Saturday, June 16, 2018

An American War and Peace

Regarding favorite books,  you can only read War and Peace so many times ... so at the moment ... I am reading an Irishman's American  War and Peace,   Sherman's march through the South ... part Tolstoy and part Mark Twain... a lot of Twain.   It's a fascinating account ... the author swears up and down that the adopted Irishman Sherman did not really make Georgia howl.   It was South Carolina that Sherman let have it.   His men could hardly wait to burn and loot the state that spawned the rebellion.  By the time they reached the capital Columbia there was little Sherman and his officers could do to stop them and the soldiers and angry blacks burned Columbia to the ground.

Shortly after Columbia burned:

An apparently wealthy planter, feeling that he was quite safe under the British lion's paw, pompously walks up to [the Irish]  General Logan, with his hands stuffed in his capacious pockets, and his hat independently on, saying,  "General, you see I want protection from these houtrages;"  and he points at two soldiers, one in pursuit of a young grunter [pig], which seemed as indignant as his master at the outrages inflicted on a Hinglish subject; another was carrying on an excited chase after a rooster, timing the amusement by an occasional fling at some members of the rooster's family that crossed his path.

"Why would I give you protection?"
"Sir, I claim protection.  I am a Hinglish subject!"  he exclaimed, with the air of Lord John Russell [who let Ireland starve]
"A what?"
"A Hinglish subject, sir;"  and he actually swelled out, like the frog in the fable, at his own importance.
"What the h--ll, then, are you doing here if you are?  The boys will take every hog and chicken that you have, though you are a British subject.  British subject be hanged!"

The last thing we heard from the old gentleman, as we rode away, was "I'll have redress,"  "Hingland shall hear of this," and the like, while the boys were making flank movements on all sides, well loaded with the rich spoils of the farm-yard.  I think the number of muskets we picked up, with the Tower stamp on them, did not dispose the general very favorably towards Hinglish subjects.

In another Logan cameo,  the Confederate cavalry are hectoring the Union troops like Tolstoy's Cossacks hectored the French as they retreated from Moscow in the dead of the Russian winter.  The Confederate Cossacks engaged Logan's foragers, kill most and then execute the rest after they surrender.   Logan immediately executes two Confederate prisoners and sends a third back to the Cossacks with the warning that if the Cossacks kill another Yankee who surrenders that he, Logan, will shoot five Confederate prisoners for every Yankee executed.

The war between brothers?