tv The Civil War CSPAN April 16, 2016 6:00pm-7:12pm EDT
>> next, author robert o'connell discusses his book, "fierce patriot: the tangled lives of william tecumseh sherman." he describes general sherman's life as a roller coaster and discusses his name, and his military career before and after the civil war. this talk is part of the great lies lecture -- lives lecture series. [applause] >> good evening and welcome to the great lives lecture, one of the most controversial figures in civil war history,
williams comes to -- william tecumseh sherman. part by ourped in good friends. evening, mr. o'connell, who received his degrees from the university of virginia, which is where i first met bob as a fellow graduate didn't ask a student. obviously, many years ago. [laughter] >> in fact, lyndon johnson was president of the united state. these emphasize to students that this was lyndon johnson, not andrew johnson. [laughter] [applause] case, bob has fashioned a very distinguished
career, including 30 years with the intelligence community, where he held significant assignments, including arms therol and a member of ,elegation on the disarmament and he has also taught to 2004. he was in monterey, california. a prolific scholar and writer, the author of several works, one novel and histories. , "fierceof those patriot: the tangled lives of william tecumseh sherman", a new york times bestseller. of it was also the recipient a 2015 award for excellence in civil war biography.
at the time of its publication, he received widespread praise. andas called, a remarkable remarkably original work on one of the people that truly defined america. the national review asserted that, "it is hard to imagine any other biography capturing sherman in such an enlightening fashion." the wall street journal called a sharply drawn and compulsive march through sherman's psyche. wrote,n thomas road, -- a surprising wise, ever -- c
lever, and powerful but. it is a pleasure to welcome one of the foremost military historians, professor robert o'connell. [applause] mr. o'connell: thank you for coming. and is a wonderful program is great lives series, it something that seems to be as much for the community as it is for the academic community, and that is a wonderful thing. i have known bill for 50 years. [applause] mr. o'connell: we were both graduate students at the university of virginia. before i get into sherman, i just want to, in the spirit of
biography i want to talk about my past a bit and my relationship with bill. he struckst met bill, me as a very focused guy and he was in biography. belovedinto a much figure in his product was the -- create fire these of virginia governor -- biographies of virginia governors. i was more interested in conceptual history, the idea of studying concepts and ideas. and basically a boiled down to american intellectual history. i should have known that there may have been a problem.
it was the second iraq war, this is sounded -- stuff sounded good, but falling asleep reading it. i should have known something was wrong there. bill thrived and stayed at the academy and because i was foolish enough to study military history, there was not much in universities for that. i ended up finding a job in the intelligence community. a 30 year career in the intelligence community, honestly i do not think i will be telling you any classified information, for me was like a perpetual life in high school. most intelligence agencies looked like my high school, which is scary. [applause] i hadconnell: anyway,
extra time. unlike most jobs, if you take your work home from the intelligence community, they will arrest you. [laughter] mr. o'connell: i continued to write and get interested in writing history. i was published, but it was conceptual stuff, a history of weapons and the idea behind weapons. i wrote a book on the origins of war. which i think is important because i discovered contacts with edward wilson at harvard inventedly, ants war. i have a whole chapter on ants. [laughter] mr. o'connell: you can imagine how well it sold. [laughter]
mr. o'connell: most of these books did not sell at all and gradually as the industry got tougher, it became more important to try to get some kind of sales out of these books. at this point, i discovered biography. yn i really -- and i reall thought that this really made a lot of sense. one of the problems, one of the central problems with history as a discipline is how few people read it. academic historians wander through the last century, wondering if they were crusaders for social justice, and have narrowed the field accordingly. this is reflected by the hated the oracle -- sophisticated
historical analogies and have you -- how few historians are noted in decisions. where are the daniel boorstins, or henry kissinger? one fashion of history remains, biography. why? , in the ultimate sense, it is a tory. story. we are storytelling animals. because, when you think about it , we have been around for years. how do you remember stuff people have told you? we are natural storytellers and he can fit those stories into
some sort of cognitive set that will allow you to recall stuff. story is important in the way that the mind works, i cannot prove that, but it is my story and i am sticking to it. i think probably, one of the reasons biography continues to helpss that it basically things in ways, vivid ways, and in ways that make sense to people. i think it is significant that the best in him for -- synonym for biography is life story. every life has a beginning and crises thatve people can relate to. and when you finish a biography,
it leaves you with a feeling that you have gotten to know a person. it holds together and helps you remember. that is always a problem for me as a historian. hopefully i will leave you with a little bit of that tonight. topic than approach our in many facets of its existence, because he really lived a lollapalooza of a life, to do this i had to divide the book into three separate stories. hismilitary career, and personal life, but i cannot do that tonight. something.me up with i do not want to tell you just a little bit about sherman. his whole life is interesting. i needed to come up with a motive that would hold this
together. i thought i would do it like my life as a manic depressive. up and down. but i do not think that sherman was really crazy. he was extremely ambitious. and because he was ambitious, when his career took a down fall, nosedive, he got very depressed. it took longer for him to succeed. you can raise the question, was it his jumpy personality that caused his crazy life, or his crazy life that cause his personality? -- ita question and egg is a chicken and egg question, we may never know. so i started thinking about, his life as a roller coaster.
