October 5, 1877: Fight No More Forever

Wednesday, October 5, AD 2016

I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohoolhoolzoote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say, “Yes” or “No.” He who led the young men [Ollokot] is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are — perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.

Purported speech of Chief Joseph at the surrender of the Nez Perce on October 5, 1877

The epic attempt of 750 Nez Perce to escape to Canada in 1877 is the stuff of legend.  General Sherman, never accused of being overly sympathetic to Indians to say the least, paid a high professional tribute to the Nez Perce conduct in this conflict in the closing sad saga of the conquest of the West:

Thus has terminated one of the most extraordinary Indian wars of which there is any record. The Indians throughout displayed a courage and skill that elicited universal praise; they abstained from scalping, let captive women go free, did not commit indiscriminate murder of peaceful families which is usual, and fought with almost scientific skill, using advance and rear guards, skirmish-lines and field-fortifications.

The conflict began as usual over land, with the Nez Perce tribe divided by factions that had signed treaties granting land to the US government and factions which refused to sign.  The Army in May of 1877, in the midst of rising tensions between the Nez Perce and settlers, ordered the non-Treaty faction to a reservation.  The Nez Perce began to make preparations to make the move.  Small raiding parties of Nez Perce murdered some 21 settlers, allegedly in retaliation for murders of Nez Perce by settlers.  This was done without the approval of the leaders of the Nez Perce.  Chief Joseph, the leader of one of the non-treaty bands, considered an appeal to Brigadier General O.O. Howard, but decided that after the raids a peaceful resolution was impossible.  Hence the decision to flee to Canada.

Over 1,170 miles, through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana  against US troops eventually numbering 2000 soldiers, the 250 combatants of the Nez Perce fought eighteen engagements, including four pitched battles, from June-October while protecting 500 noncombatant women and kids.  Incredibly some one hundred and fifty of the Nez Perce did escape to Canada.  The majority of the Nez Perce, some 418, surrendered on October 5.  The speech by Chief Joseph is poignant and is well remembered.  However, how much of it he actually said is open to question.  The speech was taken down by Lieutenant C.E.S. Wood, later a poet and writer, as well as an attorney of note.  The two men became good friends and it is possible that Wood embellished what Chief Joseph actually said.

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3 Responses to October 5, 1877: Fight No More Forever

  • About the land guys. All about the land. Since beginning of time. who owns and controls knows that “all new wealth comes from the land”. These people before us experienced what we are now experiencing. “We will squeeze them like toothpaste out of a tube”. Kenneth E. Boulding, Think Tank participant on The committee For “economic development” back in the 50’s. It’s all there in black and white what the elites, bankers, Trade entities, acedemia and government intended for our world. Reference to Boulding’s comments were about farmer’s, rancher’s rural America, independent mom and pop business.Participants were whose who of wealth and power. Intended concentration of control.

  • Now, the American citizen, constituents of the president and sovereign persons who institute government are being displaced and robbed by robber barons often called elites. Bill Clinton wrote an executive order that made all public lands and waterways an asset of government under the control of the chief executive. SEE: Cliven Bundy. Turns out Harry Reid wanted the government land for his son in law.
    Obama wrote executive order 13575 allowing government agents to access your private property without permission and take possession of it if the agents did not like the way you run your farm. The Homestead Act was removed from the internet. SEE INDWELLERS. The court found for people living in national parks and let them live there.
    All free lands and waterways belong to each and every person in joint and common tenancy as does the American Flag. Executive Orders are not to be endured unless they benefit the common good. So, if Hillary wins the presidency, she will be in control of that supervolcano called Yellowstone National Park.

  • Thanks for posting. Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce were about 2 lines in my history book.

Quotes Suitable for Framing: William Tecumseh Sherman

Friday, October 23, AD 2015


I think we can whip them in Alabama and it may be Georgia, but the Devils seem to have a determination that cannot but be admired. No amount of poverty or adversity seems to shake their faith. Slaves gone, wealth & luxury gone, money worthless, starvation in view within a period of two or three years, are Causes enough to make the bravest tremble, yet I see no signs of let up. Some few deserters are plenty tired of war, but the masses determined to fight it out.




Sherman pays a tribute to the Confederates in a letter dated to his wife March 12, 1864


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7 Responses to Quotes Suitable for Framing: William Tecumseh Sherman

  • Brave men served on both sides. Thank God, today we are blessed with such men and women in uniform.

  • What will happen today when liberal progressives start to use violence to force their homosexualism and gender equality policies down our throats? The blood bath of 1860 to 1865 wiill be mild in comparison.

  • Exactly when did Sherman say this? It must have been early in the war.
    His campaign thru Georgia and the Carolinas seems to have had the desired effect of breaking Southern morale, undermining confidence in the CSA gov’t and encouraging desertion.

  • It was on March 12, 1864. Southern morale did not start breaking until the winter of 64-65. Even then after the failure of the abortive peace conference most historians detect a resurgence in Confederate morale just before the end of the War. The Confederates fought on until almost every major city was occupied and all state capitals except Austin and Tallahassee. Theirs was truly a half past midnight resistance.

  • Regarding bravery, devotion to duty and full measure, The losses (37%) of the Light Brigade at Balaclava sink to insignificance when compared to 82% losses in the charge of the First Minnesota at Gettysburg (another comparison the First saved the line, the Light Brigade charge was a fiasco). The numbers of troops involved at Waterloo and Gettysburg were similar. However, the American losses were graver. The worst losses of a Prussian regiment in the Franco-Prussian War were 49%. In the Civil War, there were 64 Federal regiments and 53 Confederate regiments with casualties over 50% in single actions. There were 13 battles (not including Fort Donelson and Vicksburg) where one side or the other lost over 10,000. Among the greatest losses on both sides Gettysburg was the worst, then Spotsylvania – 36,800, then Wilderness 35,300, Chickamauga – 34,600, Chancellorsville – 30,000. Info source the Book: Campfires and Battlefields, A Pictorial Narrative of the Civil War by Rossiter Johnson, The Civil War Press, New York, 1967, Chapter entitled “The Measure of Valor.”

    Thinking of names: “Tecumseh.” A close friend of Alexander Hamilton was a man named Hercules Mulligan. I could have named my sons: Hercules, Achilles, and Agamemnon, except these are not Christian names.

  • “compared to 82% losses in the charge of the First Minnesota at Gettysburg”

    When they were ordered to charge they were on a rise and could see precisely the Confederate mass moving forward that they had to stop temporarily to buy time with their lives. Veteran soldiers, they knew what the cost to them would be. They did not hesitate. Incredibly the survivors of the regiment were involved in combat on the next day.

  • “Greet them ever with grateful hearts.” Chapter heading in Laurence Stallings’ book The Doughboys.

May 24, 1865: Grand Review-Sherman’s Army

Sunday, May 24, AD 2015



The day after the Army of the Potomac marched in final review through Washington, it was the turn of the 65,000 men of Sherman’s Army of Georgia.  Sherman was afraid that his weathered Westerners would make a poor showing in comparison to the spit and polish Army of the Potomac.

