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The Image before the WeaponA Critical History of the Distinction between Combatant and Civilian$
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Helen M. Kinsella

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449031

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449031.001.0001

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General Orders 100, Union General Sherman’s March to Atlanta, and the Sand Creek Massacre

General Orders 100, Union General Sherman’s March to Atlanta, and the Sand Creek Massacre

(p.82) 4 General Orders 100, Union General Sherman’s March to Atlanta, and the Sand Creek Massacre
The Image before the Weapon

Helen M. Kinsella

Cornell University Press

This chapter investigates the identification and protection of civilians during the American Civil War and the U.S.-Indian wars, focusing on the period 1861–1865. Specifically, the chapter concentrates on General William Sherman's march to Atlanta in 1864 and compares the descriptions and justifications of it to those of the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, in which over two hundred Indians were slaughtered. It illustrates how the discourses of gender and of civilization are applied in various contexts, with the statements of General Sherman most vividly capturing these differences. In reference to the American Civil War, he argued, “war is at best barbarism, but to involve all—children, women, old, and helpless—is more than can be justified.” In contrast, in the U.S.-Indian wars, he instructed his men to “act with vindictiveness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women, and children.”

Keywords:   American Civil War, U.S.-Indian wars, William Sherman, Sand Creek Massacre, Sioux, discourses of gender, discourses of civilization

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