Civil War Library

Original Union and Confederate Books, Manuscripts and Photographs

Updated May 31, 2020

Sherman's March to the Sea Chronology


Chronology of Sherman’s March to the Sea, the Carolina’s Campaign, and Its Aftermath

By Eric Saul


March 9, 1864

President Lincoln promotes General U. S. Grant as Commander of all Union Armies.  General William T. Sherman is appointed Commander of troops in the Western theatre of war.[1]


May 7, 1864

General Sherman begins campaign with 100,000 men to advance on Atlanta from Chattanooga.  He is opposed by Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston with 50,000 soldiers.  The campaign covers 100 miles and four months, through September 2.


July 20-22, 1864

Sherman defeats Confederate troops in Battle of Peachtree Creek, outside of Atlanta.


August 1864-November 1864

Major General Henry W. Slocum commands the Twentieth Corps of the Army of the Cumberland, under Major General George H. Thomas.


August 23, 1864

Lincoln asks his cabinet secretaries to sign without reading a statement written by the President in event he lost the election: “This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be reëlected.  Then it will be my duty to so cooperate with the President-elect as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured the election on such grounds that he cannot possibly save it afterward.”[2]


September 1864

General Sherman and his combined armies capture and occupy Atlanta, Georgia.  This is a decisive victory and marks another major turning point in the war.


September 1, 1864

Confederate Army under General John Bell Hood evacuates Atlanta.  Fires and explosions break out at the railroad depot.  Hood has failed to hold and protect Atlanta.


September 2, 1864

Atlanta is captured.  It is a railroad and war manufacturing center with a population of 20,000.  It is the second most important Confederate city, after Richmond, Virginia.  Sherman telegraphs: “Atlanta is ours and fairly won.”  General Slocum’s corps are the first troops to enter the city in the morning.

Sherman advances toward Lovejoy’s Station.  There is a skirmish there for several days.


September 3, 1864

General Sherman enters Atlanta and sets up headquarters.

The New York Times reports: “The political skies begin to brighten.  The clouds that lowered over [our…] cause a month ago are breaking away.”[3]


September 4, 1864

Sherman writes to General Henry Halleck, Chief of Staff of the U. S. Army, “If the people raise a howl against my barbarity and cruelty, I will answer war is war, and not popularity seeking.  If they want peace, they and their relatives must stop war.”[4]


September 5, 1864

President Lincoln proclaims day of victory for the capture of Atlanta and Mobile, Alabama.


September 6, 1864

Maryland’s State convention adopts new constitution, ending slavery.


September 7, 1864

General Sherman orders evacuation of civilians from Atlanta.  He writes to Confederate General Hood:  “I have deemed it to the interest of the United States that the citizens now residing in Atlanta should remove, those who prefer it to go South and the rest North.”  From September 11 through September 20, 446 families, about 1,600 people, are forced to leave.


September 8, 1864

“On the 8th of September, we rode into Atlanta, then occupied by the 20th Corps [General Slocum]…  I took up my headquarters in the house of Judge Lyons…  I was resolved to make Atlanta…must stop the war.”


September 10, 1864

“I am proposing a March to the Sea,” Sherman writes to General Grant.  “I am perfectly alive to the importance of pushing our advantage to the utmost.  I do not think we can afford to operate farther, dependent on the railroad…  The country will afford forage and many supplies, but not enough in any one place to admit of a delay…  If you can manage to take the Savannah River as high as Augusta, or the Chattahoochee as far as Columbus, I can sweep the whole State of Georgia.  Otherwise, I would risk our whole army by going too far from Atlanta.”  General Grant writes:  It is desirable that another campaign should be commenced…  If we give him no peace while the war lasts, the end cannot be distant.”[5]


September 12, 1864

Sherman replies to the Mayor of Atlanta regarding the forced removal of civilians from Atlanta:  “War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our Country deserve all the Curses and Maledictions a people can pour out.”[6]


September 15, 1864

Skirmishes break out at Snake Creek Gap, Georgia, along Sherman’s supply line.


September 20, 1864

General Sherman writes to General Grant: “If once in our possession, and the river open to us, I would not hesitate to cross the State of Georgia with 60,000 men, hauling some stores and depending on the country for the balance…  But the more I study the game, the more am I convinced that it would be wrong for me to penetrate much farther into Georgia without an objective beyond…  If you can whip Lee and I can march to the Atlantic, I think Uncle Abe will give us twenty days’ leave of absence to see the young folks.”[7]


September 22, 1864

Confederate President Jefferson Davis gives speech in Macon, Georgia.  He declares, “Friends are drawn together in adversity…  Our cause is not lost.  Sherman cannot keep up his long line of communication, and retreat, sooner or later, he must.”


September 25, 1864

Confederate President Jefferson Davis visits General Hood’s headquarters at Palmetto, Georgia.  Hood seeks the removal of General Hardee from his command.


September 28, 1864

A skirmish is fought near Decatur, Georgia. 


October 1864

Sherman’s capture of Atlanta boosts Lincoln’s chances of re-election.  This victory balances the Union Army’s stalemate at Petersburg, Virginia.  Confederate General Hood continues his efforts to cut off Sherman’s supply line from Chattanooga to Atlanta.  He hopes to force Sherman to pull his army back to Tennessee.


October 1, 1864

Hood’s army attempts to cut off Sherman’s rail supply line.  A skirmish breaks out at Salt Springs.


October 2, 1864

Confederate troops of the Army of Tennessee attack Sherman’s supply lines at Big Shanty and Kennesaw Water Tank, Georgia.  They temporarily interrupt the supply line between Atlanta and Chattanooga.


October 3, 1864

Hood’s Army of Tennessee captures Big Shanty and Kennesaw Water Tank, and continue to disrupt Sherman’s supply lines.  Sherman sends additional troops from Atlanta against these raids.

In Columbia, South Carolina, Confederate President Davis declares in a speech: “…I see no chance for Sherman to escape from defeat or a disgraceful retreat.”[8]


October 4, 1864

Hood’s army engages Sherman in skirmishes at Acworth, Moon Station, and near Lost Mountain.  Sherman sends forces to relieve his3 garrisons along the railroad.


October 5, 1864

Union victory for Sherman’s forces at Allatoona, Georgia, the site of a major railroad junction. 

A skirmish breaks out near New Hope, Georgia.

President Jefferson Davis declares, in a speech in Augusta, Georgia: “Never before was I so confident that energy, harmony and determination would rid the country of its enemy and give to the women of the land that peace their good deeds have so well deserved…  We must beat Sherman, we must march into Tennessee… we must push the enemy back to the banks of the Ohio.”[9]


October 7, 1864

Hood’s army moves toward Alabama.


October 9, 1864

Sherman sends dispatch to General Grant proposing a major campaign through the South.  This becomes "Sherman's March to the Sea."  Writing to Grant, Sherman says, “Until we can repopulate Georgia, it is useless to occupy it, but the utter destruction of its roads, houses, and people will cripple their military resources…  I can make the march, and make Georgia howl…”[10]


October 10, 1864

Confederate forces skirmish with Sherman’s forces near Rome, Georgia.


