Colleges Paying the Price for Expensive Facilities. By Walter Russell Mead. Via Meadia, May 12, 2013.
With Gorgeous Dorms But Little Cash, Colleges Must Adapt. Interview with Jeffrey Selingo. NPR, May 8, 2013.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
General William Tecumseh Sherman on the Sociology of the South and the Psychology of War.
Gen. William T. Sherman, leaning on breach of
gun, and staff at Federal Fort No. 7, Atlanta, September-November 1864. Photo
by George N. Barnard. Library of Congress.|
William T. Sherman, Comments to Prof. David F. Boyd at the Louisiana State Seminary, December 24, 1860. Also here. On the catastrophe about to befall the South and the Northern will to fight.
You, you the people of the South, believe there can be such a thing as peaceable secession. You don’t know what you are doing. I know there can be no such thing. If you will have it, the North must fight you for its own preservation. Yes, South Carolina by this act precipitated war. Other Southern States will follow thorough sympathy. This country will be drenched in blood. God only knows how it will end. Perhaps the liberties of the whole country, of every section and every man will be destroyed, and yet you know that within the Union no man’s liberty or property in all the South is endangered. Then why should any Southern State leave the Union.
Oh, it is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization.
You are driving me and hundreds of others out of the South who have cast our fortunes here, love your people, and want to stay. I have more personal friends in South Carolina and am better known there than I am in Ohio. Yet I must give up all and go away; and if war comes, as I fear it surely will, I must fight your people whom I best love.
You people speak so lightly of war. You don’t know what you are talking about. War is a terrible thing. I know you are a brave, fighting people, but for every day of actual fighting, there are months of marching, exposure and suffering. More men die in war from sickness than are killed in battle. At best war is a frightful loss of life and property, and worse still is the demoralization of the people. And now our free and prosperous country is to be plunged into such horrors. And for what? No real cause whatever.
You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people, but an earnest people, and will fight too, and they are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it.
Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The Northern people not only greatly outnumber the whites at the South, but they are a mechanical people with manufactures of every kind, while you are only agriculturists—a sparse population covering a large extent of territory, and in all history no nation of mere agriculturists ever made successful war against a nation of mechanics.
Besides the great preponderance in numbers, the North has almost unlimited advantages over you in mechanical appliances. The North can make anything it needs; you can make scarcely anything you need. The North can make a steam-engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical and determined people on Earth—right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with.
At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, and shut out from the markets of Europe by blockade as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. The North is many times more powerful than you are; and if your people would but stop and think, they must see that in the end you will surely fail.
But, as I have said, in forcing you back into the Union the war necessary to do this may endanger the liberties of all; and I have no heart to think of the dreadful calamity that threatens us. O, it is all so wrong!
Sources: David F. Boyd to P. T. Sherman, Dec. 7, 1891, Sherman Papers, University of Notre Dame, quoted in Lloyd Lewis, Sherman: Fighting Prophet (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1932), p. 138; David F. Boyd, “Gen. W. T. Sherman. His Early Life in the South and His Relations with Southern Men,” Confederate Veteran, Vol. 18, No. 9 (September 1910), p. 412.
General William T. Sherman to General H. W. Halleck, September 17, 1863. Also here, here, and here. On the sociology of the South.
General William T. Sherman to Major Roswell M. Sawyer, January 31, 1864. Also here. On the South facing the consequences of defeat in the war it provoked.
DEAR SAWYER: In my former letters I have answered all your questions save one, and that relates to the treatment of inhabitants known or suspected to be hostile or “secesh.” This is in truth the most difficult business of our army as it advances and occupies the Southern country. It is almost impossible to lay down rules, and I invariably leave this whole subject to local commanders, but am willing to give them the benefit of my acquired knowledge and experience.
