Comparison of Union Accounts
Below is an example of how to properly compare Union accounts from different states as Sherman and his men marched through the South. The comparison is approximately one page, double spaced. To cite an item, list the item number in parenthesis at the end of the sentence.
This comparison is between the accounts of General William Sherman, Lieutenant-Colonel George Nichols, and General Henry Slocum, all of the Union Army. As General William Sherman and his soldiers marched through the South, they recorded various accounts of how they treated the inhabitants and their property in each state. By looking over the various accounts, it was apparent that Sherman and his soldiers were the harshest to the state of South Carolina. Georgia and North Carolina received less harsh treatment, but still enough to help carry out Sherman’s goal of ending the South’s ability to fight a war by destroying the South’s resources and emotional will to fight. Through Lieutenant-Colonel George Nichols’ account from January 30, 1865, one noticed the disgust he possessed for the state of South Carolina (149). He discussed how he and other soldiers wanted to make South Carolina pay “principal and interest,” for the war it caused (149). Nichols placed a large amount of blame on South Carolina as it, “dragged her Southern sisters into the caldron of secession (149).” The discussions of North Carolina and Georgia were far less critical. The telegram from General William T. Sherman to General Ulysses S. Grant, head of the Union Army, on October 9, 1864, told of Sherman’s plan to advance on Savannah, Georgia but discussed the destruction of property in more of a military sense (143). Sherman made it clear that he planned to destroy roads and houses because it would have been unfeasible, from a logistical point, to hold those items (143). Sherman’s telegraph about destroying property in Georgia did not hold the same animosity as Nichols’ diary entry from January 30, 1865, when he discussed South Carolina (143, 149). The account that seemed the least harsh was that by General Henry Slocum, and his General Orders No. 8, from March 7, 1865 (164). When Slocum discussed North Carolina he was sure to remind his soldiers that North Carolina was one of the last “States that passed the ordinance of secession,” and that the state supposedly possessed strong pro-Union sentiments (164). He mentioned that there was going to be destruction of property but hoped to “prevent any wanton destruction of property, or any unkind treatment of citizens (164).” Through these accounts the Union soldiers generally treated South Carolina worse than North Carolina and Georgia, and North Carolina most likely received the least amount of damage. The harsh treatment towards South Carolina likely occurred because it helped lead the secession movement.