measure was a military success; that it not only compelled the present abandonment of the Valley
, but destroyed all hope of return.
The supplies were not only annihilated, but could not be renewed during the war. Washington
could never again be threatened from the Shenandoah
; and Lynchburg
, now become of immense importance to Lee
, must remain exposed.
The rebels indeed so thoroughly appreciated Grant
's policy that they themselves acted on the same principle.
They not only habitually lived upon the country, everywhere, but they also destroyed what they could not consume, whenever it might be of advantage to the national armies.
They stripped their own families of provisions, leaving them as the national troops advanced, to be fed by those troops, or to starve; and in many parts of the country, not a mill was left to grind grain for the inhabitants, lest the national commanders might find means to supply their soldiers.
justly remarked, at the time: ‘We certainly are not required to treat the so-called non-combatant rebels better than they themselves treat each other.’1
But it was always so. Wherever the enemy was in possession, loyal citizens were persecuted, expatriated, imprisoned, hung; their property was seized, or confiscated; but if a national commander used the property of men in arms against their government, the rebels raised a cry of shame, and pronounced the outrage unprecedented.
Early burnt the undefended town of Chambersburg
, but was shocked at the conflagration of mills; and Lee
, who recommended a partisan warfare, refused to recognize