it made sense. it is true, the invention of roller coasters was contemporaneous with sherman's existence, and it may be possible that he rode a roller coaster, but i cannot prove that. he lived a life on a roller coaster. i remember, we went out to bush gardens and my kids wanted to ride this ride and after about five times i was done for the day. i was ruined. you can imagine what william tecumseh sherman's life was like, up and down. comesins in ohio, but he from a very good connecticut family. his great uncle was roger sherman, who was the only person i believe to sign the declaration of independence and
articles of confederation, and the u.s. constitution. father, charles sherman and mary sherman, literally walked from connecticut to lancaster, ohio where they ended up. but he was already, he had studied at you -- yale. and he had a law degree, said he was like a happy -- a yuppy pioneer. they came to lancaster. they had originally got to the fire lands of ohio, the land of the state of connecticut was granted in ohio for citizens who had suffered because the british burned so much of coastal connecticut, but there were too many indians out there, so they went to lancaster.
this is on the foothills of the appalachians, south of columbus. we went there this year, i did a similar talk at sherman's birthplace. it is a nice place and he probably had a good life there. he did well. practiceherman's law derived -- thrived, and he went to the ohio supreme court, but he had to read -- ride circuit. but when he was riding circuit, he got sick and died and left his wife with 11 children and no means of support. what was she supposed to do? live in a shoe? [laughter] mr. o'connell: there were big problems. and what happened, this is
probably that -- something that many of you do not remember, that people farmed out. an unexpected death in the family and eventually, more prosperous people came and helped. the germans lived just down the hill -- shermans lived just down the hill from charles's best friend. he would become an important policy, a huge man that they called basalt boiler -- the salt boiler. amshowed up and said, i willing to take a child. and he asked, who should i take? one daughter said, take tec,
he is the brightest. the family he leaves was a remarkable family. 11 children, you have john sherman, the author the antitrust act and future chairman of the treasury. and a founder of equitable life. and finally, william tecumseh sherman, who ended up living with the ewing family. they were very bright people. thomas was extremely religious and extremely catholic. they basically lay down the law is william tecumseh sherman comes here to live, he needs to be baptized. and there being no saint tecumseh, he needed a name that would coincide with a site --
saint. incidentally, mary sherman did not go to the baptism. at any rate measurement has a good existence. nice people.e they were very religious. the only toys they got were rosemary beats -- rosary beads. [laughter] mr. o'connell: but they had a very nice existing and it was an interesting one, because william starts living with them when he is nine years old. among the children was allen, she is five years old. she is destined to be sherman's lifetime companion. usually it is not a good career sister.marry your
but it turned out well for sherman. this happened around the time 16, it isam turns apparent that ellen is becoming more interested in him. and sherman gets an appointment to west point. ,homas got him out of the house got him to a place where he would not be coming home a lot. anyway, sherman loved it. he was a good cadet, very bright. were whose the ewings they were, they shared opportunities with sherman that they were sharing with their own children. he arrived and there was really no problem academically.
on the other hand, he was not like robert e. lee, a spotless cadet. i think an audience there is a , and he used to run down the -- regal me with tales of his days at west point when he was always skating on the edge of getting thrown out, and never did. that youaught me should fall asleep with your eyes wide open, a good trick at west point, apparently. anyway, sherman dr. west point and things -- got through west point and things began to rise. havees to war, does not combat experience with it, but as well -- does well.
