Sherman's March to Sea

November 15- December 21, 1864

"Make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war."

What was Sherman's March to Sea?

Union General William T. Sherman led 60,000 soldiers on a destructive campaign to destroy the South. His plan was to cause fear and chaos in Georgia. He and his troops marched 285 miles from Atlanta, Georgia to Savannah, Georgia.

"Make Georgia Howl"

Sherman exercised "total war" during his march. Sherman wanted to make war as bad as it could be for the South. His plan was to destroy railroads, plantations, factories, and farms. He and his troops killed livestock and and burned crops along the way, ensuring starvation for the Southerners. Sherman's March to Sea destroyed the morale of the Southerners, leaving many hungry and homeless.

Downfall of Atlanta

Sherman's troops battled with Confederates during the first months of his campaign. Atlanta was seized on September 2, 1864. Atlanta was a railroad hub and a symbol of pride for the South. On November 15, Atlanta was set on fire and left in ruins.

Savannah, Georgia

Sherman's plan was to attack Savannah, Georgia. Confederate Lt. General Hardee's troops were weak, so he ordered them to retreat to South Carolina. Mayor Richard Arnold surrendered Savannah. On December 22, Sherman telegraphed President Lincoln, telling him that he captured Savannah and gave him 25,000 cotton bales as a Christmas present.

Consequences of the March

After Sherman's March to Sea, many cities in Georgia and South Carolina were almost completely destroyed. The march was successful; the South's economy fell and the rebel army lost its morale.