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Center for the Study of the Civil War Era at Kennesaw State University



October 1864

'A March to the Sea?'


The city of Atlanta has fallen to Federal forces and Major General William Tecumseh Sherman has dealt with the existence of an occupied populace as he ponders his next move.  Ulysses Grant wants to continue to exert pressure on the opposing armies and follow the pathway that he hopes will bring the war to a conclusion.  Grant’s trusted subordinate has proposed a plan for taking a force through more of the Confederacy’s industrial and agricultural heartland in such a way as to wreak further destruction on the opposing war effort.  He also sees this method as illustrative of the inability of the South to defend its territory or prevent its citizens from feeling the scourge of war.  Because the Union navy has rendered Mobile, Alabama, essentially ineffective as a port and the concerns he has that marching southward would only extend an already exposed supply line back to Tennessee, Cump Sherman wants full consideration given to a campaign to Savannah, Georgia, on the seacoast.  Grant has his doubts, but comes to recognize the potential rewards of such a move, in addition to the risks involved in exposing an isolated army required to live off the land deep in enemy territory.  In mid-October, he tells Sherman, “On reflection I think better of your proposition,” and the next day reports similarly to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.  A march to the sea seems in the offing.


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October 24-26, 2014
'Siege to Surrender' Tour
Location: Petersburg, Five Forks, Appomattox, & more!

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: KSU Center

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