By Al Benson Jr.
In his book The History of the Confederacy 1832-1865 Clifford Dowdey on page 321, Mr. Dowdey made some interesting comments about some of the Yankee/Marxist generals involved in the War. He noted: “The Sheridans, Milroys and Hunters had a different kind of arrogance from the neo-prince-lings of the Cotton South. They had the arrogance of unrestrained might. Without regard for rights—of belligerents or fellow citizens or even of the so-called human rights.” Let alone the Union—these bully boys had a lust for physical violence and wanton destruction.”
Of William Tecumseh Sherman Dowdey wrote, on page 374, “He was the executioner of the sentence which the sitters-in-judgment wished to have carried out against the Southern people. He destroyed a civilization. To the South he remains a symbol of the wanton and ruthless brutality of a might which denied all human rights to its victims…All through the reign of terror (Sherman’s march) the coarsest of the Union soldiers displayed the lust to degrade and desecrate the symbols of a civilization superior to anything they had personally experienced. Class hatred had been localized into hatred of a section which represented the pride of the aristocrat. That pride they wanted to humble and, by humbling, establish their own superiority to it…Sherman’s glorified march set back the real cause of union by at least the fifty years he mentioned…Sherman struck the heaviest and most lasting blow for continuing division.” Considering some of the socialist and Marxist generals commanding his troops that should come as no real surprise.
Sherman had with him Brigadier General August Willich, called by his Communist comrades “the reddest of the red.” He also had Brigadier General Peter Osterhaus and Colonel Frederick Knefler. All three of these men are profiled in our book Lincoln’s Marxists. Also present in Sherman’s officer corps was Brigadier General John B. Turchin, the European officer who “turned his back” while his command destroyed the town of Athens, Alabama. Can there be any doubt that such men contributed to Sherman’s lust for the destruction of Southern private property—one of the major tenets of Marxism.
That such men would comprise part of Sherman’s command is borne out by Sherman’s own proclivities toward military dictatorship. In his book Citizen Sherman published in 1995, Michael Fellman has noted in several places that Sherman was a proponent of military dictatorship. On pages 59-60 Fellman observed: “His rejection of democracy and his semi-secret reactionary faith in a military seizure of power deepened through the secession crisis and into the opening stages of his involvement in the Civil War.” His interest in military dictatorship went far beyond the opening stages of the War. After the fall of Vicksburg Sherman wrote to his brother and said: “A government resting immediately on the caprice of a people is too unstable to last…All must obey, Government that is, the executive, having no discretion but to execute the law must be to that extend despotic.” And then he told his brother, who, in his own right, had a dictatorial mindset, “If Congress don’t provide, the Army will’” by which he meant provide a dictatorship.’” Many “historians” would rather not write about this and so if they don’t downplay it they just ignore it. The public doesn't need to know this if knowing it will interfere with the agenda. I must admit, until I read Fellman’s book, I had never come across this. And Fellman has noted that, although Sherman never made public his thoughts on military dictatorship and kept them private, “…he often acted on those same impulses…As he gained larger commands he imposed his authority with increasing energy.” His threats “…demonstrated Sherman’s willingness to issue repressive orders and his authoritarian bent” and that included censoring local newspapers.
Sherman displayed little of the humanitarian impulse with either Southerners or Indians. Burke Davis told us in his book Sherman’s March that, at a certain point, Sherman was beginning to develop his theory of total war and he sought to make the War to horrible that “…the rebels would never again talk up arms. The Southern people, he said, though they ‘cannot be made to love us, can be made to fear us, and dread the passage of troops through their country.’”
Not only did Sherman have fascist tendencies regarding army control of the country, he had a hard time getting along with his wife also. Fellman stated that: “…the quarrels of their marriage would rigidify into fairly violently expressed rituals of mutual recrimination, punctuated from time to time by protestations of admiration and affection…They were hurt and angry to be apart—being together made them hurt and angry as well.” His wife was a traditional Roman Catholic while Sherman was what was described as a “Jeffersonian deist.” Never the twain shall meet—and they didn't. Sherman, at one point, said that “I believe in good works rather than faith.” Problem was, Sherman got it exactly backwards. He surely did not display much in the area of “good works” while his bummers were sacking and terrorizing Georgia. But, then, maybe he considered making war on civilians in Georgia and South Carolina to be among his “good works.”
After the War was over and he had successfully burned and destroyed a good part of the South, Sherman then had to deal with those nasty Indians out west who wanted to hang onto their land. His policy was one of indiscriminate extermination. He didn't care who his men killed, men, women or children. All were fair game for Sherman’s “western bummers.”
In regard to the Sioux Indians Sherman, according to Fellman, said “We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men women and children…I suppose the Sioux must be exterminated for they cannot and will not settle down, and our people will force us to it.” Good old Cump Sherman—the reluctant exterminator! Fellman noted of Sherman: “Yet however mutely or overtly he might express it, genocide was one of the poles of his agenda, one he would never entirely adopt nor completely reject. Extermination if need be; displacement for certain.”
So we have General Sherman, a man who contributed mightily to the destruction of Southern civilization, who was willing not only to exterminate Southerners and ruin their land and who had the same inclinations toward the Indians in the West, a man who could not get along with his wife, who was basically an agnostic at best, a man who favored military dictatorship over representative government (and he wasn't the only Yankee general who held those sentiments) and this is the man we are all supposed to consider a hero. You’ll pardon me if I disagree. War criminal yes, hero—no!
And the same people who tell us we should forget all this and just put it in back of us are the same people who are trying to tear down our flags and symbols and denigrate those among our generals who actually were heroic men. Problem is, too many Southern folks are willing to go along with all this. They want their “Southern heritage” without any Confederate flags or gray uniforms or streets named after Stonewall Jackson. The word “Confederate” is like a cuss-word to them—they wouldn't be caught dead uttering it. Because they are willing to sell out their heritage they will lose it. And disturbed men like Sherman will end up with statues all over the South because more Southern folks wouldn't stand up and call a spade a spade. Sherman was partly responsible for starting the cultural genocide in the South and his spiritual ancestors will try to complete it. Will we let them?