Emerging Civil War

'Sherman's bummers foraging through South Carolina,' image courtesy of the Library of Congress. ‘Sherman’s bummers foraging through South Carolina,’ image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The physical trauma Sherman and his troops forced upon the Southern countryside riddles letters and diaries, and the psychological trauma is still evident in the resentment passed down between generations. The chaos of unorganized Union foraging parties followed a pattern as Federal troops marched through the South. Allowed to forage under Sherman’s Special Field Orders No. 120, some soldiers took “advantage of the license given to them” and in addition to foraging for food, they pillaged for every day household items.[i] Section two in this three part series highlights the lengths soldiers went to in order to find items of value, as well as some of the imagination employed in hiding personal effects during Sherman’s March to the Sea, as well as throughout his Carolina Campaigns.

As soon as word spread that soldiers were marching through…

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