When historians look back on General Sherman's infamous "March to the Sea" do they consider his campaign to be justified from a military perspective? Is there any evidence that Sherman's march did hasten the end of the Civil War?
Sherman's "March to the Sea" hurt the CSA's economy and helped to end the war. An estimate of the damage in dollars, made by Sherman stated that the campaign had inflicted about 100 million dollars worth of damage. To put that into context, the CSA, in 1863, had only 700 million dollars worth of bonds, (money in those days did not work as it does today) and even less in gold reserves. Unfortunately, there was a lack of data on just how much the CSA spent during the course of the war, and so, could not compare the two numbers. The march was also one of the first ever examples of being able to work deep in enemy territory, which is hard to do because 1) The lack of supplies, and 2) The inability to comunicate with other commanders. This means that the people of the South, and the Generals of the CSA could not have expected such devastation. Sherman's March not only destroyed the CSA's economy, it also struck fear into the populace with it's brutal tactics. Sherman ordered his men to "forage liberally" meaning, steal as much food as possible. He also ordered his men to burn pillage and destroy according the the regions hostility, breaking the spirit of the most resistant regions. Sherman's March was a surprise to the CSA that tore it's economy to shreds along with it's peoples will to fight. Sherman's March, in a military perpective, helped to end the war.