War Crimes Against Southern Civilians. A-Book-Review

War Crimes Against Southern Civilians by Walter Brian Cisco, Pelican Publishing Company - 2007 - 220 pages

Mr. Cisco starts out brilliant enough beginning with the Union atrocities committed on Missouri citizens at Camp Jackson in St. Louis, where German mercenaries under General Nathaniel Lyon surrounded the legally mustered Missouri State Militia taking them prisoner.  As the soldiers were being led away to be paroled a large assembly gathered precipitating the German mercenaries to fire on the unarmed crowd killing 28 innocent men, women and children. One woman had her two children in her arms killed. Seventy-five others were wounded.  The following day another 10 citizens were murdered again by Lyon's German mercenaries.  For this atrocity Lyon was promoted from captain to brigadier-general by Abraham Lincoln.   

The writing is in an easy readable style that is hard to put down simply because the reader finds the level of Union atrocities unbelievable.  Though Missouri initially suffered a full two years before the Southern blue bloods in the Eastern Theater felt the crushing blow on their way of life by Lincoln's generals Cisco takes us through several states showing how the level of atrocity on Southern civilians was an act of collusion orchestrated from Washington. Lincoln's aim was not so much to achieve a military victory in the field as to wipe away all semblance of the Southern way of life as possible. Many a Kansas Jayhawker or Union forager stole everything that "wasn't nailed down or burning hot." Diaries by Northern soldiers give ample evidence bragging of their thieving expeditions.  

The principle of people having the right to freely choose their own destiny was utterly repugnant to Lincoln. The understandable principle, on which the war was waged by the North, was simply this: That Southerners might be compelled to submit to, and support, a government that they did not want, and that resistance, on their part made them traitors and criminals. But the most astonishing revelation that Cisco brings to light is the atrocities committed on free blacks and slaves that came under Federal protection. Slaves were robbed of all their possessions and those that thought that by leaving their masters and following the juggernaut of the invading Union army found themselves miles from their homes, left without shelter, food or clothing, leaving them to starve to death. Reports of rapes on Negroes by Union soldiers was a common occurrence in every Union army but the most horrendous act was by soldiers of General William T. Sherman who gave supposedly medicine to hundreds of helpless slaves that turned out to be poison. Their deaths were pitiful and painful.   

For those wishing to gain a better understanding of the War for Southern Independence by discovering the actions and philosophy of the Union army off the battlefield I highly recommend War Crimes Against Southern Civilians. It will be a welcomed addition to my own library.  

Cisco is an accomplished author who has already brought us other fine books such as: States Rights Gist - A South Carolina General of the Civil War and many others.  Author Walter Brian Cisco has published articles in Southern Partisan, Civil War, and Confederate Veteran.  His book Wade Hampton: Confederate Warrior, Conservative Statesman won the Douglas Southall Freeman History Award from the Military Order of the Stars and Bars in 2006.

. Paul R. Petersen © 2010 Quantrillsguerrillas.com. "Permission should be requested and agreed to before using this copyrighted essay and/or image." 

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