Sherman’s March Through Georgia

by Daniel Russ on September 18, 2011

The force was accompanied by 25,000 pack animals. So the amount of food needed to support a force this size was 300 tons a day. The routes had to be chosen wisely since there was no wagon train carrying hard tack. That said, the 300 tons of supplies came from somewhere and that source was the property of Southerners. Union forces raided county registrars and used quite open source public records to see who had cattle, who had horses, and so forth. The army split into three lines and moved in an unpredictable skein through the state according to where the resources were held. Also they intended to keep the 20,000 or so Confederate forces in the area off guard and guessing and chasing them. A group of people this large became hard to manage. What began often as foraging deteriorated into plunder, and sometimes rape and theft and murder. The unfortunate result of liberating invasion forces is sometimes the emotionally unstable members of the invading force. So Southerners hid their valuables as best they could. The unfortunate moral black eye the Union Army carried with it might be best illustrated as a line of well armed disciplined men marching with silver tea sets hanging over their shoulders. The invading army left ruins and devastated lives behind them. Whatever you might think about what’s fair in love and war, this was no different than strategic bombing that less than a century later would killed millions of non-combatants. This juggernaut invasion force delivered the Port of Savannah to the Union Army on the 21st of December 1864.