Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation explores the intersection between Federal war policy and developments in Southern agriculture that created the environment for Major General William Tecumseh Sherman's Savannah Campaign, better known as the "March to the Sea," to take place. The first chapter describes the changes that took place in Georgia's agriculture following secession that moved Southern farming from cash crop production to food staple cultivation. The second chapter illustrates the evolution of Northern military policies towards civilians that gave rise to the premise of hard war, especially in the use of foraging as a military weapon. Chapter three shows the planning process for the Savannah Campaign. Chapter four uses the accounts of Union soldiers to describe the agricultural environment they encountered along the path of the "March to the Sea," and especially the actions of foragers against Confederate civilians on rural farms. The fifth chapter utilizes the accounts of Georgia's plantation wives to show the impact of Sherman's foragers on their farms and their lives. The conclusion offers final analysis of the question of Southern agriculture and Northern war policy, as well as aspects of Sherman's March in the American memory.
Robert Christopher Welch
Welch, Robert Christopher, "Forage Liberally: The Role of Agriculture in Sherman's March to the Sea" (2011). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 10372.