it was the bloodiest indian war we ever fought. but sherman does well and he is liked by superiors and because thomas ewing is getting more important, sherman is appointed to lieutenant. he moves to south carolina where he is at formal greek -- fort mouldry, which is actually still there. and he spends a lot of time reading, painting, and he socializes with the local aristocracy who likes military officers because they come in nice uniforms and brighten up the party. sherman is cynical about the aristocracy, but he does not really say much that indicates that he does not like slavery. , thatt, he basically says
the slaves are better behaved than he thought they would be. at this point though, the roller coaster goes down. this is 1845, the mac more -- mexican war starts, and sherman cannot find a combat role. he is a recruiter for some time. he finally work a deal where he can go to california and then there is an epic journey where he goes to south america, a group of ericans, officers arriving in california. one of his traveling companions is a guy destined for the army. they are quite competitive. and there is a tiny number of these people and if you have been to california, it is big,
so there was a lot of trouble asserting themselves. but an interesting thing happened as sherman was the paymaster. one day his commanding officer calls him and says, sherman, you are a civil engineer. i want you to find out something . this gentleman has brought a bag thinks theycks, he may be gold. it gold? -- is indeterminate says -- and sh erman says, i will tell you, get me a hammer. he hit it and it did not shatter. it is gold. so sherman suggests that a sound the rocks -- send the rocks
east. they arrived in the senate. -- andting yellow rocks this sets off the gold rush. within a year, 50,000 americans find their way to california and they take over. not the u.s. army. most troops desert to go to the gold fields. bad, thatlation is so they can barely survived, so they have to go out and contract themselves out. sherman contracted himself out as a surveyor. he is getting depressed about the army. he has been writing back and forth with ellen. he is getting older and he is out in california. she is miserable. hisvery suddenly, he gets
commanding officer, he says, go back to washington. so he goes back and by this point thomas ewing is secretary of the interior. ellen is apparently feeding her parity -- parakeet, and this is the moment, if it was a movie elvis would be singing, it is now or never. so, sherman comes and they get married. the ceremony is great. the president, zachary taylor, shows up with all of his cabinet. ellen gets so excited that she kisses the president, which is not protocol. and things look great, except a month later zachary taylor goes
to the dedication of the washington monument, the milkning of it, and he has and sickens and dies. ewing is out of the cabin and sherman's career is going downhill. he has no combat experience. he started the gold rush, but nobody will give him credit for that. so things go from bad to worse, to the point where he finally quits the army and he becomes, wherever he goes and he has always loved st. louis, he impresses. these two st. louis bankers are , you havewith him gone to california, let's open a bank. so he goes to san francisco. meanwhile, his brother is doing
great. he opens a firm. i think it is called hallock and building -- billings. he is doing well. but determined is not a well in the banking industry. by this time, the gold rush is petering out. fortunate for sherman, he is known militarily as a risk taker, but he is a tactical risk taker. he is able to keep the bank afloat. 1857, ins caught in 1857 crash, and soon he finds himself trying to be a lawyer in kansas. he was a terrible lawyer. he met the chief justice of the kansas state supreme court and
to the guy said, you seem like a smart guy, you are in. that was it. helpless as a lawyer and gradually he gets to the point where he is taking care of property for thomas ewing. low point inched a his career. without purpose. in the process of going back and forth to california, both he and ellen had been shipwrecked three times. it is not surprising that sherman wrote an extensive paper on what a good idea it would be to have a transcontinental railroad. has risen to john who an amazingly in politics, and he is a u.s. representative.
happy.sherman is not one day he is out riding and runs into in army unit and a guy that he knew invited him to join them and go camping. he realizes that he wants to be back in the army. he does everything he can to get in, but he cannot. through he goes braxton, a confederate general, thegets him a job to be calledead of something the louisiana seminary learning and military academy. read his letters from leavenworth, it was as if the issue of slavery did not exist.
this is bleeding kansas and he did not notice it. he never asked himself, i wonder why louisiana would be starting he just went down and set it up. the kids loved him. by the end of the time, he is telling stories of the front year, california, and has everything running well. there is a problem. he completely missed his session. that he learned that , heh carolina had seceded is with his friend and fellow teacher, and one of the subordinates, david french -- this louisiana institute grew
into louisiana state university. david boyd was the first chancellor of lsu, but uncle billy sherman started the place, which is something louisiana does not admit to too much. this is how boyd described sherman. nationalistsuch a that he had to block out the image of slavery and its dangers to the nation. he cannot face the fact that it might tear the country apart. said he burst out crying like a child, basing his room in a nervous way. it is claimed, boyd, you people in the south don't know what you are doing. you think you can tear to pieces this great union without war? there will be bloodshed. the north can make a locomotive or railroad car.
