American Battlefield Trust’s map of the Atlanta Campaign
In early May, 1864, Federal forces under Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman began battling the Confederate Army of Tennessee. At stake was Atlanta, a major manufacturing center and railroad hub. For nearly 17 weeks, Sherman’s three armies battled Confederate defenders under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston or his successor, Lt. Gen. John B. Hood. Sherman’s larger forces skillfully managed turning movements at nearly every battle, forcing the Confederates back. Sherman’s capture of Atlanta was a major blow to the Confederacy, all but assuring Abraham Lincoln’s re-election two months later, and setting the stage for Sherman’s March to the Sea.