Question of the Week for February 10, 2014

What do you think was the pivotal battle in the Western Theater in 1864, and why?


Ruins of Atlanta, in 1864.
Ruins of Atlanta, in 1864.

4 Responses to Question of the Week for February 10, 2014

  1. Vicksburg – It cut the Confederacy in two and opened the Mississippi to boost the economy of the Midwest.

  2. Definitely Atlanta. Even more than the effects of the Anaconda Plan, the fall of Atlanta made the supply line to the Confederate Army dry up. The March to the Sea was the begginning of the end for the South.

  3. Atlanta, and specifically the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864. It represented Hood’s only real attempt at tactical maneuver, modeled on Jackson’s Chancellorsville flank march, and had it worked according to plan Sherman’s army would have been in serious trouble. In spite of major glitches as the day unfolded, the South came oh-so-close to victory at several key points on the field. Both sides fought long, hard, and valiantly. The tide turned several times during the battle, causing some Union units to jump back and forth to fight behind opposite sides of their earthworks! North and South each lost a noted, influential general: beloved James McPherson, esteemed by officers of both sides, and cantankerous W. H. T. Walker, whose pouch finally took one too many shots.

    After this battle throughout the rest of his career, Hood continued to hurl his men at Union works until he had virtually no army remaining, but without skillful leadership or realistic planning and no hope of success. The decimation and demoralization of the Army of Tennessee on July 22 led inevitably to the fall of Atlanta on September 2. And the most important ramifications of that defeat were more political than military, as it won re-election for Lincoln. The desperate fight on and around Bald Hill on July 22, 1864 was the pivotal point leading to Union victory in the War.

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