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Old September 7th, 2017, 11:42 AM   #1

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Options other than a march to the sea.


Let's say that instead of the March to the Sea that Grant and Sherman, with Abe's approval of course, launched an assault on Virginia? There is no way the CSA could hold off this, and Grant and Sheman knew that Atlanta was a safe holding.

It may also have quickened the war, as there were few places Davis could have fled to.
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Old September 7th, 2017, 01:08 PM   #2
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Grant was thinking of moving Sherman to Virginia as his plan after the March to the Sea was to bring Sherman north by ship from Savannah. It was only after the March to the Sea that Sherman prevailed to let him march to Virginia overland through the Carolinas instead of going by ship.

To go to Virginia from Atlanta via Tennessee, Kentucky, etc involved a long, roundabout trip, that was possible, but would not have accomplished anything during the trip. Going from Atlanta to Virginia by way of Savannah was no less complicated but in the process Sherman could hurt the Confederacy, too.

One of Sherman's reasons for going to Savannah was to draw Hood after him. It didn't turn out that way as Hood invaded Tennessee instead. After the fall of Atlanta, Hood's army was still intact. You can't really pull Sherman out of the Western Theater until after Hood was destroyed.
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Old September 7th, 2017, 03:22 PM   #3

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Events demonstrated the value of Sherman strategy ,
ripping the confederacy guts , that was a major achievement ,
his purpose was to make it plain the south armies couldn't protect its heartland anymore
eventually he didn't draw hood to battle and had only to contend with Wheeler's cavalry and some loose fragments of units plus the militias ,
those , he brushed aside
the strategy was simple , no matter what the outcome he was imposing his strategic will on his opponent .
either they threw everything they had at him and he was confident to prevail
or hood went North and that didn't bother him ,
Burnside could handle him with the regrouped Mississippi forces and reinforcements send by the excellent rail network .
Nashville could be reinforced faster from Washington than from Savannah

Sherman expressed his wish to destroy Lee with Sherman the anvil and him as the hammer
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Old September 7th, 2017, 07:13 PM   #4
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Sending Sherman directly to Virginia after the fall of Atlanta instead of having him first march to the sea then up the coast wrecking as much damage as possible on the Confederacy would not have been a good strategic move. It would have prolonged, not shortened, the Civil War.

In Napoleonic times wars were won by defeating armies. In modern times (from the Civil War onward) wars are won by destroying the will of a nation and its people to fight as well as the industrial and agriculture resources that enable them to fight.

Grant and Sherman understood this. Davis and Lee did not.

The South was old school in their thinking hence after a victory (First Bull Run/Mananas, Chancellorsville, etc.) they always returned home instead of following up their victory. They never seems to understand that defeating an army is different than defeating the ability and will of a people to fight.

Sheridan's raids in the Shenandoah Valley and Sherman's destruction of South's agricultural and industrial base in Georgia and Carolinas did a lot more to shorten the war than I think the OP realizes. Over half of Lee's army deserted due to both hunger and the desire of his soldiers to return home and protect their farms and families from Sherman. That is significant and would not have happened without the March to the Sea.

Plus, where did the idea that "It may also have quickened the war, as there were few places Davis could have fled to" come from?

Even with the destruction that Sherman inflicted on Georgia and the Carolinas after Richmond fell Jefferson Davis still attempted to move the government and continue the war. He would have had more territory; more armies; and more industrial and agricultural resources to continue the war without the March to the Sea.

Also, although the US Navy did a good job of blockading the South there were still supplies getting through due to blockade runners. The taking of Savannah and other ports as Sherman marched up the coast made it increasing more difficult for the South to get supplies from Europe.

For these reason I reject the idea that sending Sherman to Virginia directly after the fall of Atlanta would have shortened the war. IMO it would have prolonged the war; it was the March to the Sea and then up the coast with all the destruction that followed in Sherman's wake that shortened the war.

Last edited by Daniel2010; September 7th, 2017 at 07:33 PM.
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Old September 8th, 2017, 11:59 AM   #5
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It seems as if Sherman's march to the sea and subsequent march north wasn't necessary since Richmond fell before Sherman even got close. Therefore I suggest he should have marched south to Florida (leaving a force to hold Atlanta). There he could have defeated the Seminoles who never did surrender. They remain a menace to this day.
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Old September 8th, 2017, 10:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevev View Post
It seems as if Sherman's march to the sea and subsequent march north wasn't necessary since Richmond fell before Sherman even got close. Therefore I suggest he should have marched south to Florida (leaving a force to hold Atlanta). There he could have defeated the Seminoles who never did surrender. They remain a menace to this day.
So give up trying to end the bloodiest conflict in US history in order to defeat a few dozen or a few hundred Indians?

