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Old July 16th, 2017, 09:50 PM   #1
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Military Casualties on Sherman's March


Wikipedia lists the casualties for both sides as "?". The documentary I saw showed the Home Guard, made up of wounded soldiers, boys, and old men, being mowed down. It also said that many of the parties sent out did not return. It showed that Sherman's forces found one of the parties tied together with their throats slashed. Sherman's forces then executed POWs in retaliation. It indicated the Wheeler's Confederate Cavalry sometimes overwhelmed the small parties. From the Confederate point of view they were captured looting and so on, and were not taken prisoner.

Does anyone have any idea what the casualties of Sherman's forces were, as well as those of the Home Guard and Confederate cavalry?
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Old July 17th, 2017, 12:29 AM   #2
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This is probably intentionally concealed so I doubt we can ever know for the home guard side.
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Old July 17th, 2017, 12:31 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bophis View Post
This is probably intentionally concealed so I doubt we can ever know for the home guard side.
Another foolish comment. You're on a roll.
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Old July 17th, 2017, 02:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by betgo View Post
Wikipedia lists the casualties for both sides as "?". The documentary I saw showed the Home Guard, made up of wounded soldiers, boys, and old men, being mowed down. It also said that many of the parties sent out did not return. It showed that Sherman's forces found one of the parties tied together with their throats slashed. Sherman's forces then executed POWs in retaliation. It indicated the Wheeler's Confederate Cavalry sometimes overwhelmed the small parties. From the Confederate point of view they were captured looting and so on, and were not taken prisoner.

Does anyone have any idea what the casualties of Sherman's forces were, as well as those of the Home Guard and Confederate cavalry?
The Battle of Griswoldville (the one with the old men and boys) was the largest engagement of the March. 4,500 home guard took on 1,500 Union soldiers not realizing the superiority of the Union weapons (canister and Spencer rifles). Union losses were 94 total (13 dead, 79 wounded, 2 captured). Confederate losses were about 1,123 total (51 dead, 472 wounded, ~600 captured).

Another engagement was the Battle of Fort McAllister outside of Savannah. 4,000 Union soldiers rushed a couple hundred Confederates in a 15 minute battle. Union causalities were 134 (24 killed, 110 wounded), Confederate 16 dead, 28 wounded, the rest taken prisoner).

There was also Honey Hill; Union 746 total (89 killed, 629 wounded, 28 captured). Confederate 47 total (8 killed, 39 wounded).

The numbers from those battles are in Wiki articles about the individual numbers. The killed / wounded count at McAllister are from Trudeau: Southern Storm, 439). There were also smaller battles/skirmishes.

Trudeau tries to come up with totals but notes Sherman was "lax" in keeping numbers of his own losses and Confederate records are missing. He relies mostly on two veterans, a Union veteran in 1908 totaled 1,170 Union causalities from engagements. Trudeau says one historian claims 64 Union men were murdered by locals but Trudeau suspects those numbers are inflated by tales told by locals to bolster their spirits (there are no reliable first hand reports). But Trudeau does some calculations on this and I can't follow what he's doing. The best I can figure is that there was a total of about 2,000 Union killed, wounded and missing

In 1878 a Confederate vet put the total Confederate losses at 2,300 causalities (but as far as I can see, this does not count the 600 POWs taken at Griswoldville but does count the POWs at McAllister). So it seems to me the total Confederate causalities were about 3,000, about 50% higher than the Union and most of the difference made up by the Griswoldville POWs,
(Numbers in last two paragraphs from Trudeau, 542-543).

That's the best I can do in 45 minutes. Maybe someone else can take a whack at it.
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Old July 17th, 2017, 06:01 AM   #5
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Were there a significant number of casualties of the parties Sherman sent out to shoot livestock and whatever? I saw that some disappeared, presumably not taken prisoner. Also, were there Confederate casualties in fighting these bummer parties or whatever they were called?
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Old July 17th, 2017, 06:54 AM   #6
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Were there a significant number of casualties of the parties Sherman sent out to shoot livestock and whatever? I saw that some disappeared, presumably not taken prisoner.
Yes, that was the number of 64 deaths I mentioned that Trudeau believes was greatly inflated by local rumors. There are no eyewitness accounts of it happening.

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Also, were there Confederate casualties in fighting these bummer parties or whatever they were called?
Probably some, but like the number of bummers who were shot, the number is probably very small.
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Old July 17th, 2017, 07:17 AM   #7

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For the union you may, with exhaustive work, be able to price together Battalion by Battalion losses sustained during the period. Battles, skirmishes and the like.

Confederates I fear will only be estimates.
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Old July 17th, 2017, 07:47 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Edric Streona View Post
For the union you may, with exhaustive work, be able to price together Battalion by Battalion losses sustained during the period. Battles, skirmishes and the like.

Confederates I fear will only be estimates.
Confederate sources on many issues are notoriously scarce because of the destruction of Richmond, among other things. But on Sherman's march, even Union records are missing for a full wing of the army. Trudeau did calculations for that wing by tracking where they fought and comparing it to the wing there are records for. So there are only estimates of Union losses during the full Savannah campaign. His two page discussion on how he came up with his estimates gives me the impression that he was pretty thorough, although as I said earlier, a couple things in his explanation confused me.
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