Burning of the Shenandoah Valley

Here’s Ranger Eric Campbell, Chief of Interpretation at the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, giving an excellent presentation on “The Burning,” which was Philip H. Sheridan’s destruction of food sources in the Shenandoah Valley in 1864.

The video’s description reads, “Eric Campbell describes the activities of the Union Army in the Shenandoah Valley in 1864 as they moved through region and burned anything that could be of use to the Confederates. He talked about how ‘total war,’ such as burning civilian crops, was an uncommon tactic at that point, and some soldiers found it difficult to carry out. This was part of the four-day conference titled ‘Atlanta, the Shenandoah, and the Turn to Total War,’ held at the Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel and Conference Center.”

It’s a bit wrong, because there was no total war in the Civil War, but many who don’t understand the concept continue to apply it to various parts of the Civil War.

http://www.c-span.org/video/?407815-4/burning-shenandoah-valley

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2 comments

  1. John Stoudt · · Reply

    You had written, “It’s a bit wrong, because there was no total war in the Civil War, but many who don’t understand the concept continue to apply it to various parts of the Civil War.”

    Perhaps I missed your post on that point, but what would you call it instead of “total war”?

    Thanks also for the posts from the CWI.

    1. It’s hard war, but not total war. Total war is where the full resources of a country, including its entire population, is mobilized to support the war effort, making civilians legitimate targets for guns, bombs, and artillery. That didn’t happen during the Civil War.

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