22 June 2008

A Bad Night In Dixie



The trouble with the word "Night" is that there are just way too many of them. My first thought was the Van Gogh picture and Don McClean song "Starry Starry Night", but I've done that already, so enjoy the link and pictures. How about a fun trip to my youth with the Four Seasons and Oh What A Night? No. Nice song but no bells going off.

Then there is what is probably one of the world's best bedtime books for children that has now been around more than 60 years, Goodnight Moon. When it comes to stories, then Scherezade had 1001 nights of tales to tell that you can read with just one click. Or how about, "They're Coming To Get You!". You can actually go on line to watch the full, classic "Night of the Living Dead". Both way too recent for me. Let's go back in time. I need an historical event, a movie, and a song. If you are going to do something with the prompt of a single word - Over do it!

One of the most shocking acts during the Civil War was the destruction of the railroad tracks that supplied the Confederate Army. The brutal raid towards the end of the fighting was led by Major General George Stoneman using Sherman's concept of "total war". Stoneman laid waste to hundreds of miles of Southern territory, destroying virtually everything in his path. By clicking on the link to his name you will reach eight solid pages of Civil War History about a single event on one of the best sites on the web for those who can't get enough: Historynet dot com. To give you an idea of the quality of the writing on Historynet dot com, here is the closing paragraph:


Stoneman and his cavalry division thus passed out of the war and into local legend. The raid had been a powerful one. A force of only 6,000 men had destroyed uncountable tons of supplies and miles of railroad tracks, shocked the local citizens with the reality of war, traveled more than 600 miles through enemy territory, and assisted in the capture of Jefferson Davis. Stoneman, one historian appraised, had utilized the methods of Sherman in a 'splendidly conceived, ably executed attack upon the war potential and the civilian population of the South.’ Sherman himself, the author of the concept of total war, admiringly referred to Stoneman’s raid as ‘fatal to the hostile armies of Lee and Johnston.’ Stoneman and his men, beyond any doubt, had amply fulfilled their orders ‘to destroy.’
That's the history and here for those who just want the short hand version is The Band from "The Last Waltz" with The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. (Click on song title for the story of how it came to be written).





15 comments:

anthonynorth said...

Oh What a Night certainly holds memories for me. A great song. The American Civil War I've studies quite a lot, particularly the effect of industry on it, making it the first modern war of attrition.
Great post.

WillThink4Wine said...

I almost put the night they drove old dixie down, too. but it it not well-received here in the south.

onangelwings said...

I love how you were able to have Good Night Moon and Night of the Living Dead in the same paragraph. Good take on Night!

Villager said...

Happy MM! Excellent insights. I especially enjoyed the reminder of 'Goodnight Moon' book that I used to read to my children all the time...

I used my MM entry this week to honor one of America's greatest poets, Langston Hughes. I hope that your blog readers will check out my MM post if they have time or inclination.

peace, Villager

Adam,the Bee said...

Great post.
I remember Starry Starry Night.

The Flying Monkeys said...

Those are nice shots! We just got back from Ocean city, no really good night shots!

Come check out the night of my blog!

Ivanhoe said...

I loved Sheherazad's 1001 tales book! Have a great Monday!

Salamat said...

Oh, I learned something new today:) _the Stoneman...
thanks for dropping by and have a great MM!

Marilyn said...

Total war? I learned something new. I'm going to follow the links now and read up on it. Maybe history dot com will be a good homeschooling resource.

Gattina said...

The concept "total war" was also used at the end of WW II by Hitler.

Travis said...

I've always loved that song. And I thought of Starry Starry Night as well...which is one of my favorite Don McClean songs.

frenchkys said...

I wanted to write about a number of things, too, about this week's "night."

Very interesting post. I just love history.

Sarge Charlie said...

Great post I wish I had thought of that song.

Linda said...

Excellent post with a very interesting history lesson. Sherman's method of "total war" was certainly brutal but I guess it drove the point home. It's just too bad that brothers ever took up arms against brothers and our country was reduced to such a sad state.

Still, at least it only happened once unlike many other countries who are in a constant state of civil war.

Mo said...

This reminds me - I was going to post
Julia Sugarbaker's "And that was the Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia" rant for "night" but I forgot!

You always have such informative MM's!