Discussion Any Union attempts to diminish the Confederacy's munitions production?

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
Wouldn't they simply have taken the rollers and cylinders with them in the face of an approaching army? I mean, there was nothing really special about Augusta except proximity to rail and ready supply of water.
Way late coming in here but just gonna comment as I go. Recreating a nearly mile long early precursor to the assembly line that was the Augusta plant wouldn't have been an overnight deal. It was truly an efficient setup for the day.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Well...this is indeed...well...may I call it a „snippy“ answer?

I‘d say it is rather obvious that nobody can claim to know who really was responsible for the burning - as all we can do is to speculate and evaluate - and given that even a informed contributor as you would probably not be able to do more than that.

Hence you have a (well informed) opinion - and a common reader as myself is able to understand that opinion (at least as long as you are bothering to present it in an understandable way).

Why should anybody be unable to understand you?

As far as the matter we are discussing is concerned:

1) You are saying that the burning was the consequence of confederate mismanagement and bad luck (what some others also do suggest - but others see here a higher responsibility of the Union forces, for both claims there are quite a lot of sources to be found)

2) You are saying that (regardless of the question of responsibility) no civilian in South Carolina had a right to lament - as they all were secessionist and were responsible for the war - and consequentially for the damages produced by this war (I‘d say that‘s quite an extremist view)

3) As Sherman didn‘t adopt many measures to control the situation in Columbia early it is obvious that he cannot evade criticism.

Hence his picture will actually and naturally stay ambiguous - which was just everything I was saying.
Had you read the sources you would know that General officers made a determined effort to prevent the disorder in Columbia. Numerous citizens, mostly women on their own, praised the Union soldiers assigned to protect their homes. They were following Sherman’s orders.

When the soldiers entered the city slaves who had been abandoned when their masters fled lined the streets handing out whisky. Bowls & cooking pans full of whisky were everywhere. Even when barrels were stove on, soldiers filled their cups from the gutter. None of that behavior was sanctioned in any way by Sherman.

Have you ever asked yourself why there were virtually no sexual assaults during Sherman’s operations? How about the lack of starvation among the population in the wake of the army’s passage? Had Sherman wanted Columbia destroyed, not a stone would have been left on another. The reason anything was left standing was a result of Sherman’s orders.

Compare the behavior of Sherman’s men with the Prussian & French armies that put down revolts in the decades leading up to the CW. As you know, civilians were subjected to every outrage during those punitive campaigns. What happened at Columbia was vandalism pure & simple, no doubt of that. The fact that there was no loss of life was a direct result of the orders you think Sherman did not give.

There were plenty of Sherman’s veterans who had first hand experience of the European way of dealing with rebel populations. They had fought in both the Prussian & Paris uprisings. There is no debate about what they witnessed then & how Sherman’s campaigns were conducted.
 
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uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
Had you read the sources you would know that General officers made a determined effort to prevent the disorder in Columbia. Numerous citizens, mostly women on their own, praised the Union soldiers assigned to protect their homes. They were following Sherman’s orders.

When the soldiers entered the city slaves who had been abandoned when their masters fled lined the streets handing out whisky. Bowls & cooking pans full of whisky were everywhere. Even when barrels were stove on, soldiers filled their cups from the gutter. None of that behavior was sanctioned in any way by Sherman.

Have you ever asked yourself why there were virtually no sexual assaults during Sherman’s operations? How about the lack of starvation among the population in the wake of the army’s passage? Had Sherman wanted Columbia destroyed, not a stone would have been left on another. The reason anything was left standing was a result of Sherman’s orders.

Compare the behavior of Sherman’s men with the Prussian & French armies that put down revolts in the decades leading up to the CW. As you know, civilians were subjected to every outrage during those punitive campaigns. What happened at Columbia was vandalism pure & simple, no doubt of that. The fact that there was no loss of life was a direct result of the orders you think Sherman did not give.
Your quick to give Grant credit for Everything that positively happened on his Watch. Regardless of how little he had to do with it. Sherman was complicit by losing control of his Troops at the very least. Sherman’s attitudes were displayed in his writings prior to his Campaign. Yankee Troops used pillage and fire as tools against Southern Civilians from Burnsides first incursion on the NC Coast. Sherman’s Troops bragged about it afterwards.

