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Old December 30th, 2017, 04:59 PM   #41
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I didn't say anything about percentages. I have heard that most plantation houses in English northern LA were destroyed, but some in south LA remain. That is in total, not of those encountered by Union troops. Has there been any study of how many plantation houses were destroyed or what percentage of those encountered by Union troops were destroyed?

They followed basically the same approach in the east, so I would assume it was policy. It could have been worse, as there were no large scale massacres of civilians or POWs.
There has been a study done on Sherman's march through Georgia that said few private homes were burned. The plantation homes that were known to have been burned were those of Confederate leaders. But the large majority of plantation homes along Sherman's path were left standing.

Where did you hear that most plantations houses in English northern LA were burned? I am wondering why the percentage was so much higher in northern Louisiana than in Georgia. Do you know why that might be?
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Old December 30th, 2017, 05:29 PM   #42
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Where did you hear that most plantations houses in English northern LA were burned? I am wondering why the percentage was so much higher in northern Louisiana than in Georgia. Do you know why that might be?
I heard from someone whose family's plantation house had been burned, who told me most of those in north LA were destroyed. Maybe the Union troops were not in south LA as much.

My understanding was that Sherman and Sheridan's forces generally looted, shot farm animals, and destroyed food, but did not burn most houses. Supposedly, there was more burning in SC, which was blamed for secession.
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Old December 30th, 2017, 05:36 PM   #43
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I heard from someone whose family's plantation house had been burned, who told me most of those in north LA were destroyed. Maybe the Union troops were not in south LA as much.
And I hear from people from Georgia who say they were taught by their parents that Sherman burned the majority of homes across Georgia. I suspect there is no more truth about burning large numbers of plantation homes in Louisiana than there is the stories about Georgia. But I ordered a book on the Red River Campaign to see what it has to say.

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My understanding was that Sherman and Sheridan's forces generally looted, shot farm animals, and destroyed food, but did not burn most houses. Supposedly, there was more burning in SC, which was blamed for secession.
That's correct.
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Old December 31st, 2017, 09:06 AM   #44

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And I hear from people from Georgia who say they were taught by their parents that Sherman burned the majority of homes across Georgia. I suspect there is no more truth about burning large numbers of plantation homes in Louisiana than there is the stories about Georgia. But I ordered a book on the Red River Campaign to see what it has to say.

That's correct.
The difference is one of time. The Red River Campaign lasted a good while and involved large troop movements followed by long periods in place. There was active warfare in the area for over 2 months. While Sherman's troops did a good job at punishing the citizens of GA, they really just marched through on their way to somewhere else.

It is interesting to me these days to hear about GA in the Civil War. Growing up in South Alabama during the 60s and 70s, I was taught that Sherman's march to the sea was likely the most hateful and destructive campaign in history. But of course my teachers themselves had been taught nothing but Lost Cause theory their entire lives. By then it was 3 or 4 generations deep. The true depth and impact of Lost Cause theory is currently being seen and felt across the south. The story of Sherman's march is right in there with the rest of those exaggerations.
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Old December 31st, 2017, 03:45 PM   #45

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There was a difference between the Yankee Troops in Louisiana and Georgia. In Louisiana the Federal Government financed its military operations by seizing and selling the Sugar crops. By holding several campaigns in the Lafourche District, the most productive Sugar growing area was ruined. Sugar was grown from an area along the Mississippi roughly South of Baton Rouge and from Alexandria South down to the Gulf. There was some Cotton grown here but Sugar was the main money crop. Cotton was the money crop in the Red River Valley and up the Mississippi Valley. The area between Shreveport and Monroe grew some Cotton but the soil was not as good as the river valleys.

Federal agents freely circulated inside Confederate lines as agents from General Kirby Smith sold Cotton. The Yankee army went through the area between Lafayette and Alexandria several times without trying to keep the area. They did seize Cotton and Sugar grown there. General Richard Taylor preferred to burn these crops if he could. Taylor set up a number of depots leading up the Red River Valley with munitions seized at Brashear City and Forage. The Texas Cavalry was his best troops as the Louisiana Cavalry and Infantry was weak. The 2nd Louisiana Cavalry was roughly handled at the beginning of the Red River Campaign. It was surprized at a night camp and several hundred horses were lost! One of my ancestors had to walk back to Mansfield, where he got a new, Yankee Horse!

When Sherman went through Georgia a large number of Confederate Cavalry dogged his March and some of the burning of housing was done by them. There was also a large number of stragglers from both sides that also did some burning. Wheeler's Cavalry gained a reputation for Arson in Front of Sherman and the Killcavalry (Yankees) did its share as well. The Bummers were also active.

In Louisiana, the Texans were very active and could be blamed for some arson before the Yankees moved in. The vast majority of Plantation Houses burned was when Yankees were retreating from Texas Cavalry who were having success. The New England troops of Banks had a bad reputation in Louisiana, but were more interested in loot than arson. Plantation Houses and buildings in the Lafourche District were often spared so the Yankees could grow Sugar for the Union government agents. The area around Breaux Bridge saw some arson but the St Martinville area was not entered by Yankee troops and the Plantation Houses were spared. I did a school trip tour in St Martinville as a boy.

The worst arsonists in Louisiana were supposed to be Smith's Division who joined the Red River Expedition from Vicksburg. They fought at Pleasant Hill and formed the Rearguard all the way down the Red. They are supposed to have burned Natchitoches and Alexandria and the Plantations in between. These troops burned in Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee and even Georgia! They never reunited with Sherman.

The US Navy and Bank's Army captured large amount of Cotton as they went up the Red River. In fact the whole Campaign has been called a Cotton Raid. Much of this Cotton had to be destroyed or was used to create a "Coffer Dam" at Alexandria. The Red River had been diverted and the River fell. The US Navy was almost trapped above Alexandria at an area called the Falls of the Red River.

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