J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “Scarlet O’Hara”

General Sherman’s March to the Sea

Sherman's march

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the end for the Confederacy in the Eastern Theater. On November 15, 1864, Major General William Tecumseh Sherman led his Union troops on a rampage, sweeping through Georgia while reeking havoc, destruction, and terror on the citizens of the state. It was Sherman’s idea that war should be inflicted on the weak and innocent: no one was immune. “Total war” began two months earlier, when General Philip Sheridan’s Union army stripped the Shenandoah Valley of its resources.

After capturing Atlanta, Sherman’s Federal forces set off for Savannah on November 16. Intending to destroy all Confederate supply surpluses, Sherman also granted liberties to his soldiers that today would seem obscenely, politically incorrect. Some of his orders were as follows:

“… should guerrillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, then army commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless according to the measure of such hostility …

“… The army will forage liberally on the country during the march. To this end, each brigade commander will organize a good and sufficient foraging party … who will gather, near the route traveled, corn or forage of any kind, meat of any kind, vegetables, corn-meal, or whatever is needed by the command …

“As for horses, mules, wagons, &c., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit … Foraging parties may also take mules or horses to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to serve as pack-mules for the regiments or brigades.”

– William T. Sherman , Military Division of the Mississippi Special Field Order 120, November 9, 1864

Sherman’s orders were not strictly enforced, so many “bummers” took advantage of defenseless civilians. Margaret Mitchell’s classic  “Gone With the Wind” portrays Southern characters engulfed in the trials of the tumultuous “march,” particularly those of Scarlet O’Hara.

Hello Dolly!


Dolls have always been an integral part of American culture, and during the Civil War, they served more purposes than just posing as playthings. Dolls were frequently used to smuggle desperately needed medical supplies across enemy lines. Drugs were stuffed into the dolls’ china heads and, in fact, one such doll was recently discovered.  Bisque and porcelain dolls wearing patriotic clothing were hot items during the War Between the States, especially in cities, where more families could obtain European imports. In rural America, handmade dolls made of rags and corn husks provided comfort, and were important contributions to a society fragmented with political unrest and turbulence.

After the war ended, dolls evolved as far as detail in their design, but they still carried a message of patriotism, especially once WWI broke out. Kewpie dolls were all the rage in the Roaring 20’s, but during the Great Depression, no one could afford dolls, so paper dolls were invented. The 30’s also brought us the very first collectible doll, which was none other than Scarlett O’Hara from “Gone with the Wind.” And WWII gave us G.I. Joe. Fashion dolls, such as our beloved Barbie, appeared in the 1960’s, as did the first African American dolls with realistic features.

Still, the Civil War forever remains in our psyche, and collectors are still able to purchase doll replications of famous generals and not so famous soldiers. Just for fun, here is a link to a website that offers some of these collectors’ items. Fiddle-dee-dee!


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