General Sherman’s March to the Sea: A Contemporary Examination of the Atrocities

In the annals of the American Civil War, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s March to the Sea stands out as a defining chapter. While celebrated by some for its military genius and criticized by others for its perceived cruelty, Sherman’s actions during this campaign invite a critical reevaluation through the lens of modern ethical standards.

**The March to the Sea**

General Sherman’s campaign, which began in November 1864, saw Union (the “good” guys) forces marching from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. The goal was to cripple the Confederacy’s ability to wage war by targeting infrastructure, supplies, and civilian morale. While this tactic was not uncommon in warfare at the time, it raises questions when viewed through contemporary eyes.

**The Atrocities**

Sherman’s forces, comprised of Union soldiers, committed actions that are considered atrocities by today’s standards. The wanton destruction of property, burning of civilian homes, and looting were tactics employed to weaken the Confederate war effort. Additionally, the infamous “scorched-earth” policy meant that any resources useful to the Confederate army were seized or destroyed.

**The Ethical Question**

From a modern perspective, Sherman’s actions in his March to the Sea are viewed with deep ethical concern. Deliberately targeting civilian property and non-combatants goes against contemporary principles of just warfare and the protection of human rights. The effects of such actions on innocent civilians, including loss of shelter, food, and livelihood, are deeply troubling.

**A Necessary Evil or War Crime?**

The debate over Sherman’s campaign continues. Some argue that it was a “necessary evil” to hasten the end of a brutal conflict, while others label it a war crime. Contemporary ethical standards, such as the Geneva Conventions, emphasize the protection of non-combatants and their property during warfare. From this perspective, Sherman’s actions would be viewed as unacceptable and inhumane.

**Historical Context**

It’s important to remember that the Civil War was a different time, and the rules of war different. While the ethical scrutiny of Sherman’s campaign is merited, it should also be assessed in the context of its era.

In conclusion, General Sherman’s March to the Sea remains a contentious and complex episode in American history. When viewed from a modern lens, his actions are concerning to us today; highlighting the evolving psychology of our modern culture.

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4 thoughts on “General Sherman’s March to the Sea: A Contemporary Examination of the Atrocities”

  1. William Tecumseh Sherman sits on the right hand of Satan in the lower reaches of Hell for the misery he inflicted on innocent civilians. It’s really easy to fight women, children, and old folks, burning their homes, destroying their food supplies and livelihoods. I always thought he didn’t have the guts to fight the soldiers, just the people who couldn’t defend themselves.

    When the Battle Hymn of the Republic was played at my church on the Fourth of July, I let it finish, then raised my hand. I reminded the congregation that the damned yankees marched to this song when they were destroying the infrastructure of the South, led by the cretin Sherman and approved by Lincoln and Grant. All 3 are guilty of genocide in our own nation. It’s a shame for us to even hear that song. Sherman deserves nothing but scorn, forever and forever.

    • General Sherman didn’t have 20th century technology, but the Allies did the same thing to Germany and Japan, destroying their industrial and transportation technology, and in a few places, firebombing entire cities, to degrade their capacity to help their armies in the field. We firebombed Dresden in 1945 for the primary purpose of inhibiting the German Heer as it slowly retreated from the advancing Red Army, by flooding the German roads with refugees.

      I always thought he didn’t have the guts to fight the soldiers, just the people who couldn’t defend themselves.

      The last thing any army wants is a ‘fair fight.’ An army’s objective is to destroy the enemy by any means possible, and seeking an ‘unfair’ advantage is how military leaders seek to achieve that. If a hundred women working in a munitions factory can provide bullets sufficient for an entire regiment in the field, isn’t it smarter to bomb that factory, killing those 100 women, than face 5,000 armed men who can shoot back at you in the field?

      I’m glad we are one nation, even though I believe that the Confederacy had the right to secede, and perhaps could have had Fort Sumter not been attacked.

  2. Mr. Pico, of course you are correct on the way that wars are won; what that devil Sherman did was nothing new in the history of warfare.,

    What has always galled me to no end is that Sherman is held up to be such a hero, along with the Great Emancipator, and General Grant. They were not fighting a foreign enemy, but fellow Americans who had the constitutional right to secede from an oppressive government. Every house burned by Sherman was approved by Lincoln and Grant, every atrocity against Americans was approved by them.

    How many atrocities against the northern people did Robert E. Lee commit? How many homes did his troops burn, how many innocent citizens did they kill or ship off to camps? How many people did they leave homeless, bereft of food, shelter, even a change of clothing? Compare those statistics to Shermans and see who is the greater destroyer of citizens.

    The rest of the world can kiss the rings of Sherman, Lincoln, and Grant, but I never will, for it was my people who suffered for several generations due to their War is Hell strategy.

    The next time you go to a demoncrat controlled city, you’ll see what thousands of Confederate soldiers fought to prevent.

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