It is true that the Second Seminole War of 1835 to 1842 sort of wound down without a peace treaty (although Colonel Worth did proclaim an official end to the war on August 14, 1842), and thus some people sort of claim that sort of like the Korean War it is still a smoldering conflict. In 1843 it was estimated that only 95 Seminole men and about 200 women and children remained in Florida.

Then there was the Third Seminole War from 1855 to 1858. On May 4, 1855, 165 Seminoles were shipped to the Seminole reservation in Indian Territory, and Colonel Loomis declared the war over on May 8, 1858, again without a peace treaty, so some could say that the Third Seminole War also continues like the Korean war. At that time the government estimated 100 Seminoles were left in Florida. 75 more Seminoles were shipped west in February, 1859.

So that would make only 25 Seminoles, or probably a few more, left in Florida by 1860.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida had about 4,000 members in 2015. Supposing that their numbers doubled every 30 years there would have been 2,000 in 1985, 1,000 in 1955, 500 in 1925, 250 in 1895, and 125 in 1865.

So General Sherman should have stopped trying to end a war that was killing at least 10,000 people every month to try to end the "terrible Seminole menace"? The Seminole "threat" to the Rebel state of Florida, where all the Rebel soldiers - if there were any - guarding against the Seminoles would be unable to fight in the Civil War.

Sure.

Last edited by MAGolding; September 8th, 2017 at 10:06 PM.
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Old September 8th, 2017, 10:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAGolding View Post
.On May 4, 1855, 165 Seminoles were shipped to the Seminole reservation in Indian Territory, and Colonel Loomis declared the war over on May 8, 1858, again without a peace treaty, so some could say that the Third Seminole War also continues like the Korean war.
Yes the war continues, and from a few small seeds a great forest can grow. Those 4000 current tribal members may be taking in over 1 billion dollars a year from a number of enterprises. They're growing in numbers, wealth and power and still no treaty. What are they doing with that money? No one is paying attention.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seminole_Tribe_of_Florida

EDIT: I didn't know the Seminole numbers were so small in Florida in the early 1860's. So I guess Sherman would have to go to Oklahoma to get a treaty since the OP doesn't allow the march to the sea and an overland march directly to Virginia was already mentioned. What's left? He might as well end the Seminole War and maybe beat up Kirby-Smith in Texas while he's at it. (hint: not a lot of useful alternatives).

Last edited by stevev; September 9th, 2017 at 12:26 AM.
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Old September 9th, 2017, 04:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevev View Post
It seems as if Sherman's march to the sea and subsequent march north wasn't necessary since Richmond fell before Sherman even got close. Therefore I suggest he should have marched south to Florida (leaving a force to hold Atlanta). There he could have defeated the Seminoles who never did surrender. They remain a menace to this day.
Actually, Sherman's marches had a major impact on Lee in Virginia. By destroying Southern railroads, Sherman prevented food from Georgia and the Carolinas from reaching Lee's army. Also Sherman's army ate or destroyed much of the food that would otherwise have reached Lee. The collapse that forced Lee to surrender at Appomattox began in Jan-Mar 1865 as hunger really began to effect Lee's army much more so than at any time in the past. Confederate logistics had always been precarious, but they completely collapsed in the winter of '65 thanks to Sherman.
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Old September 9th, 2017, 05:41 AM   #9

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the Seminole menace ?!?!
While the civil war raged there was the great Sioux insurrection in Minnesota ,
the federal government hardly batted an eyelid
out on the Mississippian front , indian tribes joined the confederate columns , they got severely beaten
stranger still , the Union raised cavalry units from confederate prisoners to guard and patrol the Western borderland .
in reference to Dr Galvani who got dead bodies twitching with electricity , they were called the Galvanised soldiers
there are account of one of their squadron escorting a convoy of Swedish women to Utath .
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Old September 9th, 2017, 08:17 AM   #10
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Another effect of Sherman's marches on Lee: As Sherman ranged ever more widely through parts of the South previously safely in the rear, desertion rates in Lee's army increased as men went home to protect their families from Sherman's army.
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