In Europe, whence we derive our principles of war, as developed by their histories, wars are between kings or rulers, through hired armies, and not between people. These remain, as it were, neutral, and sell their produce to whatever army is in possession. Napoleon, when at war with Austria and Russia, bought forage and provisions of the inhabitants, and consequently had an interest to protect farms and factories which ministered to his wants. In like manner the allied armies in France could buy of the French habitants whatever they needed — the produce of the soil or manufactories of the country. Therefore the rule was and is, that wars are confined to the armies and should not visit the homes of families or private interests. But in other examples a different rule obtained the sanction of historical authority. I will only instance that when in the reign of William and Mary the English army occupied Ireland, then in a state of revolt, the inhabitants were actually driven into foreign lands and were dispossessed of their property and a new population introduced. To this day a large part of the north of Ireland is held by the descendants of the Scottish emigrants sent there by William’s order and an act of Parliament.
The war which now prevails in our land is essentially a war of races. The Southern people entered into a clear compact of government, but still maintained a species of separate interests, history, and prejudices. The latter became stronger and stronger till they have led to a war, which has developed fruits of the bitterest kind. We of the North are beyond all question right in our lawful cause, but we are not bound to ignore the fact that the people of the South have prejudices which form part of their nature and which they cannot throw off without an effort of reason or the slower process of natural change. Now, the question arises, should we treat as absolute enemies all in the South who differ from us in opinion or prejudices, kill or banish them, or give them time to think and gradually change their conduct so as to conform to the new order of things which is slowly and gradually creeping into their country?
When men take arms to resist our rightful authority we are compelled to use force, because all reason and argument cease when arms are resorted to. When the provisions, forage, horses, mules, wagons, &c., are used by our enemy it is clearly our duty and right to take them, because otherwise they might be used against us. In like manner all houses left vacant by an inimical people are clearly our right, or such as are needed as store-houses, hospitals. and quarters. But a question arises as to dwellings used by women, children, and non-combatants. So long as non-combatants remain in their houses and keep to their accustomed business their opinions and prejudices can in nowise influence the war, and therefore should not be noticed; but if any one comes out into the public streets and creates disorder, he or she should be punished, restrained, or banished, either to the rear or front as the officer in command adjudges. If the people or any of them keep up a correspondence with parties in hostility they are spies, and can be punished with death or minor punishment.
These are well-established principles of war, and the people of the South having appealed to war are barred from appealing to our Constitution, which they have practically and publicly defied. They have appealed to war, and must abide its rules and laws. The United States as a belligerent party, claiming rights in the soil as the ultimate sovereign, have a right to change the population, and it may be and is both politic and just we should do so in certain districts.
When the inhabitants persist too long in hostility it may be both politic and right we should banish them and appropriate their lands to a more loyal and useful population. No man will deny that the United States would be benefited by dispossessing a rich, prejudiced, hard-headed, and disloyal planter, and substituting in his place a dozen or more patient, industrious, good families, even if they be of foreign birth. I think it does good to present this view of the case to many Southern gentlemen who grew rich and wealthy, not by virtue alone of their personal industry and skill, but by reason of the protection and impetus to prosperity given by our hitherto moderate and magnanimous Government.
It is all idle nonsense for the Southern planters to say that they made the South, that they own it, and that they can do as they please, even to break up our Government and shut up the natural avenues of trade, intercourse, and commerce.
We know, and they know, if they are intelligent beings, that as compared with the whole world they are but as five millions are to one thousand millions; that they did not create the land; that the only title to its use and usufruct is the deed of the United States, and if they appeal to war they hold their all by a very insecure tenure.
For my part I believe this war is the result of false political doctrine, for which we all as a people are responsible; that any and every people have a natural right to self-government, and I would give all a chance to reflect and when in error to recant. I know slave owners, finding themselves in possession of a species of property in opposition to the growing sentiment of the whole civilized world, conceived their property in danger and foolishly appealed to war, and by skillful political handling involved with themselves the whole South on the doctrine of error and prejudice. I believe that some of the rich and slave-holding are prejudiced to an extent that nothing but death and ruin will extinguish, but hope, as the poorer and industrial classes of the South realize their relative weakness and their dependence upon the fruits of the earth and good will of their fellow-men, they will not only discover the error of their ways and repent of their hasty action but bless those who persistently maintained a constitutional Government strong enough to sustain itself, protect its citizens, and promise peaceful homes to millions yet unborn.
