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Re: Sherman's Strategies

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  • gnrljejohnston
    ... of ... In talking about bummers in Mississippi, this little article came to mind. CURRENT LITERATURE. The Illustrated London News, vol. 47, no. 1335, p.
    Message 1 of 7 , Nov 13, 2006
      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Bill Bruner" <banbruner@...>

      > Just an aside, I find a great irony in the fact that the populace
      > Mississippi cheered Van Dorn's great success at Holly Springs until
      > they learned, to their chagrin, that the supplies lost there would
      > have to come from them.
      > War is indeed Hell and as much as you would desire it, you cannot
      > refine it.(Sherman) But still it should be conducted as hononably
      > as possible. Gratuitous acts of violence and cruelty should be
      > condemned and held to a minimum. Because there are too many
      > occasions when acts of violence and cruelty are necessary.
      > Bill Bruner

      In talking about bummers in Mississippi, this little article came to

      The Illustrated London News, vol. 47, no. 1335, p. 295.

      September 23, 1865
      The Story of the Great March. By Brevet Major George Ward Nichols.
      (Sampson Low, Son, and Marston.) Hamlet calculates, upon certain data
      connected with his father's death and his mother's second marriage,
      the probable duration of a great man's fame. According to a similar
      calculation, therefore, it is just possible that the world still
      cherishes some faint memory of the assassination of an honest man and
      the termination of a great war; for it is less than six months since
      Lincoln was sent before his time to sleep with Washington, and the
      heroic Lee and cautious Johnston, with inferior numbers and inferior
      resources, were forced to succumb to the tenacity of Grant and the
      daring of Sherman. Our newspapers have had the Atlantic telegraph,
      sensational murders, the cattle plague, international fĂȘtes at
      Portsmouth and Cherbourg, the romantic tale of the bridegroom groom,
      and the like interesting topics to take the place of "the latest news
      from America;" but, perhaps, there yet lingers amongst us sufficient
      interest in the late War of Secession to make men anxious to read the
      true story of that wonderful march which is unequalled in the annals
      of military matters, which has made the name of Sherman illustrious
      to all time, and which contributed as much as, if not more than, any
      achievement to crush the Southern Confederacy. The writer of
      this "Story of the Great March" served upon General Sherman's Staff
      from the commencement of the "retreat" (as it was the fashion, in
      certain quarters, to term it) from Atlanta to the conclusion of the
      war; and his account should be, and there is no reason to doubt is,
      trustworthy. It is written in a "popular" style, and is illustrated
      in a "popular," not to say sensational, manner. It is founded upon a
      diary kept by the writer, and is interspersed with all sorts of
      anecdotes, amusing and saddening. It will very likely disappoint the
      scientific reader, who would look for a masterly criticism of
      Sherman's motives for his daring project; of the grounds for hopes of
      success; of the rules of war violated or conformed to in the
      conception and execution of the design; and of the precedents for
      such or similar (if there be any such or similar) undertakings; and
      there will be some who will find fault with the writer's style--
      saying that it is not sufficiently elevated for the subject and
      remarking how very differently the late Sir William Napier would have
      treated the history of a gigantic campaign, but the average reader
      will no doubt like it better as it is. The author, in his preface,
      writes by what seems to be a curious inversion, "I have told their
      story simply, and, I hope, honestly;" for it certainly does appear
      that a writer might be more doubtful about his simplicity of
      expression than his honesty of purpose. That the humorous element is
      not wanting to the narrative one can show (premising that a "bummer"
      is an unauthorised forager, or, in plainer language, a self-elected
      plunderer, which is much the same as a robber or thief) from the
      following extract (p. 166):--"During the skirmish in front of
      Fayetteville, one of our Captains, who was in advance of his men,
      crept, in a citizen's coat, up to a fence, in order to get a better
      look at the enemy....Suddenly he was confronted by a ragged and
      barefooted fellow, whom he instantly recognised as one of
      the 'bummers.' The recognition, however, was not reciprocal; for
      the 'bummer' exulted in the thought that he had caught a Rebel, and
      proceeded to salute him thus--'Halloa! just stop right thar,'
      surveying his extremities; 'I say, come up out o' them boots.' 'I
      couldn't think of it,' was the reply; 'they're a fine pair of boots,
      and they are mine.' 'Come out o' them boots. P'raps you've got a
      watch about your breeches-pocket; just pull her out. No nonsense,
      now; I'm in a hurry to get arter them Rebs.' 'Perhaps you would like
      a horse?' 'A horse?' (the bummer's eyes sparkled). 'A horse? Wall,
      now, you jis come up out o' them boots, and we'll discuss that ar'
      hoss question sudden. Where is the hoss?' 'Oh! he is right near by,
      in charge of my orderly.' 'Thunder! are you an officer of our army? I
      thought you was a Reb.' And then the 'bummer' went to the rear under
      arrest, disgusted beyond measure." If there were many 'bummers' in
      Sherman's army, it is not surprising that the robbed and infuriated
      Southerners executed lynch law upon some.

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