The Final Months

Barbara Brooks Tomblin

in Bluejackets and Contrabands

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125541
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135311 | DOI:
The Final Months

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As December 1864 came to a close, General William T. Sherman's army approached its objective: Savannah, Georgia. Sherman's march across Georgia afforded many Union soldiers the opportunity to become acquainted with and befriend black civilians. Young northern soldiers hired black men as servants, teaching them to read and offering them tips on how to survive in their new world of freedom. In letters home, soldiers wrote of their admiration for blacks who assisted escaping Union prisoners and guided Union soldiers on foraging parties in search of food. The advance of Sherman's army across Georgia to Savannah and then northward encouraged thousands of slaves to seek freedom and start new lives. For many more African Americans along the southern coast or in Union-occupied areas inland, the final months of the Civil War brought a measure of peace and stability. For other African Americans, especially those in the path of Sherman's advance, 1865 brought turmoil.

Keywords: William T. Sherman; Savannah; Georgia; blacks; slaves; freedom; African Americans; Civil War; soldiers

Chapter.  14146 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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