In this belief, whilst I assert for our Government the highest military prerogatives, I am willing to bear in patience that political nonsense of slave rights, States’ rights, freedom of conscience, freedom of the press, and such other trash as have deluded the Southern people into war, anarchy, bloodshed, and the foulest crimes that have disgraced any time or any people.
I would advise the commanding officers at Huntsville, and such other towns as are occupied by our troops, to assemble the inhabitants and explain to them these plain, self-evident propositions, and tell them that it is now for them to say whether they and their children shall inherit the beautiful land which by the accident of nature has fallen to their share.
The Government of the United States has in North Alabama any and all rights which they choose to enforce in war — to take their lives, their homes, their lands, their everything — because they cannot deny that war does exist there, and war is simply power unrestrained by constitution or compact.
If they want eternal war, well and good; we accept the issue, and will dispossess them and put our friends in their place. I know thousands and millions of good people who at simple notice would come to North Alabama and accept the elegant houses and plantations there. If the people of Huntsville think different, let them persist in war three years longer, and then they will not be consulted. Three years ago by a little reflection and patience they could have had a hundred years of peace and prosperity, but they preferred war; very well. Last year they could have saved their slaves, but now it is too late.
All the powers of earth cannot restore to them their slaves, any more than their dead grandfathers. Next year their lands will be taken, for in war we can take them, and rightfully, too, and in another year they may beg in vain for their lives. A people who will persevere in war beyond a certain limit ought to know the consequences. Many, many peoples with less pertinacity have been wiped out of national existence.
My own belief is, even now the non-slaveholding classes of the South are alienating from their associates in war. Already I hear crimination. Those who have property left should take warning in time.
Since I have come down here I have seen many Southern planters who now hire their negroes and acknowledge that they knew not the earthquake they were to make by appealing to secession. They thought the politicians had prepared the way and they could part in peace. They now see that we are bound together as one nation by indissoluble ties, and that any interest or any people that set themselves up in antagonism to the nation must perish. Whilst I would not remit one jot or tittle of our nation’s right in peace or war, I do make allowances for past political errors and prejudices. Our national Congress and supreme courts are the proper avenues on which to discuss conflicting opinions, and not the battle-field. You may not hear from me again, and if you think it will do any good, call some of the better people together and explain these, my views. You may even read to them this letter and let them use it so as to prepare them for my coming.
To those who submit to the rightful law and authority all gentleness and forbearance; but to the petulant and persistent secessionists, why, death is mercy, and the quicker he or she is disposed of the better. Satan and the rebellious saints of Heaven were allowed a continuous existence in hell merely to swell their just punishment. To such as would rebel against a Government so mild and just as ours was in peace, a punishment equal would not be unjust.
We are progressing well in this quarter, though I have not changed my opinion, that although we may soon assume the existence of our National Government, yet years will pass before ruffianism, murder, and robbery will cease to afflict this region of country. Truly, your friend,
W. T. SHERMAN,
Major - General, Commanding.
Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, Vol. 32, Pt. 2 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1891), pp. 278-281.
General William T. Sherman to General Ulysses S. Grant, March 10, 1864. Also here and here. American warriors never leave their comrades behind: “I knew wherever I was that you thought of me, and if I got in a tight place you would come if alive.” Quoted by General Jerry Boykin on Huckabee, Fox News, May 11, 2013 (at 9:17 in video). YouTube.
DEAR GENERAL: I have your more than kind and characteristic letter of the 4th. I will send a copy to General McPherson at once.
You do yourself injustice and us too much honor in assigning to us too large a share of the merits which have led to your high advancements. I know you approve the friendship I have ever professed to you, and will permit me to continue, as heretofore, to manifest it on all proper occasions.
You are now Washington’s legitimate successor, and occupy a position of almost dangerous elevation; but if you can continue, as heretofore, to be yourself – simple, honest, and unpretending – you will enjoy through life the respect and love of friends, and the homage of millions of human beings that will award you a large share in securing to them and their descendants a government of law and stability.
