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 Posted: Sun Oct 5th, 2008 02:05 am
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pamc153PA
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I think Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley campaign in fall 1864 would qualify as total war, the same way Sherman's campaign did.

Cleburne, good points about Sherman. Interesting that you (and Sherman) focused on that part of the South's "total war"of the civilian spirit, namely mobilizing the civilians not just to join up, but also to support the Confederate army "in spirit" against the North, and undermine the Union army whnever possible. Sherman recognized how crucial this aspect was, and waged war against it. 

Pam



 Posted: Sun Oct 5th, 2008 02:57 am
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CleburneFan
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Bama46 wrote: Johan loves to equate european and asiatic wars with the ACW, but the fact is that the War to prevent Southern Independence was the first Total War in the Western Hemisphere.
I would have said right off the top of my head was that the first total war in the Western Hemisphere would have been the Spanish Conquistadors against the Native-Americans of Central,  South America and the Caribbean Islands. 



 Posted: Sun Oct 5th, 2008 03:13 am
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CleburneFan
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Bama46 wrote: Sherman was a butcher. I believe he remarked that if the south had won, he would have expected to be tried as a war criminal.. I do not have as ource for this quote, but believe it to be true.


Can you cite some actual authenticated reports of civilians who were butchered by Sherman's columns? I know of one. A Union foot soldier accidentally discharged his gun while marching resulting in the killing with one shot of two African-American women standing on a balcony watching the Union columns pass. He was tried for this by officers, but was acquitted when the officers became convinced the deaths were the result of a tragic accident. This account comes from the book Southern Storm: SHerman's March to the Sea by Noah Andre Trudeau.

One might also say something about the reprehensible treatment of fleeing slaves by Brevet Major General Jefferson Davis who lifted the pontoon boats at Ebenezer Creek, stranding hundreds of helpless slaves on the other side of the creek while Wheeler's cavalry bore down on them.

Many of these hapless slaves were returned to their owners and are said to have been cruely punished for having run away. Others drowned trying to swim across Ebenezer Creek. As far as I know, this disgraceful event is the single greatest atrocity committed by someone under Sherman's command during the March.

When you say Sherman was a butcher, are you referring to this event?



 Posted: Sun Oct 5th, 2008 03:20 am
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Johan Steele
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Thank you Cleburne, it is a pleasure when someone else is actually aware of historical context.

Some like to believe history happens in a vacuum or starts & stops w/ the US.

To any who would think Sherman the first to engage in total war ask the Cherokee or the Seminole about forced relocation & total war. All w/in memory of those officers on both sides. The number of civilian deaths? Then compare that to ANY other military campaign through enemy territory. Sherman and his men were absolute saints in comparison to the majority you can compare them to.

Last edited on Sun Oct 5th, 2008 03:48 am by Johan Steele



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 Posted: Sun Oct 5th, 2008 02:30 pm
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Widow
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CleburneFan, to add a little comment about Sherman's reasons,

I can't remember where I read it, maybe in Sherman's memoirs, that he wanted to show that he could go anywhere he liked, do anything he liked, and they couldn't do a thing to stop him.

Did any Georgia troops in the ANV desert to go home and protect their families?  If so, that would have weakened Lee's army even more.

Just a thought.

Patty, aka Widow



 Posted: Sun Oct 5th, 2008 05:19 pm
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Johan Steele
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THere is a story about the march to the sea that always amused me. A Southern gentleman was near the troops and asked General Sherman where he was going. Generla Sherman replied that he didn't think he should tell that info. THe Southern Gent promised on his honor as a Southerner that he wouldn't tell a soul. "on your honor as a Southern gentleman?" "Why, yes sir." General Sherman motioned the man close and moved to whisper in the mans ear. The gent eagerly waited. General Sherman yelled as loud as he could into the mans ear: "Anywhere I damned well please."



 Posted: Tue Oct 7th, 2008 12:39 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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If the ANV had food prior to Appomattox, the desertion rate would have been lower and they would have fought on untill they ran out of food/supplies......

If the Yanks had been out of food and suffered a high desertion rate, perhaps the shoe would have been on the other foot. As I recall, at some point in the war, there were those in the north who wanted to sue for peace and let the South go. The best General the South ever had was almost any General before Grant....



 Posted: Tue Oct 7th, 2008 01:13 pm
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CleburneFan
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Albert Sailhorst wrote: If the ANV had food prior to Appomattox, the desertion rate would have been lower and they would have fought on untill they ran out of food/supplies......