There had long been a keen rivalry between the Union troops in the East and the Union troops in the West.  The troops in the West thought the Army of the Potomac got all of the publicity while the troops in the West were winning the War.  The informal Westerners derided the Easterners as “paper collar” toy soldiers.  The Army of the Potomac tended to look upon the Western troops as uncouth barbarians, more armed mobs than armies, and men who won victories against second rate Confederate troops and generals while they did battle with Robert E. Lee and his first team of the Army of Northern Virginia.

There was no way Sherman’s men were going to let Uncle Billy down and let the Army of the Potomac show them up.  When they stepped off their uniforms were clean and repaired and they marched as if they had spent the War doing formal dress parades.  Sherman was immensely pleased:

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2 Responses to May 24, 1865: Grand Review-Sherman’s Army

  • I’ve read Sherman’s Memoirs and several biographies but I don’t recall the bit about Sherman hating “Marching through Georgia”. Thanks, I love these little details.

    What I find interesting is the reaction of the European powers. Seeing the military machine the US had created they could not but speculate where we would turn next. The idea of just sending all our soldiers home was too ridiculous to contemplate.

  • Agreed Mr. Collins.
    The German Ambassador reportedly said upon seeing Grant’s men “That army could beat all of Europe”, and then of Sherman’s “That army could beat the devil”.
    Too bad his successors a half century or more later forgot that lesson. The world could have been spared much agony had it been remembered.

Sherman: Telegraphs and Railroads

Thursday, April 30, AD 2015


Sherman at the end of his memoirs has a chapter on the military lessons of the war.  Two of the most prescient listed by him are the impact of the telegraph and railroads on the War:

For the rapid transmission of orders in an army covering a large space of ground, the magnetic telegraph is by far the best, though habitually the paper and pencil, with good mounted orderlies, answer every purpose. I have little faith in the signal-service by flags and torches, though we always used them; because, almost invariably when they were most needed, the view was cut off by intervening trees, or by mists and fogs. There was one notable instance in my experience, when the signal-flags carried a message. of vital importance over the heads of Hood’s army, which had interposed between me and Allatoona, and had broken the telegraph-wires–as recorded in Chapter XIX.; but the value of the magnetic telegraph in war cannot be exaggerated, as was illustrated by the perfect concert of action between the armies in Virginia and Georgia during 1864. Hardly a day intervened when General Grant did not know the exact state of facts with me, more than fifteen hundred miles away as the wires ran. So on the field a thin insulated wire may be run on improvised stakes or from tree to tree for six or more miles in a couple of hours, and I have seen operators so skillful, that by cutting the wire they would receive a message with their tongues from a distant station. As a matter of course, the ordinary commercial wires along the railways form the usual telegraph-lines for an army, and these are easily repaired and extended as the army advances, but each army and wing should have a small party of skilled men to put up the field-wire, and take it down when done. This is far better than the signal-flags and torches. Our commercial telegraph-lines will always supply for war enough skillful operators.

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April 21, 1865: Stanton to Grant: Hostilities to Be Resumed

Tuesday, April 21, AD 2015






Sherman and Johnston


For all his world weary cynicism, General Sherman was a complete innocent when it came to political matters, in which he had little interest.  He demonstrated this by the terms of the memorandum of agreement which he entered into with General Johnston on April 18, 1865:

T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.


Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, or Major-General HALLECK, Washington, D. C.

GENERAL: I inclose herewith a copy of an agreement made this day between General Joseph E. Johnston and myself, which, if approved by the President of the United States, will produce peace from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. Mr. Breckenridge was present at our conference, in the capacity of major-general, and satisfied me of the ability of General Johnston to carry out to their full extent the terms of this agreement; and if you will get the President to simply indorse the copy, and commission me to carry out the terms, I will follow them to the conclusion.

You will observe that it is an absolute submission of the enemy to the lawful authority of the United States, and disperses his armies absolutely; and the point to which I attach most importance is, that the dispersion and disbandment of these armies is done in such a manner as to prevent their breaking up into guerrilla bands. On the other hand, we can retain just as much of an army as we please. I agreed to the mode and manner of the surrender of arms set forth, as it gives the States the means of repressing guerrillas, which we could not expect them to do if we stripped them of all arms.

Both Generals Johnston and Breckenridge admitted that slavery was dead, and I could not insist on embracing it in such a paper, because it can be made with the States in detail. I know that all the men of substance South sincerely want peace, and I do not believe they will resort to war again during this century. I have no doubt that they will in the future be perfectly subordinate to the laws of the United States. The moment my action in this matter is approved, I can spare five corps, and will ask for orders to leave General Schofield here with the Tenth Corps, and to march myself with the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Seventeenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-third Corps via Burkesville and Gordonsville to Frederick or Hagerstown, Maryland, there to be paid and mustered out.

The question of finance is now the chief one, and every soldier and officer not needed should be got home at work. I would like to be able to begin the march north by May 1st.

I urge, on the part of the President, speedy action, as it is important to get the Confederate armies to their homes as well as our own.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.

Memorandum, or Basis of agreement, made this 18th day of April, A. D. 1865, near Durham’s Station, in the State of North Carolina, by and between General Joseph E. JOHNSTON, commanding the Confederate Army, and Major-General William T. SHERMAN, commanding the army of the United States in North Carolina, both present:

1. The contending armies now in the field to maintain the statu quo until notice is given by the commanding general of any one to its opponent, and reasonable time–say, forty-eight hours–allowed.

2. The Confederate armies now in existence to be disbanded and conducted to their several State capitals, there to deposit their arms and public property in the State Arsenal; and each officer and man to execute and file an agreement to cease from acts of war, and to abide the action of the State and Federal authority. The number of arms and munitions of war to be reported to the Chief of Ordnance at Washington City, subject to the future action of the Congress of the United States, and, in the mean time, to be needed solely to maintain peace and order within the borders of the States respectively.

3. The recognition, by the Executive of the United States, of the several State governments, on their officers and Legislatures taking the oaths prescribed by the Constitution of the United States, and, where conflicting State governments have resulted from the war, the legitimacy of all shall be submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States.

4. The reestablishment of all the Federal Courts in the several States, with powers as defined by the Constitution of the United States and of the States respectively.

5. The people and inhabitants of all the States to be guaranteed, so far as the Executive can, their political rights and franchises, as well as their rights of personal property, as defined by the Constitution of the United States and of the States respectively.

6. The Executive authority of the Government of the United States not to disturb any of the people by reason of the late war, so long as they live in peace and quiet, abstain from acts of armed hostility, and obey the laws in existence at the place of their residence.

7. In general terms–the war to cease; a general amnesty, so far as the Executive of the United States can command, on condition of the disbandment of the Confederate armies, the distribution of the arms, and the resumption of peaceful pursuits by the officers and men hitherto composing said armies.

Not being fully empowered by our respective principals to fulfill these terms, we individually and officially pledge ourselves to promptly obtain the necessary authority, and to carry out the above programme.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding Army of the United States in North Carolina.

