Sunday, July 5, 2009

South Carolina Must Be Destroyed

"At the beginning of 1865 the only sizable portions of the Confederate heartland still untouched by invading Yankees were the interior of the Carolinas and most of Alabama. Grant and Thomas planned a two-pronged campaign to deal with the latter...

Destructive as these enterprises were, they became a sideshow to Sherman's march through South Carolina. As his army had approached Savannah in December 1864, Georgians said to Sherman: 'Why don't you go over to South Carolina and serve them this way? They started it.' Sherman had intended to do so all along. He converted Grant to the idea, and on February 1, Sherman's 60,000 blue avengers left Savannah for their second march through the heart of enemy territory. This one had two strategic purposes: to destroy all war resources in Sherman's path; and to come up on Lee's rear to crush the Army of Northern Virginia in a vise between two larger Union armies and 'wipe out Lee,' in Grant's succinct phrase.

Sherman's soldiers had a third purpose in mind as well: to punish the state that had hatched this unholy rebellion. The soldiers' temper was not improved by the taunts of southern newspapers against this 'grand army of Mudsills.' one of the mudsills, an Ohio private, vowed to make South Carolina 'suffer worse than she did at the time of the Revolutionary War. We will let her know that it isn't so sweet to secede as she thought it would be.' A South Carolina woman whose house was plundered recalled that the soldiers 'would sometimes stop to tell me they were sorry for the women and children, but South Carolina must be destroyed."

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