The march to the sea began in Atlanta on November 15, 1864 and ended in Savannah on December 21, the same year. This was the most destructive campaign against civilians during the American civil war. Being led by Major General William Sherman, the army marched across Georgia to the Atlantic Ocean. Major General William Sherman wanted to prove to the Southern population that their government could not protect them from being invaded. As such, Sherman's match to the sea was a psychological warfare. Nevertheless, a lot of damage was done to the civilian property, industry and infrastructure (Lee, 1995). This march was planned due to the belief that the civil war would end if the strategic, economic and psychological capacity for warfare of the Confederation was affected. The major ordered for the destruction of all crops, livestock and supplies.
His capture of Atlanta, the center of the confederate army, transport and supplies system, with its arsenals and munitions plants was a strategic victory which became the death-knell for the Confederacy (Lee, 1995). Sherman had two goals in mind. First and foremost, he wanted to capture the cities of Atlanta and Georgia. In particular, he wanted to capture Atlanta because it was an industrial city of the Confederacy. The second reason was to destroy the confederate army which was being led by General Johnston. Sherman's army was a stronger one. The Confederate army was defeated and Atlanta captured. This destruction hurt the Southerners so much such that it forced many Confederate soldiers to run away, or even go back to their homes, while others surrendered to the Union forces. As such, the Southerners had to include slaves into their army, but they too did little to help. Sherman's army carried out their campaign in two groups which advanced by separate routes. Sherman and his army freed the slaves and enlisted them into the union whenever possible.
The march really frightened and shocked the Southerners because they believed that their Confederacy would protect them. Sherman and his army terrorized the civilians and left them hungry and demoralized. They brought down buildings in places where they experienced resistance. Desertions in Robert Lee's army of the Confederacy in Virginia increased tremendously due to the fact that there were a lot of hardships on women and children in the South. It is imperative to note that Sherman wanted his campaign to shorten the war. He finally received permission to go on with his psychological warfare down to South Carolina in the year 1865. This made him a hero in the North, but not in the South.
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