Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The March

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The March

by E.L. Doctorow

The March
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2005, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2006, 384 pages

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Beyond the Book

For a brief biography of Sherman, see this week's Quote.

The Savannah Campaign, more commonly known as The March to the Sea, took place between November 15th 1864, when Sherman's 62,000 troops left the captured city of Atlanta, and ended on December 22nd with the capture of Savannah.   Sherman and Grant were in agreement that the way to end the war was to inflict a devastating defeat that would destroy not only the South strategically but break them psychologically and economically as well.  To that end Sherman initiated a "scorched earth" policy throughout the march (which had the added advantage that it reduced the need for traditional supply lines).

The following is edited from his orders issued on November 9th. 

IV. The army will forage liberally on the country during the march. To this end, each brigade commander will organize a good and sufficient foraging party, under the command of one or more discreet officers, who will ...

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