tv The Civil War CSPAN April 1, 2016 2:32am-3:24am EDT
who won the war. he said well, i don't know. e south? so you know, as somebody who taught now 31 years, i'm often horrified by what my students do and don't know about early american history and that's, you know, that's in the north. so i think it's a very important story and i think americans need to realize that it doesn't end in '65 and that there was kind of a whole new chapter here and that's what americans i think get a little fuzzy about is what happens in reconstruction. bear in mind there are black congressmen all the way down to 1901, george henry white of north carolina is the last to walk away, his district is gerrymandered, he gives up and stays in washington. the question of does reconstruction fail. if you're talking about shop keeper in chicago, it doesn't because now thanks to the 15th amendment you have voting rights that never go away the way they do in parts of the south.
there's places in the south where black local political involvement actually rises after 1877. what democrats are trying to do is carry those states' electoral college. they don't care if there's a black assemblyman in this one district in louisiana. so for me, reconstruction, a, doesn't fail, it's killed. where it does stop, it's murdered. and it doesn't stop every place. so for blacks in my new york, it is in fact a story of success. does that mean all of america's racial problems are solved? not a bit. not anywhere. but those voting rights are not going to go away. those integrated schools are not going to go away. >> the question i have for you is, i understand where you're coming from, these gentlemen had to have some supporters, i assume there were some whites.
i got garrison and some of the others but you also indicated some folks here that a lot of us had not heard of so the corollary is are there some whites that were also part of this that we haven't heard of that were working with them? you certainly had a number of educators coming to the south and so forth but were there any men of douglas' standing or even, i had never heard of this catto gentleman before either. white, not black. >> right. the ones we would regard or douglas would regard as an ally we have heard of. and sumner has also figured out immediately that the three-fifths clause is going to be a problem unless blacks can vote. they say to him it will sink the bill if you push for black voting rights. part of it is, a lot of these guys come out of the liberty party. garrison and douglas break early on because douglas does support engaging in politics and garrison doesn't believe in that. most of these black men have been voting liberty party in
'56, in 1860. but they also understand that it's important this be a black-run movement, which is why they call these conventions the black men's meeting, the black men's convention. which is also a reminder they have the same kind of victorian attitudes toward women that white men do but of course, women can't vote so why bring them to the convention. but they understand it's important to get up and makes these speeches themselves and so they certainly do want to have white republicans in washington who are open to their ideas. but it's not unlike the women who meet at seneca falls in 1848. they think it's important for women to be running the show, to show that women can get up and organize this way, make speeches, i'm sorry, i wave my hands when i speak, the microphones, and so these guys understand the importance that importance that this time black men are not going to be sitting in the back while garrison speaks. they will be running the operation. they do want republicans in
washington to then get on their bandwagon and embrace their agenda. and, of course, my book is not all about black activists. it's about 4r0e8 activism. a lot of those are teachers from chicago, young women who go down and work in the south and white men go down to teach and work at the friedman's bureau, for all the right reasons when the war is over. they have to have those kind of low-level allies. but there's nobody who is as famous or douglas or jermaine logan that we have not heard of today. again, they are, but they're in congress. how are the sizable native american populations affected by reconstruction? >> that's probably something that mark should be discussing later on. the native policy you're talking about? native american policy? >> native american population [ inaudible ] as we all know,
living in oklahoma fighting for the confederacy owned slads. at the war's end, they accept them into cherokee society as equals. about ten years ago, cherokee society then kind of threw him back out. so i mean, the liberty policy is kind of the 1%. others speaking today will have better answers when it comes to discussing native american policy.
. >> would you comment on the experience of the blacks in the far west? >> let me rephrase your question and my answer. because whether it's 1865 or 1945, middle class white guys want to go home when they have businesses and farms and jobs and woois to go back home to. before that 140,000 slaves might have spouses to go home to, but they don't have farms, they don't have jobs. and so disproportionately, they're the ones who stay in the military. the occupying force, both before and after the military construction act is disproportionately black. a lot of guys stay in the u.s. army. they're the ones who actually end up fighting out west against native americans. and one of the things that actually damages reconstruction in the south is the indian wars
in the u.s. because the u.s. decides to down size the army dramatically after '65. the guys want to go home. and also because the country is spending a huge amount of money on the military. a black company that's needed to hold fair elections in south carolina get shipped out to the dakotas. they're finding a lot of letters. don't take any more of our guys and move them out west to fight the indians because we need them here on election day. the indian wars has an impact in terms of wounding reconstruction in the south. that's a very long answer to it.
