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Sherman's March to the Sea

Sherman's March to the Sea was a military campaign embarked upon by the United States Army in late 1864 during the American Civil War, led by Major General William T. Sherman. During the march, General Sherman's men burned Atlanta, Georgia to the ground and destroyed everying in a line south from that city in order to punish the Confederates for starting the war.

For most of the march, Sherman opposed Confederate general Joe Johnston, though John Bell Hood opposed Sherman for a time.

After the Battle of Atlanta, General Sherman was hesitant of his next move. He could defend the city of Atlanta, or perform some other move, such as attack the Confederate Army. Instead, he realized that he had a great military advantage, and with the permission of his superior, Major General Ulysses S. Grant (who was commanding in Virginia), he embarked on a long campaign across the state of Georgia.

On November 11, 1864, Sherman's men started to burn Atlanta and on November 15 he led his army of about 60,000 battle-hardened soldiers out of Atlanta toward the Atlantic coast. Between Macon and Augusta, he left a swath of 60 miles in width across Georgia's heartland, land holding desperately needed food and crops. The main forces opposing him were the 14,000 militia and reserves, which did little to no damage whatsoever.

The aggressive Confederate general commanding the armies in the Deep South, John Bell Hood, had left Georgia unguarded on his offensive campaign toward Nashville (he invaded Tennessee on November 22). Sherman refused to be distracted by this invasion and saw Hood's campaign as a strategic blunder, remarking that he would be willing to give Hood supplies to reach Ohio if need be.

Although Hood's campaign seemed effective at first, he was soundly beaten by Major General George Thomas at the Battle of Franklin, and his horribly beaten army was forced to retreat very far, and performed little useful service for the rest of the war. The only large force between Sherman and the Atlantic Ocean had been effectively removed by its own commander from any service against Sherman.

His army marched in two columns. The right column was commanded by the Battle of Gettysburg veteran, Major General Oliver O. Howard, and the left column, the Army of Georgia, was commanded by his fellow veteran, Major General Henry W. Slocum. The cavalry was commanded by Major General H. Judson Kilpatrick. On December 10, Sherman's army reached the city of Savannah on the Atlantic coast. There, he sent the famous letter to President Abraham Lincoln, presenting the city of Savannah as a "Christmas gift".

After the March to the Sea, Sherman was quick to advance northward, capturing the city of Columbia, South Carolina on February 17, 1865.

MG William T. Sherman, Union Army

MG Oliver O. Howard, Right Wing ;MG Peter J. Osterhaus, XV Corps

BG Charles R. Woods, 1st Division
MG William B. Hazen, 2nd Division
BG John E. Smith, 3rd Division
BG John M. Corse, 4th Division

;MG Frank P. Blair, Jr., XVII Corps
MG John A. Mower, 1st Division
BG Mortimer D. Leggett, 3rd Division
BG Giles A. Smith, 4th Division

MG Henry W. Slocum, Left Wing (Army of Georgia) ;BG Jefferson C. Davis, XIV Corps
BG William P. Carlin, 1st Division
BG James D. Morgan, 2nd Division
BG Absalom Baird, 3rd Division

;BG Alpheus S. Williams, XXI Corps
BG Nathaniel J. Jackson, 1st Division
BG John W. Geary, 2nd Division
BG William T. Ward, 3rd Division

MG H. Judson Kilpatrick, 3rd Cavalry Division (Unattached)