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tv   The Civil War  CSPAN  August 21, 2014 11:58pm-1:01am EDT

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a machinist handling a rifle and standing in the entrenchments at macon guarding against one of the cavalry raids that sherman launched around the greater atlanta region is not a machinist who can be turning out a part for some piece of military equipment. in the end, as i noted, it is probably sherman's success in disrupting and destroying parts of the military industrial complex that -- where he had the greatest success and achieving what grant had outlined for him back in those full conversations in march, and in that directive of april of 1864. because how many months is it between sherman's arrival in atlanta in september of 1864, savannah in december of 1864, and the collapse of the south's bid for independence. thank you. [ applause ]
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you can always find "american history tv" on the weekends with congress on recess throughout august, c-span3 is featuring highlights during the week. we focus on the civil war with the atlanta campaign. in may 1864, union general william sherman marched into georgia and after a series of battles on september 2nd, the union army seized the city. the march to the sea through georgia, and general joseph e johnston who led the confederates through atlanta. a look at confederate weapons manufacturing during and after the fall of atlanta. friday night on "american history tv," slavery and the cinema, beginning at 8:00 eastern with the look at depiction of slavery and films
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since the 1930s. and the passage of the 13th amendment in the movie "lincoln." and the 1939 movie "gone with the wind" and its depiction of southern society, all starting friday night at 8:00 eastern friday night at 8:00 eastern here on c-span3. captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 p.m. eastern, a discussion about british admiral george coburn and how he used washington, d.c.'s waterways to seize the city. all here, on c-span3. next, sherman's 1864 atlanta campaign. including the union siege of the city, and the march to the sea.
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with university of west georgia professor keith bohannon. this is part of the summer conference. it's about an hour. >> before we get started, the map you see up here is a campaign map on the left side. the inserts there, or the smaller maps indicate the main battles. i know it's probably difficult for those of you in the back of the room to see the small details, and maybe read the print, and so what we did -- or actually, what pete's staff did is include this in your maps and handouts books. so hopefully most of you have this. if you turn to page 9, you'll see this map in there. you might want to refer to this, this is probably a little easier to read.
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but we'll be making frequent -- or i'll be making frequent reference to this campaign map, which will help us understand the course of the campaign. as general and chief of all union military forces in the spring of 1864, u.s. grant devised a grand strategy of coordinated offenses by a number of union armies stretching from louisiana all the way to virginia. and as you know already, the two most important of these offensives were those of the army of the potomac, in virginia, and that of william t. sherman, who commanded what was called the military division of the mississippi. grant's orders to sherman for the campaign dated april 4th, 1864, were pretty straightforward. grant told sherman to move against the confederate army of tennessee, commanded by general
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joseph e. johnston, and to break it up. then get into the interior of the enemy's country as far as you can, inflicting all the damages you can against their war resources. at the same time, sherman was supposed to prevent johnston from detaching elements of his army to reinforce either lee's army in virginia or confederate forces out in louisiana. that is sherman's objective then in the atlanta campaign. if you look at sherman's record during the civil war, up until the spring of 1864, in many ways it's not that impressive. particularly if you look at his performance on the battle field. if you look at chickasaw bluffs in december of 1862, or december
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1862, if you look at chattanooga and missionary ridge, sherman's, the attacks that sherman has launched in those battles have been piecemeal, they've been re pulsed. he doesn't have a particularly impressive record on the battlefield. sherman's reputation then today rests primarily on what he did in 1864 and 1865 to implement grant's grand strategy. sherman targeted not only the army of tennessee, but also the ability of the southern confederacy to wage war. of course, this is part of grant's larger strategy, too. during the campaign in the spring and summer of 1864, the city of atlanta symbolizes the way that the confederacy waged war. the city was a vital rail center in the deep south and was filled
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with important war industries. factories and mills turning out uniforms and shells. and accoutrements for the confederate army. he sought to demoralize the civilians, to prove to the people the government could no longer defend them. sherman said, war is cruelty, and you cannot refine it. sherman's an imminently quotable individual, as many of you know. in his letters, they're absolutely superb. i would highly, highly recommend sherman civil war, the selected correspondence of william t. sherman. brook simpson, who is on the faculty here is one of the co-editors of that. throughout the atlanta campaign, sherman largely avoided launching frontal attacks against his entrenched opponent.
