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Close Reading Sources - Sherman's March to the Sea

Album Description

These sources are collected from the Georgia Historical Society and the Library of Congress. This album corresponds with a PD presentation from Nov. 27th, 2018 with Education Coordinator Lisa Landers ( at the Georgia Historical Society. 

SS8H5 Analyze the impact of the Civil War on Georgia.
a. Explain the importance of key issues and events that led to the Civil War; include slavery, states’ rights, nullification, Compromise of 1850 and the Georgia Platform, the Dred Scott case, Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1860, and the debate over secession in Georgia.
b. Explain Georgia’s role in the Civil War; include the Union blockade of Georgia’s coast, the Emancipation Proclamation, Chickamauga, Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign, Sherman’s March to the Sea, and Andersonville. 6 - 8 Social Studies/History civilwar sherman closereading map

Map of Northern Georgia

Map of Northern Georgia created as a field map for Sherman and the commanders of the three armies in Sherman's army group. This map is made to be used in the field and could be folded.

It has 24 sections and is mounted on linen. There is some source information located in the bottom, left hand corner but does not have a key. Most major elements are labeled, except the red markings in the shape of four small, clustered squares. The purpose of the red clustered squares is unknown, but could be a great point of inquiry for your students to investigate. 

The dark, black markings on the lower half of the map are also a mystery, but most likely some form of damage. 

This is an excellent primary source to use as a prompt to peak student interest into the content. Have students analyze and formulate questions regarding the map.  6 - 8 Social Studies/History map Sherman marchtothesea atlanta georgia railroad army

Reference note

Map ID number: MSP1361-087

Download and open in a PDF or other viewer for a closer look. 

How Sherman's boys fixed the railroad

This source offers insight into the purpose of Sherman's March to the Sea. It illustrates details about destruction of railroads. Sherman's strategy was to cut off supply access for the Confederate Army via railroads through Georgia. 6 - 8 Social Studies/History railroad sherman shermannecktie georgia

Reference note

Summary: Stereograph showing Union soldier inspecting the damaged railroad tracks torn up by Sherman's troops. In the foreground, wooden ties are pried out, piled up, and burned. While the wood is burning, the iron rails are laid down in the fire and destroyed.
Created / Published: Hartford, Conn. : Taylor & Huntington, No. 2 State St., [1864, printed later]
Subject Headings: -  Sherman's March to the Sea
-  Railroad tracks--1860-1870
-  War damage--1860-1870
-  United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Destruction & pillage--Union
-  United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns & battles--Union
-  United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Military personnel--Union
Notes: -  No. 173.
-  Part of series: The War for the Union. Photographic War History, 1861-1865.
-  Title from item.
-  Forms part of: Civil War Photograph Collection (Library of Congress).
-  Original negative is: LC-B8184-173.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Digital Id: stereo 1s02800
stereo 2s02800

Sherman's march to the sea / drawn by F.O.C. Darley.

This source is an excellent illustration of the purpose of the March to the Sea. Beyond the railroad tracks, telegraph poles, and burning buildings there are many details that can help students gain an understanding of the causes and effects of the March to the Sea. 

Details that are not mentioned in the Library of Congress' description include the house unharmed in the middle of the image, slaves following the Union Army, cattle being rounded up, and the burning bridge just to note a few.  6 - 8 Social Studies/History Sherman railroad CivilWar UnionArmy  

Reference note

Summary: Soldiers destroying railroad tracks and telegraph poles, and burning buildings.
Contributor Names: Darley, Felix Octavius Carr, 1822-1888, artist
Created / Published: Hartford, Conn. : J. P. Finch, c1883.
Subject Headings: -  Sherman, William T.--(William Tecumseh),--1820-1891--Military service
-  Sherman's March to the Sea
-  United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns
-  Campaigns & battles--Georgia--1860-1870
Genre: Lithographs--1880-1890
Notes: -  Copyright by J. P. Finch.
Repository: Digital Id: cph 3c16520 //

Sherman's march from Atlanta to the sea. Drawn from official map of Brig. Genl. O. M. Poe, Chief Engineer.

This source is hand-drawn and has many details to offer insight into the movement of Sherman's campaign and strategy. Sherman's strategy involved movement in three directions. One army to flank the left, one to flank the right, and one to draw up the middle. This strategy relied upon the two outside armies feinting to the outside to set up the center group to strike. Also, the armies raided towns or places with supplies.  6 - 8 Social Studies/History map Sherman CivilWar strategy

