Sherman’s March to the Sea

Plunder of public or private property

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Plunder of public or private property: Maybe 50 families were allowed to stay during the Union occupation, which lasted till mid-November. This meant that most of the houses in the city were abandoned. Union officers moved into the nicer ones, but most of the Northern troops camped outside of town. To build their huts, the Yankees tore down houses, outbuildings and shacks. Sherman’s Field Order 67 allowed “buildings, barns, sheds, warehouses and shanties” to be so used, and they were. “All around fine houses are leaving, by piece-meal,” wrote one of Sherman’s men, “on the backs of soldiers. All these, to fix up quarters.” For the civilians who came back to find their homes gone, Sherman would simply have told them that war is war — a kinder phrase than the one he is more famous for.

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