The Confederacy used the Mobile and Ohio Railroad and the Southern Railroad of Mississippi, which intersected at Meridian, to shuttle vast amounts of men and supplies through the Magnolia State. After the First Battle of Bull Run, Sherman wrote to his wife about the depredations that some of his command had committed: “If he [a private] thinks [it’s] right he takes the oats [and] corn, and even burns the house of his enemy,” he wrote angrily. Sherman also worried that Richmond had designs on wrestling control of the Mississippi River away from the Union army and reuniting the severed pieces of the Confederacy, undoing all that the Union army had accomplished in the previous months. Sherman now felt he had to attack a larger, more encompassing area of the Confederacy, destroying and confiscating both public and private property. Simultaneously, however, he became determined to rid the state of its guerrilla elements and other Confederate forces that harassed river traffic and posed a threat to the Mississippi River itself. He is best known for his actions in the Civil War, where his performance was mixed. The Meridian Campaign was hardly the brutish, purposeless destruction described in Lost Cause mythology. He continued his strategy of destroying all military facilities in his path, along with all commercial targets that could be used militarily. If successful in Mississippi, Sherman would intensify his activities, saving lives while simultaneously obtaining effective results. The Meridian Campaign was the next step in Sherman’s evolving attitude toward the prosecution of war. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines. He had observed the two battling armies at Shiloh earlier that year and saw how bulky, slow-moving supply wagons could slow down an army. Carolinas Campaign He instructed his men to burn all military facilities. Sherman began to take his pursuit of guerrillas and the punishment of those assisting them to the next level. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Grant did not intend to hold Jackson. I found a couple of newspaper articles from December 1861 with the headline "Gen. William T. Sherman Insane." Southern defenders were under the strategic direction of General Joseph E. Johnston, until he was replaced … Still, his “March to the Sea” in 1864 was a success in its goal to cripple the Confederate’s ability to wage war. Guerrilla raids on Union supplies and firings upon boats along the Mississippi River continued to anger Sherman when his troops garrisoned Memphis in 1862. Sherman did not believe that all Southern civilians were at war with the Union army. Sherman's corps helped to raise the siege of Chattanooga, and with Grant's promotion to general in chief of the United States armies, Sherman was promoted to commander of the Division of Mississippi on March 18, 1864, and to major general on August 12, 1864. Similarly, Sherman biographies give this campaign little attention. He led Union forces in crushing campaigns through the South, marching through Georgia and the Carolinas (1864–65). It is time they should feel the presence of war on our side.”. Sherman and his longtime adversary, Joe Johnston, met to discuss terms. A While many historians contend that Jomini’s works had little influence on these officers because his The Art of War was not translated into English until late in 1854, most military tacticians and strategists of the period drew upon this work for their own writings. In October an attack on the river craft Catahoula compelled Sherman to intensify retaliating against wrongdoers. In the latter part of 1863, Sherman had learned about a series of town meetings and petitions all across the state “to consider the question of abandoning the Confederacy.” Although he had initially dismissed the reports as nonsense, he still believed that some in the region were growing tired of the conflict. There he was reported to be mentally deranged for panicked comments on Confederate military strength and was relieved of command by Gen. Don Carlos Buell. “Sherman, William Tecumseh,” It showed me that we could have subsisted off the country for two months instead of two weeks.”. It took the entire course of the war to change him from being a commander who sought to exclude civilians from the conflict to becoming a leader who actively searched for ways to terrorize Southern civilians into giving up their cause—without injuring them. Mexican Dictator (1834) whom seized power in Mexico City, favored a centralized, authoriarian government dominated by the military. Sherman therefore chose the destruction of Meridian as his main objective for the winter of 1863-1864. Although he attended West Point, Sherman did not derive his principles from his education there. “I am satisfied we have no other remedy for this ambush firing than to hold the neighborhood fully responsible, though the punishment may fall on the wrong parties,” he concluded. Raphael P. Thian, comp., Notes Illustrating the Military Geography of the United States, 1813–1880 (Washington: GPO, 1881; rpt., with addenda ed. William T. Sherman, 88, formerly of Ephrata, PA, passed away on Thursday, October 31, 2019 at Landis Homes in Lititz, PA. At the time, Sherman decided that because of the hot summer weather and the exhaustion of his men, he should postpone any movement on Meridian. In all of these actions except one, Sherman took great care not to disturb