On today in 1864, Union General William T. Sherman starts his expedition across Georgia by torching the industrial portion of Atlanta and pulling from his supply lines. For the next six weeks, Sherman’s army destroyed most ofthe statebefore capturing the Confederate seaport of Savannah, Georgia.
Sherman captured Atlanta in early September 1864 following a lengthy summer months campaign. He recognized his vulnerability in the town, nevertheless, as his provide lines stretched completely from Nashville, Tennessee. Confederate raiders such as for example Nathan Bedford Forrest threatened to cut his lines, and Sherman had to commit a large number of troops to guard the railroads and rivers that carried provisions for his enormous army. Sherman split his army, keeping 60,000 men and sending the others back again to Nashville with General George Thomas to cope with the remnants of Confederate General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee, the force Sherman had defeated to take Atlanta.
After hearing that President Abraham Lincoln had won re-election on November 8, Sherman ordered 2,500 light wagons packed with supplies. Doctors checked every soldier for illness or injuries, and the ones who have been deemed unfit were delivered to Nashville. Sherman wrote to his common in chief, Ulysses S. Grant, that when he could march through Georgia it will be “proof positive that the North can prevail.” He told Grant he wouldn’t normally send couriers back, but to “trust the Richmond papers to keep you well advised.” Sherman loaded the surplus supplies on trains and shipped them back again to Nashville. On November 15, the army began to move, burning the industrial portion of Atlanta right before leaving. One witness reported “immense and raging fires lighting up whole heavens… huge waves of fire roll up into the sky; presently the skeleton of great warehouses stand out in relief against sheets of roaring, blazing, furious flames.” Sherman’s well-known destruction of Georgia had begun.