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Thursday, April 4, 2013
Savannah… Sherman’s March to the Sea
I can not leave the State of Georgia without mentioning the Civil War. There are 350 Civil War sites here in Georgia. To me, the one campaign that stands out is Gen Sherman’s “March to the Sea.” I wouldn’t have enough time left in my life to study all of the campaigns and battles of the Civil War. The article below was copied from Wikipedia, and will give you a sense of how the war effected the people on both sides in this area.
Sherman's "March to the Sea" followed his successful Atlanta Campaign of May to September 1864. He and the U.S. Army commander, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, believed that the Civil War would end only if the Confederacy's strategic, economic, and psychological capacity for warfare were decisively broken. Sherman therefore applied the principles of scorched earth: he ordered his troops to burn crops, kill livestock and consume supplies. Finally he destroyed civilian infrastructure along his path of advance. This strategy is one of the components of total war. The second objective of the campaign was more traditional. Grant's armies in Virginia continued in a stalemate against Robert E. Lee's army, besieged in Petersburg, Virginia. By moving in Lee's rear and performing a massive turning movement against him, Sherman could possibly increase pressure on Lee, allowing Grant the opportunity to break through, or at least keep Southern reinforcements away from Virginia. The campaign was designed by Grant and Sherman to be similar to Grant's innovative and successful Vicksburg Campaign, in that Sherman's armies would reduce their need for traditional supply lines by "living off the land" after consuming their 20 days of rations. Foragers, known as "bummers," would provide food seized from local farms for the Army while they destroyed the railroads and the manufacturing and agricultural infrastructure of Georgia. In planning for the march, Sherman used livestock and crop production data from the 1860 census to lead his troops through areas where he believed they would be able to forage most effectively. Cotton gins and storage bins were to be destroyed because Southerners used the cotton to trade for guns and other supplies. The twisted and broken railroad rails that the troops heated over fires and wrapped around tree trunks and left behind became known as "Sherman's neckties". That is what we did and saw!