Talk:Sherman's March to the Sea

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the article itself is written not as a matter-of-fact piece but as a glaring omission of War Crimes committed by Gen Sherman ~ I see no lists of killed,wouned,missing on either side military or civilian ( not even a estimate of it ) A short list of the level of destruction done to the enemies possessions - surly this was a aim of the march " To make GA howl " and " If the south wants war I shall give them all they want " - I believe a re write should be forthcoming ~ The Web —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:34, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

The article should also give fair representation to the view that Sherman's march was a strategic mistake. The argument is that Hood's army was a significant threat, and that Sherman should have focused on destroying that army. JamesMLane t c 07:33, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
That is a decidedly minority view, but if you have citations from reliable secondary sources, go ahead. Considering that Sherman's March was a success and that Thomas was able to virtually destroy Hood's army without Sherman present, the logical verdict of history is that Sherman's decision proved to be strategically okay. Hal Jespersen (talk) 15:06, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
I second that this article needs more mention that Sherman's march could absolutely be considered a war crime, and often is in the South today even. (talk) 21:51, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
And Southern apologetics would have you believe quite a few things. The Southern view of the Civil War has become a lot rosier today than it was at the time it was proposed. (talk) 19:08, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, And I want to know what smart-ass set it up so that if you search "Southern Nationalism" it redirects to this article. Of course, everyone sniggers, but no one thinks how they would react if someone redirected black nationalism to an article on slavery or the Fort Pillow massacre.

You could probably do some research to find out who the person was, but I have changed it to redirect to Confederate States of America, which is probably more appropriate. Hal Jespersen (talk) 11:56, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

So Johnston was successful?[edit]

"After a successful two-month campaign, General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered his forces to Sherman in North Carolina on April 26, 1865." (talk) 23:49, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

That's one that I think you could have fixed yourself, but thanks for pointing out the ambiguity of the sentence construction. Hal Jespersen (talk) 00:58, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Repeated quote?[edit]

The same quote (or part of the same one) is repeated in the introduction and the section Aftermath.

In the Introduction, it is "A military historian wrote that Sherman 'defied military principles by operating deep within enemy territory and without lines of supply or communication. He destroyed much of the South's potential and psychology to wage war.'"

The same quote is in Aftermath as "David J. Eicher wrote that 'Sherman had accomplished an amazing task. He had defied military principles by operating deep within enemy territory and without lines of supply or communication. He destroyed much of the South's potential and psychology to wage war.'"

I really don't think it's a good idea to repeat the exact same quote twice... Yangosplat222 (talk) 21:03, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Since the purpose of the lead section (the text prior to the table of contents) is to summarize the main text of the article, I do not see a problem with the duplication. Hal Jespersen (talk) 01:42, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Sherman's bow ties[edit]

At present, Central of Georgia Railroad has no mention of Sherman's March, and neither article mentions Sherman's bow ties. --Pawyilee (talk) 11:13, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

Sherman's neckties made it. --Pawyilee (talk) 14
21, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Campbell reference[edit]

The entire section about how slaves reacted to the march and the invasion is written as well from a POV perspective and is strongly revisionist in its slant. It sources a book that is written by a southern revisionist author who has multiple strongly negative reviews calling out just that bias on amazon. The claim that slaves somehow might have been loyal to the 'Southern way of life" meaning slavery, is just patently absurd. Maybe a few thought so, but to write an entire paragraph about what logically could only ever be a tiny sliver of the general southern black viewpoint is clearly an attempt to sanitize the horrible reality of the 'Southern way of life." I think the whole thing should be removed. I hope I have followed proper wikipedia protocol in addressing this, because this needs to be called out for being ahistorical and revisionist. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:15, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Do you have a reference to support your disposition?
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► 13:52, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Since no further information has been provided, I am removing the "dubious" and "unreliable source" warning labels. Campbell's book, published by a well-known academic press, meets the requirements for a reliable source. It can be refuted with other reliable sources, if provided. Hal Jespersen (talk) 19:41, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't think that things were that much different than was portrayed in the fictional GWTW. The field slaves knew, despite having very little good information or education, that things couldn't be much worse, and might even be better, freed. Household servants had been treated "better", sometimes a lot better, and realized that their status was gravely threatened. They were not as enthusiastic about swapping systems, when they had climbed to the top of theirs. Some had whites as "friends" or as near friends as the system could foster. Student7 (talk) 01:12, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

The Campbell material is not relevant to this article, because Campbell's book (When Sherman Marched North from the Sea) covers Sherman's march from the sea -- aka, the Carolinas Campaign. It would be appropriate to cite her in the Aftermath section of that article, rather than here. Robeauch (talk) 19:34, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

