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 (1861-1865) Civil War Battles (Eastern Theater)
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NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
March to the Sea
11/15/2022 6:35:15 AM
On November 15, 1864, Union General William T. Sherman begins his expedition across Georgia by torching the industrial section of Atlanta and pulling away from his supply lines. For the next six weeks, Sherman’s army destroyed most of the state before capturing the Confederate seaport of Savannah, Georgia.

Sherman captured Atlanta in early September 1864 after a long summer campaign. He recognized his vulnerability in the city, however, as his supply lines stretched all the way from Nashville, Tennessee. Confederate raiders such as Nathan Bedford Forrest threatened to cut his lines, and Sherman had to commit thousands of troops to protect the railroads and rivers that carried provisions for his massive army. Sherman split his army, keeping 60,000 men and sending the rest back to Nashville with General George Thomas to deal with the remnants of Confederate General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee, the force Sherman had defeated to take Atlanta.



After hearing that President Abraham Lincoln had won re-election on November 8, Sherman ordered 2,500 light wagons loaded with supplies. Doctors checked each soldier for illness or injuries, and those who were deemed unfit were sent to Nashville. Sherman wrote to his general in chief, Ulysses S. Grant, that if he could march through Georgia it would be “proof positive that the North can prevail.” He told Grant that he would not send couriers back, but to “trust the Richmond papers to keep you well advised.” Sherman loaded the surplus supplies on trains and shipped them back to Nashville. On November 15, the army began to move, burning the industrial section of Atlanta before leaving. One witness reported “immense and raging fires lighting up whole heavens… huge waves of fire roll up into the sky; presently the skeleton of great warehouses stand out in relief against sheets of roaring, blazing, furious flames.” Sherman’s famous destruction of Georgia had begun.


mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 177
Joined: 2020
March to the Sea
11/15/2022 11:55:14 AM

Group,

“Sherman’s army destroyed most of the state before capturing the Confederate seaport of Savannah, Georgia”

NYGiant

Sorry, No not so much. The march only covered a narrow strip 50-60 miles wide for the 250 mile long trip.
Columbus, Macon, Athens, and Augusta were not raided.
The entire southern 1/3-1/2 of Georgia was untouched.
The march only covered about 15000 sqmi of the state about 25%.
Yes within that area was much destruction of war resources and foraging for food and forage.
Undoubtedly some atrocities occurred but at a very small scale and
Sherman’s orders were against general destruction along the route.

Thanks, Mike_C.
mikecmaps
NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
March to the Sea
11/15/2022 12:11:16 PM
Mike...sorry, but Sherman wrecked devastation on Georgia. The purpose of Sherman's March to the Sea was to frighten Georgia's civilian population into abandoning the Confederate cause. Sherman's soldiers did not destroy any of the towns in their path, but they stole food and livestock and burned the houses and barns of people who tried to fight back. This campaign, known as Sherman's March to the Sea, was marked by its objective, to cripple the Confederacy's ability to wage war. They destroyed anything and everything important to the war effort,

Even you admit to that and I quote from your comment..."Yes within that area was much destruction of war resources and foraging for food and forage."

Thanks.....NYGiant
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 7177
Joined: 2006
March to the Sea
11/15/2022 1:21:20 PM
Hi Mike,

Having read several, accounts of Sherman's March, I agree with you, He did not destroy the state of Georgia, only for the most part enough for foraging to supply his Army !? He actually was a excellent commanding officer, loved, & respected by his men!

Regards,
MD
----------------------------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 177
Joined: 2020
March to the Sea
11/15/2022 3:28:28 PM


"Even you admit to that and I quote from your comment..."Yes within that area was much destruction of war resources and foraging for food and forage.""

Thanks.....NYGiant


NYGiant,

Well its fun I guess to engage in over-exaggeration, - not history.
& good cherry pick – “Yes within that area”

But clearly nothing like
“destroyed most of the state”
If we want actual history

And not “wrecked devastation on Georgia”
But in the 25% area of the state, again that’s history, yes sorry.

