage of our yesterdays. In most respects the past is an unwanted burden. To be fair we must begin each day with a new and clean slate. We have too little time to be spinning our wheels over yesterdays ground. Yesterday is a cancelled check. We must live for today and look to tomorrow with great hope and confidence….” Does this sound good to you?
This is actually the approach of communists, socialists and social deconstructionists and unfortunately is the attitude most of our children have about studying and learning from history. Frederick Wilhelmson summed-up today’s attitudes with these words, “history is no longer a category of the consciousness.” Amnesia is now considered the chief quality of social and historical value and global significance. They say we cannot permit today’s problems and challenges to be muddled-up by yesterday’s experiences. “Who we are” is the sum total of our memories. My memory is me. To ignore my past is to not know or care who I am. This is a personal form of character and cultural homicide. For me to cooperate in this effort is suicide.
History is a rehearsal of our individual and communities past and past memories. M.E. Bradford wrote a wonderful book titled Remembering Who We Are. The title is not “Remembering Who We Were.” Remembering the past, remembering who we are is that essential element that makes life a continuum and what makes us capable of having a culture. A second benefit in remembering the past is that it supplies the material for the faculties we call reason and conscience. The better our memory of the past, the better is the possibility of a higher level of intelligence; that is, the ability to perceive things for what they are and to grasp their relationship in a proper perspective. Without reason and conscience there is no civilization. Man becomes like the animals making constant war on those around him the way the strong devour the weak. In that society might always makes right. What is right is defined by who survives and, of course, they are the ones remaining to write the history.
Intellectuality rests upon our power to recall, recollect, and associate things not present or things only suggested by what is present. Consciousness is largely memory. An attack on memory is an attack on the cognitive abilities, an attack on man’s mind in an effort to re-form his thinking3/4we call this “brainwashing.”
Any attack on memory is a calculated assault on man’s freedom to think and to make decisions for himself. Without a memory, an accurate memory, we cannot preserve a conscious identity, that of self or our community. Memory is not the random product of repeated association but one of inclination and focus. Only in this manner can we learn from our past experiences. Memory is active, selective, and creative. We are not able to reconstruct, that is, revise, history. We can only recognize how it was originally constructed. And, the more deeply we penetrate the significance of past events, the more we can be accurately informed and change our perspectives when needed. History defines us. We do not define history. We recognise it.
Memory may be weakened by two common but important ways: First, through disuse. Memory is strengthened by remembering, that is recollecting, the past. Second, memory is weakened by interference and distraction, often through a scattering of our attention. This may be accomplished in the same way a slight-of-hand artist does his work, by diversion and substitution.
While teaching at Columbia Union College I hired Mr. Fingers, a slight-of-hand magician, an artist of deception. He visited my school’s fine cafeteria doing his demonstration from table to table for groups of three to eight students at a time. He would take a paper napkin and pull it up by its center between his thumb and index finger. Then he would burn the napkin from the top for about two inches. Then he would roll up the burned napkin into a small ball. Then he would unfold it to reveal a perfect napkin, not burnt. He did this at least 20 times around the cafeteria with students close around his hands trying to see how it was done. No one could figure it out but when he left the cafeteria he had 20 burnt napkins in his left coat pocket. He used diversion and substitution. He understood how to refocus our attention so as to permit the substitution through diversion. This is what is happening in how and what our schools teach in their history classes. Let’s look at this word “recollection.” Recollection is a pulling together in an organized manner. There is an old country expression my family used to use describing a person who became too distracted. They said he was “beside himself,” meaning that he was not in possession of his full faculties. This is where politicians (not statesmen), egalitarian academics and the media live, move, and have their being. They are presentist, always wanting to know “how you feel” at the present time about something. If I hear Cokie Roberts or Barbara Walters ask this question one more time to an individual who has just suffered a great tragedy you may have to visit me in Virginia’s Eastern State Mental Hospital. “Presence of mind” always means “presence of memory,” or organized thought.
While recognizing the great service of memory Richard Weaver wrote, our “Memories inhibit us and even spoil our pleasures.”
