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27374Sherman, US Census, and Providential Knowledge

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  • Bill Brown
    Apr 30, 2004
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          I am in the process of reviewing a book that has made a statement noting  General Sherman's superb knowledge  of the landscape of both Georgia and South Carolina. This author, as well as others, have noted Sherman's "providential" (Sherman's quote) knowledge of the landscape, due to being stationed in the South in the 1840's. Another work referred to Sherman's knowledge of various schedules of the US Census for Georgia and South Carolina, and this knowledge aided him in planning of the Atlanta Campaign, March to the Sea (Savannah Campaign of 1864), and the Carolinas Campaign.  Yet, the reference for these remarks go back to Sherman's statements to his wife (one reference is to a letter dated January 15, 1865 to Ellen Sherman).  These questions come to mind...
      (A) Did Sherman know the US Census that well (when did he have time to read it)?
      (B) Is there other sources (primary) that refer to Sherman's use of the census or prior knowledge in operational planning? (In other words, did this knowledge affect tactical movements or was it "Me take Atlanta, make Grant happy.")
      (C) (Your Opinion) Is this story another one where Sherman was boasting about himself, and was taken to justify the inability of the Confederacy to deal with his invasion of the Carolinas?
      Sorry of the lengthy post, but do welcome other's thoughts on this query.
      "There are no bad regiments, there are only bad officers."
                              Field Marshall Lord William (Bill) Slim
      William H. (Bill) Brown
      Editor II, Governors' Documentaries
      Historical Publications Section (Office of Archives and History)
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