- Sherman's ‘march to the sea’ -- the military theory on which it was based -- did it involve War or statesmanship? -- the correspondence between Grant and Sherman, and Sherman and Thomas -- the effect of Jefferson Davis's speech on Sherman -- Rawlins's reported opposition to the march, and Grant's final judgment on it.
during the Atlanta campaign the principal commanders of the army assumed, as a matter of course, that Atlanta would be ours in due time, and hence there was much discussion of the question, What next? It was evident the army could not go much farther and rely upon its present line of supply, although General Thomas said, immediately after the capture of Atlanta, that he had ‘a plan for the capture of Macon’ which he would like to execute. What the plan was he did not divulge, General Sherman turning the conversation in another direction. At that time it was presumed Hood would oppose whatever move was attempted, and hence a new base, to be provided in advance, if practicable, by the capture of some place on the gulf or on the Atlantic, was evidently essential to further operations in Georgia. This new base being provided, Sherman could move out from Atlanta with twenty or thirty days supplies in wagons, and swing round Hood so as to place his rear toward the new base and open communication therewith. Evidently the march to the sea, as it was actually made,