hardly a yard of cloth or shoe can you make the review are bound to fail. only your spirit of determination knows that you are prepared for war. that was depressing considering how clueless he was about slavery. he goes north. he cannot find the right command. he is a valuable commodity, suddenly, because the union needs trained military officers. john, who is becoming more significant as a politician, gets him an appointment with abe lincoln. they go to the white house. lincoln is in a room full of people, office keepers of one sort or another -- finally wanders over to john and sherman and sits down within. john says, this is my brother from louisiana.
he might be able to tell you something about what they are doing. lincoln says, how were they getting along? think theylies, they are getting along swimmingly. .hey are preparing for war to which lincoln smiles and says, i guess we managed. this shocks sherman. when they leave without any offer of command, sherman goes ballistic on william, in front of his brother, who just to visit with the president of the united states. it was not the height of gratitude. you politicians are all fools. that guy blew me off. he did not hear a word i said. he did. he never forgot that redheaded
guy ever again. at some point, that guy saved his presidency. he does get a command. to trainis best volunteers. he wanted regulars. he got volunteers that were not trained well as they went to manassas for the first bull run, they spent most of their time stealing pigs and various hijinks on their way to the battle. when i got into battle, they fought well. there was a crisis situation where he was in charge of three regiments. he should have thrown them all at the confederacy, instead he threw one at a time. it didn't work. they thought for a while, then walks off of the battlefield back to washington. sherman thought that this was disgraceful. he was ashamed of his troops and
himself. it was his first time in combat. he had been decisively defeated. his three regiments literally walks off of the battlefield. not feeling good about himself. was dte ellen that he e-fired. ais unit had actually taken lot of casualties. who came along in a carriage but a lincoln? he said, take a ride and we will talk to your troops. they carriage rolls in. the troops want a speech. no, i cannot give you a speech. colonel sherman knows what he is doing and you will get too excited if you have a speech. you are too excitable anyway. an officer in the back to his,
this morning, i am and enlistee with 90 days. it has run out. i told colonel sherman i was going to new york. good i do anything for him in new york. unit,d, if you leave this i will shoot you down like a dog. [laughter] says, wellks up and if i were you i would not trust. i believe he would shoot you. sherman. , the statey command of kentucky was unclear if they would stay in the union or if they would secede. a lot of secessionists in
army.ky fought in the it was a situation and lincoln wanted to send someone good. he offered the command suddenly "would you like it, sherman" said, no way. i do not want to be in charge. i am not ready. i aboutobert anderson, the only war hero that the union had at that point. the hero of the fort sumter incident. his second. they go to kentucky. .nderson is in terrible shape he probably had some kind of posttraumatic stress situation. he collapses almost immediately, leaving sherman in charge. when i say that sherman was a bit erotic, one of his -- a bit
neuroses one of his was that he did not want to be in charge. he collapses. a confederate under every rock. he is writing crazy letters. finally, the secretary of war goes out to see what is going on. sherman gives him such a crazy talk that everyone thinks that this guy is out there. come down and bring him to lancaster to rest. , clearly, from exhaustion. he feels better in about one week. feelings brightly and ready to go back. sprightly, and ready to go back. a local paper says that union
general sherman is crazy. it was a deep stigma to be called nuts. sherman almost weathered. he wrote tom is -- thomas ewing saying who is to say who is crazy and two is not? he is still a valuable guide. old rival rehabilitates sherman. he moves from california to take over the command of the west that john fremont had. he was not a good administrator, probably corrupt. he announced that basically slavery was abolished in any place that he was involved. this is over the line as far as lincoln was concerned. he got rid of fremont and replaced him. he is a superb administrator and the western theater is in good shape.
