Over in the western theater, meanwhile, Sherman's initial attempts to demolish Joseph Johnston's Confederate Army of Tennessee also failed. Armed with nearly one hundred thousand troops, Sherman's force was considerably larger than the one led by Johnston. This advantage in firepower encouraged the Union commander to
IKS® Songs Reflect War Weariness
During the summer of 1864, several songs about the Civil War became very popular across the North. But unlike the patriotic war songs of previous years, these songs reflected widespread unhappiness with the war. As the casualty lists continued to grow with no end to the war in sight, many Northerners turned to songs like "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground." This song included lyrics sadly saying that "Many are the hearts that are weary tonight, Wishing for the War to cease."
Other popular antiwar songs of 1864 included "Tell Me, Is My Father Coming Back?" and "Yes, I Would the War Were Over." Millions of copies of sheet music to these songs were sold all across the North. Perhaps the best-known of these war-weary songs was "When This Cruel War Is Over." This song reflected the fears of countless women that their husbands and boyfriends might die on the field of battle.
Dearest Love, do you remember, when we last did meet,
How you told me that you loved me, kneeling at my feet?
Oh! How proud you stood before me, in your suit of blue,
When you vow'd to me and country, ever to be true.
Weeping, sad and lonely, hopes and fears how vain!
When this cruel war is over, praying that we meet again.
When the summer breeze is sighing, mournfully along,
Or when autumn leaves are falling, sadly breathes the song.
Sheet music for the Civil War ballad "When This Cruel War Is Over." (Courtesy of Duke University, Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.)
Oft in dreams I see thee lying on the battle plain,
Lonely, wounded, even dying, calling but in vain.
If amid the din of battle, nobly you should fall,
Far away from those who love you, none to hear you call—
Who would whisper words of comfort, who would soothe your pain?
Ah! The many cruel fancies, ever in my brain.
But our Country called you, Darling, angels cheer your way-
While our nation's sons are fighting, we can only pray.
Nobly strike for God and Liberty, let all nations see
How we loved the starry banner, emblem of the free.
make repeated attempts to engage his Confederate foe on the field of battle.
But Johnston refused to be pinned down. Sometimes he used strategic retreats to avoid his Yankee pursuers. On other occasions, he stationed his rebel troops in strong defensive positions that could only be attacked with great difficulty and loss of life. By early summer, the Army of Tennessee had been pushed all the way from the Tennessee border to the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, but Johnston's sly maneuvering kept his army largely intact.
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