Although "Union forces wreaked havoc on the towns in Sherman’s path, their actions do not add up to the apocalyptic barbarism that plays such a role in Lost Cause mythology."
"WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN :In the Service of My Country, a Life
By James Lee McDonough
Illustrated. 816 pp. W.W. Norton & Company. $39.95.
Most of all, he played a major and strategic role in the Civil War. In looking back at that conflict, Sherman uttered one of the most memorable phrases in American history — “War is all hell.”
Of course, his 1864 movement across central Georgia also is remembered by his name — Sherman’s march. Yet this most famous of his actions is probably his least understood, or perhaps most misrepresented. He did not conduct “total war.” Nor did he use violence indiscriminately. To the contrary, his march across Georgia and then into South Carolina was a targeted use of violence against wealthy Confederate die-hards in the rural South who had been largely untouched by the war. It was to these plantation owners that Sherman intended to bring “the hard hand of war,” and he did so with audacity and courage.