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date: 21 February 2020

Sherman’s March in American History and Cultural Memory

Summary and Keywords

Sherman’s March, more accurately known as the Georgia and Carolinas Campaigns, cut a swath across three states in 1864–1865. It was one of the most significant campaigns of the war, making Confederate civilians “howl” as farms and plantations were stripped of everything edible and all their valuables. Outbuildings, and occasionally homes, were burned, railroads were destroyed, and enslaved workers were emancipated. Long after the war ended, Sherman’s March continued to shape American’s memories as one of the most symbolically powerful aspects of the Civil War.

Sherman’s March began with the better-known March to the Sea, which started in Atlanta on November 15, 1864, and concluded in Savannah on December 22 of the same year. Sherman’s men proceeded through South Carolina and North Carolina in February, March, and April of 1865. The study of this military campaign illuminates the relationships between Sherman’s soldiers and Southern white civilians, especially women, and African Americans. Sherman’s men were often uncomfortable with their role as an army of liberation, and African Americans, in particular, found the March to be a double-edged sword.

Keywords: Sherman’s March, William Tecumseh Sherman, American Civil War, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, memory, destruction, Laws of War, culture

Sherman’s March—or the Georgia and Carolinas Campaigns as it was officially known—was actually two marches, one from Atlanta to Savannah during November and December 1864, and another from Savannah northward through the Carolinas between February and April 1865. Taken together, they represent one of the most significant campaigns of the war. Its mythic aspects, stories of swaths of destruction fifty miles wide, of stolen silver and burning homes, have often overshadowed its more complex realities and strategic significance. Sherman’s March brings together many of the themes and issues of the war—emancipation, violence, Confederate morale and nationalism—in one dramatic package, and it has continued to resonate through popular culture for more than 150 years.

In the fall of 1864, Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Potomac were stuck in trenches outside of Petersburg, Virginia. They would remain there for nine months. Over the course of the late spring and early summer of 1864, Union forces under Sherman steadily fought their way southward from Chattanooga, facing Confederates under Joe Johnston and then John Bell Hood. The Atlanta campaign featured several battles and flanking maneuvers and ended in a siege of Atlanta (Figure 1). Sherman broke through John Bell Hood’s defenses and took control of the city of Atlanta on September 2, an event of not only military but also political significance because the victory ensured that Abraham Lincoln would be re-elected in November. Sherman had no intention, however, of staying in Atlanta, and within days of his occupation, he decided to evacuate the city’s civilian population.

Sherman’s March in American History and Cultural Memory

Figure 1. Map of the Georgia and Carolinas Campaign.

Courtesy of Eric Gaba, Creative Commons License, CC0.

He wanted the city to be a purely military base; he did not want to deal with feeding or protecting civilians or guarding his men against guerrillas and spies. He also did not want to have to assign soldiers to hold the city like in Memphis or New Orleans. Accused of being unduly harsh and punitive by both the mayor of Atlanta and John Bell Hood, Sherman replied simply that “war is cruelty and you cannot refine it.”1

His next plan was to march across Georgia, 285 miles to Savannah, making it “howl,” living off the land, and destroying everything that could aid the Confederacy. This plan was risky because he would be cut off from his base, and John Bell Hood still had 40,000 men in northern Alabama. This action is often portrayed in popular media and accounts as being without precedent; in fact, Sherman was building on several years of increasingly “hard” Union war policy toward civilians, most recently reflected in General Philip Sheridan’s devastating 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign.2 Sherman himself saw hard war as a means to an end, that a harsher war would bring speedier peace. He also believed that the March fit squarely within the laws of war as constituted in 1864, in the form of the Union’s General Orders No. 100, known as the Lieber Code. According to the Code, the doctrine of “military necessity” allowed for making war on civilians in certain circumstances because a citizen of a hostile nation or enemy was “one of the constituents of the hostile state or nation, and as such is subjected to the hardships of the war.”3

While both Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln were initially skeptical of Sherman’s plans, he finally won them over, and in mid-November, the men began to prepare for the new campaign. Those soldiers who were too unwell to make the trip to Savannah were sent to the rear, along with excess baggage. Trains were loaded with supplies and sent back to Chattanooga. And then commenced, in Sherman’s laconic phrase, “the special work of destruction.” Under the direction of Colonel Orlando Poe, the men pried up railroads and melted and twisted the ties, essentially erasing the Western and Atlantic rail line. Within the city limits, they turned to buildings, specifically the remnants of Confederate infrastructure: factories, railroad stations, storehouses, and the roundhouse. First, the men used battering rams, heeding Poe’s orders that they not use fire because it was too dangerous (Figure 2).

Sherman’s March in American History and Cultural Memory

Figure 2. The ruins of the passenger train station in Atlanta after the fire.

Courtesy Library of Congress, LC-DIG-stereo-1s01400.

But by November 11, soldiers began to burn houses throughout the town. While Union troops were detailed to guard some buildings—churches in particular—fires, authorized and not, were set each night. On November 14, Poe ordered that everything of military value not destroyed be set ablaze. The fires continued through the night of November 15–16, although contrary to popular belief, the entire city was not destroyed. Most residential neighborhoods were left untouched.

The March to the Sea

Sherman’s army of 62,000 men did not march across Georgia in a single swath, mowing down everything in their path. Rather, it was subdivided into two wings, each consisting of two corps: the XV and XVII in the Right Wing (with the 32nd Wisconsin), the XIV and XX in the Left Wing. General Oliver O. Howard commanded the Right Wing, with Peter J. Osterhaus leading the XV Corps and Francis Preston Blair, Jr., the XVII Corps. General Henry W. Slocum took charge of the Left Wing, with Jefferson C. Davis (no relation to the Confederate president) leading the XIV Corps and Alpheus S. Williams leading the XX Corps. Sherman initially rode with the Left Wing. Almost 5,000 cavalrymen under Judson Kilpatrick wove back and forth. Thus, the March progressed in a total of four columns, each separated from the next by a number of miles. While the March is sometimes hyperbolically described as having cut a swath fifty miles wide across the South, it is better to think of it as a row of stitches with spaces between them.

Although Savannah was Sherman’s ultimate destination, he used the wings to obscure his intentions, having the Right Wing feint toward Macon and the Left toward Augusta. The columns moved at a leisurely pace, about ten or fifteen miles a day. They did not face much organized opposition, although Confederate cavalry under General Joseph Wheeler was a constant threat.