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instead, what he repeatedly did was utilize maneuver, flanking movements, to rest the confederates from strong defensive positions. i think sherman's greatness also derives from his mastery of logistics. keeping an enormous field army supplied day after day after day, very deep in enemy territory. sherman's army numbered over 100,000 men. it had 28,000 horses. 33,000 mules. imagine trying to supply an army of that size, day after day after day. the only way to do it, of course, was via railroads. sherman, in the months leading up to the campaign, which began in may 1864, had hundreds and hundreds of trains moving down a rail system through kentucky and
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tennessee, stockpiling supplies in nashville and chattanooga. and chattanooga alone, between the months of march and may of 1864, there are 145 rail cars unloading on a daily basis there. so he's building supply bases that he'll need as he advances into georgia. during the campaign, he had about 5,000 wagons that were constantly on the move, from the railroad to the army in the field. as richard mcmurray, who is one of the foremost scholars of the campaign writes, and what is one of the best overviews of the campaign, and like some of the other speakers you've heard, i'll throw out some book titles. if you're like me, you love books about the civil war. mcmurray's atlanta 1864 is a very, very, very good overview. if you're looking for one book that gives you an overview, decision in the west by albert castel is also an outstanding
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book. mcmurray points out that sherman had a couple of big advantages over his opponent at the start of the atlanta campaign. first, sherman had command of a vast department that stretched from the appalachian mountains in the east all the way to the mississippi river. he had command of the troops within this vast military are division of the mississippi. johnson, on the other hand, commanded a much smaller department. he had no authority, johnson, that is, over the states of alabama and mississippi. he couldn't order troops from those states to join his army fighting in georgia. sherman also had the strong support of his military and civilian superiors. sherman and grant had a very close relationship, and the lincoln administration was also very supportive of sherman's campaigns. lastly, sherman had an army that on average during the campaign
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was about 40% larger than that of the army of tennessee. the start of the campaign, sherman's three armies numbered around 110,000 men. sherman commanded what i believe tea would be called an army group. but that term didn't exist in the 1860s. the largest of the three separate armies was the army of the cumberland. which numbered close to 73,000 men at the start of the campaign, commanded by general george h. thomas, a professional soldier, and if you look again at the performance on the battlefield, thomas actually had a far more impressive record than william t. sherman. thomas won the first major military victory in the west up in kentucky in 1862. he had performed superbly at chickamauga, as many of you know. thomas' troops had shattered the
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confederate lines. thomas was an impressive soldier. some of historians argued thomas would have made a better commander of the federal armies during the atlanta campaign than sherman. but -- but -- thomas did not have a very good working relationship with ulysses s. grant. brook simpson alluded to this yesterday when talking about the tennessee campaign in 1864. and then thomas also had a reputation as being a very slow, very methodical soldier. and that caused sherman some frustration during the atlanta campaign, actually. so thomas is a very, very important subordinate, but he's an army commander during the campaign under sherman. the second largest of sherman's armies was his old command, sherman's old command, the army
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of tennessee. it was his favorite army. and it was also the most successful union army of the civil war. a recent book on the army of the tennessee by stephen woodworth is entitled "nothing but victory." and that army never knew defeat on the battle field. its commander during the atlanta campaign was james b. mcpherson, a west point graduate. he had served on grant's staff earlier in the civil war. and he was a great, great favorite of both grant and sherman. in fact, both men wrote that they could see mcpherson commanding all the union armies. sherman writes a letter during the campaign, i believe that he predicts that something happens to him, something happens to grant, he feels confident that
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mcpherson can take command of the union armies, and win ultimate victory. the smallest of sherman's armies, which in fact is just a single core, is the army of the ohio. it numbers close to 13,000 men under general john m. skofield, a west-pointer, and someone who sherman trusts, and who performs very well during the campaign. sherman also had three divisions of cavalry numbering about 8,900 men. although sherman doesn't think very much of his cavalry generals, or that branch of the service. i think you can rightfully criticize sherman for his employment -- his poor employment, really, of cavalry during the atlanta campaign. and he thinks -- he in fact thinks that the confederate cavalry is superior to his. he's particularly worried throughout the campaign about the confederate cavalry out in alabama and mississippi under nathan bedford forrest.