I've located Campbell's book (thanks Google!) to confirm that the citation is in reference to the slaves liberated during the Carolinas campaign. I'm sure slaves in Georgia felt the same apprehensions, but couldn't that be supported with a source pertinent to the Georgia campaign? Robeauch (talk) 22:21, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

On a separate note: It turns out the Campbell citation (page 33) doesn't actually support the sentence to which it is applied (although it does include the five words in quotes). I have edited the sentence to remove the content not supported by the citation, and expanded the quotation for context. Robeauch (talk) 22:21, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

Supreme Court redirect?[edit]

Currently, the Supreme Court of the Confederate States redirects to this article. Surely there's a more appropriate article here? (talk) 16:27, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Corrected. Thanks. Student7 (talk) 23:20, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

Purpose of the march[edit]

I'm concerned that people may get the wrong impression about the purpose of the march and the extent of the destruction. Those impressions seem to be reflected in the Talk page as well, with questions about whether Sherman destroyed everything.

I've therefore placed a "citation needed" after the sentence "Sherman therefore applied the principles of scorched earth: he ordered his troops to burn crops, kill livestock and consume supplies."

As far as I can tell, there was no such order. Sherman's memoirs describe the purpose and extent of the destruction. Destruction was focused on military targets (with particular emphasis on railroad). It was also punitive in cases where the civilian population was belligerent. By and large, the destruction served the purpose of preventing the army from being harassed en route to Savannah. I cannot find any references to Sherman's army burning crops or killing livestock, certainly not as a general policy. In fact, Special Field Orders 120 uses words like "gather", "take", or "drive in stock" several times, with no mention of burning potential provisions, even going so far as to add that foraging parties "will endeavor to leave with each family a reasonable portion for their maintenance."

I agree on the need for citation. There was, of course, plenty of destruction along the march -- but the statement asserts an order by Sherman to burn crops & kill livestock. That order (if it exists) needs a citation. If discussion here doesn't produce one, it might be appropriate to shorten the sentence to "he ordered his troops to consume supplies along the route." Rob (talk) 01:35, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Sherman himself saw the action as a change of base. He needed to get his army safely from Atlanta to Savannah with no supply lines, necessitating foraging and making military opposition untenable (e.g. no reinforcements by rail).

I only regarded the march from Atlanta to Savannah as a 'shift of base,' as the transfer of a strong army, which had no opponent, and had finished its then work, from the interior to a point on the sea-coast, from which it could achieve other important results. I considered this march as a means to an end, and not as an essential act of war. Still, then, as now, the march to the sea was generally regarded as something extraordinary, something anomalous, something out of the usual order of events; whereas, in fact, I simply moved from Atlanta to Savannah, as one step in the direction of Richmond, a movement that had to be met and defeated, or the war was necessarily at an end.

His memoirs, though, might be a better gauge of his later frame of mind (10 years after the war) than of his feelings at the time of the march. The above quote is from chapter 21 of his memoirs -- but you only have to page back to chapter 20 to see what he thought at the time. He includes there a snippet of his Oct 9 1864 telegram to Grant, arguing that the upcoming march by itself would cripple the South's military resources. He clearly (at the time) considered it more than just a means to an end. Rob (talk) 01:35, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Were I to express my measure of the relative importance of the march to the sea, and of that from Savannah northward, I would place the former at one, and the latter at ten, or the maximum.

There was, on the other hand, a scorched earth policy being enacted by Southern civilians. Again, from the memoirs:

To the People of Georgia:

We have had a special conference with President Davis and the Secretary of War, and are able to assure you that they have done and are still doing all that can be done to meet the emergency that presses upon you. Let every man fly to arms! Remove your negroes, horses, cattle, and provisions from Sherman's army, and burn what you cannot carry. Burn all bridges, and block up the roads in his route. Assail the invader in front, flank, and rear, by night and by day. Let him have no rest.







Members of Congress. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:29, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

At this point in the war, I don't think they had the attention of their constituents any longer. At least, it seems clear no one made any effort to enact this policy. A better comparison might be to the Confederate cavalry under Wheeler -- they foraged from Georgia's civillians just as Sherman did, and were about as unpopular as he was. Rob (talk) 01:35, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, unlike the army up to this point, it was deliberately unsupplied, allowing it to proceed "apace" to Savannah. Waiting for supplies would have not enabled the Union Army to get where they needed to be. It happened to coincide with a need to continue to demonstrate the helplessness of the South, to further demoralize them, and (BTW) to force them to concentrate on mere survival rather than prosecuting a war.
"Foraging" works, and accurately describes the process. There was "other destruction" and outright robberies which Sherman either did not know about or care to know. Student7 (talk) 19:02, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

"Die freemen rather than live [as] slaves"[edit]

The article claims that the state legislature "called for Georgians to 'Die as freeman rather than live [as] slaves' and fled the capital." This quotation struck me as highly ironic for a Confederate state, and is offered without citation. When I searched for this quotation, I found plenty of sources indicating the Second Continental Congress made this statement in their Declaration Setting Forth the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms.

