The Final Struggles: September 1864 to April 1865

The Final Struggles: September 1864 to April 1865

Did anyone in Washington, D.C., claim that this was too harsh?

Almost no one. From Lincoln down to Stanton and Grant, the concern revolved around whether Sherman and his men would find enough to eat on their march: little, if any, concern was demonstrated for the plight of the civilians in their path. Grant had some doubts about the whole venture from a military point of view, but he finally gave the go-ahead on October 11, 1864, telegraphing Sherman that “If you are satisfied the trip to the sea-coast can be made, holding the line of the Tennessee river firmly, you may make it.”

To hold the Tennessee River, Sherman had already dispatched Major-General George Thomas with 20,000 men north to Chattanooga. These and the reinforcements that would come from the North were sufficient to hold Hood at bay, he declared, and he meanwhile would march through the South.


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