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: Moving like a plague of locusts, the Union Army of William Tecumseh Sherman chewed its way across Georgia and then South Carolina in an early form of total war. He was determined to smash the Confederacy’s ability to prosecute the rebellion and even more to degrade its will to fight. One soldier wrote, we “destroyed all we could not eat, stole their niggers, burned their cotton and gins, spilled their sorghum, burned and twisted their railroads and raised Hell generally.” Organized into groups of ill-disciplined scroungers known as “bummers,” Yankees ranged over the landscape robbing and pillaging. Primarily intended to feed the Union army, they also tended to take whatever they could lay their hands on. And they were not alone. Georgia had Union sympathizers and many of them pitched in to plunder their rebel neighbors. Freedmen also participated in the destruction as did Confederate deserters and disaffected former rebel soldiers.