October 11, 1864

Grant writes Sherman, “If you are satisfied the trip to the sea-coast can be made, holding the line of the Tennessee firmly, you may make it, and destroy all the railroad south of Dalton or Chattanooga, as you think best.”[11]

Union troops under Sherman skirmish with Confederate forces at Flat Creek, Georgia.  Sherman’s forces begin to concentrate at Rome, Georgia.


October 12, 1864

Sherman’s and Hood’s forces skirmish at Resaca and La Fayette, near Rome, Georgia.


October 13, 1864

General Grant writes to Secretary of War Stanton, “On mature reflection I believe Sherman’s proposition is the best that can be adopted.  With the long line of railroad in rear of Atlanta Sherman cannot maintain his position.  If he cuts loose, destroying the road from Chattanooga forward, he leaves a wide and destitute country for the rebels to pass over before reaching territory now held by us…  Such an Army as Sherman has, (and with such a commander) is hard to corner or capture.”[12]

Sherman’s Union forces continue to hold Resaca.  Confederate General Hood’s troops capture railroad to Tunnel Hill, which includes Dalton and Tilton, Georgia.


October 16, 1864

Skirmish between Hood’s and Sherman’s forces at Ship’s Gap, Georgia.


October 17, 1864

General Sherman writes General Schofield regarding the proposed march: “I will then make the interior of Georgia feel the weight of war.”

Hood’s Army of Tennessee retreats from its position along the Chattanooga-Atlanta rail line. 

General P. G. T. Beauregard is appointed commander of the Confederate Military Division of the West.  He is in charge of all operations east of the Mississippi River.


October 18, 1864

General Slocum requests of General Sherman that he be allowed to go on the campaign through Georgia.  Slocum writes, "I believe I can go through the state capital with two divisions....  I can get a new outfit of horses and mules and damage the enemy seriously by destroying the railroad, etc...."


October 23, 1864

Sherman’s army ceases pursuit of Hood’s Army of Tennessee.  Sherman’s troops heads back for headquarters in Atlanta.


October 29, 1864

President Lincoln issues proclamation declaring the last Thursday in November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to Almighty God….”


November 1864

The campaigns and the election of President Lincoln is the most important news story in the north.  It is the first time in modern history that fighting soldiers would vote during a war.  Most Union soldiers vote for Abraham Lincoln.  General Sherman’s capture of Atlanta and General Sheridan’s campaigns in the Shenandoah have a decisive effect on Lincoln’s ultimate victory.


November 2, 1864

Sherman wires General Grant, “I am clearly of the opinion that the best results will follow me if I hold to my contemplated movement through Georgia.”[13]

General Grant approves Sherman’s proposed march to the sea.  In his memoirs, Grant writes:  “I was in favor of Sherman’s plan from the time it was first submitted to me.”[14]


November 5, 1864

Sherman orders General Slocum and General Howard to prepare their armies for movement.


November 7, 1864

Sherman orders the destruction of military property in Atlanta, Georgia.

Grant writes Sherman regarding the planned march: “I see no present reason for changing your plan…”[15]

Confederate President Davis recommends that his government purchase slaves to work in the army and then emancipate them at the end of service.  Further, he states that the Confederacy would favor a negotiated peace, but only with an independent Confederacy, not “our unconditional submission or degradation.”[16]


November 8, 1864

Abraham Lincoln is re-elected as President of the United States, and Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee, as Vice President.  Lincoln states that the victory “will be to the lasting advantage, if not the very salvation, of the country.”[17]

Sherman writes: “This victory was most opportune; Mr. Lincoln himself told me afterward that even he had previously felt in doubt, for the summer was fast passing away; that General Grant… made election of Mr. Lincoln certain.”


November 9, 1864

In preparation for the March to the Sea, General Sherman issues Special Field Order No. 120.  He divides his Army into two wings.  The left wing, designated the Army of Georgia, includes the Fourteenth and the Twentieth Corps, under Major General Henry W. Slocum.  The right wing, designated the Army of the Tennessee, includes the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps, under Major General Oliver O. Howard.  “The Army will forage liberally on the country during the march.”  Sherman authorizes corps commanders to “destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, etc.”[18]


November 10, 1864

In a speech, Lincoln calls for unity: “May not all, having a common interest, be reunited in an effort to save our common country?”  Lincoln commented that “the election was a necessity.  We cannot have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us…  [The election] had demonstrated that a people’s government can sustain a national election in the midst of a great civil war.”[19]

General Sherman continues preparation for the March to the Sea.


November 11, 1864

Railroads in and around Atlanta are ordered to be destroyed by Union forces.  Bridges, factories, shops and contraband in Rome, Georgia, is ordered to be destroyed.


November 12-15, 1864

General Sherman orders property of military value in Atlanta to be destroyed, including factories, machine shops, rail yards, communications, etc.  The destruction is to be supervised by Colonel Orlando M. Poe, his Chief of Engineering.  Seventy percent of the city remains untouched.

General George Thomas moves his army toward Atlanta.


November 14, 1864

General Slocum marches the Twentieth Corps under Brigadier General Alpheus S. Williams out of Atlanta toward Decatur and Stone Mountain.  They destroy railroad bridges.  General Kilpatrick leaves Atlanta with his cavalry corps toward Jonesborough and McDonough.


November 15, 1864

Sherman’s Army continues to move out from Atlanta on its March to the Sea.  Light skirmishing breaks out at Jonesborough, East Point, near Rough and Ready, near Atlanta.

Sherman’s total force is 62,000 officers and men.  There are 186 regiments in total, in 40 brigades, in 14 divisions.  The regiments are from Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  Sherman’s forces carry 1.2 million rations for 20 days. It includes 3,000 beef cattle and a supply of bread for 20 days, and coffee, sugar, salt for 40 days.  There are 2,500 wagons, 600 ambulances, 65 guns manned by 2,000 artillerymen.  The Army travels with 17,000 horses and mules.


November 16, 1864

General Sherman departs Atlanta, riding with Slocum’s Fourteenth Corps.  He cuts all communications to his rear.  He states, “My first object was, of course, to place my Army in the very heart of Georgia.”  In his memoirs, he writes:  “... We rode out of Atlanta by the Decatur road, filled by the marching troops and wagons of the Fourteenth Corps; and reaching the hill, just outside of the old rebel works, we naturally paused to look back upon the scenes of our past battles. We stood upon the very ground whereon was fought the bloody battle of July 22d, and could see the copse of wood where McPherson fell. Behind us lay Atlanta, smouldering and in ruins, the black smoke rising high in air, and hanging like a pall over the ruined city. Away off in the distance, on the McDonough road, was the rear of Howard's column, the gun-barrels glistening in the sun, the white-topped wagons stretching away to the south; and right before us the Fourteenth Corps, marching steadily and rapidly, with a cheery look and swinging pace, that made light of the thousand miles that lay between us and Richmond. Some band, by accident, struck up the anthem of ‘John Brown's soul goes marching on;’ the men caught up the strain, and never before or since have I heard the chorus of ‘Glory, glory, hallelujah!’ done with more spirit, or in better harmony of time and place.”[20]

Sherman’s troops encounter light skirmishing at Lovejoy’s Station, Bear Creek Station, and Cotton River Bridge.