>> yes. just curious in the wars of reconstruction of the attitudes or any sort of support or activities from the union generals in the war. granted they were probably fighting what for union, maybe not dissolution of slavery. >> one of the things that grant gets somewhat a bad wrap. grant is sympathetic to the plight of blacks in the south and black soldiers in the south. what's interesting is that blacks southerners want him b k back. black americans, they think he's
the one guy that will slap down his former enemies and help blacks and black veterans in the south. so there are people, especially during grant's first term, grant does kind of occasionally rouse himself enough to get involved with this issue. i think for most republicans in congress even, it's just kind of time to move on. that endless kind of struggles in the south, sort of wear down people in congress. it looks like the whites are just never going to give up -- you pass the civil rights act, they respond. you pass the klan act, they respond with low will have level vigilante violence. and most of the country, white country is ready to move on after the war. and so the blacks pretty much are on their own down in the south or in philadelphia. >> one last one.
a. >> there began to be exservicemen groups. did you find in your research that these groups played any significant part in advancing social political interests of a particular black ex-servicemen or the black population generally. >> especially in the north, they do. quite often, they're mostly joining predominantly white chapters. in places in the north and new england, they have a lobbying power. of course in general, they're a giant lobbying machine. not so much involved in larger civil rights issues, but certainly in the north they do have an impact. and there's a few attempts to have white or black units, but especially in new england,
blacks often serve members as white units. kwaen carney, the first black congressional medal of honor winner, he's the guy who holds the flag up after being shot in both legs, the shoulder, the back of his head. and he is just beloved by white jr men in length. he's always speaking at their rallies and groups. he was talking about political agenda in new england. they have kind of a low-level impact. thank you. >> book tv has 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors every weekend. and here are some programs to watch for. george washington university professor katherine ross discusses her book "lessons in censorship" which examines free
speech issues for college students. and then at 10:00, former u.s. civil rights chair mary frances berry examines illegal voting practices in the united states. she's interviewed by spencer oberton, president for the joint center of political and economic studies. >> the donor class through the people in office and running for office, and the same people over and over very often in the state legislatu legislatures, they are the ones who are corrupt and they are the ones corrupting democracy. and the other people are not getting the benefits of it because they're not acting collectively to counteract it and haven't found a way to counteract it in all of these years. >> on sunday in depth, live with guest steve forbes, author and publisher of "forbes" magazine. he'll talk about his life and
his latest book "reviving america" in which he arguing repealing health care law, reframing the tax code and reforming the fed. how capitalism will save us and power, ambition, glory. join in the conversation. we'll take your phone calls, tweets and e-mails. then at 7:45, join book tv as we take a look at the fold jer spaks peer library, home to the largest spaks here collection. go to book tv.org for the complete weekend schedule. >> every election cycle we're reminded how important it is for citizens to be informed. c-span is a vehicle for empow empowering people to make good choices. it really is like you're getting a seven-course gourmet five-star meal of policy. and boy do i just sound like a nerd right there, but it's true.
