When Sherman Marched North from the Sea: Resistance on the Confederate Home Front

By Jacqueline Glass Campbell | Go to book overview

4 : GOD SAVE US FROM THE RETREATING
FRIEND AND ADVANCING FOE

As Union major Thomas Osborn crossed the border into North Carolina in the early hours of March 8, 1865, he expressed relief in leaving behind the most “contemptible” state, which “had but one element of which it can boast, and that is treason.”1 North Carolina, on the other hand, was expected to contain a strong element of Unionist sympathy, and Union troops prepared themselves accordingly. As Sherman planned for the next stage in his campaign through the Confederate heartland, he modified his tactics, reminding his troops that North Carolina had been one of the last states to secede and that “from the commencement of the war there has been in this State a strong Union party.” In these circumstances, “marked difference should be made in the manner in which we treat the people and the manner in which those of South Carolina were treated.” Soldiers received instructions to take only what was necessary and not to enter private homes; officers would be held accountable for the behavior of their men.2

At the same time, Sherman received news that would draw him into a more traditional campaign against the military forces of the enemy. The general was furious when he saw a copy of the New York Tribune that revealed his destination as Goldsboro, North Carolina. He knew that his Confederate counterparts would have obtained the same information, and it was no longer possible for him to keep them confused as to his next move. Moreover, he also learned that his “special antagonist,” General Joseph Johnston, had been reinstated as commander of the Confederate forces in the Carolinas. Johnston was no rival to be dismissed. Sherman was aware that he would not be easily misled by “feints and false reports.” In fact, the Union general concluded that he

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When Sherman Marched North from the Sea: Resistance on the Confederate Home Front
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 3
  • 1: Savannah Has Gone Up the Spout 8
  • 2: Rocking the Cradle of Secession 31
  • 3: The Most Diabolical Act of All the Barbarous War 58
  • 4: God Save Us from the Retreating Friend and Advancing Foe 75
  • 5: With Grief, but Not with Shame 93
  • Epilogue 105
  • Notes 111
  • Bibliography 145
  • Index 167
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