November 17, 1864

Sherman’s Army heads east and to the south in four distinct columns.  This is to divert and confuse Confederate forces.

Small skirmish at Towaliga Bridge.


November 18, 1864

Sherman’s Army marches between the Ocmulgee and Oconee Rivers.  Sherman continues to ride with Slocum’s left wing.

President Jefferson Davis orders Confederate General Howell Cobb to “get out every man who can render any service, even for a short period,” to oppose Sherman’s army.


November 19, 1864

Governor Brown of Georgia calls for civilians ages 16 to 55 to fight Sherman’s troops.  Nothing comes of this.

Editorializing on Lincoln’s election, Harper’s Weekly writes: “This result is the proclamation of the American people that they are not conquered; that the rebellion is not successful; and that, deeply as they deplore war and its inevitable suffering and loss, yet they have no choice between war and national ruin, and must therefore fight on…  Thank God and the people, we are a nation which comprehends its priceless importance to human progress and civilization, and which recognizes that law is the indispensable condition of Liberty.”[21]


November 20, 1864

Sherman’s columns skirmish with local militia and cavalry troops at Clinton, Walnut Creek and East Macon, Georgia.


November 21, 1864

Sherman’s right wing, under General Howard, defeats local Confederate militia at Griswoldville, Georgia.  Other small skirmishes occur near Macon, near Eatonton, and Clinton, Georgia.

The Confederate Georgia state government at Milledgeville evacuates the capital.


November 22-23, 1864

General Slocum's Army of Georgia occupies Milledgeville, the capital of Georgia.  His troops camp outside the city.  The residents of the city are treated respectfully.  Sherman sets up headquarters in Governor Brown’s mansion.  There is virtually no damage to the city.  General Howard and Kilpatrick pass through or near Gordon.  President Jefferson Davis orders that “every effort will be made by destroying bridges, felling trees, planting sub-terra shells and otherwise, to obstruct the advance of the enemy.”

Another skirmish takes place at Griswoldville.  The Confederate militia suffers heavy casualties.


November 24, 1864

General Slocum’s left wing departs Milledgeville, Georgia.

President Davis orders Confederate General Hardee: “When the purpose of the enemy shall be developed, every effort must be made to obstruct the route on which he is moving, and all other available means must be employed to delay his march, as well to enable our forces to be concentrated as to reduce him to want of the necessary supplies.”[22]


November 25, 1864

General Slocum’s left wing engages in small action with Confederate General Joseph Wheeler’s cavalry.


November 26, 1864

Slocum's Army of Georgia reaches Sandersville, Georgia.  There is a small skirmish with Confederate cavalry.


November 27, 1864

Confederate General Joseph Wheeler engages Union General Kilpatrick’s cavalry in two days of fighting at Waynesborough.


November 28, 1864

Sherman’s forces engage with the Confederates at Buckhead Church and Buckhead Creek.  Kilpatrick’s cavalry continues fighting near Davisborough and Waynesborough.


November 30, 1864

Sherman skirmishes with Confederates at Louisville, Georgia.

President Davis wires Beauregard that Sherman “may move directly for the coast.”


December 1864

Sherman’s army continues its advance toward Savannah.  Sherman’s line of communication is cut off, and Union intelligence is scarce.

U. S. Congress convenes in Washington to debate a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery.


December 1, 1864

Sherman’s army is beyond the halfway point from Atlanta to Savannah.


December 3, 1864

General Sherman’s forces arrive in the area of Millen, Georgia, with General Howard’s Seventeenth Corps.  They discover a Union prisoner of war camp.  Harper’s Weekly and other Northern newspapers show pictures of starved Union prisoners and the terrible conditions in the prison camp.  They find unburied corpses and the graves of 700 dead.[23]  General Williams’ Twentieth Corps is on the Augusta railroad for miles north of Millen.  General Jefferson C. Davis’s Fourteenth Corps is near Lumpkin Station, also on the Augusta Railroad.  Confederate opposition to Sherman’s advance is sparse.  The topography for Sherman’s marchers is sandy, with marshes and creeks.


December 4, 1864

General Judson Kilpatrick’s cavalry is involved in heavy engagement at Waynesborough, Georgia.  Kilpatrick’s cavalry routs Confederate forces.  Additional skirmishing occurs near Statesborough, Station No. 5, on the Georgia Central Railroad, and at the Little Ogeechee River.


December 5, 1864

U. S. Congress convenes for the second session of the 38th Congress.

Small skirmish at the Little Ogeechee River.


December 6, 1864

Lincoln delivers annual message to Congress.  The Union, he declares, has “more men now than when the war began…  We are gaining strength, and may, if need be, maintain the contest indefinitely.”  The Union has one million men in uniform, with the world’s largest navy, comprised of 671 ships.  He states that Sherman’s March to the Sea is “the most remarkable feature of military operations.”  Lincoln urges the House of Representatives to pass the “proposed amendment of the Constitution abolishing slavery throughout the United States,” which had passed the Senate, and as it is to so go, may we not agree that the sooner the better.” [24]


December 7, 1864

Sherman’s forces engage in small skirmishes at Jenks’ Bridge on the Ogeechee, and Buck Creek and Cypress Swamp, near Sister’s Ferry, Georgia.


December 8, 1864

Fourteenth Corps commander Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis orders pontoon bridge over Ebenezer Creek dismantled after crossing, which prevents freed slaves from following.  A number are drowned attempting to cross.


December 9, 1864

Sherman’s army continues to move on Savannah, skirmishing at the Ogeechee Canal, between Eden and Pooler Stations, at Cuyler’s Plantation, and Monteith Swamp.


December 10, 1864

The March to the Sea ends when the Army of Georgia reaches the Confederate defensive works around Savannah, Georgia.  Sherman’s army has traveled 285 miles in 25 days of marching, averaging 12-15 miles a day.[25]  Slocum takes up a position along the Savannah River with his right connecting to the Seventeenth Corps of Howard’s Army of the Tennessee.


December 11, 1864

Sherman’s army continues to take up positions around Savannah.


December 12, 1864

Sherman’s army forms lines around Savannah and prepares to attack its principle defensive point at Fort McAllister.


December 13, 1864

General Sherman reaches the sea and contacts the Union fleet.  At 5pm, Union troops of General William B. Hazen’s division of the Fifteenth Corps of the Army of the Tennessee charge Fort McAllister.  It is captured within 15 minutes.  The Confederate fort, under Major G. W. Anderson, suffers 35 casualties.  General Hazen has 24 killed and 110 wounded.[26]  This opens up direct communications with the Union Navy.


December 14, 1864

President Jefferson Davis confers with Confederate commander General Robert E. Lee regarding sending troops from Petersburg to Savannah.