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the close relationship that existed between sherman and his military and civilian superiors stood in stark contrast, stark contrast to the relationship between joseph e. johnston and confederate president jefferson davis. the two men did not like each other at all. and this wrangling and strained relationship between the two dated back to the earliest days of the war, when there was wrangling over the issue of rank. which general should be -- should have the highest rank in the confederate army. bob krik has written a superb essay about this, about joe johnson. and so the relationship between the two men is very, very strained during the atlanta campaign, too. in the months prior to the
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advent of the campaign, so march, april of 1864, jefferson davis had repeatedly asked johnson to go on the defensive. now, on your maps, if you look in the corner up there, it would be your upper left-hand corner, you can see the red lines on the map up here indicate the confederate positions taken during the campaign. the blue lines are the federal positions. during the first few months of 1864, the confederates are in camp around the town of dalton in extreme northwest georgia. the army had been shattered at the battle of missionary ridge in november of 1863 under braxton bragg. johnson is brought in, and johnson, in some ways, is like george mcclellan, in that he is
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a superb organizer and motivator of men. johnson rebuilds the army. he boosts the morale of the soldiers. and the confederate soldiers in the army of tennessee love joe johnson, and respect him. they know that he cares about their welfare. that's really one of johnson's great strong points as a general. but while he's rebuilding the army of tennessee in its winter camps, jefferson davis repeatedly asked johnson to take the offensive against the federals, who were camped not only that far north of dalton in the vicinity of chattanooga, tennessee. so davis wants johnson to march up into east tennessee. but johnson claims his army's outnumbered by the yankees. the army of tennessee doesn't have the adequate supplies, or logistical capability of marching up into east tennessee. now, unfortunately for johnson, the davis administration is getting very different reports
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concerning the army of tennessee from some of johnson's subordinates. so his core commanders, cavalry commander, they're sending back reports that the army's in great shape, and should take the offensive. so the davis administration is unsure who to believe. although davis is more inclined to believe the core commanders, i think, than johnson. during the campaign then, up until the time of his removal, one of joe johnson's chief weaknesses is his continual failure, day after day, week after week, to provide davis and his administration with detailed regular reports of what's going on. if you look in the correspondence section of the official records and compare lee's correspondence with davis during the overland campaign with what joe johnson was sending, there's a stark contrast. johns johnson's wife in late may 1864,
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suggested to her husband that it might be a good idea for him to keep the government better informed of what his plans are. and johnson says, replied to her that, her suggestion was a judicious one but that, quote, the people in richmond take no interest in any partial affairs that may occur in this quarter. suggesting obviously that what jefferson davis is really concerned about are events in virginia. johnson's strategy, then, in the spring of 1864, was to remain in a strong defensive position around dalton behind a high ridge line just west of the town called rocky face ridge. you can see it on your maps there. and await an attack by the federals. and when the federals attacked, the confederates would defeat them. johnson would then move probably
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west into alabama, and then north up into tennessee. johnson's army at its peak strength, a few weeks into the campaign, atlanta campaign when he receives reinforcements, was about 69,000, close to 70,000 men, divided into three corps, under the command of william j. hardy, john bell hood, and the bishop general polk. polk actually commanded a separate army that was brought called the army of mississippi and it became a corps in john n johnson's army. johnson also had a cavalry corps that numbered between 7,000 and 8,000 men under the diminutive joseph wheeler. the campaign began in the first week of may of 1864. and sherman's plan, which was actually a plan that george thomas had originally devised,
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and that sherman adopted, was for -- with some modifications, sherman modified what thomas had envisioned -- but sherman's plan is to have the army of the ohio and the army of the cumberland to demonstrate against the confederate positions north and west of dalton. so keep johnson's attention focused in the immediate vicinity of dalton. mcpherson's army then would march west -- south and west of rocky face ridge. and you can see on the map up here, again, in the upper left-hand corner, the movements of the three armies. or you can look on your map there. mcpherson was to march 12 miles south of dalton, but west of rocky face ridge, cross through a narrow passage called snake creek gap. and come out on the eastern side of this ridge line. and then break johnson's supply line, the western and atlantic
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railroad in the vicinity of dalton. the western atlantic is the supply line for both armies during the atlanta campaign. it was a railroad that stretched from chattanooga, which is in the far upper left-hand corner of your map to atlanta, which is in the bottom center of your map. so both armies are relying on the western and atlantic. it was a good plan. it was a very good plan. and initially, it unfolded just as sherman hoped it would. on may the 8th, the thomas' troops and skofield at rocky face ridge. mcpherson gets through snake creek gap. which the confederates have left unguarded. they'd been there all winter. one of johnson's -- one of the criticisms you can level at johnson is that even though he had been in camp around dalton
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for many months, he really hadn't studied the geography very closely south of the town. the confederates certainly knew about snake creek gap, but wheeler didn't have any thickets protecting it. so johnson's men are able to march through without a fight. and then when they come out of the eastern end of the gap, very short distance in front of them is the western and atlantic. they see some earth works around the small town of rasaka. clearly there are some confederates there. but mcpherson didn't have any cavalry with him, which was a terrible mistake on the part of the federals. mcpherson becomes worried. he doesn't know how many confederates are in front of him. he's also worried if he continues advancing toward the railroad, that confederates might march down from dalton and strike him in the flank. as he's moving east.
