It was one of the most audacious military movements in history—and one of the most controversial.
U.S. General William Tecumseh Sherman captured Atlanta in September 1864 and two months later was ready to move. He sent General George Thomas to deal with the Confederate Army moving toward Nashville, while he took the rest of his men—60,000 strong—on an overland march toward Savannah in hopes of dealing a psychological blow to the heart of the Confederacy.
Sherman would prove to the people of Georgia that the Confederate government was powerless to protect them, and would shorten the war by forcing soldiers in Lee’s army in Virginia to desert and come home to protect their families.
The army foraged its way across Georgia, leaving hungry and demoralized white civilians in its wake while liberating many black Georgians from bondage.
Savannah surrendered peacefully three days before Christmas. Sherman famously said, “War is the remedy our enemies have chosen, and I say give them all they want.”
Georgia found out what he meant when the March to the Sea began on November 15, 1864, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.