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tv   The Civil War  CSPAN  June 4, 2016 2:00pm-3:01pm EDT

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>> on the civil war, the georgia historical society president todd groce talks about william sherman's background. his march to the sea campaign, and how sherman is remembered. he describes sherman's method as "hard war" rather than total war and argues the targets were carefully selected to diminish southern resolve to continue the conflict. the shenandoah valley foundation hosted this 50 minute talk. todd: thank you, terry, for that brief introduction. i know everyone appreciates that. welcome to georgia. i know many of you are traveling from other places and are in our state probably for the first time. we specially ordered this weather for you. i know you have been on battlefields and i'm glad it has cooperated and we have been able
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to provide you with a great experience. i am delighted you are in our state and hope you will come back. i want to thank the shenandoah valley battlefields association for asking me to speak about somebody and something i had no idea when i started hitting my phd would become such an important part of my life. i cannot get away from general sherman. the more i talk about it, the more people will be to talk more about it. i will have to change topics at some point and move into another area, but he is a fascinating person. and a fascinating topic. i am also delighted to see so many folks here. and that you care this much about the civil war, battlefields, and preserving the battlefields. one of my favorite things to do is to hike battlefields. i think it's wonderful to get out, enjoy the outdoors and you can unite those two things. the outdoors and the study of the civil war, there's nothing else like it.
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thank you for all you do come and the association does to help us preserve our battlefields and to teach civil war history. he has been called the savior of the union and the ruthless destroyer of the south. the prophet of 20th century warfare. and a sadist who waged war on defenseless women and children. modern soldier and a terrorist. few names from the past invoke as much emotion as william tecumseh sherman. if you think history does not matter or sherman has faded from modern memory, just walk into any place in georgia and proclaim sherman is a hero and atlanta got what it deserved and see what happens. i will tell you this is a true , story. when i first moved to georgia 21 years ago, i was on my way to atlanta from savanna. i passed a pickup truck on i-16. i looked down and there was a
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bumper sticker that said "general sherman, where are you now that atlanta really needs you?" [laughter] the other thing i want to show you is this wonderful piece of civil war memorabilia. for those of you in the back, you may not be able to read this. this was given to me as a gift. it says "general william .t sherman, still wiping up the south." it comes with a dispenser. every time you tear off a piece of the paper, it plays dixie. [laughter] that gives you some idea of the fame of general sherman. indeed with the possible , exception of property league, -- robert e lee no civil war , general is so well known by the public to certainly there is no soldier more associated with georgia than the hand that became infamous as its destroyer. what i would like to do during
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the time allotted to me this afternoon is to cut through some of the myths, folklore, and how right distortion surrounding -- out right distortion surrounding sherman and the march to the sea. to that end, i will attempt to answer three broad questions about the man, the march, and the memory. the man, the march, the memory. who was sherman, what were his reasons and motivations for waging what has come to be called "hard war?" secondly what was the nature and , impact of the march to the sea? was it necessary? thirdly what is the legacy of , sherman and the march to the sea in modern america? what influence did he and the march have? what can we learn from the man and his march? let's talk to the man. not surprisingly, historians disagree about sherman.
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historian john marzolach said it was his search for order that defined his life as he tried to find stability following the loss of his father and separation from his mother in early childhood. another biographer contends instead that his life was defined by the overwhelming fear of mental instability that plagued his mother's family. his maternal grandmother, uncle, and his son tom all died in or spent years in insane asylums. one brother, john, died mentally unstable while the other died an alcoholic. whatever source of the distinctive personality, there is general agreement that he was a brilliant but tormented soul sadness and only occasional happiness. no wonder. his early life was chaotic. his father died when he was nine years old and his mother turned him over to another family.
