Civil War Battles and Strategy

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Who was William Tecumseh Sherman and what was his role in the Civil War?

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Sherman's largest and most prominent role in the Civil War lies in his punctuating his end.  The execution of his closing to the war helped to bring a great deal of resentment to the South and proved his belief that "war is hell."  Literally burning the South to the ground as he and his troops marched through it, Sherman helped to symbolize the brutality and intensely harsh nature of the war.  The Northern desire to punish the South for the sin of secession and attempting to form their own nation was embodied with the destruction that Sherman wrought.  The Southern belief that the North was merciless was also embodied in the calculating manner in which Sherman took down Southern strongholds, such as its capital, Atlanta.  Sherman's role was to bring the South into complete submission, a reality after Sherman marched through it.

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William T. Sherman was one of Lincoln's two main Generals by the end of the war, and although he was very eccentric and many in the Union Army and government did not like or trust him, he was a very effective fighter.  He is perhaps best remembered for changing the nature of war, or at least realizing that the nature of war had changed. 

He introduced "Total War" tactics that made no distinction between soldiers in the field and civilians and cities that supported them.  Therefore, he destroyed cities, crops, houses - anything that would help his enemy.  His feeling was that the more cruel war was, the sooner it would be over, in the end saving lives.

We still use Sherman's tactics today, and teach his military principles at our war colleges.

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William T. Sherman was one of the most successful Union generals in the Civil War.  He is best known for his "March to the Sea" that went from Atlanta, Georgia to the coast at Savannah, Georgia.  This march has made him infamous in the South.

It made him infamous because, on the march, his army lived off the land, taking whatever they needed from Southern farms and families.  He also destroyed everything that he could not use so as to hurt the Confederates' ability to continue the war.

Before undertaking the March to the Sea, Sherman served under Ulysses S. Grant at such major battles as the Battle of Vicksburg and the campaign in Tennessee.  Sherman also led the army that captured and sacked Atlanta.

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