Author Burrus M. Carnahan, a retired Air Force Officer and a professorial lecturer at George Washington University Law School, explores how Abraham Lincoln was justified under the law of war to treat the civilians of the South during the Civil War harshly.
Many have considered his and his army’s treatment of civilians as unlawful. Carnahan points out that Lincoln was justified in his actions against the South, though Lincoln was careful not to inflict too much misery on the people of the South. Unfortunately, his army was not so concerned. Lincoln intervened when he knew of cases of injustice (Carnahan points some of these out).
Lincoln stood between a hard place and a rock: he had to treat the South legally as rebels without giving recognition to the Confederacy as a nation. Carnahan lays out why Lincoln had to cross that line at times. Lincoln on Trial is highly recommended to those interested in Lincoln and the Civil War.