Before setting out, Sherman tried to set some ground rules. His Special Field Orders No. 120 ordered his men to “forage liberally on the country” and “to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, etc.” but within limits. The foraging parties were supposed to be regularized and under the control of “discreet” officers; soldiers were not supposed to enter homes. Should the army be “unmolested,” Southern property was also supposed to be left alone. Significantly, Sherman also ordered that when seizing livestock, his men ought to discriminate “between the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor and industrious, usually neutral or friendly.” As for African Americans, Sherman was willing to permit commanders to put “able-bodied” men who could “be of service” into the pioneer corps, but he urged them to be mindful of their limited supplies. Well aware of his logistical limitations, Sherman wanted his officers to leave the newly freed women and children behind.4

These rules were often ignored. Union soldiers terrorized Southerners—both white and black. They stole from them and destroyed what they could not carry off (Figure 3).

Sherman’s March in American History and Cultural Memory

Figure 3. F.O.C. Darley’s popular 1868 engraving captures the sense of chaos that imbued the popular understanding of the March.

Courtesy Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-116520.

Sherman’s men took on moniker “bummer,” originally an epithet meaning a skulker or a thief, and used it as a badge of pride. At the same time, in other situations, Union soldiers and African Americans may have worked together, or shared small kindnesses. Sherman’s soldiers were not, by and large, motivated by a deep-seated belief in black equality. But, whether they liked it or not, they functioned as an army of emancipation and liberation, freeing enslaved people with every mile they marched.

The soldiers of the Right Wing left Atlanta and marched back through Jonesboro and McDonough, the sites of fighting during the waning days of the Atlanta campaign. They moved through Butts, Monroe, Jasper, and Jones counties, burning textile factories and barns, taking horses and leaving dead ones in their wake. Much of their mission centered on destroying the railroads, tearing up the rails, and twisting them into loops and corkscrews that came to be called “Sherman’s neckties.” By this point in the war, the Confederacy had mobilized almost all of its white male population, with the draft encompassing ages 17 to 50. As a result, the March featured few actual battles—mainly skirmishes with state militias or Joseph Wheeler’s cavalry. The only real battle during the March to the Sea took place outside the small town of Griswoldville, where a small group of Georgians attacked a Union brigade at the rear of the XV Corps. When the smoke cleared, the Union men were aghast to realize, in one man’s words, that “old grey-haired and weakly-looking men and little boys, not over 15 years old, lay dead or writhing in pain. I did pity those boys, they almost all who could talk said the Rebel cavalry gathered them up and forced them in.” 5 This did not slow the pace of the March, however. The Right Wing continued moving, crossing the Oconee River on pontoon bridges and sweeping through the small towns of sandy-soiled eastern Georgia. They raided Swainsboro and Statesboro, finally approaching Savannah in early December.

The soldiers of the Left Wing, Sherman riding along with them, traveled in much the same fashion. Their first major destination was Milledgeville, Georgia’s capital at the time. Georgia’s governor and state legislators fled in advance of the Union army; Sherman and his men marched into town on November 22–23. The men plundered the state house, threw books out of the windows of the state library, blew up the arsenal, and burned the railroad depot. A group of about a hundred New York and Wisconsin soldiers held a mock legislative session, bringing Georgia back into the Union. Only a few private homes were burned, generally those belonging to prominent Confederates.6 A few days later, as they continued toward the coast, Sherman joined up with the Right Wing. The Left Wing soldiers arrived at Camp Lawton outside Millen, a Confederate prison built to relieve overcrowding at Andersonville. Open for only six weeks, the prison had been hastily evacuated. All Sherman’s men found were graves. In direct retaliation, they later burned the depot and the hotel in Millen for refusing to help escaped Union prisoners.7

By December 10 the two wings met up. Savannah was still home to about 10,000 Confederate troops, so Sherman’s men bypassed the city, focusing their efforts instead on Fort McAllister, where the Ogeechee River emptied into Ossabaw Sound.8 They captured the Fort on December 13, allowing a supply line to be opened for the first time in a month, meaning that the men could also receive mail for the first time since Atlanta. Sherman decided to try to wait out the Confederates in Savannah, but after a few days, on December 17, he wrote to General Hardee demanding a surrender. After enduring a few days of bombardment, Hardee and his men slipped out of the city (Sherman had left them an escape route for this purpose). On December 22, the day after riding triumphantly into the city, Sherman sent Lincoln his famous telegram:

His Excellency

Prest. Lincoln

I beg to present to you as a Christmas gift the City of Savannah with 150 heavy guns & plenty of ammunition & also about 25,000 bales of Cotton.

W. T. Sherman

Major General9

Lincoln thanked him warmly for the gift in his reply and praised him for the success of the operation, about which Lincoln felt “anxious if not fearful.”10 Sherman had marched across Georgia and had taken Savannah, losing less than 2,000 men.11 By any measure, it was a stunning achievement.

In Savannah, Sherman was greeted by a jubilant African-American population and a nervous white one.12 Local politicians visited him; Confederate generals and officers who had fled left their wives under Sherman’s protection. Charles Green, a British banker and cotton merchant and the richest man in Savannah offered his lavish mansion on Madison Square to Sherman, which he accepted.

Sherman’s men spread themselves out all over Savannah, camping in the city’s famous squares and even pitching tents in cemeteries. In general, they behaved with more decorum than during the March itself; perhaps because they could not simply move on from whatever havoc they wreaked, perhaps because they were under orders not to loot. They tended to pay for the food they consumed in Savannah rather than just take it. That does not mean that nothing was destroyed. In particular, Union soldiers who camped in Colonial Park Cemetery vandalized tombstones, crossing out dates of birth and death and writing in new ones. Soldiers rummaged through burial vaults in search of valuables, and sometimes they actually moved into the more spacious ones. They also knocked over and scattered dozens of headstones, many of which could never be matched with their original locations.13

The March Through the Carolinas

Sherman and his men spent about a month in and around Savannah, using this as an opportunity to rest up and resupply. They then embarked on the second phase of their great campaign, the march through the Carolinas. The army retained the same basic structure of Left and Right wings, further subdivided. Although less well-known than the March to the Sea, it was—particularly in South Carolina—even more destructive. There the Union veterans vented their anger on the place they believed began the Civil War. Sherman himself recalled, somewhat disingenuously, that

somehow our men had got the idea that South Carolina was the cause of all our troubles; her people were the first to fire on Fort Sumter, had been in a great hurry to precipitate the country into civil war; and therefore on them should fall the scourge of war in its worst form . . . I saw and felt that we would not be able longer to retrain our men as we had done in Georgia . . . and I would not restrain the army lest its vigor and energy should be impaired.14

In addition, the first days and weeks after Savannah also held the toughest terrain of the march: the Salkahatchie swamps, which saw the men wading through icy water and thick mud for days on end (Figure 4).

