Total War Portfolio
“War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over,” This is what Williams T. Sherman said to a lady that supported the Confederacy, who criticized him for the damage of Mississippi by the Army of the Tennessee during the Meridian Campaign. William T. Sherman was a U.S. Civil War Union Army leader who created ‘Sherman’s March.’ The purpose of Sherman’s March was to lay waste to the South in efforts to frighten Georgia’s civilian population into abandoning the Confederate cause. He believed that the Civil War would come to an end only if the Confederacy’s strategic and economic mentality for war were firmly broken. Sherman explained that they needed to “make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war.” Sherman’s total war strategy weakened the resources the Confederates needed for the war, ruined Georgia’s economy and forced people to see the effects war would have on their economy which aided the end of the Civil War.
Sherman’s march through the city of Atlanta was the most effective and destructive part of the total war strategy. Atlanta was a very important railroad hub and the manufacturing center of the Confederacy: It had military weapons,factories, foundries and warehouses that assured that the Confederate army was supplied with food, weapons and other goods. This document shows Sherman’s plans for the city of Atlanta he states in the passage “The City of Atlanta being exclusively required for warlike purposes, will at once be vacated by all except the Armies of the United States and such civilian employees as may retained by the proper Departments of Government.” This shows how Sherman only wanted to make the military suffer even though things didn’t play out that way and he ended up affecting everyone in Georgia because they do not have the supplies they need to survive. In the document Sherman states “take possessions of buildings of all kinds and if all staple articles, such as cotton, tobacco, &c.” therefore elucidating the impression that Sherman wanted to take all of the militaries resources and use them for his military in order to weaken the Confederacy.
The Union also made people act very irrational because they were so frightened. According to Carrie Berry they were all frightened and afraid that the Union was going to “treat them badly.” She states that people were running with saques of meal, salt and tobacco. “They did act ridiculous breaking open stores and robbing them.” This evidence shows how fear of the Union made people act irrational. She also states that on the night that the Union came they burned the store house and by night it looked like the whole town was on fire. “ Soldiers were going around setting houses on fire where they were not watched. They behaved very badly. They all left the town about one o’clock this evening and we were glad when they left for nobody know what we have suffered since they came in.” This evidence shows how the union were executing their total war strategy and how it affected people because people were breaking into store.
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