December 16, 1864

Sherman’s army is resupplied from the U.S. Navy.  Sherman consolidates his lines around Savannah.


December 17, 1864

General Sherman demands the surrender of Savannah from General Hardee.  He writes: “I have already received guns that can cast heavy and destructive shot as far as the heart of your city; also, I have for some days held and controlled every avenue by which the people and garrison of Savannah can be supplied, and I am therefore justified in demanding the surrender of the city of Savannah, and its dependent forts, and shall wait a reasonable time for your answer, before opening with heavy ordnance. Should you entertain the proposition, I am prepared to grant liberal terms to the inhabitants and garrison; but should I be forced to resort to assault, or the slower and surer process of starvation, I shall then feel justified in resorting to the harshest measures, and shall make little effort to restrain my army—burning to avenge the national wrong which they attach to Savannah and other large cities which have been so prominent in dragging our country into civil war.”[27]

President Davis tells Hardee that Lee cannot detail troops from the defense of Richmond for the defense of Savannah.  He tells Hardee to make preparations “needful for the preservation of your army.”


December 18, 1864

General Hardee refuses Sherman’s demand to surrender Savannah.  Hardee begins plans to evacuate his forces from the city.


December 19, 1864

President Lincoln calls for 300,000 more volunteers for the Union Army.


December 20, 1864

Slocum’s left wing maneuvers to cut off Hardee’s escape from Savannah.  Under the cover of darkness, Hardee evacuates his entire force of 10,000 troops from Savannah.

Sherman states: “I was very much disappointed that Hardee had escaped with his garrison, and had to content myself with the material fruits of victory without the cost of life which would have attended a general assault.”[28]  Hardee’s withdrawal prevents a pitched battle in Savannah and saves the city from damage.


December 21, 1864

Savannah Mayor Richard Arnold surrenders the city to General Slocum’s officers.  Mayor Arnold presents a note reading:  “Sir, The city of Savannah was last night evacuated by the Confederate military and is now entirely defenseless.  As chief magistrate of the city I respectfully request your protection of the lives and private property of the citizens and of our women and children. / Trusting that this appeal to your generosity and humanity may favorably influence your action, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant.”

General Slocum's Army of Georgia occupies Savannah.  General Slocum puts Brigadier General John W. Geary, of the Twentieth Corps, in charge of the city.  The loss of Savannah is a severe setback for the Confederacy.

Union losses in the 36 days of the campaign are 103 killed, 428 wounded and 809 missing in action.[29]  Confederate casualties are 2,300 killed, wounded and missing: 800 in the siege of Savannah, 550 at Griswoldville, 200 at Ft. McAllister, 100 in miscellaneous actions, and 596 in General Wheeler’s campaign.[30]  General Sherman put the total economic loss to the South during the campaign at $100,000,000.[31]

17,000-25,000 enslaved individuals are freed during the march.  Thousands of freemen volunteer as laborers, cooks, teamsters and pontoon and road builders.  8,000 individuals who had been freed from slavery enter Savannah with Sherman’s March.  In addition, the 7,587 enslaved individuals living in and around Savannah are also freed.[32]


December 22, 1864

Sherman telegraphs President Lincoln:  “I beg to present you as a Christmas-gift the city of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.”[33]  Sherman’s army mans the defenses around Savannah and resupplies their army.

General Hardee’s Confederate troops head northward to South Carolina.


December 24, 1864

Sherman writes to Union Army Chief of Staff, General Halleck: “We are not only fighting armies, but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war, as well as their organized armies. I know that this recent movement of mine through Georgia has had a wonderful effect in this respect. Thousands who had been deceived by their lying papers into the belief that we were being whipped all the time, realized the truth, and have no appetite for a repetition of the same experience.”[34]


December 26, 1864

President Lincoln telegraphs General Sherman: “MY DEAR GENERAL SHERMAN: Many, many thanks for your Christmas gift – the capture of Savannah. When you were leaving Atlanta for the Atlantic coast, I was anxious, if not fearful; but feeling that you were the better judge, and remembering that 'nothing risked, nothing gained' I did not interfere. Now, the undertaking being a success, the honor is all yours; for I believe none of us went farther than to acquiesce. And taking the work of Gen. Thomas into the count, as it should be taken, it is indeed a great success. Not only does it afford the obvious and immediate military advantage; but, in showing to the world that your army could be divided, putting the stronger part to an important new service, and yet leaving enough to vanquish the old opposing force of the whole—Hood's army—it brings those who sat in darkness, to see a great light. But what next? I suppose it will be safer if I leave Gen. Grant and yourself to decide. Please make my grateful acknowledgements to your whole army, officers and men.”[35]


December 31, 1864

Sherman writes to his wife, Ellen: “No city was ever occupied with less disorder or more system than this of Savannah, and it is a subject of universal comment that though an army of 60,000 men lay camped around it, women and children of an hostile people walk its streets with as much security as they do in Philadelphia.  I attach much importance to these little matters.”[36]

Savannah Mayor Richard Arnold writes, in a note to city aldermen, thanking Slocum and his officer, General Geary: “When the city was taken… you asked protection.  You all know that it was granted to you, and we all feel deeply indebted to Brig. Gen. Geary for his conduct as commandant of the city… [John Geary] has by his urbanity as a gentleman and his uniform kindness to our citizens, done all in his power to protect them and their property from insult and injury.”



Victory for the Union is virtually assured, with Grant at Petersburg, Thomas in Tennessee, and Sherman at Savannah.  The Union Navy controls the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. 

The Confederate Congress expresses increasing unhappiness with President Davis and his administration.  Confederates consider using enslaved individuals as soldiers.  The U.S. Congress takes up the constitutional issue of enacting a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery.

The Union Army stands at more than 600,000 soldiers ready for active duty.  More than 300,000 are in reserve, for a total of nearly 960,000 soldiers.  The Confederate forces total approximately 160,000 soldiers ready for active duty and a total force of 358,000.[37]

Sherman’s army of 62,000 soldiers peacefully occupies Savannah for the month of January.

David Conyngham publishes Sherman's March Through the South, with Sketches and Incidents of the Campaign.

Henry Clay Work, a Chicago abolitionist, writes Marching through Georgia.

The Story of the Great March, by Lieutenant Colonel George Ward Nichols, an aid-de-camp to General Sherman during the March, is published.  It is the earliest firsthand account of the events.  It sells 60,000 copies in a year.  Nichols writes a fiction book, The Sanctuary, in 1866.


January 1865

Sherman has problems supplying his occupation forces in Savannah.  He has problems organizing supply shipments from the north.


January 3, 1865

In preparation for marching his troops northward through South Carolina, Sherman transfers a contingent of General Howard’s Army of the Tennessee from Savannah to Beaufort, South Carolina.


January 5, 1865

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton travels to Savannah to meet with General Sherman.


January 6, 1865

Congressman J. M. Ashley (R-Ohio) attempts to revive interest in the proposed 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery.  He states, “Mr. Speaker, if slavery is wrong and criminal, as the great body of enlightened Christian men admit, it is certainly our duty to abolish it, if we have the power.”  The amendment had previously passed the Senate, but failed in the House.  The House spends much of its time debating the issue.

