Camp Herndon, Va
All Civil War Buffs:
To welcome the new year I thought I would share another email with you. This one came from a PhD who apparently read something on the website that got his shorts in a knot. As you might guess, I love mail like this because it shows that there are still strong feelings on both sides of the war, not just the Confederate side. Since this email is not a question, but a statement I did not have to answer it but decided that I would.
"The destruction of Atlanta can never be excused. The name of the Federal commander will always be associated with this barbarous act. "
The only U.S. military leader this former Marine has much use for (other than the common footsoldiers throughout our history) is William T. Sherman. I not only excuse the destruction of Atlanta; I applaud it! He fully understood that "war is hell" and he waged it that way. If the South had no stomach for Sherman they should not have started something they could not complete.
My own view is that it is unfortunate that the North won. Personally, I'd like to see the southern states secede so all the "state's rights" fascists could gather together in one place and suffer the fate that all totalitarian states are bound to achieve. Democracy is messy but it beats the heck out
of what the GOP--particularly Tom Delay, Strom Thrumond, Launch Faircloth, Jerry Fallwell, Pat Robertson, et al-- consider to be the ideal.
As for me, I am proud to be liberal. . .and I'm armed. The Constitution does not guarantee me the right to bear arms, but with the fascists taking over our government I think it is prudent to do so.
Joseph, (he put a name but I thought it best not to use it) Ph.D.
It's great to hear from you and to know that the love of freedom of speech and this country is alive and well on both sides of the aisle. Since I spent 22 years of my life wearing the uniform of this wonderful country, am a voting Republican, and a lifetime member of the NRA, it should not surprise you to learn that I strongly disagree with your political views. Additionally, It is somewhat puzzling to me that you can say that our "constitution" does not guarantee the right to bear arms yet you have one. Strange, it would seem to me that if that right is not guaranteed you would be arrested. . However, I am glad to hear that you, like myself, are armed, for I feel that a citizenry "that is willing to sacrifice a little freedom for a little security, deserves neither freedom nor security." Now having said that, does it not bode well for our country, as deeply divided now as those years approaching the Civil War, that the two of us can discuss our differences in a calm and rational manner, even though those differences are as far apart as night and day. We have just emerged from an election that divided this country like nothing in recent memory has, but yet we still remain one nation. The streets did not run red with blood, yet the citizenry is armed, tanks did not rumble in our cities, yet the citizenry is armed, and there was no dusk to dawn curfew with soldiers fully prepared to shoot if it was violated, yet the citizenry is armed. Yes doctor, freedom is alive and well, thanks to people like you and I who served.
It also might surprise you to know that I agree with you about Sherman. I think he was one of the few generals of the late unpleasantness, on either side, that understood war. As I say on my opinion page of my website (by the way, that is the only page that you will see me express an opinion.), "War is not a John Wayne movie. It is a dirty, filthy, stinking, and most of all, deadly business that respects neither social position, age, nor gender. It is about killing people and breaking things. If you kill more of them and break more of their things, your side wins. This is what war is, never forget it!" The burning of Atlanta was no better or worse than the fire bombing of Dresden or Tokyo, or the atom bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki. It was "total war." That is to bring the war to very people that are supporting it. Another reason that Sherman is one of my favorites is that he actually offered better surrender terms to Johnston than Grant gave Lee. However, by this time Lincoln was dead and the "radical" Republicans were in charge. Stanton said no way, Johnston gets he same terms as Grant gave.
Anyway, thanks for the mail and for sharing your thoughts with me. If I can be of service in the future, you have but to ask.
As one might guess, I respect all opinions, regardless of how wrong I personally think they might be. I wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year and I'll see ya in the room!
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Dick (a.k.a. Shotgun)