Saturday, September 8, 2012

Civil War??? Part III

September 1862 brought executions for refusing to swear allegiance to the U.S. In October at Palmyra, Missouri, ten political prisoners and POWs were executed because a Union informer disappeared. Soon afterwards, Lincoln promoted to brigadier-general the man responsible.

In 1863 General Ewing imprisoned as many wives, mothers, and sisters of Quantrill's Confederate partisan band as could be found. The building housing most of them collapsed in August, killing many.

Ewing had been warned that the building was in danger of collapse, and the guerrillas believed that it had been deliberate. In retaliation Quantrill sacked and burned Lawrence, Kansas. Ewing then issued an order forcing all persons in four counties of western Missouri living more than a mile from a military base to leave the state. They were forced from their homes at gunpoint and escorted away. Then all property was destroyed. Cass County, which had a population of 10,000 was reduced to 600 by this "ethnic cleansing." Union Colonel Lazear wrote his wife that the ensuing arson was so thorough that only stone chimneys could be seen for hundreds of miles. "It is heart sickening to see what I have seen since I have been back here. A desolated country, men, women, and children, some of them almost naked. Some on foot and some in wagons. Oh God."

Loyalty oaths and bonds were required of all citizens. If guerrillas attacked, property in the area was confiscated and sold at auction. Suspects were imprisoned and by 1864 the mortality rate of Union-held prisoners had reached fifty percent. Union Surgeon George Rex reported: Undergoing the confinement in these crowded and insufficiently ventilated quarters are many citizen prisoners, against whom the charges are of a very trivial character, or perhaps upon investigation . . . no charges at all are sustained.

The Union implemented Sherman's philosophy of war against civilians. He wrote: "To the petulant and persistent secessionist, why, death is mercy, and the quicker he or she is disposed of the better. . . . There is a class of people . . . who must be killed or banished before you can hope for peace and order." To General Sheridan, Sherman wrote: ". . . the present class of men who rule the South must be killed outright rather than in conquest of territory. . . a great deal of it yet remains to be done, therefore, I shall expect you on any and all occasions to make bloody results."

Why America lost the "Civil War" | October 30, 2002 | Nat G. Rudulph

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