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Both Grant and Sherman pursued a new type of warfare. Explain the change in strategy...

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armyof32000 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted September 11, 2013 at 5:09 PM via web

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Both Grant and Sherman pursued a new type of warfare. Explain the change in strategy these men employed. Note a battle or campaign in which each man used this new strategy. Finally, was this strategy effective? Why or why not?

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tjbrewer | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted September 11, 2013 at 5:56 PM (Answer #1)

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The type of warfare Sherman and Grant pursued was called Total War.  Exhibited in Grant's series of attacks on Richmond and Sherman's infamous March to the Sea. 

In Sherman's March to the Sea, he took the war to the Confederate people.  He spread his men out in a wide swath and marched from Atlanta Georgia to the Coast, destroying every plantation in his path, even though they would be considered civilian targets.  Sherman's main purpose in this was to turn Public opinion in the Confederacy against continuing the war. 

In Grant's case, he didn't take the war to the people but did still fight a total war.  In the past, when Union Generals had been repulsed trying to attack the Confederate Capital of Richmond, they had retreated back into Union Territory and drilled fruitlessly.  Grant changed this.  He went on the attack, marching on Richmond, and clashed with the Confederate Army under Robert E. Lee.  Grant was repulsed, but instead of retreating, he moved Eastward and then tried to approach Richmond again.  This kept constant pressure on Lee's army, and cost both sides greatly in soldiers.  With a steady stream of freed slaves, and European Immigrants contributing to an already large Union population, Grant could take these losses, Lee could not.  Eventually the losses overwhelmed Lee, and Richmond fell.  Lee retreated westward but was cut off by Union Cavalry near Appamatox. 

As far as winning the war and demoralizing the Confederacy, Grant and Sherman's campaign was a success.  However Sherman's strategy of attacking civilian targets was abandoned by the USA after the war.  After the Civil War the USA only permitted collateral damage to civilian targets, and has sought to avoid even collateral damage whenever possible. 

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