After his triumphant capture of Atlanta in the fall of 1864, Union General William T. Sherman mobilized 62,000 of his veteran troops and waged destructive war across Georgia, from Atlanta to Savannah. Unhappy with the killing and maiming of Union and Confederate soldiers in combat blood baths, he decided on purposeful destruction, hoping to insure fewer casualties while helping bring the war to an end as quickly as possible. He repeatedly promised southerners that he would wage a hard war but would tender a soft peace once they stopped fighting. He was true to his word on both counts.
In studying a main element of the Lost Cause view of the Civil War, award-winning author John F. Marszalek recounts the March's destructive details, analyzes William T. Sherman's strategy, and describes white and black southern reaction. The result is a gripping tale which demonstrates both how the March affected the Confederacy's last days and how it continues to influence Americans at the beginning of the twenty-first century.