President Davis attempts to allocate troops to defend North and South Carolina.


January 8, 1865

Major General John A. Logan resumes command of the Union Fifteenth Corps of the Army of the Tennessee.


January 9, 1865

Tennessee Constitutional Convention adopts amendment abolishing slavery.  It is ratified by votes on February 22.


January 10, 1865

The debate over a constitutional amendment for the abolition of slavery continues in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Speaking in favor of the amendment, Congressman John A. Kasson, of Iowa, states that “you will never, never have reliable peace in this country while that institution exists…”


January 11, 1865

Missouri’s Constitutional Convention adopts ordinance abolishing slavery.

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, along with U.S. Army Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs and other officials, arrives in Savannah, Georgia, to meet with General Sherman.


January 12, 1865

Confederate President Jefferson Davis writes, “Sherman’s campaign has produced bad effect on our people, success against his future operations is needful to reanimate public confidence.  Hardee requires more aid than Lee can give him, and Hood’s army is the only source to which we can now look.”

General Sherman and Secretary of War Stanton, along with Acting Adjutant General of the Army Brevet Brigadier General E. D. Townsend, meet with a group of 20 prominent African American clergymen and community leaders.  Reverend Garrison Frazier, a 67-year old former pastor of the Third African Baptist Church, is asked to be the spokesman for the group.  Sherman is asked to leave the room and is greatly offended by this.  Stanton inquires about Sherman’s treatment of the African American community: “State what is the feeling of the colored people toward General Sherman, and how far do you regard his sentiments and actions as friendly to their rights and interests, or otherwise?”  Frazier replies: “We looked upon General Sherman, prior to his arrival, as a man, in the providence of God, specially set aside to accomplish this work, and we unanimously felt inexpressible gratitude to him, looking upon him as a man who should be honored for the faithful performance of his duty.  Some of us called upon him immediately upon his arrival, and it is probable he did not meet the secretary with more courtesy than he did us.  His conduct and deportment toward us characterized him as a friend and gentleman.  We have confidence in General Sherman, and think what concerns us could not be in better hands.  This is our opinion now, for the short acquaintance and intercourse we have had.”[38]


January 13, 1865

Confederate General John Bell Hood resigns as Commander of the Army of Tennessee.


January 14, 1865

A portion of Sherman’s army takes up new positions from Beaufort to Pocotaligo, South Carolina.

General Beauregard takes temporary command of the Army of Tennessee.


January 15, 1865

General Sherman sends General Oliver O. Howard and his Army of the Tennessee to Beaufort, South Carolina to take positions on the railroad from Charleston to Savannah.  He orders General Henry W. Slocum, of the Army of Georgia, and Kilpatrick’s Cavalry Corps to cross the Savannah River and take up positions into the swamps and rice fields north of the city of Savannah.  Slocum’s advance is impeded by heavy rains, which flood the bottomlands.  Slocum is delayed until the first week of February.[39]

President Davis writes to General Hardee, in South Carolina: “I hope you will be able to check the advance of the enemy.”  He asks Georgia Governor Brown for troops.


January 16, 1865

General Sherman issues Special Field Order No. 15.  It provides for the confiscation of 400,000 acres of land along the Atlantic coast of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.  The order was issued to deal with the thousands of African American refugees who had joined Sherman’s march and were recently freed from slavery in the Savannah area.  The order reads, in part:  “I. The islands from Charleston south, the abandoned rice-fields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering the St. John’s River, Florida, are reserved and set apart for the settlement of the negroes now made free by the acts of war and the proclamation of the President of the United States. / II. At Beaufort, Hilton Head, Savannah, Fernandina, St. Augustine, and Jacksonville the blacks may remain in their  chosen or accustomed vocations; but on the islands, and in the settlements hereafter to be established, no white person whatever, unless military officers and soldiers detailed for duty, will be permitted to reside, and the sole and exclusive management of affairs will be left to the freed people themselves, subject only to the United States military authority, and the acts of Congress.  By the laws of war and orders of the President of the United States, the negro is free, and must be dealt with as such.”  The Field Order and its provisions were revoked by President Johnson’s administration.

The Confederate Congress appoints General Robert E. Lee to General-in-Chief of the Armies of the Confederacy.  General Beauregard is appointed commander of the Confederate army in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.  General Joseph E. Johnston is reinstated as the commander of the Army of Tennessee.


January 17, 1865

Heavy rains and high water delay the start of General Sherman’s move through North Carolina.

President Davis writes South Carolina Governor A. G. Magrath at Charleston:  “I am fully alive to the importance of successful resistance to Sherman’s advance, and have called on the Governor of Georgia to give all the aid he can furnish.”


January 18, 1865

General Sherman assigns General John G. Foster to be military commander of Savannah.  Sherman goes to Hilton Head and Beaufort, South Carolina.[40]


January 19, 1865

Sherman begins march from Savanna to North Carolina.  His forces number approximately 60,000 officers and men.  General John G. Foster’s Department of the South has approximately 23,000 Union troops.[41]

The total opposing Confederate forces in the Carolinas number more than 30,000 Confederates.  Sherman is opposed by the following Confederate generals: General P. G. Beauregard, General William J. Hardee, General Daniel H. Hill, General Gustavus W. Smith, and others.


January 31, 1865

The U.S. House of Representatives achieves two-thirds vote majority on the Thirteenth Amendment, forbidding slavery in the U.S.  It reads, “Article XIII, Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction.  Section 2. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”  It sends the Amendment to the states for ratification.  It is the first to be added since the Twelfth Amendment, of 1803, ratified in 1804.[42]


February 1, 1865

Illinois ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery.  It is the first state to do so.

After two weeks of preparation, General Sherman begins march out of Savannah bound for Columbia, South Carolina.  “We have conquered and occupy the capital of the haughty state that instigated and forced forward the reason, which brought on this desolating war.”[43]


February 2, 1865

General Howard’s right wing arrives on the Salkehatchie River in South Carolina.  Heavy skirmishing takes place at Lawtonville, Baker’s Mill, on Whippy Swamp, Duck Branch and Rivers’ and Broxton bridges.


February 3, 1865

President Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton meet aboard the steamboat “River Queen” with Confederate leaders to discuss ending the war.  Lincoln calls for unconditional restoration of the Union.  Nothing comes of the meeting and the war continues.

Maryland, New York and West Virginia ratify the Thirteenth Amendment.

General Howard’s Seventeenth Corps cross swamps along the Salkehatchie River, South Carolina, with small actions at River’s Bridge and Dillingham’s Cross Roads.


February 7, 1865

Maine and Kansas ratify thirteenth Amendment.  Delaware fails to do so.


February 12, 1865

Electoral vote in Presidential race is tallied.  Lincoln wins by vote of 212 to 21.


February 15, 1865

Slocum's Army of Georgia troops concentrate near Lexington, South Carolina.  They destroy 60 miles of rail track and head toward Columbia, the state capital.  Before Slocum's arrival, a huge fire breaks out in Columbia.  The fire is attributed to the actions of civilians and Confederate soldiers burning cotton stores.  The Confederates blame Sherman’s soldiers.


