The March to the Sea and Beyond: Sherman's Troops in the Savannah and Carolinas Campaigns
In November, 1864, Major General William Tecumseh Sherman led an army of veteran Union troops through the heart of the Confederacy, leaving behind a path of destruction in an area that had known little of the hardships of war, devastating the morale of soldiers and civilians alike, and hastening the end of the war. In this intensively researched and carefully detailed study, chosen by Civil War Magazine as one of the best one hundred books ever written about the Civil War, Joseph T. Glatthaar examines the Savannah and Carolinas Campaigns from the perspective of the common soldiers in Sherman's army, seeking, above all, to understand why they did what they did.
Glatthaar graphically describes the duties and deprivations of the march, the boredom and frustration of camp life, and the utter confusion and pure chance of battle. Quoting heavily from the letters and diaries of Sherman's men, he reveals the fears, motivations, and aspirations of the Union soldiers and explores their attitudes toward their comrades, toward blacks and southern whites, and toward the war, its destruction, and the forthcoming reconstruction.
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The March to the Sea and Beyond: Sherman's Troops in the Savannah and South Carolina Campaign
Joseph T Glathear History 1995 370 pages
This book helps lend understanding of what it meant to be a soldier in Sherman"s Army as they
made the devasting march with all of its violence against the Confederate Army, but primarily against the private citizens of Georgia and South Carolina. For many Federal troops. this was a way to seek retribution for the horrendous losses suffered by the Union Army. This action was a final statement to the South. If you continue to fight and "maintain the cause" then be prepared to suffer, in a way that was designed to not only destroy the homes and business of southerners but to take away the railroads, the only way to maintain the war. their homes, the only way to maintain their way of life, lastly all the livestock and provisions essential for daily life.
The lesson in this destruction was that to continue the war was futile, to continue would be to assure the Southern life would be permanently altered and changed forever. A powerful message was being delivered by Sherman's Army--to resist is futile, the war is lost and to continue defiance would cause even more death and destruction. Many southerners had sought war and the dream of independence from Northern interference, instead they got a nightmare, living in a war zone and experiencing the death and destruction first hand. Quickly realized was the futility of continueing and the necessity to curtail the opposition to the invaders and accept the reality that "The South" had lost this great war of rebellion. Thankfully this trail or horror and destruction led to victory for the Union and the end to slavery. Revealed the reality of war and all of its powerful effect on soldiers and citizens alike.
Reviewed April 2007
Glatthaar breaks down Sherman's campaign into readable sections beginning with a discussion of the army and how it interacted with blacks, and southern whites. The author gives a full chapter to a discussion of how the army felt about the Union cause. Then Glatthaar discusses the nuts and bolts of army life. What it was like at camp or marching. How the army survived by foraging and how and why the army destroyed and pillaged. And finally a chapter on the army in battle.
Sherman's army was made up mainly of hand chosen veteran volunteers. These men were selected for their independence strength and experience. They were proud to be part of this army. As the army marched through the south they took whatever was needed and made southerners understand that the Confederacy could not protect them. In South Carolina mostly they burned everything they could, bringing the war home to them. They hoped to make the South understand the pain of war, and never wish for it again.