by officers and soldiers everywhere in the field, endorsed by the government, and in the end approved by all who wished for the success of the national cause.
It was justified alike by its necessity, by its results, and by the course of the rebels themselves.
Its necessity at the East
had been proven by the frequent incursions and raids of the enemy into and through the Shenandoah
In the earlier years of the war this region teemed with provisions and forage from one end to the other, and Stonewall Jackson
was in part indebted to its abundant supplies for his easy triumphs.1
In 1864, Lee
informed the rebel government that one object of the movement against Washington
was to secure the crops of the Valley
; while Early
boasted that his army had been self-sustaining throughout the entire campaign, and had sent large quantities of beef cattle to Lee
His soldiers ground as well as harvested the grain, so that the destruction of the mills became a military measure of the first necessity.
‘It is desirable,’ said Grant
, ‘that nothing should be left to invite the enemy to return. . . The people should be informed that so long as an army can subsist among them, recurrences of these raids must be expected, and we are determined to stop them, at all hazards.’
It was nevertheless no act of vengeance, or even of retaliation, that he proposed.
He repeatedly directed that dwellings should not be