; born in Mansfield, O.
, Feb. 8, 1820; graduated at West Point
His father died in 1829, when he was adopted by Thomas Ewing
, whose daughter Ellen he married in 1850.
He served in the Seminole War
, and in September, 1850, was made commissary, with the rank of captain.
In 1853 he resigned, became a broker in California
, and, practising law for a while in Kansas
, was made superintendent of a new military academy established by the State of Louisiana
When the convention of that State passed the ordinance of secession, Captain Sherman
resigned; was made colonel of United States infantry in May, 1861; and commanded a brigade at the battle of Bull
Run, having been made brigadier-general of volunteers in May.
In October, 1861, he succeeded General Anderson
in the command of the Department of Kentucky.
The Secretary of War
asked him how many men he should require.
answered, “Sixty thousand to drive the enemy from Kentucky
, and 200,000 to finish the war in this section.”
This estimate seemed so wild that he was reputed to be insane, and was relieved of his command; but events proved that he was more sane than most other people.
After the capture of Fort Donelson
he was placed in command of a division of Grant
's Army of the Tennessee, and performed signal service in the battle of Shiloh
. “To his individual efforts,” said Grant
, “I am indebted for the success of that battle.”
There he was slightly wounded, and had three horses shot under him. In May he was made a major-general.
From July to November, 1862, he commanded at Memphis
; and throughout the campaign against Vicksburg
(December, 1862, to July, 1863) his services were most conspicuous and valuable.
How fully General Grant
appreciated the services of both Sherman
can be seen from the following letter:
He commanded one of the three corps in the siege of Vicksburg
After the fall of Vicksburg
he operated successfully against Gen. Joseph E. Johnston
In October, 1863, he was made commander of the Department of the Tennessee, and joined Grant
in the middle of November; was in the battle of Missionary Ridge
(Nov. 25); and then moved to the relief of Burnside
in east Tennessee
When he was called to Chattanooga
, he left Gen. J. B. McPherson
in command at Vicksburg
; but soon after Bragg
was driven southward from Chattanooga Sherman
suddenly reappeared in Mississippi
At the head of 20,000 troops he made a most destructive raid (February, 1864) from Jackson
to the intersection of important railways at Meridian
, in that State.
His object was to inflict as much injury on the Confederate
cause and its. physical strength as possible.
He believed in the righteousness and efficacy of making such a war terrible, and the line of his march eastward presented a black path of desolation.
No public property of the Confederates
The station-houses and rolling-stock of the railways were burned.
The track was torn up, and the rails, heated by the burning ties cast into heaps, were twisted and ruined.
intended to push on to Montgomery, Ala.
, and then, if circumstances appeared favorable, to go south-
Sherman's troops burning a Railroad Station.|
ward and attack Mobile
He waited at Meridian
for Gen. W. S. Smith
to join him with a considerable force of cavalry, but that officer was held back by the Confederate forces under Forrest
After waiting in vain for a week, Sherman
in ashes, and returned to Vicksburg
with 500 prisoners and 5,000 liberated slaves.
This raid created great consternation, for General Polk
, with his 15,000 men, made but a feeble resistance.
's loss was 171 men.
arranged two grand campaigns for the year 1864. One, under his own immediate direction, was for the seizure of Richmond
, the Confederate
capital; the other was for the seizure of Atlanta, Ga.
, the focus of several converging railways.
The latter expedition was led by General Sherman
His army numbered nearly 100,000 men, comprising the Army of the Cumberland, led by Gen. George H. Thomas
; the Army of the Tennessee, commanded by Gen. J. B. McPherson
; and the Army of the Ohio, led by Gen. J. M. Schofield
When, on May 6,. 1864, Sherman
began to move southward from the vicinity of Chattanooga
, his army was confronted by a Confederate force of 55,000 men, led by Gen. Joseph E. Johnston
, and arranged in three corps, commanded respectively by Generals Hardee
, and Polk
This army then lay at Dalton
, at the parting of the ways —one leading into east Tennessee
and the other into west Tennessee
To strike that position in front was, at least, perilous; so Sherman
began a series of successful flanking movements.
When he flanked the Confederates
, they fell back to Resaca Station, on the Oostenaula River, on the line of the railway between Chattanooga
There a sharp battle was fought on May 15.
took his next position at Allatoona Pass, and Sherman
massed his troops at Dallas
, westward of that post, where a severe battle was fought May 25.
finally pressed on to Marietta
, where, towards the middle of July, he was
succeeded by Hood
The latter city was captured by Sherman
, who entered it Sept. 2, 1864.
Late in October Sherman
prepared for a march through Georgia
When he resolved to march through the heart of Georgia
to the sea, he delegated to General Thomas
full power over all the troops under his (Sherman
's) command excepting four corps.