Some rich Citizens got a better deal. Sometimes had guards placed at their homes for protection. The lower classes and Slaves got the brunt of it. They are the ones who came in direct contact Sherman’s Bummers and the bulk of his Army.

It was not generally true, however, that the solid yeomen and numerous poor people of South Carolina were spared much of what was visited on aristocrats, Sherman's men burner far more that they passed over. Afterwards , several spoke quite openly about this new threshold of violence over which they had crossed. Hames Greenalch, a Michigan private, told his wife, Fidelia, after the march, " it was a general understanding throughout the entire army when it left Savannah that [South Carolina would be made an example of and I can say it has carried out to the letter. "Some felt bad that ordinary folk had been swept into the firestorm along with the rich. but rationalized it as a necessary if unfortunate outcome of the war against the aristocrats. Wrote one corporal, "I commiserate [with] the destitution of the poor, but I can shed no tears for the rich. Great distress must prevail where we have been." This avenging army had been a force of nature guided by a shared mission. Another Michigan soldier confirmed to his uncle, "in South Carolina, there was no restraint whatever in pillaging and foraging. Men were allowed to do as they liked, burn and destroy."

Withdrawing disapprobation and sharing malice with their troops united commander, officers, and men against the people of South Carolina in the most violent and prolonged anticivilian campaign of the war. Colonel Oscar Jackson entered in his diary that, "We have given South Carolina a terrible scourging." Mercy and forbearance had been the exception, Jackson believed. We have destroyed all factories, cotton mills, gins, presses and cotton, burnt one city, the capital, and most of the villages on our route, as well as most of the barns, outbuildings and dwelling houses, and every house that escaped fire has been pillaged. General Alpheus S. Williams, a division commander, replicated Jackson's images in a letter to his daughter about Sherman's campaign through the innermost heart of Dixie. "Our people, impressed with the idea that every South Carolinian was an arrant rebel, spared nothing but the old men, women and children. All materials, all vacant houses, factories, cotton gins and presses, everything that makes the wealth of a people, everything edible and wearable, was swept away." Williams claimed he did not personally order such destruction, but that neither could he nor would he have limited it. "The soldiers quietly took matters into their own hands. Orders to respect houses and private property not necessary for substance for the army were not greatly heeded. . .indeed no heeded at all. Our 'Bummers.' the dare-devils and reckless of the army put the flames to "everything," concluded Williams with awe and something approaching admiration. "We marched with thousands of columns of smoke marking the lines of each corps. The sights at times, as seen from elevated grounds, were often terribly sublime." Williams confessed, however, that the same sights that had appealed to his romantic sensibility were "often intensely painful [judging] form the distressed and frightened condition of the old men and women and children left behind." pp224-225 Fellman Citizen Sherman.

Fellman has several pages of first hand accounts of Sherman's march. General Williams is a good witness. From the Private to the General, Sherman's army got the message. This stuff happened all over the South. Sherman did the same thing in MS. Have to Question your Analysis. Why the NEED to protect Sherman after 160 years is puzzling. Lost Cause on Steriods!
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Your quick to give Grant credit for Everything that positively happened on his Watch. Regardless of how little he had to do with it. Sherman was complicit by losing control of his Troops at the very least. Sherman’s attitudes were displayed in his writings prior to his Campaign. Yankee Troops used pillage and fire as tools against Southern Civilians from Burnsides first incursion on the NC Coast. Sherman’s Troops bragged about it afterwards.

Some rich Citizens got a better deal. Sometimes had guards placed at their homes for protection. The lower classes and Slaves got the brunt of it. They are the ones who came in direct contact Sherman’s Bummers and the bulk of his Army.

It was not generally true, however, that the solid yeomen and numerous poor people of South Carolina were spared much of what was visited on aristocrats, Sherman's men burner far more that they passed over. Afterwards , several spoke quite openly about this new threshold of violence over which they had crossed. Hames Greenalch, a Michigan private, told his wife, Fidelia, after the march, " it was a general understanding throughout the entire army when it left Savannah that [South Carolina would be made an example of and I can say it has carried out to the letter. "Some felt bad that ordinary folk had been swept into the firestorm along with the rich. but rationalized it as a necessary if unfortunate outcome of the war against the aristocrats. Wrote one corporal, "I commiserate [with] the destitution of the poor, but I can shed no tears for the rich. Great distress must prevail where we have been." This avenging army had been a force of nature guided by a shared mission. Another Michigan soldier confirmed to his uncle, "in South Carolina, there was no restraint whatever in pillaging and foraging. Men were allowed to do as they liked, burn and destroy."

