Total War Against the Confederacy: Sherman's March to the Sea Essay

2584 WordsNov 5, 200811 Pages
Sherman’s March to the Sea: Total War Against the Confederacy Throughout history the effectiveness of specific military actions have been debated and discussed. Military tacticians and scholars have pondered the overall completion of objectives and the comprehensive values presented by the action. This debate has occurred for many of the actions taken in the American Civil War. In terms of achievement the “March to the Sea” was one of the most effective military actions of the Civil War. Historians may debate the level of destruction that union soldiers imposed on the civilian populace during the march, but Sherman’s desire to “rip the heart out of the Confederate war effort” succeeded. General William Tecumseh Sherman understood the effectiveness of bringing home the war to the people of the south. He understood how to make an impact on the southern desire to continue the fight. Sherman’s march affected the southern psyche and damaged the will to fight, while destroying valuable supplies and material. In late 1864 the American Civil War was still grinding on. Since 1861, hundreds of thousands of Americans had been fighting each other in bloody battles all across the country. The confederates were becoming more desperate but still had a great deal of fight left in them. They were losing supplies and manpower but the war could drag on for years. The battles had developed into a war of attrition that may have lasted for many more years. A northern general that understood this, and knew a way to hasten the war’s end, was William Tecumseh Sherman. At the end of 1864 Sherman was in charge of over 60,000 union fighting men. Sherman realized that he had to find a way to bring about a quicker resolution to the war. To bring about this resolution he wanted to get the people of the Confederacy to feel the effects of war. He was not interested in the limited war

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