Today’s chief enemy to history is presentism, which wants to live in the present without assuming the responsibility for an accurate knowledge of the past. Present time is empirical, not conceptual. It strikes at the restraints of man’s actions without considering what these restraints were in place to preserve. It presents the desire to be free of the old painful bloody lessons taught at such tragic costs in times past and to be free of present obligations learned from those past experiences. This is an alluring waywardness which fits the definition of the behavior of a psycho-path. At best this view is irrelevant to the present and creates a concrete discontinuity to organized intelligent thought. Remembering the past is not vain nor a whine by the descendents of those who lost the War between the States and who are frustrated about having lost their country and culture. It is the truly responsible and reasonable intellectual approach by those who seek to preserve their dignity and the possibility of a future peaceful existence.
With that said, before we put something behind us we should be sure it should be placed there. From year to year there is much we may need to learn from our past experiences3/4new lessons to meet our level of growth and developing opportunities. But, the folks in the North never leave it alone nor want to forget our past, yet they do not want to really recollect that past accurately.
The intentional targeting of defenseless civilian populations has been a common practice of the United States ever since World War II. Its hideous precedent was established and codified by the United States during Mr. Lincoln’s war against the people of the Confederate States of America. This was a genocidal war against both black and white Southron civilians as well as a racist exercise in ethnic cleansing.
Lincoln was so determined to keep the South as an economic resource that he first invaded six Northern and border States whose governors refused to call-up their militia to support his invasion of the sovereign Southern States. This action is now being recognized as a radical Republican executive and military coup. Only Congress was authorized by the Constitution to increase the number of troops or order them to active duty. The Constitution forbade the sending of federal troops against a member State. Lincoln deposed and arrested dozens of democratically elected State officers and representatives who were so vulgar as to disagree with his policies. In 1863 an international convention held in Geneva, Switzerland codified international law with regard to the “Conduct of War.” The convention took the principles of “civilized” warfare that had evolved during the previous two centuries by Christian European nations and declared them to be international law that should be obeyed by all civilized societies. The Geneva Convention concluded that it should be considered a war crime, punishable by imprisonment or death, for a military force to attack defenseless civilians and towns, plunder civilian property, take civilians hostage or take food from civilian populations against their will and without appropriate compensation.
These civilized (most of you know I prefer the term ruralized since rural peoples are more peaceful than city peoples) practices were in common use by the military of the Confederate States. Confederate armies following classical thought, before the Geneva Convention, already were “required to take nothing” from the civilian population, and “to purchase” needed provisions at a “fair price” from willing sellers, a common practice during wartime. War was to be between opposing military forces, soldiers, and not against civilians (that is, women, children, and the elderly) so far as possible. Even Israel backed their tank corps away from a strategic hill in Beirot, Lebanon when they saw that Middle East College, a private Christian school and seminary, was in the direct line of fire. They surrendered the hill rather than involving civilians, not necessarily a practice they honour today.
The Lincoln administration superficially adopted the principles of the Geneva Convention in General Order 100, known as the “Lieber Code.” But it had a giant loophole that permitted federal commanders to completely ignore, that means “violate” the entire code if “in their discretion,” they felt the events were such that they “thought” they ought to do so. The interpretation of this code became so loose that it was commonly acceptable and ordered for the U.S. military to kill civilians on sight for any or no reason.
The code was written by Francis Lieber, a Columbia University law professor. The Lieber Code was, in truth, a clever piece of propaganda written to satisfy the few remaining northern Christians and European governments critical of their conduct of the war. Thomas DeLorenzo, professor of economics at Loyola College, writes:
The Code’s author was the German legal scholar Francis Lieber, an advisor to Otto von Bismarck and a staunch advocate of centralized governmental power. In his writings Lieber denounced the federal system of government created by the American founding fathers as having created “confederacies of petty sovereigns” and dismissed the Jeffersonian philosophy of government as a collection of “obsolete ideas.” In Germany he was arrested several times for subversive activities. He was a perfect ideological fit with Lincoln’s own political philosophy and was just the man Lincoln wanted to outline the rules of war for his administration.
From the very beginning of the war against the Confederate States of America, the Lincoln government intentionally and systematically targeted defenseless civilian populations. (And, who are the civilians? That’s right. They are the women, children, and the elderly.) His Secretary of War Winfield Scott’s battle plan, known as the “Anaconda Plan,” blockaded all Southern ports and inland waterways in order to “strangle and starve” the Southern civilians. (And, we know who they are.) The plan’s purpose was to demoralize the women, children and elderly left at home. Its design included keeping food, shelter (even their homes), drugs and medicine out of the hands of all Confederate civilians even when it meant abandoning thousands of their own soldiers in Southern prisoner of war camps. The concept was so efficient and demoralizing to Southern civilians that President Bush called his plan of attack against his hated Islamic enemies, who he thinks destroyed the Twin Towers of New York, Operation Anaconda.