Withdrawing disapprobation and sharing malice with their troops united commander, officers, and men against the people of South Carolina in the most violent and prolonged anticivilian campaign of the war. Colonel Oscar Jackson entered in his diary that, "We have given South Carolina a terrible scourging." Mercy and forbearance had been the exception, Jackson believed. We have destroyed all factories, cotton mills, gins, presses and cotton, burnt one city, the capital, and most of the villages on our route, as well as most of the barns, outbuildings and dwelling houses, and every house that escaped fire has been pillaged. General Alpheus S. Williams, a division commander, replicated Jackson's images in a letter to his daughter about Sherman's campaign through the innermost heart of Dixie. "Our people, impressed with the idea that every South Carolinian was an arrant rebel, spared nothing but the old men, women and children. All materials, all vacant houses, factories, cotton gins and presses, everything that makes the wealth of a people, everything edible and wearable, was swept away." Williams claimed he did not personally order such destruction, but that neither could he nor would he have limited it. "The soldiers quietly took matters into their own hands. Orders to respect houses and private property not necessary for substance for the army were not greatly heeded. . .indeed no heeded at all. Our 'Bummers.' the dare-devils and reckless of the army put the flames to "everything," concluded Williams with awe and something approaching admiration. "We marched with thousands of columns of smoke marking the lines of each corps. The sights at times, as seen from elevated grounds, were often terribly sublime." Williams confessed, however, that the same sights that had appealed to his romantic sensibility were "often intensely painful [judging] form the distressed and frightened condition of the old men and women and children left behind." pp224-225 Fellman Citizen Sherman.

Fellman has several pages of first hand accounts of Sherman's march. General Williams is a good witness. From the Private to the General, Sherman's army got the message. This stuff happened all over the South. Sherman did the same thing in MS. Have to Question your Analysis. Why the NEED to protect Sherman after 160 years is puzzling. Lost Cause on Steriods!
You really do have a set of blinders, I’ll give you that. These are exactly the references I would use to characterize Sherman’s campaigns. I suppose chronic straw man-ism is its own reward.
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Have to Question your Analysis. Why the NEED to protect Sherman after 160 years is puzzling. Lost Cause on Steriods!
Could ask the same question as "Why the NEED to demonize Sherman after 160 years?"

If South Carolina thought it could start a war and then never see any effects of war, then it was pretty clueless. Bad things happen in war.

Sherman was a successful and loyal American general. I understand the bias behind trying to demonize him. Lost-Causers trying to spin the war. Or modern-day fans of other Union generals like Thomas, putting all their energy into directing hate at more successful generals like Grant and Sherman. Either way, it's not about getting history right, but about spinning history.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Could ask the same question as "Why the NEED to demonize Sherman after 160 years?"

If South Carolina thought it could start a war and then never see any effects of war, then it was pretty clueless. Bad things happen in war.

Sherman was a successful and loyal American general. I understand the bias behind trying to demonize him. Lost-Causers trying to spin the war. Or modern-day fans of other Union generals like Thomas, putting all their energy into directing hate at more successful generals like Grant and Sherman. Either way, it's not about getting history right, but about spinning history.
I read an interesting paper that tracked the news paper reports of the March to the Sea. Almost from day one Southern papers were filled with what can only be described as hysterical accounts that were entirely fictional. As we have seen in this thread, that form of discourse is alive & well. What Sherman did do is a fascinating cultural artifact.

Once you strip away the woe is me victimhood, Sherman’s March is remarkably humane. He deliberately fought no great battle to end the war, as Lee did. In the aftermath of the one big fight soldiers wrote home about men weeping when they saw the bodies of young boys & old men of the GA militia that had attacked them. At no point did a woman who stood alone to defend her family suffer a sexual assault. The trees lining the March never had the bodies of local officials dangling from their branches. What didn’t happen is almost as interesting as what did happen.
 

Piedone

Corporal
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
Had you read the sources you would know that General officers made a determined effort to prevent the disorder in Columbia. Numerous citizens, mostly women on their own, praised the Union soldiers assigned to protect their homes. They were following Sherman’s orders.