J. E. JOHNSTON, General,
Commanding Confederate States Army in North Carolina.

The agreement had been masterminded by Breckenridge, a canny politician and former Vice-President of the United States.  If accepted, the agreement would have short-circuited Reconstruction and basically re-established state governments in the Confederate States as if the War had never occurred.  Lincoln would not have accepted this, and in the wake of his assassination the terms were angrily repudiated by Washington as indicated by this letter from Stanton to Grant:


War Department, Washington City, April 21, 1865

Lieutenant-General Grant.


The memorandum or basis agreed upon between General Sherman and General Johnston having been submitted to the President, they are disapproved.  You will give notice of the disapproval to General Sherman, and direct him to resume hostilities at the earliest moment.

The instructions given to you by the late President, Abraham Lincoln, on the 3d of March, by my telegraph of that date, addressed to you, express substantially the views of President Andrew Johnson, and will be observed by General Sherman.  A copy is herewith appended.

The President desires that you proceed immediately to the headquarters of Major-General Sherman, and direct operations against the enemy.

Yours truly,
Edwin M. Stanton,
Secretary of War.

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April 17, 1865: Sherman Meets With Johnston

Friday, April 17, AD 2015

Sherman and Johnston



One hundred and fifty years ago news traveled slowly outside of areas with operating telegraphs, and so it was that news of Lincoln’s assassination reached General Sherman in North Carolina on April 17, as he was on his way to discuss with General Joseph E. Johnston the surrender of Johnston’s army.  Here is the portion of Sherman’s memoirs where he discussed what happened at the meeting:

Just as we were entering the car, the telegraph-operator, whose office was up-stairs in the depot-building, ran down to me and said that he was at that instant of time receiving a most important dispatch in cipher from Morehead City, which I ought to see. I held the train for nearly half an hour, when he returned with the message translated and written out. It was from Mr. Stanton, announcing the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, the attempt on the life of Mr. Seward and son, and a suspicion that a like fate was designed for General Grant and all the principal officers of the Government. Dreading the effect of such a message at that critical instant of time, I asked the operator if any one besides himself had seen it; he answered No! I then bade him not to reveal the contents by word or look till I came back, which I proposed to do the same afternoon. The train then started, and, as we passed Morris’s Station, General Logan, commanding the Fifteenth Corps, came into my car, and I told him I wanted to see him on my return, as I had something very important to communicate. He knew I was going to meet General Johnston, and volunteered to say that he hoped I would succeed in obtaining his surrender, as the whole army dreaded the long march to Charlotte (one hundred and seventy-five miles), already begun, but which had been interrupted by the receipt of General Johnston’s letter of the 13th. We reached Durham’s, twenty-six miles, about 10 a.m., where General Kilpatrick had a squadron of cavalry drawn up to receive me. We passed into the house in which he had his headquarters, and soon after mounted some led horses, which he had prepared for myself and staff. General Kilpatrick sent a man ahead with a white flag, followed by a small platoon, behind which we rode, and were followed by the rest of the escort. We rode up the Hillsboro’ road for about five miles, when our flag bearer discovered another coming to meet him: They met, and word was passed back to us that General Johnston was near at hand, when we rode forward and met General Johnston on horseback, riding side by side with General Wade Hampton. We shook hands, and introduced our respective attendants. I asked if there was a place convenient where we could be private, and General Johnston said he had passed a small farmhouse a short distance back, when we rode back to it together side by side, our staff-officers and escorts following. We had never met before, though we had been in the regular army together for thirteen years; but it so happened that we had never before come together. He was some twelve or more years my senior; but we knew enough of each other to be well acquainted at once. We soon reached the house of a Mr. Bennett, dismounted, and left our horses with orderlies in the road. Our officers, on foot, passed into the yard, and General Johnston and I entered the small frame-house. We asked the farmer if we could have the use of his house for a few minutes, and he and his wife withdrew into a smaller log-house, which stood close by.

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The Peacemakers

Saturday, March 28, AD 2015

The Peacemakers


A historic meeting occurred between Lincoln, Grant and Sherman on March 27-28, 1865 at City Point, Virginia.  Sherman had no idea that President Lincoln was going to be there, he having traveled by sea from North Carolina to coordinate with Grant the final campaign of the War.  This meeting was memorialized in the 1868 painting The Peacemakers, which was suggested by Sherman:

In Chicago about June or July of that year, when all the facts were fresh in my mind, I told them to George P. A. Healy, the artist, who was casting about for a subject for an historical painting, and he adopted this interview. Mr. Lincoln was then dead, but Healy had a portrait, which he himself had made at Springfield some five or six years before. With this portrait, some existing photographs, and the strong resemblance in form of [Leonard Swett], of Chicago, to Mr. Lincoln he made the picture of Mr. Lincoln seen in this group. For General Grant, Admiral Porter, and myself he had actual sittings, and I am satisfied the four portraits in this group of Healy’s are the best extant. The original picture, life-size, is, I believe, now in Chicago, the property of Mr. [Ezra B. McCagg]; but Healy afterwards, in Rome, painted ten smaller copies, about eighteen by twenty-four inches, one of which I now have, and it is now within view. I think the likeness of Mr. Lincoln by far the best of the many I have seen elsewhere, and those of General Grant, Admiral Porter, and myself equally good and faithful. I think Admiral Porter gave Healy a written description of our relative positions in that interview, also the dimensions, shape, and furniture of the cabin of the “Ocean Queen”; but the rainbow is Healy’s—typical, of course, of the coming peace. In this picture I seem to be talking, the others attentively listening. Whether Healy made this combination from Admiral Porter’s letter or not, I cannot say; but I thought that he caught the idea from what I told him had occurred when saying that “if Lee would only remain in Richmond till I could reach Burkesville, we would have him between our thumb and fingers,” suiting the action to the word. It matters little what Healy meant by his historic group, but it is certain that we four sat pretty much as represented, and were engaged in an important conversation during the forenoon of March 28, 1865, and that we parted never to meet again.

The original painting was destroyed in a fire, and what we have now is a copy found in 1922, lying forgotten in a family storehouse in Chicago.  Harry Truman, ironically a proud card carrying member of Sons of Confederate Veterans, purchased the copy of the painting for the White House in 1947.

