of this country.
Almost without exception, the soldiers of all grades in the Union
army desired to treat the conquered South
with all possible kindness and humanity, while the men who inflicted upon the Southern
people the worst form of cruelty were men who had never fought a battle.
There have been some cruel soldiers in the world, many more cruel men who were not soldiers except perhaps in name.
Men of that character generally avoid danger.
What mankind has most to dread is the placing of military power in the hands of men who are not real soldiers.
They are quite sure to abuse it in one way or the other, by cruelty to their own men, or else to others.
The same disregard for human life which induces an ignorant man to take command of troops and send them to useless slaughter may well manifest itself in barbarity toward prisoners of war or non-combatants; but a real soldier is never guilty of either of those crimes, which seem to me alike among the greatest in military experience.
The Modoc Indians
were a brave people, and had always been friends of the whites; but their old home in southern Oregon
was rich grazing-land, and was much coveted by the ranchmen of that region.
Hence the Modocs were induced in some way to leave their homes and go upon the Klamath
There they were starved and generally abused until they could stand it no longer.
They went back to their old place, and declared they would die rather than go to live with the Klamaths again.
Repeated requests were made by the Indian Bureau to the War Department to force the Modocs to go back to the Klamaths; but this was firmly opposed by General Canby
, commanding the department; by me, who then commanded the Division
of the Pacific
; and by General Sherman
, commanding the army.
No such order could be obtained in the regular way. Resort was had to an innocent old army regulation which directed department commanders to render such military