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Genreal sherman hero cold blooded killer - William T. Sherman - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Fri Dec 2nd, 2011 01:21 pm
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General Sherman
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Mr. good morning,
I apologize me in advance for the errors of language English.
I would try to bring the discussion, looking for, personally, if possible, to avoid the details of the controversial personality some man Sherman however.
Indeed Sherman represents the beginning of a new way of conducting the military operations, both from a strategic point of view and of vision ampler than it also concerns the political sphere.
We are not able, according to me to reduce him to a mere performer of orders, but to bring back the figure to a general that has never lost sight the objectives of the war and what the politics asked him. Later almost four years of terrible war to quickly finish it was had to change even more her in terrible, if possible war also involving the civil population. Sherman, his despite, it fully interprets the true Yankee spirit (I hope doesn't become angry my Yankee friends) in the sense of the pure cynicism to reach the purpose, costs that that costs also from a point of view of moral and historical judgment. The degenerations of this strategy I believe really that Sherman didn't have her completely considered, but that at the most he had foreseen of the "collateral effects". Mr.: there was to win a war, the north wanted to win it to all the costs and quickly (you see Sheridan in the valley of the Shenandoa) and Sherman from this point of view has been a general that has developed what he wondered him to do. And he has done it.
ciao
Luca



 Posted: Sun Dec 4th, 2011 08:04 pm
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HankC
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Probably the worst thing to happen to a Civil War-era town or region was to be visited by an army for an hour or a season.

the largest southern cities were dwarfed by the size of the competing armies. Charleston and Richmond each had close to 40,000 citizens. The next largest cities still in Confederate hands by mid-1862 were Mobile(30K), Savannah(22K), Petersburg(18K), Augusta(12K), Atlanta(9K) and Wilmington(9K).

in essence, the four principal southern and northern armies represented the four largest southern ‘cities’, not to mention the plethora of smaller forces of, say, 10,000 and up.

Wherever an army traveled, destruction prevailed.

Retreating armies destroyed railroads, bridges, infrastructure and supplies. Wagons, horses and men cut up roads and fields while moving, trees were felled to corduroy roads and build bridges. Wells dried as marching units drew out their water. Fields were trampled during encampments. Homes were requisitioned and their contents abused. Bodies were buried, animal carcasses left behind and equipment abandoned.

In an era of cooking and heating with wood, entire forests disappeared, not to mention fences and buildings.

The lack of refrigeration, fresh food and timely marching supplies made foraging a necessity and an art. Animals could and did eat anything available and edible. Forage sometimes became so scarce that encamped units were moved to ‘greener pastures’.

As field works became more common, the damage done by a single entrenching regiment was enormous – much more so that of an army.

At a time when hygiene was neither understood nor practiced, an army’s waste, both animal and human, littered fields, roads and streets.

Whether to a city or a crossroads, a civil war army in transit was like a plague of locusts, consuming everything in its path.



 Posted: Sat Dec 24th, 2011 12:41 pm
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BHR62
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Sherman was a hero. He marched through Georgia to show the South their government was powerless to protect them. It was a gamble that paid off. Sherman wanted to bring the war to an end and the March to the Sea was done to reach that goal. When he reached Savannah and then went into the Carolinas everyone knew it was just a matter of time then.

General Hood is the one that left Georgia defenseless. So he should get the blame for allowing Sherman to blaze through Georgia. I don't see why he isn't villified by the South in what he did. I understand his ideas on going North but it still left Georgia and the deep south wide open to Sherman's army.



 Posted: Tue Dec 27th, 2011 09:27 pm
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ole
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BHR62 wrote:
Sherman was a hero. He marched through Georgia to show the South their government was powerless to protect them. It was a gamble that paid off. Sherman wanted to bring the war to an end and the March to the Sea was done to reach that goal. When he reached Savannah and then went into the Carolinas everyone knew it was just a matter of time then.

General Hood is the one that left Georgia defenseless. So he should get the blame for allowing Sherman to blaze through Georgia. I don't see why he isn't villified by the South in what he did. I understand his ideas on going North but it still left Georgia and the deep south wide open to Sherman's army.


An interesting discussion can be had about how much shorter the war was as a result (and how many lives were saved). Meanwhile, there are many who still argue that Sherman's tactics amounted to war on civilians.

Hood had to do something to get Sherman to come back. Sherman doubled down and let Thomas handle it.

Because Hood had to do something almost excuses heading north in an approaching winter with a poorly suppled army without much hope of supply.

Last edited on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 09:30 pm by ole



 Posted: Wed Dec 28th, 2011 08:28 pm
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BHR62
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Ole...I agree Hood was in a very desperate situation after Atlanta.  He knew he couldn't stop Sherman in battle (but he would have at least slowed him down).    I'm sure Hood realized the war was all but over after Atlanta.  So he hoped Sherman would follow him away from the heart of Georgia and buy additional time for the Confederacy.  As you stated...his army was in bad shape heading into colder climate.  But Sherman was confident Thomas could handle Hood so he didn't take the bait.  I understand Hood's decision but doing it left all of Georgia wide open.  Yet the south doesn't bash Hood for abandoning them to Sherman's Army.