nonmilitarily significant private property of those not directly involved in the war. In the preceding months, Sherman had tried diligently to end the guerrilla attacks along the Mississippi River with a series of precise retaliations. Pettus and the other government officials worked in safety during the first two years of the war. His older brother Charles became a federal judge. Vicksburg Campaign In April 1863, the Federal government would set forth a distinction between civilians and combatants inhabiting the Confederacy in its General Order 100, “Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field.” Article 22 read in part that there is a “distinction between the private individual belonging to a hostile country and the hostile country itself, with its men in arms. Unless the marauders ended their attacks on riverboats, he wanted to ensure that they and their families and friends would feel repercussions. Sent to Kentucky, he succeeded Brigadier General Robert Anderson as commander of the Department of the Cumberland. Railroad ties were uprooted, heated over fires to make them malleable, and then twisted around tree trunks as “Sherman neckties” to insure the tracks couldn’t be repaired. Jomini contended that the violence between two enemy armies on the battlefield had few limitations but that civilians away from the fighting should not be included. The club hosted some distinguished guests and performers including Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, and "Buffalo Bill" William Cody. Consulting with Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, the two men agreed that it would be necessary to destroy the South's economic and psychological will to resist if the war was to be won.To accomplish this, Sherman intended to … This article was written by Buck T. Foster and originally published in the Summer 2007 issue of MHQ Magazine. His experience with Grant during the Vicksburg Campaign had given him the confidence to strike at those who supported the partisan factions deep within their territory without fear of his troops starving for want of goods. Believing that liberal foraging would lead the men down the path toward outright pillaging, he issued an order that the “demoralizing and disgraceful practice of pillaging must cease else the country will rise on us and justly shoot us down like dogs and wild beasts.” He insisted that while his command was on the move in enemy territory, the cavalry must capture and punish any stragglers engaged in destructive activity. And his brother Hoyt was a successful banker. Sherman succeeded Grant a second time when Grant became president in 1869, becoming the commanding general of the U.S. Army from 1869 until 1883. When a larger force moved out to meet the bandits, the partisans dispersed in all directions, mingling with the populace. By the end of the war, however, most Southerners saw Sherman as a brute for his harsh treatment of Southern civilians and his destruction of property across the Confederate states. ... Homepage Featured Top Stories, Homepage Hero, Military History, Military History Magazine. “To secure the safety of the navigation of the Mississippi River I would slay millions,” he declared. Sherman did not develop his style of warfare in a week or even a year. Sherman, surprised when Johnston offered to surrender not only the army in front of Sherman’s, but all remaining Confederate forces in the eastern seaboard states, approved settlement terms even more generous than those Grant had given to Lee. His father had served on the Supreme Court of Ohio until his sudden death in 1829, leaving Sherman and his family to stay with … At one point, when asked a question about “good Indians,” he responded that, “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead,” which became, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian” in popular vernacular. Sherman’s men held a special hatred for the Palmetto State and left a trail of tears and ashes in their wake before crossing into North Carolina, where they burned even the pine forests that provided tar for the state’s shipbuilding works. For the remainder of the conflict, the Union army sought to strike at all Southern resources and infrastructure, hoping to destroy the Confederacy’s ability and will to keep fighting. Although recent works have rightfully concluded that Sherman was not the first general to promote a harsher attitude toward civilians, he nevertheless moved war in that direction to a far greater degree than any of his contemporaries. No thank you, I am not interested in joining. In the spring of 1863, after another bushwhacking incident near Greenville, Mississippi, Sherman ordered Brigadier General Frederick Steele to clear the area of partisans and any Confederate regulars. A Controversial Question: Were Fears of China Justified? Famous in the Civil War for the burning of Atlanta and the devastating "March to the Sea" through Georgia, the fearsome general became commander of the Army in 1869. Sherman and Wilson met and discussed various operations in Sherman’s "March to the Sea" from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia. Sherman’s orders or accounts by his propaganda campaign don’t change the facts of what happened or why. Convinced that a strike at Meridian could stymie these forces, at every opportunity he pressed his request to take the town. 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