Both Grant and Sherman pursued a new type of warfare. Explain the change in strategy these men employed. Note a battle or campaign in which each man used this new strategy. Finally, was this strategy effective? Why or why not?
Ulysses Grant and George Sherman employed what could be described as the first shock and awe tactics in modern warfare. This involved overwhelming the enemy with firepower and bombardment before the battle actually took place and then moving in with vast infantry formations eventually destroying the enemy’s line of communications and laying waste to the surrounding land thus cutting off the enemy from any supply lines.
This strategy was used effectively by both Grant and Sherman in the latter stages of the war. Sherman used shock and awe tactics in the Battle of Atlanta which saw him lay waste to the city and the surrounding countryside demoralizing the enemy and reducing the defence garrison to nothing. The fast cutting off of the enemy was also a factor in the swift movement which eventually led Sherman to easily conquer Georgia and move deeper into the South.
Grant used this swift and decisive tactic effectively in the Wilderness Battle although here he was hampered by the scorched earth tactics of the Confederates. However the swift troop movements and superior firepower enabled Grant to continue wearing down the South’s defences and eventually winning the war. The strategy was definitely effective although one has to consider the fact that the Union had far more material resources than the South and the wanton destruction which was engaged in crippled the region’s infrastructure for decades.
Brands, H. W. (2012). The Man Who Saved The Union Ulysses S. Grant in War and Peace. New York: Doubleday.
Bearss, Edwin C.. The Vicksburg Campaign. Dayton, Ohio: Morningside, 1991. ISBN 0-89029-308-2.