>> to me, c-span is a home to political junkies and track the government as it happens, whether it's on capitol hill or the agencies. >> most staffers seem to have a television on their desk and c-span is on. i think it's a great way for us to stay informed. >> i urgely colleagues to vote for this amendment. there are a lot of c-span fans on the hill. my colleagues, when i go back today, they're going to say i saw you on c-span. >> you can get something like the history of grain elevators in pennsylvania or landmarks supreme court decisions. . >> i believe believe that we will when! >> good morning, chairman. >> there's so much more that c-span does in terms of programming to make sure that people outside the beltway know what's going on inside it. >> i announce my candidacy. >> i am officially running -- >> for president of the united states. >> i'm a reporter who covers
politics. and for so many of my stories in "the washington post," c-span has been part of my research, providing me with quotes and insights about people. >> there are so many niches within the political blogosphere and all of those policy areas get covered. >> how many nuclear warheads does russia have aimed at the u.s. and the u.s. have aimed at russia? >> it's a place i can go that lets me do the thinking and do the decision making. >> you follow tons of c-span here, house meetings, senate meetings. >> good morning, phone lines are open. start dialing in. >> the interaction with callers on c-span is great. you never know what you're going to get. >> you're right i'm from down south. >> oh, god, it's mom. >> i'm your mother. i disagree that all families are like ours. i don't know many families that are fighting at thanksgiving. >> and welcome to book tv's live coverage of the 32nd annual
miami book fare. >> on the weebds, it becomes book tv. >> it's been a wonderful way of accessing the work of thosewrit books. >> c-span tv becomes american history tv. if you're a history junkie, you've got to watch. >> whether we're talking about a congressional hearing or we're talking about an era in history, there's so much information that you can convey. if you've got that kind of programming. >> whether it's at the capital or on the campaign trail, they have a camera, they're capturing history as it happens. it brings you inside of these chambers, inside of the conversations on capitol hill. and lets you have a seat at the table. you can't find that anywhere else. >> i'm a c-span fan. >> i'm a c-span fan. >> i'm a c-span fan. >> yes, i am a c-span fan. >> and that's the power of c-span. access for everyone to be part of the conversation.
>> next author and prof sor mark grimsley compares the conduct of u.s. military towards southern civilians versus native americans during the civil war and reconstruction periods. he argues that union troops in the civil war were, quote, merciful, end quote, towards white southerners. and while property was sometimes destroyed, civilian casualties were typically unintentional and few in number. by contrast, u.s. military attacks on native americans in the west frequently left entire villages destroyed with large numbers of women, children and the elderly among the dead. this hour-long talk was part of a day-long symposium held at the library of virginia in richmond. >> ladies and gentlemen, our next speaker is dr. mark grimsley.
mark is an associate professor of history, as the football players always say it on tv, the ohio state university. he has received three distinguished teaching awards. he received the 1995 lincoln prize for his first book "the hard hand of war -- union military policy towards southern civilians." it was after he wrote that book i first met him, he came to the chicago civil war round table where i was a member. and talked about the book. he maintains the war historians.org website, focusing on military history and national security affairs and won the 2005 cleopatra award for the best individual blog for his wonderfully titled, quote, blog them out of the stone age, end of quote.
in other words, mark grimsley is an award-whenning historian in free media. in addition to his books on civil war topics, which are listed in your program, mark has written and taught more generally on military history. an essay he wrote for his coed dited book, civilians in the path of war, is the basis for his talk today. his talk today is entitled rebels and redskins. so sir, you can get your question answered from dr. grimsley. rebels and redskins, u.s. military conduct towards white southerners and native americans in comparative perspective. mark is no stranger to the museum's programs. he spoke in this auditorium, as a matter of fact, 12 years ago as part of the museum's evening series lectures on hard war. we are very pleased to welcome back to this stage dr. mark grimsley. [ applause ]
>> it's a pleasure to be here this afternoon. oh good, we have this all set to go up on the screen. i'm talking today about the civil war and about the final war against native americans on the far west. and yet, i am neither a civil war historian, nor an historian of the far west, military histori historian. and the way in which -- don't worry, i still know a lot about the civil war. but i self-identify as a military historian. and the way that i actually came to the subject of my first book, which i'll be talking about some today, actually was by way of being interested in the question of moral judgment in war.
the kinds of moral judgments that we ought to make in wartime. that was the genesis of the book that became the hard hand of war because i was sfwresed in the northerly judgments that kwun i don't know officers and union soldiers made toward southern civilians in the path of war during the american civil war. so that's where they came from. however, having written that book, i have formed apparently a career long association with william t. sherman. and so people seem to think i'm an expert on sherman as well. and i've come to know a fair amount about sherman, too. mostly in self-defense. but i can tell you the times are changing with regard to sherman.
