Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Blogs > The American Civil War
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read


Rating: 1 votes, 1.00 average.

Sherman and the journalists

Posted February 11th, 2013 at 01:00 PM by Stefany
Updated February 11th, 2013 at 02:05 PM by Stefany

William T. Sherman hated the reporters. He believed that they were spies because they tended to publish information about his troops and later on the Confederates just had to read the recent newspaper and they would know everything.
He regarded their reports “false, false as hell” and the people reading newspapers, he called them “the non-thinking herd”.

Sherman would often say "If I had my choice I would kill every reporter in the world,
but I am sure we would be getting reports from Hell before breakfast."

During the Vicksburg campaign, Sherman got so vexed at the reporters that he forbade them from
accompanying his army. One of the co – editors of the New York Herald, the most widely read newspaper in the country, Thomas Knox, ignored Sherman’s order and went with the army anyway. He started to writing articles criticizing the general’s commanding of the army, but Sherman caught him and cross – examined him by himself.
Knox gave in, and named Frank Blair, one of Sherman’s division commanders as his source.
Then Sherman had Knox court martialed, the first journalist ever to be send before the military
court in the history of USA.
Sherman accused Knox of being a spy, providing information to the enemy and accompanying the expedition in violation of his orders. The court, however, only found Knox guilty of violating Sherman’s orders and forbade the journalist to ever approach the army lines again.
Sherman’s victory was complete, but not by his standards. He wanted to teach the press a lesson
and he demanded Knox to be executed.
As John F. Marszalek noted “When dealing with an enemy, there were no half measures for Sherman”
Later on, Knox went to Lincoln and wanted his prevention from approaching the army to be enervated, but Lincoln said “Ask Grant” and by doing so he didn't refuse the journalist’s plea directly, but he knew that Grant being friends with Sherman won’t allow that to happen.
But Knox was persistent and went to Grant anyway and then Grant told him “Ask Sherman” and the journalist, obviously not having learnt his lesson wrote his plea to Sherman who then got furious and responded “Come with a sword or musket in your hand, prepared to share with us our fate, and I will welcome you as a brother and associate,'' Sherman wrote. But come as a reporter, he added, ''And my answer is Never!”
I guess Knox was afraid that if he had gone to Sherman instead of writing to him, he might have shot him.

This episode once again shows William T. Sherman's decisiveness and his dedication to wage total war against his enemies.
Views 2262 Comments 8 Edit Tags
« Prev     Main     Next »
Total Comments 8

Comments

  1. Old Comment
    Nice essay.. But I still dont agree that Sherman is the best.
    Posted February 11th, 2013 at 01:26 PM by Gorge123 Gorge123 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    ^^ Thank you!
    Sherman was the best Union general, only Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson out rivaled him as a military talent in the Civil War.
    Posted February 12th, 2013 at 01:41 AM by Stefany Stefany is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Viperlord's Avatar
    As we're already addressing the question of Grant and Lee in another thread, how in the world is Jackson better than Sherman?
    Posted February 13th, 2013 at 04:24 PM by Viperlord Viperlord is online now
  4. Old Comment
    Come on do we seriously still have to argue on Jackson Lee an Grant?
    Posted February 15th, 2013 at 09:56 AM by Gorge123 Gorge123 is offline
  5. Old Comment
    @Viperlord, Jackson was both an awesome strategist and tactician while Sherman was only a strategist. Besides, I don't think there is another general in the Civil War that could match Stonewall Jackson's bravery.
    After the Confederate general passed away, Sherman got second place as a military talent in the Civil War, above him was only Robert E. Lee.

    @Gorge, we are historians, if we don't constantly argue, it will get pretty tedious...
    Posted February 28th, 2013 at 01:37 PM by Stefany Stefany is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Viperlord's Avatar
    Jackson was an awful tactician, as even his admirers, such as historians Robert K. Krick and Bud Robertson, concede. He threw in his troops piecemeal, a few at a time, in battles such as Kernstown, Port Republic, and Brawner's Farm, and often got stalemated for it. At Brawner's Farm, with 6,000 veteran troops at his disposal, and the element of surprise, he got stalemated by 2,100 rookie Union troops. And he wasn't a strategist; he never waged an independent campaign except under orders like in the Valley. Even his famous flank attack was tactically mishandled; the massive formations he used for his divisions made it impossible for keep their coherence or momentum, and his assault faltered after sweeping aside the badly outgunned and unprepared XI Corps.
    Posted March 1st, 2013 at 06:17 AM by Viperlord Viperlord is online now
    Updated March 1st, 2013 at 06:28 AM by Viperlord
  7. Old Comment
    @Viperlord, the mishaps you counted are not notable or crushing defeats. Every great general has its bad days, what's important is he not to turn them into disasters.

    Jackson's Valley campaign was perfect, he saved the day at the First Manassas and managed to brilliantly outflanked Hooker at Chancellorsville.

    He even contrived the idea of a second attack during the night, something very rarely done in the Civil War. And I am sure he would have succeed, if, you know, he hadn't sadly died...
    Posted March 5th, 2013 at 10:11 AM by Stefany Stefany is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Viperlord's Avatar
    Quote:
    Jackson's Valley campaign was perfect
    No. He effed up big-time at Kernstown, and would have been destroyed against a competent opponent. Tactically, he mismanaged McDowell and Port Republic as well. It was very good, but it wasn't perfect.

    Quote:
    and managed to brilliantly outflanked Hooker at Chancellorsville.
    That was Lee's plan, and Jackson mismanaged the attack by deploying his divisions in exactly the same way Beauregard did at Shiloh, except in even worse terrain for that formation.

    Quote:
    He even contrived the idea of a second attack during the night, something very rarely done in the Civil War. And I am sure he would have succeed, if, you know, he hadn't sadly died...
    Horse manure. His troops had already been halted by entrenched Union XII Corps troops, and they were completely disorganized, with the units hopelessly intermingled. No attack was going to get anywhere that night.

    Quote:
    @Viperlord, the mishaps you counted are not notable or crushing defeats. Every great general has its bad days, what's important is he not to turn them into disasters.
    Jackson had numerous incidents of tactical incompetence, including in the Seven Days, where his ineptitude may have been the reason Lee didn't bag Franklin's entire corps at White Oak Swamp. That counts against him. At Cedar Mountain, the only reason there was no disaster was because Hill bailed Jackson out; at Kernstown, his subordinate Garnett helped save Jackson, and Jackson rewarded him by scapegoating him for Jackson's own failure.
    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 08:27 AM by Viperlord Viperlord is online now
 

Remove Ads


Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.