Sherman's March to the Sea: A Controversial Tactic in the U.S. Civil War

TLDR Union General William Tecumseh Sherman executed a daring plan during the U.S. Civil War, marching southeast to Savannah and employing total war tactics. By disrupting Confederate supply lines, destroying infrastructure, and creating misery among the people of Georgia, Sherman's march played a significant role in bringing the war to a swift conclusion.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 Union General William Tecumseh Sherman executed an audacious plan during the U.S. Civil War, violating established warfare principles and ultimately helping to bring the war to a swift conclusion, although his actions are now considered by many to have been a war crime.
02:12 Sherman's victory in capturing Atlanta was a major blow to the Confederacy and a boost to Union morale, but the question remained of what Sherman and his army should do next.
03:55 Sherman planned to march southeast to Savannah, cutting his supply and communication lines, living off the land, and disrupting the Confederacy's ability to support Robert E. Lee's army, despite the risks of being surrounded by hostile territory and cut off from supplies and reinforcements.
05:47 Sherman's troops burned Atlanta and set off for Savannah, facing limited resistance from disorganized Georgia militia units and individual civilians, while relying on foragers to gather food once their supplies were exhausted.
07:30 Sherman's troops confiscated a significant amount of resources, including horses, mules, cattle, corn, and animal fodder, through looting and destruction, with the intention of both feeding the troops and undermining civilian support for the Confederacy, while also permanently destroying Confederate railroads by bending the iron rails into "Sherman neckties," ultimately leading to the capture of Savannah.
09:19 Sherman's march to the sea was considered an early version of total war, as his troops attacked civilian, logistical, and manufacturing targets, ultimately disrupting Confederate supply lines and communications and destroying Confederate morale in Georgia.
11:05 The rationale for Sherman's march to the sea was to sustain the Union and its government by waging war on and destroying the Confederate forces, cutting off their supplies and communications, and creating misery and helplessness among the people of Georgia.
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