When the soldiers entered the city slaves who had been abandoned when their masters fled lined the streets handing out whisky. Bowls & cooking pans full of whisky were everywhere. Even when barrels were stove on, soldiers filled their cups from the gutter. None of that behavior was sanctioned in any way by Sherman.

Have you ever asked yourself why there were virtually no sexual assaults during Sherman’s operations? How about the lack of starvation among the population in the wake of the army’s passage? Had Sherman wanted Columbia destroyed, not a stone would have been left on another. The reason anything was left standing was a result of Sherman’s orders.

Compare the behavior of Sherman’s men with the Prussian & French armies that put down revolts in the decades leading up to the CW. As you know, civilians were subjected to every outrage during those punitive campaigns. What happened at Columbia was vandalism pure & simple, no doubt of that. The fact that there was no loss of life was a direct result of the orders you think Sherman did not give.

There were plenty of Sherman’s veterans who had first hand experience of the European way of dealing with rebel populations. They had fought in both the Prussian & Paris uprisings. There is no debate about what they witnessed then & how Sherman’s campaigns were conducted.
Regarding „the european way of dealing with rebel populations“: such a label is much too general - I wrote something in another thread in this forum especially about that matter.

Regarding the reported behaviour of Sherman‘s troops there are diverging sources as you certainly know - and (as you just told me) there were some acts of vandalism (which isn‘t too exceptional for troops in such a situation at all).

The point (relevant to our debate) is that the commanding officer obviously bears some (not all of the) responsibility for the acting of his troops.

Without further reading I‘d say that Sherman would have been wise to find means to prevent acts of vandalism - especially in the case of Columbia, as the acting of his troops in that particular city would most probably be investigated and scrutinized afterwards.

I will definitely read J.A.Rose‘s book next as I read that he did an outstanding job in exploring and examining sources.

And of course it would have an effect on an assessment of Sherman if he should have boasted about the burning of parts of a city....
 
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Joseph A. Rose

Corporal
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Your quick to give Grant credit for Everything that positively happened on his Watch. Regardless of how little he had to do with it. Sherman was complicit by losing control of his Troops at the very least. Sherman’s attitudes were displayed in his writings prior to his Campaign. Yankee Troops used pillage and fire as tools against Southern Civilians from Burnsides first incursion on the NC Coast. Sherman’s Troops bragged about it afterwards.

Some rich Citizens got a better deal. Sometimes had guards placed at their homes for protection. The lower classes and Slaves got the brunt of it. They are the ones who came in direct contact Sherman’s Bummers and the bulk of his Army.

It was not generally true, however, that the solid yeomen and numerous poor people of South Carolina were spared much of what was visited on aristocrats, Sherman's men burner far more that they passed over. Afterwards , several spoke quite openly about this new threshold of violence over which they had crossed. Hames Greenalch, a Michigan private, told his wife, Fidelia, after the march, " it was a general understanding throughout the entire army when it left Savannah that [South Carolina would be made an example of and I can say it has carried out to the letter. "Some felt bad that ordinary folk had been swept into the firestorm along with the rich. but rationalized it as a necessary if unfortunate outcome of the war against the aristocrats. Wrote one corporal, "I commiserate [with] the destitution of the poor, but I can shed no tears for the rich. Great distress must prevail where we have been." This avenging army had been a force of nature guided by a shared mission. Another Michigan soldier confirmed to his uncle, "in South Carolina, there was no restraint whatever in pillaging and foraging. Men were allowed to do as they liked, burn and destroy."

Withdrawing disapprobation and sharing malice with their troops united commander, officers, and men against the people of South Carolina in the most violent and prolonged anticivilian campaign of the war. Colonel Oscar Jackson entered in his diary that, "We have given South Carolina a terrible scourging." Mercy and forbearance had been the exception, Jackson believed. We have destroyed all factories, cotton mills, gins, presses and cotton, burnt one city, the capital, and most of the villages on our route, as well as most of the barns, outbuildings and dwelling houses, and every house that escaped fire has been pillaged. General Alpheus S. Williams, a division commander, replicated Jackson's images in a letter to his daughter about Sherman's campaign through the innermost heart of Dixie. "Our people, impressed with the idea that every South Carolinian was an arrant rebel, spared nothing but the old men, women and children. All materials, all vacant houses, factories, cotton gins and presses, everything that makes the wealth of a people, everything edible and wearable, was swept away." Williams claimed he did not personally order such destruction, but that neither could he nor would he have limited it. "The soldiers quietly took matters into their own hands. Orders to respect houses and private property not necessary for substance for the army were not greatly heeded. . .indeed no heeded at all. Our 'Bummers.' the dare-devils and reckless of the army put the flames to "everything," concluded Williams with awe and something approaching admiration. "We marched with thousands of columns of smoke marking the lines of each corps. The sights at times, as seen from elevated grounds, were often terribly sublime." Williams confessed, however, that the same sights that had appealed to his romantic sensibility were "often intensely painful [judging] form the distressed and frightened condition of the old men and women and children left behind." pp224-225 Fellman Citizen Sherman.