February 17, 1865

Sherman’s Army captures and occupies Columbia, the capital of South Carolina.  Half of the city is lost in a major conflagration that was caused, at least in part, by Confederates burning cotton stores.  The cause of the fire has been debated by historians for years.

Confederate Army withdraws from Charleston, South Carolina.


February 18, 1865

Charleston Mayor Charles MacBeth surrenders city to Lt. Colonel A. G. Bennett of the 21st U.S. Colored Troops.


February 20, 1865

The Confederate House of Representatives authorizes the utilization of slaves as soldiers.

Sherman’s army departs Columbia, South Carolina.  His two wings follow a path thirty miles wide.


February 22, 1865

Tennessee approves new state constitution abolishing slavery.

Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston is reinstated to command forces against Sherman in the deep South.

Wilmington is captured and occupied by Union Army under Major General John M. Schofield.


March 3, 1865

Congress passes a bill establishing the Bureau of Refugees, Freedman, and Abandoned Lands, under the auspices of the War Department.  General Howard would be appointed its head.


March 4, 1865

President Lincoln is inaugurated for his second term.  Andrew Johnson is sworn in as the new Vice President.  In his speech, he declares: “With malice toward none, with charity for all…”


March 16, 1865

Slocum's troops skirmish with Confederate soldiers near Averasboro, South Carolina.  General Hardee, the Confederate commander, puts up a stiff resistance.


March 19, 1865

Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston ambushes Slocum's wing of the Army of Georgia.  Johnston had massed his troops to stop Sherman's advance.  Slocum is able to repulse Johnston, who retreats to entrenchments.  Soon, Johnston withdraws.  This is the last battle for the Army of Georgia.


March 29, 1865

General Grant asks that the Fourteenth and Twentieth be officially designated the Army of Georgia, although they have been referred to as the Army of Georgia since September 1864.


April 2, 1865

Union Army breaks through Confederate defenses in Petersburg, Virginia.  Confederate President Jefferson Davis abandons the capital, Richmond.  Rebel army burns Richmond.

Grant captures Richmond, Virginia.  Lee successfully withdraws his army.


April 2-3, 1865

Southern mobs loot and burn the Confederate capital.  Noted historian James McPherson wrote, “Southerners burned more of their own capital than the enemy had burned of Atlanta or Columbia.”


April 4, 1865

President Lincoln tours Richmond.  Crowd of recently freed African Americans enthusiastically hails him as “the Great Messiah” and “Father Abraham.”  One formerly enslaved individual knelt at Lincoln’s feet and blessed him.  A humbled Lincoln said, “Don’t kneel to me.  You must kneel to God only, and thank him for the liberty you will enjoy hereafter.”


April 9, 1865

Lee surrenders his Army of Northern Virginia to General Grant at the Appomattox courthouse in Virginia.


April 13, 1865

General Sherman captures Raleigh, North Carolina.


April 14, 1865

Abraham Lincoln is assassinated at Ford's Theater in Washington, DC.

General Johnston begins surrender negotiations with General Sherman.  The negotiations drag on for two weeks.  Except for small engagements, the Civil War is over.


April 17, 1865

The Confederate Army, under General Joseph E. Johnston, surrenders at Bennett’s Place, outside of Durham, North Carolina.  Sherman presents very liberal surrender terms for Johnston’s army.  These include recognition of state governments, political rights and a general amnesty for Confederate soldiers.  In addition, Confederates are not required to surrender their weapons.  These surrender terms are rejected and amended by President Andrew Johnson.


April 18, 1865

At Bennett’s Place, North Carolina, General Sherman and General Johnston sign “Memorandum on Basis of Agreement.”


April 19, 1865

Funeral services for President Lincoln are held in the East Room of the Executive Mansion.  Lincoln’s body is escorted to the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.  Lincoln lies in state until the evening of April 20.


April 20, 1865

Arkansas state legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.


April 21, 1865

President Lincoln’s body leaves Washington for Springfield, Illinois.


April 22, 1865

Lincoln’s funeral train goes through Philadelphia.


April 24, 1865

General Grant arrives at Sherman’s headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina.  He informs Sherman that President Johnson has rejected Sherman’s agreement with General Johnston.  The surrender agreement and truce is suspended.


April 26, 1865

At Bennett’s Place, near Durham Station, North Carolina, General Johnston signs the revised and less liberal terms of surrender to General Sherman.  The terms are approved by General Grant.  Johnston’s army of 30,000 solders is surrendered.


April, 27, 1865

General Grant leaves Raleigh, North Carolina.


April 28, 1865

Sherman’s army supervises the disbandment of Johnston’s forces.  Sherman leaves for Savannah.

Lincoln’s coffin arrives in Cleveland, Ohio.


April 30, 1865

Lincoln funeral train arrives in Indianapolis.


May 1865

General Oliver O. Howard is appointed Commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau (the U.S. Army’s Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands).  He serves in this post until July 1874.  The Freedmen’s Bureau was tasked by Congress to help formerly enslaved individuals integrate into American society.  The Bureau’s programs included education, the courts and healthcare.


May 1, 1865

President Andrew Johnson appoints a military commission of nine Army officers to try the eight individuals accused in the assassination of President Lincoln.


May 4, 1865

Abraham Lincoln is buried in Springfield, Illinois.


May 5, 1865

The Connecticut state legislature ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.


May 9, 1865

Lincoln assassination trial in Washington begins.


May 10, 1865

President Jefferson Davis is captured and taken into custody near Irwinville, Georgia.  He is taken to Macon, Georgia.  He is then imprisoned at Fort Monroe, Virginia.  He is imprisoned until 1867.

President Johnson proclaims “Armed resistance to the authority of this government in the said insurrectionary states may be regarded as virtually at an end…”


May 23, 1865

The Grand Army of the Potomac has victory parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. 


May 24, 1865

General Sherman’s army passes in review.  Many newly-freed individuals were accorded the honor of participating in the Union victory parade.  They accompanied Sherman’s army to the very end of the March.  It takes six hours for the Army to pass in review.  Sherman writes in his memoirs: “Many good people up to that time, had looked upon our Western army as a sort of mob; but the world then saw, and recognized the fact, that it was an army in the proper sense, well organized, well commanded and disciplined; and there was no wonder that it had swept through the South like a tornado.”[44]


May 25, 1865

Most of the Union Army is disbanded and soldiers return to their homes.


May 29, 1865

President Andrew Johnson grants amnesty and pardons to all persons (with exceptions) who took part in “the existing rebellion.”  Property rights for Southerners were restored, except for slaves.  An oath of loyalty is required.