He also gave him command of two divisions of A. J. Smith
's, then returning from the expulsion of Price
, also of the garrisons in Tennessee
, and all the cavalry of the military division excepting a division under Kilpatrick
, which he reserved for operations in Georgia
. General Wilson
had just arrived from Petersburg
to take command of the cavalry of the army.
He was sent to Nashville
to gather up all the Union
cavalry in Kentucky
, and report to Thomas
It was believed that Thomas
now had strength sufficient to keep Hood
out of Tennessee
, whose force then was about 35,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry.
When, on Nov. 1, Hood
was laying a pontoon bridge over the Tennessee
for the invasion of Tennessee
, who had pursued him, turned his forces towards Atlanta
, his troops destroying all the mills and foundries at Rome
, and dismantling the railway from the Etowah River
to the Chattahoochee
The railways around Atlanta
were destroyed, and on Nov. 14 the forces destined for the great march were concentrated around the doomed city.
Those forces were composed of four army corps, the right wing commanded by Gen. O. O. Howard
, and the left wing by Gen. H. W. Slocum
's right was composed of the corps of Generals Osterhaus
, and the left of the corps of Gen. J. C. Davis
and A. S. Williams
. General Kilpatrick
commanded the cavalry, consisting of one division.
's entire force numbered 60,000 infantry and artillery and 5,500 cavalry.
On Nov. 11 Sherman cut the telegraph wires that connected Atlanta
, and his army became an isolated column in the heart of an enemy's country.
It began its march for the sea on the morning of the 14th, when the entire city of Atlanta
—excepting its court-house, churches, and dwellings— was committed to the flames.
The buildings in the heart of the city, covering 200
Map showing country covered in Sherman's March to the sea.|
acres of ground, formed a great conflagration; and, while the fire was raging, the bands played, and the soldiers chanted the stirring air and words, “John Brown
's soul goes marching on!”
For thirty-six days that army moved through Georgia
, with very little opposition, subsisting off the country.
It was a sort of military promenade, requiring very little military skill in the performance, and as little personal prowess.
It was grand in conception, and easily executed.
Yet on that march there were many deeds that tested the prowess and daring of the soldiers on both sides Kilpatrick
's first dash across the Flint River
and against Wheeler
's cavalry, and then towards Macon
, burning a train of cars and tearing up the railway, gave the Confederates
a suspicion of Sher
There was wide-spread consternation in Georgia
and South Carolina
, for the invader's destination was uncertain.
was sent from the Appomattox
to the Savannah
to confront the Nationals.
He sent before him a manifesto in which he said, “Destroy all the roads in Sherman
's front, flank, and rear,” and, “be trustful in Providence
Benjamin H. Hill
, of Georgia
, in the Confederate Congress at Richmond
, wrote to the people of his State: “Every citizen with his gun and every negro with his spade and axe can do the work of a soldier.
You can destroy the enemy by retarding his march.
The representatives of Georgia
in the Confederate Congress called upon their people to fly to arms.
“Remove your negroes, horses, cattle, and provisions from Sherman
's army,” they
said, “and burn what you cannot carry away.
Burn all bridges and block up the roads in his route.
Assail the invader in front, flank, and rear, by night and by day. Let him have no rest.”
And Governor Brown
, before he fled from Milledgeville
on the approach of the Nationals, issued a proclamation ordering a levy En masse
of the whole white population of the State
between the ages of sixteen and forty-five, and offering pardon to prisoners in the penitentiary if they would volunteer and prove themselves good soldiers.
But the people did none of these things, and only about 100 convicts accepted the offer.
All confidence in President Davis
and the Confederate government had disappeared in Georgia
, and a great portion of the people were satisfied that it was, as they expressed it, “the rich man's war, and the poor man's fight,” and would no longer lend themselves to the authorities at Richmond
The National army moved steadily forward.
there was a sharp engagement (Nov. 22) with a portion of Hardee
's troops sent up from Savannah
, and several brigades of militia.
The Confederates were repulsed with a loss of 2,500 men. Howard
could have taken Macon
after this blow upon its defenders, but such was not a part of Sherman
were attacked at the Oconee River
while laying a pontoon bridge, but the assailants, largely composed of Wheeler
's cavalry, were defeated.
made a feint towards Augusta
to mislead the Confederates
as to Sherman
's destination, also to cover the passage of the army over the Ogeechee River
, and, if possible, to release Union captives in the prison-pen at Millen
had several skirmishes, but no severe battles.
On Nov. 30, Sherman
's whole army, excepting one corps, had passed the Ogeechee
This was a most skilful manoeuvre; and then, having destroyed the principal railways in Georgia
over long distances, Sherman
was prepared to make a final conquest of the State
Moving on seaward, the division of Hazen
had a severe skirmish (Dec. 4) at Statesburg
, south of the Ogeechee
The Confederates were dispersed.
