Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)





Committee Chair

Susannah Ural

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Andrew Wiest

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Kyle Zelner

Committee Member 3 Department



Scholars consider U.S. Major General William T. Sherman's 1864 Meridian campaign as the origin of hard war strategy during the American Civil War. While Sherman's 1864 expedition is a clear demonstration of hard war, it did not begin there. Rather, U.S. Major General Ulysses S. Grant's planned and Sherman's implemented destruction of Jackson, Mississippi in May 1863 was their first use of hard war and is key to understanding the Union's acceptance of hard war strategy. Chapter I and Chapter II of this thesis explore the Army of the Tennessee's march to Jackson and Sherman's destruction of the city, along with Colonel Benjamin Grierson's deep penetration raid into Mississippi and General Order No. 100. Then, as a case study, Chapter III examines the Union's targeting of noncombatants and their property, especially Mississippi women, during the American Civil War. To prove that the Union first applied hard war strategy during the 1863 Vicksburg campaign, this thesis examines the diaries and letters of Jackson residents, contemporary news reports, and Grant and Sherman's memoirs and correspondence. By cross-checking these sources with the Southern Claims Commission records, this thesis reveals that the Union's destruction of Jackson was a key part of their evolving acceptance of hard war, in which Grant and Sherman began realizing the strategic effectiveness of attacks on both private property and military material.