Fellman has several pages of first hand accounts of Sherman's march. General Williams is a good witness. From the Private to the General, Sherman's army got the message. This stuff happened all over the South. Sherman did the same thing in MS. Have to Question your Analysis. Why the NEED to protect Sherman after 160 years is puzzling. Lost Cause on Steriods!
Good post.

People apparently feel the need to protect Sherman ... maybe because they know deep down that he is one of the most overrated commanders on either side (as well as a major purveyor of falsehoods about the American Civil War).

According to my notes, a great example of this "protection" can be found in Woodworth's "The March To The Sea" in America's Civil War, in which he somehow claimed that "Not more than one or two rapes, at the most, occurred during the progress of Sherman's armies through the Deep South." Besides being completely unknowable, this is contradicted by just the material I've run across. It's a ridiculous assertion, which can only be seen as apologism for Sherman (especially in light of other writings by Woodworth).
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Regarding „the european way of dealing with rebel populations“: such a label is much too general - I wrote something in another thread in this forum especially about that matter.

Regarding the reported behaviour of Sherman‘s troops there are diverging sources as you certainly know - and (as you just told me) there were some acts of vandalism (which isn‘t too exceptional for troops in such a situation at all).

The point (relevant to our debate) is that the commanding officer obviously bears some (not all of the) responsibility for the acting of his troops.

Without further reading I‘d say that Sherman would have been wise to find means to prevent acts of vandalism - especially in the case of Columbia, as the acting of his troops in that particular city would be most probably be investigated and scrutinized afterwards.

I will definitely read J.A.Rose‘s book next as I read that he did an outstanding job in exploring and examining sources.

And of course it would have an effect on an assessment of Sherman if he should have boasted about the burning of parts of a city....
I was was not being General when I referred to the European way of dealing with rebels. We had quite a dose of it in the 1700’s. More particular, members of the German speaking regiments in the Army of the Cumberland were well versed in European practices.

In particular, General Willich was of a Prussian aristocratic family who studied under Clausewitz. After over 20 years in the Prussian army he became a socialist. He fought on both the a Prussian & Paris revolts. During the fighting in Paris, Frederick Engels was his second in command. Later Marx & Engels broke with Willich because he was too radical a socialist. Willich had fled for his life from both Prussian & French retribution. What would a campaign by a vengeful Prussian army through Georgia have looked like?

There were plenty of people in the North that advocated a scorched earth policy in the South. Sherman was not one of them. You might benefit from a read first make pronouncements second policy.

Since Augusta GA has been a topic in this thread, there was a considerable number of post revolutionary German families living there. My wife grew up there & went with her urgrossmutter & gross mutter to the cemetery on Confederate Decoration Day.
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
I will definitely read J.A.Rose‘s book next as I read that he did an outstanding job in exploring and examining sources.
I've read the Rose book and wouldn't recommend it. The quantity of sources in a book is of little merit, if those sources are selectively used and quoted so as to give a slanted interpretation of the events. The Rose book has a clear agenda.

We have a small group of Civil War authors in the US who are devout fans of the Army of the Cumberland, and particularly of the generals Rosecrans and Thomas. But rather than spending their energy researching and writing better books about their heroes, they instead write negative books to tear down other generals who were more successful. Grant and Sherman get the most biased attacks from these writers. The authors Varney and Moore are in this group as well.

There are much better choices out there to learn about the burning of Columbia. This book might be the standard: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1570033587/?tag=civilwartalkc-20
 
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Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
In July 1863, a Union force of about 640 men raided Kenansville, NC, and destroyed a sword manufacturing facility there.

