This is coolbert:
Colonel Austin Bay at Strategy Page also has taken note that it is now one hundred fifty years since the famous/infamous "March to the Sea". With extracts and commentary.
"Sherman's March to the Sea: Total Impact Warfare"
"One hundred fifty years ago this month, General William Tecumseh Sherman's Union 'Army of the West marched from Atlanta, Georgia, to the seaport of Savannah"
"Remaining in Atlanta also entailed serious danger. For supplies, Sherman's troops depended on the single rail line connecting Atlanta to Chattanooga. On a daily basis, Confederate cavalry under Nathaniel Bedford Forrest snapped Union telegraph lines and ripped up railroad track. If Sherman tried to winter in the city, his army might starve."
This NOWHERE have I ever seen referenced. Sherman almost HAD to make the march. His options were limited. MOVE forward to the sea and replenishment of resources NOT only an alternative but becoming a MUST!
"Sherman had his medical officers cull out sick, weak and overweight soldiers. They were put on the next train to Chattanooga. The result: 60,000 lithe, armed athletes capable of sustaining a forced march pace."
A fit army without any troops unable to maintain a pace, NOT necessarily forced but continuous and unrelenting. A slacker or troop falling out on the march subject to southern marauders and local civilians with his fate most terrible.
"Sherman waged war for total psychological impact and hence political impact. If Southerners wanted to keep their pigs, they could surrender."
NOT so much pigs as cured hams. That civilian population to be unmolested unless resistance was encountered. And for the most part, that preponderance even, NO resistance was offered.
My perception is that of HARD but not CRUEL! It was war!