But Sherman quickly reversed course, returned to Atlanta and, on November 15-16, moved his armies out of the city in two large columns, or wings, on routes both east and southeast. Bragg and Hardee turned their attention to protecting Augusta and Savannah. Standard histories of Major General William T. Shermans celebrated March to the Sea invariably portray the Confederacys response as inconsequential. Before Hardee reached Macon, it was every officer for himself. By the time the machinery finally began to turn, Sherman’s March to the Sea was a matter for the history books. Were they justified? The Confederate's evasive tactics doomed Sherman's plan to achieve victory on the battlefield so he developed an alternative strategy: destroy the South by laying waste to its economic and transportation infrastructure. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines. Thanks to the poor roads and unceasing rain, the Union Right Wing was stretched out for nearly 30 miles, with its head at Clinton while its wagon-heavy tail was greatly delayed getting across the Ocmulgee River. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Southern Storm: Sherman's March to the Sea. Hardee would anchor the defense of Sherman’s likely targets along the Atlantic coast. In the fall of 1864, the Union General William Tecumseh ("Cump") Sherman took 60,000 men and … The citizen-soldiers were thrown back with serious losses. Wheeler never looked beyond the enemy in his immediate front, and though he may have banged up Kilpatrick’s cavalry from time to time, his men never posed a serious threat to Sherman’s timetables. The result was a series of mounted clashes between Wheeler and his Federal counterpart Kilpatrick that climaxed at Waynesboro on December 4. Dr. Erik Villard takes a closer look. November and December of this year mark the 150th anniversary of General William Tecumseh Sherman’s famous “march to the sea” at the end of the War to Prevent Southern Independence. Beauregard, a Confederate hero early in the war, coordinate the region’s military response would “awaken a certain enthusiasm” among the citizenry. This issue is in very good condition for a paper that is 140 years old. Once Beauregard was finally in a position to influence events, his determination to preserve military assets at all costs doomed Savannah. Finally he destroyed civilian infrastructure along his path of advance. It seemed too that “General Weather” was wearing Confederate gray. Hood failed to realize that the Union strength remaining in Tennessee was sufficiently large enough to stop him outside Nashville, and Sherman never gave a second thought to turning back. When his plane caught fire over Germany, RAF engineer Norman Jackson climbed onto the wing to put out the flames. It would be quickest for Macon’s now superfluous militia to tramp east the 20 or so miles to Gordon, where the men could catch trains to Augusta. The period from 1895 to 1960 in Georgia was characterized by a widening support for and interest in the state's art and artists. Sherman had about 2,500 supply wagons and 600 ambulances. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick, commanding Sherman’s cavalry, who retorted later: “Was there no enemy to oppose us? Written by Brett Coon Hardee’s field headquarters was about 40 miles from Beauregard’s, but with all telegraphic communication north and east of the city disrupted, Beauregard might as well have been on the moon. Davis reluctantly seconded Beauregard’s priorities, hoping that “the fullest possible defense consistent with the safety of the garrison” would be made. There was one last opportunity to stop Sherman before he reached Savannah. Governor Brown’s partisans viewed Wright’s action as a blatant subversion of gubernatorial authority. It is known for its boldness as well as the sheer destruction inflicted on the south, both to its industry as well as military targets, effectively destroying the Confederate’s capacity to wage war. Sherman took beautiful Savannah the next day, bringing the infamous March to the Sea to an end. Declaring that Governor Joseph Brown was “disabled” by being cut off in Macon (where he had fled before the fall of Milledgeville), Augusta-based Ambrose R. Wright, second-in-command of state forces as president of the Georgia Senate, activated a clause in the law empowering him to intervene. Hardee, who had just reached Savannah, sanctioned the withdrawal, hoping to save the troops and bolster Savannah’s garrison. Terry Kay was a prolific and award-winning author whose... A number of significant historical events have occurred in... Bailey, Anne J. Such broad generalizations may assuage wounded Southern pride, but they also rewrite history. For all of the ink written about Sherman and the way he burned, scorched and killed between Atlanta and Savannah, the monstrous event lasted only 22 days. Hood quickly launched a series of fierce offensive strikes at the Union forces enfolding the city. What the badly hemorrhaging Confederacy might have done with the extra time, however, is another question altogether. After Fort McAllister fell, Sherman made preparations for a siege of Savannah. He also suspended a law restricting the use of militia reserves to their own states, so that there would be nothing to hinder South Carolina units from coming into Georgia. ... Pfc. Former Southern Brigadier General Clement A. Evans asserted, for example, that there was no force available to obstruct Shermans soldiers. By October 3 his infantry was wrecking the Federal depots at Acworth and Big Shanty. Just a few days out from Atlanta, Sherman’s men were pummeled by a series of rain and snow storms that slowed the wagons to a crawl. Near where the Central of Georgia Railroad bridged the Oconee River, a Rebel force of some 700 men held Sherman’s entire Right Wing at bay for nearly three days. Sherman placed one corps to flank the position from the north and another across the river to the south. Ross McElwee sets out to make a documentary about the lingering effects of General Sherman's march of destruction through the South during the Civil War, but is continually sidetracked by women who come and go in his life, his recurring dreams of nuclear holocaust, and Burt Reynolds. With Hood out of the picture, Wheeler’s troopers, Georgia state militia, and garrisons in Macon, Augusta and Savannah—perhaps 15,000 men altogether, supplemented by an unknown number of small irregular units—remained to oppose Sherman’s 60,000 Federals. Instead of bobbing, weaving and jabbing to foil his opponent, Hood began thinking of