Just finished reading the Sherman's March portion of this book: an essay entitled "A Sociological Perspective of William T. Sherman's March Through Georgia", by Charles E. Vetter. This is an excellent piece by Vetter, and after reading it I am more convinced than ever that Sherman was a genius. I say this not only because he was successful, but because he obviously learned from his previous mistakes and knew how to refine his strategy for ultimate victory. The march itself turned out to be flawless, because it did exactly what he set out to accomplish. Sherman didn't just want to defeat the South militarily, he wanted to bring the entire Southern population to its knees. The purpose behind the march was to completely destroy the Southern will to fight and wage a war against the Union.
"If the people raise a howl against my barbarity and cruelty I will answer that war is war, and not popularity-seeking. If they want peace they and their relatives must stop war," said Sherman in a letter to Henry W. Halleck in September of 1864. This was before the march, and in the following months Sherman would make this sentiment a reality for Georgia and South Carolina.