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so instead of pushing forward, seizing the western and atlantic, cutting johnson's supply line, mcpherson instead pulls his army back to snake creek gap. when johnson learns of this, because the confederates did have a small contingent of cavalry there, johnson orders a retreat, a very well-organized one, of his troops from the dalton vicinity southward to rasaka. mcpherson had lost enormous opportunity to strike a crippling blow at the confederates. sherman realized this. and he wrote to mcpherson, i regret beyond measure you did not break the railroad. sherman realizes that there's a big opportunity that's been lost here.
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on may 14th and 15th, the first major battle of the campaign is fought at rasaka. a place that's just recently been opened as a state park. the battlefield's beautifully preserved. both armies are fortified there, during the over land campaign, these armies are constructing log and dirt works. both armies launch attacks at rasaka that fail. tactically, then, the two-day battle is a draw. but at the operational level, sherman scores a great victory by getting across a river just south of rasaka, and gets one division across at a ferry site, and threatens the western and atlantic, south of versaka and forces johnson to retreat. johnson retreats, and you can look in the middle of your map now. he retreats down to the vicinity of the small town called castle.
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there he hopes to lay a trap for sherman. the road network is such that sherman ends up dividing his armies as they march south. and johnson's plan was to strike one of these wings of sherman's army at castle as it marched south. but unfortunately for johnson, john bell hood who's been ordered to launch this attack, doesn't do so. and then in a conference, a night conference that's held between johnson and his corps commanders, hood and polk argue that the army needed to retreat yet again at castle. their line is being infiltrated by artillery. who said what was a point of bitter contention between joe johnson and john bell hood for many, many, many years. each had a very different version of what happened there that's actually really impossible to reconcile.
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we don't need to go into the details of it now, but the -- johnson's version is that he saw that his corps commanders didn't have any confidence that they could hold this position, so the army retreated yet again. sherman, at this point, is pretty optimistic about the campaign up to this point. in a wonderfully evocative passage, he writes, this is at the beginning -- this is in mid-may, we are now in motion like a vast hive of bees, and expect to swarm over the chattahoochee in a few days. the chattahoochee was the river flowing from east to west. that would be the last natural barrier between sherman and atlanta. by the beginning of the third week of may, johnson's army was entrenched in a very strong position in the al a toona mountains. you can see it on your map there.
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just below the etawa river. sherman was very familiar with the alatoona mountains. the geography of this entire section of georgia, he had spent time here in the 1840s, as a young army officer. he had been stationed here. sherman knew that it would be foolish to try and attack johnson's position in the alatoona mountains. what sherman decides to do instead is execute yet another flanking march. this one would involve some risk, though, because it would -- it would move the union army some miles away from the western and atlantic, about 15 miles away. the objective of this march would be the town of dallas. and you can see it there in the lower left-hand corner of the map, with skofield thomas and mcpherson all taking different routes to get there.
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it's about 15 miles west of the alatoona position that johnson held, 15 miles west of the railroad. but johnson's cavalry informed him, in pretty timely fashion, of this movement toward dallas. and johnson shifts away from alatoona westward to try and block sherman once again. what ensued then in the final days, the last week of may, and the first couple of days of june, was some intense skirmishing every day, punctuated by three small battles. two of them involving union attacks against the confederates that failed, and the third -- the failed confederate attack, third hope church, thickets mill and dallas. the fighting in this densely wooded region was such that the soldiers on both sides called it the hell hole.
