Brass Napoleon Award William T. Sherman: Total War vs. Hard War

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I've posted the following previously on other Sherman was "blah! blah! blah!" threads. For the benefit of newer members:

A 1951 movie starring Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal, according to some pro-Confederate websites, was based on actual aliens and our Civil War :giggle:

Klaatu Lincoln: "I'm worried about Gort Sherman. There's no limit to what he could do. He could destroy the earth! In matters of aggression, we have given him absolute power over us. This power cannot be revoked. At the first signs of violence, he acts automatically against the aggressor. The penalty for provoking his action is too terrible to risk."

With an approving nod from Klaatu Lincoln, Gort Sherman unleashed his awesome power throughout EVERY square inch of the Confederacy! Employing his laser beam eyes he was able to burn down barns, homes, and entire towns at will leaving most of the South a smoldering cinder.

Finally as Gort Sherman reached the upper edges of the South, General Grant interposed with an order from Klaatu Lincoln: "Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!" There was nothing left to burn. Darth Sheridan had already incinerated every square inch of land to the north.
The Day The South Stood Still -The TRUTH, anonymous pro-Confederate website
 

lurid

Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
I've posted the following previously on other Sherman was "blah! blah! blah!" threads. For the benefit of newer members:

A 1951 movie starring Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal, according to some pro-Confederate websites, was based on actual aliens and our Civil War :giggle:

Klaatu Lincoln: "I'm worried about Gort Sherman. There's no limit to what he could do. He could destroy the earth! In matters of aggression, we have given him absolute power over us. This power cannot be revoked. At the first signs of violence, he acts automatically against the aggressor. The penalty for provoking his action is too terrible to risk."

With an approving nod from Klaatu Lincoln, Gort Sherman unleashed his awesome power throughout EVERY square inch of the Confederacy! Employing his laser beam eyes he was able to burn down barns, homes, and entire towns at will leaving most of the South a smoldering cinder.

Finally as Gort Sherman reached the upper edges of the South, General Grant interposed with an order from Klaatu Lincoln: "Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!" There was nothing left to burn. Darth Sheridan had already incinerated every square inch of land to the north.
The Day The South Stood Still -The TRUTH, anonymous pro-Confederate website
Lol. I'm starting to wonder if there was any shred of truth to the Confederate sympathizers and the Lost Cause charlatans.
 

Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
Joined
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Location
Georgia
I want to thank everyone for posting in here and giving slightly different views on our beloved Uncle Billy. I will conclude that Sherman did nothing wrong and deserves much praise for his operations in the southeast. If anything, Sherman was a great humanitarian and showed restraint and magnanimity to the feebleminded. Sherman could have easily totally destroyed the south along with its inhabitants but spared it. His hard war tactics were a mortal blow to the Confederate pride because he proved that they could not protect their women and children from an outside force. Therefore, it's indicative that the Confederacy sovereignty was nothing but a semblance and once it was tried under fire it collapsed and revealed it wasn't remotely autonomous. In other words, Sherman showed the south and the rest of the world the Confederacy was one of or not, the worst governments in the history of civilization.
Actually his hard war tactics were a mortal blow to the supply lines of the Confederacy so they would not be able to wage war. He disrupted the economy and transportation network of the south. I think that had more of an impact than hurting Confederate pride regarding women and children.
 
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lurid

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Actually his hard war tactics were a mortal blow to the supply lines of the Confederacy so they would not be able to wage war. He disrupted the economy and transportation network of the south. I think that had more of an impact than hurting Confederate pride regarding women and children.
No matter how you spin it or look at it, the Confederacy could not protect their women and children from an outside force. Epic fail.
 

Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
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Location
Georgia
No matter how you spin it or look at it, the Confederacy could not protect their women and children from an outside force. Epic fail.
The Confederacy already knew that they could not protect their women and children from invasion even before Sherman began his March to the Sea in 1864. The Union had already successfully invaded other southern states before Sherman began his infamous march.
 

lurid

Sergeant
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The Confederacy already knew that they could not protect their women and children from invasion even before Sherman began his March to the Sea in 1864. The Union had already successfully invaded other southern states before Sherman began his infamous march.
What's that tell you about the Confederacy? It tells me the continuity of war to sustain slavery was worth more than their families and countrymen.
 
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Jimklag

Lt. Colonel
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Location
Chicagoland
Folks. There are multiple threads about Civil War economics and technology available for your posting pleasure. This thread is about whether Sherman practiced total war or hard war. Please confine your posts to that field of discussion. Hereafter, off-topic posts will be deleted and thread bans will follow.

Posted as moderator.
 
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frontrank2

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Mt. Jackson, Va
My two cents worth, Total War is a military waging complete destruction upon it's enemy. Indiscriminate suffering upon strategic targets and civilian ones. Such as the firebombings of Dresden and Tokyo and London. Sherman waged a Hard War which brought suffering to the populace, something they didn't expect and weren't accustomed to. Very few civilian deaths resulted from his tactics, and the ones that did occur weren't sanctioned by the High Command.
 
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Norm53

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 13, 2019
Location
Cape May, NJ
Having read this excellent thread, I hardly need to read any books on the subject. Nevertheless, I would like to read 1 or 2 books (each) that accurately describe the "hard war" of (1) Sherman from the time he took over the AotT and (2) Sheridan from the time he assumed command in the Shenandoah.

Thank you in advance for your recommendations.

Norm
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Location
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You know, it took awhile before really ascertaining what on earth this hard war thing was. There's the usual hard boiled take- his ' War is H*ll ' famous quote has always seemed excusatory and no, I'm not Southern, had Confederate ancestors ( well, the Jolly brothers are in the tree ) or any particular interest in agendas. The thing is, I'm not sure there'll ever be agreement much less an ability to discuss Sherman until it's just fine to say " BOY a lot of civilians suffered. " An entire war rolled over civilians; saying what amounts to " Oh well, they deserved it " and " It had to be done " or worst, that hard war was an accepted military tactic accomplishes nothing save generates frustration and more resentment.

I don't know. It baffled me, before looking into 1st hand accounts from those awful years why there's still such a divide, why we're still Yankees up here and why fellow citizens would say " You can't understand, you're a Yankee ". I do now. IMO until we can talk about all the ' what happened ' we'll remain divided in ways that get out of hand in a big hurry. Sherman and his hard war was such a huge part of those ' what happened ' IMO it's unsurprising rancor remains 150 years later. That wasn't very long ago.

I'm seriously not being difficult, snarky or argumentative. Actually being a little depressed. It's depressing seeing us so far apart and we just do not have to be.
 
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Joshism

2nd Lieutenant
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Location
Jupiter, FL
Examples of Total War

Hundred Years War: Edward The Black Prince conducted a March Through Western France known as a chevauchée. His soldiers burned houses, raped and killed civilians, and basically destroyed everything they could.

World War II: bombing cities, massacre and rape of civilians, genocide.

Punic Wars: Rome levels Carthage then salts the Earth.

Thirty Years War

Hard War
Sherman destroys infrastructure and supplies. He doesn't murder and rape civilians or burn their homes.

Why Sherman Was Villainized
Sherman's legacy is because his march was vastly exaggerated by Southerners. It fit nicely into the Lost Cause (Yankee barbarians!), but also there's a racism and exceptionalism aspect. What Sherman did would have been perfectly acceptable against Native Americans or foreigners, but how dare he do that against other white Christian Americans! Therein lies the real outrage.
 

Eric Calistri

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Joined
May 31, 2012
Location
Austin Texas
Having read this excellent thread, I hardly need to read any books on the subject. Nevertheless, I would like to read 1 or 2 books (each) that accurately describe the "hard war" of (1) Sherman from the time he took over the AotT and (2) Sheridan from the time he assumed command in the Shenandoah.

