J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “General Johnston”

An Ineffective Meeting

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On this date in 1865, Union and Confederate officials met to discuss an end to the Civil War. By now, the war had been raging for nearly four years, and the country was tired and heartbroken. Nevertheless, Union officials knew they had an advantage, and an agreement could not be reached.

General W.T. Sherman’s Union army continued their devastating march through the Carolinas in full force, following a successful campaign through Georgia as they chased down General Joseph E. Johnston’s troops. Sherman’s main target was South Carolina, since it was the first state to secede. He would later capture Columbia on February 17, 1865.

Two days after the meeting between Union and Confederate officials took place, another battle broke out – this time at Hatcher’s Run (Armstrong’s Mill), Virginia. The battle would claim over 1,000 men (mostly Confederates).

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Glory Can Be Costly

The following letter, published in 1904, was written by a witness to Sherman’s Path of Destruction. After reading it, you won’t wonder why the South was so bitter after the war, even though those noble men who fought for the Confederacy did their best to be upholding, patriotic citizens.

“The last act of barbarism I saw Sherman’s soldiers commit was near Bentonville, N.C., on the morning of the last great battle for Southern independence. On the preceding night Gen. Joseph E. Johnston . . . quietly moved his army from Smithfield and threw it directly across Sherman’s path at Bentonville.  Gen. George G. Dibrell’s cavalry division, composed of his own brigade of Tennesseans and Col. Breckinridge’s Kentuckians, was falling back in front of one of the advancing Federal columns, the writer of this commanding the rear guard, closely followed by the enemy’s advance.

We had just crossed a narrow swamp . . . and passed by a neat, comfortable-looking farmhouse, occupied by women and children.  Halting some distance beyond and looking back, we saw Federal soldiers enter the house. Presently women were heard screaming, in a few minutes the building was in flames, and another family was homeless.

Sherman’s raid was ended, and he was a great hero. With his great army of veterans, almost unopposed, he had overrun and desolated the fairest sections of the South, burning cities, towns, and country-dwellings; had wantonly destroyed many millions of dollars’ worth of property, both public and private; had made homeless and destitute thousands of women and children and aged men by burning their house and destroying their means of subsistence. And it was to glorify him and for these deeds of barbarism that “Marching Through Georgia” was written, and it is for this it is sung.”

(What Marching Through Georgia Means, Milford Overly, Confederate Veteran, September 1904, pg. 446)

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