This Day in Georgia Civil War History
January 01, 1865
March to the Sea Official Damage Estimate
In the official report of Union General William T. Sherman, he wrote his estimates of the damage caused by the March to the Sea.
“I was thereby left with a well-appointed army to sever the enemy’s only remaining railroad communications eastward and westward, for over 100 miles – namely, the Georgia State Railroad, which is broken up from Fairburn Station to Madison and the Oconee, and the Central Railroad, from Gordon clear to Savannah, with numerous breaks on the latter road from Gordon to Eatonton and from Millen to Augusta, and the Savannah Gulf Railroad. We have also consumed the corn and fodder in the region of country thirty miles on either side of a line from Atlanta to Savannah, as also the sweet potatoes, cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry, and have carried away more than 10,000 horses and mules, as well as a countless number of their slaves. I estimate the damage done to the State of Georgia and its military resources at $100,000,000; at least $20,000,000 of which has inured to our advantage, and the remainder is simple waste and destruction. This may seem a hard species of warfare, but it brings the sad realities of war home to those who have been directly or indirectly instrumental in involving us in its attendant calamities.”
Source: U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of
the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington:
U.S. Government Printing Office, 1893, reprinted by The National Historical
Society, 1971), Series I, Vol. XLIV, p. 13.