3 pp., 4to, remnants of mounting on last page." />
9 June 2004
SHIELDS, James (1806-1879), General, U. S. Army. Autograph letter signed ("Jas. Shields") to Gen. N. P. Banks, Strasburg, Va., 8 April 1862. 3 pp., 4to, remnants of mounting on last page.
STRATEGY FOR THE UNION OCCUPATION OF VIRGINIA: "WE HAVE COME TO DESTROY YOUR ARMIES AND OVERTHROW YOUR GOVERNMENT BUT NOT TO INTERFERE WITH YOUR PEOPLE"
Shields, commanding a Union force in the Shenandoah Valley, had once challenged a young Lincoln to a duel (and later became his close friend). Here he comments on a local man whose loyalty had become suspect ("There is something under this that looks to me like a local feud") then considers how the Union army should act as a political force among the Virginia people. "The government as you know has released all held captive for their political opinions. This measure is very distasteful to those behind who aided in their arrest. This too is natural," Shields thought. But he felt it would be wiser for the northern army to make clear to the people of Virginia that "we have come to destroy your armies and overthrow your government but not to interfere with your people if they do not interfere with us." Courts should be left undisturbed. Loyal citizens protected, and "whenever a Union man was expelled from his house," his persecutors should be arrested an "held as hostages until the safety of these loyal men should be assured." Stonewall Jackson had already arrested a number of Union sympathizers. If they were not returned, Shields "would recommend reprisals." He also urges Banks to formulate a policy about "negros who go between our lines and are claimed by their masters."
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