Last edited on Wed Dec 28th, 2011 08:31 pm by BHR62



 Posted: Thu Dec 29th, 2011 05:20 am
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ole
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BHR62 wrote:
Ole...I agree Hood was in a very desperate situation after Atlanta.  He knew he couldn't stop Sherman in battle (but he would have at least slowed him down).    I'm sure Hood realized the war was all but over after Atlanta.  So he hoped Sherman would follow him away from the heart of Georgia and buy additional time for the Confederacy.  As you stated...his army was in bad shape heading into colder climate.  But Sherman was confident Thomas could handle Hood so he didn't take the bait.  I understand Hood's decision but doing it left all of Georgia wide open.  Yet the south doesn't bash Hood for abandoning them to Sherman's Army.
Hood couldn't have stopped Sherman. He sent Wheeler to do it, but Wheeler couldn't either.

Consider this: if Hood could get have gotten ahead of Sherman, how would he do that? Word has it that Sherman stripped or destroyed everything. Hood can't exactly follow that path. He'd have had to make an end run around the advancing 60,000 hardened veterans.

Wheeler's people (and some old men and boys) were the only troops between Sherman and Savannah, and Sherman appeared to be a master at bamboozling. Wheeler was reduced to hunting down foragers and generally doing as much damage as Sherman was doing to the civilian population.

Yes. Hood was between a rock and a hard place: do nothing or do something desperate. What that something would have been, I have no way of figuring out what I would do in his situation.



 Posted: Thu Dec 29th, 2011 09:35 am
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csamillerp
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i think Hood used his only option by moving into tennessee, if he could take Nashville or Knoxville he would have forced Sherman to confront him. I guess in his eyes it was one last ditch effort to extend the life of the confederacy. I dont believe Hood was the best commander for the situation but i also dont think he was the rage blinded fool alot of people percieve him to be. Just my opinion though



 Posted: Fri Dec 30th, 2011 08:40 pm
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ole
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csamillerp wrote:
i think Hood used his only option by moving into tennessee, if he could take Nashville or Knoxville he would have forced Sherman to confront him. I guess in his eyes it was one last ditch effort to extend the life of the confederacy. I dont believe Hood was the best commander for the situation but i also dont think he was the rage blinded fool alot of people percieve him to be. Just my opinion though
Who perceives him as a rage-blinded fool? Fool, maybe. As timorous as Johnston seemed to be, he would not have destroyed the AoT in an attempt to draw to an inside straight.

Johnston probably would have abandoned Atlanta but, at least, he would still be a threat to Sherman who would not have attempted that march with the entire AoT available to contest his every move.

Sherman tired of chasing Hood all over north Georgia and told Thomas to deal with him.

Last edited on Fri Dec 30th, 2011 08:52 pm by ole



 Posted: Sat Dec 31st, 2011 04:12 am
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csamillerp
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i agree that johnston would have faired better at atlanta, but the fact is that Hood was in command... not johnston. Hood knew he couldnt hold off sherman during a siege, and by time he took command he was already at the gates of atlanta so he couldnt choose his own battlefield. To save atlanta he would have had to defeat sherman and drive him back to chattanooga. how long could hood last in a siege before his men starved? Once it became obvious that he could not beat sherman at atlanta he abandoned it and moved on tennessee hoping sherman would follow... we look back on it with 20/20 hindsight, hood didnt have that luxury.



 Posted: Sat Dec 31st, 2011 08:38 pm
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BHR62
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If Hood had defended Georgia it would have forced Sherman to use a supply line. His army wouldn't have been able to gather near the amount of supplies as they did from the populace if they were in combat. Wheeler and Forest could have raided the supply lines. Sherman would still have made it to the sea more than likely though. I'm just throwing ideas out.



 Posted: Sun Jan 1st, 2012 03:06 am
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csamillerp
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thats true i will agree on that. i think Hood did what he was best at... gambling. It didnt work for him, staying in georgia wouldnt have achieved much either. He wanted to take nashville move into kentucky, get as many volunteers as possible and then join Lee's army who was fighting Grant off. Not a terrible strategy considering the shape of the confederacy. Not much more they could have done.



 Posted: Mon Aug 27th, 2012 04:47 am
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Firstonetolive
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Just reading this thread and decided I had to comment on it. All of those who say Sherman wasn't the first one to use "Total Warfare" is misleading. While it was not a new concept of battle his use of it was the best and most well known use in the civil war and the only one to use it with such a large force. Sherman saw the entire South as traitors and sought to punish them in addition to achieving his objectives in the south. He wanted to demonize himself and succeeded very well in doing so. He deserves to be called a villian and killer because that was the image he was trying to cultivate. However there is a fundemental flaw in his tatics that I do no think has be address on this board. The fact that he was fighting in a "Civil" war. His overall objective was reunification as stated by the commander in chief Lincoln. His action may have won the war but most certainly lost the piece. The actions on a whole of the Union army espically the major armies in comparsions to their confedrate counterparts is what has allowed such a deep divide to continue to this day.



 Posted: Mon Oct 29th, 2012 01:46 pm
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Darryl
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Firestontolive, Sherman was not the first to use the concept of total war with a large force. It was done several times before. In the ancient wotld several times it was done by invading armies as large as Sherman's.
I agree some of the actions that were taken were extreme, but it had to be done. Not only was it the exercise of invading the South it made another point as well. It showed both sides just how vunerable your country could be without the means of adequate forces to defend it. Shelby foote once said," Until Grant came along the North fought the war like a fighter fighting with one hand behind his back." When Grant and his associate generals came to power it was like now fighting with both hands. That's what happened. If it hadn't been Georgis it would have been somewhere else. The rift that still is evident today is also because of the myth of the "Lost Cause" being so popular with the people of the South. The CSA generals who fought the worst made the biggest excuses.



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