Lincoln’s plan was a radical departure from Western civilized ethics and practices of the conduct of war. Emmerich de Vattel (1714-67), the Swiss jurist and author of The Law of Nations and world expert on the practice and conduct of war, wrote: “The people, the peasants, the citizens, take no part in
Actual genocide and ethnic cleansing by U.S. military forces began early in its invasion of the Confederacy at the first major battle of the war, the battle of First Manassas in July 1861. U.S. military forces first plundered and then burned private homes across northern Virginia. This violation of the basic constitutional and human rights of Virginians quickly became pervasive and the commonly accepted practice of U.S. military commanders. It became officially established as U.S. policy on 20 June 1862, one year into the war. Remember, most often, military policy changes occur following the existing changes in common practice.
So violent and savage was this practice that the Commanding General of the Army of the Potomac, the Army of the United States, General George McClellan, a trained and educated soldier who recognized the character of these events from the beginning, wrote Lincoln from Harrison’s Landing imploring him to conduct the war according to “the highest principles known to Christian civilization” and to “avoid knowingly” targeting the civilian population. He wrote:
It should not be a war looking to the subjugation of the people of any State in any event. It should not be at all a war upon populations, but against armed forces and political organizations. Neither confiscation of property, political executions of persons, territorial organization of States, nor forcible abolition of slavery, should be contemplated for a moment.
Lincoln’s response was to ignore his letter and replace McClellan as head of the United States Armed Forces. McClellan was so convicted concerning Lincoln’s conduct of the war that he ran against Lincoln as the Democratic candidate for president in 1864. The war’s goal was clearly manifested from its beginning. It was the extermination or total subjugation of the Southern peoples.
Mark Grimsley in The Hard Hand of War observed that the U.S. Army was full of “thieves, freelance foragers, and officers willing to look the other way,” and that by October 1861 General Louis Blenker’s division “was already burning houses and public buildings along its line of march” in Virginia. Early in the summer of 1861, before the Battle of First Manassas the Army of the Potomac was known for “robbing hen roosts, killing hogs, slaughtering beef cattle, cows, the burning of a house or two and the plundering of others.”
In 1862 General Sheridan adopted the theory of “collective responsibility” in an unethical, violent and feeble-minded attempt to “justify” attacking innocent defenseless civilians. (Who were these civilians? They were the ones not in the army. They were the women, children, and the elderly.) In retaliation for his own poor performance as a tactician and general on the field of battle, a theory and practice won the praise of his commander-in-chief, President Lincoln. Sheridan adopted this theory earlier articulated by U.S. General Pope who commanded his army to plunder and kill, at will, civilians. Sherman later termed this practice as “the final solution.”
Sheridan was careful to not leave too much in writing, but at one point he suggested that General Louis D. Watkins “burn ten or twelve houses of known secessionists, kill a few at random, and let them know that it will be repeated every time a train is fired on from Resaca to Kingston.” He was only advising other generals to follow what he and others had already put into practice.
Pope had commanded that “All villages and neighborhoods … will be laid under contribution.” Any males wishing to retain their homes were commanded to take the U.S. Loyalty Oath or be shot. Many were not given the option. Subsequently, Sheridan, as had Pope, burned the entire towns. He burned Randolph, Tennessee to the ground because Confederate snipers were firing at Union gunboats on the Mississippi River. He then took civilian hostages (who were these hostages?3/4women, children, and the elderly) and either traded them for federal prisoners of war, a barbaric and radical departure from the commonly acceptable practices of civilized warfare, or murdered them. Memphis was destroyed and left unpopulated for three years after the war.
This practice had been universally held in contempt for hundreds of years by European governments. Dozens of Southern towns in Southern States no longer existed by the end of the war. At times Sheridan summarily had unarmed civilians shot on sight. In the federal Official Records of the War there are accounts of U.S. soldiers shooting peaceful old men, women and children from the windows of trains during troop transport. Some whom they shot were guilty of the high crime of plowing their fields or walking down a sidewalk or simply “being a Southerner.” Terrorists have no conscience. General Sheridan saw all Southern civilians as guilty and mostly they were guilty of being Christians and believing the South was just in its cause. He said, “First. Deal as hard blows to the enemy’s soldiers as possible, and cause so much suffering to the inhabitants of the country that they will long for peace and press their government to make it. Nothing should be left to the people but eyes to lament the war.”