Sherman’s March in American History and Cultural Memory

Figure 4. The fighting in the swamps of South Carolina during the Battle of Rivers Bridge was some of the most difficult that Sherman’s men faced during their march through Georgia and the Carolinas. Harper’s Weekly, April 8, 1865. The New York Public Library Digital Library, 813693.

On February 2 and 3, the Right Wing fought the battle of Rivers Bridge, described by Alanson Wood as “the hardest contested battle our regiment was ever engaged in.” The Union men fought Confederates under McLaws over a crossing point on the Salkahatchie River. Wood recalled that the battle was fought “in water from a knee to a waist deep all day, and a hand to hand contest driving the enemy back by charging on them time after time, only gaining a rod or two at each rally made.”15 Although South Carolinians have long hailed Rivers Bridge as a “last stand” against Sherman, it only slowed, and did not stop, the March’s constant forward progress.

The men moved through South Carolina, burning churches and private homes, tearing up mile after mile of railroad tracks, venting their anger on the cradle of secession. Their goal was Columbia, the state capital, and they reached the outskirts on February 15 (Figure 5).

Sherman’s March in American History and Cultural Memory

Figure 5. Whether Columbia burned because of Confederate carelessness or Union malice, the city was engulfed in flames thousands were left homeless by the fire. Harper’s Weekly, April 8, 1865.

On the night of February 16, Columbia burned, the result of fires set by both retreating Confederates and Union soldiers. Chaos and looting ruled the night, fueled by burning cotton and barrels of liquor.16 But the March kept moving.

The marchers stopped briefly in Cheraw, South Carolina, on March 2 and then crossed the Pee Dee River into North Carolina. Sherman wanted his men to rein themselves in after the excesses of South Carolina, in a nod to the Unionists in North Carolina, but this did not entirely happen. On March 11, Union soldiers, and Sherman himself, marched into Fayetteville. After some skirmishing, and Confederate destruction of the bridge across the Cape Fear River, the city surrendered to Generals Howard and Slocum. Sherman used the former United States Arsenal (now Confederate) as his headquarters, and his army happily received supplies and mail from steamboats out of Wilmington. From there, the Right Wing headed to Goldsboro while the Left feinted toward Raleigh. To this point, the March had featured few outright battles, but Sherman was now being more directly opposed by his old opponent, Confederate General Joseph Johnston and his army. The two sides fought at both Averasboro on March 16 and Bentonville, considered to be the last battle of the Carolinas campaign, on March 19–21, 1865.17

After a long rest in Goldsboro, during which Sherman traveled to Virginia to meet with Grant and Lincoln, the March resumed in early April. On April 13, they took Raleigh, their third state capital. On April 17, Sherman and Johnston met at a small farmhouse near Durham, North Carolina, known as the Bennett Place, to hash out surrender terms. By this point, Sherman had heard the news of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, although he tried to keep the news from his men at first. Sherman’s terms were initially quite generous, offering general amnesty and indicating his desire for a quick reconciliation with Southern whites. Sherman also argued that these terms accorded with Lincoln’s wishes before his untimely death. But in the charged climate following Lincoln’s assassination, the terms were rejected. Ultimately, on April 26, Johnston’s Confederates surrendered under terms like those at Appomattox. The Great March was over.18

Sherman’s March and Southern Whites

Sherman’s March lasted for more than five months and covered hundreds of miles. As such, it touched the lives of thousands upon thousands of Southern whites and African Americans. Because the March also incorporated very few traditional soldier-versus-soldier military engagements, the stories that Americans tell about the March are dominated by encounters between soldiers and civilians. The explicit orders for soldiers to “forage liberally on the country” meant that contacts between Yankee troops and Southern men, women, and children would necessarily be fraught with tension, anger, fear, and resentment on all sides. The story of the Jones family women in Liberty County, Georgia, provide a typical example.

For days in December 1864, the women tried to prepare for the Union troops they knew were coming by moving furniture, books, and other items from one home to another and trying to hide valuables where they might not be discovered.19 When Union soldiers finally came to the Jones plantation on December 15, they commandeered the family’s horses and mules and searched the house for valuables, opening drawers and boxes, strewing the contents about the rooms. They demanded food and whiskey from the Jones women, and they even went through trunks in the attic. Interestingly, the Jones women stood their ground against the soldiers. As elite plantation mistresses, they were accustomed to giving orders and being obeyed, and at least according to Mary Mallard’s journal, they were able to shame the Union soldiers into leaving at least a few valuables behind. They left the horses and mules as well, because they were too old to be of much use to the army on the move.20

But the encounters between the Jones women and their Yankees enemies were not over. The following day, December 16, the Jones women heard “the clash of arms and the clatter of horsemen” and rushed into their pantry and kitchen to find forty or fifty men tearing the place apart, ripping into smoked meats, demanding whiskey and flour. They seemed less moved by Mary Jones’ remonstrances, threatening to take every bit of food and starve the family to death, leaving only a little rice and some spilled corn meal. The possessions that the first day’s soldiers had left were rifled and taken by this more out-of-control group. Then, each day for the next several days, the Jones plantation was visited by at least one squad of foragers, including some repeat visitors (Figure 6).

Sherman’s March in American History and Cultural Memory

Figure 6. Sherman’s bummers visit a plantation from The Story of the Great March.

In many ways the Jones family was lucky: none of their property was burned. In part this is because, despite Sherman’s later reputation, in Henry Grady’s famous phrase, as “a kind of careless man with fire,” marchers did not actually destroy many private homes. They did burn barns, storehouses, and cotton gins, however. There was an element of chance in the level of havoc wreaked at any given place. Just as Mary Jones met with a range of Union soldiers, some who let her keep things, others who did not, so, too, did other Southern civilians have both positive and negative encounters. In the years after the war, women were portrayed inn one of two ways: either as victims of Sherman’s unfair depredations or as using their wits to save themselves and their possessions.