Here is Sherman’s recollections of the meeting from his Memoirs:


The railroad was repaired to Goldsboro’ by the evening of March 25th, when, leaving General Schofield in chief command, with a couple of staff-officers I started for City Point, Virginia, in a locomotive, in company with Colonel Wright, the constructing engineer. We reached Newbern that evening, which was passed in the company of General Palmer and his accomplished lady, and early the next morning we continued on to Morehead City, where General Easton had provided for us the small captured steamer Russia, Captain Smith. We put to sea at once and steamed up the coast, reaching Fortress Monroe on the morning of the 27th, where I landed and telegraphed to my brother, Senator Sherman, at Washington, inviting him to come down and return with me to Goldsboro. We proceeded on up James River to City Point, which we reached the same afternoon. I found General Grant, with his family and staff, occupying a pretty group of huts on the bank of James River, overlooking the harbor, which was full of vessels of all classes, both war and merchant, with wharves and warehouses on an extensive scale. The general received me most heartily, and we talked over matters very fully. After I had been with him an hour or so, he remarked that the President, Mr. Lincoln, was then on board the steamer River Queen, lying at the wharf, and he proposed that we should call and see him. We walked down to the wharf, went on board, and found Mr. Lincoln alone, in the after-cabin. He remembered me perfectly, and at once engaged in a most interesting conversation. He was full of curiosity about the many incidents of our great march, which had reached him officially and through the newspapers, and seemed to enjoy very much the more ludicrous parts-about the “bummers,” and their devices to collect food and forage when the outside world supposed us to be starving; but at the same time he expressed a good deal of anxiety lest some accident might happen to the army in North Carolina during my absence. I explained to him that that army was snug and comfortable, in good camps, at Goldsboro’; that it would require some days to collect forage and food for another march; and that General Schofield was fully competent to command it in my absence. Having made a good, long, social visit, we took our leave and returned to General Grant’s quarters, where Mrs. Grant had provided tea. While at the table, Mrs. Grant inquired if we had seen Mrs. Lincoln. “No,” said the general, “I did not ask for her;” and I added that I did not even know that she was on board. Mrs. Grant then exclaimed, “Well, you are a pretty pair!” and added that our neglect was unpardonable; when the general said we would call again the next day, and make amends for the unintended slight.

Early the next day, March 28th, all the principal officers of the army and navy called to see me, Generals Meade, Ord, Ingalls, etc., and Admiral Porter. At this time the River Queen was at anchor out in the river, abreast of the wharf, and we again started to visit Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln. Admiral Porter accompanied us. We took a small, tug at the wharf, which conveyed us on board, where we were again received most courteously by the President, who conducted us to the after-cabin. After the general compliments, General Grant inquired after Mrs. Lincoln, when the President went to her stateroom, returned, and begged us to excuse her, as she was not well. We then again entered upon a general conversation, during which General Grant explained to the President that at that very instant of time General Sheridan was crossing James River from the north, by a pontoon-bridge below City Point; that he had a large, well-appointed force of cavalry, with which he proposed to strike the Southside and Danville Railroads, by which alone General Lee, in Richmond, supplied his army; and that, in his judgment, matters were drawing to a crisis, his only apprehension being that General Lee would not wait long enough. I also explained that my army at Goldsboro’ was strong enough to fight Lee’s army and Johnston’s combined, provided that General Grant could come up within a day or so; that if Lee would only remain in Richmond another fortnight, I could march up to Burkesville, when Lee would have to starve inside of his lines, or come out from his intrenchments and fight us on equal terms.

Both General Grant and myself supposed that one or the other of us would have to fight one more bloody battle, and that it would be the last. Mr. Lincoln exclaimed, more than once, that there had been blood enough shed, and asked us if another battle could not be avoided. I remember well to have said that we could not control that event; that this necessarily rested with our enemy; and I inferred that both Jeff. Davis and General Lee would be forced to fight one more desperate and bloody battle. I rather supposed it would fall on me, somewhere near Raleigh; and General Grant added that, if Lee would only wait a few more days, he would have his army so disposed that if the enemy should abandon Richmond, and attempt to make junction with General Jos. Johnston in North Carolina, he (General Grant) would be on his heels. Mr. Lincoln more than once expressed uneasiness that I was not with my army at Goldsboro’, when I again assured him that General Schofield was fully competent to command in my absence; that I was going to start back that very day, and that Admiral Porter had kindly provided for me the steamer Bat, which he said was much swifter than my own vessel, the Russia. During this interview I inquired of the President if he was all ready for the end of the war. What was to be done with the rebel armies when defeated? And what should be done with the political leaders, such as Jeff. Davis, etc.? Should we allow them to escape, etc.? He said he was all ready; all he wanted of us was to defeat the opposing armies, and to get the men composing the Confederate armies back to their homes, at work on their farms and in their shops. As to Jeff. Davis, he was hardly at liberty to speak his mind fully, but intimated that he ought to clear out, “escape the country,” only it would not do for him to say so openly. As usual, he illustrated his meaning by a story:

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4 Responses to The Peacemakers

  • I have a young friend, with a master’s in history who writes a history blog. Here him tell it, our Founding Fathers were racists and Lincoln the least honorable of men. This perversion of history is not new, but reading this recalls what injustice is being done to the memory of good men by our illiberal, progressive liberals.

  • Donald, I have spent the last week (literally day & night) helping to pass a bill through the AR Senate Ed Committee that will require relevant review of the origins of our country to the year 1890 at the high school level. The goal of the bill is provision for instruction in high school social studies/history classes in proper context & for mastery. It allows for the complete freedom of individual classroom teachers to meet the needs of their students/classes as they see fit. Our AR Dept of Ed has created social studies standards, for implementation across the state in July of this year, that literally allow for the teaching of the beginnings of US History to the year 1890 in the 5th Grade. Then 4-7 years later, they ask high school students to use analysis, comparison & contrast, & synthesis level thinking based on those same concepts. Of course the bureaucrats at large are responding to a push from the liberal college level down into the high school level that is an attempt to decrease any emphasis the great things that made our country free and how it continues to (relatively) be free–anywhere they possibly can. The usual suspects in the liberal media have gone beserk spreading misinformation even to the point of posting links to the wrong bill. They are doing all they can to kill the bill. The state educational bureaucrats are livid that we want our children learning things such as what you have posted here in context and for mastery. They have explicitly stated that they “want to teach modern American history.” An ADE assistant commissioner was reduced to blubbering over & over to the Sen Ed Committee, “what do you want us to leave out? There is too much to teach!” expecting us to accept that in the last 8 years it has suddenly become impossible for high school teachers to teach all of American history. And we know why that is. One liberal has specified on line that she does not want American Exceptionalism taught–won’t define for me what that term means for her but wants to be sure that the horrid genecidal things our country has done is taught to our students so there is what she calls balance. Anyway, I am preaching to the choir. Pray for us, please in our fight to give future Arkansans enough knowledge to maintain their freedoms. The bill goes to the full senate tomorrow and then on to the House Ed Committee which is a true lions den. The ADE has agreed to put any changes of educational standards up to public comment in the future, however Ibwould not hold my breath waiting for that to happen. Thank you for this beautiful post about the Civil War period. I thouroughly enjoyed it.

  • Barbara, Please come to Colorado and get elected to the legislature!

  • Harry Truman proud member of SCV…
    …When Harry’s mother (Mama) first came to the White House, she was very concerned that she would have to sleep in the Lincoln Room, (as her other son Vivian had erroneously told her). Told Harry that she would sleep on the floor before she’d occupy the same bed as Lincoln.
    BTW, I was gonna post all that until Barbara’s post, which made everything else seem so small. But, oh well, there it is.

March 19, 1865: Battle of Bentonville Begins

Thursday, March 19, AD 2015


The life of the Confederacy was ebbing fast, but it still had soldiers willing to fight for it, as was amply demonstrated at the battle of Bentonville, North Carolina, fought March 19-21, 1865.

