Sherman's March to the Sea: Letter written by Harlan R. Ma...Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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DescriptionSherman's March to the Sea: Letter written by Harlan R. Martin, 123rd New York Infantry, December 18th, 1864...."This raid has destroyed millions of dollars of property and done irreparable damage to the Southern Confederacy....".
A ten-page letter headed "Near Savannah, Ga., Sunday Dec. 18th, 1864." Writing his mother, Martin gives fine details:
"We left Atlanta Nov. 15th and followed up the Atlanta & Augusta Railroad destroying it as we went as far as Madison, a distance of 75 miles from Atlanta."
"We then struck south to Eaton and from there to Milledgeville, the Capital of Georgia. There we were joined by General Sherman and the 15th & 17th Corps which had been around toward Macon."
"The expedition consisted of the 14th & 20th forming the left wing under command of General Sherman. The 15th & 17th Corps forming the right wing under command of General Howard. The Cavalry under command of Kilpatrick and the whole under the immediate command of General Sherman."
"The right wing followed down the Atlanta & Macon railroad, destroying it as they went to near Macon, but finding Macon too strongly garrisoned to take it without considerable of a fight, they drew off to the right and formed a connection with us."
"The object of the expedition not being to fight as we had no way to take care of the wounded, but to pass quickly through their country and destroy what we could and to get communication open before they could gather force to resist us."
"The order of the march was to start at 7 o'clock each morning and make 15 miles a day if possible. Sometimes when we brought up the rear, we would not get in to camp till 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning, and some nights get no sleep at all."
"We had a large train and when it was stretched out, it would reach ten miles and some places we had bad routes and it bothered us considerable."
"We lived mostly on the country we passed through, and it was the best living I have had since I have been in the Army. We had all the sweet potatoes & fresh pork we could eat. The planters had all their potatoes dug and piled up, and we had no trouble to get them, only help ourselves, and there was any amount of hogs running around in the woods, and we only had to shoot them and skin them to get our meat."
"All government property was given to flames, cotton and cotton gins & presses were burnt whenever found, and when we were near the railroad, a Division was from the column every day to follow it up and destroy it."
"After leaving Milledgeville, we kept east through the country to Sandersville. Here we met Wheeler's Cavalry and had quite a little brush with them. This was the first sign of the enemy we had seen."
"We left the column here and struck the Georgia Central Railroad at TeniIle and destroyed it and everything on or near it, completely to the Ogeechee River." From the Calvin Packard Civil War Battlefield Letter Collection.
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