By the finish of this section, friend will:Explain the various determinants that contributed to the Union victory in the civil War

Suggested Sequencing

Use this Narrative alongside the J.B. Elliott, Scott’s great Snake(Anaconda Plan), 1861 Primary source and the pictures of full War: Sherman’s March come the Sea, 1865 Primary resource to show the methods the Union provided to victory the war.

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Major general William Tecumseh Sherman’s actions ~ the record of Atlanta and his succeeding March to the Sea are sometimes seen together anticipating the pattern of total war in the twentieth century. Part have declared that Sherman was a battle criminal, authorizing plunder and looting the civilian property. Yet the issue is more facility than one of two people of this charges indicate. In fact, Sherman’s actions to be the culmination that a Union plan toward civilians the evolved during the food of the war.

Initially, the Union adhered to a plan of “conciliation,” waging a somewhat restricted war based on the concept that the majority of people in the seceded states did not assistance the breakup of the Union and also that the governments of these says were illegal and also did not represent their people’s will. Thus, early in the Rebellion, Union generals ordered their soldiers come respect the private property, including slaves, of all civilians, also those that were proactively working against them. Also such generals together Ulysses Grant and also William Tecumseh Sherman, that later promoted “hard war,” adhered come the policy of conciliation.

Conciliation seemed to be working until George McClellan’s stalemate on the Virginia peninsula in the early summer the 1862 and also the appearance of Robert E. Lee, whose succeeding victories considerably strengthened the rebellion. As a result, Union generals such as Henry Halleck in Missouri and Benjamin butler in brand-new Orleans began to use what historians have referred to as “pragmatic” policies, dealing with Unionists and also those who were neutral much better than they treated those who opposed the Union. The prestige of guerrilla war in Missouri and Tennessee intended that pragmatic policies took hold much more quickly in the West than in Virginia.


Major general William Tecumseh Sherman, pictured right here in 1865 in uniform, led the disastrous March to the Sea that brought about millions the dollars in damages in Georgia.

It is sufficient for my government to recognize that the removal of the inhabitants has been made through liberality and fairness; that it has actually been attend by no force, and also that no women or kids have suffered, uneven for want of provisions by their natural protectors and friends. My real reasons for this step were, we desire all the residences of Atlanta for military storage and also occupation. We desire to contract the lines of defenses so as to diminish the garrison to the limit essential to protect its narrow and an essential parts rather of embracing, together the lines now do, the vast suburbs. This convulsion of the lines, v the necessary citadels and redoubts, will certainly make it necessary to destroy the an extremely houses supplied by families as residences. Atlanta is a strengthened town, was stubbornly defended and relatively captured. As captors we have actually a ideal to it. The residence below of a poor populace would compel united state sooner or later on to feed them or see them starve under ours eyes. The residence right here of the family members of our adversaries would it is in a temptation and also a means to save up a correspondence dangerous and hurtful come our cause.

Sherman’s correspondence through Halleck likewise included the letter he exchanged with the Confederate commander basic John Bell Hood. Sherman wrote:

You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. Battle is cruelty, and also you cannot refine it; and also those who carried war into our nation deserve every the curses and also maledictions a people can pour out. I recognize I had no hand in making this war, and also I recognize I will make more sacrifices to-day than any type of of you to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a department of our country. If the United states submits come a division now, it will not stop, but will go on until we reap the fate of Mexico, i beg your pardon is eternal war. The United states does and must assert the authority, wherever it once had power; for, if it relaxes one bit to pressure, that is gone, and I think that such is the national feeling.

After the loss of Atlanta, Sherman asked for and also received permission from grant to march come Savannah. On this march, Sherman deployed 62,000 troops in two wings. He departed Atlanta on November 15 and, because that the following month, he cut a swath of devastation 60 miles vast from Atlanta to Savannah, systematically ruining anything the could advantage the Rebel military effort.


This 1864 picture shows Union forces destroying a rail in Atlanta by pulling up the railroad ties.

Sherman’s goal was to “make Georgia howl.” “We are not only fighting enemy armies, yet a hostile people, and also we need to make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand that war.” The difficult war was below for Georgia. “We cannot readjust the hearts and also minds that those civilization of the South, however we can make battle so terrible . . . do them therefore sick of battle that generations would certainly pass away prior to they would again appeal come it.” Sherman contended that the joined States and also its representatives had actually the best to “remove and destroy every problem if need be, take every life, every acre of land, every particle of property, everything that to united state seems proper the all who do not help are enemies, and also we will certainly not account to them for our acts.”

Some still think Sherman’s military burned every house in that is path. In fact, back the men ruined public buildings, they largely left individual dwellings intact. However the legend of destructive destruction, quite than the reality of directed severity, has actually persisted.

