The Coming of Total War
As the Union blockade wreaked destruction upon Confederate sea-borne commerce, planned devastations by both armies laid waste the home front.1 Early in the war the governments of both the North and the South made disclaimers that the fighting would be on a civilized plane, with solicitude for noncombatants, protection of private property, and an honorable treatment of enemy captives, but long before the battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg both governments settled into a system of planned economic destruction. Jefferson Davis endorsed a scorchedearth policy of burning cotton, subsistence stores, transportation facilities, and buildings liable to be of benefit to the enemy, while General Ulysses S. Grant and General Henry Halleck, with the sanction of President Abraham Lincoln, subsisted their armies off the enemy's country and undertook the systematic destruction of Confederate manufacturing and the deportation of skilled workers. Factories that lay near the paths of contending armies faced additional hazards from marauders, discontented workers, and a severely deprived civilian population.
Early in the war, Confederate officers in the field faced a dilemma about the preservation or destruction of manufacturing properties within their lines. In 1862, in north Arkansas, General Sterling Price was forced to decide the fate of John H. Herman's factory. Herman, a practicing physician, owned large carding and flouring mills. Politically, he was an outspoken follower of Carl Schurz, the Missouri Free Soil Republican. In 1861, Herman implored “every man in his employ to go to the polls & vote against secession.” Although within Confederate territory, “Herman's mill became a center of Unionist activities, serving as a hide-out for runaway Negroes and for refugees fleeing North.” Against the express