Was the war effectively over during Sherman's assault on SC?


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ole

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I ask this as a result of another thread.

The destruction of property and land during Sherman's assault through the "seat of secession" if the answer to the question is yes; was destruction of what would be United States property and part of the future economy of the country.

If the answer is no then I would presume all bets are off and his intention to make the destruction complete was to a degree understandable.

Thoughts?
Sherman's aim was to destroy anything of use to the Confederate Armies. I don't see where he destroyed anything that would become US property. His path of destruction certainly affected a large part of the future economy of the states he went through.

Northern industry came out of the war stronger than when it started.
 

Carronade

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I detailed men - placed them under an officer and sent them to plantations away from the road with instructions to leave all that was necessary for the subsistence of families. In this way I obtained all that was necessary for my men and injured no one - while I maintained discipline of my regiment. [/I]

- Colonel Giles Shurtleff, March 29, 1865
Good for him - that's how an army should conduct itself in such a situation.
 

diane

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Also, Sherman also previously demonstrated the devastating effects of "total war" in Meridian.
Forrest scotched the Meridian Campaign by stopping Sherman's cavalry from connecting with him. His aim was to destroy the food supply in the Mississippi prairies - a breadbasket place. He was testing out his theory, sort of practicing for a march - hadn't settled on just where to yet, just somewhere through the Deep South. Joe Johnston did a lot of damage withdrawing through Mississippi and Sherman polished off whatever was left. It's always seemed odd to me that Sherman doesn't get dinged for what he did in Mississippi and west Tennessee - that was pretty bad and have to say he had help from various renegade and outlaw groups - but there really is a howl about Georgia!
 

Specster

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Sherman had made a promise that he would not burn Columbia, SC when he retired for the night he saw the glow of the fires started by his men. Sherman was not happy with their actions. He even helped the fire fighters throughtout the night fight the fires. I don't believe the war was over at this point. Lee was still hoping to merg his men with Johnston and believed if he could slip away to the Blue Ridge Mountains he could continue the cause indefinitely.

Sherman's march destroyed supply lines and demonstraighted to the people of the south the cruel price of war.
U are making, I believe, the same point as I, I am full agreement with U as to result.
 

johan_steele

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Wars are won or lost in the will; when one side thinks they are beaten they are. Sherman and his Army proved to everyone that the CS was nothing more than an empty shell when he marched 60k men through the heart of the CS all but unopposed. He proved that he could go anywhere in the CS and Davis and his armies could do nothing to stop or even significantly slow him down. The diehards died hard, the rest went home.
 

brass napoleon

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Not really, I have a family to tend to. I will respond later.
Thanks. Please do so on another thread though, so as not to derail this one. But if you could post a link here to that thread when you do it (whether it's a new thread or an existing one), that would be great. We'll be happy to meet you there. :smile:
 

TerryB

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There was plenty of armed resistance, and my avatar, Col. Marcellus Pointer was put out of action by wounds in Feb 1865 near or at Aiken, SC. For him the war was over, but not for the CSA in general.
 

Specster

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Sherman had made a promise that he would not burn Columbia, SC when he retired for the night he saw the glow of the fires started by his men. Sherman was not happy with their actions. He even helped the fire fighters throughtout the night fight the fires. I don't believe the war was over at this point. Lee was still hoping to merg his men with Johnston and believed if he could slip away to the Blue Ridge Mountains he could continue the cause indefinitely.

Sherman's march destroyed supply lines and demonstraighted to the people of the south the cruel price of war.
Historians often speak of the South being in a "death spiral" even after Gettyburg. More and more rail lines, communication lines, ports, harbors, rivers, industrial bases were gone - and there was little hope of getting them back. The men that had died the 1st 2 years, were in the southern armies by volition. I dont think was exactly the case in the last 2 years - the south were running out of men and, more importantly perhaps - officers. The Europeans were not going to get involved - certainly not after the summer of 1862.

Many good fighters, in UFC, tap out when their air is cut off and blood stops going to the brain, or a limb is ready to snap. Sure the south could have kept fighting but what were they going to get for the efforts but more hardship.

For a modern war where the loser would not say "UNCLE" look at Nazi Germany - basically rubble by the time the war ended. The Japanese as fanatical as they were at least had the good sense to surrender when they did.
 
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Mark F. Jenkins

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I'm not really clear on the intent of this thread. Was the OP asking if Sherman's march through the Carolinas was necessary? Because it clearly was, in the sense that all the Confederacy had to do to "win" was survive until a result short of reconstruction and emancipation could be gained. The Union had concluded by that point that letting up on the pressure would not "bring sister Caroline back to brother Jonathan."

Talking about the public property as United States property (other than in constitutional legalities) is anachronistic, because it was not under Federal control at that point, and in fact was being used to further Confederate war aims. Sherman would have been supremely irresponsible to avoid damage to public property if that property was being used against the Union.

Was this necessity regrettable? Of course it was-- which could be said for the entire war, for that matter, once the secession conventions had determined on their course.
 

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