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Sherman's speech

Posted January 18th, 2013 at 05:31 AM by Stefany
Updated January 26th, 2013 at 04:07 AM by Stefany (I've eventually became a fan of the general and had to edit the first line of the blog.)

While reading Shelby Foote's "The Civil War - A Narrative" I came upon William T. Sherman's utterance before a Virginian professor back at the general's old days at the Louisiana Military Academy.

The people in the past are not like today's - they were way more direct back then and didn't talk with circumlocutions like 99.99 % of the people nowadays. This is what I especially like in the past - people were honest and straightforward.
Sherman's speech here shows exactly this "candidness" that was so inherent for the people of the 19th century:

__________________________________

Christmas Eve of the year before, William Tecumseh Sherman, superintendent of the Louisiana State Military Academy, was having supper in his quarters with the school's professor of Latin and Greek, a Virginian named Boyd, when a servant entered with an Alexandria newspaper that told of the secession of South Carolina. Sherman was an Ohioan, a West Pointer and a former army officer, forty years old, red-bearded, tall and thin, with sunken temples and a fidgety manner. He had come South because he liked it, as well as for reasons of health, being twenty pounds underweight and possibly consumptive; the room had a smell of niter paper, which he burned for his asthma. Rapidly he read the story beneath the black headline announcing the dissolution of the Union, then tossed it into Boyd's lap and strode up and down the room while the professor read it. Finally he stopped pacing and stood in front of his friend's chair, shaking a bony finger in the Virginian's face as if he had the whole fire-eating South there in the room.

"You people of the South don't know what you are doing," he declared. "This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing!" He resumed his pacing, still talking.

"You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it.... Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or a pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical and determined people on earth — right at your doors." Then he delivered a prophecy. "You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If your people will but stop and think, they must see that in the end you will surely fail."

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Of course I do not entirely agree with his statement, it is just that his "bluntness" was impressive.
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  1. Old Comment
    Viperlord's Avatar
    What don't you agree with? His statement appears to have been 100% vindicated by history.
    Posted January 18th, 2013 at 04:01 PM by Viperlord Viperlord is online now
  2. Old Comment
    ^^ In his statement, Sherman supports the idea that the South must not fight because it doesn't have a chance and that is wrong. If you don't have a chance to win, that doesn't mean you shouldn't fight.
    Posted January 19th, 2013 at 09:22 AM by Stefany Stefany is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Viperlord's Avatar
    Causing the death of hundreds of thousands for a hopeless, not to mention repugnant, cause, is the height of idiocy and barbarism.
    Posted January 19th, 2013 at 12:37 PM by Viperlord Viperlord is online now
  4. Old Comment
    ^^ Well if the Union had just left the Confederacy alone...
    Posted January 19th, 2013 at 01:03 PM by Stefany Stefany is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Viperlord's Avatar
    It was the Confederacy that was the military aggressor. Attacking Fort Sumter and other federal posts, attempting to seize control of Missouri with stolen federal arms, attempting to impose a Confederate government on neutral Kentucky...
    Posted January 21st, 2013 at 04:35 PM by Viperlord Viperlord is online now
  6. Old Comment
    ^^ The Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter only because it was provoked by the Union. After Lincoln heard the news that the fort has surrendered, he said "The fort did its purpose"
    Besides, you can't stay neutral during such a mass - scale conflict, so it is Kentucky's fault...
    Posted January 22nd, 2013 at 06:27 AM by Stefany Stefany is offline
    Updated January 22nd, 2013 at 09:45 AM by Stefany
  7. Old Comment
    Viperlord's Avatar
    Utter absurdity. Lincoln did nothing to provoke an attack on Fort Sumter; in fact, Anderson had just informed the Confederates he would have to give up soon anyway. Davis called up an army before Lincoln did, and made clear his intent of CONQUERING Missouri and Kentucky by force, along with "liberating" Maryland. It's ridiculous to claim the North was the aggressor; as Lincoln said in his inaugural address, it was up to the Confederates to escalate the conflict, because he would not. Read Russell McClintock; the Deep South had decided on war the moment Lincoln was elected, irregardless of what Lincoln did.
    Posted January 25th, 2013 at 01:24 PM by Viperlord Viperlord is online now
  8. Old Comment
    Lincoln sent supplies to Fort Sumter even tho the Confederacy warned the Union that furnishing the fort with provisions would be considered a provocation.
    Also, it was Lincoln who declared a war on the South, not the other way around.

