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The Military Actions Of The American Civil War

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Throughout history the efficacy of specific military actions have been debated and discussed. Military tacticians and scholars have pondered the overall completion of objectives and the broad values presented by the action. This debate has occurred for many of the actions taken in the American Civil War. In terms of accomplishment, the “March to the Sea” was one of the most effective military actions of the Civil War. Historians may debate the level of devastation that union soldiers forced on the civilian population during the march, but Sherman’s desire to “rip the heart out of the Confederate war effort” succeeded (Simon & Schurst). General William Tecumseh Sherman understood the effectiveness of bringing home the war to the people of…show more content…
At the end of 1864, Sherman was in charge of over 60,000 union fighting men. Sherman realized that he had to find a way to bring about a quicker resolution to the war. To bring about this resolution he wanted to get the people of the Confederacy to feel the effects of war. He was not interested in the limited war that had been fought in the preceding years. Sherman, and his superior Grant, both understood that if the Confederacy’s spirit could be broken the north would prevail quickly. Unlike many others in the union army, these men knew that “as long as the southern psyche remained whole, southerners would support the war effort, no matter the casualties suffered or the territory lost” (Lance). Sherman understood that by affecting southern morale and the southern will to fight, he could win the war. His “March to the Sea” was determined to break the back of the Confederacy and bring a speedy end to the Civil War. To do this there needed to be new tactics and a new type of warfare. Sherman had institutionalized a type of warfare new to the Civil War. His desire to crush southern resolve had embraced the principle of total war. For the majority of the Civil War, the battles had been fought with a sense that there were certain rules to the war. A degree of limited war had been practiced. War had a code. These codes of war had been developed during a time of scientific research and humanistic development. The codes of war developed “during the
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