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the combination of losing his parents, along with the mental problems he inherited from his mother's side contributed to the depression he clearly from as an adult. although many biographers ignore or even reject the notion that he was plagued by mental illness, sherman exhibited many of the symptoms of depression. ia as it was called in the 19th century. on at least two occasions he suffered a nervous breakdown. notably during the winter of 1862 and he was relieved from command for showing acute paranoia over the confederate forces raid against him, greatly exaggerating their numbers. charged with insanity by the newspapers he was sent home in , disgrace and almost committed suicide. sherman was essentially a conservative. he believed in the rule of law, warning the mayor of atlanta in 1864 that the easiest way to end the war would be for those in a
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-- rebellion to simply obey the laws and the constitution. he was an admirer of southern planters. he felt a great affinity and felt no moral revulsion over the institute of slavery. while in the prewar army he spent a great deal of time the south where he felt at home and was truly happy for the first time in his life when on the eve of the civil war he was appointed superintendent of a new military school in louisiana, which is today louisiana state university. sherman's racism made him comfortable with slavery, but he had little patience with southerners who resorted to disunion to protect the institution. the deeply conservative sherman, secession represented treason and anarchy. breaking up the country and firing on american soldiers and the american flag at fort sumter , a u.s. army installation was , to him an attack on the constitution and an insurrection against the laws of the united
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states. once the united states conceded the right to break away, sherman feared the process would go on perpetually. if states were allowed to break away every time they lost a constitutional election america would end up, like he said, mexico. continually in the grip a revolution and chaos. the united states must survive and secession must be crushed or the experiment in republicanism would fail discrediting the only , example at that time of a successful democratic government. thus, when slaveholding states 11 declared independence following lincoln's election sherman looked upon them as , resurgent forces needed to be repressed. the country had an openly anti-slavery president for the first time since the founding of the republic, but he did not give southerners and slave tittle ofe
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provocation to destroy the government." they had no right to seize the board, arsenals, and mints which were property of the united states and placed in the south for the benefit and protection of the people. "why the original compact the government the united states had certain rights in georgia which were never relinquished and never will be. through its army the united , states had a right to put down rebellion, reclaim property, and enforce its laws throughout its territory and bring to an end and unnecessary and evil war it did not start but it would finish." the decision to mark an -- margin army from atlanta to the sea was a revolutionary -- evolutionary process. through the first years, sherman watched as the battles became ever bloodier and seemed to resolve nothing. the search for the battle of annihilation, where one army would destroy the other in an all-out decisive engagement was elusive.
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the bloodlettings at shiloh, the great when union victories of the experiment in gettysburg did not bring the enemy to their knees. sherman was not entirely surprised by this, having lived in the south before the war he knew the southern people intimately. he knew their spirit and pride. their determination to fight. he decided a new way to wage war must be developed. to demonstrate to the supporters of the confederacy that their cause was hopeless and the confederate government could not protect them on the power of the united states. this point was evident when he and his troops were called upon to garrison parts of the mississippi delta that had fallen to u.s. forces after the battle of shiloh. initially sherman went along with the lincoln's administration's policy. issuing receipts for destroyed
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or confiscated properties in the misguided belief that support was shallow among the common people for the new confederacy. if the federal government treated southerners reasonably, -- leniently, then loyalty would reassert itself. but as the united states army advanced deeper into the south, the white population became even more determined to resist. many civilians defied federal authority by smuggling medicine, bushwhacking soldiers, and harboring guerillas. the war was no longer a fight strictly between armies where the lines between combatants and noncombatants was clear. indeed, it took on many of the characteristics of the type of insurgency waged during the 20th and 21st centuries in places like vietnam, iraq, and afghanistan. i think this is one of the areas where sherman's legacy has not been explored. we talk about the march to the
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sea, but sherman dealing with an insurgency and his attempts at counterinsurgency, something that would be incredibly relevant to modern america after what we have been through in the that isast, is an area ripe for historians to explore. confronted with this hostility on the part of noncombatants, his attitude again to harden. he came to the conclusion that those in rebellion, soldiers and civilians, most feel the hard hand of war. and that the united states had the power to penetrate every part of its national domain to reestablish its authority and destroy insurgent forces. interesting they use those terms frequently, "insurgent and insurgent forces." the continued resistance
