The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy Toward Southern Civilians, 1861-1865
Cambridge University Press, 1997 M02 28 - 244 pages
The Hard Hand of War explores the Union army's policy of destructive attacks upon Southern property and civilian morale--how it evolved, what it was like in practice. From an initial policy of deliberate restraint, extending even to the active protection of Southerners' property and constitutional rights, Union armies gradually adopted measures that were expressly intended to demoralize Southern civilians and to ruin the Confederate economy. Yet the ultimate "hard war" policy was far from the indiscriminate fury of legend. Union policy makers promoted a program of directed severity, and Professor Grimsley demonstrates how and why it worked. This volume fits into an emerging interpretation of the Civil War that questions its status as a "total war" and instead emphasizes the survival of political logic and control even in the midst of a sweeping struggle for the nation's future: the primary goal of the Federal government remained the restoration of the Union, not the devastation of the South. Intertwined with a political logic, and sometimes indistinguishable from it, was also a deep sense of moral justice--a belief that, whatever the claims of military necessity, the innocent deserved some pity, and that even the guilty should suffer in rough proportion to the extent of their sins. Through comparisons with earlier European wars and through the testimony of Union soldiers and Southern civilians alike, Grimsley shows that Union soldiers exercised restraint even as they made war against the Confederate civilian population.
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William Tecumseh Sherman may have been too candid for his own good. The red-haired general had a habit of reflecting in unsparing terms on the frights and hardships that war in general, and the Civil ... Read full review
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acts American April August battle Brigadier Buell burning bushwhackers Butler campaign Carolinas Campaigns cavalry Chambersburg citizens Civil Colonel conciliation conciliatory policy conduct Confederacy Confederate confiscation December destroyed destruction Diary Don Carlos Buell Emancipation Proclamation enemy Entry Federal fire foraging Frémont George Georgia Grant guerrilla Halleck hard History houses Hunter ibid issued Jackson James January John July July 19 June letter Lieber Lincoln administration Lorenzo Thomas loyal Major McClellan military necessity Mississippi Missouri Mitchel moral negroes North Carolina Northern November officers Ohio operations Papers persons pillage plunder political Pope's population Potomac private property protection Radical Republicans raid railroad rebellion rebels regiment Republican Richmond Rosecrans Scott secessionists September Shenandoah Valley Sheridan Sherman slavery slaves South Southern civilians Stanton strategy supply Tennessee tion town Union armies Union forces Union soldiers Union troops Unionist University Press USAMHI vandalism Vicksburg Virginia warfare western William wrote York