Never to be voted most popular

“I peremptorily required that all the citizens and families resident in Atlanta should go away, giving to each the option to go south or north, as their interests or feelings dictated.  I was resolved to make Atlanta a pure military garrison or depot, with no civil population to influence military measures.  I had seen Memphis, Vicksburg, Natchez, and New Orleans, all captured from the enemy, and each at once was garrisoned by a full division of troops, if not more; so that success was actually crippling our armies in the field by detachments to guard and protect the interests of a hostile population.

“I gave notice of this purpose, as early as the 4th of September, to General Halleck, in a letter concluding with these words: ‘If the people raise a howl against my barbarity and cruelty, I will answer that war is war, and not popularity-seeking.  If they want peace, they and their relatives must stop the war.’

“I knew, of course, that such a measure would be strongly criticized, but made up my mind to do it with the absolute certainty of its justness, and that time would sanction its wisdom.  I knew that the people of the South would read in this measure two important conclusions: one, that we were in earnest; and the other, if they were sincere in their common and popular clamor ‘to die in the last ditch,’ that the opportunity would soon come.” – William Tecumseh Sherman, Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman

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