War Crimes Against Southern Civilians
By Walter Brian Cisco
“Despite the spinning of romantic historians, hard evidence indicates that the invasion of the South is the American enormity.” ~ David Aiken, editor of A City Laid Waste: The Capture, Sack, and Destructions of the City of Columbia
“Millions of Americans devoutly believe that Abraham Lincoln’s war ‘to preserve the union and free the slaves’ was a righteous mission that forms the high point of our country’s history. Mr. Cisco, concisely and without emotion, portrays the extent to which that war was waged with gratuitous brutality, persecution, terror, destruction, and murder against the civilian populations of the South–free and slave, black and white, rich and poor. And he leaves no doubt that these war crimes were not incidental and accidental but were deliberate, pervasive, and sanctioned at the highest level with malice aforethought. Americans who read War Crimes Against Southern Civilians will have a more sober and true, and less self-righteous, understanding of our country” ~ Clyde Wilson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, University of South Carolina
The sobering and brutal consequences of the War Between the States off the battlefield are revealed in this examination of atrocities committed against civilians. Rationale for the Union’s “hard war” and the political ramifications of such a war set the foundation for Walter Cisco’s enlightening research. Styled the “Black Flag” campaign, the hard line was agreed to by Lincoln in a council with his generals in 1864, when he gave permission to wage unlimited war against civilians, including women and children.
In a series of concise and compelling chapters, Cisco chronicles the “St. Louis Massacre,” where Federal authorities proceeded to impose a reign of terror and dictatorship in Missouri. He tells of the events leading to, and the suffering caused by, the Federal decree that forced twenty thousand Missouri civilians into exile. The arrests of civilians, the suppression of civil liberties, theft, and murder to “restore the Union” in Tennessee are also examined.
Women and children, black and white, were robbed, brutalized, and left homeless in Sherman’s infamous raid through Georgia. Torture and rape were not uncommon. In South Carolina, homes, farms, churches, and whole towns disappeared in flames. Civilians received no mercy at the hands of the Union invaders. Earrings were ripped from bleeding ears, graves were robbed, and towns were pillaged. Wherever Federal troops encountered Southern Blacks, whether free or slave, they were robbed, brutalized, belittled, kidnapped, threatened, tortured, and sometimes raped or killed by their blue-clad “liberators.”
Carefully researched, largely from primary sources, the book includes notes and illustrations. This untold story will interest anyone exploring an alternative perspective on this period in American history.
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