What drove these Yankee war criminals insane was that the Southerners had dared to come out from under, to say no to the Leviathan state, to total government, to go their own way. They had expressed their freedom through secession. They had invoked their inalienable right to depart.
Our source for the present discussion is War Crimes Against Southern Civilians, by Walter Brian Cisco (Pelican, Gretna, Louisiana, 2007). It is important to establish that the spiritual and political inheritors of the war criminals who committed those crimes do not deny them. They ignore them, hoping that if they say nothing those crimes will fade away; and so far they have been successful.
Remember, the winner of a war writes the history of the war. They will respond only if their crimes become sufficiently known.
It is important to correct the record. The crimes and the criminals need to be named. More, they must be explained, because the motives that inspired them continue to motivate the men who run our country, regardless of political party. As we shall see, little has changed. Only if we drag this continuing horror into the light do we have a chance of exorcising it.
In South Carolina, “. . . The free blacks who made up Charleston’s force of firefighters struggled heroically to protect their city and its people.” Free blacks? In South Carolina? Trusted to run the fire department? Hmm!
In Louisiana, Union brigadier general William Dwight wrote: “The scenes of disorder and pillage . . . were disgraceful to civilized war. Houses were entered and all in them destroyed …. Ladies were frightened into delivering their jewels and valuables into the hands of the soldiers by threats of violence toward their husbands. Negro women were ravished in the presence of white women and children.”
The Union, forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah.”
“The home, barn, and store of Samuel Schmulen were looted and burned. . . . Benjamin George, a fifty-year-old slave who lived nearby . . . tried to help his neighbor at least try to save the store. The effort was in vain. Then a group of drunken soldiers surrounded George, demanding to know why he, a black man, would try to assist this white Southerner. They demanded his money, and when George pleaded that he did not have any, one of the soldiers shot him in the right thigh. He survived the wound but was crippled for life.”