The Final Struggles: September 1864 to April 1865

Sherman’s Plan

How many Confederate regiments or brigades stood in Sherman’s path?

Almost none. When he went north to attack Nashville, General John Hood took most of the Army of Tennessee: those who did not accompany him soon deserted. Southern and central Georgia had been, to this point, relatively free from the war, and there were no local troops to resist Sherman. Practically all the men of military age were either with Hood or with General Robert E. Lee.

Sherman, therefore, enjoyed a nearly unique opportunity. That he intended to wreck the countryside was understood by his superiors; that he had no one in his path was becoming apparent. Not only was there little resistance, but Sherman’s men were among the most battle hardened of all the Union troops. If ever there was a chance for “reconstructing” the South, this was it.


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