Rather than an example of how the Union attacked important Confederate arms manufacturing sites, the Kenansville raid is an example of the Union's slow, meager and poorly conceived attempts to attack the Confederate industrial base. Indeed, I think it fair to say the Union put all of its resources into the blockade, believing that an effective blockade was the best way to undermine Confederate military power.
 
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NH Civil War Gal

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If we are getting back to the Augusta Powder Works, I’d like to put this in in answer to someone(s) post about packing up and moving the works.

George Washington Rains picked Augusta because at the time it was out of the way of both armies and had the level of transportation he needed. Also it had in the area a work force he could develop into a skilled work force - slave and free.

Powder is not just powder. There are different kinds of powder for different kinds of guns and artillery - all different grain sizes.

Rains was a very skilled engineer that had been in the US Army and then went into the CSA. He really knew what he was doing in picking Augusta. So….. they idea that he “could just pack up the works” for the Confederate States is simply not that simple. There may have been the location but if there is no workforce available then there is no point. Most of his workforce were free people and white and weren’t about to move to another state as the Confederacy was already in a certain amount of chaos as it was. They weren’t going to leave families behind to go where? Rains was definitely, in 1864, NOT going to move a powder works to anywhere else. There was no where else to move it to as the Confederacy was shrinking and he knew it being an engineer himself.

Augusta was not heavily guarded. It did have a militia but Sherman could have easily overcome it, but that wasn’t his mission. Was it a missed opportunity? Depends on how you look at it.
 

Joseph A. Rose

Corporal
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Regarding „the european way of dealing with rebel populations“: such a label is much too general - I wrote something in another thread in this forum especially about that matter.

Regarding the reported behaviour of Sherman‘s troops there are diverging sources as you certainly know - and (as you just told me) there were some acts of vandalism (which isn‘t too exceptional for troops in such a situation at all).

The point (relevant to our debate) is that the commanding officer obviously bears some (not all of the) responsibility for the acting of his troops.

Without further reading I‘d say that Sherman would have been wise to find means to prevent acts of vandalism - especially in the case of Columbia, as the acting of his troops in that particular city would most probably be investigated and scrutinized afterwards.

I will definitely read J.A.Rose‘s book next as I read that he did an outstanding job in exploring and examining sources.

And of course it would have an effect on an assessment of Sherman if he should have boasted about the burning of parts of a city....
"The European way of dealing with rebel populations" does certainly seems to be too vague a concept to have much, if any, real meaning.

Sherman did boast about Columbia's conflagration. Theodore Lyman, in Meade's Headquarters, 1863-1865, told how he and Meade went to visit Grant early the day before but nobody was up. When they were, "Meade marched in to visit the great Mogul. … [Sherman] is a very homely man, with a regular nest of wrinkles in his face, which play and twist as he eagerly talks on each subject; but his expression is pleasant and kindly. But he believes in hard war. I heard him say: 'Columbia! pretty much all burned; and burned good!'"

I must disagree, however, about the degree of vandalism during Sherman's marches. It was far greater than the average Civil War campaign, and Sherman permitted it. He bears great responsibility for it.

By the way, the first chapter of Grant Under Fire can be read at:
https://www.grantunderfire.com/introduction-to-grant-under-fire/
Even some who disagree with my conclusions note the thorough research.
 

lelliott19

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Ladies and gentlemen - the topic of this thread, started by @Joseph A. Rose is:
Any Union attempts to diminish the Confederacy's munitions production?

The moderators appreciate very much some of the most recent posts which help to get the thread back on track. Many of the previous posts have strayed significantly from Mr. Rose's intended topic. If you do not have any contributions to make regarding Union attempts to diminish Confederate munitions production, please do not post in this thread. Further off topic posts will be deleted, possibly with warnings and points. Thank you for your cooperation. - as moderator
 

Joseph A. Rose

Corporal
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
If we are getting back to the Augusta Powder Works, I’d like to put this in in answer to someone(s) post about packing up and moving the works.

George Washington Rains picked Augusta because at the time it was out of the way of both armies and had the level of transportation he needed. Also it had in the area a work force he could develop into a skilled work force - slave and free.

Powder is not just powder. There are different kinds of powder for different kinds of guns and artillery - all different grain sizes.