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when sherman realized that johnson's lines were pretty strong, along the dallas/new hope/picket's hill line, and that it would be impractical for him to continue south, to go around the western flank of johnson's army, because it would keep the union forces away from the railroad for too long, he decided to shift back eastward toward the western and atlantic. in fact, for a few days at the very end of may, sherman's army was experiencing some pretty serious supply shortages. they simply had been away from the army too long. even though 5,000 wagons sounds like a lot, with an army of the size of sherman's, it's really not sufficient to supply it day after day that far from the railroad. so both armies shift back over toward the railroad.
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then the skies open up. and it starts to rain. and it continues to rain over and over and over, day after day, for the first few weeks of june. both armies are nearly immobilized. you can imagine trying to move enormous wagon trains down mud -- down roads that are knee-deep in mud. you can imagine being in a trench that's maybe full up to your knees in water and mud. hundreds of men on a daily basis in both armies are sent to the rear. they're broken down. physically. and this actually continues throughout the campaign. the campaign is similar to the overland campaign. and the armies are in constant contact. there's constant skirmishing day after day after day. no rest, really, if you're in the trenches on the front line. and that takes an enormous toll
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on everyone in the armies. sherman becomes frustrated then. the pace of his advance is slowed. he makes a decision to deviate from the strategy that has been successful up until this point. the flanking maneuvers. he writes chief of staff henry hall ek on june 16th, 1864, i'm now inclined to feign on both flanks and consider the confederate line. it may cost us dear, but the results would surpass any attempt to pass around. johnson's army by this time was defending a line eight miles long. sherman's rationale is that there's got to be some weak points in that line. with the element of surprise frontal attacks directed at the center of johnson's line might succeed. and score a great victory. if it doesn't work, sherman
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could just once again go back to conducting flanking maneuvers. there's also some evidence in both sherman's personal and official correspondence that like a lot of career army officers at the time of the civil war, he felt that fighting for prolonged periods behind earth works could damage the morale of the men. that it would make them timid in effect. john bell hood is very open about this. he claims that lee feels the same -- felt the same way. so sherman orders attacks. and the resulting battle of kennesaw mountain fought on june the 27th of 1864 was a costly defeat for sherman.
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the troops that launched the attacks were union soldiers. they suffered about 3,000 casualties. sherman took a lot of heat from the northern press. his men were disheartened. but if you look at the losses that sherman's army had sustained up to this point in the campaign, clung at kennesaw mountain, they paled in comparison to what was happening in virginia. compare the losses, for instance, in just a single day of fighting in the wilderness, to the 3,000 casualties sustained at kennesaw, and you'll see that sherman is taking a lot of territory and suffering relatively few losses as a result. the only success of the day at kennesaw, that was the phrase that sherman used, didn't occur when the failed attacks against johnson's line. but in a flanking maneuver,
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launched by skofield's army, against the far southern end of johnson's long line, skofield actually managed to johnson's l line. he managed to get his troops closer to the chattahoochee than johnson. this forced him to fall back. sherman's troops as vanced toward the chat hooch kwhi. in one of the most masterful maneuvers that sherman executes, he manages to cross troops north of johnson's position. this is the first time he goes around johnson's right flank instead of left and by the second week of july then, johnson abandons the
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chattahoochee line, at that point he's right on the outskirts of atlanta. you can see in the map, look in the bottom center of the map where the river runs, you can see schofield and his troops crossing north of the line when the confederates retreat across the chattahoochee, they are right on the outskirts of the gate city of atlanta as it was cold. sherman had achieved something pretty remarkable by this point he had taken all of northwest georgia. a region that was important in terms of agriculture and industry. he was on the outskirts of atlanta and had an army that was strong in numbers and moral. contrast that to the army of the potomac when it gets to the outskirts of petersburg and the
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moral of the army is pretty shaky, right? by this point, joe johnson -- excuse me -- by this point jefferson davis has had enough of joe johnson jefferson davis has lost faith in joe johnson's ability to hold the city of atlanta. johnson had repeatedly told the davis administration and politicians who visited his headquarters, the best way to force the federals out of north georgia is to strike the western and atlantic railroad. strike their supply line and end up in tennessee. johnson claimed that his army excuse me, his calvary couldn't do this. johnson con the afford to detach his own calvary from his army because he needed weaver to