I repeat, you do General McPherson and myself too much honor. At Belmont you manifested your traits, neither of us being near; at Donelson also you illustrated your whole character; I was not near, and General McPherson in too subordinate a capacity to influence you.
Until you had won Donelson I confess I was almost cowed by the terrible array of anarchical elements that presented themselves at every point; but that admitted the ray of light which I have followed since.
I believe you are as brave, patriotic, and just as the great prototype, Washington; as unselfish, kind-hearted, and honest as a man should be, but the chief characteristic is the simple faith in success you have always manifested, which I can liken to nothing else than the faith a Christian has in a Savior. This faith gave you victory at Shiloh and Vicksburg. Also, when you have completed your last preparations you go into battle without hesitation, as at Chattanooga, no doubts, no reserves; and I tell you it was this that made us act with confidence. I knew wherever I was that you thought of me, and if I got in a tight place you would come if alive.
My only points of doubt were in your knowledge of grand strategy, and of books of science and history, but I confess your common sense seems to have supplied all these.
Now as to future. Don’t stay in Washington. Halleck is better qualified than you to stand the buffets of intrigue and policy. Come West; take to yourself the whole Mississippi Valley. Let us make it dead sure, and I tell you the Atlantic slopes and Pacific shores will follow its destiny as sure as the limbs of a tree live or die with the main trunk. We have done much, but still much remains. Time and time’s influences are with us; we could almost afford to sit still and let these influences work. Even in the seceded States your word now would go further than a President’s proclamation or an act of Congress. For God’s sake and your country’s sake come of out of Washington. I foretold to General Halleck before he left Corinth the inevitable result, and I now exhort you to come out West. Here lies the seat of the coming empire, and from the West, when our task is done, we will make short work of Charleston and Richmond and the impoverished coast of the Atlantic.
Your sincere friend,
W. T. SHERMAN.
Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, Vol. 32, Pt. 3 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1891), p. 49; Memoirs of General William T. Sherman. Second Edition. Vol. 1. (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1904), pp. 427-428.
General William T. Sherman to Atlanta Mayor James M. Calhoun et al., September 12, 1864. Also find it here, here, and here. The people of Atlanta must face the hard hand of war: “War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out.”
GENTLEMEN: I have your letter of the 11th, in the nature of a petition to revoke my orders removing all the inhabitants from Atlanta. I have read it carefully, and give full credit to your statements of the distress that will be occasioned, and yet shall not revoke my orders, because they were not designed to meet the humanities of the case, but to prepare for the future struggles in which millions of good people outside of Atlanta have a deep interest. We must have peace, not only at Atlanta, but in all America. To secure this, we must stop the war that now desolates our once happy and favored country. To stop war, we must defeat the rebel armies which are arrayed against the laws and Constitution that all must respect and obey. To defeat those armies, we must prepare the way to reach them in their recesses, provided with the arms and instruments which enable us to accomplish our purpose.
Now, I know the vindictive nature of our enemy, that we may have many years of military operations from this quarter; and, therefore, deem it wise and prudent to prepare in time. The use of Atlanta for warlike purposes is inconsistent with its character as a home for families. There will be no manufactures, commerce, or agriculture here, for the maintenance of families, and sooner or later want will compel the inhabitants to go. Why not go now, when all the arrangements are completed for the transfer, instead of waiting till the plunging shot of contending armies will renew the scenes of the past month? Of course, I do not apprehend any such thing at this moment, but you do not suppose this army will be here until the war is over. I cannot discuss this subject with you fairly, because I cannot impart to you what we propose to do, but I assert that our military plans make it necessary for the inhabitants to go away, and I can only renew my offer of services to make their exodus in any direction as easy and comfortable as possible.
You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on until we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The United States does and must assert its authority, wherever it once had power; for, if it relaxes one bit to pressure, it is gone, and I believe that such is the national feeling. This feeling assumes various shapes, but always comes back to that of Union. Once admit the Union, once more acknowledge the authority of the national Government, and, instead of devoting your houses and streets and roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army become at once your protectors and supporters, shielding you from danger, let it come from what quarter it may. I know that a few individuals cannot resist a torrent of error and passion, such as swept the South into rebellion, but you can point out, so that we may know those who desire a government, and those who insist on war and its desolation.