there was one thing that he could not control. , a little general, who was a kernel at this point. he did not say much and he smoked a lot of cigars. this was ulysses s. grant. there came a point when grant needed troops at fort donelson. it was sherman's job to get them there. he got 10,000 their lickety-split. at this point, these guys discovered each other and it was the most famous and successful partnership in the civil war. they key was that sherman, at the last, sherman was a wing man and he found a wing to talk himself under. that was ulysses s. grant. he was the perfect subordinate. they had a series of campaigns
that ends up in vicksburg. the confederacy and half. many of you may be familiar with the anaconda plan. the first strategy of the civil war. the idea was to close all of the ports in the confederacy. because they were so dependent on cotton they would starve and give up. i did not realize there was an and the condo -- there was an anaconda b plan to move down the river and cut the confederacy and half. that is what they do. the south was not buying it. they were still in the war. grant leaves for the east. the bloody east. , theseright here campaigns were fought right here
in the so-called overland campaign. it is an oxymoron. .he troops did not move he left sherman in charge of the west. it was perfect because he would ask grant for permission. grant, like his name, would grant them. they worked perfectly together. we cannotcides, if beat them by cutting them in starve themwe can with weapons. if the south had a military complex, it was atlanta. he burns it. the south still does not give up . he starts waging war on the mind of the south. that is what the march was all about. nanny nanny boo-boo kind of thing. i've year and you cannot stop me. it really was an amazing
campaign. i know people in the south consider it brutal. consider the american revolution where british troops burned homes, murdered people consistently killed troops trying to surrender, and campaigned consistently raping women throughout the war. that is what i found out in my latest research. that is a lot different than what happened in the march. i think there was one case of rape. there were no nonjudicial killings. there were a few in the south. some of the so-called b weres that sherman had captured and killed. this did not go on as far as the north was concerned. they would burn your house and take your food.
worked well.this we come to the end of the war. sherman is famous. at his peak. the surrender at appomattox everyone is familiar with garrett what people are not familiar with is the only surrender in northern virginia. the rest of the confederacy remained at war. johnson negotiated a very easy peace. and this went to washington , this was shortly after abraham lincoln was killed, and reaches president johnson and the secretary of war, the cabinet unanimously rejects the peace takeells grant to almost
command from sherman and to negotiate a peace on the order of the appomattox. ilex spread ha rumors that he is a traitor. that not only gave an easy peace but is helping to jefferson davis escape the union with a fictitious supply of gold they were moving. this story was a big story and damaged sherman's reputation. outside of the assassination of president lincoln, it was the biggest story that year in newspapers. it quickly evaporated and sherman was restored to a new level. andhen -- the war ends sherman is on a high.
grant is president. .- grant is not president he is the general of the army. he has trouble with andrew johnson. tot tries -- grant tries avoid the political entanglements that were going on with the impeachment of johnson. in a bit, but stays out and really thinks things will be good when grant is elected president. monthre for about one when the new secretary of four theves and tells sherman civilian head runs the army, not you. sherman says i will talk to grant. the problem is that mullins was grant's oldest friend and he is dying. grant gave him the job.
nice job for his friend. in that warmhearted way. the same thing happened with his successor. a guy that was clearly corrupts. -- clearly corrupt. what sherman did is that he fromally retreated washington. he left. winfield scott had similar troubles when he was the general of the army, and he went to new york. sherman went to st. louis. this was a very good move, but it seemed he had lost all political power. thereal agenda was to build transcontinental railroad, which he did. he did it very brutally. philip's war, in one way or another, settlers understood that you could only
attack the indians' food supply it was hopeless. in this case it was the buffalo. they killed millions of buffalo. at one point sherman writes one of his friends, maybe we could get hunters from england. maybe we could get all of the hunters in europe to kill all of the buffalo even quicker. so, they did. they built the transcontinental railroad. for shermanwell from that point on. he retired from the army. he had a long and pleasant career as a bone to bone in new york with several and attractive mistresses that no one found out about it until later. thoroughly.ife he died a national hero. .hey built the great statue i do not know if any of you have seen it across from the plaza hotel and buried off good ends.
it is a -- and bergdorf goodman's. it is a classic case. more grant,rial is but no one goes where it is in new york. for sherman'sed reputation, but only momentarily. he is dead now and still on the roller coaster. there ishat happens is a forceful reinterpretation of the civil war in the south. the so-called lost cause mentality that the civil war was not about slavery, it was really about state's right. that it was a noble cause. that it was led by the noblest of generals, the immaculate lee.al robert e. anti.n was the natural
every god needs a devil. sherman became, as one guy said in a dissertation, the demon of the lost cause. his reputation was basically shattered. it only got worse. 1930's, a very respected wastary authoritarian praising sherman but said that sherman invented modern industrial warfare. in 1945, that did not look like such a hot invention. , we have one more upswing of the roller coaster. the civil rights movement which will reveal the lost cause to be an invention. when that happened, people began looking at sherman as he
physically emancipated more slaves than probably anyone else. wherever his army went, freed men were created. people looked at him differently. my own experience is that i like the guy a lot. i once tried to write a biography about someone i did not like and it did not get published. in the audience thinking about writing a biography, you should like your character. muchnk that i have pretty -- that is about it. [laughter] [applause] >> ok.
