March to the Sea

Vitriol

It is difficult to find anyone in the South, and particularly in Georgia, with a kind word for General Sherman.  Not many Southerners are students of the American Civil War.  As with many things in the South, opinions are formed in the heart, not the head.  Disdain for Sherman is a visceral emotion ingrained culturally, not intellectually.  Not enough generations have past to let the sectional differences between the North and the South truly disappear.

To scratch down a bit and understand a more nuanced viewpoint of Sherman, his lieutenants, and finally his troops, is to understand more about the Civil War, and even about our country today.  This book, Atlanta to Savannah, succinctly explains how our country fell apart, first with secession, then civil war.  Perhaps in this guidebook Southerners will find a context to understand the Confederacy, its leadership and military. "The Confederacy died of a Cause".  What does that mean exactly?  Were there heroes in the Confederacy?  How do we honor their sacrifice without honoring their patently tainted cause-- preserving slavery?  Some say the Civil War was to preserve State's Rights.  Is that true?

Riders from Atlanta to Savannah are left to wonder, if the Union Army burned everything in its path, why are the Old State Capitol and Governor's Mansion still standing and why are there so many lovely Pre-Civil War plantation homes along these bike routes?  Why were Sandersville and Millen handled so roughly by the Union Army?  Nothing trumps seeing for yourself.