This has been the American Way of War since the Lincoln regime, which reversed the generations-long abandonment worldwide of the practice of intentionally waging war on civilians, as expressed in the international law of the day and even the U.S. government’s own military code. Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, and all of Lincoln’s other West Point-educated officers were taught there that intentionally waging war on civilians was a war crime that could warrant death by hanging. On May 5, 1861, the New York Herald decried the malicious intentions of the Republican Party of Lincoln in the following way:
“The . . . terrorist newspapers [i.e., ones associated with the Republican Party] . . . express a vindictive malice, and revengeful cruelty, which exhaust the whole vocabulary of execration and menace.” One paper wrote that “When the rebellious traitors [Southern secessionists] are overwhelmed in the field . . . it must not be to return to peaceful and contented homes. They must find poverty at their firesides, and see privation in the anxious eyes of mothers, and the rags of children.” Another paper “calls . . for the punishment of all individuals at the South, by hanging, and the confiscation of everyone’s property. ” Richmond “must be laid in ashes.” Baltimore “must become a heap of cinders and ashes” and “its inhabitants ‘ought either to be slaughtered, or scattered to the winds . . .” Virginia and Maryland “deserve to be laid waste and made desolate.”
The motto of all the Republican Party newspapers that wrote such things, said the New York Herald, was: “We mean not merely to conquer, but to subjugate.” All in the name of “national unity,” of course.
The May 5 1861 New York Herald editorial is published in Howard Cecil Perkins, editor, Northern Editorials on Secession (Glouchester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1964), pp. 824-826.11:21 am on July 2, 2014 Email Thomas DiLorenzo