Proposal

November 30, 2010 |  Tagged | Comments Off on Proposal

Proposal

Few figures of the American Civil War gained as much lasting notoriety or caused anywhere near as much controversy as General William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union Army. He is forever remembered as a cruel villain in parts of the South due to his strategy of total war, that is, the idea that war is not just a struggle between armies; it is a conflict which engulfs the entire nation including the people, land, and resources. This paper will demonstrate the importance of Sherman’s total war philosophy as a crucial component to breaking Southern moral and ultimately bringing an end to the bloody struggle that was the American Civil War.

It is often times difficult to prove, or argue for that matter, that a single individual could be of such significance to the outcome of a major military conflict. However, in this case the sources provide ample support for the claim that Sherman, through the use of his unique tactics, played an integral role in the outcome of what was one of the greatest struggles in the history of the United States of America. This paper will also aid in erasing the common misconception that Sherman practiced total war because he hated the south by clearly showing the reasoning behind his tactics.

Initial research has turned up a multitude of very useful primary and secondary sources. To begin with there are an abundance of primary sources in the form of diaries and journals from the period of the topic. On to Atlanta: The Civil War Diaries of John Hill Ferguson, Illinois Tenth Regiment of Volunteers is one of the useful primary sources in the form of a diary.  This particular source provides the thoughts and insights of a regular soldier serving under Sherman. An Illinois Soldier Marches with Sherman to the Sea and Beyond consists of the diary entries of James Connolly, an enlisted soldier serving under Sherman. This source provides a glimpse of what occurred during what came to be known as Sherman’s March to the Sea. A primary source of great significance is the memoirs of General Sherman himself. Memoirs of W.T. Sherman provides an invaluable examination of the thoughts and motives behind the actions of the individual whom this paper is focused on.

Besides a large number of primary sources, there are an abundance of secondary sources available relevant to the topic. John F. Marszalek has published multiple works on the topic. Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order (1993) is an invaluable biography on General Sherman. It is a thoroughly researched and well documented work which provides insight into the life of General Sherman. Marszalek also has another work, Sherman’s March to the Sea (2005), which is also a valuable source. There are also and endless supply of articles from scholarly journals that deal with the subject matter. Victor D. Hanson’s article “Sherman’s War” (1999) as well as the article “General William T. Sherman and Total War” by John B. Walters are just a few examples of these readily available sources.

Initial research has been very successful, however the location of more primary sources such as newspaper articles, which would illustrate the public opinion of the time and would be of invaluable aid in backing up the claim that Sherman was of the utmost importance to the outcome of the war, would be a great boost to the this paper’s argument. Apart from that, further research into the topic seems to be very promising. With the combination the initials findings and further research this will be a very strong paper.

Bibliography

Campbell, Jaquiline G. When Sherman Marched North from the Sea. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003.

Coburn, Mark. Terrible Innocence: General Sherman at War. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1993.

Connolly, James. “An Illinois Soldier Marches with Sherman to the Sea and Beyond.” in The Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary Collection, edited by William E. Gienapp, 256-258. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001.

Cox, Jacob D. Sherman’s March to Sea. New York: Da Capo Press, 1994.

Ferguson, John Hill. On to Atlanta: The Civil War Diaries of John Hill Ferguson, Illinois Tenth Regiment of Volunteers. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003.

Hanson, Victor Davis. “Sherman’s War.” American Heritage 50, no. 7 (November 1999): 58. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 10, 2010).

Hume, Janice, and Amber Roesner. “Surviving Sherman’s March: Press, Public Memory, and Georgia’s Salvation Mythology.” Jounalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 86, no. 1 (Spring 2009): 119-137. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 10, 2010).

Lancaster, Jane F. “William Tecumseh Sherman’s Introduction to War, 1840-1842: Lesson for Action.” The Florida Historical Quarterly 72, no 1 (July 1993): 56-72. JSTOR, jstor.org/stable/30148666 (accessed September 10, 2010).

Marszalek, John F. Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order. New York: Free Press, 1993.

Marszalek, John F. Sherman’s March to the Sea. Abilene, Texas: Mcwhiney Foundation Press, McMurray University, 2005.

Sherman, William T. Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman. New York: Penguin Books, 2000.

Sherman, William T. “Message to the Atlanta City Council.” Message to the Atlanta City Council (2009): 1. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 10, 2010).

Sherman, William T. The Capture of Atlanta and the March to the Sea: from Sherman’s Memoirs. Dover ed.  New York: Dover Publications, 2007.

Sherman, William T. “William Tecumseh Sherman Proposes to March to the Sea.” in The Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary Collection, edited by William E. Gienapp, 256-258. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001.

Trudeau, Noah A. “I Saw a Column of Black Smoke.” Americas Civil War 21, no. 5 (November 2008): 34-41. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 10, 2010).

Trudeau, Noah A. Southern Storm. New York: Harper, 2008.

Walters, John B. “General William T. Sherman and Total War.” The Journal of Southern History 14, no. 4 (November, 1948): 447-480. JSTOR, jstor.org/stable/2198124 (accessed September 10, 2010).

Wills, Charles Wright. Army Life of an Illinois Soldier. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1996.


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