Of course, it's certainly possible that the Georgia legislature made this statement intending to invoke the revolutionary spirit of the Second Continental Congress, or I suppose it's even possible (though unlikely) they made the statement independent of any knowledge of its origins. I haven't found any source other than Wikipedia saying the Georgia legislature made this statement in response to Sherman's March to the Sea. It's possible it exists, and is crowded out on my searches by references to the Second Continental Congress's statement, but this quotation needs a citation.

It's certainly the sort of thing they could have said -- Confederate leaders often laid claim to the mantle of the founding fathers. But you're right, there seems to be no evidence that they did so on this occasion. That whole section is in need of citations. Most of the information there isn't in dispute, which is probably why the 'Die freemen' pronouncement hasn't been examined more closely. (Good catch!)
Since you've done the web search, I followed up with a text search of several good references. No mention of such a proclamation. (See also the Journal of the Georgia Senate's November 1864 session.) I'll remove the quote -- anyone finding a verifiable citation for it can always add it back.Rob (talk) 23:56, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Black soldiers[edit]

'Sherman's troops encountered black soldiers in South Carolina and some were outraged by the racial integration that had developed in the Sea Islands...'

Any black soldiers could only have been Union men. Are you sure you don't mean that the Confederates and local civilians were outraged when they found themselves invaded by units that included black troops? Valetude (talk) 16:45, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
As I look at that sentence, the ambiguity about which side it refers to is really the least of its problems. Even presuming the reference is to Union men, that encounter was not an aftermath of Sherman's march, and thus is out of place in this article. In fact, the encounter also had nothing to do with the Port Royal experiment, which had been under way for several years by the time Sherman's soldiers passed by. So the reference to encountering black soldiers doesn't even belong in that *sentence*, much less the article.
Which brings us to their "outrage" over integration in Port Royal, featuring that all-purpose modifier, "some," as in, "some were outraged." Were three of them outraged? Or forty thousand? No information is conveyed by the statement that "some" were outraged.
The source cited for the sentence is valid, if dated (1964), but the sentence itself is disjointed, vague, and unrelated to the topic. I'll remove it. Thanks for the catch! Rob (talk) 17:37, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

How Hardee escaped[edit]

This article says Hardee's Confederate army escaped from Savannah over a pontoon bridge into South Carolina. The article on the Battle of Tulifinny says: 'On December 25 Sherman's army captured Savannah but few Confederate troops were killed or captured as most were able to escape to South Carolina on the Savannah-Charleston railroad line.'

Any enlightenment? Valetude (talk) 12:44, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
It would have been a neat trick, as the railroad bridge out of Savannah had been destroyed. All sources are in agreement that the evacuation took place over the pontoon bridge. I haven't looked at the Tulifinny article before now, but the "escape via railroad" parts (intro and aftermath of the article) are unsourced and false. Rob (talk) 15:48, 4 October 2014 (UTC)


An irrelevant link has just been inserted into my last comment, above. I don't know how to remove this. Valetude (talk) 12:47, 4 October 2014 (UTC)

Caused by the use of an in-line citation in an earlier section of the talk page. The citation created a wiki reference link, but talk pages don't have reference sections, so the link just shows up at the bottom of the page (i.e., with the most recent comment). I have removed the in-line citation, so the reference link no longer appears.Rob (talk) 15:57, 4 October 2014 (UTC)


Shouldn't there be an infobox, such as Template:Infobox military conflict in the article? Abductive (reasoning) 01:08, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

Kind of a gray area for this article, I think. The term "campaign" implies a series of battles between opposing forces, but there was relatively little combat on the march. I'm not even sure what would go into the "Confederate" half of an infobox. For the campaign as a whole, there was no organized, armed opposition of any significance other than Wheeler's cavalry. The article does have a campaignbox (Template:Campaignbox Savannah Campaign) for the isolated fighting that took place, so maybe that's sufficient.Rob (talk) 03:41, 15 November 2014 (UTC)
It's just that I recall seeing all the casualty figures in one spot. Was I looking at another article? Abductive (reasoning) 07:12, 15 November 2014 (UTC)
Possibly the Atlanta Campaign article? It has an infobox, which seems appropriate because it was a serious of major engagements between two opposing armies.Rob (talk) 00:54, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
No, it was about the March to the Sea. But anyway, if one looks around, one will see that some Civil War campaign-level articles have the infobox, and some don't. This article could easily have one; the commanders and units are all known, the facts and figures are all known. The only thing not applicable is the coordinates. Abductive (reasoning) 20:03, 16 November 2014 (UTC)