and as with many things. in the summer of 2014, an organization called public policy polling did conduct a poll of georgians asking them for their opinion of william t. sherman. you might imagine they have opinions on the sunt given erman's famous urban renewal project there in 1864. however, 60% of georgians had no opinion of sherman. only 26% reported disliking sherman. in comparison, 63% reported that they disliked reality tv star honey boo boo.
so apparently our image of sherman is shifting over time. you know, something that has begun to interest me over the past year or so has been to take seriously the concepts of the american civil war as an american iliad, and by that, i mean to say it is an episode in american history that we have certain stories that we tell ourselves that come out of the american civil war that have a kind of mythic resonance for us in the same way there are mythic tails that come out of homer's iliad that tell us about life, that tell us about who we are, what it means to be aing a. -- human being. the people who are interested in the american civil war often approach it as a kind of american iliad. and i'll give you an example of this.
one of my first columns was on the relationship of abraham lincoln and george b. mcclellan. i'm sure most of you know something about the relationship. it is passed into our culture to such an extent that during the iraq war period, there were over 100 references in american newspapers op-ed columns and so forth to the len con mcclellan relationship, usually to condemn a general that wasn't doing well or extolling a general that was doing well and so on. in my column i told it in american iliad way.
what i said in the final paragraph is that mcclellan wasn't all that bad of a general. i just said he doesn't deserve the excoriation that he gets. that one paragraph got any number of letters to the editor sent. and i got two letters myself from aggrieved readers type script single space pages explaining how mcclellan was the worst general in the civil war. not up with of the worst, but the absolute worst. i so i zrnt a hard time explaining why we hate mcclellan that much. now, moving to my topic today,
one of the things i was thinking about is this american iliad, does it half -- it has stories in it about grant at shilo. general petraeus during the darkest moments of the surge told his staff on several occasions about grant's remark on the evening of the first day of the battle of shilo where sherman comes up to him and says well, grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we? and grant's response is, yep, lick them tomorrow, though. anticipate general petraeus used that to buck up his staff and soldiers. that is an image that comes out of the american iliad. stonewall jackson at first manassas is also a tale of an american iliad. what kind of tales do we have that touch upon the things we've been discussing today --
reconstruction and the ugliness of it. these are stories that we don't want to look at in a mythic kind of way. the exception to this would be sherman's marches. people do know about sheridan in 1804. if people know anything the hard war operations, it's sherman's madge to the sea. and we all know that it was a december lating march, 220 miles from atlanta to savannah, 60 miles wide in which sherman's troops destroyed absolutely everything in their path. and there is a thriving folklore business in georgia there to explain why, given that this occurred, why the particular town that so and so, that a
certain person lives in, you know, why that particular town was spared when every other town was annihilated. and these folklore tales usually have something to do with sherman had an old girlfriend in town. and maybe. sherman was a mason and somebody gaye t save the masonic sign of distress and the town was spared for that reason. there's a kind of iliad tale of sherman's mark. but the idea of this all-december lating fury, this is something i caulk talked about in "the hard hand of war" and largely debunked. and so what i would like to do this morning is to begin with two mornings, three years apart. the first is a mild winter day in coastal south carolina on the flat tidal plane of the savannah river. blue-coated soldiers have entered the little village of
barnville. officially their orders are to pass through the town and seize or destroy only certain classes of public property. in brutal fact, they believe their commanding officer wants them to wreck everything in their path as they invade the state south carolina that nurtured and created the carnage of the civil war that has consumed the lives of them and their comrades for years. and so union soldiers set fire to the town, public buildings, residen residences, everything. then they leigh, telling each other with grim satisfaction that the town ought properly be rechristened burnwell. the civilians in their wake are aghast and shocked. that's the first morning. the second morning is a chill autumn dawn in the former indian territory now oklahoma. blue-coated soldiers have
surrounded a nameless village on the river. officially their orders are to surround and capture native american raiders and also to wreck everything in their path. they open fire, the blou coats open fire. unlike barnwell, this little makeshift village is defended but the inhabitants have been taken by surprise and within minutes, the settlement has been overrun. while a recovering force scream against the possibility of a koubt attack against other indians in the decision, the soldiers systematically level the indian lodges, shooting the 900 ponies in the village and giving most of the indians possessions to the flames. afterward, there are no indians left behind in the village to e bewail the attack because all have been made prisoners and escorted into captivity.
