James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

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  difficult almost impassable, turned swampy ways into deep quagmires. It was “chaos come again” wrote Cox, but the chaos was bridged for hundreds of miles 1 by this indomitable army. The roads were corduroyed; the streams and rivers were crossed on pontoon and trestle bridges. It would have been a difficult region for an army to march through had the inhabitants been friendly and no enemy near; but, under the direction of Wheeler’s cavalry, details of negro laborers had “felled trees, burned bridges and made obstructions to impede Sherman’s progress.” 2 To gain possession of the long causeways through the swamps it was necessary to outflank the enemy and drive him off. For this and other reasons there were skirmishes nearly every day, yet the army marched at the average daily rate of ten miles. Sherman “seems to have everything his own way,” wrote Lee from Petersburg. 3 “I made up my mind,” said Joseph E. Johnston, “that there had been no such army since the days of Julius Cæsar.” 4  1   The 2500 wagons of the army carried a full supply of ammunition and a large number of Government rations. The initial food supply was eked out and systematic foraging upon the country was carried on in the manner which had proved so successful in the campaign from Atlanta to the sea. The march began in South Carolina, continued directly through the centre of the State and was marked by a line of buildings and cotton bales afire. The soldiers tore up the railroads, applied the torch to their woodwork, twisted the rails and destroyed all water-tanks, engines and machinery. The Confederates set fire to cotton to prevent its falling into the hands of the Union Army and what they spared was burned by the Northern soldiers in the territory
Note 1. J. D. Cox, 172. [back]
Note 2. O. R., XLVII, Pt. 1, 19. [back]
Note 3. Feb. 19, ib., 1044. [back]
Note 4. J. D. Cox, 168, Reminiscences, II, 531. [back]