The reasons for desertion were more complex than simply near starvation of ANV soldiers. They often deserted because their families back home were also near starvation. When virtually every able-bodied white male in the South was away at war, it was left to women and slaves to manage agriculture. The task was nearly impossible, especially when slaves began to flee their owners to follow Union columns.

The burden was especially hard on those women who had few or no slaves. Their situations and that of their children approached dire straits by 1864 and certainly 1865. They begged their husbands to come home because they could no longer do the impossible themselves. A man who might be willing to sacrifce his own hunger for the Cause would think long and hard about leaving his own family and elderly parents destitute. Also further fighting risked life and limb, meaning the man might never return. Duty to family began to weigh heavily on potential deserters most especially when it began to be a real possibility that the South could not win the war anyway.  

I fully understand the motivations of such men who deserted under the formidable circumstances they faced daily.



 Posted: Tue Oct 7th, 2008 02:00 pm
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ole
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An individual's reason for deserting is as varied as his reason for joining up in the first place. Although the lack of essentials on the field and at home most certainly played a part, I believe we make a mistake in attaching too much importance to it.

Lest we forget, the better-fed and -supplied Union armies had a problem with desertion, as well.



 Posted: Tue Oct 7th, 2008 02:24 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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Cleburn,

Thanks for adding to my comment!

Had "total war" (or however one cares to term it, "a rose by any other name is still a rose") not been inflicted upon the South, perhaps the hunger of the civilians would not have been as large an issue. After all, prior to 1865, the starvation of the citizenry was not as wide-spread as it was by 1865. It did exist, however, not to the extent that it did once "total war" raveged the countryside.



 Posted: Tue Oct 7th, 2008 04:25 pm
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ole
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Sherman's "total war" did not touch enough of the Confederacy to cause widespread starvation. It did, however, severely crimp the diet of the AoNV -- and that was more due to the destruction of railroads than destruction of the food supply.

A factor that might have been more crippling to the Confederacy was the value of its money. Non-farmers had to buy their bread and meat with increasingly worthless money.



 Posted: Tue Oct 7th, 2008 04:29 pm
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HankC
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What war is not a war of attrition? The ideal is still as quick of a war of annihilation (of the opposing army) as possible and usually it is not possible.

All recent wars are total war for the loser (and sometimes the 'winner'). As the loser’s forces retreat and their country overrun, the difference between military and civilian infrastructure is indistinguishable.

The South suffered not due to lack of food, but due to lack of infrastructure for moving the food.


HankC



 Posted: Tue Oct 7th, 2008 07:48 pm
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ole
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Thanks, Hank. You said it better.

ole



 Posted: Tue Oct 7th, 2008 08:11 pm
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Ramseur30thNC
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"I would not call Lee or the ANV incompetant, but professional soldiers of the highest order have and when you listen to their reasoning you have to wonder if they don't have a point."

 

 Anyone that would call Lee incompetant is a complete moron. I would love to hear the argument  these 'professional soldiers of the highest order' have for such a statement.

 

 God save us from the wanna-be historians of this world like Bonekemper.  



 



 Posted: Tue Oct 7th, 2008 08:19 pm
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ole
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Ramseur:

As a newbie, you get a pass. This time. And maybe a few more until you get a handle on the tenor of this board. There are many who feel as you do -- they do not lightly use the word "moron."

Welcome to the board. Stop, look, learn and teach. Name-calling never moves the discussion forward.



 Posted: Tue Oct 7th, 2008 08:33 pm
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javal1
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Ramseur,

Heed Ole's advice, and allow me to make it official. You're welcome to your opinions of Lee. Do not characterize others via name-calling beause of theirs. Other boards will tolerate it. This one won't.



 Posted: Tue Oct 7th, 2008 09:21 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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I'm stickin' my neck where it don't belong, but I don't think Ramsuer's use of the word "moron" was directed at any particular person, anymore than was Johann's comment "it is a pleasure when someone else is actually aware of historical context" taken to imply the rest of us aren't aware of historical comment and could, in fact, be 'morons".....Just my two-cents....I'll butt out now....



 Posted: Tue Oct 7th, 2008 09:29 pm
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Johan Steele
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Ramseur, look at what the British Army War College has to say of Lee. It is not all complimentery. I call that profesional soldiers of the highest order. Some who have held a less than impressed opinion of Lee would be Generals like Montgomery & Kesserling... both professional soldiers and both of the highest order.

I believe Montgomery stated that both Meade and Lee should have been cashiered for their actions at Gettysburg.

Kesserling believed Lee to have been overrated, especially his actions during the 7 days battles and during the Petersburg campaign.

In my own opinion Montgomery was overrated in his own right and am more liekly to give some weight to the thoughts and opinion of Kesserling.



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