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defend the flanks of the army as it fell back. what johnson proposed over and over and over was for the davis administration to ride east to break sherman's supply line. this would involve stripping the states of alabama and mississippi along with their defenders. and that was something that davis, i think wisely refused to do. alabama and mississippi were pretty important states. stripping those states of their defenders would have opened up the rich agricultural region. they would have opened up important industrial cities like selma, alabama, columbus, georgia, would not have been a
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smart move. and it's highly debatable too, whether men could have created enough damage to in the long term for sherman to retreat. he went to some lengths to try to protect it and we can talk about the ways later if you're interested. on july 17th, 1864, jefferson davis makes the extremely controversial decision. it was controversial in the summer of 1864, it's still controversial today of relieving joe johnson of command. and replacing him with john bell hood. an officer probably all of you know who had gained a reputation in 1862 and 1863 as one of lee's
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best brigade and division commanders. he personally sacrificed a lot, you know the nature of his wounds, the loss of a leg the partial use of an arm here in gettysburg. the message that relieved joe johnson. as you have failed to arrest the advance of the enemy to the vicinity of atlanta, and expressed no confidence that you can defeat or repell him, you are here by relieved. hood takes command and he has a mandate that he has to fight for the city of atlanta. he doesn't have a lot of room to maneuver. and there's some evidence, incidentally, that hood had been angling for this command, sometime prior to getting it. he was an intensely ambitious
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officer. johnson was then in retrospect. a general who lacked the ability to shape campaigns. throughout his career, he reacted to the moves of his opponents rather than seizing the initiative, that was clearly the case in the atlanta campaign. the army of tennessee needed but couldn't get robert e. lee. hood upon taking command immediately ordered attacks, you can see the first of the three main battles that were fought around the city and upper -- the very middle of your map the battle of peach tree creek. his plan was to attack the forces from the north after they crossed peach tree creek but before they could entrench. he devoted two core of his army
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to the attack his commanders were supposed to send their units forward in echelon. they were not very well managed by the core commanders and after a hard fight in and the federals continued to hold their line, the federals were about 2100. you can find a book on the battle, very detailed study from my friend robert jenkins, which i remember. we're only now getting detailed battle studies of the west, while eastern battles for me, decades. the day after the battle of peach tree creek hood learns that the far left flank of the union troops that are approaching atlanta frat east is vulnerable, it's in the air, and
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hood decides to try to execute a flanking march to strike this vulnerable portion of sherman's line. order orders a very long flank march to take place during the night of july 21st. these are men who had already had an exhausting 48 hours beforehand, they fought heavily east of the city on july 21st. hood was asking his men to do something unrealistic in terms of their physical abilities of these exhausted soldiers. hood was also handicapped by having a core commander experienced at that high level of command. none the less the flank march is executed and on july 22nd, the largest battle of the campaign is fought, this is the one
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immortalized in a circular painting in atlanta. the map in the upper right hand corner gives you some sense of the battle. it was the single bloodiest day of fighting in the last 10 months of the civil war. some of hardy's troops breakthrough the line, they killed general james p. mcpherson. one of the highest ranking generals to die in the war this is a huge personal blow to sherman, as you can imagine. but at the end of the day, the federals launched counterattacks, retake the portions of their lines that the confederates have seized, and even though many confederates at the time saw this as a victory,
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because they were counting prisoners and cannons and flags captured. this was an army that cost hood's army. there's a new book on this battle. called the day dixon died, which is another one i would recommend by gary ethelbard. hood's army lost between 5700 and 6300 men in that single day of fighting. following the battle, sherman decided to change his strategy and reorient his efforts to take the city from the east of atlanta to the west of atlanta with the hopes of cutting the last railroad into the city that led south into atlanta. at the same time, sherman does calvary raids.
