Sherman The Paradox of William T. Sherman

J C J Barefoot

Private
Joined
Sep 10, 2019
(Sarcasm) And you thought things weren’t argumentative enough so you decided to mix it up by throwing religion into the mix? (Sarcasm)

You’re correct that I don’t believe religion has been considered as we’ve found more than enough differences of opinions as it is.

It’s a valid consideration as ones beliefs could impact conscious or unconscious decisions.

Did Sherman have more than one son? If not, you may have just explained how or what caused his son to be committed in 1921.
YES INDEED! Or as one friend use to say " That's like showing up with a ham at a Jewish wedding" Also , the mental nervous issues might have been genetic since both father Thomas Sherman and his father had breakdowns. It's a piece of ironic history that Thomas grave is right next to Father John Salter, who was the nephew of Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy during the Civil War.


Today I found this outstanding paper on the complexity of Sherman's believes and the tension it brought in his marriage:


https://resources.ohiohistory.org/o...0&searchterm=shakers&vol=75&pages=26-34,68-70
 

Georgia

Sergeant
YES INDEED! Or as one friend use to say " That's like showing up with a ham at a Jewish wedding" Also , the mental nervous issues might have been genetic since both father Thomas Sherman and his father had breakdowns. It's a piece of ironic history that Thomas grave is right next to Father John Salter, who was the nephew of Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy during the Civil War.


Today I found this outstanding paper on the complexity of Sherman's believes and the tension it brought in his marriage:


https://resources.ohiohistory.org/o...0&searchterm=shakers&vol=75&pages=26-34,68-70
Makes you wonder how the marriage survived. I know divorce was not really an option at that time- but, goodness, it sounds like this was a constant thorn in their side.
 

A. Roy

Sergeant Major
Forum Host
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Location
Raleigh, North Carolina
Sherman remains today an enigma.
Was he an unbalanced, untreated victim of recurrent depression, or was he a misunderstood military genius who invented modern warfare?

Here's at least one psychiatrist who contends that Gen. Sherman was bipolar -- Nassir Ghaemi, psychiatry professor at Tufts medical school.

In his 2011 book, A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness, Ghaemi in his introduction admits that it's problematic to diagnosis someone posthumously:

"Retrospective psychiatric diagnosis is fraught with risk and never definitive." (Page 2)

But he does it anyway, maybe because that's kind of the whole basis for his book. Here's some of what he says about Sherman in his introduction:

"Historical evidence suggests that Sherman suffered from manic depressive illness, or bipolar disorder—extreme shifts in a person’s
mood, energy, and ability to function. Someone need have only one manic episode to be diagnosed as manic-depressive; in fact, most people with the illness suffer mostly from depression. In addition to the Kentucky breakdown, Sherman apparently had at least four other major depressive episodes, the first at age twenty-seven, with symptoms of hopelessness, inertia, insomnia, and loss of appetite. He’d been having trouble settling into a military career and feeling excessively controlled by his father-in-law. The second episode occurred around age thirty-seven, when Sherman was a struggling banker. Another followed a few years later, again involving financial hardship. Another, at age fifty-eight, thirteen years after the war, came after his oldest son, Tom, a deeply depressed and sometimes homeless man who ultimately died in an institution, refused to study law, as Sherman desired, and decided instead to become a Jesuit priest."
(Pages 1-2)

Ghaemi actually thinks that mental illness can enhance productivity and creativity:

"I focus on historical leaders because, as a psychiatrist, I am eager to understand the benefits, as well as drawbacks, that can accompany mental illnesses. Clinical research has demonstrated these benefits—resilience, realism, empathy, and creativity. Yet most people haven’t taken much note of this research. Showing the link between these strengths and madness in several of our most celebrated leaders could raise our awareness about the strengths that some mental illnesses can bestow on anybody who suffers from them." (Page 10)

Looking at reviews of his book, I see that Ghaemi definitely has his critics. All the same, it's interesting to see what he has to say about Sherman.

Roy B.
 

Georgia

Sergeant
Here's at least one psychiatrist who contends that Gen. Sherman was bipolar -- Nassir Ghaemi, psychiatry professor at Tufts medical school.

In his 2011 book, A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness, Ghaemi in his introduction admits that it's problematic to diagnosis someone posthumously:

"Retrospective psychiatric diagnosis is fraught with risk and never definitive." (Page 2)

But he does it anyway, maybe because that's kind of the whole basis for his book. Here's some of what he says about Sherman in his introduction:

"Historical evidence suggests that Sherman suffered from manic depressive illness, or bipolar disorder—extreme shifts in a person’s
mood, energy, and ability to function. Someone need have only one manic episode to be diagnosed as manic-depressive; in fact, most people with the illness suffer mostly from depression. In addition to the Kentucky breakdown, Sherman apparently had at least four other major depressive episodes, the first at age twenty-seven, with symptoms of hopelessness, inertia, insomnia, and loss of appetite. He’d been having trouble settling into a military career and feeling excessively controlled by his father-in-law. The second episode occurred around age thirty-seven, when Sherman was a struggling banker. Another followed a few years later, again involving financial hardship. Another, at age fifty-eight, thirteen years after the war, came after his oldest son, Tom, a deeply depressed and sometimes homeless man who ultimately died in an institution, refused to study law, as Sherman desired, and decided instead to become a Jesuit priest."
(Pages 1-2)

Ghaemi actually thinks that mental illness can enhance productivity and creativity:

"I focus on historical leaders because, as a psychiatrist, I am eager to understand the benefits, as well as drawbacks, that can accompany mental illnesses. Clinical research has demonstrated these benefits—resilience, realism, empathy, and creativity. Yet most people haven’t taken much note of this research. Showing the link between these strengths and madness in several of our most celebrated leaders could raise our awareness about the strengths that some mental illnesses can bestow on anybody who suffers from them." (Page 10)

Looking at reviews of his book, I see that Ghaemi definitely has his critics. All the same, it's interesting to see what he has to say about Sherman.

