An Evolution and a Portent
This chapter describes Sherman’s Meridian campaign. Sherman is credited for raising the level of hard war, beginning with the Meridian campaign. He chose to bring the war home to noncombatants, making them feel the pain and price of war, not by personal attacks but by destruction of food, railroads, and anything else that might provide support to Confederates. He believed that thought such destruction would break the will of Southerners and Confederate soldiers to carry on the war. He wanted to terrorize Southern whites to the point of making them want the war to end. However, the indiscriminate burning and wrecking of homes by Union troops was often unjustified, and in such cases went beyond his stated position.
Keywords: William T. Sherman, Confederates, Union troops, Meridian, hard war