It is impossible to completely quantify the destruction brought by the March. Certainly hundreds of thousands of, cattle, sheep, pigs, turkey, and chickens were slaughtered, either for food or the sheer pleasure of destruction. Horses and mules were taken to replace worn out Union mounts, many of which were shot so that Southerners could not rehabilitate them. Countless bushels of grain were either eaten or destroyed; untold bales of cotton torched. Sherman estimated that the devastation in Georgia alone came to $100 million; we can assume the same amount for the Carolinas. It was, by any measure, a triumph for the Union hard-war policy. Whether this level of destruction could be categorized as “total war” is more debatable. Certainly, it was not total war in the 20th- or 21st-century definition, because Sherman’s soldiers did not kill civilians. They did not round up civilians and imprison them. While there were cases of sexual assault, mass rape was not used as a weapon. Civilians’ property was targeted, not their bodies. In this way, Sherman’s March was more an example of the 19th-century way of war than a harbinger of the future.

Sherman’s March and African Americans

For African Americans, Sherman’s March was the epitome of a double-edged sword. The March represented the most powerful engine of emancipation during the war, yet it was led by a man who did not believe in racial equality. While many enslaved people were liberated by Union soldiers as they moved across the plantation landscape, that emancipation was often accompanied by hunger, destruction, and mistreatment. If African Americans stayed put while the army moved on, they would have had to live amidst ruined farms and looted storehouses, side by side with angry masters, who may not have seen themselves as “former” slaveholders.21 Those who chose to follow Sherman’s army found themselves largely unwelcomed, left to fend for themselves, often trapped by Confederates in their wake.

As marchers poured onto plantations, we can imagine the mixed emotions with which they were greeted by African Americans: joy at the implications of emancipation and the misery of white owners, but also perhaps fear and concern. Many Union soldiers treated newly freed slaves callously or contemptuously; African Americans resented being forced to feed and care for Union troops. But others remembered powerful moments of emancipation and taking to the roads to follow Sherman’s army.

Those who joined the march faced new hardships. Sherman was at best an ambivalent liberator, and his primary concern was that the March not be slowed down in any way. He was willing to take on able-bodied young men to work in his pioneer corps, but he did not want to have to feed and care for women, children, and the elderly. This unwillingness of the Union command to take responsibility for as many as 25,000 refugees in Georgia alone led to tragedy.

On December 9, the XIV Corps under the command Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis (no relation to the Confederate President), was approaching Savannah, and needed to cross Ebenezer Creek’s deep, wide, and icy waters. The Union troops swiftly set up pontoon bridges and crossed, mindful that Confederate raiders were close behind. As many as five thousand former slaves, who were afraid of being captured by the Confederate troops, were told to wait to cross until all the soldiers and wagons were over. But, after the soldiers had crossed, they pulled up and dismantled the bridges, leaving the African Americans stranded, trapped between the frigid water and Confederates firing upon them. Col. Charles D. Kerr of the 126th Illinois Cavalry witnessed the event, and wrote of the horror that ensued “. . . with cries of anguish and despair, men, women, and children rushed by the hundreds into the turbid stream, and many were drowned before our eyes. From what we learned afterwards of those who remained upon the land, their fate at the hands of Wheeler’s troopers was scarcely to be preferred.”22

Some good did come indirectly out of the atrocity at Ebenezer Creek. The outrage it engendered brought Secretary of War Stanton to Savannah, and Stanton in turn forced Sherman to meet with twenty free black ministers in Savannah. They told Sherman that they wanted opportunities for landownership and self-employment.23 From that meeting came Special Field Order No. 15, which most famously set aside 400,000 acres of abandoned lands in coastal South Carolina and Georgia for the settlement of newly freed blacks. Each family, headed by a “respectable” negro was entitled to a plot of up to 40 acres. The order, which also included provisions for men to work for the army, applied to more than 40,000 former slaves.24 It was, in the words of one Sherman biographer “beyond emancipation itself, the single most revolutionary act in race relations during the Civil War.”25

Did Sherman suddenly have a change of heart and become the great liberator that he was imagined to be? No. It was a purely utilitarian exercise, one that in fact solved several of Sherman’s problems. First, it got Stanton off his back.26 Second, it solved the problem of the trailing freedmen. Now Sherman could leave them behind. Third, the presence of all of these freedmen served as a coastal buffer. The special area extended 30 miles inland, and thus Sherman would not need to worry about leaving many troops behind (some did remain under General Saxton’s control). Certainly, Sherman did not care enough about the order to protect it or fight for it once Andrew Johnson repealed it in 1866. Indeed, given his rather generous feelings toward white Southerners after the war, it seems likely that land redistribution was quite far down on his list of priorities.27

Sherman’s March in American Culture

Sherman’s March, more than almost any other event in the Civil War, has reverberated through American popular culture. Poetry and photography, fiction and popular music, novels and films—all have engaged with the Georgia and Carolinas campaign in a variety of ways. Part of this fascination has to do with the natural narrative drama of the March, its relentless forward movement, its many conflicts between soldiers and civilians, its stories of freedom taken or taken away. The March was a key element of the late 19th- and early 20th-century Lost Cause, where white Southerners blamed their loss on overwhelming Union power while minimizing the importance of slavery. Sherman came to be seen as the great villain of the war, one who did not play fairly and was overly harsh and cruel. The destruction of the March symbolized the destruction of the war as a whole.

Sherman’s March was memorialized in song even before it was over. A Union prisoner of war, Samuel Hawkins Marshall Byers, heard the news from Georgia and in a burst of happy energy wrote the song “Sherman’s March to the Sea,” (sometimes also known as “When Sherman Marched Down to the Sea” which was then set to music by a member of the prison’s Glee Club. Byers eventually escaped and presented the song to Sherman himself (Figure 7).28

Sherman’s March in American History and Cultural Memory

Figure 7. Although not as well known today, Byers’ song sold over a million copies.

Courtesy Library of Congress, Civil War Sheet Music Collection, M1640.R.

