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How would you feel if your brother came into your room and transformed it into a junkyard? You would probably have the same feelings of the civilians in Georgia when William Sherman came across their land. William Sherman was hated by most Southerners and favored by many generals from the North because if his brilliant war tactic.
William Sherman was born on May 8, 1820 in Lancaster, Ohio. But according to the American History Encyclopedia, he was born on February 8 of that year. His father died when he was child, and his mother couldn t afford to raise him so she sent him to be raised by Thomas Ewing, his father s friend. He soon married Mr. Ewing s daughter, Ellan. William Sherman attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and graduated 6th in his class in 1840. During the Mexican War, he was an unpopular soldier in California because he had little combat experiences. He resigned from the army in September 6, 1853, and became partner in a banking firm in San Francisco and New York. Years before the Civil War started, William Sherman was superintendent of the Louisiana State Seminary and Military Academy at Alexandria; which later was moved and renamed to Louisiana State University (LSU). When the war broke out, Sherman felt adverse with the newspapermen in Louisiana, so he moved back to his hometown for two months. His family then migrated to St. Louis, Missouri where he was elected president of the Fifth Street Railroad.
On his forty-first birthday, Sherman wrote to the Union Secretary of War offering his service in the military for three years. On June 20, 1861, he joined Mc. Dowel s army and fought in the First Battle of Bull Run, the first battle in which the Union lost to the Confederate.
In August of 1861, William Sherman was promoted to Brigadier General and was elected by General Robert Anderson to defend Fort Sumter. A month later, Sherman told the Secretary of War, Cameron, that if he had 60,000 men he would drive the enemy out of Kentucky and if he had 200,000 men he would finish the war in that section. Many newspaper writers humiliated William Sherman because Cameron returned to Washington and reported that Sherman required 200,000 men. Sherman didn t get a large number of army as he wished, but he was placed command of the Fifth Division, which was an average size army seizing Tennessee.
The Union lost another battle at Shiloh. With the reinforcement of the Union army at Cumberland in July 1862, Sherman and Grant were able to take over Vicksburg, one of Confederate most import city. The capture of Vicksburg gave the North many advantages. The North was in control of the Mississippi River and the South power was split among East and West.
In the spring of 1864, Sherman was made supreme leader of the West. Sherman toke with him 98,747 troops and 254 cannons to accomplish his famous quest in America History. Sherman goal was to capture Atlanta, Georgia while U.S. Grant would attack Richmond, Virginia from the North. During Sherman s journey to Atlanta, he had to face many difficulties. One of the major obstacles he had to face was General Johnston of the Confederate. Johnston would never intend to fight Sherman on a face to face battle because his troops were very small. Johnston repeatedly delayed Sherman s journey by using guerilla attacks. Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate, dissatisfied with Johnston s fighting tactics. On July 17, 1864, Jefferson Davis relinquished Johnston s power and gave it to General Hood. Jefferson Davis hoped that Hood would be able to stop Sherman from the South. Unfortunately, General Hood was not any smarter then Johnston. On September 1, 1861, Sherman s troops captured the city of Atlanta before Hood can do anything.
William Sherman was rather a kind general. He ordered the civilians of Atlanta to leave the city before he burned the city to the ground. During this time period, Hood had tried to attack Sherman s troops many times, but all of them were failures. Knowing that his troops were to match for Sherman, Hood directed his troop to the North to cute the supply line from Sherman. Sherman showed no concern, he even quoted, If he continues to march North, all the way to Ohio, I will supply him with rations.
William Sherman was about to start his greatest military expedition. William Sherman kept a total of 60,000 troops and sent the rest to Nashville under his appointed commander, General George Thomas. On November of 1864, Sherman started his second quest, which later know as Sherman s March to the Sea.
He spreaded his army approximately 60 miles wide marching from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia. Sherman s troops destroyed every resource they found on their route. Sherman s troops destroyed factories, farms, railroads, clothing mills, crops and even animals. One 17-year old girl later wrote, Like statues mother and I stood looking on, and saw them take all the provisions we had, they kill the milk cows and other stocks and knew now our last hope for food was gone. Sherman virtually crumpled Georgia s economic during the civil war. On December 23, 1864, Sherman sent a telegram to Abraham Lincoln presenting Savannah as a Christmas Gift. Sherman then moved North to Columbia, South Carolina and to Richmond, Virginia to join forces with U.S Grant. On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee was forced to surrender to U.S. Grant because of its deteriorated southern Economics. Eight days later, General Joe Johnston surrendered to Sherman at Raleigh, North Carolina.
After the war, William Sherman was promoted a lieutenant General and had command of the entire U.S. Army. Sherman retired in 1881, and died in 1891. William Sherman was considered to be the first modern general. Even though, Sherman had destroyed Georgia s economic; he also had compassion to some people as well. During Sherman s March to the Sea, he destroyed everything but Cecelia s property. Cecelia was a student that Sherman knew at West Point before the Civil War. She once commented William Sherman, Your eyes are so cold and cruel, I pity the man who ever becomes your foe. Ah, how you would crush an enemy. Sherman replied, Even though you were my enemy, my dear, I would ever love and protect you. Sherman surely kept this promise protecting Cecelia s property even though she was not home during the war. Sherman left a not for Cecelia in her vacant home stated, You once said that I would crush an enemy and you pitied my foe. Do you recall my reply? Although many years have passed, my answer is the same. I would ever shield and protect you. That I have done. Forgive all else. I am only a soldier. William Sherman did not like war at all. He accentuated, War is hell. Because pillaging through Georgia was a sad and unacceptable thing he had to do to his people.
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