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Shermans March to the Sea

this is my Civil War Project

Brandon Beck

on 8 October 2010

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Transcript of Shermans March to the Sea

Sherman's March to the Sea Created by: William Tecumseh Sherman Once nicknamed the avenging angel by the north
and the devil himself by the south Sherman, commanding the Military Division of the Mississippi, did not employ his entire army group in the campaign. Confederate Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood was threatening Sherman's supply line from Chattanooga, and Sherman detached two armies under Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas to deal with Hood in the Franklin-Nashville Campaign. For the Savannah Campaign, Sherman's remaining force of 62,000 men (55,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry, and 2,000 artillerymen manning 64 guns) was divided into two columns for the march: The campaign was designed 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 their 20 days of rations were consumed. 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 the state. 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". Since the army would be out of touch with the North throughout the campaign, Sherman gave explicit orders, Sherman's Special Field Orders, No. 120, regarding the conduct of the campaign Sherman's March to the Sea followed his successful Atlanta Campaign of May to September 1864. He and 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, consume supplies, and destroy civilian infrastructure along their path. This policy is often considered a component strategy of total war. The recent re-election of President Abraham Lincoln ensured that short-term political pressure would not be applied to restrain these tactics. A second objective of the campaign was more traditional. Grant's armies in Virginia continued to be in a stalemate
against Robert E. Lee's army, besieged in Petersburg, Virginia. By moving in Lee's rear, 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. sonofthesouth.net virginiawestern.edu britannica.com "Uncle Billy" It was remembered as “one of the most brilliant or one of the most foolish things ever performed by a military leader” November 1864, Union Major General William Tecumseh Sherman burned Atlanta and began his march to the sea Sherman cut off lines of communication with the North, he and 62,000 troops with 20 days worth of rations and 40 rounds per man and 200 per man in the wagons
His objective-march 275 miles in 6 weeks (arriving around Christmas) between Hilton Head and Savannah where they could be resupplied by the U.S. navy, and march North. Sherman divided them in half into wings which would march to the Atlantic in separate but roughly parallel routes Northern Wing- XIV and XX corps of the old army of Cumberland Commanded by Major General Henry W Slocum would head east from Atlanta toward Augusta
Brigadier General Jefferson C Davis was in charge of XIV and Brigadier General Alpheus S Williams in charge of XX In doing this Sherman’s plan hoped whatever Confederates were around would rush to defend these important rail junctions that after a week or so the 2 wings would change course and veer toward each other, converging on Milledgeville, Georgia’s capitol to confuse the enemy with a double feint Also doing this allowed each wing more room to forage for more food the deployment would enable the army to cut a broad swath of distraction sometimes 60 miles wide through central Georgia MACON Kilpatrick’s cavalry men were ready, leading Howard’s men toward Macon
Confederate cavalry came and were soon setting up a succession of road blocks at east point, rough and ready, Jonesboro, Stockbridge, and love joys’ station in hopes to slow their advance
There were too many federal horsemen and they went with too much force that they had to scatter in every direction those who could not got killed or captured Major General Joseph Wheeler was a commander of 3,500 troops , as Kilpatrick’s approached Macon, 2,000 of Wheelers troops went to the defensive where they un-mounted and dug earthworks, waiting for the federal troops, 1,500 of the others traveled behind and around the Federal army attacking any who drifted away to far from the main force. Kilpatrick convincingly attacked the men and withdrew leaving confederates to believe the rest of the federal army would also soon be coming Wheeler was sure his defenses helped save Macon Governor Joseph Brow from Milledgeville; former governor Howell Cobb, and Robert Toombs, a onetime secretary of state also came to Macon’s aide, Major General Gustaus W Smith brought 3,000 trained volunteers, boys and over aged farmers General William Hardee had come from Savannah to take command of these inadequate forces and lieutenant General Richard Taylor arrived and examined this and reported to Richmond. Sherman never came to attack Macon which left the Confederates in confusion and in a predicament of where to set up to make a stand to follow and slow down the federal army General Braxton Bragg, chief of staff in Richmond and General PGT Beauregard issued no orders fr decisive action, General Hardee and Richard Taylor recognized that Sherman feinted and was headed for Augusta or savannah, Hardee left for the coast and ordered General Smith to avoid battle as they rode thier way to assist Augusta, instructions that in a short time would disobey at a great cost. General Braxton Bragg, chief of staff in Richmond and General PGT Beauregard issued no orders fr decisive action, General Hardee and Richard Taylor recognized that Sherman feinted and was headed for Augusta or savannah, Hardee left for the coast and ordered General Smith to avoid battle as they rode thier way to assist Augusta, instructions that in a short time would disobey at a great cost. FORAGING PARTIES Both wings were moving steadily and efficiently “skirmishes were in advance, flankers were out, and foraging parties were ahead gathering supplies from rich plantations expected to make 15 miles a day, destroying such property as designated by the corps Commander and consumed everything eatable by men or beat” Captain Each foraging Party contained 20-30 men under control by an officer were sent out every morning, they were usually mounted on horses or mules found along the way, providing great mobility and escaping purposes in case of any Wheeler’s detachments were nearby. Each officer knew the route the army was headed and were able to rejoin them at sundown. Also had a good idea where the other parties were in earshot in case shots were fired and they required assistance, Many Southern believed Sherman himself told his troops to destroy and loot everything him in the plantations. Sherman’s actual orders were to “forage liberally on the country” seizing whatever is needed for command and forbade trespassing in the dwellings of inhabitants and to discriminate the rich who were usually hostile and the poor and industrious, usually neutral or friendly in either case a reasonable portion of food was to be left behind to maintain the families household The men enthusiastically followed Sherman’s order to forage liberally but tended to ignore those instructions that urged restraint, a party would clean out the steakhouse, kill the chickens and hogs the more vengeful foraging parties would slaughter the rest in any case many a farm or plantation family found it had precious little left to eat Some foragers would loot family jewels and clothing most jewels were buried in the ground so the soldiers would look for freshly dug holes and grab the hidden jewels. Sometimes slaves’ volunteered to them where their masters jewels were or their neighbors would help. One time a foraging party dug up a box that had a dead dog in it. The woman of the plantation complained that’s the 4th time that day and he’d never get any peace FIELD ORDER 15 Confiscated as federal property, a strip of coastline streching from Charleston, South Carlolina to the St Johns River in Florida including Georgia's sea-islands and the mainland 30 miles in from the coast, The order redistruibuted roughly 400,000 acres of land to the newly freed black familes It Served as a means of providing to the black refugees who had been following Sherman's army a great distance. He could not afford to support or protect them while he was marching. http://www.history.com/topics/william-t-sherman/interactives/shermans-march As the XIV Corps prepared to cross Ebenezer Creek, Davis ordered that the refugees be held back, ostensibly 'for their own safety' because Wheeler's horsemen would contest the advance. 'On the pretense that there was likely to be fighting in front, the negroes were told not to go upon the pontoon bridge until all the troops and wagons were over,' explained Colonel Charles D. Kerr of the 126th Illinois Cavalry, which was at the rear of the XIV Corps.