Outnumbered 60,000 to 21,000, General Joseph Johnston’s only hope of victory was to attack a portion of Sherman’s army and defeat it.  Moving on Goldsboro, Sherman had his army marching in two groups, a left wing under Major General Henry Slocum and a right wing under Major General O. O. Howard.  On March 19, 1865, Slocum ran into the entrenched troops of Johnston.  Thinking that he was opposed only by cavalry, Slocum attacked and was repulsed.  In the afternoon Johnston attacked and was initially successful, routing two Union divisions.  The fighting continued until midnight, with Union reinforcements stopping the Confederate attack, and the Confederates withdrawing to their lines.

On March 20, Howard joined Slocum and only light skirmishing occurred.

On March 21, Sherman stopped an attack which, in retrospect, he regretted stopping, since it might well have led to a general action which may have ended in the destruction of Johnston’s force.

Johnston had been lucky and the Confederates had fought skillfully, but the results of the battle demonstrated the futility of fighting against a force that was so numerically superior.  Johnston lost 2600 men, almost ten percent of his force, while Sherman had 1604 casualties which diminished his force almost not at all.

One of the Confederate casualties underlined the endless tragedies of the War.  On the 21rst Willie Hardee, the 16 year old son of Confederate Lieutenant General William Hardee, was mortally wounded.  His father had reluctantly agreed a few hours before his wounding to his son serving with the elite Eighth Texas Cavalry, known popularly as Terry’s Texas Rangers, his son desperate to see action before the end of the War.  Willie’s death was mourned by General O.O. Howard who commanded Sherman’s right wing and who had been a friend of Hardee at West Point and who had tutored Willie.

Here are Sherman’s comments on the battle in his memoirs:

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One Response to March 19, 1865: Battle of Bentonville Begins

  • Been to Bentonville many times. A few months later at Durham Joe Johnston and Sherman would meet to discuss surrender. Over a few bottles of good whiskey Sherman gave Johnston fairy generous surrender options. Sherman respected Johnston and that’s basically why he agreed to these generous terms. The surrender agreement outraged Congress and Sherman was made to revoke the order and do up another one, which was much less generous. Legend has it that Sherman was not to happy with having to get Joe Johnston to surrender all over again, as it would mean going back on his word. They became good friends after the war and Johnston was an honorably pall bearer at Sherman’s funeral, which was held on cold, rainy day. The 84 year old Johnston took his hat off during the procession to show respect and ended up catching pneumonia and passing away a few weeks later.

March 12, 1865: Letter From Sherman to Grant

Thursday, March 12, AD 2015




With his invasion of North Carolina underway, Sherman took time after the capture of Fayetteville, North Carolina to bring Grant up to speed with his immediate plans:

FAYETTVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, Sunday, March. 12, 1865.

Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, commanding United States Army, City Point, Virginia.

DEAR GENERAL: We reached this place yesterday at noon; Hardee, as usual, retreating across the Cape Fear, burning his bridges; but our pontoons will be up to-day, and, with as little delay as possible, I will be after him toward Goldsboro. A tug has just come up from Wilmington, and before I get off from here, I hope to get from Wilmington some shoes and stockings, sugar, coffee, and flour. We are abundantly supplied with all else, having in a measure lived off the country.

The army is in splendid health, condition, and spirits, though we have had foul weather, and roads that would have stopped travel to almost any other body of men I ever heard of.

Our march, was substantially what I designed–straight on Columbia, feigning on Branchville and Augusta. We destroyed, in passing, the railroad from the Edisto nearly up to Aiken; again, from Orangeburg to the Congaree; again, from Colombia down to Kingsville on the Wateree, and up toward Charlotte as far as the Chester line; thence we turned east on Cheraw and Fayetteville. At Colombia we destroyed immense arsenals and railroad establishments, among which wore forty-three cannon. At Cheraw we found also machinery and material of war sent from Charleston, among which were twenty-five guns and thirty-six hundred barrels of powder; and here we find about twenty guns and a magnificent United States’ arsenal.

We cannot afford to leave detachments, and I shall therefore destroy this valuable arsenal, so the enemy shall not have its use; and the United States should never again confide such valuable property to a people who have betrayed a trust.

I could leave here to-morrow, but want to clear my columns of the vast crowd of refugees and negroes that encumber us. Some I will send down the river in boats, and the rest to Wilmington by land, under small escort, as soon as we are across Cape Fear River.

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16 Responses to March 12, 1865: Letter From Sherman to Grant

  • Since Fayetteville is my hometown and I have relatives in Charleston and other parts of the Carolinas, I felt a need to offer a few remarks. My Scottish ancestors came to Fayetteville in 1753.

    Sherman didn’t put in his letter than his men stole everything in sight from non-combatants, leaving them to starve to death. He stole their livestock, their vegetables, their clothes, their guns, and would have poisoned their wells if he had thought about it. Any black man that resisted him and didn’t want to leave their homes were taken in chains. The South didn’t lose the war due to lack of courage and stupidity on the part of generals; they lost it because they ran out of men to fight it. They didn’t have the never-ending supply of immigrants coming into Boston and NY that immediately became soldiers. Almost always out-numbered the Southerner won battle after battle against Federal forces. The country that the Founding Fathers envisioned ended when Lee had to surrender to Grant. The dying institution of slavery in the South was finally “over”, and now every state government and every citizen of every state are slaves to the centralized government in Washington, DC. The union of “free and independent states” over for good. Welcome to the Socialist States of America, courtesy of Lincoln, who Karl Marx greatly admired and for good reason.

  • “Any black man that resisted him and didn’t want to leave their homes were taken in chains.”

    Actually Sherman’s army was frequently impeded by black slaves desperate to escape to freedom. Sherman viewed them as a nuisance and that is why he issued Special Field Order #15 to settle them on land as farmers.


    The idea that the Union army was kidnapping blacks in chains is fanciful to say the least. The Confederate army on the other hand did precisely that on occasion:


  • “Welcome to the Socialist States of America, courtesy of Lincoln, who Karl Marx greatly admired and for good reason.”


  • Not a neo-confederate, just an ancestor of many Confederate soldiers, and not a one of them owned slaves. They fought because their State was invaded. Back then you an an alligiance to your state, not Washington politicians. In the case of NC it only reluctantly left the Union after Lincoln asked them to take up arms against their brother states, which was a gross violation of the Constitution. Slavery didn’t have one thing to do with the state severing ties with the Union.

  • “They fought because their State was invaded.”

    They fought because the states making up the Confederacy seceded in order to protect slavery. There was no other reason for secession. As for taking up arms against brother states, South Carolina had determined that was going to occur by firing on Fort Sumter.

  • The Southern states wanted slavery preserved as an institution. This cannot be debated, argued or ignored. They started the war, financed the war, waged war and lost the war. The South was plunged into an economic depression that lasted for decades. Freed slaves got freed from servitude but received none of their God given rights after the war.

    How many times must it be said that war is an ugly thing, one of the ugliest of things, but in the end, it is what Clausewitz said – an extension of politics? South Carolina started it and they are damned lucky Sherman did not turn all of South Carolina into a smoldering, burned down abandoned wasteland.

