January 27, 1865: Ugly Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman

The Richmond Daily Dispatch runs a fair and balanced portrait of Sherman and the situation in Savannah.

I learned something new from this — turns out “Mokanna” refers to “Al-Muqanna“, a muslim prophet who wore a veil; depending on your faction, either because he was so beautiful it caused riots, or because he was so ugly.

There’s another interesting connection here, because that Al-Muqanna was the inspiration for St. Louis’ venerable Veiled Prophet ball — in itself a Reconstruction-era celebration of the supremacy of the elites over labor.

Anyway, judge for yourself; how ugly was Sherman?

From Savannah.
The Augusta Constitutionalist gathers from some lady refugees from Savannah the following about affairs in that unfortunate city:

“General Sherman is reported as a strikingly ugly man–one of those Mokanna faces, not easily forgotten. He is a devout member of the Episcopal Church, and did not curse until he was ordered to leave Savannah on another campaign. His army is under rigid discipline, and he thinks nothing of degrading officers for contravention of orders and shooting privates for brigandage. Of course he knows how to wink at a number of things, but when politic he cashiers and shoots.

“The bulk of the army is Yankee, though Germans, Irish and Indians abound. They scorn the idea of fighting for the negro, and wax wrathy when called abolitionists. They express a great admiration for President Davis, and think the “rebellion” would have collapsed long since had it not been for him. Their hatred of Lincoln is somewhat cordial. The ‘Stars and Stripes,’ however, are everything.

“Kilpatrick is not much esteemed. The infantry regard him with aversion, and say that Wheeler can whip him at any time.

“Little boys in Savannah are liberally treated to sugar candy. Some of the ladies of Savannah baked and sold bread for a support, but Sherman roughly informed them that they had better save their flour, as when it had gone they need expect nothing of him.

“Of three hundred of our soldiers, captured after the evacuation, all but twenty took the oath. As soon as they had done so Sherman sent them to prison at the North.

“The Yankee authorities declare that they have marked all the rich men who have taken the oath to save their property. It will not serve their purpose.

“Sherman occasionally gives receptions for the negroes. At these levees, the Yankee demigod stands on a dais and receives the adoration of the darkies, who call him their ‘Saviour,’ etc.”

Veiled prophet

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