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justified it. it makes no difference whether it was one year, two years, 10 years, or 20, we will remove and destroy every obstacle, take every life, every acre of land, every particle of property that to us seems proper. we will not cease until the and is attained. that all who oppose us our enemies and we will not account for them for our actions. sherman was not the only one who was coming to the conclusion that if it were to be won the war needed to be harsher. in the spring of the lincoln 1863, administration issued special order number 100 entitled, "instructions for the government of the armies of the united states in the field." a set of rules for the u.s. army that delineated what types of conduct was permissible and what was not. called the lever code after its compiler, francis lieber, it
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prohibited torture, execution of prisoners assassination, and the , breaking of flags of truce and agreements between warring parties. the code prohibited, as a historian put it, "the infliction of suffering for its own sake." on the other hand, it authorized the u.s. army to destroy civilian property, starve noncombatants, free slaves, and summarily execute guerillas if such measures were deemed necessary to winning the war. "to save to country is paramount to all other consideration." i will keep that. "to save the country is paramount to all other considerations." like other wartime chief executives to the present day, lincoln was willing to take drastic measures to ensure the
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survival of the united states. of course sherman could not have , agreed more. by the time captured atlanta in 1864, his thoughts had matured. once again the rebel army had , been defeated. another major city had fallen. and still the confederates wod not give up. rather then continue the futile war against people, he would now wage war against property. a shift in objectives sanctioned by the u.s. government has expressed in the lieber code. it would not only bring victory with a minimum loss of life on both sides, but undermine confederate morale on the home front, trigger a wave of desertions, destroy the ability to wage war, and prove to the rebels that the confederate government was impotent to protect them and their property. the history of the war demonstrated there could be no peace without making it as harsh
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as possible. war is cruelty and you cannot refine it, he wrote to the mayor and aldermen of atlanta when they protested against the removal of citizens from the city. "you may as well appeal against a thunderstorm as against the hardships of war are navigable. the only way the people of atlanta can hope to live in peace and quiet at home is to stop the war. we do not want your negroes, horses, houses, land -- but we do want and will have obedience to the laws of the united states. that, we will have. and if it involves the destruction of your property, we cannot help it." it is important to remember the context in which sherman put the code into action. the civil war of 1864 was no longer the gentleman's conflict of 1861. sherman headed to
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savanah, one million u.s. and confederate soldiers had been killed, wounded, or died of disease. graveyards and hospitals covered the land from washington -- the country was drenched in blood. confederate guerrillas bushwhacked soldiers while other confederate guerrillas and guards robbed, tortured, and murdered southern civilians. regular forses had burned towns like hampton, virginia and chambersburg, pennsylvania. confederate officials executed southern civilians for suspected disloyalty, including a mass hanging of 40 texans in october for nothing more than failing to show up for the draft. confederate soldiers murdered hundreds of black prisoners. and in accordance with official confederate policy, rebel authorities sent the black soldiers they did not kill back into slavery.
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thousands of white u.s. prisoners were suffering and dying in hell holes. in short, the civil war, like all other wars had taken an ugly turn. both sides the united states and , confederate states were struggling for existence. it was life or death. actions that would have been considered atrocities at the beginning of the war were becoming commonplace on both sides. sherman thought it was hypocritical or confederates who "had plunged the nation into war to appeal to god and humanity when the tide turned against them, especially given their own brutal actions in harsh policies." no one could attack the united states, especially from within, he reasoned, and not expect consequences. sherman believe there was a broader goal to widen distractions to include noncombatants. the ultimate long-term security of the united states demanded that the war become as brutal and painful as possible. in this way the enemies of the
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united states would never try to break up the country to ensure their political ends. the war, sherman said, was the choice of a minority of disaffected citizens. which having lost the presidential contest sought to overturn the will of the majority by resorting to succession. but now that the united states were at war, they had to prosecute until those who appealed to it and come to the emblem of our nation to sue for peace. i would not coax them are made -- meet them halfway but make them so sick of war that generations would pass away before they would appeal to it. those were tough words indeed. but as usual, with a hyperbolic sherman, his bark was worse than his bite. his rhetoric harsher than his actions. as his troops set out for atlanta in 1864, sherman swore
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to "make georgia howl." but the historical evidence revealed the general was neither as destructive as he planned to be, nor as barbaric as he was accused of by confederates. his special field order number 120, sherman laid out the rules of destruction and conduct. the army was to, "forge liberally on the country. the details of men and officers sent out each day to gather food for the army. soldiers were not to enter private homes and to discriminate between the rich, who were usually hostile, and of the poor and industrious who were usually neutral or friendly." to be sure, there was more destruction than allowed by the orders. officers were not always present to control their men. sherman's soldiers saw this as "a golden opportunity to teach the people of georgia the
