In Charles Kuralt's wonderful photo narrative book Southerners, he had this to say about the war and North Carolina in particular. Now remember that Kuralt was no reactionary Lost Causer, nor was he anybody's conservative, but he did come to know America and Americans as well as anybody through his career.
"In my mind, General William Tecumseh Sherman is and always will be the number one villain of the South. In 196, during the Bicentennial, I went along the route of Sherman's march from Atlanta to the sea. I found people in Georgia who still hate him, who were still willing to talk bitterly about him. You can still see some signs of his march. You have to look, but those lonely chimneys are still standing there, where houses used to be. The Southerners named those things 'Sherman's Sentinels'.
Sherman attacked and burned people's homes, and it was precisely that which caused people to hate him so. Oh, how unnecessary it was. Why burn the homes of innocent families? Why do that? Of course, at the time, it seemed to Sherman the only choice, like dropping the bomb on Hiroshima. The war had to be won. It was far, far later, many years after the war, when Sher,an was thinking back, that he said 'War is Hell.'
The unlucky Georgians who lived along his path in 1864 already had found out about that.
I belonged briefly to a fraternity at Chapel Hill. They kept the records of everybody who'd ever been a member. I remember going up to the secret room, where they kept all these records, handwritten. And in the book they showed me where they write a line or two about what happened to you in your life, and when you died. In the class of 1863, there were about seven boys in the fraternity. Two years later, six of them were dead. Those six boys were going to be the leaders of North Carolina. They were the college generation, and that generation was decimated. "Decimated," though, isn't the word, because that just means the death of one in ten."
Let the Reverend use his own money to put up a statue to his own heroes. Fair enough. But leave that one alone.
What’s so galling about the “Rev” is that he is not satisfied to erect a plaque on the grounds of UNC, he wants to attach his plaque to “Silent Sam.” This is the same kook demanding the removal of the carvings on Stone Mountain and rumored to want to do the same for the slavers on Mt Rushmore.
“There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public...Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs."
Booker T. Washington, The Booker T. Washington Papers, Vol. 1, ed. Louis R. Harlan (Chicago: University of Illinois Press: 1972), p. 430.