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hood's response to these movements by sending a core out west of atlanta to block the federal movements out there, this is under the troops that hood sends out there under very inexperienced core commander who is a close friend of hoods. lee gets out to the area where he's supposed to be he thinks the federals out there aren't -- have just arrived, he takes it upon himself to start a battle. he doesn't have any orders to do this, but lee starts launching frontal attacks, throwing one division after another at these federals. the men who have never known defeat, and what happens in the battle is kennesaw mountain in reverse. it's the confederates losing
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fortified federals. and the casualties are dramatically lopsided. hood's army loses about 3,000 men in these attacks, the federals lose only 600 casualties at ezra church. ezra church is a great victory for sherman. but the calvary raids were disastrous. they rode into the city, ended up being smashed by joe wheeler and the confederate calvary. this is wheeler's fine heest performance of his career. this lowers sherman's already poor opinion of his calvary and convinces him that calvary can't wreck a railroad. it's going to take more than that. hood had not achieved what he wanted in these three battles and none of them were intended to be frontal attacks against
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entrenched union soldiers, in each instance hood was trying to execute a flank attack and they didn't work. but cumulatively, these battles did have the effect of making sherman a little more cautious than he had been. sherman's -- two of sherman's core commanders had been class mads of hood and they knew his reputation, and sherman did too in the first few weeks of august, there's a semisign of atlanta, the city is not completely surrounded. sherman's also trying to get around the city to the west, he's having some problems.
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sherman's facing the charge of his men in august. he tells hallick in the first week of august he's too impatient for a siege. he's a pretty nervous, anxious individual. he doesn't want a long drawn out affair like what happened at petersburg, certainly. he decides on a bold plan, sherman decides to abandon the siege lines east and north of atlanta. pull his troops out of the trenches. leave a single core. north of the city toll hold the point where his supply line kroshs the chattahoochee river. cut the macon and railroads
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south of the city. sherman was convinced that calvary raids couldn't do the job. so sherman's infantry men pull out of the trenches, they march around, and in the very last days of august, they reach the macon and western. hood in the meantime had sent his calvary off to do what johnson had not been willing to do. wheeler sent off on a raid to try to disrupt sherman's supply lines in north georgia and tennessee. it's a spectacular failure, he wrecks his calvary core in the process. the federal trenches north of the city are vacant, what do you think he believes? wheeler's raid's been a success. sherman's retreating to the north. but then he realizes what's going on, and he dispatches two
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core south to the vicinity of jonesboro. you look on the map, you'll see jonesboro at the very bottom. and the two core sent down there are given the orders to push the army of the tennessee away from the railroad, protect that vital supply line. and on the first day of the battle of jonesboro, the last battle of the campaign, these two core confederate core attacks that are repulsed. in the meantime, hood finds out that the rail lines north of jonesboro have been broken. can you see that on the map with thomas and schofield, and he abandons the city. hood on the night of september 1st, marching the troops in the city south, to rejoin those who had been at jonesboro. during the evacuation of the city, the confederates discover
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they've left a large train of munitions in the eastern central portion of atlanta that obviously can't get out. and so they set it on fire. this is 18 boxcars full of explosives. and you can imagine the sound that was heard 15, 20 miles away. this is the scene incidentally that's depicted in gone with the wind when red is in the wagon trying to get scarlet and the baby out, and there's all the sets burning in the background. i told my kids some of those sets were from the wizard of oz, which was true. they don't care anything about gone with the wind, but they were upset that the sets from the wizard of oz burned in this movie. it's worth pointing out here that the destruction of atlanta cannot be attributed solely to uncle billy sherman, that hood's
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army in fact began the process with the evacuation and the destruction of the firing of this train. and sherman took it a good bit further just before the march to the sea. on september second, the mayor of atlanta surrendered the city. sherman announced to abraham lincoln, atlanta is ours, and fairly won. sherman also told hallic, i shall not push much further on this raid. it's an interesting word to characterize the campaign. the constant battles since the first week of may exhausted the army and needed rest. atlanta turned into a garrison city. news of the fall of the city, of course, caused great celebration in the north, it gave a desperately needed boost to the fortunes of the republican
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party. and here is where we get to the significance of the atlanta campaign, what makes it so important. along with the fall of atlanta. along with the victories won by phil sheridan in the shenandoah valley later in september, helped to boost the confidence of northern voters that the lincoln administration was going to win an ultimate victory, and that the president needed a second term in office. so the fall of atlanta helped to reassure the re-election of lincoln and also offer public affirmation of his war policies, that lincoln gets a popular mandate, as you all know, to continue a war that would end on the basis of both reunion and emancipation, something that wouldn't have been the case if the democrats have won. at the same time, the fall of atlanta helped ensure that u.s.
