I often post here on this blog the writings of Will H. Chandlee (Ana), my g-g-grandfather. His grandson, my grandfather, gifted me with the files of his writings as well as genealogy notes and information–from family trees to wills to photographs to music. While browsing today, I discovered a transcript of a letter from northern solider Noah H. Hart to his wife, dated October 1864 in Atlanta. This is almost two months after Sherman took over Atlanta, and around the time of his destructive march to the sea.
Like much of what I have discovered of Ana’s writing, here there is also striking similarity to our current political and war situation:
“…Our mules and horses (pardon me, I should have placed Horses before Mules) are dying by the hundreds every day–Our cavalry horses are all used up–our battery horses are all used up, the men on half rations…
“We are fortifying the city in the most formidable manner known to the Science and Art of War … but what is the use of fortifications and guns without rations for the men who are to work them. …
“Entering the Service as I did with but one object in view the perpetuity of the Constitution as it is–and the Union as it was–and for three long years have I participated in a war conducted and carried in violation of the principles upon which I entered the Service, under the Sacred Cor–(?) Resolution that the war was to be prosecuted in a spirit of Conciliation–in a war, to win back our wayward and rebellious brothers, I entered the service.
“But it has never been conducted in that spirit. The proclamations of the President and the acts of Congress–the pillaging and marauding, the wanton and fiendish destruction of personal property–the inhuman treatment toward innocent females and children in robbing them of their last cow and everything to the last pound of meal, has tended to exasperate and alienate the whole people from us.
“Again, the partisans promotions and favoritism that I have witnessed in the Army has been the most disgusting character. I earnestly confess to you that I am fast losing confidence in the capacity of man for self government.”
When will we learn?