Last Year's Lesson: Sherman's March to the Sea - Nov. 15, 1864

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Before the show I have to share the huge savings happening right now at mattress firm. Get King Bet for a Queen Price. Plus a free adjustable base with your qualifying. Purchase the shop now and save up to six hundred dollars on the bed of your dreams. Hey history fans here's a rerun for today brought to you by Tracey. V will thin often. We hope it makes previous episodes for this date. Easier to find in the feed. Welcome to this day in history class from how stuff works dot com and from the desk. Ask of stuff. You missed in history class. It's the show where we explore the past one day at a time with a quick look at what happened today in history. Hello and welcome to the PODCAST. I'm Tracy B Wilson and it's November Fifteenth Major. General William tecumseh Sherman's March reached to the sea began on this day in eighteen. Sixty four. This happened during the US civil war. And it's more formerly known as the Georgia and Carolinas campaign. The Union army had captured Atlanta and September and had removed civilian population with the intent of keeping Atlanta is a strictly military base. It had also destroyed factories and railroads and buildings basically anything that might be useful to the confederacy. Many homes in Atlanta were also burned although it wasn't the wholesale destruction of the entire city as it's often popularly imagined the march from Atlanta Santa started on November fifteenth and Sherman's force was divided into two approximately equal wings. They continued southeast toward Savannah. Manna Georgia where they would arrive. On December twenty second this was not a straight unbroken line the two wings progressed in four columns uh-huh with the right wing shifting south toward Macon Georgia and the left wing shifting North Toward Augusta Georgia. This was to make it seem as though maybe those Cities where the real objective but both columns shifted once again and bypassed both cities this March was incredibly destructive. The the intent was to rob the confederacy of anything. That could possibly make use of and to terrify the civilian population and try to encourage a faster southern surrender so the Union army took anything that was edible or valuable from plantations and from farms that they passed Sherman. Sherman had promised to make Georgia howl so they burned out buildings and farms and sometimes homes. They kept destroying railroads and and Cutting Telegraph lines and burning stores and supplies. They were as they went. Also emancipating people who were enslaved on these properties so so in theory this destruction and it was definitely destructive was supposed to have some limits. Sherman gave orders not to enter people's homes uh-huh and when seizing livestock. They were supposed to focus on things. They were owned by rich people rather than what was owned by the poor people. who weren't resisting supposed the post to be left alone as much as possible? The intent after all was to deprive the confederacy of anything that could be useful and terrify people into surrendering. It wasn't to punish the poorest civilians and the free people who really had nothing else but in practice these orders that were supposed hostess sort of temper. This whole process were often not followed at all. Soldiers carried away as much as they could and destroyed what they couldn't and a lot of people who were left often. The path of all of this destruction were women and children because a lot of the men were away fighting. This also meant that the people they were liberating from enslavement were liberated now but they were left with nothing to support themselves no way even necessarily to have shelter food and Sherman in his army armie. We're taking no responsibility for them or for making sure that they were going to be able to survive. Once they had moved on the two wings of Sherman's March I reconnected in December. They took fort mcallister before bombarding city of Savannah and then after capturing Savannah Sherman sent this telegram his His Excellency President Lincoln I beg to present you as a Christmas gift. The city of Savannah with a hundred and fifty heavy guns and plenty of ammunition and also about about twenty five thousand bales of cotton W T Sherman Major General the destruction all of this was massive. The Union army lost lost fewer than two thousand of the sixty thousand men that it left Atlanta with over this more than a month of the campaign and it was also disastrous for southern morale L.. As it was intended to be especially for the civilians who had thought that the confederate army would protect them and instead had no protection. Sherman estimated rated the march through Georgia caused about one hundred million dollars worth of destruction and then the following year. They turned north toward the Carolinas. And that that March probably also did an equal amount of damage through the Carolinas. After the war Sherman's March became part of the lost cause propaganda that reframed the confederacies role in the war as a noble and heroic but doomed struggle to preserve a genteel way of life in even appeared in the Nineteen fifteen birth of a nation and then was later part of Nazi propaganda. Thanks to crisscross Yoda's for his research work on today's podcast and thanks to Casey Karuma Chandler maze for their audio work on the show. You can subscribe to the stay in history class at apple podcast Google podcast and railroad to get your podcast and you can tune in tomorrow. Oh for a battle that led to the end of an empire. That's all for now but remember too much. 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