Skip to comments.Yes, Yankees Were "Far Too Ruthless"
Posted on 02/16/2013 9:48:32 AM PST by Davy Buck
One of the things that was apparent as I researched the book on Lexington, Virginia and the Civil War, was the mistreatment of Lexington's citizens (Union and Confederate) by Union general David Hunter's army. As my memory was refreshed, I also recalled how a number of Civil War bloggers have downplayed this aspect of the war, even questioning the veracity of some of the claims of Southern civilians; while others took a "so what?" attitude and, in some cases, actually became cheerleaders in justifying such treatment for the "slave-holding rebels." They often sound more like advocates of revenge than they do objective historians . . .
(Excerpt) Read more at oldvirginiablog.blogspot.com ...
I don’t know of a war where there haven’t been some atrocities on both sides. I still believe the South was in the right on the issue of States rights and the legality of secession, but the Andersonville prison left an indelible stain on its legacy. Total war is wrought with depravity.
I too thought the headline was referring to Babe Ruth, until I started reading the article.
In response, all I can say is, “War is hell.”
What’s done is done and can’t be undone.
Beyond that its navel gazing.
I thinks it’s instructive and very current. Many Freepers believe that the Army would never turn it’s gun on citizens. However this book shows that it can, will, and has.
Andersonville is one of the best examples of corrupt history becoming believed by all. First of all, the prison really was awful. Abraham Lincoln was just about totally responsible. First he stopped prisoner exchanges. The South had almost nothing to give the prisoners. The commandant asked the Union if they would supply medicines etc. Lincoln refused.
Northern prisons were actually even worse than Andersonville. The big difference was the North brutalized Southern prisoners on purpose. There was one in Chicago which was probably the worst prison on either side.
The prison with the highest death rate of any Civil War prison was at Rock Island, Illinois.
“Ive been where you are now and I know just how you feel. Its entirely natural that there should beat in the breast of every one of you a hope and desire that some day you can use the skill you have acquired here.
Suppress it! You dont know the horrible aspects of war. Ive been through two wars and I know. Ive seen cities and homes in ashes. Ive seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is Hell!” -—William T. Sherman, to the graduating class of the Michigan Military Academy (19 June 1879)
That’s OK, I got even with those D*&% Yankees.
I stole one of their luscious babes for a bride and brought her back South.
That’ll teach ‘em!
I read the book years ago, still recall the atrocities today.
I read the book years ago, still recall the atrocities today.
You may be thinking of Camp Douglas or Elmira.
Andersonville was in a part of Georgia that hadn't been touched by Sherman, so far as I know. Florida, the "breadbasket of the Confederacy" wasn't all that far away, and surrounding farmers weren't in anything like the shape the prisoners of war were.
First, there were no documented atrocities by any Confederate field army. The commanders were manic on preventing looting, rape and theft. Second, Andersonville came about because Grant cancelled the policy of paroling prisoners. Yes, the conditions were horrible but not any more so than the federal prison near what became the Chicago Stockyards.
Lincoln would have had to be as dumb as a bag of rocks to agree to POW exchanges. When your manpower is a serious advantage you don’t give the other guy his troops back. As far as the CSA was concerned, they forgot the basic rule of warfare, Don’t Lose!
Actually all of the Confederacy was short on just about anything. Of course farmers typically ate better than people in cities or the Confederate army for that matter.
Something a lot of people don’t know is the locals around Andersonville did on their own initiative try to supply what they could to the prison.
I just recently read a history of a Confederate soldier named Flowers who served in the battle of Nashville. He said the entire Confederate army was literally starving. They made one last gasp attempt and when it failed, they basically surrendered because they were too sick and starving to go on.
He was imprisoned at Chicago. He said the Union officers were OK but the guards were the most evil people he ever encountered. They just took pleasure in torturing prisoners, would just for the fun of it, kick them, hit them etc.
The South has absolutely nothing to apologize in the treatment of prisoners.
The Unions treatment of Confederate prisoner is one of the great untold stories.
I have in the past studied about Rock Island. It was worse than Andersonville and the death rate was in fact the worst of any Civil War prison.
The moment the South proved a forced to be reckoned with,was when Total war became essentially inevitable.They were either going to roll over for the Federal government or they were going to drive it off.
Winning a string of battles and fighting it to a standstill is nice and all but it is going to lead to harsher and stronger measures from the opposition.
The South was a victim of its own success,while I find slavery appalling,it had better infantrymen and officers(senior and junior)then the North.
Something’s not right with the Stephen Davis’s bio. He lists a PhD, but not the school he received it from, while his graduate work at UNC seems to have been truncated with the consolation-degree of an MA. Then, of course, he appears to have been a lifelong Confederacy fan, who has worked in furthering the legacy of his preferred ‘side’.
I suspect there’s good reason his monograph hasn’t got more attention.
“First, there were no documented atrocities by any Confederate field army. The commanders were manic on preventing looting, rape and theft.”
——How sure are you of that statement...’no documented atrocities by any Confederate field army’? Please define atrocities, so I can understand what you mean,because I can name a several of what I would consider ‘atrocities’.
“Second, Andersonville came about because Grant cancelled the policy of paroling prisoners. Yes, the conditions were horrible but not any more so than the federal prison near what became the Chicago Stockyards.”
-——Agreed. My grgruncle was in one of the Unions prisons...he died a few years later from the treatment there.
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