I know it is common, and too common a practice to accuse General Sullivan of having destroyed peach trees and cornfields, and all that nonsense. He had to do it, and he did do it.
Why does the Almighty strike down the tree with lightning? Why does He bring forth the thunderstorm? To purify the air, so that the summer time may come, and the harvest and the fruits. And so with war. When all things ought to be peaceful, war comes and purifies the atmosphere we are better for it; you are better for it; we are all better for it. Wherever men raise up their hands to oppose this great advancing tide of civilization, they must be swept aside, peaceably if possible, forcibly if we must.
[T]here is plenty of good land on this continent, yet unsettled. If our young men in the east, would go out there [out West] and lay the foundation for future States and future homes, that would be all the battle and we would not have growling about Indians and negroes, and other questions that disturb our politicians today: …our destiny is not to growl with each other, but to go forth and replenish the earth and those who obey it will reap the advantage and I will die in peace, knowing that which we fought for has been fully accomplished.
General William ‘Tecumseh’ Sherman Sullivan-Clinton Centennial Commemoration Elmira, New York 1879