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In Their Own Words

November 23, 1864

Harsh Punishments for Impeding Sherman Ordered

From Milledgeville, Sherman issued Special Field Order 127 outlining the assignments and objectives for the second phase of the March to the Sea. The order also dealt with foraging, with severe penalties outlined where citizens in their path tried to deprive Union forces by destroying bridges and forage:

“… Advanced guards should be strengthened, attended by a pioneer corps prepared to construct temporary bridges in case of their destruction by the enemy; and wherever any such obstruction occurs the commanding officer of the troops present on the spot will deal harshly with the inhabitants near by, to show them that it is to their interest not to impede our movements. Should the enemy burn forage and corn on our route houses, barns, and cotton-gins must also be burned to keep them company… .”

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. 527.