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Sherman's March: Review/Discuss the Show - General Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Tue Apr 24th, 2007 06:19 pm
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Jimtno
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HI all,

After all the trash that the HC has put out lately, I was pleasantly surprised at this.

Back before the discovery of the family link to G.K. Warren, I was a big time student and reader of the War in the West. As a result I became quite familiar with W.T. Sherman.

So when this was first announced I was a bit reluctant to even watch it. But the more I followed the production of it, and then Javals review, I decided to watch it with an open mine.

I am glad I did. Though it has its faults (Sherman/Grant vs Grant and Cump,) and the lack of acknowledgement of Shermans attachment to the South in nothing more then general terms, (Yes I think it should have been noted that he was the Superintendant of what was to become LSU), it was worth it.

I am with Javal on this. We so often are ready to rip HC when it screws up. This time. They did a good job. Problems ? Yes. But it warrants an "Attaboy" to the HC and its producers.

Heck I have wondered if they would consider doing something on the Warren Court of Inquiry or even Porters.

Jim



 Posted: Tue Apr 24th, 2007 06:38 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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I, personally, have no fight or criticism of the History Channel. I like most of the shows they air.

It's true, when writting history, it is difficult to portray all aspects of the subject so that it is all things to all people. This difficulty is enlarged when it is packed into an hour or two hour television program. Some things, due to time constraints, must naturally be cut out or otherwise overlooked.

Having said that, I wish to clarify and rationalize my earlier criticism of the "Sherman/Grant" vs "'Cump/Sam" aspect. I, personally, would have liked to see more familiarity in their name calling. But, not only was the show written for Civil War buffs/historians (like us on this comment board), it was also written for those with limited knowledge and/or perhaps a limited budding knowledge about the war in detail; hence the simplicity of using last names.

I like the History Channel and wish they would produce more Civil War related programming. If they do that, then I'll be less likely to ignore some of their shows and instead watch A&E re-runs of "The Sopranos".



 Posted: Tue Apr 24th, 2007 08:53 pm
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Kent Nielsen
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indy19th wrote: David White wrote: So did Sherman say "War is cruelty and you cannot reform it" or "War is cruelty and you cannot refine it."  Or did he say both? 

I was hoping for a discussion of why he didn't go after Augusta.  They mentioned he was trying to destroy the transportation net for the powder works but I'd rather hit the center of gravity and destroy the mill itself versus its transportation net.  That was the important target he missed versus freeing prisoners at Andersonville who he would have had to feed and transport, complicating an already complicated problem for just the army.


I caught the Sherman quote too. I always knew it as "War is cruelty and you cannot refine it", not the "reform" that they used.

Augusta? I thought he didn't go there because he hated golf. Maybe that was too simplistic to bother to include within the limited confines of a 94-100 minute program.

 

Hi :)  My understanding is that he used the word "refine". The producers/writers for the show might have decided that reform would be easier to understand by a 21st Century audience.  As far as Sherman.s decision NOT to march on Augusta, he never intended to. He wanted to threaten it as well as Macon so that the Confederates would divide their available troops to defend them and NOT be able to unite those troops to threaten or hinder his advance. I was wondeing if and when the program will be available on DVC or videocassette since we don't get the History Channel in Canada. :X



 Posted: Tue Apr 24th, 2007 09:56 pm
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Doc C
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Albert

You're correct that Sherman was superintendent of Louisiana Seminary (pedecessor to my L.S.U.) but I believe it was in Pineville just across the Red River. I agree with the majority of posts in that the History Channel did a good job, didn't confuse the facts, etc. As one of my my many tangential comments, L.S.U. got the name Tigers from the LA ANV regiments in the late 1900's.

Am I mistaken or did I read somewhere that Sherman cried when he heard that the southern states had succeeded. If Sherman have a deep affinity for the south how does one understand his tactics during his Georgia/South Carolina campaigns only that they were the only methods available to him in speeding the end of the war without increasing the loss of lives.

Doc C



 Posted: Tue Apr 24th, 2007 09:56 pm
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Doc C
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Last edited on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 09:58 pm by Doc C



 Posted: Wed Apr 25th, 2007 02:38 am
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Texas Defender
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   Sherman generally liked southerners, but he hated those who defied the authority of the United States Government. His belief was that the more cruel he made the war, the sooner it would be over and the country reunited.

   The March to the Sea could be viewed as psychological warfare to show the Confederates that they did not have the power to resist him. He didn't want to fight armies, even jokingly offering to give Hood rations if he would go away.