Roy B.
I have a difficult time accepting information in the sense the patient is no longer here and it could be seen as speculative.
Anecdotally, I can see how it could be considered a possibility and a consideration for his choices and decisions. But, I’m very uncomfortable assigning a medical diagnosis based only on writings and not from the patient himself.
I did find Sherman’s son was placed under mental care in CA in 1921. And, one could make the thought that various mental issues are genetically passed on to family members. But, even knowing this, I don’t feel comfortable in assigning such a medical diagnosis to Sherman.

Others may disagree as this is just my personal opinion. But, I applaud the discussion of mental ailments as for too long they have been mentioned only in hushed tones. But, I also wouldn’t agree of using a proposed mental condition diagnosed by a physician a hundred and fifty years later to somehow be the scapegoat of Sherman’s actions in battle.
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Another misguided article from the Washington Times, spattered with ignorance and irrelevance. If that author knew anything about war strategy he or she would recommend Sherman for a posthumous Noble Peace Prize for his great humanitarian work in the deep south. But instead, the author spent the majority of the article miss-psychoanalyzing Sherman's psyche and applied it to war theory, which is absurd.

Sherman understood the very constitution of the southern elite, and he understood the very fundamental reason to why they wanted war. He knew the southern aristocracy was a patrician society with excess pride and their fundamentally reason for fighting was to protect their patrimony: slaves, land and mansions. Conversely, the average Confederate soldier's well being was never considered.

Sherman is misunderstood by just about everyone, that's because he didn't follow the Marquess of Queensbury rules of boxing, he threw off the gloves. He demolished the heartland of the Southern aristocrats: their land and slaves—and left them impotent and discredited before their helpless women and children. Facing little opposition once they left Atlanta, Sherman’s men destroyed the very infrastructure that supported slavery and upheld the slaveholding elites—plantations, communications, factories, and government facilities. Southern military officers put great capital in the idea of the sanctity of the Southern homeland. They deemed themselves great raiders and marauders, who harassed fixed garrisons and terrorized timid populations. Sherman, however, gave the Confederacy the raid of its life. The central objective could be summed up quite simply: Freeing the unfree and humiliating the arrogant.

Sherman goes down in history similar to a Greek tragic hero, like Ajax. He was the only general of the entire CW who could have done the job to end the war. But that's never discussed, the manner he did it in is constantly discussed because sanctimonious people who think they're sober and judicious shout out their fraudulent accusations from their fictional ivory tower. Ajax deserved Achilles armor and Sherman deserves his due. Nothing paradoxical about Sherman.
 

J C J Barefoot

Private
Joined
Sep 10, 2019
Another misguided article from the Washington Times, spattered with ignorance and irrelevance. If that author knew anything about war strategy he or she would recommend Sherman for a posthumous Noble Peace Prize for his great humanitarian work in the deep south. But instead, the author spent the majority of the article miss-psychoanalyzing Sherman's psyche and applied it to war theory, which is absurd.

Sherman understood the very constitution of the southern elite, and he understood the very fundamental reason to why they wanted war. He knew the southern aristocracy was a patrician society with excess pride and their fundamentally reason for fighting was to protect their patrimony: slaves, land and mansions. Conversely, the average Confederate soldier's well being was never considered.

Sherman is misunderstood by just about everyone, that's because he didn't follow the Marquess of Queensbury rules of boxing, he threw off the gloves. He demolished the heartland of the Southern aristocrats: their land and slaves—and left them impotent and discredited before their helpless women and children. Facing little opposition once they left Atlanta, Sherman’s men destroyed the very infrastructure that supported slavery and upheld the slaveholding elites—plantations, communications, factories, and government facilities. Southern military officers put great capital in the idea of the sanctity of the Southern homeland. They deemed themselves great raiders and marauders, who harassed fixed garrisons and terrorized timid populations. Sherman, however, gave the Confederacy the raid of its life. The central objective could be summed up quite simply: Freeing the unfree and humiliating the arrogant.

Sherman goes down in history similar to a Greek tragic hero, like Ajax. He was the only general of the entire CW who could have done the job to end the war. But that's never discussed, the manner he did it in is constantly discussed because sanctimonious people who think they're sober and judicious shout out their fraudulent accusations from their fictional ivory tower. Ajax deserved Achilles armor and Sherman deserves his due. Nothing paradoxical about Sherman.
Wow. Your comment that Sherman was actually attacking the underbelly of the upper crust Southern planter society is a cogent point. Thank you.
 
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