Rains was a very skilled engineer that had been in the US Army and then went into the CSA. He really knew what he was doing in picking Augusta. So….. they idea that he “could just pack up the works” for the Confederate States is simply not that simple. There may have been the location but if there is no workforce available then there is no point. Most of his workforce were free people and white and weren’t about to move to another state as the Confederacy was already in a certain amount of chaos as it was. They weren’t going to leave families behind to go where? Rains was definitely, in 1864, NOT going to move a powder works to anywhere else. There was no where else to move it to as the Confederacy was shrinking and he knew it being an engineer himself.

Augusta was not heavily guarded. It did have a militia but Sherman could have easily overcome it, but that wasn’t his mission. Was it a missed opportunity? Depends on how you look at it.
I like and agree with your entire post, except for the last three phrases of the last paragraph. Grant gave Sherman the mission to tear up Confederate infrastructure before the start of the Atlanta campaign, and Sherman gave it to himself before the marches. It was a missed opportunity, which Ted Savas should be able to elaborate much further upon. I don't know whether there is any other reasonable way to look at it.
 

Joseph A. Rose

Corporal
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
In July 1863, a Union force of about 640 men raided Kenansville, NC, and destroyed a sword manufacturing facility there.

Rather than an example of how the Union attacked important Confederate arms manufacturing sites, the Kenansville raid is an example of the Union's slow, meager and poorly conceived attempts to attack the Confederate industrial base. Indeed, I think it fair to say the Union put all of its resources into the blockade, believing that an effective blockade was the best way to undermine Confederate military power.
An effective blockade was probably the best way to undermine Confederate military power. If the army complemented that strategy with its own attacks to degrade Confederate infrastructure, however, the combined effect may have ended the conflict much, much sooner than actually happened.
 

DanSBHawk

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Joined
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Location
Wisconsin
It was a missed opportunity, which Ted Savas should be able to elaborate much further upon. I don't know whether there is any other reasonable way to look at it.
War is full of opportunities, some more consequential than others. Grant and Sherman won the war in a year, without stopping the armies to occupy any specific strategic position. It was about defeating the armies and defeating the morale of the confederacy. And it was successful.
 

DanSBHawk

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Joined
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Location
Wisconsin
An effective blockade was probably the best way to undermine Confederate military power. If the army complemented that strategy with its own attacks to degrade Confederate infrastructure, however, the combined effect may have ended the conflict much, much sooner than actually happened.
"Degrade Confederate infrastructure."

Sherman did a lot of "degrading" confederate infrastructure.
 

Bruce Vail

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Joined
Jul 8, 2015
That the powder produced at the Augusta mill was a quality product is another part of the Lost Cause myth based upon self-serving statements after the war by COL Rains and ex-Confederate ordnance leadership. It wasn't. Even the worshipful authors of Never For Want of Powder concluded that Rains “seems to have taken some liberties with the truth…”



Unfortunately the Federal Navy did not do its part. The Navy’s blockade of the Confederacy was the first modern blockade in that it was conducted largely with steam powered warships which the Federal Navy had to build, purchase, or capture. Due to the need to obtain suitable ships and train crews the blockade began slowly. In 1861 losses of blockade runners were negligiable. In 1862 one in seven runners was lost. In 1863 about one in four was lost. In 1864 losses increased to one in three. And by 1865 losses increased to one to one. There were holes in the blockade, however. The data on captured runners generally covers only steam ships and ignores the myriad of small sailing ships going into secondary or tertiary Southern ports. Even in 1864-5 the blockade was porous. Cape Fear pilot Thomas Mann Thompson first ran the blockade on 24 February 1864. From then until the fall of Fort Fisher on 15 January 1865 he successfully ran the blockade 34 times on nine different steamers. There was an average for the war of six successful trips for each steamship captured. Thus, there was no "effective" blockade under international law until the later half of 1864. The lack of resources applied to the blockade and to closing the remaining significant Southern ports is perplexing.

Regards,
Don Dixon

Your post is quite interesting and (having read a large number of your other posts) seems to be informed by a lot of good solid research. However, I question your conclusion that the US Navy did a poor job with the blockade.

The Navy had no preparation for this assignment and was obliged to build up a large fleet to make the blockade effective. That takes time. The naval technology of the time was very primitive compared to what we are used to today, so the initial success of the blocakade runners should be no surprise. Yes, it did take about three years to make the blockade strategically effective, but the US Navy did suceed in doing it, while also doing an admirable job in completing some of its other assignments, such as building a powerful fleet of riverine monitors in support of the Army.
 
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