   In the end, the March was warfare against the minds and property of the southerners. Very few crimes were committed against people by Sherman's men, though they could have taught the Vandals a thing or two about destroying property.

   When southerners recognized defeat, Sherman was kind. His terms given to Joseph E. Johnston's army were very generous. He would welcome back all those who submitted to: "Legitimate authority." (The US Governement, etc.).



 Posted: Wed Apr 25th, 2007 02:49 pm
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David White
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Kent:

That was my point, that some of the research was sloppy.  The "reform" quote I've only seen on the Internet all the good boiographies have used "refine."   So did they use Internet sources for their script?

I was just throwing out that IMO not going to Augusta was a flaw in Sherman's strategy.  He destroys the mill there and the ANV is out of gunpowder before the end of 1864, war ends sooner.  Millidgeville was a much lesser target of strategic importance.

Indy:

I believe Sherman was a man of contradicitons and the show pointed that out nicely, i.e. blowing up soldiers with mines is an outrage but driving civilians out of Atlanta (which the show did not mention but should have) and burning their homes and stealing all their food is not controversial.  Total war today is not viewed as revolutionary as it was to the 19th century mindset.   Plus his attitudes toward his family, hometown, religion, slaves and southerners always have seemed contradictory in many ways too.   



 Posted: Wed Apr 25th, 2007 03:14 pm
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David White
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Boy it sure was hard trying to post this reply and then it posted it twice.

Last edited on Wed Apr 25th, 2007 03:17 pm by David White



 Posted: Wed Apr 25th, 2007 03:15 pm
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javal1
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For those who missed it, the following are re-airing dates and times:

Date: 0428
Start Time:
8 p.m.
Show Length: 2 hours
Channel: History Channel

Date: 0429
Start Time:
12 a.m.
Show Length: 2 hours
Channel: History Channel

Date: 0505
Start Time:
5 p.m.
Show Length: 2 hours
Channel: History Channel



 Posted: Wed Apr 25th, 2007 10:10 pm
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Swamp Shadow
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Albert Sailhorst wrote:
One BIG criticism that I have is the fact that Sherman called Grant "Grant" and not Sam, and that Grant called Sherman "Sherman" and not, perhaps, 'Cump. In my opinion, I found the fact that they called each other by last name a little "corny".....Maybe I'm being trivial, but I think the narrator could have explained the "Sam" and "'Cump" names, and then the characters could have used them....The filmmakers did a great job in getting the point across that the two were good freinds, but then they lost that point by not using more familiar names....

I think I read somewhere that when Grant was president Sherman and Grant called each other by their last names, but I do think that Sherman called Grant "Sam".  I have yet to watch the entire show, but luckily I recorded it!:) 


 



 Posted: Wed Apr 25th, 2007 11:01 pm
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Texas Defender
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   I cannot say for sure how Sherman addressed Grant. However, I tend to believe that he called him: "Sam," since they were at West Point together for one year. (Sherman being three years ahead). That is where he got the nickname.

   While it isn't proof, Sherman had a bay horse named: "Sam" that might have been named for Grant. That is additional circumstantial evidence.



 Posted: Thu Apr 26th, 2007 12:58 am
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ole
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I was just throwing out that IMO not going to Augusta was a flaw in Sherman's strategy.  He destroys the mill there and the ANV is out of gunpowder before the end of 1864, war ends sooner.  Millidgeville was a much lesser target of strategic importance.


David (my only favorite Aggie):

After Atlanta fell, Sherman didn't really need to go to Augusta. It was all but finished as a supplier to the AoNV. The only thing left to do was to cut its RR north. Besides, Augusta was defended and Sherman wanted nothing to do with fighting on this trip. The point of the trek was to prove that the Confederacy couldn't protect its own territory. Having to fight his way to Savannah would have been counterproductive.

I consider his deceptions masterful. Pour troops into Augusta. Ooops, he's not going there. Lock up Charleston. Ooops. He's not going there. I have no doubt, and I suspect you don't either, that he could and would have crushed any real opposition if it had been placed in his way. I figure he just wanted to end the war with as little killing as possible. He would cheerfully put you through hell, but he really didn't want to kill you to do it. Never mind the hype; underneath it all, he was a gentle man.

Ole



 Posted: Thu Apr 26th, 2007 02:05 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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Swamp Shadow,

Thanks for the info!!...That sheds some light on my earlier opinion!!

