The March to the Sea and Beyond: Sherman's Troops in the Savannah and Carolinas Campaigns Info

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In November, 1864, Major General William Tecumseh Sherman led
an army of veteran Union troops through the heart of the Confederacy,
leaving behind a path of destruction in an area that had known little of
the hardships of war, devastating the morale of soldiers and civilians
alike, and hastening the end of the war. In this intensively researched
and carefully detailed study, chosen by Civil War Magazine as one of the
best one hundred books ever written about the Civil War, Joseph T.
Glatthaar examines the Savannah and Carolinas Campaigns from the
perspective of the common soldiers in Sherman's army, seeking, above
all, to understand why they did what they did. Glatthaar graphically
describes the duties and deprivations of the march, the boredom and
frustration of camp life, and the utter confusion and pure chance of
battle. Quoting heavily from the letters and diaries of Sherman's men,
he reveals the fears, motivations, and aspirations of the Union soldiers
and explores their attitudes toward their comrades, toward blacks and
southern whites, and toward the war, its destruction, and the
forthcoming reconstruction.


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Reviews for The March to the Sea and Beyond: Sherman's Troops in the Savannah and Carolinas Campaigns:

4

Jul 25, 2017

While occasionally dry, due to the huge appendices and footnotes, the story told is an interesting one. This book explains the strengths and weaknesses of Sherman's army, and puts their destructive swath through South Carolina into an interesting perspective. Until reading this book, I hadn't realized that they did an almost forced march in order to reach the Grand Review in D.C. While it was great that they were to be honored, that march apparently killed several soldiers from the strain and While occasionally dry, due to the huge appendices and footnotes, the story told is an interesting one. This book explains the strengths and weaknesses of Sherman's army, and puts their destructive swath through South Carolina into an interesting perspective. Until reading this book, I hadn't realized that they did an almost forced march in order to reach the Grand Review in D.C. While it was great that they were to be honored, that march apparently killed several soldiers from the strain and the heat.
The photos, notes and bibliography in this book are remarkable, and it's something that anyone studying Sherman's campaign from Atlanta to the sea needs to read. The book does dodge some questions about which things were ordered by Sherman and which by his subordinates, which is why I could not give the book a fifth star, but it's still an important source. ...more
4

Sep 05, 2019

Interesting perspectives of Sherman's famous (or infamous) March to the Sea at Savannah and on into the Carolinas. The most valuable part of the book may be the bibliography that is extensive and can be a resource for those wishing to find a drilled down collection of primary source material.
3

Nov 07, 2009


The March to the Sea and the subsequent traversing of the Carolinas was an early introduction in the United States to something like total warfare. When Sherman said later that "War is all Hell," he was well describing his army's depredations against the heart of the Confederacy.

The book begins with context, the background of the forces that made the long march. The four corps that made up the force--the 14th, 15,th, and 16th Corps, all from the Western armies. The 20th Corps, however, was an
The March to the Sea and the subsequent traversing of the Carolinas was an early introduction in the United States to something like total warfare. When Sherman said later that "War is all Hell," he was well describing his army's depredations against the heart of the Confederacy.

The book begins with context, the background of the forces that made the long march. The four corps that made up the force--the 14th, 15,th, and 16th Corps, all from the Western armies. The 20th Corps, however, was an amalgamation of the old Army of the Potomac's 11th and 12th Corps, sent West to help Ulysses Grant break out of the siege at Chattanooga. Background information includes chapters in the Army and blacks, and the Army and southern whites. Discussion of camp life also occurs.

But it is the march that is the centerpiece of this book (and it takes a while to get to that centerpiece). By Chapter 6, we get to the march. As the author, Joseph Glatthaar, says (Page 100): "Sherman's Savannah and Carolinas campaigns were very different from any other campaign in the War." The author explains why, and then describes that march, the foraging that accompanied the march, and the destruction (especially in evidence in South Carolina, the originator of secession). Toward the end of the Carolinas campaign, the Confederacy put together a force, with the remnants of the Army of the Tennessee (after John Bell Hood had largely destroyed the army in his self-destructive battles at Franklin and Nashville) and other forces based in the Carolinas (it would have been nice to have an order of battle so that one could clearly see the various units involved in battle). We see the final Confederate defeats at Averasborough and Bentonville.

Finally, the surrender of Joseph Johnston's forces to Sherman and the Grand Review in Washington, D. C. as the federal troops marched through the streets.

Overall, a nice work. Not overly detailed and lengthy and it takes a while to get started. But a good summary of what went on.
...more
4

Jul 06, 2013

A readable and well-researched history of Shermans March with a decided focus on the attitudes of soldiers who participated in it. Glatthaar portrays Shermans army as tough, committed, and resourceful, perhaps more so than any other army in the war. He examines the social background and ideology of Shermans troops, exploring their attitudes toward slavery, the US, and their particular style of war.

The book is rather interesting, although Glatthaar is too fond of hyperbole. And the book is, A readable and well-researched history of Sherman’s March with a decided focus on the attitudes of soldiers who participated in it. Glatthaar portrays Sherman’s army as tough, committed, and resourceful, perhaps more so than any other army in the war. He examines the social background and ideology of Sherman’s troops, exploring their attitudes toward slavery, the US, and their particular style of war.

The book is rather interesting, although Glatthaar is too fond of hyperbole. And the book is, disappointingly, more a social than military history.
...more
1

Mar 31, 2008

This was only a decent book because it took aspects of the march (camp life, interactions with southern blacks, interactions with souther whites, battle experiences, etc) without giving any sort of bird's-eye view of anything. If you've already read a book about Sherman's march to the sea this wouldn't be a bad book to expand your knowledge, but bad for a first read on the subject.
4

Aug 29, 2009

I'm bummed about bummers but still decided to read one of their recommended books. This is a highly readable account of what it was like to be one of Sherman's bummers. Fine details about the campaign are lacking, but if you're interested in the viewpoint of the enlisted soldiers this is the book for you.
4

Mar 24, 2013

An interesting soldier's-eye view of Sherman's marches through GA and the Carolinas. An excellent example of the (now not so) new military history.

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