    About the conquering of Missouri and Kentucky, well, these states were neutral when the secession occurred so Davis wanting to conquer them was not a military act against the Union.

    According to William T. Sherman's memoirs, the Southerners wanted a peaceful secession without a war afterwards...
    Posted January 29th, 2013 at 06:09 AM by Stefany Stefany is offline
    Updated January 29th, 2013 at 09:25 AM by Stefany
  9. Old Comment
    Viperlord's Avatar
    Quote:
    Also, it was Lincoln who declared a war on the South, not the other way around.
    Wrong, VERY wrong. Lincoln explicitly said he would do nothing so long as the South did not fire the first shot, and he never issued any declaration of war.

    Quote:
    Lincoln sent supplies to Fort Sumter even tho the Confederacy warned the Union that furnishing the fort with provisions would be considered a provocation.
    The Confederates could have turned the supply ships away without attacking the fort, just like the Star of the West. Davis deliberately initiated the war at Sumter to try to draw in the Upper South.

    Quote:

    About the conquering of Missouri and Kentucky, well, these states were neutral when the secession occurred so Davis wanting to conquer them was not a military act against the Union.
    Missouri was not neutral, and never was in the Civil War. I don't know where you got that from. It's governor was pro-Confederate, but the secessionists were the minority. Even if Missouri and Kentucky were neutral, how in the world would the Confederacy be justified in militarily conquering them? Kentucky was still in the Union as a matter of fact; it just declared itself neutral in the conflict.

    Quote:
    According to William T. Sherman's memoirs, the Southerners wanted a peaceful secession without a war afterwards...
    I'd like to see the source for Sherman saying that, given that's a direct contradiction of the speech this entire blog is about.
    Posted January 30th, 2013 at 12:55 PM by Viperlord Viperlord is online now
  10. Old Comment
    The notion that one should not fight unless one can win is tragically inexperienced. Sherman evidenced throughout an honorable career an ability to see things in their essence. War is hell so lets get it done. He was clearly a born leader. Too bad the South could not hear his clarity. Is this where we have returned. Clarity is abhorred by fire-eaters who cannot be deterred by evidence...even if it means oceans of other people's blood
    Posted February 22nd, 2013 at 02:42 PM by Mike Kenney Mike Kenney is offline
  11. Old Comment
    Fiver's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Stefany View Comment
    According to William T. Sherman's memoirs, the Southerners wanted a peaceful secession without a war afterwards...
    "I have given the above at some length, because, during the civil war, it was in Southern circles asserted that I was guilty of a breach of hospitality in taking up arms against the South. They were manifestly the aggressors, and we could only defend our own by assailing them" - The Memoirs of William T Sherman

    "John then turned to me, and said, "Mr. President, this is my brother, Colonel Sherman, who is just up from Louisiana, he may give you some information you want." "Ah!" said Mr. Lincoln, "how are they getting along down there?" I said, "They think they are getting along swimmingly—they are preparing for war." The Memoirs of William T Sherman

    "The bombardment of Fort Sumter, which was announced by telegraph, began April 12th, and ended on the 14th. We then knew that the war was actually begun, and though the South was openly, manifestly the aggressor, yet her friends and apologists insisted that she was simply acting on a justifiable defensive, and that in the forcible seizure of, the public forts within her limits the people were acting with reasonable prudence and foresight." The Memoirs of William T Sherman
    Posted May 5th, 2013 at 09:11 AM by Fiver Fiver is offline
 
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