Pine Barrens

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
My understanding is Sherman marched thru the Georgia pine barrens in 2 columns some distance apart. So was there opportunity for confederate forces to bog down 1 or both columns and starve them into surrender?
 

jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
The only real forces that the Confederacy could bring to bear against Sherman's March was Joe Wheeler's cavalry and the Georgia Militia. Aside from the insignificant numbers involved, the cavalry could be little more than an annoyance, and as far as the militia is concerned, well enough said.
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
The only real forces that the Confederacy could bring to bear against Sherman's March was Joe Wheeler's cavalry and the Georgia Militia. Aside from the insignificant numbers involved, the cavalry could be little more than an annoyance, and as far as the militia is concerned, well enough said.
There was an incident involving the militia during the march which resulted in heavy militia casualties. Still if employed wisely they could have bled Sherman.
 

Eric Calistri

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 31, 2012
Location
Austin Texas
Shermans plan relied on the CS forces staying out of his way. He anticipated that Hood, once forced out of Atlanta, would swing around behind and attack his supply line. Hood took himself out of the game.

Sherman knew the CS would defend Macon and Augusta. His cavalry, upon leaving Atlanta made a beeline for Macon, followed closely by his right wing. CS forces were deployed to defend Macon, including the GA militia which fought at Griswoldville, just about 10 miles from Macon.

By then the Union cavalry was already moving northeast towards Augusta, supported by Shermans left wing. Other CS forces were sent to defend Augusta, including Wheelers cavalry.

Additionally, Union forces from the SC coast moved up the Broad River, pulling CS forces in that direction to protect the railroad. The resulting battle at Honey Hill, was a disaster for the Union forces, but the CS forces there were no available to oppose Sherman.

Sherman was absolutely vulnerable to being starved out, if his troops could be stopped before a resupply. Sherman planned all along to avoid that.
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Shermans plan relied on the CS forces staying out of his way. He anticipated that Hood, once forced out of Atlanta, would swing around behind and attack his supply line. Hood took himself out of the game.

Sherman knew the CS would defend Macon and Augusta. His cavalry, upon leaving Atlanta made a beeline for Macon, followed closely by his right wing. CS forces were deployed to defend Macon, including the GA militia which fought at Griswoldville, just about 10 miles from Macon.

By then the Union cavalry was already moving northeast towards Augusta, supported by Shermans left wing. Other CS forces were sent to defend Augusta, including Wheelers cavalry.

Additionally, Union forces from the SC coast moved up the Broad River, pulling CS forces in that direction to protect the railroad. The resulting battle at Honey Hill, was a disaster for the Union forces, but the CS forces there were no available to oppose Sherman.

Sherman was absolutely vulnerable to being starved out, if his troops could be stopped before a resupply. Sherman planned all along to avoid that.
Would you rate Hood moving off as the key factor in not being able to use the barrens for full effect on Sherman.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Would you rate Hood moving off as the key factor in not being able to use the barrens for full effect on Sherman.
Hood was moving westward while Sherman was moving eastward. It is a very long 2 day drive from Nashville to Savannah on the interstate. By the time Sherman entered the pine barrens, Hood might as well have been on the moon.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Sherman's Maps

Sherman's Personal Map N. Georgia.jpg

Sherman's Personal Map of North Georgia L.O.C.


20disunion1-tmagArticle.jpg

Western Georgia, resources map Sherman used to plan the March to the Sea. L.O.C.


20disunion4-blog480-v2.jpg

1860 Census Resource Data printed on counties.

20disunion3-blog480.jpg

Legend From Sherman's Georgia resources map.
As can be seen on these maps, Sherman had unprecedented situational awareness as he approached the coast of Georgia. He knew exactly what to expect & the best routes to order his advance to follow. There was nothing random about the route he laid out. From the start, orders had been issued to load supply ships & send them with escorts for a rendezvous with Sherman.




McClintock.jpeg

Ironically, it was a dugout canoe like this one that made first contact with the fleet.
Signal Captain McClintock had, much to the amusement of his men, hauled it along just in case he might need it.

 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
The worst case scenario for Sherman probably would have been a Confederate force of any significant size (large enough to be an impediment to just one of his two columns if somewhat entrenched, so perhaps only a third of his own strength) being in his front at a point starting a week into the march. At that point he's gone too far to easily return and has to keep moving, but the force manoeuvering against him means he has to keep closing up and turning the enemy rather than moving at full speed.
The less area Sherman sweeps out on his march, the worse for his supply status. The slower Sherman moves, the more he has to stretch the supplies he gathers.

This is, of course, basic Fabian tactics.

I'm unfamiliar exactly how much intelligence Sherman had on his enemy at the time he started the march. It's possible that he might never have done it in the first place if there was any realistic possibility of the enemy turning up in his front in force, but if he only knew Hood's position and not his precise size then he might have "missed" a force large enough to ruin his movement.
 
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