'A guard was detailed to enforce the order, ' Kerr recalled. 'But, patient and docile as the negroes always were, the guard was really unnecessary.'

Though what happened once Davis's troops had all crossed remains in dispute, it seems fairly certain that Davis had the pontoon bridge dismantled immediately, leaving the refugees stranded on the creek's far bank. Kerr wrote that as soon as the Federals reached their destination, 'orders were given to the engineers to take up the pontoons and not let a negro cross.' Sherman's armies reached the outskirts of Savannah on December 10 but found that Hardee had entrenched 10,000 men in good positions, and his soldiers had flooded the surrounding rice fields, leaving only narrow causeways available to approach the city. Sherman was blocked from linking up with the U.S. Navy as he had planned, so he dispatched cavalry to Fort McAllister, guarding the Ogeechee River, in hopes of unblocking his route and obtaining supplies awaiting him on the Navy ships. On December 13, William B. Hazen's division of Howard's army stormed the fort in the Battle of Fort McAllister and captured it within 15 minutes. Some of the 134 Union casualties were caused by torpedoes, a name for crude land mines that were used only rarely in the war. Now that Sherman had connected to the Navy fleet under Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren, he was able to obtain the supplies and siege artillery he required to invest Savannah. On December 17, he sent a message to Hardee in the city: I have already received guns that can cast heavy and destructive shot as far as the heart of your city; also, I have for some days held and controlled every avenue by which the people and garrison of Savannah can be supplied, and I am therefore justified in demanding the surrender of the city of Savannah, and its dependent forts, and shall wait a reasonable time for your answer, before opening with heavy ordnance. Should you entertain the proposition, I am prepared to grant liberal terms to the inhabitants and garrison; but should I be forced to resort to assault, or the slower and surer process of starvation, I shall then feel justified in resorting to the harshest measures, and shall make little effort to restrain my army—burning to avenge the national wrong which they attach to Savannah and other large cities which have been so prominent in dragging our country into civil war. Hardee decided not to surrender but to escape. On December 20, he led his men across the Savannah River on a pontoon bridge hastily constructed of rice flats. The next morning, Savannah Mayor R. D. Arnold rode out to formally surrender, in exchange for General Geary's promise to protect the city's citizens and their property. Sherman's men, led by Geary's division of the XX Corps, occupied the city the same day. Sherman telegraphed to President Lincoln, "I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the City of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty guns and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton." On December 26, the president replied in a letter: From Savannah, Sherman marched north in the spring through the Carolinas, intending to complete his turning movement and combine his armies with Grant's against Robert E. Lee. After a successful two-month campaign, Sherman accepted the surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston and his forces in North Carolina on April 26, 1865. Many, many thanks for your Christmas gift – the capture of Savannah. When you were leaving Atlanta for the Atlantic coast, I was anxious, if not fearful; but feeling that you were the better judge, and remembering that 'nothing risked, nothing gained' I did not interfere. Now, the undertaking being a success, the honour is all yours; for I believe none of us went farther than to acquiesce. And taking the work of Gen. Thomas into the count, as it should be taken, it is indeed a great success. Not only does it afford the obvious and immediate military advantage; but, in showing to the world that your army could be divided, putting the stronger part to an important new service, and yet leaving enough to vanquish the old opposing force of the whole – Hood's army – it brings those who sat in darkness, to see a great light. But what next? I suppose it will be safer if I leave Gen. Grant and yourself to decide. Please make my grateful acknowledgements to your whole army – officers and men. Brandon Southern Wing XV and XVII corps of the old army of Tennessee commanded by Major General Oliver O. Howard would go south east toward Macon
Major General peter J Oserhaus in charge of XV and Major general Frances Preston Blair Jr in charge of XVII Brigadier General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick led 5,000 cavalry well ahead of Howard’s wing other info:
importance of Charleston and Savannah
Sherman's view on slavery even though revoked later by president andrew jackson
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