striking into Tennessee to capture its Federal-occupied capital, Nashville. Collectively they are "the official statewide Civil War Historic Driving Trails of Georgia," designated by Georgia's Governor and General Assembly in 2010.Sherman's army, split into left and right wings, made "Georgia howl" along two 300-mile driving routes from Atlanta to Savannah. Sherman reacted according to expectations by taking most of his troops out of Atlanta to chase after Hood. Hood, he seemingly managed to be anywhere except where he was most needed. Sherman, however, had begun his march before that transfer was completed. When Beauregard arrived in Augusta, a new phase began in the campaign. On September 1, 1864, Sherman and his army captured Atlanta, Georgia, an important transportation center in the Confederacy. November 9, 1864: General William Tecumseh Sherman issues the first orders (Special Orders No. Sufficient, if concentrated in our front, to have disputed the passage of every river and delayed us days and days, which of itself would have been fatal.”. A division’s worth of the militia that he had ordered east collided there with a brigade-sized Union rear guard. Ohioan William Tecumseh Sherman, a general in the Union army during the American Civil War, is best known for his March to the Sea. Hardee told the garrison commander “to press Negroes if you need them.” No effort was to be attempted to save the state capital, Milledgeville, which the Federals finally occupied on November 22. If Wheeler’s mounted units had been concentrated against the Federal army’s logistical tail, with intelligent deployment of the militia to cover those actions, the Union columns would have been considerably impeded and Sherman would have reached Savannah in a much weakened condition. The militia field commander, Maj. Gen. Gustavus W. Smith, then at Forsyth, determined that the best place for his citizen-soldiers was “in the fortifications at Macon, leaving the outside work to the cavalry.” Wheeler was also getting plenty of advice in lieu of concrete missions. William Tecumseh Sherman’s March to the Sea devastated the South, as Sherman pruned the Old-South myth of magnolia splendor to a stump. The right wing headed for, There were a number of skirmishes between Wheeler's cavalry and Union troopers, but only two battles of any significance. Sherman’s surge through the state was not unstoppable. It was not a comfortable occasion, since the two had quarreled bitterly over issues of strategy and resources. Moving with the lengthy wagon trains were 5,000 cattle, representing a 40-day beef supply. Sherman therefore applied the principles of scorched earth: he ordered his troops to burn crops, kill livestock and consume supplies. 29 September 2020. All rights reserved. This action was undertaken entirely on the initiative of officers on the scene, who reported to Savannah, where Hardee was headed from Macon. Add to this the home force’s familiarity with the Georgia countryside, the prospect of a general rising of civilian forces promised by the state’s governor and an active Confederate cavalry, Davis had a “not unreasonable hope that retributive justice might overtake the ruthless invader.”. Efforts to forestall Sherman’s operations in central Georgia began in late September 1864, when President Jefferson Davis personally visited the threatened front. ... Homepage Featured Top Stories, Homepage Hero, Military History, Military History Magazine. He spared the beautiful city, however, and by telegram gave it to President Lincoln as a Christmas gift on December 22, 1864. "Sherman's March to the Sea." Hardee, Taylor and then Bragg limited their participation to narrowly focused defensive measures, leaving larger strategic issues hanging. In the midst of all the complicated planning for his Tennessee invasion, Hood added his bit to the mix. Wheeler always believed that his stubborn defense of that point halted Sherman’s grab for Augusta, although Kilpatrick’s orders were to turn south there to shield the rear of the infantry columns while they pivoted into a swampy, peninsulalike corridor with little to forage from as they closed on Savannah. Even though he was counting on foraging to keep his army supplied, Sherman had hedged his bets by filling 2,500 wagons with a 20-day supply of bread; 40 days’ of sugar, coffee and salt, as well as three days’ of animal feed. The Union soldiers had indeed carried out a war on civilians, burning This was considered a risky march. Although skeptical of Hood’s chances for success, Taylor agreed with the president’s belief that having General P.G.T. Soon he was well out of Georgia, with Sherman between him and the heart of the state. On the night of November 25, Howard used his superior numbers to flank the defenders and force them to retreat. Sherman's "March to the Sea" followed his successful Atlanta Campaign of May to September 1864. View NGE content as it applies to the Georgia Standards of Excellence. During their 285-mile 'March to the Sea' the army lived off the land and destroyed all war-making capabilities of … On November 16 Beauregard ordered Taylor to proceed immediately to Macon and take charge. All the remaining high-ranking individuals in town were state officers obsessed with protecting Macon. Nearly 4,000 Rebels, including reinforcements sent by Hardee, were aligned before the advancing Federals near the modern town of Oliver, at the naturally strong defensive position formed where Ogeechee Creek and the Ogeechee River meet. Hood, however, soon tired of playing the spoiler’s role. Fearing what would happen if Wheeler’s men got loose among the Yankee supply trains, Sherman’s wing commanders allotted whole brigades and even divisions to the role of protecting them. His duties would be largely administrative, leaving it to others to command in the field. The two wings advanced by separate routes, generally staying twenty miles to forty miles apart. One of the Georgia legislature’s final acts that session was to authorize a general mobilization of Georgia civilians against the invaders. T… The right wing was under Oliver O. Howard. Sherman's March to the Sea. A Controversial Question: Were Fears of China Justified? The one Confederate action that actually stopped Sherman went virtually unnoticed at this time. Fears on China on the battlefield were rampant during the Vietnam War. In late 1864, Sherman decides to march his army from Atlanta to Savannah, living off the land, and destroying everything along the way that could aid the Confederate army. 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