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The War's Final Stages
Transcript of The War's Final Stages
By 1864, the North had fully blockaded the South and controlled the Mississippi River.
However, the South still held Richmond and Robert E Lee was still out there- it was time for drastic measures.
Grant in Charge
In march 1864, Lincoln put Grant in charge of all the Union armies.
Grant's plan was for him to go to Richmond with the army of the Potomac and defeat Lee's army, while William T. Sherman took his army into Georgia to destroy the South's economy and people.
"Whatever happens," Grant said to Lincoln, "there will be no turning back.
The Wilderness Campaign
On may 5, 1864, the battle of the Wilderness began.
The wilderness was a dense forest between Richmond and D.C.- Grant and Lee's armies fought in woods so thick they could barely see the enemy. Both sides took heavy casualties. The Union lost 17,000 men in one day causing Grant to cry in his tent.
On June 3 at Cold Harbor, Virginia, Lee's army set up a network of trenches to defend against Grant's army.
Grant sent wave after wave of troops against the trenches, all for naught. By the end of the battle, Grant had lost 50,000 men in 30 days.
Many in the north called Grant a butcher and asked Lincoln to fire him- Lincoln refused. "I cannot spare this man," said Lincoln. "He fights."
Sherman in Georgia
While Grant was fighting in Virginia, William Sherman was marching his army through Georgia, harassed by a small army under command of Confederate General John Hood.
Eventually, Sherman took Atlanta and burned it to the ground. This is total war- war against both soldiers and civilians.
Election of 1864
In 1864, the South had one last chance to win the war- not through battle, but by a presidential election in the North.
Thanks to Sherman destroying Atlanta, Lincoln won re-election- it looked like the war would be over soon.
After being re-elected, Lincoln convinced the Congress to pass the 13th amendment to the Constitution, banning slavery in the entire United States.