Sheridan turned the beautiful Shenandoah Valley into “the valley of the shadow of death.” By the end of the first year of the war, “authorized foraging,” meaning pillaging and plundering and raping, became the plan of attack against the Southern economy and civilian population. When a man in his army was killed he would burn all the houses within a five-mile radius and kill some if not all civilians in the area. So indiscriminate were these planned massacres that some of the dead were supporters of the U.S. war effort, but that made no difference to the quality of men serving in and commanding the ranks of Lincoln’s war effort. United States armed forces made certain the towns were clear of Confederate troops and snipers before sending their “forces” against the civilians. Their plan of attack faced the terrors of assaulting positions held by the elderly, women and children as they did their chores and played.
General Philip Sheridan evacuated and in some areas exterminated the Shenandoah Valley. He burned everything. He boasted in a letter to General Grant that in a few days he had “destroyed 2,200 barns … over 70 mills … driven in front of the army over 4,000 head of stock … killed not less than 3,000 sheep…. Tomorrow I will continue the destruction.” Upon receiving this report President Lincoln at the Executive Mansion in Washington, D.C. on 22 October 1864 wrote to General Sheridan: “With great pleasure I tender to you and your brave army the thanks of the nation and my own personal admiration and gratitude for the month’s operations in the Shenandoah Valley.” Earlier on 11 October Sheridan had written, “I know of no way to exterminate them except to burn out the whole country.” Sheridan’s troops in letters to their families described themselves as “barn burners” and “destroyers of homes.” One soldier bragged of “burning 60 homes.” The main exercise of his “military efforts” was against Southern civilians. Nearly all were women, children, or elderly men. This continued for four years.
In the autumn of 1864, after the withdrawal of the Confederate Army from the devastated Shenandoah Valley, General Grant ordered Sheridan to turn the valley into a “desert.” He did. William T. Patterson, a sergeant in Sheridan’s army, described the continued pillaging, plundering, and burning by Sheridan of Harrisonburg, Bridgewater, and Dayton, Virginia:
The work of destruction is commencing in the suburbs of the town…. The whole country around is wrapped in flames, the heavens are aglow with the light thereof … such mourning, such lamentations, such crying and pleading for mercy I never saw nor never want to see again, some were wild, crazy, mad, some cry for help while others throw their arms around yankee soldiers necks and implore mercy. Negroes, free and slave, were constantly targeted. Current figures place the death total of Southern negroes at 800,000 to 1,200,000. Negroes were targeted more often than Southern whites. Mark Grimsley writes of these generous liberators: “With the utter disregard for blacks that was the norm among Union troops, the soldiers ransacked the slave cabins, taking whatever they liked.”
A common practice of U.S. troops was to put a hangman’s noose around the slave’s neck and threaten to hang or, indeed, actually hang him unless he told where the household’s jewelry, silverware, and money were hidden. Their rape of black women was more common than that of white women. Negroes were randomly drowned, beaten, raped, placed in concentration camps and starved to death, or shot by occupying U.S. military forces, a face of this war not touched by Ken Burns and the PBS Civil War Specials. There were mass graves around the South of large numbers of Negroes killed by the invading U.S. military. In Sanders, Louisiana, 2,000 Negroes went to the U.S. army asking for help. Many of them were ill. The U.S. placed in them in a concentration camp and gave them neither food nor water until they were all dead. National Public Television showed where the U.S. Army drowned over 800 Negroes at bayonet point in a river near Charleston, South Carolina, thus saving ammunition.
Mark Grimsley wrote a first hand account of the sacking of Fredericksburg, Virginia in December of 1862:
"Great three-story houses furnished magnificently were broken into and their contents scattered over the floors and trampled on by the muddy feet of the solders. Splendid alabaster vases and pieces of statuary were thrown at 6 and 700 dollar mirrors. Closets of the very finest China were broken into and their contents smashed … rosewood pianos piled in the street and burned…. Identical events occurred in dozens of other Southern cities and towns for four years." Lee Kennett, Sherman biographer, says that historians radically downplay the horror of Lincoln’s war on civilians and admits that Had the Confederates somehow won, had their victory put them in position to bring their chief opponents before some sort of tribunal, they would have found themselves justified … in stringing up President Lincoln and the entire Union high command for violations of the laws of war, specifically for waging war against noncombatants.
