Sunday, January 6, 2013
Why we fought them and fought them hard...
General Philip Sheridan is another celebrated '' war hero '' who followed in Sherman's footsteps in attacking defenseless civilians. After the Confederate army had finally evacuated the Shenandoah Valley in the autumn of 1864 Sheridan's 35,000 infantry troops essentially burned the entire valley to the ground. As Sheridan described it in a letter to General Grant, in the first few days he '' destroyed over 2200 barns...over 70 mills... have driven in front of the army over 4000 head of stock, and have killed ... not less then 3000 sheep.... Tomorrow I will continue the destruction.''
In letters home Sheridan's troops described themselves as '' barn burners '' and '' destroyers of homes. '' One soldier wrote home that he had personally set 60 private homes on fire and opined that '' it was a hard looking sight to see the women and children turned out of doors at this season of the year.'' A Sergeant William T. Patterson wrote that '' the whole country around is wrapped in flames, the heavens are aglow with the light thereof ... such mourning, such lamentations, such crying and pleading for mercy [by defenseless women]... I never saw or want to see again.''