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hardships and terror of war." which they blamed the confederates for starting and continuing despite defeats on the battlefield. some homes of the wealthy were burned. private dwellings were entered. personal property was taken. civilians were stripped of more food than army needed or could possibly consume. sherman called this eating out the country. the worst discussion of private property occurred after the march to the sea and south carolina because sherman and his men considered the state responsible for bringing on the war. but there is in georgia the , primary targets of the destruction was infrastructure and anything that could be used by the confederate army to continue the struggle. factories, mills, caught gents, bridges, ands, railroad. hundreds of miles of track were torn up. they were wrapped around trees and telegraph poles are they
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would require a rolling mill to make them usable. at least in georgia and north carolina, the march to the sea was savannah to atlanta -- but let south carolina deal with their own history. we're talking about torture. -- georgia. in georgia and north carolina few private homes were burned. those that were belonged to men like howell cobb, who sherman considered a traitor guilty of , bringing on the rebellion. cotton gins and corn cribs were put to the torch, but rarely a private home. in fact, one study conducted in georgia during the 1950's comparing wartime maps with existing and develop structures found that most along the route of the march were still in existence and a few that were to post-waren lost accidents. despite the commonly held belief
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reinforced by "gone to the wind" that sherman reduced atlanta to smoldering ruin, only the business and industrial sections were put to the torch. the residential area and courthouse area were spared. some houses were destroyed, but in general the residential areas , survived, although battered. fully 60% of the city was still standing when sherman set out on his infamous march to the sea. the 40% of atlanta destroyed was confederatesh the burned at chambersburg, pennsylvania the previous july. sherman also proved merciful in forgiving when his enemies submitted to the authority of the national government. savanna is a prime example. upon his arrival in savannah, sherman was offered one of the finest mansions as his headquarters. he described mayor arnold as completely "subjugated." the citizens as "orderly and well behaved." thus savannah escaped the fate
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of others along the march. according to university of texas historian jaclyn jones, who conducted resources from primary sources like diaries and letters, savannah welcomed the army as liberators. sick of oregon on the verge of starvation they were ready to , throw off the yoke of the confederacy. succession had only brought death and privation. the people wanted peace. greeted by contrition rather than defiance, sherman changed course. as he said to the mayor of atlanta, if those in rebellion would "acknowledge the authority of the national government, i and this army will become your protectors and supporters of -- supporters shielding you from , danger." the mayor of atlanta did not heed the warning. savannah's mayor did and the fate of the city was very different than that of the city where it began. another kind of property
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that was destroyed during the march to the sea was slavery. the emancipation proclamation, issued two years earlier, freed the slaves in the rebellious states. so as they advanced deeper into , the south, sherman and the united states army became an instrument of liberation. despite being ordered to stay put on their master's plantations and farms thousands , of newly liberated african americans, men, women, and children, followed in the wake of sherman's march. i imagine it must be like trying to tell people who live in entered in the concentration camps to stay here, don't leave right now. those following the army would have fatal consequences. for many of those drowned attending to swim ebenezer creek after the army corps took up the pontoon bridge, stranding jews -- fugitive slaves on the north
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bank. sherman saw emancipation as useful, not because he cared about the plight of african-americans, but because it damaged the confederate war effort. still the fact remains that sherman helped to end slavery and brought freedom to millions of black southerners. as this author intended, the march to the sea was harsh on civilians. losing crops, food, livestock, left noncombatants with little to aes winter approached. but the fear that sherman created was as powerful as his acts of destruction. the site of federal troops marching across the state, destroying property, pillaging virtually unopposed had a demoralizing affect on white georgians that supported the confederacy. by waging war against the minds of his opponents, the market achieved the goal of hastening the end of the conflict. the wives of confederate soldiers along the march or who feared they lay in the path of sherman's advancing legions
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begged their husbands to come home and desertions increased dramatically during the winter of 1864-1865. this hemorrhaging from lee's army allowed grant to deliver the knockout low in 1865. from the vantage point of the 21st century, sherman's way of war seems a dramatic departure from earlier methods and has prompted some to characterize the march to the sea and beyond as the birth of modern total war. but hard war was not total war. while the march was destructive of public property and infrastructure, it lacked the massive wholesale destruction of human life that characterized world war ii and other 20th century conflicts. sherman's primary targets were food, livestock, government, industrial, military properties.