i will take questions. if you will raise your hand and state it singly -- state it singly, we will take as many as we can. things,e big scheme of generals in the war, where do you rank sherman? good, bad, top, bottom? anert: i think he was excellent general. he had an excellent relationship with his troop's. he let his army be what it wanted to be. that was an amazing accomplishment. he was not a great battlefield general. washington.george he was probably better than george washington. he was exceptionally good. he was a success. you have to rate him in the neighborhood of grant. on the confederate
side, joe johnson and long -- all of dupree these guys were first-rate. there were a lot of bad generals who i cann bell hood bear to monty python's black night. -- black knight. the guy that can't getting lens chopped off and kept fighting. that was john bell hood. how did he get the name? robert: his father named him that. when he went up to the fire lands, there was a war with tecumseh. he was very impressed with the nobility. he did have a lot of children, so maybe he ran out of the more normal names.
i think that that is as good of an answer as anyone could give. no one really addresses it in the primary sources. i one asked mary sherman -- told sherman that that was a crazy name. who names a kid after an indian? that is about as good as i can do. , you only o'connell , a veryittle piece interesting story. he was not crazy. there was a crazy general here named burnside. he said this is not working and backed off. savanna was given up by the people. he wrote a letter to lincoln
that he would give him savanna and all of the millions of dollars in cotton. l.re is -- war is hel could you expand? robert: he said the thing about war is hell later. it was interesting how he said it. reunions.hese amazing army, the garnd something. reunions every 10 years. sherman religiously went. at first, literally hundreds of thousands of people were showing up. as time goes on, and i think the last one was 1917 and there were 40 people left. speeches in to give
front of these things. he was brilliant at this. it was truly his. someone asked him what it was like to be a soldier or something like that. he said, boys, we know what it is like to be a soldier. war is hell. it was almost an environmental statement. that was a later statement. he did not tell lincoln that. >> all we have to do is read or see the movie of gone with the wind to know what people thought about sherman in the 1930's. have youin advance found the southern society has changed or modified their view? robert: i think so.
amazon reviews. i think that if you will work terribly angry i would have -- and i have gotten a you, but not that any. maybe no one south of the mason-dixon line read my book. i don't know. [laughter] think it has changed. it has a lot to do with ending the lost cause mentality and realizing that the north winning the civil war is a good thing. it was not a good thing to have slaves. since sherman was involved with that, i think people are gradually coming to resolve those issues. you know, i do not think you will ever beloved. i could not call him beloved after the civil war, but he was likes enough that he was asked
to be the grand marshal of the mardi gras in new orleans and was invited to atlanta to see how they rebuilt the city after he burned it down. >> i wanted to ask, considering the motivation that he had for his march through georgia, etc., you mentioned until 1945 -- any thoughts of what he did and what by using end the war atomic bombs in hiroshima and nagasaki? it is muchu know -- -- really, it is analogous in the situation that sherman did something that no one thought he would do. becaused in a long part he long footed his adversaries. he used their vulnerability.
that was also true of the use of nuclear weapons. they use of nuclear weapons, in my way of thinking, was more significant. it has changed war and the way we live. if you think about things after industrial wars of the 20th century, world war i and world war ii, the utility and the amount of life taken senselessly. you have to think western civilization was in a trouble -- in big trouble. that was bad enough, but we moreted a weapon that was powerful than chemical explosives. people have historically used weapons like that promiscuously. things are looking bad. for maybe even the human race.
it turns out that nuclear weapons were unusable in warfare. part of the things that i was involved with was figuring out how we could use them and we never solved the problem. neither did the russians. we have reached the stage where it really does feel, despite the latest comments of vladimir putin, it feels that we have more or less eliminated major industrial war. we have moved to lower level threats and higher levels of destructiveness. to me, that is historically unprecedented. you could say that sherman's march was like napoleon's march, but warmer and with more food. [laughter]
>> thank you, professor. the question of the indians and , whereat american bison was the bureau of indian affairs? did any of the native americans raise issue with sherman in a negotiation? is he a genocideist? definition -- he wiped out a way of life, more or less. others were involved, the whole u.s. government was basically involved. , irman -- grant for instance have forgotten his name, he was an indian. he rose to be one of grant's colonels.
