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Week 30

(November 10th - November 16th)

In mid-November, Sherman writes Ulysses S. Grant of his strategy for the Savannah Campaign…the March to the Sea.
His plan is unheard of: abandon supply lines and non-essentials and survive off the land.
Above all, Sherman vows to show inhabitants of the South that war and personal ruin are synonymous.
He’ll see to it that his “scorched earth” policy has both economic and psychological impact.


Episode Transcript

I’m Masud Olufani for the Atlanta History Center.

It is mid-November 1864.

In a letter to Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman writes:
“I … prefer to make a wreck of … Atlanta, … and with my … army move through Georgia smashing things to the sea.”

With that, Sherman undertakes the next stage of his war in Georgia – the Savannah campaign, known as “The March to the Sea.”
What he proposes is unheard of.

Abandoning his supply lines, he will set off on a 250-mile march through enemy territory with over 60,000 men relying on the resources of Georgia – and its citizens.

He writes his armies will be “loaded only with the essentials for a long march, [and will be] depending on the country for forage & vegetables.”

“By this,” he writes, “I propose to demonstrate the vulnerability of the South and make its inhabitants feel that war & individual ruin are synonymous. …

Sherman wants his “scorched earth” policy to have not only economic... But also psychological impact.... Upon the people of Georgia.... and the Southern cause.

“I will push into the heart of Georgia …” he writes, “destroying all. …”

I am Masud Olufani and this is week thirty.

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