previous next
[338] done than to see in advance what can or ought to be done. But it can hardly be believed that Sherman did not think of everything that was possible, as well as many things that were not. At least, so simple a proposition as the following could not have escaped his mind.

Sherman was, as he so confidently said, absolute ‘master of the situation’? before he started for Savannah. Hood and Forrest had utterly failed so to damage his communications that they could not be put in order again in a few days. He was able, if he chose, to remain in perfect security at Atlanta all winter, with two or three corps, while he sent back to Thomas ample force to dispose of Hood. Then, if the result of the operations of a larger force in Tennessee had been as decisive as they actually were with the smaller one Thomas had, Sherman could have recalled to Atlanta all of the troops he had sent to Tennessee, and thus marched toward Virginia with eighty-five or ninety or even one hundred thousand men, instead of sixty thousand. All this could have surely been accomplished by the middle of January, or before the time when Sherman actually began his march from Savannah. From Atlanta to Columbia, South Carolina, crossing the Savannah River at or above Augusta, is an easier march than that from Savannah to Columbia. Or if Sherman had not cared about paying a visit to Columbia en route, he could have taken the much shorter ‘Piedmont route’ to Charlotte, North Carolina, and thence northward by whichever route he pleased. Instead of retaining the dominant attitude of ‘master,’ Sherman lost it the moment he started eastward with his main army, leaving an inferior force to cope with his enemy; and the march through Georgia and the capture of Savannah did not by any means restore that mastery to Sherman. It was not restored until Hood was actually defeated in Tennessee.

I have referred to the possibilities of a direct march

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
William T. Sherman (7)
John B. Hood (3)
George H. Thomas (2)
Forrest (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
January (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: