Meeting of April 28, 2009

Jack Mather on “Sherman—Fall 1864 to the End of the War: Myth and Reality”

Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman (Wikipedia)

Jack’s presentation evolved around the two following communications:

Oct. 9, 1864, Sherman to Grant: “Until we can repopulate Georgia, it is useless to occupy it, but the utter destruction of its roads, horses and people will cripple their military resources … I can make the march and make Georgia howl.”

Nov. 9, 1864, Sherman to his troops: “In districts and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested, no destruction of such property should be permitted; but should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, the army commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless, according to measures of such hostility.”

Jack’s presentation focused on two questions: 1) To what extent were Sherman’s actions consistent with these communications and 2) Are the accounts of Sherman’s actions a reality or mostly myth?

Newsletter April 2009