Sherman's War: The Hard Hand Of War

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After three years of fighting and over half a million dead, by the fall of 1864 the United States still had not suppressed what Union leaders considered a slaveholders’ rebellion and arguably the most potent threat ever posed to the nation’s existence. Faced with continued resistance and climbing casualty figures, Sherman decided that the time had come to widen the burden and pain of the war beyond just rebel soldiers to include the civilian supporters of the Confederacy, especially the common folk who filled the ranks of the rebel armies. Sherman believed that forcing noncombatants to feel what he called the “hard hand of war” was a military necessity. Making the war as harsh as possible would bring victory more quickly and with a minimum

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