I don't like what Sherman did, but it proved the South didn't have the means to stop a determined foe. Tells me the South was not ready materially to secede when it did.
Sherman warned a friend at the outset what was going to happen (in part)...
"You people speak so lightly of war. You don't know what you’re talking about! War is a terrible thing...At best war is a frightful loss of life and property, and worst still is the demoralization of the people...You mistake too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people, but an earnest people and will fight too, and they are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it. Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The Northern people not only greatly out number the whites at the South, but are a mechanical people with manufactures of every kind, while you are agriculturists-a sparse population covering a large extent of territory...You are rushing into war with the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical and determined people on earth-right at your doors.
The South couldn't stop him. Hood marched in the opposite direction of Sherman, leaving Georgia wide open. We can argue all day about how bad Sherman was, but again, the South has to take responsibility for it’s actions, as much as the North.