Captures Confederate city of Atlanta Georgia

In 1864, Sherman took over as commander of Union forces in the West when Grant was promoted to commander of the entire Union Army. His troops spent much of the spring of 1864 chasing a much smaller Confederate force under General Joseph E. Johnston (1807-1891; see entry)

The Union Army Captures Atlanta Gerogia

The ruins of a Confederate engine house in Atlanta, Georgia. (Reproduced by permission of the National Portrait Gallery.)

through Tennessee and Georgia. By the time summer arrived, Sherman had pushed Johnston's forces to the outskirts of Atlanta—one of the major industrial cities of the Confederacy. At this point, Confederate president Jefferson Davis (1808-1889; see entry) grew frustrated with Johnston's series of retreats and replaced him with Lieutenant General John B. Hood (1831-1879; see entry), a bold leader known for his aggressive style. Hood went on the offensive against Sherman's larger Union forces in mid-July with disastrous results. By August, Hood and his troops were trapped in the city.

Rather than attacking Atlanta directly, Sherman decided to lay siege to the city. He surrounded it with troops, cut off the Confederate supply lines, and began pounding the enemy forces with artillery fire. Finally, Hood was forced to evacuate his men from the city. The Union Army captured Atlanta on September 2, 1864, after four months of nearly constant fighting. The victory convinced many Northerners to

The ruins of a Confederate engine house in Atlanta, Georgia. (Reproduced by permission of the National Portrait Gallery.)

renew their support for the war effort and for President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865; see entry). In fact, many historians claim that Sherman's capture of Atlanta helped assure Lincoln's reelection as president.

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