Sherman Sherman and the Savannah Relief Program.

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
I am reading When Sherman Marched North From the Sea 'Resistance on the Confederate Home Front by Jacqueline Glass Campbell. In the first chapter, one of the things Campbell discusses is the complex nature of General Sherman as the general who brought hard war to the citizens of Georgia and his hope of being seen as a benevolent protector of the Southern citizen once they submitted to the Union. She uses the Savannah relief program to help illustrate Sherman's dual nature.

"The Savannah relief program serves as a prism through which we can view not only the nature of William T. Sherman, but also the confecting sentiments that Yankees and Confederate held for each other. For the Union men in savannah, the distribution of food to suffering people elicited both sympathy and condescension. Many needy inhabitants welcomed the benevolence of their enemies; many more raged in frustration and humiliation." (page 24)

This made me wonder if the Savannah relief program was established out of the benevolent nature of Sherman, or was it an attempt by Sherman to show Southerners the futility of further resistance. The Savannah relief program was a great propaganda tool for Northern citizens to help them see themselves as merciful conquerors. But was Sherman and his army truly "merciful conquerors"? I do wonder how the image of Sherman as a merciful conqueror played out in the minds of the average "conquered" Southerner or in the minds of the average Confederate sympathizer.

I will have to finish reading When Sherman Marched North From the Sea 'Resistance on the Confederate Home Front to see how Jacqueline Glass Campbell treats this issue. Campbell is a persuasive writer but she will need to work to convince me.
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
Sherman confiscated 25k bales of cotton at Savannah. Generous of him to pass out food after destroying all of the stores of Rice and wasting everything his soldiers couldn’t consume on his approach.

Don’t think most Southerners then or now are debating whether Sherman saved them or not? After his debacle of how he treated the negroes, I suspect he needed some good Press. “Merciful conquerors”, the idea that the Yankee saved Southerners. Another tenant of the Yankee Myth.
 
Sherman confiscated 25k bales of cotton at Savannah. Generous of him to pass out food after destroying all of the stores of Rice and wasting everything his soldiers couldn’t consume on his approach.


“He who wishes to fight must first count the cost”

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

“Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.”

Sun Tzu
The Art of War
 

NDR5thNY

Private
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Location
Lumberton, NC
Sherman confiscated 25k bales of cotton at Savannah. Generous of him to pass out food after destroying all of the stores of Rice and wasting everything his soldiers couldn’t consume on his approach.

Don’t think most Southerners then or now are debating whether Sherman saved them or not? After his debacle of how he treated the negroes, I suspect he needed some good Press. “Merciful conquerors”, the idea that the Yankee saved Southerners. Another tenant of the Yankee Myth.
Kilpatrick’s men shot and killed my gg aunts 73 year old husband on his back porch because he refused to allow them to ride their horses into his house. This happened in Anson County, NC in early March 1865. To say the family hated Sherman would be a gross understatement . My grandmother 1877-1963, mother and aunts became irate whenever someone mentioned Sherman’s name.
Hopefully the hatred and wounds are a thing of the past.
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
Kilpatrick’s men shot and killed my gg aunts 73 year old husband on his back porch because he refused to allow them to ride their horses into his house. This happened in Anson County, NC in early March 1865. To say the family hated Sherman would be a gross understatement . My grandmother 1877-1963, mother and aunts became irate whenever someone mentioned Sherman’s name.
Hopefully the hatred and wounds are a thing of the past.
Oh, we are told those things Never Happened? LOL
 

NDR5thNY

Private
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Location
Lumberton, NC
I will look for the newspaper later. This is certainly not hearsay!
I found a source for the killing I referred to earlier. This is from “Sherman’s March through North Carolina by Wilson Angley, Jerry L. Cross and Michael Hill. Page 5 and 6 , “ At least two county residents were murdered in cold blood. One, the prominent planter James C Bennett, was brutally killed at his home between Lilesville and Morten. Bishop Atkinson reported that “he was shot at the door of his own house because he did not give up his watch and money, which had been previously taken from him by another party. “ The second victim , a Mr. James Cottingham, was similarly killed when unable to produce valuables that had already been stolen from him”.
These quotes are taken from the Wadesboro Argus newspaper from March 1865.
This book gives an excellent insight into depredations experienced by the women and children of North Carolina at the hands of Sherman’s Bummers. Sherman’s reputation is well earned and the more reading I do has revealed he is not quite The Satan I heard of in my youth.
 
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