    I find it interesting that WWII ended 80 years after the Civil War. Eighty years ago this month, Stalin’s troops had rolled through Poland and were in Germany proper, seeking to crush Berlin. The Allies had crossed the Rhine and were on their way in Germany as well. Preparations for the Okinawa invasion were under way and the Bomb was nearing completion.

  • We have had this discussion before ad nauseum. For the average soldier in the field on either side, the war was not about slavery.

    Don your saying that was their motivation for fighting does not make it so. I would fight right now to keep my friends & loved ones safe. And you would as well most likely.

  • PS. Many were “drafted” in the war & had little choice but to fight. Regardless of the reason. And while I understand the reasoning & reality of why Serman did what he did in re: to the noncombatants in the South, as I had a great grandma with 10 children to feed who had everything of use taken from her by the Union army, I don’t like it one bit.

  • I would not fight Barbara either to preserve slavery or to destroy the Union and that was what the War was all about. Take slavery out of the equation and there would have been no Civil War.

  • Mr. McClarey, in a previous post you made this argument. At the time of the American Revolution, the British government closed down the port of Boston. You argued such action was sufficient justification for the thirteen colonies to declare independence from Britain. During the Civil War, the Lincoln administration blockaded every coastal state from Virginia to Texas. Would this have been sufficient justification for the Southern states to secede?

  • “At the time of the American Revolution, the British government closed down the port of Boston. You argued such action was sufficient justification for the thirteen colonies to declare independence from Britain.”

    Britain took its actions during a time of peace. President Lincoln imposed the blockade during a time of War. No secession, no War and no blockade.

  • Barbara and Don are both right. Most soldiers did not fight over slavery, though some did — likely more on the north than south I believe. And but for slavery, there would not have been a war. But Don, you know quite well what a weak causal link the “but for” test is. Now to be clear, the case for slavery as proximate cause is not exactly weak — it is just not quite a slam dunk either.

  • Most of the Southern soldiers were not slaveowners. I get that. I accept that.

    The men who started the Confederacy, itched for the war, financed it and started it were slaveowners. They wanted to spread slavery all the way to the Pacific and south to Panama. Ken Burns’ documentary claimed the Confederacy wanted to go as far south as Brazil.

  • “Barbara and Don are both right. Most soldiers did not fight over slavery, though some did — likely more on the north than south I believe.”

    An interesting story about a New York town that seceded at the lInk below.


    “I would not fight Barbara either to preserve slavery or to destroy the Union and that was what the War was all about.”

    That is an easy arm chair quarterback comment after the fact. Being in the middle of your home town being shelled with homes being bombed & onfire & death/destruction–including your own property and those of your loved ones–could give a slightly different perspective. Also, if you had been drafted, Don, you would have either fought or risked being shot/hung. By the way, there are confederate soldiers graves all over some of the hills in southern Illinois because I have seen them.

  • Mr. McClarey, Britain’s blockade of Boston and the Lincoln administration’s blockade of coastal Southern states have the same effect – killing civilians. Civilians will die of famine because food can’t reach them. Sick people will die for lack of medicine. That was the whole point of the Declaration of Independence. When the British government showed that it preferred to have its subjects die instead of seeing them become independent, it lost its legitimacy.

  • “Britain’s blockade of Boston and the Lincoln administration’s blockade of coastal Southern states have the same effect – killing civilians.”

    Please. Massachusetts had quite a few other ports and none of the other ports in the colonies were blockaded. No one died of starvation due to the British blockade of Boston. Likewise no one died of starvation as a result of the blockade of the Confederate ports. The Confederacy was self-sufficient in food, and if there had been no Union blockade no food, other than luxury items, would have been imported in any case.

Joe Johnston Back in Command

Tuesday, March 10, AD 2015



It would take a heart of granite not to feel sympathy for Joseph Johnston.  A general regarded by his Union adversaries as having the highest abilities, he was fated after his moment of glory was cut short by his wounding at Seven Pines in 1862, and his replacement in command by Robert E. Lee, to spend the rest of the War being called upon by Jefferson Davis, a man he cordially hated and who returned his hate, to retrieve bad situations that were beyond retrieval.  So it was when Davis on February 25, 1865 placed him in command of the Departments of Southern Virginia, and of North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.  Under his command to oppose Sherman he had the 12,000 men under General Hardee who had resisted the advance of Sherman across South Carolina, Wade Hampton’s 6000 cavalrymen and the 6600 men who made up the shattered remnant of his Army of Tennessee. 

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January 30, 1865: Sherman’s March Through South Carolina Begins

Friday, January 30, AD 2015



On this day Sherman began his march through the Carolinas, with his ultimate destination Lee’s army, trapping it between his army and Grant’s army.  Most Union troops had very little love for the Palmetto State, blaming it for starting the War, and Sherman’s boys were strictly on their worst behavior in South Carolina, as this diary entry by Lieutenant Colonel George Nichols, a Union staff officer, indicates:

January 30th-The actual invasion of South Carolina has begun. The 17th Corps and that portion of the 15th which came around by way of Thunderbolt Beaufort moved out this morning, on parallel roads, in the direction of McPhersonville. The 17th Corps took the road nearest the Salkahatchie River. We expect General Corse, with the 4th Division of the 15th Corps, to join us at a point higher up. The 14th and 20th Corps will take the road to Robertville, nearer the Savannah River. Since General Howard started with the 17th we have heard the sound of many guns in his direction. To-day is the first really fine weather we have had since starting, and the roads have improved. It was wise not to cut them up during the rains, for we can now move along comfortably. The well-known sight of columns of black smoke meets our gaze again; this time houses are burning, and South Carolina has commenced to pay an installment, long overdue, on her debt to justice and humanity. With the help of God, we will have principal and interest before we leave her borders. There is a terrible gladness in the realization of so many hopes and wishes. This cowardly traitor state, secure from harm, as she thought, in her central position, with hellish haste dragged her Southern sisters into the caldron of secession. Little did she dream that the hated flag would again wave over her soil; but this bright morning a thousand Union banners are floating in the breeze , and the ground trembles beneath the tramp of thousands of brave Northmen, who know their mission, and will perform it to the end.

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2 Responses to January 30, 1865: Sherman’s March Through South Carolina Begins

January 16, 1865: Special Field Order No. 15

Friday, January 16, AD 2015



In an attempt to deal with the tens of thousands of black refugees who were following his army, General Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15.  Issued to deal with an emergency situation and not as an attempt to chart Reconstruction Policy, the order looms large in the mythology of Reconstruction and is the origin of the belief that freed slaves were all promised 40 acres and a mule.  The order was rescinded by President Johnson in the fall of 1865.

Sherman commented on the Order in his Memoirs:

During Mr. Stanton’s stay in Savannah we discussed this negro question very fully; he asked me to draft an order on the subject, in accordance with my own views, that would meet the pressing necessities of the case, and I did so. We went over this order, No. 15, of January 16, 1865, very carefully. The secretary made some verbal modifications, when it was approved by him in all its details, I published it, and it went into operation at once. It provided fully for the enlistment of colored troops, and gave the freedmen certain possessory rights to land, which afterward became matters of judicial inquiry and decision. Of course, the military authorities at that day, when war prevailed, had a perfect right to grant the possession of any vacant land to which they could extend military protection, but we did not undertake to give a fee-simple title; and all that was designed by these special field orders was to make temporary provisions for the freedmen and their families during the rest of the war, or until Congress should take action in the premises. All that I now propose to assert is, that Mr. Stanton, Secretary of War, saw these orders in the rough, and approved every paragraph thereof, before they were made public.