The most well-known song about the March is doubtless “Marching Through Georgia,” written in early 1865. “Marching Through Georgia” paints Sherman’s soldiers as an army of liberation, “bringing the Jubilee,” freeing both African Americans and white Unionists. They leave a trail of freedom in their wake, scattering frightened rebels before them. Work also did not shy away from gently referencing foraging, with the second verse’s turkey and sweet potatoes.29 Sherman himself was said to loathe the song, no doubt because he had to listen to it over and over again for a quarter century. In the 1970s the March was woven through musician Paul Kennerly’s Civil War–themed rock opera White Mansions.30

Poets as well as songwriters found inspiration in the March. Herman Melville included two poems about it in his Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War: “The March to the Sea,” written from the Union perspective; and “The Frenzy in its Wake,” from the white Southern side. Walt Whitman’s brief “Ethiopia Saluting the Colors,” uses the figure of an African-American woman to explore the meaning of emancipation.31 Late-20th-century poets like Harold Lawrence and Ted Spivey have used memorials to the March (in Milledgeville and Atlanta, GA, respectively) to muse on the long shadows left by the Civil War.

Fictional representations of Sherman’s March are dominated by Gone With The Wind, somewhat ironically given that Sherman himself never appears on screen. But Margaret Mitchell’s was hardly the first novel to use the civilian experience of the March as the basis for a tale of romance and adventure. The interior lives of Sherman’s soldiers (save as romantic heroes or evil caricatures) are absent from these early writings, as are African Americans as anything other than clichéd background figures. Books like The M’donalds; or The Ashes of Southern Homes. A Tale of Sherman’s March (1867) or Cicely: A Tale of the Georgia March (1911) are stock stories of brave white Southern women confronting gallant officers.32 Romance continued to dominate later 20th-century offerings like My Dearest Cecilia, Ashes of Ruin, and Savannah, or A Gift for Mr. Lincoln.33

Gone with the Wind, however, casts a long shadow over both the novelistic and the cinematic image of Sherman’s March. Margaret Mitchell drew on her own family’s stories of the Civil War and the March as she wrote her epic, and she carefully researched the military campaigns and details as well. The middle section of the novel is dominated by Sherman’s siege of Atlanta and then the impact that the March had on Tara, Scarlett O’Hara’s family home. Although the presence of Sherman’s army drives much of the action, we see Union soldiers only infrequently, when one breaks into Tara (only to be shot by Scarlett) and again when the soldiers of the Right Wing passed through Jonesboro. As Mitchell vividly described:

Sherman was marching through Georgia, from Atlanta to the sea. In a swath eighty miles wide the Yankees were looting and burning. There were hundreds of homes in flames, hundreds of homes resounding with their footsteps. But, to Scarlett, watching the bluecoats pour into the front hall, it was not a country-wide affair. It was entirely personal, a malicious action aimed directly at her and hers.34

Mitchell’s novel, unlike the subsequent 1939 film adaptation, did not exclusively paint Yankees as rapacious vandals; in the book Union soldiers give medicine to Scarlett’s mother and allow her son to keep his late father’s Mexican War cavalry sword. But the picture of Sherman’s march cutting a massive swath across the landscape persisted.

Two more modern novels bring the complexity of Sherman’s March to the fore, both by using multiple narrators and perspectives. The first is Cynthia Bass’ 1995 Sherman’s March.35 Bass divides her narration into thirds: Sherman himself, Nick Whiteman, a captain in the XIV Corps, and finally Annie Baker, a refugeeing Confederate widow. Bass’ Sherman is unapologetic about the use of destruction, gruff, and does not suffer fools, but cares about his men—the Uncle Billy of song and legend. Whiteman is a sort of foil, a decent man caught up in indecent circumstances. He takes no pleasure in foraging, no joy in frightening civilians, perhaps a grim enjoyment in freeing slaves. Baker is a woman forced from her home and determined to keep herself alive at all costs. Taken together, Bass’ characters try to convey the essential humanity of all sides. E. L. Doctorow’s The March (2005) takes on the entirety of the March through a kaleidoscope of perspectives: men and women, Northern and Southern, black and white, rich and poor. Although some plot points (like Sherman taking in an African-American girl pretending to be a boy) strain credulity, the overall portrait that Doctorow paints is powerful. His description of the March as a sort of “great segmented body moving in contractions and dilations at a rate of twelve or fifteen miles a day, a creature of a hundred thousand feet. It is tubular in its being and tentacled to the roads and bridges over which it travels. It sends out as antennae its men on horses. It consumes everything in its path. It is an immense organism, this army, with a small brain. That would be General Sherman.”36 This phrase gives readers one of the best metaphors possible.

Surprisingly, given the March’s inherent drama, it has rarely been represented on film. D. W. Griffith did drop it into The Birth of a Nation (1915) as a means of advancing his Lost Cause reading of the war. “While the women and children weep, a great conqueror marches to the sea” explains the title card. He personalizes the action by having the audience identify with a terrified Southern family cowering as scores of men march by. The screen glows red as “the torch of war” is put to Atlanta, and confusion ensues. We then see dozens of white refugees. His is not the story of liberators bringing freedom to grateful slaves, but of terror and fear.37

The March played a similar role in Gone with the Wind, although smaller than it did in the novel. While striving for a relatively balanced portrayal (Northerners bought movie tickets, too), Selznick still kept Sherman as the great villain of the first half. Enormous letters scroll across the screen, “And the Wind swept through Georgia . . . SHERMAN! To split the Confederacy, to leave it crippled and forever humbled, the Great Invader marched . . . leaving behind him a path of destruction sixty miles wide, from Atlanta to the Sea . . .”38 The distinctions that Mitchell carefully drew between before Sherman’s March and after in the novel were also largely erased. Too, Selznick’s version reified the notion of Yankees as despoilers, Southern whites as victims (who might occasionally fight back and outwit their enemies.)

The most unusual and least traditional film about the March is surely Ross McElwee’s documentary Sherman’s March: A Meditation upon the Possibilities of Romantic Love in the South During an Era of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation. What began as an attempt at a straightforward documentary about Sherman’s March became instead a meditation on McElwee’s search for romantic answers, his anxieties about nuclear war, and his search for Sherman. This strange epic may not tell us much about Sherman’s march, but it does give us a sense of its endurance as a symbol.

Discussion of the Literature

Sherman’s March is an evergreen subject for historians; the main historiographical arguments about it tend to break along lines of legality and significance: in effect, authors come either to bury Sherman or to praise him. The Georgia story has also historically overshadowed that of the Carolinas, although one could argue that the Carolinas were more important in bringing the war to a close. Social and cultural historians have also explored the March’s impact on civilians and its long shadows. The experience of African Americans on the March is the most neglected aspect and cries out for a book-length study.

