Class and Section
Ethics of Sherman's March
General William Techumseh Sherman's March through Georgia and South Carolina was the turning point in the American Civil War. After heavy fighting in Tennessee and Kentucky General Sherman requested permission to take a large force of men on a campaign to the Atlantic Ocean through North and South Carolina, Georgia, then turning North back through the Carolinas and Virginia. The goal of the campaign was to divide the Confederate states by going through the middle of them and destroying anything of military value. General Sherman's March did achieve its goal from a military standpoint but the manner his army accomplished its goal was ethically improper. Perhaps the most famous portion of Sherman's March was his campaign from Atlanta to Savannah and then to Colombia, South Carolina.
The unique aspect of Sherman's March was they would go without a supply line. "Sherman took from his three armies a picked force of sixty-two thousand, culling out what he called the sick, the wounded, and the worthless,' leaving the balance of his army with General Thomas to deal with General Hood." (Kennett) Also included Sherman's force was Brigadier General Judson Kirkpatrick's contingent of Union cavalry. Feeding an army is a most difficult task when operating without a supply line. Thanks to Union spies Sherman found "that he would have no trouble feeding his army on what could be found locally, eating out' the country he passed through." (Kennett) Food would be collected for the majority of the army by special foraging teams organized by divisions. This left Sherman's wagons free to carry ammunition and other supplies necessary to military operation.
General Sherman had several objectives in mind when setting out from Atlanta aside from reaching and taking Savannah. Important objectives included destroying any buildings that could assist the Confederacy. Other valuable targets to...