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In the Foot Steps of a General
Transcript of In the Foot Steps of a General
South Carolina 1865 Born:1820 Died:1891 Military Accomplishments: Sherman's career in the military began with his graduation from West Point in 1840. He would gain his commission and serve in the Mexican War, but later resign his commission to enter civilian life. He tried to make a business man of himself, but many failed ventures saw him going back to his roots in the military by becoming superintendent of the Louisiana Seminary of Learning and Military Academy. Though he loved the south and supported slavery he was pro-union. The dawn of the Civil War saw Sherman join the Union Army. (Jones, 556) Start of the war 1861 1863 Before the Civil War Jones, Terry. The American Civil War. New York:
The Civil War Remembered: Official National
Park Service Handbook. Virginia Beach: The Donning Company Publishers, 2011 Bibliography Graduate of West Point 1840 Fought in the Mexican War Joined Union Army after South Carolina secession Led a Brigade in the First Bull Run Promoted to Brigadier General of volunteers Divsion Commander under General Grant Lead Army of the Tennessee Lead Millitary Division of the West, Post Civil War General-in Chief Wertz, Jay. The Civil War 1861-1865. London:
Sevanoaks, 2011 Below are just a few songs common of the Civil War era. Culture During the War Youtube. 2011. Accessed March 12,
2013.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGmVlPQTHG July 21, 1861.
The war was still fresh for the young country. Sherman would be a participant in this battle leading a brigade. His actions in the battle would lead him to be promoted to brigadier general and be sent to Kentucky (Jones, 556)
Sherman's next big battle would be at Shiloh, but the road to the battle would drive him to his braking point. In charge of volunteers in Kentucky, Sherman was not eager to attack due to a successful bluff by Confederate General Johnston who made the illusion his force was large by a extended front and anchoring points in the industrial city of Nashville Tennessee.(Wertz, 14) The fatigue associated with command led Sherman to be relieved of his command, but would return by the Battle of Shiloh in 1862.(Wertz, 14) First Battle of Bull Run: 1862 The Battle of Shiloh April 6 & 7, 1862 Sherman was now back from his relived command, and now a division commander under General Grant, Sherman's career would start to flourish. This battle would see Sherman wounded and fighting gallantly along the line with his men. After the battle Another promotion was in the works, and Sherman would become major general. A friendship would develop with General Grant, and both men would devise strategy which would win the West and the war as a whole. Personally I felt Sherman was working his way through the ranks, he was a solider first and foremost, but able to excite and lead men through scary times. Vicksburg Campaign Sherman's War Tactics Personal Thoughts Vicksburg Mississippi July 1863
General Sherman was now a partner with General Grant, and would lead a corps in the siege of Vicksburg. July saw the end of a two month siege at Vicksburg. The plan of Major General Grant would be his ticket to the east. The war to this point had been a stalemate, with the Confederates putting up stiff resistance. General Grant's siege would win in victory the same day as the Battles of Gettysburg would culminate in a Northern victory. With Grant being called east Sherman would now take command of the Western Department where his tactics would bring a total war upon the citizens of the South. He would lead his men into Chattanooga and win later in the year. But his capabilities at Vicksburg and previous campaigns would bring him to the forefront of war. (Wertz, 40-42) (Jones, 557) http://www.history.com/topics/william-t-sherman/videos#shermans-terrifying-tactics General Sherman was a man of logistics.(Jones, 542) His defining moment through Georgia would see him restrict rail access to purely military goods. He would come to find that the South was a hollow shell, with lots of land resources, but not many people. He encouraged his army to survive off the land, which they did. The Generals taking of Atlanta would see him defeat his main rival General Johnston.
The link above is a more in depth look at the stratgies Sherman used in the campaigns he lead. Summer 1864
When one thinks of General Sherman one would think of Georgia. Sherman would literally turn this state into his playground. Hard fighting would ensue with the battles of Resaca, New Hope Church, Brice's Cross Roads, Kennesaw Mountain, Tupelo, Peach Tree Creek, and Atlanta. Sherman now experienced after leading men through Mississippi and Tennessee this campaign would set in motion a path of destruction. Sherman's men fought hard through these battles, and men would be lost of both sides, Sherman while not winning every battle, used his advantage of logistics, and flanking movements to force General Johnston further into Georgia till he he found himself in Atlanta.
Atlanta was important due to its position in deep in the Confederacy. Capturing the city would give a natural base for the March to the Sea, and lower Confederate morale. If the Confederates could not defend their own territory how could they win the War?
Sherman would capture Atlanta in July of 1864, but the Confederates would try to lure him out of Georgia but sending troops to Tennessee. Unfased and preparing for the march Sherman would employ new harsh tactics to the war. The March to the Sea
General Sherman was now planning his march from Atlanta to Savannah. This march would incorporate the most physically fit men out of Sherman's forces. (Jones, 586) His men would be ruthless in their tactics. They would tear of up railways make bonfires out of the timbers and heat the tracks till they could be bent and called Sherman's hair pins.(Jones, 590) Buildings along the way were burnt down, including the state capital. Most of the targets which the men assaulted were public, not private, although looting did occur. Being in the South naturally slaves would follow the Union. Sherman personally did not care for the slaves going with the army because they slowed the movement and took much needed supplies. Able black men were allowed to join the colored troops and many did in this campaign.
Sherman's campaign was a huge success. He captured Savannah after a month of no contact with close friend General Grant, or Lincoln. Sherman would present the city, and pretty much the state of Atlanta to Lincoln as a gift after the capture. In reality Sherman's bold tactics led to great victory and ultimately would finish the job in the West which Grant had started. Jones, Terry L. The American Civil War. New York:
McGraw-Hill, 2010 Into the Heart of Secession: The South Carolina Campaign
Sherman was being moved into postion for a final blow against General Lee, but South Carolina would be the only stepping stone. After a successful campaign in Georgia, Sherman wanted to continue the success opting to march his men overland.(Jones, 606) Sherman was probably much more ruthless in South Carolina than in Georgia. Sherman was quoted to say "Every house, barn, fence, and cotton gin gets and application of the torch." This statement was carried out in full by Sherman's men. These tactics that Sherman encompassed was a mixture of military and physiological warfare, in other terms he put the South into a total war. Personally I feel this campaign carries much more weight due to South Carolina being the beginning point of the war and the first state to secede. General Sherman was certainly a new breed of General in this new style of war. He commanded brilliantly, and his men enjoyed his presence. Although a supporter of slavery, and living in the South when war broke out, he remained loyal to the Union in its most desperate hour. He took the war to the people, and made some of the most historic marches in American military history. Unlike General Grant who made the move into politics, Sherman did not, and in a time when great generals would make this type of jump from field to office was truly astounding to me.(Jones, 557) In the end Sherman believed in his tactics, the plan devised by General Grant and himself, but most of all he believed in himself, and that is truly what it takes to walk in the footsteps of a great leader. He is important to American history, because he used a new style of war, a total war. He brought the war to the people of the South and employed the tactics of destroying the opposing military which in turn would lead to capturing the necessary cities. “Sherman's Terrifying Tactics,” The History Channel website,
http://www.history.comhttp://www.history.com/videos/shermans-terrifying-tactics (accessed Mar 15, 2013). Clip art provided by Microsoft PowerPoint