I don't think that it was acceptable to use total war in these circumstances. This is because total war involves harming the property of citizens in order to gain an advantage in war. This is an okay strategy in some situations as long as innocent civilians are not being harmed. However, in this case some civilians were forced to go live in caves and eat animals in order to survive. These extreme conditions were not fair to civilians who had done nothing wrong. This proves that unless justified, total war is not the right thing to do.
At the end of the war, there were many different reactions as well. First, Lincoln was very tired and completely worn out. Secondly, Northern soldiers began to celebrate but were then reminded that the people who they defeated are once again their fellow countrymen now and they should respect them. This humbled the Northern soldiers and brought peace between the two sides. The Southern soldiers wanted to honor their leaders for the valiant job they had done in the war and then they were finally relieved of duty. For this, they were able to keep their cows and all of their property.