I have not spent much time either in the rural South or the Midwest. (I am glad to hear that Indianapolis has a fine Civil war memorial, although as a native Baltimorean I try and stay away
from Indianapolis.) In New England, the memorials are all of common soldiers, at least outside the big cities. In the South, at least in the cities, the memorial are all of generals. I have always thought that reflected a profound difference in outlook—the South was hierarchical and the North the home of the common man. Thus, Northern monuments focus on the sacrifice of Northern soldiers, but perhaps that focus merely reflects the fact that the Southern generals—esp Lee and Jackson—were more heroic (in a movie sense). After all, Grant and Sherman were even better generals, but they lack the panache of the Rebs, and they also do not representa “Lost Cause.’ Perhaps Al and other
commentators might have something to say on this.
A few years ago I was in rural Georgia in a small town where a sign told me that the town was spared from Sherman’s soldiers because the town’s mayor and Sherman had been friends. My immediate
thought was—“No one’s perfect.” In other words, this town also should have been burned by Sherman.
The town was lovely, and it would have been a great loss to have burned it. Things of beauty are, of course, all too rare. On the other hand, the beauty was built on the backs of slaves, and Sherman’s March to the Sea was designed to destroy Southern resistance. Moreover, the buildings that survived surely
passed into the hands of those who inherited them from slave labor. Why should those owners have been exempt from the whirlwind that they sowed?