His vision of hard war brought the Confederacy to its knees, but forestalled thousands of battlefield and civilian deaths. One word still resonates more deeply in the American psyche than any other in the field of Civil War study: The name immediately conjures visions of fire and smoke, destruction and desolation; Atlanta in flames, farms laid to waste and railroad tracks mangled beyond recognition.
At first glance, Alabama-born and Yale-educated Maj. Henry Hitchcock, who had received his appointment only 30 days earlier, seemed to have little in common with the combat-hardened commander from Ohio. That night over a plain but satisfying dinner, and later around the campfire, they chatted about St.
Louis, where Hitchcock, 35, practiced law and Sherman had spent considerable time before the war. The rapport established with his new secretary allowed Sherman to confide that he was not planning to sit on his laurels.
The march would deprive Confederate troops of valuable foodstuffs and destroy railroads. More important, it would demoralize Southern civilians with a punitive demonstration of Northern military might deep in the heart of the Confederacy.
At first, Hitchcock embraced the concept with unqualified enthusiasm.
It was still unclear as the general and his new aide reminisced about St. Louis whether the campaign Sherman envisioned would proceed at all.
Rebel General John B. Hood remained a threat, with a force of up to 40, Grant wanted Sherman to pursue Hood, who had retreated into Alabama hoping to draw Sherman away from recently conquered Atlanta.
But Sherman pressed his unorthodox plan. He also maintained that such a move made tactical sense because it would put the Rebels on the defensive. But above all, a march from Atlanta to the Atlantic Coast offered an opportunity to deliver a crippling blow to Southern morale. Sherman understood well the horror of what he contemplated.
As a newly commissioned colonel back in JulySherman had retreated with the rest of the Union troops at First Bull Run. A year later, with Grant, he survived the bloodbath at Shiloh.
In he aided in the Siege of Vicksburg and later fought with Grant at Chattanooga. Sherman had not been inclined to deal harshly with Rebels at the outset of the war.
While military governor of Memphis in the summer ofhe issued receipts for confiscated property and cultivated local citizens as potential allies. But his attitude changed when he fought Nathan Bedford Forrest in Mississippi. As Forrest waged his guerrilla campaign against Union forces, Sherman began to confiscate civilian foodstuffs, pack animals and anything else that could be used against his troops.
Sherman eventually became convinced that half measures would not do.Let me just chime in here as a fellow who has read both Grant's and Sherman's memoirs. First off, while everyone wants to castigate Sherman as a war criminal, remember that .
Sherman's March to the Sea Sherman had terrorized the countryside; his men had destroyed all sources of food and forage and had left behind a hungry and demoralized people. Although he did not level any towns, he did destroy buildings in places where there was resistance.
Nov 17, · Sherman's March to the Sea is often depicted as a campaign of wanton violence and destruction. Credit Library of Congress To be sure, there was more destruction than allowed by these orders. Sherman telegraphed the full details of Forrest’s raid and Hood’s current position and once again made his case for an expedition to the sea.
Grant, never afraid to bring about a major battle, replied that he thought since Hood was easily located in his north, this was the time and place for Sherman to attack and remove Hood’s menace once. Jeff Shaara talked about the key actions and decisions of the commanders on both sides of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman’s March to the Sea, including Grant, Sherman, Johnston.
Ross McElwee allowed personal travails and outside forces to be included in his final edit of a project which was ostensibly a straight documentary to retrace key landmarks of Gen Sherman's march through the South during the Civil War/5(31).