Did William Tecumsah Sherman foresee the future?:
Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster.
But his words seem archaic and bloodthirsty to most non-Jacksonian modern liberal ears:
War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want.
I would make this war as severe as possible, and show no symptoms of tiring till the South begs for mercy.
Those are the themes Sherman harped on over and over: that you can’t make war easy because that will make things worse rather than better, because war cannot be made better, only worse. But far from being bloodthirsty, you can almost hear the profound regret in his voice that this be so.
He doesn’t like it, he hates it. He is only stating it.
War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it [war]. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.
This war differs from other wars, in this particular. We are not fighting armies but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war.
Sherman was most famous for saying “War is hell.” Here’s the toll war took on him—how old is he in this photo?
Hint: that black armband he’s wearing was an emblem of mourning for Lincoln, and Sherman was born in 1820. Therefore he’s 45 years old in the picture. He’s dealt out and seen way too much suffering, and it’s aged him.
[NOTE: Sherman‘s friends and family always called him “Cump.” He was one of eleven children of a prominent attorney, but his father died when he was young and William was taken in by the family of another prominent attorney. Sherman later married one of that man’s daughters.]