J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “March to the Sea”

An Unrealistic Comparison

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Only ten years ago, Southern history, especially in regard to the Civil War, was honored and celebrated. Now that same history is under attack, and some will stop at nothing to change it, erase it, lie about it, and misinterpret history with every means possible. Here is another ludicrous example of how the Confederacy is being portrayed today, and how one letter to the editor proves the audacity of this comparison.

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Confederacy Compared to Nazi Germany

To the Greenville, East Carolinian.

To the editor: article comparing the Confederacy to Nazi Germany and its battle flag to the swastika is highly offensive, especially to those of us who are Jewish, & shows he knows little about either the Confederacy or the Nazis. Some 3,500 to 5,000 Jews fought honorably and loyally for the Confederacy, including its Secretary of War & later State, Judah Benjamin (See Robert Rosen’s The Jewish Confederates and Mel Young’s Last Order of the Lost Cause). My great grandfather also served, as did his four brothers, their uncle, his three sons, and some two-dozen other members of my Mother’s extended family (The Moses’ of South Carolina and Georgia). Half a dozen of them fell in battle, largely teenagers, including the first and last Confederate Jews to die in battle. We know first hand, from their letters, diaries, and memoirs, that they were not fighting for slavery, but rather to defend themselves and their comrades, their families, homes, and country from an invading army that was trying to kill them, burn their homes and cities, and destroy everything they had. If you want to talk about Nazi-like behavior, consider the actions of the leading Union commander, General Ulysses S. Grant, whose war crimes included the following actions:

Ordering the expulsion on 24 hours notice of all Jews “as a class” from the territory under his control (General Order # 11, 17 December, 1862), and forbidding Jews to travel on trains (November, 1862); Ordering the destruction of an entire agricultural area to deny the enemy support (the Shenandoah Valley, 5 August, 1864). Leading the mass murder, a virtual genocide, of Native People, mainly helpless old men, women, and children in their villages, to make land available for the western railroads (the eradication of the Plains Indians, 1865–66). What we euphemistically call “the Indian Wars” was carried out by many of the same Union officers who led the war against the South – Sherman, Grant, Sheridan, Custer, and other leading commanders. Overseeing the complete destruction of defenseless Southern cities, and conducting such warfare against unarmed women and children (e.g., the razing of Meridian, and other cities in Mississippi, spring, 1863).

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Contrast these well-documented atrocities (and many others too numerous to list) with the gentlemanly policies and behavior of the Confederate forces. My ancestor Major Raphael Moses, General James Longstreet’s chief commissary officer, was forbidden by General Robert E. Lee from even entering private homes in their raids into the North, such as the famous incursion into Pennsylvania. Moses was forced to obtain his supplies from businesses and farms, and he always paid for what he requisitioned, albeit in Confederate tender. Moses always endured in good humor the harsh verbal abuse he received from the local women, who, he noted, always insisted on receiving in the end the exact amount owed. Moses and his Confederate colleagues never engaged in the type of warfare waged by the Union forces, especially that of General William T. Sherman on his infamous “March to the Sea” through Georgia and the Carolinas, in which his troops routinely burned, looted, and destroyed libraries, courthouses, churches, homes, and cities full of defenseless civilians, including my hometown of Atlanta.

It was not the South but rather our enemies that engaged in genocide. While our ancestors may have lost the War, they never lost their honor, or engaged in anything that could justify their being compared to Nazi’s. It was the other side that did that.

Sincerely yours,

Lewis Regenstein

(Courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Sons of Confederate Veterans Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452, Hernando, MS., vol. 42, no. 10, October 2018 ed.)

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Savannah as a Christmas Gift

On December 21, 1864, after pushing his troops over 300 miles across Georgia in his “March to the Sea,” General William Tecumseh Sherman arrived in Savannah, capturing the city that was inhabited by only a few women, children, and slaves. Happy with his accomplishment, Sherman telegraphed President Lincoln. “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah with 150 heavy guns & plenty of ammunition & also about 25.000 bales of cotton.”

I can’t imagine what the women of Savannah felt upon this invasion other than absolute loathing, which is understandable. By now, most of the South was aware that the war was winding down, and that they were losing. What complete loss they must have experienced at a time that was traditionally held as a joyous occasion.

With this in mind, let us rejoice in our freedom, and celebrate the fact that we live in such a prosperous country. Even though commercialism is everywhere, we should try to look past it and celebrate in honor of those who fought, suffered, and died before us for what they believed in. Without their sacrifice, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

 

Merry Christmas, Mr. President

On this date in 1864, the grand old city of Savannah, Georgia, fell to Union forces during the American Civil War. It was the beginning of the end, as Union Major General William T. Sherman’s remaining 62,000 men finalized their March to the Sea by capturing Savannah. The march, which began on November 15, swept through Georgia, wreaking havoc and destruction in its path. The Union Army captured Atlanta without much trouble, and continued on until they reached Savannah. The intention was to sweep upward toward Virginia, and with the help of Union Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant’s army, strangle Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s forces. In the end, the ploy worked.

Confederate Generals Joseph Wheeler and William J. Hardy’s men opposed, but in the end, they fled across the Savannah River, leaving the citizens to fend for themselves. Because Sherman thought the city was so lovely, he decided (thankfully) not to raze it.

One Confederate officer estimated that 10,000 slaves followed the Union Army on their way to freedom, but instead, met their demise through “hunger, disease, and exposure.” Sherman himself estimated that his army had inflicted $100 million in damage, which is over 1.5 billion in today’s dollars. The Federal Army destroyed railroads, bridges, telegraph lines, and seized over 22,000 head of livestock. It also took 20 million pounds of corn and fodder, and destroyed an unaccountable number of cotton mills and gins.

The Terrible Trail

On this date in 1864, Union General William T. Sherman began his horrendous Savannah Campaign in order to strangle the South. The campaign later came to be known as “Sherman’s March to the Sea.” By November 15, Sherman had taken control of Atlanta, Georgia. On November 16, his troops started out toward Savannah, taking the city on December 21, 1864.

Sherman’s soldiers left a path of destruction sixty miles wide as they made their way across Georgia, burning, stealing, and killing everything in their path. Escaped slaves followed the soldiers for miles, praising Sherman and worshiping him as a savior. In one instance, Sherman, who was a racist, ordered his soldiers to dismantle a bridge once they had crossed over it. The ex-slaves tried to swim across, but many were swept away in the current and drowned.

Sherman’s March created so much physical and psychological harm in his “total war” that it caused irreparable wounds. It has been portrayed in such classics as Margaret Mitchell’s novel, “Gone with the Wind.” The actions of General Sherman and his men caused such deep scars that the damage they inflicted still exists. Many ruins of once astounding plantation houses still speckle the South. And Southerners who are patriotic to their homeland still hold a grudge toward the Union general and his destructive forces.

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