November 1864 – December 1864
Sherman’s March to the Sea would set the south ablaze. The sea was the goal, the end result, for the Union leader. General Sherman was a rogue if only for a few months, the general of the Union army stationed in the heart of the Confederacy was on a rampage.
The orders did not come from the President, nor did they come from the brass of the Union leaders, this was an independent decision and action by the beleaguered yet admired General Sherman.
General Sherman believed that he and he alone could bring the Civil War to an end if only he could decimate the Rebel cause by striking out and burning the Confederacy. This was what his March to the Sea was all about and regardless of the cattle calls and the bantering that General Sherman received, and they were many from both sides, the end result was correct.
The South was brought to its knees and although this was the inevitability of the entire war as of 1864, the final nail in the coffin, so to speak, was General Sherman’s brutal scorched earth policy as he trampled the Confederacy all the way to the sea.
The decision by General Sherman started with the sacking of Atlanta and the scorched earth mindset was on full tilt from there on. The path to the sea was peppered with guerrilla type Rebel warfare and this did not bode well with the usual battle plans of the Union army.
Sherman’s men ripping up Confederate railroads
Nonetheless, the Yankee marauders still cut a path from Atlanta all the way to the ghostly city of Savannah, Georgia, laying waste everywhere.
The response from the Rebels was quite interesting indeed, instead of lining up and attempting to battle the Union army man for man in the open fields of Georgia, the wily Confederates cut and ran to Tennessee.
This left barely a remnant of a rebel army in the path of all of Georgia and General Sherman was quick to take full advantage of this departure.
The response from Washington after the fact was very good and this was only because General Sherman’s longtime friend General Grant softened up President Lincoln and paved the way.
After defeating the Rebels in almost every battle, and these battles were more akin to skirmishes meant not to defeat the Union army yet slow it down, the obvious end was near for the Confederates. Did they know this? Was the fight all out of them by December 1864?
If it was not maybe it should have been and with the signing of the surrender at Appomattox by General Lee, the end was here. Sherman’s March to the Sea culminated in Savannah, Georgia with the prideful General Sherman parading his victorious troops through the city’s streets.
Known for his ego, this was too much of a chance to show both the Union leaders and the Southern populace who actually was in charge. From then on out in the Civil War only minor skirmishes occurred; mostly clean up duty with one lone Southern army still fighting, General John Crawford Vaughn in Tennessee.