On the same day Kilpatrick
on the railway between Millen
, drove him from his barricades through Waynesboro
, and pushed him 8 miles, while a supporting column of Union infantry under Baird
were tearing up the railway and destroying bridges.
, the Union
prisoners had been removed; and he pushed on, amid swamps and sands, with the city of Savannah
, where Hardee
was in command, as his chief object.
covered the rear of the wing columns between the Ogeechee
and Savannah rivers
There was some skirmishing, but no Confederates in force were seen until within 15 miles of Savannah
All the roads leading into that city were obstructed by felled trees, earthworks, and artillery.
These were turned, and by Dec. 10 the Confederates
were all driven within their lines, and Savannah
was completely beleaguered; but the only approaches to it were by five narrow causeways.
They had broken communications, so that no supplies could be received in Savannah
sought to make the Ogeechee
an avenue of supply, oceanward, for his army, and to communicate with the Union fleet outside.
The latter was soon effected.
, near the mouth of the Ogeechee
, was in the way, and, on the 13th, Slocum
ordered General Hazen
to carry it by assault.
It was a strong, enclosed redoubt, garrisoned by 200 men. It was carried, and this was the brilliant ending of the march from Atlanta
to the sea. It opened to Sherman
's army a new base of supplies.
communicated with the officers of the fleet, and, on Dec. 17, he summoned Hardee
Perceiving the arrangements made to cut off his retreat to Charleston
secretly withdrew on the dark and stormy night of Dec. 20, and, with 15,000 men, escaped to that city.
The National army took possession of Savannah
on Dec. 22, 1864.
On the 26th Sherman
wrote to President Lincoln
: “I beg to present to you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savanah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales
On his march Sherman
had lived generously off the country, which was abundantly filled with provisions.
He appropriated to the use of the army 13,000 beeves, 160,000 bushels of corn, more than 5,000 tons of fodder, besides a large number of sheep, swine, fowls, and quantities of potatoes and rice.
He forced into the service 5,000 horses and 4,000 mules.
He captured 1,328 prisoners and 167 guns, and destroyed 20,000 bales of cotton.
Fully 10,000 negroes followed the flag to Savannah
, and many thousands more, chiefly women and children, were turned back at the crossings of rivers.
appointed Jan. 15, 1865, as the day for beginning his march northward from Savannah
The 17th Corps was sent by water to a point on the Charleston and Savannah Railway, where it seriously menaced Charleston
The left wing, under Slocum
, accompanied by Kilpatrick
alry, was to have crossed the Savannah
on a pontoon bridge at that city; but incessant rains had so flooded the swamps and raised the streams that the army was compelled to cross higher up, and did not effect the passage until the first week in February.
and its dependencies were transferred to General Foster
, then in command of the Department of the South, with instructions to co-operate with Sherman
's inland movements by occupying, in succession, Charleston
and other places.
notified General Grant
that it was his intention, after leaving Savannah
, “to undertake, at one stride, to make Goldsboro
an open communication with the sea by the Newbern Railway.”
Feints of attacks on Charleston
from interfering with Sherman
's inland march.
had been putting obstructions in his pathway to Columbia
: but the movements of the Nationals were so mysterious that it distracted the Confederates
, who could not determine whether Sherman
's objective was Charleston
His invasion produced wide-spread alarm.
's army steadily advanced in the face of every obstacle.
They drove the Confederates
from their position at Orangeburg
and began destroying the railway there.
On Feb. 18 they began a march directly to Columbia
capital of South Carolina
, driving the Confederates
before them wherever they appeared.
's march was so rapid that troops for the defence of the capital could not be gathered in time.
He was in front of Columbia
before any adequate force for its defence appeared.
was in command there, and had promised much, but did little.
On Feb. 17 the Nationals entered Columbia
; and on the same day Charleston
, flanked, was evacuated by Hardee
). The rear guard of the Confederates
, under Wade Hampton
, on retiring, set fire to cotton in the streets; and the high wind sent the burning fibre into the air, setting fire to the dwellings, and in the course of a few hours that beautiful city was in ruins (Columbia
, after destroying the arsenal at Columbia
, left the ruined city and pressed on with his forces to Fayetteville, N. C.
, his cavalry, under Kilpatrick
, fighting the Confederate cavalry led by Wheeler
many times on the way. He left a black path of desolation through the Carolinas 40 miles in width.
Arriving at Fayetteville
opened communications with the National
troops at Wilmington
was promoted major general, United States army, in August, 1864, and lieutenant-general in July, 1866.
On March 4, 1869, he succeeded General Grant
as general-in-chief of the armies of the United States
He was retired on his own request, Feb. 8, 1884, on full pay. He died in New York City, Feb. 14, 1891.