The Scourge of War: The Life of William Tecumseh Sherman

ISBN : 9780195392739

Brian Holden Reid
632 ページ
156 x 235 mm

William Tecumseh Sherman, a West Point graduate and veteran of the Seminole War, became one of the best-known generals in the Civil War. His March to the Sea, which resulted in a devastated swath of the South from Atlanta to Savannah, cemented his place in history as the pioneer of total war. In The Scourge of War, preeminent military historian Brian Holden Reid offers a deeply researched life and times account of Sherman. By examining his childhood and education, his business ventures in California, his antebellum leadership of a military college in Louisiana, and numerous career false starts, Holden Reid shows how unlikely his exceptional Civil War career would seem. He also demonstrates how crucial his family was to his professional path, particularly his wife's intervention during the war. He analyzes Sherman's development as a battlefield commander and especially his crucial friendships with Henry W. Halleck and Ulysses S. Grant. In doing so, he details how Sherman overcame both his weaknesses as a leader and severe depression to mature as a military strategist. Central chapters narrate closely Sherman's battlefield career and the gradual lifting of his pessimism that the Union would be defeated. After the war, Sherman became a popular figure in the North and the founder of the school for officers at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, known as the "intellectual center of the army." Holden Reid argues that Sherman was not hostile to the South throughout his life and only in later years gained a reputation as a villain who practiced barbaric destruction, particularly as the neo-Confederate Lost Cause grew and he published one of the first personal accounts of the war. A definitive biography of a preeminent military figure by a renowned military historian, The Scourge of War is a masterful account of Sherman' life that fully recognizes his intellect, strategy, and actions during the Civil War.


Part 1: Formtive Years, 1822-1861
Chapter 1: Origin and Evolution of the Sherman Species, 1600-1840
Chapter 2: Leaping the Mark: Soldier or Civilian? 1840-1852
Chapter 3: Unfortunate Civilian, 1853-1861
Part 2: Working His Way, March 1861-March 1864
Chapter 4: Brigade Commander, March-August 1861
Chaper 5: Departmental Commander--and Disaster, August-December 1861
Chapter 6: Divisional Commander, January-July 1862
Chapter 7: Corps Commander, July-December 1862
Chapter 8: From Corps Command to Army Command, January-December 1863
Chapter 9: Army Command, October 1863-March 1864
Part 3: Command of the Military Division of the Mississippi
Chapter 10: First Contact, March-May 1864
Chapter 11: Over the Chattahoochee, May-July 1864
Chapter 12: Slogging on to Atlanta, July-September 1864
Chapter 13: Marching on to Savannah, September-December 1864
Chapter 14: Marching to Victory, December 1864-April 1865
Part 4: Things Will Never Be the Same Again: The Reckoning
Chapter 15: Indian Fighter and Reluctant Negotiator, 1865-1869
Chapter 16: Commanding General of the Army, 1865-1884
Chapter 17: Retirement of a Kind, 1884-1891
Conclusion: Weighed in the Balance and Not Found Wanting


Brian Holden Reid is Professor of American History and Military Institutions at King's College London. He is the author of Robert E. Lee: Icon of a Nation, The Civil War and the Wars of the Nineteenth Century, and America's Civil War: The Operational Battlefield, 1861-1863, among other books. In 2019, he was awarded the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize from the Society for Military History for his contributions to the field.