Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this book about the U.S. Army campaigns of the Civil War examines the 1864 Atlanta and Savannah campaigns. In 1864, as the Civil War entered its fourth year, the most devastating conflict in American history seemed to grind on with no end in sight. In order to break the stalemate, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant general in chief of the U.S. Army and nominated him for promotion to lieutenant general, which Congress duly confirmed on 2 March. As the North's most successful field commander, Grant had built his reputation in the Western Theater, which stretched from the Appalachian Mountains in the east to the Mississippi River in the west and from the Ohio River in the north to the Gulf of Mexico in the south. His impressive resume included victories at Forts Henry and Donelson, Tennessee; Shiloh, Tennessee; Vicksburg, Mississippi; and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Before heading east to assume his new duties, Grant designated his most trusted subordinate, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, to succeed him as commander of the Military Division of the Mississippi, a sprawling geographic command that spanned most of the Western Theater.
Sherman traveled with Grant as far as Cincinnati, Ohio. During the trip, the two men devised the Union Army's grand strategy. In the coming campaigns, all Federal forces would advance as one; the main effort would occur on two fronts. Grant would attack General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, which defended Richmond, the Confederate capital. Sherman's objective was General Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee, which protected Atlanta, Georgia, the largest manufacturing and transportation center in the Deep South. Grant directed Sherman "to move against Johnston's army, to break it up, and to get into the interior of the enemy's country as far as you can, inflicting all the damage you can against their war resources." Through unified action, the Federals would prevent the two main Confederate armies from reinforcing each other, as they had done in 1863.