Sherman himself
over-exaggerated in claiming to have destroyed $100 million in property
Total value in 1860 was about $170 million in Farms and farm equipment for the whole state.
Another $40 million in livestock values for the whole state. Call it $210 million for the state.
At 25% about $50 million came under his march. Another $17 million in manufactures.
That’s at most about $60m not $100 in the 50-60 mile strip. He moved at about 10 miles a day.
So any particular area was raided for about maybe 3-4 days and then the army moved on.
Yes, for families directly subjected a harrowing event. Certainly moving that fast he did
not destroy more than about half of what was exposed to the raid.
Yes that’s my guess but very reasonable estimate IMHO.
He had a bare minimum in transportation to allow fast moving but meant he could not carry excess stuff.
“destroyed most of the state” is clearly wrong if applied to the march.
And “wrecked devastation” only in the march area and to the
extent of supplies of food and forage, and destruction of war munitions.

Thanks, Mike_C
mikecmaps

NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
March to the Sea
11/15/2022 9:30:48 PM
If you want actual history Mike, The Union Army wrecked 300 miles (480 km) of railroad and numerous bridges and miles of telegraph lines. It seized 5,000 horses, 4,000 mules, and 13,000 head of cattle. It confiscated 9.5 million pounds of corn and 10.5 million pounds of fodder, and destroyed uncounted cotton gins and mills. Military historians Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones cited the significant damage wrought to railroads and Southern logistics in the campaign and stated that "Sherman's raid succeeded in 'knocking the Confederate war effort to pieces'." David J. Eicher wrote that "Sherman had accomplished an amazing task. He had defied military principles by operating deep within enemy territory and without lines of supply or communication. He destroyed much of the South's potential and psychology to wage war."
According to a 2022 American Economic Journal study which sought to measure the medium- and long-term economic impact of Sherman's March, "the capital destruction induced by the March led to a large contraction in agricultural investment, farming asset prices, and manufacturing activity. Elements of the decline in agriculture persisted through 1920."

Thanks, NYGiant
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 177
Joined: 2020
March to the Sea
11/16/2022 12:54:05 PM


"It seized 5,000 horses, 4,000 mules, and 13,000 head of cattle. It confiscated 9.5 million pounds of corn and 10.5 million pounds of fodder"

NYGiant

Glad you tend to agree we need to talk about the march area – as I said.
Not to dispute but as matter of perspective

For the state ga 1860
131k horses vs 5k (~ 30+k in march area; by proration)
101k mules vs 4k (~25k )
631k cattle vs 13k (~150k)
31 m bushels corn @ 56 pds == 1.7bn pds corn state vs 9.5m pds (~425m)
41k tons fodder vs 10.5m pds == 82m pds state (~20m march area)

now its true to collect and drive & butcher about 20k horses & cattle a big job
and very punishing for people in direct contact with line of march.

Cant comment on scholarly journal article but sure it is good.
But yes generally, the former confederate states were backward and well behind the
other areas into the 20s, 30, 40s, as a result of the
long legacy of slavery and continued effort to
keep African Americans as close to slavery as possible 1880s-1950s.

Thanks, Mike_C.
mikecmaps



NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
March to the Sea
11/16/2022 8:55:21 PM
When Sherman started his march, he wanted to limit as much of the production system as possible. Therefore, he went after tunnels, bridges, and railroads. These were the major forms of transportation in the time period, and by removing them, goods could not be transported as quickly. He and his men also burned the few factories in Georgia, along with many other important buildings.

Georgia also served as the primary contributor of food supply to Confederate soldiers. By looting and destroying farms, Sherman and his troops limited the quantity of rations that the Confederates could use. His men would create foraging parties to gather food for themselves and then destroy the rest.

Logistics strikes again.

Thanks, NYGIant

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