Thank you in advance for your recommendations.

Norm
Hard Hand of War by Mark Grimsley covers both of those in the larger context of the evolution of Union policy towards southern civilians and their property.
 
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Norm53

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Hard Hand of War by Mark Grimsley covers both of those in the larger context of the evolution of Union policy towards southern civilians and their property.
Thank you. I ordered it from amazon for only $11+, including s&h. If I don't receive any more suggested memoirs (= memoirs, diaries, letters) or books on the subject, then I will conclude that talk here and in books is based on anecdotes.

Norm
 

lurid

Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
You know, it took awhile before really ascertaining what on earth this hard war thing was. There's the usual hard boiled take- his ' War is H*ll ' famous quote has always seemed excusatory and no, I'm not Southern, had Confederate ancestors ( well, the Jolly brothers are in the tree ) or any particular interest in agendas. The thing is, I'm not sure there'll ever be agreement much less an ability to discuss Sherman until it's just fine to say " BOY a lot of civilians suffered. " An entire war rolled over civilians; saying what amounts to " Oh well, they deserved it " and " It had to be done " or worst, that hard war was an accepted military tactic accomplishes nothing save generates frustration and more resentment.

I don't know. It baffled me, before looking into 1st hand accounts from those awful years why there's still such a divide, why we're still Yankees up here and why fellow citizens would say " You can't understand, you're a Yankee ". I do now. IMO until we can talk about all the ' what happened ' we'll remain divided in ways that get out of hand in a big hurry. Sherman and his hard war was such a huge part of those ' what happened ' IMO it's unsurprising rancor remains 150 years later. That wasn't very long ago.

I'm seriously not being difficult, snarky or argumentative. Actually being a little depressed. It's depressing seeing us so far apart and we just do not have to be.
Sherman did nothing wrong. Civilians suffer in wars because of collateral damage or just getting in the crossfire. Moreover, even if civilians are targeted during wars it's legal because they are considered part of the "war effort." Civilians make war armaments, fund and support wars, so they are open game.

I'm quite sure Sherman gave both the Georgia and South Carolina governors the option to surrender without incident or total destruction and they chose the latter, therefore, the blood is on their hands and Sherman is exonerated.

How divided is the country? How many people in Pennsylvania discuss the CW informally? I'm from PA, and never once had an informal discussion about the CW. I think you are thinking about those backward hillbillies who try to incite drama on the internet. My long time girlfriend was born and raised in Alabama and her sister is married to a gentlemen from Michigan. We personally know 4 other north-south couples in our subdivision alone. Once those adherents to that Lost Cause nonsense disappear from this earth the unwarranted animosity will cease.
 

Norm53

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Location
Cape May, NJ
Since no poster responded to my #71 post, I will assume that Sherman and Sheridan made no depredations upon the southern states until I am acquainted with eyewitness testimony as expressed in primary sources, such as memoirs, diaries and letters. Too much hearsay about this war, IMO.
 
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lurid

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Jan 3, 2019
Since no poster responded to my #71 post, I will assume that Sherman and Sheridan made no depredations upon the southern states until I am acquainted with eyewitness testimony as expressed in primary sources, such as memoirs, diaries and letters. Too much hearsay about this war, IMO.
I'm sure Leftyhunter can turn you on to some primary documents. I don't know about Sheridan but I know Sherman gave the south plenty of warnings to surrender or else. The governors in GA and SC refused to compromise and Sherman gave them what they were looking for and then some. I have a book with plenty of primary documents in its bibliography: Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives Of William Tecumseh Sherman. By Robert L. O'connell.
 

Joshism

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Location
Jupiter, FL
Noah Andre Trudeau's Southern Storm is an excellent, extensive modern study of the March Through Georgia. It even includes day-by-day maps of the route of march for both wings and daily weather conditions. IIRC, it makes extensive use of diaries by Union soldiers who participated in the March.
 
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