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they were carefully chosen to create the desired effect and never included killing civilians. indeed sherman claimed his were was more humane than traditional methods between armies. he called the south carolina woman the reason he was ransacking her plantation was so her soldier husband would come home and general grant would not have to kill him in the trenches of petersburg. he was fighting to bring soldiers back into the union, not to annihilate them. as the treatment of savannah demonstrated, there was no need for destruction. nevertheless sherman , demonstrated for the first time in the modern era the power of terror and psychological warfare in breaking down an enemy's will to resist. this concept would come into bloom in world war ii when both axis and allied powers british and americans, would , bomb civilians to create
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terror and win the war by any means at their disposal, including dropping two atomic bombs. it would be seen again in the vietnam war when america carpet bombed hanoi and other parts of vietnam, dropping on a single small country more ordinance then we dropped in the entire pacific theater during world war ii. indeed, america in the 20th century waged total war to such a frightening extent that one cannot help but wonder if sherman had commanded in world ii or vietnam, would his detractors be so repelled? especially those white southerners that had been taught to hate him as a war criminal. if he had served in the same army, the union army was the united states army, look at any order issued, if he had served in the same army a century later and if his targets had been germans, vietnamese,
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japanese, would we still loathe him to the same extent? from sherman's perspective the southerners represented more of a threat to the united states than did the nazis, the communists, or the japanese imperialists. it was for dealing with domestic enemies anticipated how americans in the 20th century would fight their country's foreign foes. strike violently and boldly at armed forces, destroy his ability to wage war, and undermine the will of the civilian population to resist. when enemy sues for peace, treat him no longer as an enemy. a doctrine historian robert o'connell calls hard war, soft peace. it is no wonder that such distinguished generals such as patton and norman
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schwarzkopf would revere and emulate sherman. schwarzkopf even kept on his desk a quote from sherman during the first iraq war. "war is the remedy our enemies have chosen. i say, let us give them all they want." like his hero, norman destroyed his foe and offered lenient terms of surrender. sherman has been demonized for waging war against noncombatants, but his hard hand of war established a model of how america would win future conflicts. robert o'connell described sherman's army as the first truly archetypal american ground force. lieber's code is still used today by the armed forces of the united states, and continues to govern how we fight. as world war ii and vietnam demonstrated, americans have no problem wreaking destruction on their enemies when the existence
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of the nation is at stake. douglas macarthur's admission to congress was lifted out of sherman's playbook. when war is forced upon us there is no other alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end. war's object is a victory, not prolonged indecision. francis' words written in 1862, to save the country is paramount to other considerations" could have been spoken by general bradley or patton as they smashed through a germantown. or curtis lemay as he ordered the firebombing of japanese cities. they have been deemed heroes because their actions were against foreign foes, where sherman was vilified as a terrorist, because his actions, the less severe, were against a
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domestic enemy. rightly or wrongly he deemed what necessary laid down by the rules of his government to save his country. rather than an aberration his hard hand of war fits within the american tradition. like the tactics of his successors and the enhanced interrogation techniques employed recently, his march to the sea reveals the moral ambiguity of war and the extent to which americans are willing to go when our national existence is at stake. thank you, very much. [applause] i have no idea what time it is. if we are on track and if we have time for questions. 3:48, we are on track. yes, sir.
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>> i am taking a path that would have taken him through there -- did he know how important the powder mill was to confederate efforts? todd: yes, they did. it is interesting. many people in augusta are strangely disappointed sherman did not come to their town. [laughter] todd: when you go there, you hear "why didn't he come here?" part of what sherman was doing during the march was keeping confederates off balance. though he outnumbered the forces opposed to him. he wanted to throw them off balance. he did this repeatedly throughout the march to the sea and later in the campaign's beyond. there is the march to the sea, savanna to atlanta, then south carolina really gets kicked.
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most of the burning happened in north carolina. in south carolina, sherman says, back to your best behavior. do not burn down everyone's house. sherman sainted to the left toward augusta and up. he could probably tell me exactly what that is. to the left, to the right, right up the middle. ok. [laughter] as long as herschel got the ball. in this case, sherman got the ball and they went right through. they leave millersville.