Describing Sherman’s New York regiments he adds that they “were filled with big city criminals and foreigners fresh from the jails of the Old World.” It took coercion to get some Northern men to do the criminal acts Lincoln and his generals commanded. Sherman admitted after the war that what he had been taught at West Point would indicate that he “could be hanged” for the things he did in the war. The British and much of Europe clearly understood the reason for the war and its true nature and its conduct. In December of 1861 Charles Dickens wrote that he detested slavery as most living in the North and the South did, but said:"the northern onslaught upon slavery was no more than a piece of specious humbug designed to conceal its desire for economic control of the Southern States. “Union” means so many millions [of dollars] lost to the south; secession means the loss of the same millions to the north. The love of money is the root of this as of many other evils … the quarrel between north and south is, as it stands, solely a fiscal quarrel."
Virginia became the first victim of this genocidal Total War policy, suffering its effects first under Generals Sheridan, Pope, Banks, Blenker, Butler, Hunter and dozens of other U.S. generals. Virginia suffered more plundering, the murder of her civilians en masse, and devastation from this policy than any other State, even more than Georgia and South Carolina.
When these memories are brought into the open some people feel that the South is still fighting the war, but in reality the U.S. is still trying to cleanse their culture of their Southernness, especially her Christianity. Much to the continuing dismay of northerners the South continues to memorialize its mass graves and holocaust in much the same manner as the Jews remember their days of suffering and extermination under the Nazis. Because the South lost the war there is no public or governmental review and recognition of these crimes against humanity.
Thomas DiLorenzo in his essay “The Other Reparations Movement” writes:
Unable to subdue their enemy combatants, many Union officers waged war on civilians instead, with Lincoln’s full knowledge and approval. Grimsley describes how Union Colonel John Beatty warned the residents of Paint Rock, Alabama, that “Every time the telegraph wire was cut we would burn a house; every time a train was fired upon we would hang a man; and we would continue to do this until every house was burned and every man hanged between Decatur and Bridgeport.” Beatty ended up burning the entire town of Paint Rock to the ground. These were the actions of barbarians, not a civilized army. With the approval of President Lincoln, the U.S. Army, DiLorenzo continues, “pillaged, plundered, burned, and raped its way through the South for four years.” In like manner General Sherman destroyed the cities of Jackson and Meridian, Mississippi. In a letter to General Grant, Sherman boasted, “The inhabitants [of Jackson] are subjugated. They cry aloud for mercy. The land is devastated for 30 miles around.” He had to devastate the land since he could not defeat the army. Sherman bragged about the destruction he wrought on Meridian after the complete evacuation of the Confederate Army. He wrote, “for five days, ten thousand of our men worked hard and with a will, in that work of destruction, with axes, sledges, crowbars, clawbars and with fire…. Meridian no longer exists.
Sherman was advised by his chief engineer, Captain O.M. Poe, that the bombardment of Atlanta would achieve no advantage since the city was of no military significance and the Confederate Army had withdrawn from the city. He implored Sherman to stop the destruction after seeing the bodies of dead women and children in the streets. Sherman responded that “their bodies were a beautiful sight” and continued until he had destroyed 90 percent of all the buildings in Atlanta. The movie Gone with the Wind did not show the masses of the dead lying in the center of the city to be civilians, women, children, and the elderly. The remaining 2,000 residents were evicted from their homes. The scenes of the burning of Atlanta from Gone With The Wind, as dramatic as they were, hardly portrayed the devastation of Atlanta and its civilian population. Winter was approaching. Sherman was more thorough than Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.For the North this was not largely a war against an opposing army; it was a slaughter of defenseless civilians3/4children, women and the elderly. His men systematically burned hospitals, homes, churches, schools, colleges, libraries and seats of city, county and state governments. They burned Bibles, hymnals, photographs of Southern individuals and families, and county, city, and State government records. Sherman wrote that eighty percent of his army’s warfare was directed against civilians and their property. He boasted that his army destroyed $100 million in private property and carried home $20 million more during one short period of his march to the sea, and bragged about shooting civilians who simply disagreed with him. No home escaped robbery and no woman escaped insult. He permitted his men to leave women who were in the advanced state of pregnancy lying in the snow, gang-raped, with no food, no shelter, and no hope. Many died. Sherman wrote, “all the people are now guerrillas.” Sherman’s biographer, John Marszalek, wrote that Sherman “saw everyone south of the Mason-Dixon Line as an implacable enemy.” This clearly defines the war effort as an exercise in genocide. There is also clear evidence that this was Lincoln’s intent from the beginning of the war. On 31 July 1862 General Sherman wrote his wife explaining his goal and the strategy he planned to use “against the Southern people,” against non-combatants and not just the military, with these words: “extermination, not of soldiers alone . . . but the people.” Sherman’s tender wife, his source of inspiration, wrote him back, saying that she wanted “a war of extermination and that all [Southron’s] would be driven like swine into the sea. May we carry fire and sword in their state till not one habitation is left standing.”