The March come the Sea was meant to demonstrate to southerly civilians that “they could be hurt” and that “the Confederate government was powerless to defend them.” the was likewise meant together a policy to end the horrific civil War, which had actually killed much more than 600,000 soldiers.

Review Questions

1. Under the Union plan of pragmatism

it was safer for the Union army to attack and also kill civilians than to face the Confederate armyUnion generals ordered your soldiers come respect private property in the Confederacy, consisting of slaves, of every civiliansthe Union destroyed any kind of public and also civilian residential or commercial property that could aid the war effortUnionists and also those who were neutral to be treated far better than those who supported the Confederacy

2. The usage of “hard war” by the Union military was

meant to advice the finish of the war by ending any kind of Confederate hope because that victorya new military strategy occurred by general Ulysses S. Granta precursor to “conciliation” that would certainly be offered in the human being wars of the twenty centuryconsidered a “crime versus humanity” and also never provided again through the U.S. Military

3. The strategy of difficult war was an initial used during the fight of


4. In basic Sherman’s usage of difficult war, the battle of Atlanta included the destruction of

all valuable structurespublic buildings that might be valuable to the Confederate causeprivate houses that can be provided as real estate or supply depots through the Confederate armymilitary installations only

5. What was the Union’s initial plan toward civilians and also Confederate territory?

Limited warTotal, enormous destructionConciliationPragmatism

6. The command of hard war was made possible when

General Ulysses S. Grant used it in VicksburgPresident Abraham Lincoln authorize an executive order for the difficult war strategyGeneral Henry Halleck issued general Order 100General william T. Sherman recorded Meridian, Mississippi

Free an answer Questions

Explain exactly how the Union policy toward civilians evolved during the polite War.Explain why general Sherman used tough war techniques on his March come the Sea.

AP exercise Questions

“I attach more importance to these deep incisions right into the enemy’s country, due to the fact that this war differs from European battles in this particular: we are not only fighting hostile armies, but a enemy people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the tough hand of war, as well as their organized armies. I recognize that this recent motion of mine through Georgia has had a wonderful impact in this respect. Thousands who had actually been trickery by their lying newspapers to believe that we were being whipped all the time now realize the truth, and have no appetite because that a repetition of the exact same experience. . . . However I think confidence in that is lot shaken in Georgia, and before we have actually done through her southern Carolina will certainly not be fairly so tempestuous. . . . As soon as I move, the Fifteenth Corps will certainly be ~ above the right of the right wing, and also their position will naturally carry them into Charleston first; and, if you have watched the background of that corps, friend will have remarked the they generally do their job-related pretty well. The fact is, the whole army is burning v an insatiable desire to wreak vengeance upon southern Carolina. I virtually tremble at her fate, yet feel that she deserves all that seems in save for her.”

General william T. Sherman, “Letter to general Henry Halleck,” December 24, 1864

Refer come the excerpt provided.

1. The most far-reaching reason for basic Sherman’s explanation of difficult war in the excerpt was that

until 1864, the Confederacy had been winning the civil Warit was crucial to make the whole Confederate population, not simply the military, feeling the ache of war in bespeak to defeat the rebellionthe Confederate military had provided the same strategy in its intrusion of Maryland and the Union want revengethe nonmilitary population in the South necessary to be rescued from Confederate oppressors

2. I beg your pardon of the declaration is the many accurate pictured of basic Sherman’s statement, “Thousands who had actually been deceived by your lying newspapers to think that we were being whipped every the time currently realize the truth, and also have no appetite because that a repeat of the very same experience”?

Georgia citizens that had thought the south was to win the war were start to recognize the toughness of the Union army.Newspaper editor who published false reports had actually been whipped in the highways as an example to others.Southerners had experienced such serious shortage of food and also consumer items that they had pertained to have no appetite.This battle was similar to European battles in the all the fighting was brought out by arranged armies.

3. Which of the complying with would have actually supported general Sherman’s strategy?

Henry ClayJohn C. CalhounThomas JeffersonFrederick Douglass

Primary Sources

Sherman, wilhelm T. “Letter of wilhelm T. Sherman to James M. Calhoun, E.E. Rawson, and also S.C. Wells, September 12, 1864.” Civil war Era NC. Https://

Suggested Resources

Caudill, Edward, and Paul Ashdown. Sherman’s march in Myth and Memory. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2008.

Grimsley, Mark. The difficult Hand of War: Union military Policy Toward southerly Civilians, 1861 1865. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge college Press, 1997.

McDonough, James Lee. William Tecumseh Sherman: In the business of mine Country: A Life. Brand-new York: W. W. Norton, 2016.

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Owens, Mackubin. T. “From Atlanta to Durham Station and also Spring Hill come Nashville.”

Witt, john Fabian. Lincoln’s Code: The laws of war in American History. Brand-new York: free Press, 2013.