‘Never mind — if it was bad, Sherman did it!’

“According to William Surface of the Museum of the Cape Fear in Fayetteville, North Carolina, ‘It became a badge of honor for some Southerners to have an ancestor whose house was burned by Sherman’s troops.’

“Betty McCain, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, exemplified this mindset while testifying [in 1994] before the North Carolina Historical Commission in opposition to a proposed memorial to Sherman’s troops at Bentonville Battleground.

“She declared that her foremother fought off Sherman’s men with a broom three different times, when they tried to burn down her house near Wilmington. With no McCain ancestors to stop them, Sherman’s men did burn the warehouses in Wilmington, McCain claimed, as part of their swath of destruction across the state.

“Apparently McCain did not know that Confederates set the Wilmington warehouses ablaze before pulling out of the town, to deny materiel to the Union. Nor did she know that Sherman’s men never came within a hundred miles of Wilmington! Never mind — if it happened in North Carolina and was bad, Sherman did it !”

— From “Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong” by James W. Loewen (2007)

 

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