Two fascinating new histories of Sherman’s legendary and devastating march through Georgia and how he embodied the worst aspects of Ghengis Khan and von Moltke.


Southern storm : Sherman’s march to the sea      Noah Andre Trudeau  Georgia History Civil War, 1861-1865 Campaigns, Sherman’s March to the Sea  New York : Harper, c 2008 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xvi, 671 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., plans ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [613]-651) and index.  Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG

Civil War historian Noah Andre Trudeau has written a  new account  on General William Tecumseh Sherman‘s epic march — a targeted strategy aimed to break not only the Confederate army but an entire society as well. With Lincoln’s hard-fought reelection victory in hand, Ulysses S. Grant, commander of the Union forces, allowed Sherman to lead the largest and riskiest operation of the war. In rich detail, Trudeau explains why General Sherman’s name is still anathema below the Mason-Dixon Line, especially in Georgia, where he is remembered as “the one who marched to the sea with death and devastation in his wake.”

Sherman’s swath of destruction spanned more than sixty miles in width and virtually cut the South in two, badly disabling the flow of supplies to the Confederate army. He led more than 60,000 Union troops to blaze a path from Atlanta to Savannah, ordering his men to burn crops, kill livestock, and decimate everything that fed the Rebel war machine. Grant and Sherman’s gamble worked, and the march managed to crush a critical part of the Confederacy and increase the pressure on General Lee, who was already under siege in Virginia.

Told through the intimate and engrossing diaries and letters of Sherman’s soldiers and the civilians who suffered in their path, Southern Storm paints a vivid picture of an event that would forever change the course of America.

 

General Sherman’s Christmas : Savannah, 1864      Stanley Weintraub  Savannah (Ga.) History Siege, 1864, Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891  [Washington, D.C.] : Smithsonian Books ; [New York] : Harper, c 2009 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xvi, 238 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 219-229) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG

A close look at the embattled holiday season of 1864, when Major General W. T. Sherman gave President Lincoln the city of Savannah and paved the way for the end of the Civil War.

General Sherman’s Christmas opens on Thanksgiving Day 1864. Sherman was relentlessly pushing his troops nearly three hundred miles across Georgia in his “March to the Sea,” to reach Savannah just days before Christmas. His methodical encroachment of the city from all sides eventually convinced Confederate general W. J. Hardee, who had refused a demand for surrender of his troops, to slip away in darkness across an improvised causeway and escape to South Carolina.

In freezing rain and through terrifying fog, equipment-burdened soldiers crossed a hastily built pontoon bridge spanning the mile-wide Savannah River. Three days before Christmas, the mayor, Richard Arnold, surrendered the city, now populated mostly by women, children, and the slaves who had not fled. General Sherman then telegraphed to Abraham Lincoln, “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah with 150 heavy guns & plenty of ammunition & also about 25.000 bales of cotton.”

The fight for Savannah took place as its inhabitants were anxiously preparing for Christmas. Weintraub explores how Christmas was traditionally feted in the South and what remained of the holiday to celebrate during the waning last full year of the war. Illustrated with striking period prints, General Sherman’s Christmas captures the voices of soldiers and civilians on both sides of the conflict, as they neared the end of a long war.

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