Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014

Great party

John Ricketson’s letter in a recent Viewpoint edition about his dog doing backflips when Georgia beats Tech was interesting. Rumor has it that when Tech beat Georgia last week John’s dog ordered Purina Chow pizza and a keg of suds. He then invited 16 of his friends over, including Fido who has the unique ability to play the tuba. I heard Fido tooted Rambling Wreck at least a hundred times and everyone barked about logarithms and centrifuges until 3 a.m. when the cops broke up the celebration.

Now that’s what I call a party. A backflip? Humbug.

-- John G. Kelley Jr.


Voice mail woes

I just read Wayne Crenshaw’s article about the voice mail problems Houston County is having. It seems that some county employees, most notably the State Court clerk, are not returning voice messages and/or not keeping their in-boxes current and allowing them to become full. I can’t believe Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker’s solution to the problem is doing away with voice mail. Say what?

It’s like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Why punish your customers? Who really believes that doing away with voice mail would be an acceptable solution to this problem? Who is to say that employees would not simply leave their phones “off the hook” during business hours? What about after hours calls?

If something has to go, it should be the State Court clerk and any other county employee who cannot manage their jobs, not the voice mail system. Anyone who can’t manage their voice mail is incompetent and should be replaced. Oh wait. Let’s do what the school board does. Let’s hire a deputy assistant State Court clerk for voice mail. He/she could spend the day returning calls and deleting voice messages for all county employees, freeing the regular employees to do whatever it is that they do.

All this is said not to disparage all county employees, just to poke the commission chairman for coming up with this solution, as quoted in Crenshaw’s article: “In my opinion if it does not improve, with people clearing their voice messages and returning people’s phone calls, the board of commissioners should consider totally doing away with voice messages on all county phones.” As for elected officials, if they are not managing their voice mail systems, that is their problem and hopefully voters will call them to task for their failure.

By the way, I just called the county commissioner’s office and the State Court clerk’s office. The commissioners phone rang for several minutes with no answer at all. No human, no machine. The clerk’s office phone did answer, but never allowed the opportunity to leave a message. Go figure.

-- Jerry Norris

Warner Robins

March rebuttal

Sunday’s article by Avery Chenoweth Sr. failed entirely in “Setting the record straight on Sherman’s march.” But it did provide a holiday cornucopia of misreadings, distortions and flat-out mistakes, together with a wonderfully emotional introductory description of “Southerners’ benighted and knee-jerk misconception” of the march.

This first paragraph clearly suggested that what followed would be subjective and anti-Southern, and it was, but only a few of the most glaring factual errors are addressed below:

Wheeler’s cavalry (though closer to 3,500 than Chenoweth’s 5,000) was not “the only force to face and harass Sherman.” In addition to the cavalry, there were originally around 3,000 state and Confederate troops in Macon (some of whom waged the campaign’s only major infantry engagement at Griswoldville). In Savannah, the Confederates ultimately gathered some 10,000 men from all sources to man the city’s fortifications. Some of them also crossed into South Carolina on Nov. 30 and defeated a Union force attempting to break Savannah’s rail communication with the outside world.

Instead of “5,000 head of cattle to be slaughtered on the way” to Savannah, Sherman’s herd actually numbered 3,476 on leaving Atlanta. En route, 13,294 cattle were captured (representing catastrophic losses to their owners), and 9,909 were slaughtered, still leaving over 6,800 cattle to arrive with the troops in Savannah.

Sherman’s offer to pay for what his army consumed was made to Georgia Gov. Joseph E. Brown before the march began and was contingent on Brown’s withdrawing the Georgia troops from the Confederate armies. He didn’t withdraw them and payment for supplies did not become Sherman’s policy.

Whether or not Sherman’s men “set out to burn any plantations,” they did so on many occasions (and burned villages as well, including Hillsboro and Griswoldville). Regarding Howell Cobb’s plantation above Milledgeville, Sherman himself sent word to one of his generals to “spare nothing.” A Union officer passing the next day thought that Cobb’s “place looked as though it had been visited by a very healthy and vigorous cyclone.”

Sherman’s march “brought war for the first time to Georgia” only if one omits the reduction of Fort Pulaski in April 1862, the burning of Darien in June 1863, and the Battle of Chickamauga the following September, along with various other raids and skirmishes.

That Sherman “only pursued actions of military necessity” is denied by Sherman himself, who estimated the material damage to Georgia at “$100 million -- at least $20 million of which was inured to (the Union army’s) advantage and the remainder is simple waste and destruction.”

To assert that Savannah “surrendered ... without a fight” is simple to say, impossible to prove. Savannah’s surrender actually came after the reduction of Fort McAllister and 10 days of artillery and sharpshooter action, before the Confederate army withdrew into South Carolina on Dec. 20-21.

Although the above list does not begin to correct all the problems with Chenoweth’s article, it should indicate that the piece contains much more attitude and opinion than factual information. Sadly, it will probably be widely believed and quoted, and thus bring more heat than light to discussions of Sherman’s March.

-- William Harris Bragg


The people have spoken

If the people are truly the government. They have spoken. Let justice reign or is justice blind and cannot see the truth. RIP Michael Brown.

-- Peggy Mohammed