Sherman’s famous field order is one of the war’s great what-ifs. A terrific idea nixed by a man who can only be described as the anti-Lincoln. Reconstruction in microcosm.
Congress created the Freedmen’s Bureau shortly after Sherman’s Field Order No. 15 demanded the redistribution of land to former slaves. The Freedmen’s Bureau was created to ensure that millions of free slaves would begin to receive economic equality and empowerment, their 40 acres and mule, shortly after the Civil War ended. President Johnson, however, reversed Sherman’s policy and issued an order for all land to be returned to the Confederacy’s White landowners and confiscated from the free Blacks.