he was at appomattox. andrt e lee looked at him said it is nice to see that we have at least one real american here, because he knew that he was native american. said, we at the and are all americans. he became the head of indian affairs. he did his best, but that has always been the case. washington on one hand was thrashing the indians, on the other he was worrying about them and trying to figure out a future for them. this always seems to be the schizophrenic view that we have of the plains indians. they did not probably have to be wiped out. they may have gotten really good at robbing railroads, they were
iders by nature, but they could have coexisted. that was not what was going to happen. know where to sherman got his troops from. what part, i think it was michigan company a in his march? robert: it is interesting. it was known as the army of the west. would definitely call it the army of the midwest. 70% of sherman's troops were some from indiana -- michigan. one big state that i am missing. illinois. thank you. shows you what it is like to be an expert. [laughter] i am very interested in the
negotiation that he had down south with the armistice. talk about the conditions that he negotiated. how are they different from the ones at appomattox? if there were critical points that may have led to the resentment over reconstruction. , iert: the biggest thing think the soldiers would be able to keep their small arms. that was one. the biggest paying was to be completely reinstated into the united states all you have to do was swear allegiance to the united states government. the north was in a more vindictive mood. that was probably the key thing. no reconstruction. he did not agree with reconstruction.
>> how did he get along with general sheridan? he used to come over to the house when he was general of the army in washington and play with his kids. he was like uncle phil. he was great, but he was kind of a blunt instrument. sherman was the brains behind the operation. -- robert: let me in large on that. one thing, it is hard to tell who is smart and who is not. grant did not say word mostly. when push came to shove, he had throat cancer and had to take care of his wife, he wrote extraordinary memoirs. some say the greatest set of .ilitary memoirs since caesar
he was an incredible writer, but laconic in every other way. back to the time when they farmed out, how did they maintain a relationship with their biological mom? robert: it was painful. some did more than others. john was very good to her. his house.r into sherman took care of her, too. it was a sad situation. she lost track of her family. continued, the kids took care of her as best as they could. later, when they were successful , they took care of her well. e havinga rough lif 11 kids.
you said that general sherman was largely a blank on slavery. could you comment on his attitude on race? he was strongly racist considering black people come it has been said. robert: yes. frankly, his letters are filled with the n-word. you have to take that in the context of the time. his attitudes towards black people really did evolve. i think that at the end of the civil war he never would have thought that black people would necessarily have the vote. he realize republicans
were losing in the south. he wrote this article in a national magazine saying these people are citizens and deserve the rod of full citizenship in the united states. was that inny typical sherman fashion he said, why should we consider these people inferior? it is all of these bohemians and germans -- these immigrants. [laughter] want the do not follow-up of reconstruction, it was supposedly a democracy -- what was the alternative to reconstruction? keep 11 states under permanent military occupation? what did they want to do? those that were against reconstruction? sherman had a very easy
peace, to let the ruling class come back as it was. in the end, it did not work out that much better with jim crow legislation for black people. , at least reconstruction was an effort, and noble effort. i do not necessarily think that right. is not -- you are reconstruction cannot last forever. and it didn't. with the compromise of 1877, it was over. >> let's look toward next week. on tuesday, the lecture was postponed. it had to be postponed on the count of the weather.
lecturing about harvard's janet brown. i urge you to come back. he will be signing his book in the foyer. we conclude with a round of applause. thank you. [applause] >> interested in american history tv? to see hern.org upcoming schedule or watch a recent program. to then artifacts, bro white house rewind, lectures, and more at c-span.org/history. weekend, american history tv is featuring tuscaloosa alabama. sites showcasing the
rich history. tuscaloosa is home to the university of alabama, rounded in 1831. learn more on american history tv. >> welcome to historic tuscaloosa and the historic jemison-van de graaff mansion. it was built between 1859 and 1862 by robert jeminson jr. we're looking at a way to showcase his wealth and the wealth of the region. he wanted to showcase that alabama was not a backwater. he was trying to move the state forward. all the different kinds of wood .ork comes from alabama it is an incredible show of the resources. designed by a