Explain the reasons for Sherman's march through Georgia and the Carolinas and note how it affected the course of the war.
Sherman himself said that his purpose in marching through Georgia was to "make Georgia howl." As historian David Eicher puts it, Sherman aimed to destroy the South's "physical and psychological capacity to wage war." His march was the logical conclusion of his longstanding belief that the South could never be defeated until its ability to continue the war was completely annihilated. To this end, he waged total war on population of first Georgia and then South Carolina, destroying infrastructure like bridges and railroads, burning crops and slaughtering livestock, and generally leaving a wide path of destruction in his wake. The destruction was systematic and intricately planned, even using information from census returns to plot a path through the regions where the most damage could be wrought. He turned north after taking Savannah and pursued a similar policy in South Carolina. By the time he reached North Carolina, he had dealt the South a devastating blow.