THOSE 163 DAYS by John M. Gibson


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Written by a North Carolinian, this well annotated ""Southern"" account of Sherman's march in 1865 from Atlanta, Ga., to Raleigh, N. C., is also a documented and detailed record of the horrors inflicted by his army on the Confederacy. That these horrors, occurred is undeniable; that it is wise to disinter them at this time of tension may be questioned by some readers, although obviously not by the publisher's press-agent or by the honestly biased author. After the capture of Atlanta, Sherman, ordered to join Grant in Virginia, cut his communications and marched to Savanna, then turned north to Raleigh, his object, a matter of ""total war"", to bisect the Confederacy and if possible to end the Civil War. His army foraged off the country, the ""bummers"" who followed it committing most, but by no means all, of the outrages here recounted. The author, following Southern belief, seems to hold Sherman himself largely responsible for these outrages, by not disciplining his officers who permitted them to occur; he does, however, tell of similar outrages committed by Confederate deserters, and brands as untrue some tales of rape related by Southern women. There are some excellent accounts of battles, and the story of the meetings between Sherman and Joe Johnston, who understood each other, brings some light to these murky pages of rapine and murder, plunder and violence. A book not designed to close old wounds. Northern response may be limited, but all students of the Civil War should welcome the excellent bibliography and notes.

Pub Date: May 29th, 1961
Publisher: Coward-McCann