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Through the Heart of DixieSherman's March and American Memory$
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Anne Sarah Rubin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781469617770

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469617770.001.0001

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Brave Bummers of the West

Brave Bummers of the West

(p.94) Chapter Four Brave Bummers of the West
Through the Heart of Dixie

Anne Sarah Rubin

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter presents the common soldier's perspective of the March. The popular image of Sherman's soldiers is that of “bummers”: basically thieves and vagabonds, lacking all military discipline. However, the troops on the March saw themselves differently, and they quickly turned the pejorative “bummer” into a point of pride and framed the March as a lark or a picnic. From their perspective, it was a time of lighthearted fun, lots to eat, and relative safety. There is also an element of defensiveness in many of their writings, and their stories often featured examples of kindness toward Southern whites (and occasionally blacks as well). Sherman's men saw themselves as having won the war and would accept no criticism of their actions. They believed that they did what they had to do and that Southerners deserved what they got.

Keywords:   Sherman's March, Civil War, Union soldiers, bummers

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