August ’64

1864 It was getting late in the war, and both sides knew it. What they didn’t know yet was who would win. An exhausted North could sue for a negotiated peace and allow the continued existence of the Confederacy, or … Continue reading

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July ’64

1864 U. S. Grant’s mammoth June crossing of the James River and his descent into Robert E. Lee’s backyard at Petersburg transformed the war in eastern Virginia into a trench stalemate in July–and shifted the focus to other fronts. In … Continue reading

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June ’64

1864 On June 1, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant stepped down onto the threshold of his lowest point as the Union’s new general-in-chief. The place was specific and had a name Grant never forgot or wanted to be reminded of. … Continue reading

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May ’64

1864 New Union general-in-chief U. S. Grant’s much-anticipated campaign to try to end America’s three-year-old civil war got rolling on May 3. That night, Confederate scouts reported thick columns of Federals moving past campfires around Culpeper, Va., heading south toward … Continue reading

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April ’64

1864 The war for perpetuation or abolition of slavery was more important to the republic’s image than the death of the Confederacy itself, and in April that struggle continued to intensify. On the 4th, President Abraham Lincoln, wrestling with how … Continue reading

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March ’64

1864 On an evening in the first week of March, the desk clerk of Willard’s Hotel in Washington, D.C. was overwhelmed with business. He hurriedly informed the pair standing before him, a short and nondescript soldier and a 13-year-old boy, … Continue reading

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February ’64

1864 The winter war–the one with which Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant were determined to give the Confederates no respite–continued. Lincoln was meanwhile deciding to put Grant, his most successful general, in charge of all Union forces. The master … Continue reading

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January ’64

1864 In 1861, many ebullient Southerners likely took for granted that their secession and the war it produced would enhance the South’s economy and harm the North’s. If so, they erred dramatically. By January 1864, the beginning of the war’s fourth calendar … Continue reading

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December ’63

1863 December brought its icy, miry roads. The major Union and Confederate armies headed into winter quarters while their leaders took stock and tried to reorganize. The Army of the Potomac was the first to shut down major combat operations … Continue reading

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November ’63

1863 November opened with all eyes on Chattanooga. The little Tennessee city was critical. Surrounded by mountains and additionally guarded on its northern and western sides by a long curl of the Tennessee River, it commanded an east-west rail route … Continue reading

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