The Evilness of the March to the Sea

There has been much written over the past 150 years, novels, and movies about the subject.  Union General
William T. Sherman would practice a form of psychological warfare that he wanted to prove to the people that no
one could help them.  This was a form of evil and crimes against humanity.  This and other incidents of the Civil
War were the basis for Adolph Hitler’s Mien Kampf being the “final solution.”  Evil in a man’s heart that festered into
the mayhem that would follow not only in Georgia but on into South Carolina as well.  He wanted to make Georgia
“howl.”  Well he did and there are many today here still in this state that have not forgiven the atrocities that
occurred during that time in 1864.

Sherman’s march frightened and worried many Southerners.  It hurt the backbone of the civilians.  He had
terrorized the countryside; his men had destroyed all sources  of food and forage and had left behind a hungry
and demoralized people.  Although he did not level any towns, he would destroy key buildings in places where
there was resistance.  His men had shown little sympathy for Millen, Georgia.  This was the site of Camp Lawton,
where Union prisoners of war were held.  Physical attacks on white civilians were few, although the slave
population was a different story.  According to records that people don’t hear about today, General Sherman did
not like black people.  He was probably one of the worst “racist” of his day.  Many slave women were raped and
then murdered.  Just the other side of Sparta, Georgia General Sherman had his men to shoot and kill the slave
crowd that was following them as they felt safe with the Union soldiers.  When in reality, they should have stayed
home.  Sherman’s deeds here would be of such a barbaric nature that even the evil monsters of the 20th century
took lessons from him.  He had his men to burn or capture all the food stores that Georgians had saved for the
winter months.  As a result of the hardships on women and children, there would be many desertions of men from
General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Virginia coming home to help in any way they could.  Many would die of sickness
and starvation due to this rogue.

Then in early 1865, he turned his horrors upon the people of South Carolina.  Leveling Columbia and destroying
the very agricultural base of the state.  The things he and his men were doing would get them hung today for war
crimes against humanity.

This very thing happened right here in our home of Henry County.  This monster had sent his army through the
area and would destroy all the food and anything of value in their wake.  They didn’t burn McDonough but they did
burn a couple of homes on the outskirts.  They also looted the town, destroyed records in the Courthouse that
once stood where the square is today and they butchered cattle in the First Baptist Church.  They would also ruin
some of the graves in the cemetery.  Again these men practiced barbarism on a wide scale. S.S. Storm troopers
could have done no better of a job of causing panic and fear among the public.

The March to the Sea and Beyond, Glatthaar, 1985.
AHS, 1984.
Marching through Georgia, Kennett, 1995.
The Mother of Counties, Mrs. Rainer, 1971.
Records of the War of the Rebellion, Archives, 1898.
Atlas of the Civil War, Archives, 1898.