Forget? No way. Union troops’ Civil War crimes revisited
April 8, 2001: On this day 16 years ago – one day before the 136th anniversary of General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House – WND reported on efforts of a southern heritage group to petition Congress to conduct “a thorough, non-partisan” review of what it said were “neglected injustices” committed by Union troops and generals in the South during the 1861-65 War Between the States.
The group’s request for Congress to examine its charges, along with consideration of a suit to force the payment of reparations to people of historic Southern ancestry, came alongside the issue of paying reparations to blacks for years of slavery, which was declared illegal by Lincoln in 1863.
“The shame of war crimes and acts of vengeance against southern Americans in action [is] perhaps best described by [Union] Gen. William T. Sherman, who said: ‘… about 20 percent of our effort (in Georgia and South Carolina) was against military objectives. The rest [80 percent] was sheer waste and destruction.’
“Sadly, such unconscionable depredations were all too common across the South during both the war and Reconstruction.