Most know about Sherman’s march through Georgia to the sea, but little is known about his army’s turn to the north through the Carolinas.
Sherman believed in total war. He burned the homes, the crops and killed farm animals so that the civilians had no food or shelter. If our generals during World War II had followed Sherman’s recipe for war, they would have been tried for war crimes.
Sherman followed the same total war strategy in abolishing the American Indians after the Civil War. He gave orders to attack the tribes that were “hostile”. The trouble was that all Indians were considered hostile. Sherman’s orders to Custer that resulted in the massacre of the Southern Cheyenne Indians on the Washita River serves as one example of Sherman’s total war strategy. They waited for winter’s bitter cold to attack at daybreak. They killed men, women and children and those that got away starved or froze.
At a meeting in the 1990s of the University committee for naming facilities, consideration was given to naming a building for Sherman. Pat Bacot was present and he vividly recalled the impact that Sherman had on the people of South Carolina. After his presentation to the committee, there was no one present who made a motion to name anything for Sherman. If the parade ground is named for Sherman there must be an effort to educate ROTC students regarding the evil in Sherman’s total war strategy. There have been efforts to revise this history but the correct facts always prevail.
Dr. James Wharton
Professor and Chancellor Emeritus
Louisiana State University