Texas Defender,

I kinda thought the same thing....being at West Point, perhaps Sherman did call Grant "Sam"....speculation on my part, however.



 Posted: Thu Apr 26th, 2007 02:10 pm
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calcav
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Bravo Ole, excellent post.

In regards to the question over the names that Grant and Sherman used for each other during conversation, I was instantly reminded of an exchange between the two of them at Shiloh. The conversation took place on the evening of April 6th as Sherman approached Grant to discuss retreating across the Tennessee River. When he saw the look on Grant's face he changed his tack to learn his commander/friend's mood

Sherman: "Well Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

Grant: "Yes. Lick em tomarrow though."

 



 Posted: Thu Apr 26th, 2007 02:43 pm
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Jimtno
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:)

Two favorite quotes from WTS...

If nominated, I will not run...

If elected, I will not serve...

The other was from a reunion post war, some I think almost 20 years later. I am not sure I have this exactly right..

"Men there are those who will tell you, War is all glory, boys I tell you, War is all Hell!!"

Jim



 Posted: Thu Apr 26th, 2007 02:57 pm
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David White
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Ole:

That's not my understanding about the ANV and their powder supply.  Augusta was the place in the eastern Confederacy for gunpowder, if not Augusta, where was Lee getting his supply of gunpowder?

Sherman's feints were good, if unnecessary (did he really have to worry about feinting  Joe Wheeler and the Georgia Militia in that situation?).  But Augusta was the one Center of Gravity that was the most important target in the region.  It was completely unmolested and it is my understanding was making and shipping gunpowder until the end of the war.  Take it out in Novemeber 1864 and the ANV runs out of powder by the end of the year, per the books I've read.  Today as an Airpower strategist (assuming I could get a wing of B-52s back to 1864) Augusta is a day one, day 2 at the very latest, target in the Confederacy for me in late 1864.  Sherman completely ignored it and that was a strategic error that prolonged the war.

As references for my belief the powderworks was still shipping and producing powder until the end and that taking it off line would have starved the ANV of powder within a month, I cite:

Never for Want of Powder:

http://www.sc.edu/uscpress/2007/3657.html

and the commander's George Washington Rains memoirs:

History of the Augusta Powder Works

Rains worked miracles at Augusta and is one of the unsung heroes of the war.

Last edited on Thu Apr 26th, 2007 02:59 pm by David White



 Posted: Thu Apr 26th, 2007 07:54 pm
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ole
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You are quite correct, Mr. White. Augusta was the place for powder. However, all the rails through Atlanta were gone. Augusta could have survived for a while, but powder wasn't what Lee needed most -- he needed food. (1/8 rations wouldn't keep my wife's dog alive.) I still believe he wanted to traipse cross-country without serious confrontation. Doing battle in Augusta looks like a good idea, but two months later he had cut the RR to Virginia without losing much more than a double handful of bummers in the process.

I'll agree that Augusta was a logical target, but it wasn't Sherman's intention to expend ammunition along the way. How was he to replace it? No. He wanted to show the Confederacy that it was finished -- a message that didn't need newspapers for its delivery.

Ole 



 Posted: Thu Apr 26th, 2007 10:45 pm
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Widow
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Sherman split into two wings plus the center for at least two reasons.  One, which we've already discussed in here, was to spread the opposition so thin that he could handle them easily.

I believe he must also have considered the foraging opportunities.  One army of 60 thousand probably couldn't have found enough food within a reasonable range.  But split into three parts, spread across 40-60 miles, they could find more food and animal feed.

I enjoyed the program, and I'm glad the History Channel produced it.  The fact that we spotted some errors and omissions means only that we're GOOD, aren't we?  TV is first of all for entertainment, not a degree in Civil War history.  So let's take it for what it was, not for what it wasn't.

Patty



 Posted: Fri Apr 27th, 2007 01:42 am
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Jimtno
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:cool: Patty,

I couldnt have said it any better.  I did email HC to tell them how much I appreciated the show and even made a suggestoin (Can you all guess what it was?)  for a future show.

Jim



 Posted: Fri Apr 27th, 2007 02:05 pm
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Kent Nielsen
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Jimtno wrote: :cool: Patty,

I couldnt have said it any better.  I did email HC to tell them how much I appreciated the show and even made a suggestoin (Can you all guess what it was?)  for a future show.

Jim

 Hi Jim Uhm We-ll I was thinking maybe, about a battle in Virginia called Five Forks and the controversial treatment of a relative of yours.;) I for one think it's a good idea. :)



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