May 30, 1865

General Sherman issues Special Field Orders No. 76, which officially disband his troops.  He comments: “With the full belief that as in war you have been good soldiers, so in peace you will be good citizens.”[45]


June 1865

In a speech at his home in Syracuse, New York, Slocum said, "[Southerners] are willing to give up slavery, and only ask to be permitted to live in peace with us.  I believe it will not be difficult now to establish a new and better Union-a Union of feeling and interest.  I would treat the South with kindness, and having extinguished the last hope in the minds of all, for the continuance of slavery, I would adopt such measures as would soonest restore good feeling throughout the land."


June 6, 1865

General Slocum addresses his troops in a farewell speech, "I cannot repress a feeling of sadness at parting with you... No generation has ever done more for the establishment of a just and liberal form of government, more for the honor of their nation."

Missouri ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery.


June 17, 1865

The War Department deactivates General Henry W. Slocum's Army of Georgia.


June 30, 1865

All eight Lincoln assassination conspirators are convicted by a military court in Washington.


July 1, 1865

New Hampshire ratifies Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery.


July 7, 1865

Four of the eight Lincoln assassination conspirators are executed in the Arsenal Grounds of the Old Penitentiary Building in Washington.


November 13, 1865

South Carolina ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.


December 2, 1865

Alabama ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.


December 4, 1865

North Carolina ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.  Mississippi rejects it.


December 5, 1865

Georgia ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment. 


December 11, 1865

Oregon ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment.


December 18, 1865

The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is in effect after being approved by 27 states.


April 2, 1866

President Johnson writes, “Now therefore, I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim and declare that the insurrection which heretofore existed in the States of Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Florida is at an end and is henceforth to be so regarded.”[46]


November 20, 1866

General Howard and other individuals meet in Washington to create a theological seminary to train African American clergymen.  The institution’s mission is expanded and is renamed the Howard Normal and Theological Institute for the Education of Preachers and Teachers.  The school is renamed Howard University on January 8, 1867.



On Sherman’s Track, or The South After the War, by John Henry Kennaway, is published.

The South: A Tour of its Battlefields and Ruined Cities, a Journey through the Desolated States, and Talks with the People, by John Townsend Trowbridge, is published.



The Grand Army of the Republic, in upstate New York, begins Memorial Day for Union soldiers killed.  By 1869, it is a mandated holiday in 31 states.



General Howard serves as president of Howard University in Washington from 1869-1874.



Sherman begins writing his memoirs.  This is largely to correct the historically inaccurate “lost cause” mythology of the South.



Allatoona: An Historical and Military Drama in Five Acts, by General Judson Kilpatrick, is published.


May 1875

Sherman publishes his autobiography, The Memoirs of William T. Sherman, in two volumes.  Sherman writes of the March, “I only regarded the march from Atlanta to Savannah as a ‘shift of base,’ as the transfer of a strong army, which had no opponent, and had finished its then work, from the interior to a point on the sea-coast, from which it could achieve other important results.  I considered this march as a means to an end, and not as an essential act of war.”  Ten thousand copies sell in the first month.  Reviews of the work are favorable.



William T. Sherman attends Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  He is honored by officials as “Duke of Louisiana.”  He also visits Atlanta and later writes:  “[I have received] every where nothing but kind and courteous treatment from the highest to the lowest.”



Advance and Retreat, an autobiography by Confederate General John Bell Hood, is published.


August 1880

Sherman gives famous speech at a Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) reunion.  He says: “You all know this is not soldiering here.  There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys it is all hell.”  It is remembered simply as “War is hell.”



The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, by the former President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis, is published.  The book is highly critical of Sherman and the March.


November 1881

Sherman visits Atlanta, Georgia, for the International Cotton Exposition.  He subscribes $2,000 for the event.



Sherman’s March to the Sea, by Union General Jacob D. Cox, is published.

General Slocum's name is proposed by the Democratic Party as the nominee for Governor of New York.  Public opinion is against Slocum, and he fails to receive the nomination.


March 4, 1883-March 3, 1885

General Slocum is elected as a Representative at Large from New York to the Forty-eighth Congress.



Civil War veterans elect General Slocum president of the Society of the Army of the Potomac.



Sherman is urged by the Republican Party to run for President.  He refuses, stating, “I will not run if nominated and will not serve if elected.”  He visits General Grant, who is writing his memoirs.  Grant is suffering from advanced cancer.


February 8, 1884

General Sherman retires from U.S. Army on his 64th birthday.



Sherman revises and updates his memoirs.  He adds material on the pre- and postwar years.


July 1885

General Grant dies shortly after completing his memoirs.



Sherman and his wife, Ellen, move to New York City.


February 1888

Sherman publishes article in Century Magazine, “The Grand Strategy of the War of the Rebellion.”  He is highly critical of Jefferson Davis.


October 1888

Sherman publishes article in North American Review.  He calls for the right to vote for Blacks in the South.



The Life of General William T. Sherman, by James P. Boyd, is published.


February 14, 1891

Sherman dies.  Honorary pall bearer is General Joseph E. Johnston.  General Slocum organizes funeral in New York City.  President Benjamin Harrison attends funeral.



“General William T. Sherman,” by Henry Hitchcock, is published in Sketches of War History, 1861-1865.



General Oliver O. Howard is awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in the Battle of Fair Oaks.


April 14, 1894

Henry Warner Slocum dies in Brooklyn, New York at the age of 66. His wife, Clara, his daughter and two sons, Henry, Jr., and Clarence, are present.  Generals Sickles, Howard, Butterfield, Porter and Schofield are pallbearers.  He is interred in Greenwood Cemetery.


April 17, 1894

The Gettysburg Monument Commission, chaired by Gettysburg veteran General Sickles, passes a resolution to commission an equestrian statue of General Slocum on the Culp's Hill battlefield.


November 8, 1894

Major General Oliver O. Howard retires from the U.S. Army at age 64.



General Oliver O. Howard founds Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee.



The State of New York and the City of Brooklyn name a fortification for Slocum on David's Island, New York, called Fort Slocum.

The City of New York commissions an equestrian statue of Slocum in Brooklyn.


Summer 1902

The Slocum equestrian statue in Brooklyn is completed at a total cost of $29,941.57.


September 19, 1902

An equestrian statue of Major General Henry Warner Slocum is dedicated at Stephen’s Knoll, near Culp’s Hill, at the Gettysburg historic battlefield. 



Gilded 24-foot equestrian statue of Sherman, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, is dedicated at the southeast entrance to Central park in New York City.


February 1, 1904

The New York Monuments Commission publishes In Memoriam: Henry Warner Slocum, 1826-1894.



Autobiography of Oliver Otis Howard, in two volumes, is published.



Home Letters of General Sherman, by M. A. DeWolf, is published.


October 26, 1909

General Oliver Otis Howard dies in Burlington, Vermont, and is buried in the Lakeview Cemetery there.



U.S. postage stamp is issued with General Sherman.



Charles E. Slocum publishes The Life and Services of Major-General Henry Warner Slocum (Toledo: Slocum Publishing).Biography of Major General Slocum is published.



D. W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” is released.  It depicts the burning of Atlanta.



Sherman: Soldier, Realist, American, a landmark biography by prominent historian and military veteran B. H. Liddell Hart, is published.