There are surprisingly few overviews of the entire march. Burke Davis’ Sherman’s March is brief and readable, though pitched to the general reader rather than scholars.39 Joseph T. Glatthaar’s The March to the Sea and Beyond focuses specifically on the experiences of Sherman’s soldiers.40 Charles Royster’s The Destructive War looks at the March’s increasing violence through the figure of Sherman himself.41 The Georgia campaign is the focus of several good books, including Anne J. Bailey’s brief War and Ruin: William T. Sherman and the Savannah Campaign; Noah Andre Trudeau’s Southern Storm: Sherman’s March to the Sea takes us along day by day.42 Steven Davis and Wendy Venet both detail Sherman’s stay in and subsequent evacuation from Atlanta; Davis in greater (and much angrier) detail.43 Jacqueline Jones’ Saving Savannah looks at the ways that black and white residents of the city negotiated the transition to emancipation and their month-long occupation by Union troops.44

For the Carolinas campaign, see John Gilchrist Barrett, Sherman’s March through the Carolinas and John M. Gibson, Those 163 Days: A Southern Account of Sherman’s March from Atlanta to Raleigh.45 More recent accounts like Facing Sherman in South Carolina take a much more partisan approach, still seeing the campaign as a contest between gallant Confederates and vengeful Yankees.46 Marion Brunson Lucas’ Sherman and the Burning of Columbia argues that both sides deserve blame for the city’s destruction, and is widely considered to be the definitive account. 47 Regarding the last weeks of the campaign in North Carolina, see Robert Paul Broadwater’s Battle of Despair about the Battle of Bentonville and Mark Bradley’s This Astounding Close: The Road to the Bennett Place, an exhaustive look at the time between Bentonville and the surrender.48

On the interactions between Sherman’s men and civilians, particularly white women see, Jacqueline Glass Campbell, When Sherman Marched North from the Sea (which covers the Carolinas only) and Lisa Tendrich Frank, The Civilian War: Confederate Women and Union Soldiers During Sherman’s March.49 Campbell’s book also looks more closely at the experiences of African Americans than many other historians do capturing the tensions inherent in their encounters with Union troops. A useful, though limited, introductory article is Edmund L. Drago’s “How Sherman’s March Through Georgia Affected the Slaves.”50

Other more recent books have explored the March’s place in both Civil war historiography and American culture more broadly. Sherman’s March in Myth and Memory, by Edward Caudill and Paul Ashdown traces the ways that journalists, historians, novelists, and filmmakers have interpreted both the March and Sherman himself. 51 Anne Sarah Rubin’s Through the Heart of Dixie explores the ways that Americans, including Union veterans, Southern civilians, and African Americans, have told their stories of the March, and how those have changed over time.52 Matthew Carr’s Sherman’s Ghosts looks specifically at the impact that Sherman’s style of warfare had on the American military, in some ways echoing James Reston’s classic Sherman’s March and Vietnam.53 The legality of Sherman’s March is discussed at length in John Fabian Witt’s Lincoln’s Code.54

Readers interested in Sherman himself have any number of biographies from which to choose. Charles Royster’s The Destructive War, does not deal exclusively with Sherman, but puts his willingness to make hard war in a broad cultural context.55 John Marszalek’s Sherman: A Passion for Order is deeply researched and compelling, and it has the added benefit of engaging with both Sherman’s marriage and his racial attitudes.56 Michael Fellman’s Citizen Sherman uses psychological techniques to paint a portrait of a deeply angry and frequently depressed man, one that does not always accord with contemporaneous accounts.57 Lee Kennett’s Sherman: A Soldier’s Life eschews the domestic in favor of the military.58 Most recently, James Lee McDonough’s massive William Tecumseh Sherman in the Service of My Country expands further on Sherman the soldier, while Robert L. O’Connell’s Fierce Patriot explores Sherman as a military strategist, leader of men, and finally family man.59

Primary Sources

Students of Sherman’s March benefit from a rich collection of primary sources, many of which have been either published or made available online. An excellent place to begin is with Sherman’s own Memoirs, published in 1876.60 Accounts by two of Sherman’s aides, George Ward Nichols and Henry Hitchcock, help flesh out the General’s own memories. Nichols’ Story of the Great March is more formal and detailed, while Hitchcock’s Marching with Sherman is a personal diary.61 A rich overview of the entire operation can be found in The War of the Rebellion, popularly known as the Official Records.62 The Georgia campaign is in Series 1, volume 44; the Carolinas campaign is in Series 1, volume 47. After the war, Sherman testified before the Joint Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War, and his testimony and associated documents were separately published.63 Approximately 62,000 men marched along with Sherman, so soldiers’ letters and diaries are an invaluable resource. Some of the best published ones include those by Major James A. Connolly, of the 123rd Illinois; William Royal Oake, 26th Illinois; artillery office Thomas Ward Osborn; and Charles W. Wills, 7th Illinois Cavalry.64 Veterans’ reminiscences are powerful sources as well, and many of Sherman’s troops were active members of MOLLUS commanderies.65 Soldiers’ diaries and letters often cover the entirety of the March; civilians tend to have a more limited vantage point, but their writings are similarly rich with detail and emotion. Katherine Jones’ collection of primary accounts in When Sherman Came traverses Georgia and the Carolinas.66 Three of the most expressive personal accounts are those written by Gertrude Thomas and Emma LeConte, and the collection of Jones family letters published as The Children of Pride.67 It is very difficult to find primary sources from the perspective of African Americans, but the Works Progress Administration (WPA) slave narratives are a good starting point.68

Further Reading

Bailey, Anne J. War and Ruin: William T. Sherman and the Savannah Campaign. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2003.Find this resource:

Barrett, John Gilchrist. Sherman’s March Through the Carolinas. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1956.Find this resource:

Bradley, Mark L. This Astounding Close: The Road to the Bennett Place. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.Find this resource:

Campbell, Jacqueline Glass. When Sherman Marched North from the Sea. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003.Find this resource:

Caudill, Edward, and Paul Ashdown. Sherman’s March in Myth and Memory (The American Crisis Series). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.Find this resource:

Davis, Stephen. What the Yankees Did to Us: Sherman’s Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2012.Find this resource:

