Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: A Biography

By William E. Gienapp | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE

AMONG THOSE who gathered in the War Department on election night was Gustavus V. Fox, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. As the returns came clattering in over the telegraph, he expressed particular pleasure that Henry Winter Davis, one of the president's harshest Republican critics, had been defeated for reelection to Congress. “You have more of that feeling of personal resentment than I,” Lincoln commented. “Perhaps I may have too little of it; but I never thought it paid. A man has no time to spend half his life in quarrels. If any man ceases to attack me I never remember the past against him.” This outlook would continue to guide his policies in the last months of his presidency.

IN THE AFTERMATH of Lincoln's reelection, the final component was added to the Union's military strategy. In a series of escalating steps, the Union army had confiscated private property in the South, expelled disloyal civilians from Union lines, emancipated slaves, utilized black soldiers, and waged a grinding, all-out form of warfare. To this mix was now added the dimension of psychological warfare designed to break the will of southern civilians. This was the nineteenth-century equivalent of the strategy of total war.

After the fall of Atlanta, John Bell Hood had led the Confederacy's western army back into Tennessee in order to draw William Tecumseh Sherman out of Georgia. Unwilling to chase Hood all over the state, Sherman instead proposed to lead 60,000 men on a destructive march across Georgia. With no Confederate army to oppose him, Sherman's purposes were political and psychological rather than military. “If we

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Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: A Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Preface ix
  • Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America *
  • Chapter 1 - A Son of the Frontier 1
  • Chapter 2 - Thwarted Ambition 25
  • Chapter 3 - Rise to Power 49
  • Chapter 4 - A People's Contest 72
  • Chapter 5 - From Limited War to Revolution 99
  • Chapter 6 - Midstream 126
  • Chapter 7 - To Finish the Task 151
  • Chapter 8 - With Malice toward None 177
  • Chronology of Abraham Lincoln 204
  • List of Abbreviations 209
  • Notes 211
  • Bibliographical Essay 228
  • Index 233
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