This dominant attitude in the North led one Northern soldier, Lt. Thomas J. Myers, to write:
I have no time for particulars. We have had a glorious time in this State [South Carolina]. Unrestricted license to burn and plunder [rape and kill] was the order of the day. The chivalry have been stripped of most of their valuables.
General Sherman has gold and silver enough to start a bank. His share in gold watches and chains alone at Columbia was two hundred and seventy-five.
We took gold and silver enough from the damned rebels [the women and their homes] to have redeemed their infernal currency twice over.
The damned niggers, as a general thing, preferred to stay at home, particularly after they found out that we wanted only the able-bodied men, and to tell the truth, the youngest and best looking women. Sometimes we took them off by way of repaying influential secessionists. But a part of these [thousands] we soon managed to lose, sometimes in crossing rivers [drowned 800 at bayonet point at one time in Charleston], sometimes in other ways. I shall write you again from Wilmington, Goldsboro, or some other place in North Carolina…. Love to grandmother and Aunt Charlotte. Take care of yourself and the children. Don’t show this letter out of the family.
Your affectionate husband
This sounds like the press of today as when George Will called for a strategy of war against terrorists that includes killing their leaders and as many of our adversaries as possible. Will wrote “U.S. strategy [in war] should maximize fatalities among the enemy, rather than expedite the quickest possible cessation of hostilities.”This Shermanesque blind rage of primitive hatred and bigotry is passed from one generation to the next. This was exactly the approach of Sheridan, Grant, Banks, Butler and most Northern commanders. General Sherman said: “I fear the world will jump to the wrong conclusion that because I am in Atlanta the work is done. Far from it. We must kill three hundred thousand [more than the total number of those left in the Confederate Army] … and the further they run the harder for us to get them.”
In 1864, just before his March to the Sea, Sherman declared “We must kill 300,000,” referring to civilians. Concerning the extermination of Southern men he wrote, “that the present class of men who rule the South must be killed outright.” Sherman wrote, “I would not restrain the army, lest its vigor and energy should be impaired.” There are hundreds of such statements explicitly defining this genocidal approach to civilians made by many northern generals, politicians, writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, and news media persons before and during this war. And if that weren’t enough the current news media praises Sherman as a saint for these policies and actions as we recently saw in the writings of the pseudo-conservative columnist and advocate of genocide, George Will. Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin had such supporters, like George Will, of their identical policies, who soothed the ears of those who might feel a twinge of conscience at such radical actions.
U.S. President Abraham Lincoln urged and supported these radical actions taken by his commanders from the beginning of the war. Typical of his and congressional U.S. support of a genocidal war against the South is the Preamble to House Resolution #97, also known as the “Retaliatory Orders,” which was passed by both houses of Congress in January of 1865:
Rebel prisoners in our hands are to be subjected to a treatment finding its parallels only in the conduct of savage tribes and resulting in death of multitudes by the slow but designed process of starvation and by mortal diseases occasioned by insignificant and unhealthy food and wanton exposure of their persons to the inclemency of the weather. It is nearly impossible to make an accurate report concerning the death toll of Southern civilians.
Recently, Joseph Stromberg in his essay “Strategies of Annihilation: Total War in US History,” raises the question as to what happened to the 50,000 missing Southern civilians who disappeared along Sherman’s line of march to the sea. Sherman’s own account of this march notes thousands of atrocities he permitted and ordered against both black and white Southern civilians. It should be noted that only “a small portion” of such actions were documented in the federal government’s Official Records of the War (the “O.R.”). Enough was documented to shame any barbarian or civilized people. Wayne Carlson of Dublin, Virginia recently wrote:
It was actually Unionist armies, under generals like Sherman and Sheridan in Virginia that most closely resemble the murderous fanaticism we attribute to those we are presently slaughtering, referring to the Taliban and Al-Qaida … [and that] these kinds of facts have been too long closeted in the dark shadows of Yankee self-righteousness.
