The March to the

Union major general William T. Sherman's campaign to capture Atlanta was the first step in his plan to crush Georgia. His army marched south from Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the summer of 1864, fighting battle after battle with the Confederates' Army of Tennessee. Sherman penned Southern forces in Atlanta, then forced them to abandon it. His troops rested there from September 2 to November 12, then burned much of the city to the ground. From November 15 to December 20, Sherman's men marched west to the city of Savannah on Georgia's Atlantic coast. All along their route, the soldiers burned homes and towns. They took the food of civilian families and destroyed any food and crops they could not use. The civilians they left behind were usually homeless and hungry. Sherman said he wanted "to make all Georgia howl." He did. The Confederate army was unable to gather enough troops in front of Sherman's soldiers to stop them. When the Union army arrived in front of Savannah, the Confederates' Fort McAllister could not resist it and surrendered after a fifteen-minute fight. On December 21, Savannah's Confederate commander, General William J. Hardee, had his troops leave the city. Union troops paraded through the streets, celebrating their victory.

General Oliver O. Howard


William T. Sherman

Sherman Burns Atlanta


Confederate General John Bell Hood commanded the troops inside Atlanta. As he retreated from the city, he had his men destroy Atlanta's railroad roundhouse and burn railroad cars filled with ammunition. The explosions could be heard for miles. This photograph shows all that remained.

General Henri/ Slocum

General Oliver O. Howard


William T. Sherman

General Henri/ Slocum

William Shermen Family Pictures


The men around General Sherman are the generals who led his men to Savannah. General Logan, a Democratic congressman before the war, returned to politics when peace came. He helped establish the holiday now known as Memorial Day. Originally it honored only Civil War dead. Today it honors all U.S. military personnel who died defending their country.


This home was built on the outskirts of Atlanta. Unfortunately for its owner, it sat right along the Confederate army's main defense line and was riddled bv Union cannon fire.

Sherman March The SeaUnion Troops Marching SavannahImages Confederate Quaker Guns

"QUAKER'' GUNS Sherman's men ran into small Confederate fortifications along the March to the Sea. But many of them were deserted or had just a few soldiers inside. Sometimes these forts' "cannons" were really logs that had been cut and painted to look as though they were big guns when seen from a distance. Soldiers called them "Quaker" guns, after the pacifist Christian sect known as Quakers. This painting done by a Union veteran shows soldiers surprised at discovering that they were only threatened by logs.

Sherman March The Sea Images


This is a newspaper artist's rough sketch of the victory parade of Sherman's army through downtown Savannah. Union soldiers spared this attractive old city. Some places shown here still stand.

Sherman March Through Georgia


This picture of Union soldiers resting among the rubble of a Georgia house was taken outside Atlanta. The destruction is remarkable. Even the home's window frames are removed. There are no known photographs of similar destruction along the March to the Sea. The Northern army moved too rapidly and was too spread out to be captured easily with slow, old-fashioned nineteenth-century photographic equipment.


This is a newspaper artist's rough sketch of the victory parade of Sherman's army through downtown Savannah. Union soldiers spared this attractive old city. Some places shown here still stand.


This is a photograph of Danish immigrant Charles Stevens and his little girl Mary Henrietta. Stevens came to the United States before the Civil War and settled in Savannah. At the age of forty-eight, he was considered too old to serve in the Confederate army; but as Sherman's army approached, Stevens was pressed into a local militia unit. He was captured by Union soldiers and later died of disease in a prisoner-of-war camp.

SAVANNAH'S COMMANDER Confederate General William J. Hardee commanded the soldiers inside the city of Savannah. Although his few troops could not possibly have won against Sherman's large force, his defeat marred his military reputation. William Hardee was an intelligent professional soldier. Before the Civil War, he had written the training manual used by all recruits in both the Northern and Southern armies.

Jubilant slaves

U.S.C.T. regiment


Scavengers TroopsSherman March The Sea Regiments

Officers standing out of rifle range

Battle Mobile Bay Prisoners War

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  • Allison
    What ubion troops were in the masrch to the sea?
    7 years ago
  • sisko
    What general is assiocated with the "March to The Sea"?
    6 years ago

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