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

TitleWhen Sherman Marched North from the Sea: Resistance on the Confederate Home Front
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsCampbell, Jacqueline Glass
Number of Pages177
PublisherUniversity of North Carolina Press
CityChapel Hill

Home front and battle front merged in 1865 when General William T. Sherman occupied Savannah and then marched his armies north through the Carolinas. Sherman's march was an invasion of both geographical and psychological space. The Union army viewed the Southern landscape as military terrain. But when they brought war into Southern households, Northern soldiers were frequently astounded by the fierceness with which many white Southern women defended their homes. In this volume, the author argues that in the household-centered South, Confederate women saw both ideological and material reasons to resist. The author also investigates the complexities behind African Americans' decisions either to stay on the plantation or to flee with Union troops. Black Southerners' delight at the coming of the army of "emancipation" often turned to terror as Yankees plundered their homes and assaulted black women. Ultimately, this volume calls into question postwar rhetoric that represented the heroic defense of the South as a male prerogative and praised Confederate women for their "feminine" qualities of sentimentality, patience, and endurance. The author suggests that political considerations underlie this interpretation--that Yankee depredations seemed more outrageous when portrayed as an attack on defenseless women and children. The author restores these women to their role as vital players in the fight for a Confederate nation, as models of self-assertion rather than passive self-sacrifice.

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