Drago, Edmund L. “How Sherman’s March Through Georgia Affected the Slaves.” Georgia Historical Quarterly 57.Fall (1973): 361–374.Find this resource:

Fellman, Michael. Citizen Sherman: A Life of William Tecumseh Sherman. New York: Random House, 1995.Find this resource:

Frank, Lisa Tendrich. The Civilian War: Confederate Women and Union Soldiers During Sherman’s March. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2015.Find this resource:

Gibson, John M. Those 163 Days; a Southern Account of Sherman’s March from Atlanta to Raleigh. New York: Coward-McCann, 1961.Find this resource:

Glatthaar, Joseph T. The March to the Sea and Beyond. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985.Find this resource:

Grimsley, Mark. The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy toward Southern Civilians, 1861–1865. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1995.Find this resource:

Jones, Jacqueline. Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008.Find this resource:

Kennett, Lee. Sherman: A Soldier’s Life. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.Find this resource:

Lucas, Marion Brunson. Sherman and the Burning of Columbia. College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1976.Find this resource:

Marszalek, John F. Sherman’s March to the Sea. Abilene, TX: McWhiney Foundation Press, 2005.Find this resource:

Marszalek, John F. Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order. New York: Free Press, 1993.Find this resource:

McDonough, James Lee. William Tecumseh Sherman: In the Service of My Country: A Life. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2017.Find this resource:

Miles, Jim. To The Sea: A History and Tour Guide of the War in the West, Sherman’s March across Georgia and Through the Carolinas, 1864–1865. Revised ed. Nashville, TN: Cumberland House, 2002.Find this resource:

O’Connell, Robert L. Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman (1st ed.). New York: Random House, 2015.Find this resource:

Reston, James Jr. Sherman’s March and Vietnam. New York: Macmillan, 1984.Find this resource:

Royster, Charles. The Destructive War: William Tecumseh Sherman, Stonewall Jackson, and the Americans. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1991.Find this resource:

Rubin, Anne Sarah. Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman’s March and American Memory. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014.Find this resource:

Sherman, William T. Memoirs of General William T. Sherman by Himself. Foreword by B. H. Liddell Hart. Two volumes complete in one. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1957.Find this resource:

Trudeau, Noah Andre. Southern Storm: Sherman’s March to the Sea. New York: HarperCollins, 2008.Find this resource:

Venet, Wendy Hammond. A Changing Wind: Commerce & Conflict in Civil War Atlanta. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014.Find this resource:


(1.) Two recent works dealing extensively with the Union’s occupation of Atlanta are Stephen Davis, What the Yankees Did to Us: Sherman’s Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2012); Wendy Hammond Venet, A Changing Wind: Commerce & Conflict in Civil War Atlanta (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014). William T. Sherman to James M. Calhoun et al., September 12, 1865, in Sherman’s Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860–1865, eds. Brooks D. Simpson and Jean V. Berlin. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999), 707–709.

(2.) Mark Grimsley, The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy toward Southern Civilians, 1861–1865 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

(3.) John Fabian Witt, Lincoln’s Code : The Laws of War in American History (New York: Free Press, 2012); and General Orders No. 100: The Lieber Code.

(4.) OR, Series I, vol. 39, part 3, 713–714; and Sherman, Memoirs, 175–176.

(5.) Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, 324.

(6.) James C. Bonner, Milledgeville: Georgia’s Antebellum Capital (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1978); and Hugh T. Harrington, Civil War Milledgeville: Tales from the Confederate Capital of Georgia (Charleston, SC: History Press, 2005).

(7.) John K. Derden, The World’s Largest Prison: The Story of Camp Lawton (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2012).

(8.) Roger S. Durham, Guardian of Savannah: Fort McAllister, Georgia, in the Civil War and Beyond, vol. Studies in Maritime History (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2008).

(9.) Telegram from General William T. Sherman to President Abraham Lincoln announcing the surrender of Savannah, Georgia, as a Christmas present to the President. The National Archives.

(11.) Table in Sherman, Memoirs, 221.

(12.) For a Confederate account, see Jones, The Siege of Savannah in December 1864. For a recent study of Civil War Savannah, see Jones, Saving Savannah.

(13.) Marszalek, Sherman’s March to the Sea, 112; Knight, Georgia’s Landmarks, Memorials, and Legends, vol. II, 276, 286; and Connolly, Three Years in the Army of the Cumberland, 375.

(14.) Sherman, Memoirs, 254.

(15.) Alanson Wood, History of the 32nd Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry, n.d.

(16.) The question of who burned Columbia, Union soldiers or retreating Confederates has been controversial for the last 150 years. For the Confederate viewpoint, see William Gilmore Simms and David Aiken, A City Laid Waste: The Capture, Sack, and Destruction of the City of Columbia (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2005). A more balanced perspective can be found in Marion Brunson Lucas, Sherman and the Burning of Columbia (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1976).

(17.) Bentonville has been the subject of several monographs, including Broadwater, Battle of Despair; Hughes, Bentonville: The Final Battle of Sherman and Johnston; and Mark L. Bradley, Last Stand in the Carolinas.

(18.) Mark L. Bradley, This Astounding Close: The Road to the Bennett Place (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000).

(19.) Mrs. Mary Jones to Mrs. Susan M. Cumming, in The Children of Pride, vol. 2, ed. Robert M. Myers (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1983), 1217.

(20.) Robert M. Myers, ed., The Children of Pride, 1220–1221, 1223–1226.

(21.) On the rocky transition to emancipation in general, see Litwack, Been in the Storm So Long and Glymph, Out of the House of Bondage.

(22.) Charles D. Kerr, Col., “From Atlanta to Raleigh,” MOLLUS vol. 26, MN, 216; Trudeau, Southern Storm, 380–383.

(23.) For a transcript of the meeting, see Frazier, “Colloquy With Colored Ministers.” For African Americans in wartime Savannah, see Byrne, “‘Uncle Billy’ Sherman Comes to Town: the Free Winter of Black Savannah,” and Jones, Saving Savannah.

(24.) Special Field Orders, No. 15, Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, 16 Jan. 1865, Orders & Circulars, ser. 44, Adjutant General’s Office, Record Group 94, National Archives.

(25.) Michael Fellman, Citizen Sherman: A Life of William Tecumseh Sherman (New York: Random House, 1995), 165.

(26.) Fellman, Citizen Sherman, 169.