Sherman: Fighting Prophet, by Lloyd Lewis, is published.


November 1932

Equestrian statue of Major General Oliver Otis Howard is dedicated at Cemetery Hill, at the Gettysburg national battlefield.



Gone with the Wind, the best-selling novel by Margaret Mitchell, is published.  The movie rights are purchased at a record price by producer David O. Selznick.



The Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration interviews surviving formerly enslaved individuals.  It is called the Slave Narrative Collection, and is one of the most important collections of autobiographical material of formerly enslaved individuals.  The collection has more than 2,000 interviews.  At least 70 of these were by formerly enslaved individuals who were witnesses to liberation by the Union Army.  The collection is held in the Library of Congress.[47]



Gone with the Wind is released by MGM Studios.  It becomes the highest grossing film in history.



The General Who Marched to Hell: William Tecumseh Sherman and His March to Fame and Infamy, by Earl Miers, is published.



John Wayne plays General Sherman in a scene in the motion picture, “How the West was Won.”



The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography, edited by George P. Rawick, is published.



Sherman’s March and Vietnam, by James Reston, Jr., is published.



The March to the Sea and Beyond: Sherman’s Troops in the Savannah and Carolinas Campaigns, by Joseph T. Glatthaar, is published.



Ross McElwee produces documentary, “Sherman’s March: A Meditation on the Possibility of Romantic Love in the South during an Era of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation.”



Sherman’s March, by Burke Davis, is published.



The Destructive War: William Tecumseh Sherman, Stonewall Jackson, and the Americans, by Charles Royster, is published.

Ken Burns releases an award-winning PBS documentary series, “The Civil War.”  Playwright Arthur Miller is Sherman’s voice.



Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order, by John Marszalek, is published.



Citizen Soldier: A Life of William Tecumseh Sherman, by Michael Fellman, is published.



Black Savannah, 1788-1864, by Whittington B. Johnson, is published.



Prize-winning book, Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War, by Tony Horowitz, is published.  He writes about his observations on modern Atlanta, and following Sherman’s March to Savannah.



Sherman and the Burning of Columbia, by Marion B. Lucas, is published.



Marching through Georgia: The Story of Soldiers and Civilians during Sherman’s Campaign, by Lee B. Kennett, is published.



To the Sea: A History and Tour Guide of the War in the West, Sherman’s March across Georgia and through the Carolinas, 1864-1865, by Jim Miles, is published.



The March, a novel by E. L. Doctrow based on Sherman’s March, is published.

Nothing but Victory: The Army of the Tennessee, 1861-1865, by Steven E. Woodworth, is published.  It discounts many of the popular myths of the march.



Brian C. Melton publishes Sherman's Forgotten General: Henry W. Slocum (Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press).


April 2007

History Channel produces documentary, “Sherman’s March.”



Sherman’s March in Myth and Memory, by Edward Caudill and Paul Ashdown, is published.

Southern Storm: Sherman’s March to the Sea, by Noah Andre Trudeau, is published.



Demon of the Lost Cause: Sherman and Civil War History, by Wesley Moody, is published.



Sherman statue in New York City is re-gilded at a cost of $500,000.  A year later, the New York Times reports that the refurbishment has not worked and the finish is peeling off.



Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman’s March and American Memory, by Anne Sarah Rubin, is published.


June 13, 2014

The NiBlack-Freeney family, descendants of enslaved people from Milledgeville, Georgia, commemorate the 150th anniversary of their freedom from slavery in a ceremony in the United States Capitol.


November 22, 2014

150th anniversary of the capture and occupation of Milledgeville, Georgia.  The African American community commemorates this event.


December 19-21, 2014

150th anniversary of the capture and occupation of Savannah, Georgia.  The African American community commemorates the freedom of the formerly enslaved community in a series of moving ceremonies.  This is the first ceremony of its kind in the Civil War sesquicentennial.


January 12, 2015

150th anniversary of the meeting of General Sherman and Secretary of War Stanton with African American community leaders in the Greene mansion in Savannah, Georgia.


January 16, 2015

150th anniversary of General Sherman’s issuing Special Field Order No. 15, which proposed setting aside 400,000 acres of land along the Atlantic coast, including South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, for individuals freed from slavery.


January 31, 2015

150th anniversary of the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery.




 Note: Click on footnote number to return to timeline.

[1] U. S. War Department. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 128 vols. Washington, DC: GPO, 1881-1901. Series 1. 

[2] Lincoln, Collected Works, Vol. VII, p. 514.

[3] New York Times, September 3, 1864. 

[4] Official Records, I, xxxviii, pt. 5, 794.

[5] Official Records, I, xxxix, pt. 2, p. 355.

[6] Sherman, ms, Houghton Library, Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA.

[7] Official Records, I, xxxix, pt. 2, p. 411-413.

[8] Long, E. B., with Barbara Long, The Civil War Day by Day: An Almanac, 1861-1865, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1971, p. 579.

[9] Long, p. 580.

[10] Official Records, I, xxxix, pt. 3, p. 3.

[11] Official Records, I, xxxix, pt. 3, p. 3.

[12] Ulysses S. Grant Letters and Papers, Illinois State Hist. Libr., cited in Nevins, 1971, p. 167.

[13] Official Records, I, xxxix, pt. 3, p. 594-595.

[14] Grant memoirs.

[15] Official Records, I, xxxix, pt. 3, p. 679.

[16] Long, p. 164.

[17] Long, p. 594.

[18] Official Records.

[19] Lincoln, Collected Works, Vol. viii, p. 100-102, cited in Nevins, 1971.

[20] Official Records.  Sherman memoirs.

[21] Harper’s Weekly.

[22] Long, p. 600.

[23] Harper’s Pictorial History of the Rebellion, New York, 1866, p. 687.

[24] Lincoln, Collected Works, Vol. 7, cited in Nevins, p. 208.

[25] Official Records, I, xliv.

[26] Official Records, I, xliv.

[27] Official Records, I, xliv.

[28] Official Records, I, xliv, p. 7-14; Nevins, p. 161.

[29] Official Records, I, xliv, p. 13.

[30] Official Records, I, xliv; Trudeau, p. 542.

[31] Official Records, I, xliv.

[32] Bureau of the Census, Population of the United States in 1860, p. 599; Drago; Official Records, I, xliv.

[33] Official Records, I, xliv.

[34] Official Records, I, xliv.

[35] Official Records, I, xliv.

[36] Sherman, Home Letters, ed. M. A. DeWolfe Howe, New York, 1909, 319-322, cited in Nevins, p. 255.

[37] Nevins, p. 254.

[38] Official Records.

[39] Official Records, I, xlvii, pt. 1, p. 17-18.

[40] Official Records, I, xlvii, pt. 1, p. 17-18.

[41] Official Records, I, xlvii, pt. 1, p. 17-18.

[42] Nevins, p. 213.

[43] Nichols, George Ward. The Story of the Great March: From the Diary of a Staff Officer. New York: Harper & Bros., 1865.

[44] Sherman’s memoirs.

[45] Sherman’s memoirs.

[46] Long, p. 69.