While in Gettysburg I picked up Stephen Davis’s most recent book, What the Yankees Did to Us: Sherman’s Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta (Mercer University Press, 2012). The book has received mixed reviews, but I decided to give it a chance. While the book thus far lacks an analytical edge those of you looking for excruciatingly detailed descriptions of pre-war and wartime Atlanta will be rewarded. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the many anecdotes included in the book, it’s that I also expect a historian to provide a close analysis of these sources. Continue reading
Of all the Civil War monuments in New York City my favorite is the William T. Sherman monument in Grand Army Plaza on Fifth Avenue. My wife and I have walked by the monument on numerous occasions over the past few years, but its deteriorating gold leaf surface forces visitors to imagine what this Saint-Gaudens masterpiece looked like when it was dedicated in 1903.
You can imagine our surprise yesterday afternoon when we noticed that the monument has finally been restored and re-gilded. It looks magnificent.
Hopefully the pigeons have been told to stay away.
This past February the Museum of the Confederacy hosted its annual “Person of the Year” for 1864. As you already know the audience selected William T. Sherman. The event was broadcast this weekend on C-SPAN. Here is John Marszalek reflecting on Sherman’s victory. Marszalek offers some interesting thoughts at the beginning in response to a question of whether he was surprised by the audience’s choice. I agree with his response in that it tells us as much about the profile of the audience as it does about the relevant history.
- Joe Mobley on Zebulon Vance
- Gary Gallagher on Robert E. Lee
- Craig Symonds on Patrick Cleburne
- John Marszalek on William T. Sherman
- Harold Holzer on Abraham Lincoln
Again, congratulations to “Uncle Billy.”
We should not be surprised by the irrational response by a select few to the selection of William T. Sherman as 1864s’ Man of the Year by an audience at the Museum of the Confederacy this past weekend. I applaud the MOC for maintaining an open Facebook page to facilitate responses and the very limited positive give and take that can be found. The most extreme comments come from people who see themselves as victims of Sherman’s actions in Georgia in 1864. They are most definitely not victims.
It might be helpful to place the destruction wrought by Sherman alongside the suffering of United States soldiers at Andersonville Prison, which commenced with its sesquicentennial commemoration today. One of my readers reminded me that there was likely much more suffering within the walls of the prison than that caused by Sherman throughout Georgia in 1864. On the one hand it’s a perspective that I never considered while at the same time it means very little to me. Continue reading
No doubt, many will shudder in revulsion after hearing of such an honor. For a select group their anger will overflow with rage when they learn that the title was bestowed on Sherman earlier today at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond. This has been an annual occurrence throughout the sesquicentennial. This year the speakers were Gary Gallagher, Harold Holzer, John Marszalek, Joe Mobley, and Craig Symonds. The results are as follows:
- Sherman- 38
- Cleburne- 29
- Lincoln- 15
- Lee & Grant- 11
- Vance- 8
- David Farragut (write in)- 1
- Citizens (write in)- 1
Sherman is the obvious choice.
I assume Gallagher nominated, Lee; Holzer nominated Lincoln; Marszalek nominated Sherman; Symonds nominated Farragut; and Mobley nominated Cleburne. Except for Cleburne they are all obvious choices. Someone is going to have to tell me what Cleburne did to deserve such a nod and please don’t tell me it was owing to his proposal to arm slaves.
I assume that the video will be available at some point soon