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they go to savannah. then he feigns to augusta. they think he is coming this way, and he goes to columbus. he is continually doing this, keeping them off balance. at that point it was imperative for him to keep moving. he had a map that he looked at. planning where they would go. he was able to see according to the 1860 census the crops produced. how many hogs, how much corn, how much wheat. he will try to go to the bread basket. he is living off the land. the idea he got from grant from the vicksberg campaign. he told him it wouldn't work, and it did. he tested it in ready and here 20 march to cross georgia he
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implemented it on a grander scale. and they get past millersville you are moving into an area of georgia that we call the pine barons. food is scarce. you're wearing out shoes and uniforms. one of the first things requested at the coast were shoes. part of it was to keep moving in as much a straight line as possible. that would be the best explanation i could give us to why they skipped augustine. the march to the sea, not augusta. towards the sea. there was question on if he would go to mobile. even lincoln said, i'm not sure where he is going. he is like a rat, i know which hole he went in, i just don't know what hole he will come out. lincoln, he always had a way with words. wait for the mic. >> as sherman's man got into the
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rice fields of georgia, they actually did not know what rice was or had not eaten much. did not know how to eat it. there was an account that i read, i don't know if i can believe it, about the union soldiers putting gunpowder on rice to spice it up to give it flavor. may be they didn't have salt or pepper. todd: i prefer shrimp or gravy. i've never tried gunpowder. though, it may help with a bad case of constipation. [laughter] i have read those accounts. i do not know if they are accurate. rice does require seasoning. it probably tasted better. what we have today is not the same kind of rice they were eating.
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people in savannah, the white population, and black, too, were eating a lot of rice. they were very tired of eating seafood. fish for breakfast, which some people still do. that was getting old. the diet was getting monotonous. i understand how they thought it was not all that good. it is like the first time you try grits. if you are from the north, the first thing you say is "what is a grit." when you see it in a bowl, your first instinct is to put sugar or something on it. all it needs is salt, pepper, and butter. i have people take instant grits come eat them, and say this is terrible. how could you eat this? because you didn't fix it the
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right way. like cream of wheat. same with rice. it is disconcerting with that in your mouth, but go ahead. >> for anybody here, i have signed autographs of sherman. [laughter] todd: that reminds me of a joke which i don't know if i should tell. it has to do with george washington, the british, and an american going to england and finding a picture of general washington in the water closet, as the british call it. when he came out, the british host said -- did you see general washington, sir? he said, yes i did. aren't you offended we put his picture in the bathroom? he said no, i figured there was nothing that would scare someone into going to the bathroom more than general washington. maybe that is the place it should go.
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i tried to clean that up as much as i could. we are on television. yes, sir. >> i could be wrong, but my observation is that sherman is reviled more in georgia than sheridan is in the valley. i'm wondering, is there a reason you are aware of, or think, that, especially given the evidence is that he was not that bad that that might be? if i'm wrong, maybe the folks in the valley can say, you are wrong. todd: it was bad. mass murderer, no. it was bad enough as it was. if the confederates were going to be demoralized it had to be pretty bad. a lot of it has to do with
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postwar accounts. sherman was not demonized during the war. if you came into georgia to see how the land looked after the march, it would not have looked that much different than northern virginia behind the lines. when an army passes through, things will look bad. it would not have looked a lot different. even after the war, sherman made 2 visits to atlanta. both times he was greeted as a hero. many atlantans said thank you for getting rid of the downtown business area, now we can rebuild and a phoenix has risen. the symbol of atlanta is a phoenix rising. he was greeted as a hero by many people. it was not until the lost cause and the development of that narrative that kicked in and the late 19th century and early 20th
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century that sherman became demonized to the extent he was. there's a great book. i have my list of books here it i figured someone would ask me what is good to read. what is good to read. one i would recommend is a book by anne sarah ruben called "through the heart of dixie." it looks at sherman's march, how it developed, the memory on both sides. another book is called "sherman's march in myth and memory." they explore this phenomenon of what sherman comes to represent. their argument is sherman represents everything that is the antithesis of the cavalier society. it is the industrial north. it is not romanticizing war in any way. it's doing what has to be done to destroy and win on a grand scale. as they said, grant killed a lot more people. a lot more than sherman.
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sherman because the villain because sherman killed a culture, grant defeated an army. or something in that about the scale. sherman has the shenandoah valley. from atlanta, savannah, south carolina. images of sherman's march to georgia, but south carolina remembers it, tol. what -- too. what we know today is filtered through movies and books. it is probably the thing that popularized shermans march the most was "gone with the wind" the movie and book. it presented sherman as the wind that came through that destroyed the culture. it gets back to what they said, sherman destroys the culture.