all of them, mostly old men, women and children are dead. now, it's commonly agreed that 19th century america had two experiences with total war. the first against the southern confederacy, the second against the western planes indians. a number of historians have noticed similarities in the military methods employed, particularly the emphasis on the edestruction of supplies and attacks on noncombatants. such commonalities imply that however potent racial views may have been in white america's overall stance toward native america, the role of race in the final contest in native america was not central. the photograph of civil war
devastation of atlanta will reveal his style of war. yet in fact, sherman and his counterparts in the union army did behave with considerably more mercy towards southern whites than white america showed in its final wars with native america. they lay at the extreme end of the spectrum of civilians. the difference are eflekts the salience of race and culture in the latter struggles. the contrast between the wars against the confederacy and native america are compelling. they begin with the basic legal principles by which the two
struggles were conducted. one applicable to war against another nation and one applicable to insurrections and iner is junecys. the american sil war was an insurrecti insurrection. it was an insurgency. the way the united states conducted that war treated the confederate states of america as if it were a foreign nation. what that meant was that the conventions of laws and customs of war were observed. prisoners of war were taken. sur rernds were gwynn and accepted and so on.
had the united states chosen to stop the insurgency, everybody who was taking would have been shot, hanged, you know, out of hand. they were guilty of treason. they had no rights anyone needed to respect. the american civil war was treated as a defacto contest between nations. with regard to wars against nate i americans, though, the insurrectionaire principle was followed. this opened up more of a scope of lethal treatment of people who would be classed as noncombatants. now, during their clashes with western indians, u.s. forces quickly discovered it was almost impossible to destroy a native american war party in open combat.
since indians noted battle under favorable conditions and their small numbers and high mobility made them hard to locate amid the vastness of the far west. one of the favorite tactics with us to swoop down at dawn. this tactic practically guaranteed casualties among native american women, children and the elderly. two well known examples of this were the battle of the wachita and the mariah's river massacre in january of 1870 in which major edward m. baker and two squadrons of the u.s. second cavalry killed 173 indians including 53 women and children, many of them ill with smallpox. sheridan defended the tactics against criticism by eastern
humanitarians, saying it was no different than what had been practiced during the american civil war. did we cease to throw shells into vicks burg or atlanta because women and children were there? this is disingenuous. hardly any southern civilians were killed in this fashion. vicksburg and atlanta produced few civilian casualties. many of us could name the lone silian death that occurred during the battle of gettysburg, jenny wade. we also know the one woman who died in the battle of first manassas, judith henry. so that's how rare those occasions are. so he's being disingenuous when a he says this. by contrast, the success of the western village attacks depended
on native americans not knowing of the enemy's approach and whereas the presence of noncombatants in vicksburg and atlanta were incidental to operation against the con federal armies defending those cities, the presence of noncombatants in a native american village was of central importance. because the greatest opportunities for victory would occur when warriors were forced into the position of having to protect the elderly women and children. and finally, while the union army could readily discriminate between mill tar and civilian targets, during a village attack, combatants and noncombatants were hopelessly intermingled. the result predictably was a level of noncombatant casualties far higher than anything seen during civil war military operations, including sieges.
in short, sheridan was cloaking a morally dubious act in the mantle of one more easily defensib defensible. this is michael walzer. he is a professor emeritus at princeton university and author of any number of books. but there's one that i would recommend to you. it's called just and unjust wars, a moral argument with historical illustrations published in 1977. i read it as a college freshman. it has been through five editions since then, and it is the single most lucid and intelligent sudden dis of the ethical aspects of war that i can commend to you. michael walzer talks about the principle of double effect. this is a concept that really goes back before michael walzer.
but he offers a good modern formulation that is relevant to what it is that i'm talking about today. double effect, walzer writes is a way of exercising the absolute prohibition against attacking noncombatants with a legitimate conduct of military activity, which may unavoidably expose noncombatants to harm. its key condition is that the intention of the actor is good. that is to say, the actor, or the person who is responsible for making this particular attack is aiming narrowly at the acceptable effect, that is to say the death of combatants. the evil effect, death or injury to noncombatants is not one of his ends, nor is it a means to his ends and aware of the evil involve, he seeks to minimize it
except accepting costs to himself. causing harm to him was neither his objective nor his means to his objective. t the presence of women and children was an important means to ensure the vulnerability of elusive american warriors. a soldier must take careful aim at nonmilitary targets. he cannot kill civilians.
