At the start of the conflict, he had seen brutal fighting by guerrillas in Missouri. © Copyright 2021 Center for the National Interest All Rights Reserved. Sherman's March to the Sea refers to a long stretch of devastating Union army movements that took place during the United States Civil War.In the fall of 1864, the Union General William Tecumseh ("Cump") Sherman took 60,000 men and pillaged his way through Georgia's civilian farmsteads. Flattop. Sherman’s task, as outlined by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, was to move against the Confederate Army in northern Georgia, “break it up, and get into the interior of the enemy’s country as far as you can, inflicting all the damage you can against their war resources.” Sherman achieved this goal by repeatedly outflanking the Confederate army of about 60,000 men, led by Gen. Joseph Johnston in a protracted struggle extending more than 100 miles from the Tennessee border to just south of Atlanta, then a major transportation hub and arsenal for the Confederacy. Sherman used his position to crush the resistance of the Western tribes and ultimately force them onto reservations. He then turned his army southwestward and vowed to “make Georgia howl” as his troops lived off the land, destroyed rail lines, and wreaked havoc across the Georgia countryside during its “March to the Sea.” Union troops captured the port city of Savannah, Georgia, on December 21, 1864, and Sherman cabled President Abraham Lincoln that he wished to present him the city of Savannah as a Christmas present. Sherman and the Heights of Total War. There were of course departures from this but usually armies fought each other rather than terrorizing civilian populations – the war with Mexico being an example He eliminated Atlanta's war making potential and brought sheer destruction to Georgia, then offered generous surrender terms. After the war, Sherman remained in the military and eventually rose to the rank of full general, serving as general-in-chief of the army from 1869 to 1883. Browse more videos. However, he assisted Grant during operations along the Cumberland River and gained Grant’s confidence during his performance at Shiloh, where he was wounded twice. Of the western-influenced Union Generals, Sherman was the harshest in inflicting total war. On June 27, Sherman temporarily abandoned his flanking tactics and ordered his armies to attack the Confederates on the steep slope of Kennesaw Mountain (where traces of Confederate entrenchments can still be seen) and adjacent defensive positions with disastrous results. While Sherman’s tactics were brutal, a few cities, including Augusta, Madison, and Savannah were spared. With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. to the Sea, the most destructive campaign against a civilian population during the Civil War (1861-65), began in Atlanta on November 15, 1864, and concluded in Savannah on December 21, 1864. Gen. Sherman called north Georgia “the terrible door of death.”, From May to early September 1864, the opposing armies skirmished, maneuvered, and battled over this ground, and when the fighting stopped, more than 31,000 Union and more than 35,000 Confederates were casualties. Another famous example of total war occurred during the American Civil War with Sherman’s March to the Sea. This war differs from other wars, in this particular. Sherman was not merciless, but he was harsh. Sherman And Total War . Other than my posts on why we remember Lee. Sherman was ordered to carry out what, in later years, would come to be known as “total war”, in that he was given license to destroy anything in his path. Many of these soldiers both white and black were summarily executed no trail just shot this occurred before Sherman’s march. He regarded the civilians there as dangerous as the enemy military. Nine successive defensive positions were taken up by Johnston. Of the western-influenced Union Generals, Sherman was the harshest in inflicting total war. The attack began, Shelby Foote wrote, when 200 Union cannon “roared into action, pounding away at the rebel line on the mountainside and across the flats beyond.” After an hour of shelling, “the attackers emerged into brilliant sunlight, silhouetted against the bright green backdrop of trees, and the rebel headlogs seemed to burst spontaneously into flame ... all up and down ... the line.” The failed attack cost the Union army 3,000 casualties, while the rebels suffered about 1,000. Flattop. However, he, perhaps more than any other commander, understood that victory would only be achieved when the South’s capacity to wage war was sufficiently crippled. “War,” said Sherman, “is cruelty; you cannot refine it.” Controversy persists to this day as to whether Sherman ordered the city of Columbia, South Carolina, the state capital, to be burned or whether fires were set by retreating Rebels. Sherman’s tactics along with those used by Union cavalry commander Philip Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley are seen as the first use of modern total warfare. It was slow, frustrating, and indecisive fighting, but the Federal armies crept toward Atlanta. He said that the Union military was "not only fighting hostile armies, but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war." Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. That spring, he used Chattanooga as a staging area to launch the Atlanta campaign. After the war, Sherman remained in the military and eventually rose to the rank of full general, serving as general-in-chief of the army from 1869 to 1883. Brought up in the family of Thomas Ewing, … The capture of Atlanta, coupled with the success of the Overland Campaign in Virginia and the Union victories in the Shenandoah Valley, translated into electoral success for the president. In early May 1864, about 98,000 Union troops under the command of Gen. William T. Sherman opened the Atlanta campaign by seizing control of Tunnel Hill and the critical rail tunnel for the Western & Atlantic Railroad, located a few miles north of Dalton, Ga. Sherman’s force was divided into three armies: the Army of the Tennessee under Gen. James B. McPherson; the army of the Ohio under Gen. John Schofield; and the main force, the Army of the Cumberland, led by Gen. George H. Thomas, whose heroics the previous year in northern Georgia earned for him the sobriquet “the Rock of Chickamauga.”. Sherman was a believer in total war. Jefferson Davis warned that the fall of Atlanta would “open the way for the Federal Army to the Gulf on the one hand, and to Charleston on the other, and close up those rich granaries from which Lee’s armies are supplied. After that, the minuet continued as Sherman’s armies moved south forcing the rebel army to do likewise. Kiffin threatens to pay $25K SEC fine with pennies. As Lincoln stated in his Second Inaugural Address: Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. 12K 2. After the war, he served as commanding general of the United States Army and remained in contact with veterans organizations. Sherman was elevated to command of Union armies in the Western Theater of the Civil War in 1864. Sherman was not merciless, but he was harsh. Praised for his revolutionary ideas on "total warfare," William T. Sherman died in 1891. In late June, Johnston’s army occupied Kennesaw Mountain, the 700-foot “Gibraltar” of north Georgia. After successfully capturing Atlanta, Georgia, the Union Major General William T. Sherman marched his troops toward Savannah to the Atlantic Ocean. Sherman and the Heights of Total War. Sherman described it as “a perfect couteau, knife edge, a sharp ridge.” A newspaper correspondent expressed his conviction that “all the armies ever marshaled could not successfully storm the position” if occupied sufficiently by enemy troops. Union General William T. Sherman's March to the Sea was a defining chapter in the American Civil War; Sherman became remembered in the South as a brutal proponent of total war. Sherman used this destruction to his full advantage, crippling the entire supply chain. Sherman served in the Second Seminole War, and during the Mexican War he held administrative posts in the California territory. A hidden COVID-19 health crisis: Isolation kills the elderly There would be no compromise peace. Total war is warfare that includes any and all civilian-associated resources and infrastructure as legitimate military targets, mobilizes all of the resources of society to fight the war, and gives priority to warfare over non-combatant needs.. William Tecumseh Sherman (1990). War, Fierce, Tire. Atlanta was the great prize in this struggle. William Tecumseh Sherman At the start of the conflict, he had seen brutal fighting by guerrillas in Missouri. Sherman was plagued by bouts of depression, which resulted in his being relieved of significant responsibility early in the Civil War. Another famous example of total war occurred during the American Civil War with Sherman’s March to the Sea. Of the western-influenced Union Generals, Sherman was the harshest in inflicting total war. Report. 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