In your Nov. 21 article on the S.C. Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum’s new exhibit, “Paths of Destruction: Sherman’s Final Campaign,” the Relic Room’s curator of history described Gen. William Sherman’s methods as a precursor to the strategic bombing of cities during World War II. There is a major difference between the two.
The bombing campaigns killed indiscriminately: Soldiers and civilians; men, women and children. Sherman’s campaign caused great hardships on the civilian population, but he did not kill people, nor did he actively pursue the Confederate armies. His aim was solely to destroy crops, livestock, railroads and other material things.
For those who still despise Sherman for this, let me offer a quote from my novel Sometimes with Malice:
“During his stay in Charleston, Jim had overheard Sherman’s name mentioned numerous times, usually laced with a curse. Jim thought it somewhat ironic. Gettysburg, Antietam, and nearly a hundred other battles were more dreadful in terms of men lost and maimed. The generals, who had led the country’s young men to be slaughtered in those battles, were glorified as heroes while a general who waged war on pigs, chickens, crops, and buildings, was vilified as inhumane. He wondered how a country could treasure its barns and chickens more than its young men.”