Psychological Warfare

599 Words2 Pages
Psychological Warfare The decidedly innovative aspect of military campaigns led by Ulysses Grant and William Sherman was the psychological effect it had upon conventional Southerners during the Civil War. Both of these men set about attacking the minds of civilians, as well as the physical bodies and possessions of Confederate soldiers during the final stages of the Civil War. Previously, warfare in America aimed at minimizing the experience of battle for civilians. However, as the war dragged on and doubt plagued the Northern Unionists (especially during the election of 1864), Lincoln's side became increasingly desperate for a victory. The means of pursuing it, as decided by Grant and Sherman, would be to psychologically intimidate proponents of the Confederate army in hopes of getting civilians to ask for a Confederate surrender. Ultimately, this plan would work wonders for the North. The most effective demonstration of this psychological warfare was enacted by Sherman following his capture of Atlanta, just days before Lincoln was re-elected. This military campaign was known as Sherman's March, and involved the Union military leader's decision to burn everything in his path as he attempted to march straight towards the seas. This included not only Confederate supplies and fortifications but also personal property of civilians and important civilian mainstays such as stores and other civic structures. In fact, Sherman made an attempt to spare absolutely nothing as he
Get Access