the u.s. armies resorted to attacks on native americans, villages only if it were prepared to take significant steps to avoid noncombatant casualties, for example, by using forces sufficient to surround the village, offering the native americans an opportunity to surrender and permitting noncombatants the opportunity to lead the battle area. although this conclusion cannot be said, it is perhaps only fair to point out that the army found itself chronically short-handed during most of the campaigns. and that even surprise attacks were fraught with considerable risk. at the battle of the big hole in montana august 9, 1877. a column under colonel john gibbons surprised an encampment but failed to prevent the escape of most warriors who found cover and shot down fully a third of the gibbons men. but as usual, many of those
killed in the opening attack were women and children. estimates of indian losses are notoriously hard to establish reliably but the evidence suggests that as many as 2/3 of the 80 to 90 dead were noncombatants. when i began working on "the hard hand of war" you begin with a limited war of army against army, and then eventually, you see this war expand to something approximating a total war in which southern civilian property, private property and public property was also fair game.
it was partly political, conciliatory policy was applied because it was thought that this would bring white southern civilians back into their former allegiance more easily than other means. and as matters became harsher, it was driven by the fact that union armies found it difficult to destroy rebel armies in the field. and historically, what happens when you're unable to achieve direct military effects, you tend to go after -- you tend to go for civilians instead. there's book you should all buy a copy of "civilians in the path of war." if that book has a moral to it, that's it. you can't effectively defeat an enemy through purely military means. you go for civilians.
the armies found it necessary to take supplies from the country side and by extension to deny them to the enemy. a number of union commanders foraged aerial denial. it requires little imagination to realize if the civil war had never taken place. the military problems of a war against the much the same way president the way the officers learn the techniques that then applied to indians and the post
civil war period is a dog that won't hunt. they solved problems in practical kinds of ways. if you didn't have the civil war, they still would have had the same problems they dealt with in native americans and they would have solved the problem in the way that they did. although southern barns and outbuildings might be destroyed, it was relatively uncommon for union soldiers to burn private dwellings. but u.s. troops in the west routinely burned entire native american villages. villages in official orders and actual practices was to leave white southerners enough to get guy. the pattern during the civil war was to distinguish between
union, secessionist and passive civili civilians. in the west, distipgs were seldom paed. after the war, a southern claims mission gave compensation to those who could demonstrate their loyalty. this is a mural, a work in progress association mural. it's in a post office in preston idaho which occurs in january of 1863. a lot of us have heard of the sand creek massacre in november of 1864. we are talking about an incident
of 250 northwestern indians were slaughtered. and women were raped even as they lie dying in the snow from their wounds. what we're looking at here is racism, yes. what is going on beneath the surface. what is the significance of this? >> i think what's going on here that is of significance is this. in the context between white americans, the american civil war there was the entire point of the war really was to restore
political community. and i think the more that in wars, the more that there is a sense of a common political community that has been temporarily sundayered but is going to be restored the more likely you are to have what we would think of as the laws and customs of war obeyed. but in instance where is there can be no community, no coming together, those are the kinds of circumstances under which you see atrocities.
what you will find is there's a distinction in the way the armies were against native americans. the bear river massacre was carried out not by u.s. army troops but by first california regiment, a volunteer regiment. the sand creek massacre in november of 1864 was carried out again not by a regular troops but by the third colorado cavalry, which was enlisted for 100 days only attacked the black kettle settlement in sand creek in its first and only engagement. slaughtered men, women, elderly,
what are the southern believes versus the western native american believes. >> i see what you mean, what you're getting at. it wasn't so much the spiritual practices that whites notice and objected to. you know, it's a sense of it being savages, is what they picked up on the most. there's a funny duelism in the way in which white americans have regarded nate i americans historical historically. looking at native americans as savages and, but there is another way, the kind of romanticizes native