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that becomes the term they used, the wind and fire that came through georgia. sarah ruben made an interesting point about the destruction itself. i thought it was interesting. she said we have the sense of the march to the sea as being a tidal wave, a tsunami. 60 miles from one end to the other. she says, in reality it was more like fingers of destruction. stitches through the landscape. the army was advancing down roads. in most places, they stayed the day. most of the destruction is limited to how far off the roads they go. she says there are vast areas between the roads untouched. those people supplied food and help to other people who had lost so much. it is interesting. i had not thought about it. we have the image of a tsunami of fire, but it is more like fingers of destruction.
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yes, sir. >> people in the valley recognize sheridan not only planned, organized, and carried out his own destruction -- this was an order of destruction. it was very thorough, though there are other phases. that is different from what happened in georgia. todd: in georgia, there was the order to destroy. sherman's order was to destroy certain types of property. sheridan in the valley, same thing. the myths continue in both places as to what was destroyed. a very distinguishing story that we know tells the fact that he was with a group of people in a
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meeting and a man swore that every mel in the shenandoah valley was burned. after the program is over, the guy said where do we eat. the guy said we go to this restored mill that has been converted into a restaurant. so, there is the image that everything gets wiped out or destroyed. i do not know the differences. sherman set out, and these were orders to destroy as well. grant knew what was going on. it happened with his consent. we have an image of sherman as a lunatic that convinced 60,000 people to go along with him on a binge of destruction. no one knows what he is doing, he is doing it on his own. it was done with the permission of his superior officers. it is not coincidence that it is happening at the same time. the lincoln administration is saying "enough is enough, let's
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get it over with." i think of it like the atomic bomb. no one would say the atomic bomb was a good thing. it was a horrible thing. beyond horror. at the time, it was felt it was necessary to do it to end the war. to use the tools at the disposal of the government. today, looking back, we realize that although hundreds of thousands of people died the casualties would have been were worse on both sides. think about how many japanese would have died and americans would have died? it would have been a mass slaughter based on what we saw in other places like okinawa. it was a horrible thing. you look back on the consequences now, what it led to
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-- it destroyed slavery and preserves the united states of america. and horrible thing that have the consequence of giving us the world we live in today, the great country we live in today. with that -- one question in the back. >> you ended with contemporary times. my question is, you mentioned sherman fought a heart for to create a soft peace. in contemporary times it seems we are fighting a software in many -- a soft war in many places, and these continue, and we have a hard peace. one comment i have is enhanced interrogation techniques, these individuals are not entitled to labor code protections. to be entitled to the code you have to be in full uniform. i guess my question is, if sherman was general or present for a day -- or president for a
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day, would hard war be justified to create soft peaces everywhere we are. we have multiple soft wars that will grow like a virus because we are not doing what sherman did in terms of bringing about closure. todd: i love questions like this. these questions tell me that history is relevant. it is not just something fun. we want to understand what happened because of the relevancy. that is what i mentioned. this area of sherman's career, counter insurgency, has not been explored. i wish i knew the answer. you're making me think about it. this is the thing i always say, you may not buy a single thing i say, but what i say is a compilation of what the historians -- a consensus to a large extent. you may not buy it, but i hope you will never look at this man
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and march in the same way. before i step away from the podium is an honor to be here with so many distinguished historians. there are so many great people. richard mcmurray, you started the day with the best. you started with bud robertson. you ended with the least, as far as i'm concerned. [laughter] thank you, very much. [applause] >> you are watching american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook. all weekend long, american history tv is joining our cox communications cable partners to showcase the history of las vegas. to learn more about the cities on our current tour, visit
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we continue with a look at the history of las vegas. rose: the hoover dam was actually started in 1931, in april. the contractors were given seven years to complete it and it got done in five years. when the federal government decided to authorize hoover dam and fund it, it took literally six different construction companies to come together with their resources to have enough stuff, machines, manpower to put this together. you will see the signs around hoover dam that it was built by six companies because that is how many it took and they joined forces to build this beautiful place. totally, tre was about 21,000 men who worked on the dam. 1934, there were 5000 workers. the workers work 24/7 , . they had two days off a year
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they could take. a lot of people would ask what days they were. a lot of them said christmas and the other day was the fourth of july. the primary purpose for building hoover dam was flood control. the colorado river could flood and trickle and flood. someone once said it was too thick to drink and too thin to farm. they wanted to add stability to the southwestern united states to increase farming and enhance the growth of communities, but they needed to control the colorado. the hoover dam was built primarily for flood control. the other purpose was water delivery. under a contract signed with arizona, nevada and california, the water was divvied up. so, they wanted to have a way to deliver that water. you can do it all at once. you need to do it when the communities needed.
