As this year draws to a close I want to remind us of some of the events of 1864. One of the biggest might have been March 9th when Lincoln appointed Union General Ulysses S. Grant to command all the armies of the United States, and appointed General William T.Sherman to succeed Grant as commander in the west.
A massive campaign in Virginia began in May when Grant began advancing toward Richmond against Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Granit had an army of 120,000 and Lee’s forces were down to 64,000.
In the west, Sherman began advancing toward Atlanta with 100,000 men to fight Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee with 60,000.
In June the battle at Cold Harbor in Virginia resulted in 7,000 Union casualties. Also in June the Union forces missed a chance to capture Petersburg, but began a nine month siege of that city.
In July Sherman battled the Confederates, now under General John B. Hood, who replaced Johnston. Atlanta was captured in September.
In October a Union victory by Cavalry General Philip H. Sheridan was won over Jubal Early and his Southern troops in the Shenandoah Valley. Oh, if only we still had the great and good Stonewall Jackson.
In November Sherman began his March to the Sea which we discussed in our November 10 blog, and in December, Hood’s Confederate Army of the Tennessee, now down to 23,000 was crushed at Nashville by Union General George H. Thomas and his 55,000 troops. I talked about the Battle of Franklin in my December 8 blog, and how that contributed greatly to the disaster at Nashville.
By December 21, 1864 Sherman had reached Savannah, telegraphing President Lincoln, offering him Savannah as a Christmas present. After four years of fighting, 1865 and the eventual downfall of the Confederacy loom ahead.