You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride.
We don’t want your negroes, or your horses, or your houses, or your lands, or any thing you have, but we do want and will have a just obedience to the laws of the United States. That we will have, and, if it involves the destruction of your improvements, we cannot help it.
You have heretofore read public sentiment in your newspapers, that live by falsehood and excitement; and the quicker you seek for truth in other quarters, the better. I repeat then that, by the original compact of Government, the United States had certain rights in Georgia, which have never been relinquished and never will be; that the South began war by seizing forts, arsenals, mints, customhouses, etc., etc., long before Mr. Lincoln was installed, and before the South had one jot or tittle of provocation. I myself have seen in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, hundreds and thousands of women and children fleeing from your armies and desperadoes, hungry and with bleeding feet. In Memphis, Vicksburg, and Mississippi, we fed thousands upon thousands of the families of rebel soldiers left on our hands, and whom we could not see starve. Now that war comes home to you, you feel very different. You deprecate its horrors, but did not feel them when you sent car-loads of soldiers and ammunition, and moulded shells and shot, to carry war into Kentucky and Tennessee, to desolate the homes of hundreds and thousands of good people who only asked to live in peace at their old homes, and under the Government of their inheritance. But these comparisons are idle. I want peace, and believe it can only be reached through union and war, and I will ever conduct war with a view to perfect and early success.
But, my dear sirs, when peace does come, you may call on me for any thing. Then will I share with you the last cracker, and watch with you to shield your homes and families against danger from every quarter.
Now you must go, and take with you the old and feeble, feed and nurse them, and build for them, in more quiet places, proper habitations to shield them against the weather until the mad passions of men cool down, and allow the Union and peace once more to settle over your old homes at Atlanta.
Yours in haste,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.
Source: Memoirs of General William T. Sherman. Second Edition. Vol. 2. (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1904), pp. 125-127; The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, Vol. 39, Pt. 2 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1892), pp. 418-419.
General William T. Sherman to James E. Yeatman, May 21, 1865. On his weariness with war and his joy and relief at the coming of peace.
I was as glad as you could have been to learn that those boxes of stores, prepared by you with so much care and promptness for the Andersonville prisoners, reached them at last. I don't think I ever set my heart so strongly on any one thing as I did in attempting to rescue those prisoners; and I had almost feared instead of doing them good I had actually done them harm, for they were changed from place to place to avoid me, and I could not with infantry overtake railroad trains. But at last their prison-doors are open; and I trust we have arrived at a point when further war or battle, or severity, other than the punishment of crime by civil tribunals, is past.
You will have observed how fiercely I have been assailed for simply offering to the President “terms” for his approval or disapproval, according to his best judgment—terms which, if fairly interpreted, mean, and only mean, an actual submission by the rebel armies to the civil authority of the United States. No one can deny I have done the State some service in the field, but I have always desired that strife should cease at the earliest possible moment. I confess, without shame, I am sick and tired of fighting—its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands, and fathers. You, too, have seen these things, and I know you also are tired of the war, and are willing to let the civil tribunals resume their place. And, so far as I know, all the fighting men of our army want peace; and it is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded and lacerated (friend or foe), that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation. I know the rebels are whipped to death, and I declare before God, as a man and a soldier, I will not strike a foe who stands unarmed and submissive before me, but would rather say—“Go, and sin no more.”
Source: William Tecumseh Sherman to James E. Yeatman, May 21, 1865, excerpted in Samuel Millard Bowman and Richard Biddle Irwin, Sherman and His Campaigns: A Military Biography (New York: Charles B. Richardson, 1865), pp. 487-488.
The Story of the Great March. By George Ward Nichols. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1865. Also here.
General William T. Sherman and Total War. By John Bennett Walters. The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 14, No. 4 (November 1948).
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