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water delivery was second. hydropower was the third reason. now, i believe we have come down about 500 feet. we are in one of the tunnels that was built inside the rock walls besides hoover dam. we are headed to the arizona side of the dam. the arizona side is part of hoover dam that contains generators. it is generating electricity. you can see when we get in there, a couple of generating and arsome are not. they are marked to indicated they are on the arizona side. we don't generate electricity all the time. we generate electricity when we get in order from the electrical companies saying we need more power. our joke is when you turn your air conditioner on in california, somebody's generator will fire up.
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the interesting thing is we don't just generate power, we deliver water and water is king. a will not generate an less is water that goes with it. and will fulfill the orders be released when the water orders come in. hoover dam is 726 feet high. thanis 171 feet higher the washington monument. we are about 50 feet above the bedrock, where the water comes out of the turbines after it generates electricity and will feed the contractors that have water entitlements. bottom andet at the comes up to 45 feet at the top. basically, it is pushing down and against the walls of the canyon, so it is definitely going to be staying in place. the damway was constructed, it
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took about 4.3 million cubic yards of concrete. that is enough to build a 16-foot wide highway from los angeles to new york. when they were building that, a lot of construction folks know that concrete takes time to cool. to conquer that problem, they built their own refrigeration plant in the 1932 time frame and a random pipes through the concrete with refrigerated water to cool the block so they can keep pouring. they poured and cooled it. it was ingenious to build their own refrigeration plant here. there is a large body of treaties, court cases, agreements called the law of the river. included in the law is a waterct that divvied the in the upper and lower colorado basin. the lower basin is basically
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what hoover dam controls. the water deliveries to arizona, california and nevada. at the time they divvied it up, they were counting on recordkeeping from 1905. those i been pretty wet years. they divvied up water based on pretty wet years. the system is variable. you can have great snowpack years and get a lot of water in the colorado or you can go through what we are going through now, 16 years of drought with maybe one good year. whativer at this point is is being over allocated. when the river is over allocated, it is not keeping up with the water delivery needs. we are not getting enough water into the system to meet the water delivery needs that are contracted with us. as of today, we have never failed to meet water deliveries to arizona, nevada and california and we don't
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anticipate that next year. but, if we continue to see the lake drop, we might be in a condition called shortage in future years. under that contract, arizona and nevada would take less water. california having the senior water right. when the contract was signed in for, the census nevada was 8000 people. nobody envisioned a las vegas or a reno or any industry that has risen since then. as time went on and water became more available, las vegas grew, a clearly has become a huge community and people continue to move out here. that have managed their water. they knew how much they have. it was predictable how much they could take by contract so they have managed to reuse their water, recycle their water. if you look at the fountains in downtown las vegas, that is reused water. they take care of every drop. they recycle it and put a lot of
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it back into lake mead. it was pretty clear, especially in the great depression, this was going to be an enormous undertaking and people would want to see this. in order to acknowledge that and make a place for these visitors, they knew they had to add some of the art deco work. we have marble floors, the wing statues made of copper that salute the american spirit. they knew people would come and they sure did. we sell 800,000 tickets a year for the tours and you don't have to buy a ticket. we get about one million people a year that visit hoover dam. spend the time, take a look around. it is an incredible mixture of engineering and art deco creativity. thosetimes think how did engineers at that architect that is more creative -- how did they find a place to get along and make this so beautiful and functional?
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tour staffes recently traveled to las vegas to learn about its rich history. learn more about las vegas and other stops on our tour at you are watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. >> on lectures and history, university of colorado boulder professor sutter talks about how the rise of commercial fertilizer affected trade and farming practices. in the 1800s, farmers looked for nitrates to enrich their soil, and moved away from traditional methods, such as field rotation. his class is about 50 minutes. prof. sutter: my name is paul sutter, i am a professor here at the university of colorado, boulder. this is an introduction to global history.


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