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Old July 29th, 2011, 09:52 AM   #21

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This is sort of a case of the history being written by the winners and also there are different Union and Confederate points of view. Some of the Union points of view are a little hard to believe.

Like the claim that Columbia just happened to catch fire, and the Union troops didn't set the fires. Columbia was also where secession was first voted.

Also, the Confederates claimed that they were not taking prisoners or executing prisoners of the soldiers captured on "foraging expeditions" in Sherman's march because they were raping. The soldiers were going house to house looting, shooting livestock and so on when most of the white men were in the Confederate army. So we are supposed that they rarely raped or only molested the slaves they were liberating. Sherman said no rapes or killing of civilians had been reported to him, which I am sure was true.
The choice isn't between Union troops setting the fire, or Columbia "just happened to catch fire". There is another explanation. Confederates evacuating the city set warehouses and stores on fire to deny them to the Union, like what happened to Richmond, VA. No one doubts that troops helped the fires along, or that they were unhappy with the result, on the contrary, most thought if any city deserved it, it was Columbia.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 11:12 AM   #22

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It should be noted here in the interest of truth and historical accuracy...

Fort Pillow was a massacre.

Fort Pillow was not an 'Atrocity' or a 'War Crime'.
Mind clarifying the difference between these terms?
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Old July 29th, 2011, 11:48 AM   #23

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Mind clarifying the difference between these terms?
If the action were perpetrated by soldiers fighting under this flag it an atrocity or war crime.
Click the image to open in full size.


If under this flag, it was just stuff that needed doin'.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 03:39 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Salah ad-Din View Post
Mind clarifying the difference between these terms?
Fort Pillow was indeed a massacre in that a large number of enemy combatants were killed.

However, the Fort did not surrender.

Forrest sent a note to the forts commander, Maj. William F Bradford demanding unconditional surrender. Assuring that the captured would be treated as prisoners of war.

Bradford's final reply was, "I will not surrender."

The Union flag was still flying over the fort, which indicated that the force had not formally surrendered.

One of the survivors, Lt. Daniel Van Horn of the 6th U. S. Heavy Artillery (Colored) stated in his official report "There never was a surrender of the fort, both officers and men declaring they never would surrender or ask for quarter."

"General Forrest begged them to surrender," but "not the first sign of surrender was ever given." Similar accounts were reported in both Southern and Northern newspapers at the time.

It is the army's job to search for, locate, engage, and destroy enemy combatants.


No atrocity, no war crime.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 04:14 PM   #25
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If the action were perpetrated by soldiers fighting under this flag it an atrocity or war crime.

If under this flag, it was just stuff that needed doin'.
Yeh, and it really doesn't matter which flag you place where. There are apoligists for both sides.

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Originally Posted by Scamp View Post

The Union flag was still flying over the fort, which indicated that the force had not formally surrendered.
So it was OK to mow down guys with their hands up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by botully View Post
The choice isn't between Union troops setting the fire, or Columbia "just happened to catch fire". There is another explanation. Confederates evacuating the city set warehouses and stores on fire to deny them to the Union, like what happened to Richmond, VA. No one doubts that troops helped the fires along, or that they were unhappy with the result, on the contrary, most thought if any city deserved it, it was Columbia.
So all the cities the Union took just happened to accidently be set fire by retreating Confederates.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 04:30 PM   #26

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I find a play on words interesting.
Boston Massacre= five killed
Wounded Knee Massacre=200+ killed
Bombing of Dresden, Germany=30K+killed

What constitutes a massacre exactly?
Is it a body count? Is it the killing of unarmed civilians?
Is it the killing of other soldiers?
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Old July 29th, 2011, 04:30 PM   #27

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So all the cities the Union took just happened to accidently be set fire by retreating Confederates.
That's not what I said, but Richmond certainly was, and no one disputes it. Sherman had Atlanta burned to deny it to Confederates, as he was cutting his ties and marching 60k men through enemy territory.

Columbia is admittedly controversial. Sherman, in his official report says that the retreating Confederates piled cotton in the street and set it on fire, to deny it to the US. They also fired the warehouses. This was normal procedure when abandoning a city to US troops. Just as Sherman would burn stores and buildings useful to the Confederacy behind him, the Confederates would burn and destroy buildings and bridges to deny them to the US. Simple, really, and no one disputes either fact. Sherman admits that recently freed US prisoners probably helped spread the fire, but he hotly denied having set it, or ordering it to be set, or allowing it to be set through negligence. Did the Confederates fire any buildings or stores as they retreated? If so, then blaming the fire on the US doesn't stick.

You claimed that either Sherman set it, or it just happened, ignoring the possibility that the Confederates themselves set it, albeit accidentally. By the way, US troops helped fight the fire, helped civilians in the aftermath, and left a herd of cows for the civilians when they moved on. That part is always left out of Confederate Apologist accounts. Sherman was also burdened with numerous ex-slaves, who were extremely fearful of falling back into the hands of Confederates. That part, too, is ignored by apologists.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 04:32 PM   #28

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I find a play on words interesting.
Boston Massacre= five killed
Wounded Knee Massacre=200+ killed
Bombing of Dresden, Germany=30K+killed

What constitutes a massacre exactly?
Is it a body count? Is it the killing of unarmed civilians?
Is it the killing of other soldiers?
I'd say relative propaganda value.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 04:33 PM   #29

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Thank you Bot.
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Old July 30th, 2011, 04:17 AM   #30
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Yet for all this, only one man was ever charged with, let alone punished for war crimes after the War, Henry Wirz, commander of the Rebel prison camp of Andersonville. According to the Wikipedia article on Wirz, there is apparently a significant faction, both contemporary and modern, that would argue that Wirz did not deserve to be hung, but hung he was - the only person executed for war crimes after four years of total war between the North and South.

It seems shameful to me that justice apparently only caught up with one of many men - Yank and Reb alike - who was guilty of abuse, neglect, or mass murder of his fellow human being.

Thoughts?
In comparison to Henry Wirz, it must be noted about Colonel Benjamin J Sweet, commandant of the Union death camp in Chicago, Camp Douglas...

He allowed thousands of Confederate prisoners of war to starve to death and freeze to death.

He was promoted.
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