Having read Mr. Hanna’s editorial about the suggestion by James Carville that LSU name its parade ground in honor of William Tecumseh Sherman I can only say that, as one born in the North, I find such a suggestion morally reprehensible.
Over the years I have read a fair bit of the history of the War Between the States and written about some of it. Many Southern folks called it the War of Northern Aggression, and I have to say, having studied some of the history of that war, the title many Southern folks have given it is not out of line.
Having also read biographies of several personalities in that war, including three about General Sherman, (not all written by Southerners), if given a personal choice, I probably would not name my doghouse after William Tecumseh Sherman—well, on second thought, maybe the doghouse, but certainly nothing more significant,
Sherman was a checkered personality at best, a man who believed that a military dictatorship was a better form of government than a democratically elected one. Other more modern dictators have taken that same tack.
Mr. Hanna accurately noted that, in his March to the Sea, Sherman’s men literally "burned everything in sight" That might be almost a mild description of some of what he did. Sherman had a rather incendiary personality, almost to the point that some have wondered if he might have had a touch of the pyromaniac in his personality. His horrid treatment of civilians anywhere he went in the South, from burning their homes to, literally, taking the food out of their babies mouths, was enough that, had the North lost the war, he could have been tried as a war criminal, considering what his "bummers" did in Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina. Although born in the North, I can understand why Southerners felt and still feel the way they do about him. The man was no hero, no matter what your "history" books try to tell you.
I have noted, here in the South, that in the past couple years, due to the tragic shooting in that church in Charleston, South Carolina, Southern history and culture have been under tremendous attack and Southern symbols, flags, and monuments have all undergone extensive assaults from those attempting to purge them from people’s memories or at least tarring them all as something totally detestable. After watching this effort continue for almost two years now, it strikes me as being one of the most well-orchestrated "spontaneous" cultural assaults on record.
So, in the midst of what I can only call a cultural genocide attack upon the South and its people, the good folks in Louisiana are now being asked by Mr. Carville to name the parade ground at their university after one of the most abhorred (and justifiably so) personalities in the War Between the States. This is little more than a cultural slap in the face to Louisiana—a not so subtle reminder that, while Southern heroes are having their monuments and statues removed, they may be forced to endure various "memorials" named after the worst among those that defeated them.
It would seem that the War Between the States is not really totally over, except for the shooting part, while the more far-reaching cultural part of that war is still being waged by the North.
Al Benson Jr.