(27.) Louis S. Gerteis, From Contraband to Freedman: Federal Policy Toward Southern Blacks, 1861–1865 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1973), 57.

(28.) S. H. M. Byers, “A Historic War Song: How and Where I Wrote ‘Sherman’s March to the Sea,’” MOLLUS 55, Iowa, 393–395; and Christian McWhirter, Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War, 169–170.

(30.) Steven Hull’s White Mansions Page.

(31.) Melville, “The March to the Sea,” and “The Frenzy in the Wake in Herman Melville,” in Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1972), 128–134; “Ethiopia Saluting the Colors,” The Walt Whitman Archive.

(32.) William Henry Peck, The M’donalds, or The Ashes of Southern Homes. A Tale of Sherman’s March (New York: Metropolitan record office, 1867); and Sarah Beaumont Kennedy, Cicely: A Tale of the Georgia March (New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1911).

(33.) Diane Haeger, My Dearest Cecelia: A Novel of the Southern Belle Who Stole General Sherman’s Heart (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2003); Miriam Freeman Rawl, From the Ashes of Ruin (Columbia, SC: Summerhouse, 1999); and John Jakes, Savannah, Or, A Gift for Mr. Lincoln (New York: Dutton, 2004).

(34.) Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind (New York: Macmillan, 1936), 440.

(35.) Cynthia Bass, Sherman’s March (New York: Bantam, 1995).

(36.) E. L. Doctorow, The March: A Novel (New York: Random House, 2005), 9, 61–62.

(37.) D. W. Griffith, The Birth of a Nation, 1915; and Gallagher, Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten, 44–45.

(38.) Howard, Gone With the Wind: The Screenplay, 87, 138.

(39.) Burke Davis, Sherman’s March (New York: Random House, 1980).

(40.) Joseph T. Glatthaar, The March to the Sea and Beyond (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985).

(41.) Charles Royster, The Destructive War: William Tecumseh Sherman, Stonewall Jackson, and the Americans (New York: Knopf, 1991).

(42.) Anne J. Bailey, War and Ruin: William T. Sherman and the Savannah Campaign (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2003); and Noah Andre Trudeau, Southern Storm: Sherman’s March to the Sea (New York: Harper, 2008).

(43.) Davis, What the Yankees Did to Us: Sherman’s Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta; and Wendy H. Venet, A Changing Wind: Commerce & Conflict in Civil War Atlanta.

(44.) Jacqueline Jones, Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008).

(45.) John Gilchrist Barrett, Sherman’s March through the Carolinas (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1956); and John M. Gibson, Those 163 Days: A Southern Account of Sherman’s March from Atlanta to Raleigh (New York: Coward-McCann, 1961).

(46.) Christopher G. Crabb, Facing Sherman in South Carolina: March through the Swamps (Charleston, SC: History Press, 2010).

(47.) Lucas, Sherman and the Burning of Columbia.

(48.) Robert P. Broadwater, Battle of Despair: Bentonville and the North Carolina Campaign (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2004); and Bradley, This Astounding Close: The Road to the Bennett Place.

(49.) Jacqueline Glass. Campbell, When Sherman Marched North from the Sea: Resistance on the Confederate Home Front (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003); and Lisa Tendrich Frank, The Civilian War: Confederate Women and Union Soldiers During Sherman’s March (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2015).

(50.) Edmund L. Drago, “How Sherman’s March through Georgia Affected the Slaves,” Georgia Historical Quarterly 57.Fall (1973): 361–374.

(51.) Edward Caudill and Paul Ashdown, Sherman’s March in Myth and Memory, vol. The American crisis series (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008).

(52.) Anne Sarah Rubin, Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman’s March and American Memory (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014).

(53.) Matthew Carr, Sherman’s Ghosts: Soldiers, Civilians, and the American Way of War (New York: The New Press, 2015); and James Reston, Sherman’s March and Vietnam (New York: Macmillan, 1984).

(54.) John Fabian Witt, Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History (New York: Free Press, 2012).

(55.) Charles Royster, The Destructive War: William Tecumseh Sherman, Stonewall Jackson, and the Americans (New York: Knopf, 1991).

(56.) John F. Marszalek, Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order (New York: Free Press, 1993).

(57.) Michael Fellman, Citizen Sherman: A Life of William Tecumseh Sherman (New York: Random House, 1995).

(58.) Lee Kennett, Sherman: A Soldier’s Life (New York: HarperCollins, 2001).

(59.) James Lee McDonough, William Tecumseh Sherman: In the Service of My Country: A Life, 1st ed. (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2017); and Robert L. O’Connell, Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman, (New York: Random House, 2015).

(60.) William T. Sherman, Memoirs of General William T. Sherman (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1957).

(61.) George Ward Nichols, The Story of the Great March (New York: Harper, 1865); and Henry Hitchcock and M. A. De Wolfe Howe, Marching with Sherman (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1927).

(62.) The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (70 vols. in 128; Washington, DC, 1880–1901).

(63.) Report of Major General William T. Sherman to the Hon. Committee on the Conduct of the War (Millwood, NY: Kraus Reprint Company, 1977).

(64.) James Austin Connolly, Three Years in the Army of the Cumberland; the Letters and Diary of Major James A. Connolly, vol. Civil War Centennial Series (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1959); Stacy Dale Allen, editor, On the Skirmish Line Behind a Friendly Tree: The Civil War Memoirs of William Royal Oake, 26th Iowa Volunteers (Helena, MT: Farcountry Press, 2006); Thomas Ward Osborn, Richard Barksdale Harwell, and Philip N. Racine, The Fiery Trail: A Union Officer’s Account of Sherman’s Last Campaigns (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1986); and Charles Wright Wills and Mary E. Kellogg, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier: Including a Day-by-Day Record of Sherman’s March to the Sea: Letters and Diary of Charles W. Wills, vol. Shawnee Classics (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1996).

(65.) MOLLUS, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States Sketches of War History (Wilmington, DE: Broadfoot Publishing, 1991).

(66.) Katharine M. Jones, When Sherman Came: Southern Women and the “Great March” (Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1964).

(67.) Virginia Ingraham Burr, ed. The Secret Eye: The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848–1889, vol. Gender & American Culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990); Emma LeConte, When the World Ended: Diary (New York: Oxford University Press, 1957); and Robert Manson Myers and Charles Colcock Jones, The Children of Pride: A True Story of Georgia and the Civil War (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1972).