Here is the text of the Order:

IN THE FIELD, SAVANNAH, GA., January 16th, 1865.


I. The islands from Charleston, south, the abandoned rice fields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering the St. Johns river, Florida, are reserved and set apart for the settlement of the negroes now made free by the acts of war and the proclamation of the President of the United States.

II. At Beaufort, Hilton Head, Savannah, Fernandina, St. Augustine and Jacksonville, the blacks may remain in their chosen or accustomed vocations–but on the islands, and in the settlements hereafter to be established, no white person whatever, unless military officers and soldiers detailed for duty, will be permitted to reside; and the sole and exclusive management of affairs will be left to the freed people themselves, subject only to the United States military authority and the acts of Congress.  By the laws of war, and orders of the President of the United States, the negro is free and must be dealt with as such.  He cannot be subjected to conscription or forced military service, save by the written orders of the highest military authority of the Department, under such regulations as the President or Congress may prescribe.  Domestic servants, blacksmiths, carpenters and other mechanics, will be free to select their own work and residence, but the young and able-bodied negroes must be encouraged to enlist as soldiers in the service of the United States, to contribute their share towards maintaining their own freedom, and securing their rights as citizens of the United States.

Negroes so enlisted will be organized into companies, battalions and regiments, under the orders of the United States military authorities, and will be paid, fed and clothed according to law.  The bounties paid on enlistment may, with the consent of the recruit, go to assist his family and settlement in procuring agricultural implements, seed, tools, boots, clothing, and other articles necessary for their livelihood.

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December 22, 1864: Sherman’s Christmas Gift

Monday, December 22, AD 2014





Sherman and his men completed their March to the Sea with the siege of Savannah, Georgia.  The end of the siege was anti-climactic with Lieutenant General W. J. Hardee evacuating his garrison from the city of Savannah.  Sherman sent this message to Lincoln announcing the fall of Savannah.


SAVANNAH, GA., December 22, 1864
(Via Fort Monroe 6.45 p.m. 25th)

His Excellency President LINCOLN:

I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.

W.T. Sherman,
Major General.

The message reached the White House on Christmas Day.  It was published in the papers and roused huge joy throughout the North as another sign that the end of the War was in sight.  Lincoln spoke for the North when he telegrammed back to Sherman:


Many, many thanks for your Christmas gift, the capture of Savannah. When you were about leaving Atlanta for the Atlantic coast, I was anxious, if not fearful; but feeling that you were the better judge, and remembering that ‘nothing risked, nothing gained,’ I did not interfere. Now, the undertaking being a success, the honor is yours; for I believe none of us went further than to acquiesce. And taking the work of General Thomas into the county, as it should be taken, it is indeed a great success. Not only does it afford the obvious and immediate military advantages, but, in showing to the world that your army could be divided, putting the stronger part to an important new service, and yet leaving enough to vanquish the old opposing force of the whole — Hood’s army — it brings those who sat in darkness to see a great light. But what next? I suppose it will be safer if I leave General Grant and yourself to decide. Please make my grateful acknowledgments to your whole army, officers and men.

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November 16, 1864: March to the Sea Begins

Sunday, November 16, AD 2014


The last of the Union troops pulled out of Atlanta today one hundred and fifty years ago as the most successful military operation of the Civil War got underway.  Sherman was out to establish that a Union army could promenade through the hitherto untouched heart of the Confederacy and that there was absolutely nothing the Confederates could do about it.  The destruction wreaked by his army was important from a military standpoint, but the dagger against the morale of the Confederacy was the fact that he proceeded at a deliberate pace for 300 miles, with his army spread out over sixty miles, burning as they went, and the Confederate army might as well have not existed for all the impact it had on this huge Yankee military stroll.  Here is Sherman’s account in his memoirs of the beginning of the March:

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Sherman in Paint

Thursday, November 13, AD 2014

An interesting look at a painting of General Sherman in 1866.  Paintings do not bulk very large in our historical memory of the Civil War.  The cutting edge technology of photography had by the Civil War usurped the role of painting in preserving the images of the famous for posterity.  Sherman  looks distinctly more haggard and old in his Civil War photographs than in this 1866 portrait.  Of course, it is post war, so some of the difference is no doubt due to the easing of the burden of command and the trauma of war that Sherman had to the full during the conflict.  However, paintings do seem to often smooth the rough edges of the subjects of portraits with a calm that may not have been typical of the person being painted.  Photographs, even the primitive photography of the Civil War era, captured the more immediate emotions of the subjects than a portrait painted over several sittings.  Additionally, photographs made no pretensions to be art, but simply a utilitarian means of preserving likenesses, while portrait paintings usually strove to be both.


The portrait was  painted by George Peter Alexander Healy, perhaps the most renowned American portrait painter of his day.  Sherman, at least as represented in popular memory as a no nonsense soldier, one would expect to have a fairly prosaic mind and not to be interested in art.  Such was not at all the case.  Sherman suggested to the painter a portrait known as The Peacekeepers which recalled a meeting of Lincoln, Grant and Sherman near the end of the War:

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3 Responses to Sherman in Paint

  • General Sherman may or may not have been a baptized Catholic but he attended Mass until the Civil War began. Sadly his church going ended with the War, although a son was ordained a priest. Unlike his friend Grant, Sherman never entered politics, probably because of the Catholicism of his wife and family which would have been a political liability in an America which was still overwhelmingly Protestant.

    I much prefer the photographs of General Sherman to the sanitized oil painting displayed in this post because the photos capture the grit of his character and seem to me to display his craziness. Never forget that Sherman’s March to the Sea was a horrific foreshadow of modern “total warfare” and the general later advocated a “Final Solution” for Native Americans who would not assimilate into American society. I wonder if he stopped going to Mass because he realized that his generalship was incongruous with whatever passed for Just War Theory in those days.

  • “Never forget that Sherman’s March to the Sea was a horrific foreshadow of modern “total warfare” and the general later advocated a “Final Solution” for Native Americans who would not assimilate into American society. I wonder if he stopped going to Mass because he realized that his generalship was incongruous with whatever passed for Just War Theory in those days.”

    Sherman never advocated killing all Indians and his March to the Sea was not a precursor of Total War. He never had use for organized religion and only attended mass due to his wife’s nagging. His wife was a fervent Catholic as was her mother. When he was informally adopted into their family as a boy, after the death of his parents, he was baptized as a Catholic at age 9. His adherence to Catholicism ranged from pro forma to active hostility as he got older.

    If Sherman was crazy, which was alleged early during the War when he perceived that it was going to be a long and bloody struggle and said so, it is a pity that he did not bite quite a few other Union generals whose incompetence and ineffectiveness led to the lengthening of the War.

