The Destructive War: William Tecumseh Sherman, Stonewall Jackson, and the Americans
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From the moment the Civil War began, partisans on both sides were calling not just for victory but for extermination. And both sides found leaders who would oblige. In this vivid and fearfully persuasive book, Charles Royster looks at William Tecumseh Sherman and Stonewall Jackson, the men who came to embody the apocalyptic passions of North and South, and re-creates their characters, their strategies, and the feelings they inspired in their countrymen. At once an incisive dual biography, hypnotically engrossing military history, and a cautionary examination of the American penchant for patriotic bloodshed, The Destructive War is a work of enormous power.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
longstanding American impulse to defy Great Britain and to wrest from foreigners, especially Britons, their envious assent that all things American were superior. Just as Americans often saw the United States soon supplanting in the world’s respect the obsolete British empire, Southerners tried to find part of their nationality by drawing invidious distinctions between South and North. According to the Austin State Gazette, Northern capitalists wanted exclusive control of the western territories
they had easily detected the Wilderness’s poorly kept secret. Yet General Hooker afterward explained that Jackson “had led his column by a long circuit, out of sight and hearing, through the dense forest.” A Federal soldier, writing home when the battle was over, drew a curving black blob in his letter and wrote around it: “map of Gen Hooker’s Plan of Operations on the Rappahannock.” He told his family: “Subjoined you will find a plan of the battle, drawn in the dark—by a ‘reliable gentleman’ who
depended not on a proven record, unimpeachable reasoning, or universal law but on belief that commanded assent by its adherents’ power. Long after the war, Holmes told Lewis Einstein “that he was not sure if, from a constitutional point of view, the South was not in the right.” Such a concession held little importance for him because neither secessionists’ deductive reasoning nor unionists’ definition of the republic nor abolitionists’ assertions of human rights under natural law described
the Sea: Letters and Diary of the Late Charles W. Wills (Washington, D.C., 1906), 345–351; George P. Rawick, ed., The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography (Westport, Conn., 1972), Series I, Vol. II, South Carolina Narratives, Part Two, Narrative of John Franklin, pp. 84–86; Whitelaw Reid, Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Her Generals, and Soldiers (Cincinnati, Ohio, 1868), 1,476; Edwin J. Scott, Random Recollections of a Long Life, 1806 to 1876 (Columbia, S.C., 1884), 59–86, 168–210; Mrs. D.
He had no more than 13,000 men before the end of November. The force at Bowling Green was a small brigade under General Simon Bolivar Buckner. Farther east General Felix Zollicoffer had only about 3,500 men and an equal number of reserves. Johnston later wrote of the populace: “No enthusiasm as we imagined & hoped but hostility was manifested in Kentucky.” He reported his weakness to the Confederate War Department and the state governors, but the “aid given was small.” The Federal forces in