The North Tightens Its Grip

In early 1864, the Federal Army made plans to destroy the Confederate military once and for all. Union armies led by Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) and William T. Sherman (1820-1891) launched offensives deep into Confederate territory with the specific purpose of wiping out the South's major remaining armies. This strategy enjoyed support throughout the North, which had become confident of victory after the Union triumphs of 1863. By midsummer, however, Northern confidence wavered as Confederate defiance stayed strong. Dissatisfaction with Grant's campaign was particularly strong, since he racked up very high casualty rates in his effort to break the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, led by Robert E. Lee (1807-1870).

As the 1864 U.S. presidential elections drew near, many people believed that war-weary Northerners would vote to replace President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) with Democratic candidate George B. McClellan (1826-1885), the former general of the Army of the Potomac. If McClellan won the election, many citizens believed he would enter into peace negotiations to end the war and provide the Confederacy with the independence it wanted. But a late flurry of Union victo-

Words to Know

Blockade the act of surrounding a harbor with ships in order to prevent other vessels from entering or exiting the harbor; the word blockade is also sometimes used when ships or other military forces surround and isolate a city, region, or country

Civil War conflict that took place from 1861 to 1865 between the Northern states (Union) and the Southern seceded states (Confederacy); also known in the South as the War between the States and in the North as the War of the Rebellion Confederacy eleven Southern states that seceded from the United States in 1860 and 1861 Federal national or central government; also refers to the North or Union as opposed to the South or Confederacy Guerrillas small independent bands of soldiers or armed civilians who use raids and ambushes rather than direct military attacks to harass enemy armies Rebel Confederate; often used as a name for a Confederate soldier Siege surrounding and blockading of a city, town, or fortress by an army attempting to capture it Union Northern states that remained loyal to the United States during the Civil War ries vaulted Lincoln to victory in the November elections and smashed Confederate hopes of avoiding ultimate defeat.

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