  • My favorite Sherman quotes.

    “There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell.”

    “It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.”

    Saving the best for last:
    “I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast.”

    In conclusion, “Single men in barracks don’t grow into plaster saints.” Kipling

November 9, 1864: Sherman’s Special Field Orders 120

Sunday, November 9, AD 2014


After a frustrating month during which Sherman’s planned March to the Sea had been delayed due to jitters of Grant and Sherman regarding Hood’s foray into Tennessee, Sherman readied his troops for their epic march by issuing Special Field Orders 120.  This made clear that the army was to live off the land and that supply lines were to be of no consequence during the march:


Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, In the Field, Kingston, Georgia, November 9, 1864

I. For the purpose of military operations, this army is divided into two wings viz.: The right wing, Major-General O. O. Howard commanding, composed of the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps; the left wing, Major-General H. W. Slocum commanding, composed of the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps.

II. The habitual order of march will be, wherever practicable, by four roads, as nearly parallel as possible, and converging at points hereafter to be indicated in orders. The cavalry, Brigadier – General Kilpatrick commanding, will receive special orders from the commander-in-chief.

III. There will be no general train of supplies, but each corps will have its ammunition-train and provision-train, distributed habitually as follows: Behind each regiment should follow one wagon and one ambulance; behind each brigade should follow a due proportion of ammunition – wagons, provision-wagons, and ambulances. In case of danger, each corps commander should change this order of march, by having his advance and rear brigades unencumbered by wheels. The separate columns will start habitually at 7 a.m., and make about fifteen miles per day, unless otherwise fixed in orders.

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 intrusted 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 bridges. 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.

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One Response to November 9, 1864: Sherman’s Special Field Orders 120

  • “Soldiers must not enter the dwellings of the inhabitants, or commit any trespass “. I remember David McCullough voice in Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” mini-series saying much the same thing and then saying “Neither he nor they [his bummers] took it seriously”. The destruction and robbery was a lot less than portrayed by popular historical sentiment, but soldiers on the march in enemy territory, since the beginning of time, steal, rob, rape etc. There was a great History Channel special a few years back that said basically the same thing, but emphasized that Sherman’s boys while foraging “liberally” (LOL!) in Georgia and North Carolina, were much less destructive than they were in South Carolina, which they wanted to punish for starting the war.

To Make Georgia Howl

Thursday, October 9, AD 2014


On October 9, 1864 Sherman was still in pursuit of Hood but he recognized the futility of such operations to protect his railroad supply lines, as he made clear in a telegram to Grant on that date:


It will be a physical impossibility to protect the roads, now that Hood, Forrest, Wheeler, and the whole batch of devils, are turned loose without home or habitation. I think Hood’s movements indicate a diversion to the end of the Selma & Talladega road, at Blue Mountain, about sixty miles southwest of Rome, from which he will threaten Kingston, Bridgeport, and Decatur, Alabama. I propose that we break up the railroad from Ohattanooga forward, and that we strike out with our wagons for Milledgeville, Millen, and Savannah. Until we can repopulate Georgia, it is useless for us to occupy it; but the utter destruction of its roads, houses, and people, will cripple their military resources. By attempting to hold the roads, we will lose a thousand men each month, and will gain no result. I can make this march, and make Georgia howl! We have on hand over eight thousand head of cattle and three million rations of bread, but no corn. We can find plenty of forage in the interior of the State.

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9 Responses to To Make Georgia Howl

  • Gen’l Sherman was a military genius. He held an interesting opinion regarding the press.

    “I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast.”

  • Sherman also said that the meaning of military glory was being killed in battle and having your name misspelled in the newspapers the next day.

    Ironically Sherman became friends with both Generals Hood and Johnston after the War. Hood died before Sherman, but Johnston caught a fatal bout of pneumonia serving as a pallbearer at Sherman’s funeral. When he was warned that the weather was blustery and he should put his hat on, Johnston refused, saying that if Sherman had been a pallbearer at his funeral, he would have had his hat off.

  • I’m not really sure what the point of this post is. I’m from the south, where we still refer to him as “that low-life bastard, Sherman.” Sherman abandoned his honor by striking at civilian property and turning a blind eye to the crimes of his soldiers.

  • The point is history Judy. This blog covers both the Church and the country and I do many posts on American history and the Civil War. Sherman did not turn a blind eye to crimes committed by his soldiers as you contend, and in my eyes he is a brilliant general and a hero who helped save the Union which I cherish and love. However, I understand he is always controversial, almost as controversial as Nathan Bedford Forrest, another Civil War general I have often written about and who I admire.

  • Echoing Judy’s comments, how will this blog help non-Catholic Southerners find the true religion with posts like this? If I can bring more Southerners to the Catholic Church by bringing up history, I would do it. If I can bring more Southerners to the Catholic Church by not bringing up history, I would do it.

    In my opinion, bringing back memories of Sherman and his ilk does nothing to promote the Catholic Faith in the South. It’s already an uphill battle, don’t make it any harder with Sherman on your back.

  • I’m not sure if Mico and Judy are new to this blog, but there’s probably a Civil War post on this site just about every week, if not more frequently. Don and myself are both history buffs, and then some, as are many of the people who read this blog. Removing the Civil War posts from this blog would be like removing the movie reviews from Ace of Spades.

  • “[B]ringing back memories of Sherman and his ilk does nothing” – not to nit pick but I cannot help it; were you even alive to have said memories? No, then you have no memories of Sherman and his ilk. You do have memories of what you were taught be it correct or not.

  • “Echoing Judy’s comments, how will this blog help non-Catholic Southerners find the true religion with posts like this?”

    The name of the blog is The American Catholic Mico. We cover both American topics and Catholic topics. You have been around the blog long enough to realize that, and you should also know that my sympathies are with the boys and blue, while giving full respect to the boys in gray who engaged in a heroic lop sided struggle for four years.


  • Judy and Mico: Southern plantation owners were civilian collateral collaborators. Andersonville was worse, if that is possible, than any concentration camp run by Hitler. Had the South fed the Union prisoners of war at Andersonville, the South would not have incurred Sherman’s March to the Sea. There was enough food for everybody. The Southerners refused to share. The South’s lack of humanity brought the wrath of God down on their heads.
    See also:
    February 27, 1864: First Union Prisoners Arrive at Andersonville
    Published Thursday, February 27, A.D. 2014 | By Donald R. McClarey

    One hundred and fifty years ago Union prisoners began arriving at the Andersonville prison camp. A blot on American honor is the callous way in which many prisoners of war were treated during our Civil War, north and south. (For a Union prison camp that had a death rate of 25%, google Elmira prison camp, or as the Confederates imprisoned there referred to it, Helmira.) 45,000 Union soldiers would be held at Andersonville and 13,000 of them would die through starvation, bad water, no sanitation and disease. Accounts of what went on inside Andersonville beggar description. Jesus wept, sums up the reaction of any decent soul to this abomination. See the accompanying post for today for the grim details, and for a shining example of humanity by a man motivated by God’s love to love his enemies.
    – See more at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2014/02/#sthash.OME6yUvt.dpuf