“Location: Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia Location: Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia”
Notable engagements: Battle of Griswoldville (November 22), Buck Head Creek (November 28), Waynesboro (December 4), Honey Hill (November 30)
Principal Union commander(s): Major General William T. Sherman (overall), Major General Oliver O. Howard, Major General Henry W. Slocum, Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick
Principal Confederate commander(s): Lieutenant General William J. Hardee, Major General Joseph Wheeler
Union forces engaged: Army of the Tennessee, Army of Georgia
Confederate forces engaged: Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, Confederate militia
Number of Union soldiers engaged: Roughly 62,000
Number of Confederate soldiers engaged: Roughly 12,500
Estimated Union casualties: Undetermined
Estimated Confederate casualties: Undetermined
Result: Union victory
In a telegram to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, dated October 9, 1864, Major General William T. Sherman stated that he would “make Georgia howl” during his March to the Sea.
The Union army traveled in two columns as it moved across Georgia during Sherman’s March to the Sea; the right wing was the Army of the Tennessee, commanded by Major General Oliver O. Howard, and the left wing was the Army of Georgia, commanded by Major General Henry W. Slocum.
Major General William T. Sherman’s personal escort on the Sherman’s March to the Sea was the 1st Alabama Cavalry Regiment, a unit made up entirely of Southerners who remained loyal to the Union.
The depleted Confederate forces in the South were able to offer little resistance to the Union army as it cut a swath of destruction across Georgia during Sherman’s March to the Sea.
Major General William T. Sherman estimated that the March to the Sea inflicted about $100 million in damages to the South (about $1.378 billion in 2010 dollars).
Historian Lee Kennett calculated that Sherman’s troops wrecked 300 miles of railroad and numerous bridges and miles of telegraph lines; seized 5,000 horses, 4,000 mules, and 13,000 head of cattle; confiscated 9.5 million pounds of corn and 10.5 million pounds of fodder; and destroyed uncounted cotton gins and mills during the March to the Sea.
The path of destruction the Union arm cut as it moved across Georgia during Sherman’s March to the Sea was about 60 miles wide and about 250 miles long.
After occupying Savannah, Georgia at the conclusion of the March to the Sea, Major General William T. Sherman telegraphed President Lincoln, “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the City of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty guns and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.”