The March to the Sea started on November 15, 1864, and ended with the capture of Savannah on December 22. In the beginning of the campaign to capture Atlanta, Major General William T. Sherman started making plans for a march against Savannah. Seeking to destroy the South's economic and psychological will to resist, he intended to conduct a campaign designed to eliminate any resources that could be used by Confederate forces. showing his plan to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant Sherman got permissoin and started preparing to leave Atlanta on November 15, 1864. During the march, Sherman's army would cut loose from its supply lines and would live off the land.

To make sure that necessary supplies were gathered, Sherman sent out strict orders talking about foraging and the seizure of material from the local population. Known as "bummers," foragers from the army became a common sight along its route of march. Dividing his forces in two, Sherman advanced along two major routes with Major General Oliver O. Howard's Army of Tennessee on the right and Major General Henry Slocum's Army of Georgia on the left. To fight against Sherman's 62,000 men, Lieutenant General William J. Hardee , commanding the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida had 13,000 troops.

Departing Atlanta by different routes, the Howard and Slocum's columns attempted to confuse Hardee as to their ultimate objective. Occurring in the begining moving south, Howard's men pushed Confederate troops out of Lovejoy's Station before pressing on towards Macon. To the north, Slocum's two corps moved east then southeast towards the state capital at Milledgeville. Realizing that Savannah was Sherman's target, Hardee began concentrating his men to defend the city, while ordering Major General Joseph Wheeler's
Militaryto attack the Union the side and rear.
As Sherman's men pushed southeast, they were showing destroyed all manufacturing plants, agricultural basic, and railroads they came upon. A common technique for wrecking the latter was heating railroad rails over fires and twisting them around trees. Known as "Sherman's Neckties," they became a common sight along the route of march. The first important action of the march occurred at Griswold ville on November 22, when Wheeler's cavalry and Georgia militia attacked on Howard's front. This attack was beaten off with heavy casualties and the march resumed.

During the rest of November and in early December, huge numbers of little battles were fought, such as Buck Head Creek and Waynesboro, as Sherman's men pushed relentlessly on towards Savannah. As they walked to the city, more Union troops entered the fight as 5,500 men, under Brigadier General John P. Hatch, came down from Hilton Head, SC in an attempt to cut the Charleston & Savannah Railroad. Meeting Confederate troops on November 30, Hatch was forced to surredder after a defeat at the Battle of Honey Hill.

Arriving outside Savannah on December 10, Sherman found that Hardee had flooded the fields outside the city which limited access to a few raised roads.
place in a position of strength in a strong position, Hardee refused to surrender and remained determined to defend the city. Needing to link up with the US Navy to receive supplies, Sherman sent Brigadier General William Hazen's division to capture Fort McAllister on the Ogeechee River. This was accomplished on December 13, and communications were opened with Rear Admiral John Dahlgren's naval forces.
With his supply lines opened again, Sherman started making plans to lay surrounding attack to Savannah. On December 17, he contacted Hardee with a warning that he would start shelling the city if it were not surrendered. Unwilling to give in, Hardee escaped with his command over the Savannah River on December 20 using an improvised boat bridge. The following morning, the mayor of Savannah formally surrendered the city to Sherman.

Known as "Sherman's March to the Sea," the campaign through Georgia effectively eliminated the region's economic usefulness to the Confederate cause. With the city secured, Sherman telegraphed President Abraham Lincoln with the message, "I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the City of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty guns and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton." The following spring, Sherman launched his final campaign of the war north into the Carolinas, before finally receiving the surrender of General Joseph Johnston on April 26, 1865.

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General William T. Sherman
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Sherman's route

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March To The Sea

Shermans March To The Sea