Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Having pushed the Confederates under John Bell Hood down into Alabama in Fall 1864, General Sherman abandoned his pursuit of the rebels and returned to Atlanta. He was weary of rehearsing tactics from the Confederate playbook and proposed a new strategy, one that would ignore Hood and go on the offensive not against standing armies or even organized resistance, but against the heart of the South. He secured permission from Grant and Lincoln for a most remarkable experiment in what would come to be called total war. On November 15th he set fire to all that had military value in the city, turned his back on Atlanta and set out for Savannah, nearly 300 miles to the east on the coast. He wrote, “….if I move through Georgia, smashing things…instead of being on the defensive I would be on the offensive…march(ing) a well-appointed army, right through [Jefferson Davis’s] territory, it is a demonstration to the world, foreign and domestic, that we have a power which Davis cannot resist….I can….march, and make Georgia howl!”