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grant would remain as general in chief. and that these two men would be the architects of ultimate union victory in the civil war. thank you. do we have time for a few questions? you want to come up to the mike s. >> was there any thought to the confederate armies? >> yes, in fact that ultimately did happen, but it was after the atlanta campaign. and davis did reply. so the question was, if you didn't hear it, was there any thought of putting lee in charge of any confederate armies, that did happen, although it was some months after the atlanta campaign, but davis relied very
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heavily on lee's advice, not only on matters pertaining to the eastern theater, but also on command members in the west, when davis was considering removing joe johnson from command, he asked lee, who do you think would be a good replacement? lee said that hood was a bold fighter on the battlefield, but this is paraphrasing, i should know this verbatim, hood said something -- hood is a bold fighter, bold on the battlefield but careless off the battlefield, and i think what he was saying there was that when it comes to administrative responsibility responsibilities that hood had some weaknesses. >> two questions. >> let's do one, so other folks have a chance. >> how did sherman come up with
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the idea for the -- sherman's knots? >> the question is, how did sherman -- come up with the idea for sherman's knots or sherman's bow ties is what they're sometimes called. what he's asking about are the twisted rails when the union troops would wreck rail lines, the confederates too for this matter, the confederates employed this prior to the atlanta campaign. you get thousands of infantry men to stand next to a rail line, and all at once they would rip up the crossties, separate with hammers the iron rail from the wooden crossties, pile up the wooden crossties in huge heaps and create bonfires, lay the arm rails on the end of the
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bonfires. when the center of the iron rails turns red-hot, the union soldiers would grab it, i was rereading this the other evening, i wonder if they used gloves? they must have been pretty hot. they take the red-hot rails and twist them around trees, which would make it extraordinarily difficult for the confederates to straighten out and reuse. there's some good photographs taken of this process downtown. your question is one i really can't answer. my gut feeling is that it wasn't sherman that devised this, but it was something that engineers and soldiers came up with, and it had been employed prior to this time. sherman had wrecked railroads in eastern mississippi in the meridian expedition, but that's a great question. i don't know where it
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originated. i don't know if we actually know. it became a pretty common procedure. >> i want to get back to. >> the campaigns in '64. the war twists -- capturing territories in capital cities, to capturing manufacturing and supply centers. sherman was marching toward atlanta. marching toward texas to capture their defaults. could you tell us a little bit how important the war effort and the confederate war effort were these depots and supply centers? >> atlanta was absolutely vital. georgia had some of the largest manufacturing centers in the
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confederacy, not just atlanta but augusta, in the eastern part of the state, had the largest powder mill in the world. there were quarter master depots that produced enormous numbers of un fors for the army. there were foundries that produced cannon. if you look at the rail network of the deep south, it's evident immediately how important atlanta is for being at the juncture of many railroads. could go on and on about the contractors that were producing pistols and rifle muskets and akutry meants. they were vital. the confederates realized that. by the time the siege takes place in atlanta. the city's value as a center of industry has really declined dramatically, the confederates
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had evacuated so much of the machinery, and so many of the workers and sent them south to columbus and macon. there's only about 3,000 civilians left in atlanta when sherman seizes the city. and when he takes the city, he orders the expulsion of all those civilians, which is a fascinating story too. yes, sir? >> you mentions at the beginning of your talk, sherman's mastery of logistics during the campaign. how much of that did he directly oversea, and how much of it was delegated to someone else and who for that matter was it delegated to? >> that's a great question. sherman had pretty capable s subordinates that would look after logistical concerns.
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he had authority over the railroads, this had been a controversial matter in the months leading up to the campaign. he had banned all civilian traffic on the main railroads leading south out of nashville. he had planned for the confederates to try to break the railroad railroads by stockpiling rails and ties at various locations. he had crews as civilians, african-americans who were employed as civilian laborers, engineering that could very quickly rebuild railroads, particularly bridges. as the confederates retreated. they retreated across several rivers. they would always burn these bridges, and it was truly remarkable how quickly sherman's engineers and laborers could


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