Battle of Atlanta By Mary Lynn Bushong

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Battle of Atlanta
By Mary Lynn Bushong


1     After the Confederate loss at Chattanooga, General Grant moved to lead the eastern Union troops. General William T. Sherman stayed in the west to lead the Union army there. His chief adversary was General Joe Johnston.
2     The Confederates slowly moved west from Chattanooga, across Northern Georgia, fighting Sherman all the way. Sherman would make frontal assaults while other units would try to flank Johnston's men. The Confederates managed to slip out of each trap.
3     On June 27, Sherman tried to attack the Confederates at Kennesaw Mountain, north of Atlanta, but he was defeated with severe losses. He continued his flanking operations, pushing the Confederate army back toward Atlanta.
4     By the middle of July, the Union army was outside Atlanta. Johnston refused to engage Sherman in a big battle because he did not want to lose. Jefferson Davis became angry with Johnston's attitude and replaced him with a more aggressive, less experienced man, General Hood.
5     Hood immediately went out and attacked Sherman's troops three times, losing each time and seriously weakening his own army. He was forced to leave the city by September 2, when Sherman marched in.
6     It was understood that Hood would probably never engage the Union army in a pitched battle anytime soon, so Sherman changed his tactics. If he could not engage the Confederate army, he would make the civilian population sorry that they had taken any part in the war. The decimation that was started in the Shenandoah Valley would now be applied to the South.
7     Sherman was determined to march his army to the sea. In a swath 60 miles across, 60,000 men marched with orders to live off the land. Not only would they live off of it, they would burn all the homes and farms in the way, stealing what they wanted, freeing slaves, and destroying the rest. They reached Savannah, Georgia on Christmas Eve, 1864.
8     After Christmas, and for the rest of the winter, Sherman moved his army up through South Carolina. The Union soldiers were encouraged to be even more vicious in the destruction of property and lives. This was because that state was seen as the birthplace of the rebellion. Whole towns were burned in addition to homes, farms, and plantations. Sherman continued north where he finally met up with General Johnston at Bentonville, North Carolina. After General Hood had nearly lost what remained of the army after he took it to Tennessee, he asked to be relieved of duty. Johnston was put back in command. He marched his men across the Carolinas where Sherman found him.
9     Johnston suffered heavy losses there and had hoped Lee could move south to support him, but it was not to be. Johnston was soundly defeated and the end of the war was finally in sight.

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Name _____________________________

Date ___________________

Battle of Atlanta


Explain the general style of attack Sherman used to push the Confederates back to Atlanta.


Union soldiers attacked _______________ north of Atlanta, but were defeated.
  Buzzsaw Mountain
  Kennesaw Mountain
  Kennesville Mountain
  Marietta Mountain


If General Johnston had been beaten by Sherman at Atlanta, how would that have affected the Confederate war effort?


General Hood was an aggressive but experienced leader.


What affect did Hood's attack on General Sherman have on the war?


What did Sherman do to teach Southern civilians a lesson?
  He increased taxes.
  He took away any rights they had.
  His men stole all the money they could find.
  He burned homes and farms.


Sherman caused even more destruction in South Carolina than he did in Georgia. Explain why you think he might have done this.


The aspect of "total war" by the Union was first shown in:
  Shenandoah Valley
  Ohio Valley
  Tennessee Valley
  Hudson Valley


Battle of Atlanta - Answer Key

1  Frontal attack followed by flanking maneuvers.
2    Kennesaw Mountain
3  Various
4    False
5  It weakened the western Confederate army to the point that it could no longer offer real resistance.
6    He burned homes and farms.
7  Various
8    Shenandoah Valley

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