The northern news media that survived Lincoln’s period of media-cleansing, when he destroyed 325 presses, praised this new level of fanaticism and barbarism. Where are the unremitting condemnations that should be burning the government-controlled media airways from the lapdog press, the halls of Marxist academia, and our more gentle and ever more sensitive politicians who “feel our pain”?
On 9 October 1864 General Sherman wrote General Grant at City Point, Virginia: “Until we can repopulate Georgia, it is useless to occupy it, but the utter destruction of its roads, houses, and people will cripple their military resources…. I can make the march, and make Georgia howl.” Genocide on a massive scale was the continuing war policy of the U.S. government.
U.S. General O.O. Howard on 16 October 1864 wrote: “They [his troops] took from women and children the last morsel of food. In some cases these things were done … in a manner as if it were frolic.”
Only mentally weak and twisted men, like Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin, set goals that make war on women, children and old men. General Sherman wrote to General Kilpatrick: “Let the people [civilians] know that the war is now against them…. It is petty nonsense for Wheeler and Beauregard and such vain heroes to talk of our warring against women and children. If they claim to be men they should defend their women and children and prevent us reaching their homes.”
The Cherokee saw the South set-up its government without violence and without the suspension of civil law or the closing of civil courts. They observed that military power was “nowhere placed above civil authorities.” No one was seized and put in prison by the arbitrary use of power. They saw a unanimous South exercising its right to self-government separating itself from a union with the Northern States. In the South they saw citizens voluntarily rising almost to the man to defend against the invasion of northern armies. They also observed that “nowhere has it been found [by the Confederates] necessary to compel men to serve or to enlist mercenaries by the offer of extraordinary bounties,” as had been done by the U.S. They witnessed the process by which the North was hiring foreign mercenaries by the hundreds of thousands. In their Declaration of War on the United States signed 28 October 1861, in the Northern States they witnessed:
…with alarm a violated Constitution, all civil liberty put in peril, and all rules of civilized warfare and the dictates of common humanity and decency unhesitatingly disregarded…. Military despotism has displaced the civil power and the law became silent amid arms. Free speech and almost free thought became a crime. The right to the writ of habeas corpus, guaranteed by the Constitution, disappeared at the nod of a Secretary of State or a general of the lowest grade. The mandate of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was set at naught by the military power, and this outrage on common right [common law] approved by a President sworn to support the Constitution. War on the largest scale was waged, and the immense bodies of troops called into the field in the absence of any law warranting it under the pretense of suppressing unlawful combination of men. The humanities of war, which even barbarians respect, were no longer thought worthy to be observed. Foreign mercenaries and the scum of [Northern] cities and the inmates of prisons were enlisted and organized into regiments and brigades and sent into Southern States to aid in subjugating a people struggling for freedom, to burn, to plunder, and to commit the basest of outrages on women; while the heels of armed tyranny trod upon the necks of Maryland and Missouri, and men of the highest character and position were incarcerated upon suspicion and without process of law in jails, in forts, and in prison-ships, and even women were imprisoned by the arbitrary order of a President and Cabinet ministers; while the press ceased to be free, the publication of newspapers was suspended and their issues seized and destroyed; the officers and men taken prisoners in battle were allowed to remain in captivity by the refusal of their Government to consent to an exchange of prisoners; as they had left their dead on more than one field of battle that had witnessed their defeat to be buried and their wounded to be cared for by Southern hands.
The war now raging is a war of Northern cupidity and fanaticism against the institution of African servitude; against the commercial freedom of the South, and against the political freedom of the States, and its objects are to annihilate the sovereignty of those States and utterly change the nature of the General Government.
These issues were clear to the Cherokees, Creeks, Seminoles, Choctaws, and Chickasaws, peoples called savages in the U.S. Constitution, in the first three months of the war. However, it seems to not be so clear to today’s “defenders of democracy.” By October of 1861 it had become universally clear whom the true savages were, an opinion shared by nearly all in civilized Europe and many of us now living.