With upwards of 100,000 men and the reluctant blessing of the Union, General William Tecumseh Sherman swept through the South with unprecedented speed and savagery. The effect of his campaign, spurred by the concept of total war - the complete elimination of the Confederacy's strategic, economic, and psychological ability to wage war - was terrible for the civilian population and devastating for the South's army.
Sherman's March to the Sea is the name commonly given to the Savannah Campaign conducted around Georgia from November 15, 1864 to December 21, 1864 by Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union Army in the American Civil War. The campaign began with Sherman's troops leaving the captured city of Atlanta, Georgia, on November 16 and ended with the capture of the port of Savannah on December 21. It inflicted significant damage, particularly to industry and infrastructure (per the doctrine of total war), and also to civilian property. Military historian David J. Eicher wrote that Sherman "defied military principles by operating deep within enemy territory and without lines of supply or communication. He destroyed much of the South's physical and psychological capacity to wage war."