Reference note

Summary: Includes portions of Tennessee and Georgia from Atlanta to Savannah, highlighting Sherman's March to the Sea, also referred to as the Savannah Campaign of 15 November to 21 December 1864.
Contributor Names: Sneden, Robert Knox, 1832-1918.
Created / Published: [1861-1865]
Subject Headings: -  Poe, O. M.--(Orlando Metcalfe),--1832-1895
-  Sherman, William T.--(William Tecumseh),--1820-1891
-  Sherman's March to the Sea
-  Atlanta (Ga.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Maps
-  Savannah (Ga.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Maps
-  United States--Georgia--Atlanta
-  United States--Georgia--Savannah
Notes: -  NOTE: Researchers will be served a color photocopy of this diary page.
-  This item is from the collections of the Virginia Historical Society; please contact the institution for more information.
-  Available also through the Library of Congress web site as a raster image.
-  Robert Knox Sneden scrapbook (Mss5:7 Sn237:1), Virginia Historical Society.
-  In the Robert Knox Sneden diary, 1861-1865 (v. 6, p. 469).
-  Manuscripts
Repository: Virginia Historical Society P. O. Box 7311, Richmond, VA 23221-0311 USA vau
Digital Id:

First Printing of the "Loyal Georgian".

This source illustrates the success of Sherman's Army as they print the first copy of the Loyal Georgian newspaper in Savannah, Georgia. Union men are running a print shop in Savannah and publishing a newspaper. 

This would be a good source to use as an opening prompt.  6 - 8 Social Studies/History CivilWar Sherman Savannah Georgia

Transcript of Image:

January 21, 1865
"The Union Army entered Savannah on the 21st of December, and on the 24th the first number of the Loyal Georgian was issued"

Document Information:

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or
quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission
for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is
not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the

Shermans march destroying the track--1864

This is an image drawn by a combat artist or correspondent artist. This illustration shows the destruction of the railroad. This sketch would have been used to report on the battle or war in newspapers.  6 - 8 Social Studies/History map Sherman railroad

Reference note

Contributor Names: Waud, Alfred R. (Alfred Rudolph), 1828-1891, artist
Created / Published: 1864 [November - December]
Subject Headings: -  Sherman, William T.--(William Tecumseh),--1820-1891--Military service
-  Sherman's March to the Sea
-  Railroads--1860-1870
-  Soldiers--1860-1870
-  United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns & battles
-  United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Destruction & pillage
-  United States--Georgia
Notes: -  Title inscribed below image.
-  Gift, J.P. Morgan, 1919 (DLC/PP-1919:R1.2.601)
-  Forms part of: Morgan collection of Civil War drawings.
-  Exhibited in: "The American Civil War Field Notes : Sketches from Cairo to Richmond" at the O'Kane Gallery, University of Houston, Texas, 2008-2009.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Digital Id: ppmsca 17654 //
cph 3c25361 //

Destruction of the depots, public buildings, and manufactories at Atlanta, Georgia, November 15, 1864 The Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps moving out of Atlanta, November 15, 1864.

This is a wood engraving used to illustrate the war in Harper's Weekly. The top image shows the burning of important, industrial resources for the south. Atlanta was a manufacturing hub. Note that not everything has been set ablaze meaning that there was most likely a strategic element to burning certain parts and not others. 

The lower image shows the movement of Union troops out of Atlanta.

Reference note

Created / Published: 1864.
Subject Headings: -  Sherman, William T.--(William Tecumseh),--1820-1891--Military service
-  Sherman's March to the Sea
-  United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Destruction & pillage
-  Troop movements--Union--Georgia--Atlanta--1860-1870
Notes: -  Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. 9, no. 419 (1865 Jan. 7), p. 4.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Digital Id: cph 3c27598 //

Sherman's march to the sea [May 15, 1864 - April 26, 1865]

This source is page excerpted out of an early, illustrated chronicle of US history (there is a note to the teacher at the bottom of the page). This source gives insight into the context of the March to the Sea. It shows the movement Sherman's troops from Chattanooga through Atlanta to Savannah. Each battle or city is marked with a date. There are small illustrations on the lower half of the document illustrating moments from the March to the Sea.   6 - 8 Social Studies/History Sherman map strategy Georgia Chattanooga Savannah Atlanta Columbia SouthCarolina

Reference note

Contributor Names: Robertson, H. C.
R. O. Evans and Company.
Created / Published: Chicago : R.O. Evans and Co., c1898.
Subject Headings: -  United States--Historical geography--Maps
-  United States--Territorial expansion--Maps
-  United States--Territories and possessions--Maps
-  United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Maps
-  United States--Discovery and exploration--Maps
-  United States
Notes: -  Wall maps.
-  Title from title sheet.
-  Copyright: H.C. Robertson.
-  First attempt to open the Mississippi LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), 32
-  Sherman's march to the sea LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), 83
-  Fall of Vicksburg LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), 283
-  Battle of Gettysburg LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), 348
-  Battle of Bull Run LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), 569
-  Grant's advance on Richmond LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), 637
-  McClellan's first advance on Richmond LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), 638
-  Some sheets include col. ill. and notes.
-  Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image.
-  Map of Battle of Gettysburg (CW 348) missing as of 2006.
Repository: Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650 USA dcu
Digital Id: