This is coolbert:
That Army of the West as commanded by Sherman having as a primary mission the destruction of:
"those facilities in their path that replenished the Confederate war effort such as cotton gins, farms, foundries, lumber mills, etc."
Including all railroads, telegraph lines, factories and sundry "facilities" that had any potential for providing war-making munitions AND AS DEFINED BY W.T. SHERMAN.
Yet one additional extract with commentary from the novel "The March" by E. L. Doctorow:
"Kilpatrick's forces were arrayed on a road that ran beside the tracks of the Charleston & Augusta line. As far as Morrison could see in either direction, details were at work prying up the rails and laying them in bonfires made from the ties. he thought of this as an inverse industrial -process. The rails, when red-hot, were removed from the fire and bowed and twisted. it was a releasing duty for the cavalry, and the men's voices came through to him as burble of camaraderie."
That "inverse" industrial process the destruction of the Southern railway system to the greatest extent possible. A subject of which was a previous blog entry.
That tearing up a section of railway hard physical back-breaking labor all done by hand without the aid of machines, but the young men of the time accustomed to hard back-breaking labor. A man during that period of the American Civil War [one hundred fifty years ago] TWICE AS STRONG POUND FOR POUND AS A MODERN and again used to hard physical labor on a daily basis!!
As described by Doctorow the cavalry almost enjoying their "sport", relishing the non-combat task and proceeding with abandon!
Yet once more from that previous blog entry:
"There was also a certain amount of malicious delight derived from this 'phenomenon'. A gleeful enjoyment of the destructive nature of man that is latent in all of us? Giving themselves to abandon and able to do on command what is ordinarily in civilian life a grave criminal offense is pleasurable? I am not sure but this might well be the case."
NOT ONLY targets destroyed but the adversary [the American South] unable to repair or replace damaged "facilities" war-making potentiality much reduced beyond amelioration!
Civilian structures, property and apparatus NOT to be touched UNLESS resistance encountered. That commander at the scene allowed to take retribution and retaliation and having the delegated authority to do so upon his appreciation of the situation.
Sherman and his troops not a mindless group of barbarians destroying in a wanton manner without thought UNDOUBTEDLY AS DURING WAR EXCESSES OCCURRING!