told Daddy that General Sherman was a distant relative of his. He
suggested he was something on the order of a second cousin. General
William Tecumseh Sherman was a leading Union General of the Civil
War who became most famous for his March to the Sea across
Georgia in which his army cut a 30-mile-wide swath of destruction
as it moved south through Georgia. On the march his 62,000 troops
stripped barns, fields and some houses. They lived off the countryside,
destroying railroads and supplies, reducing the war-making potential
of the Confederacy, and bringing the war home to the Southern people.
Daddys school teacher had students sing General Shermans commemorative
song every morning before class. This was 40 years after the end of
the Civil War! Here is the way Daddy sang the song to me:
Hooray, Hooray, well sing the jubilee!
Hooray, Hooray, well set the niggers free!
And well sing our song
From Atlanta to the sea
As we go marching through Georgia! (My mother would have probably
been singing Dixie on similar occasions since her family
sympathized with the South.)
There were two sides to General Sherman. Belying his image as the
general who laid waste to the enemy, Sherman, for example, denied
setting the big fire which destroyed Columbia, South Carolina; and
his surrender terms for the Confederate General, Joseph E. Johnston,
were considered too generous by President Andrew Johnson.
Sherman was so popular after the war that both the Democrat and Republican
parties repeatedly asked him to run for President, but he refused.
In 1884 he first made this subsequently oft-repeated statement to
the Republicans, I will not accept if nominated and will not
serve if elected. Sherman is also remembered for his still quoted
assertion that War is hell. He knew, first hand.