November 15 - 1864 - Sherman's March to the Sea Begins
Union General William T. Sherman had captured the city of Atlanta, Georgia in early September of 1864, after a summer of fighting to get it. This victory set the Confederate Army under John Bell Hood in retreat and essentially guaranteed victory for Republican President Abraham Lincoln's reelection campaign. Yet this did not make the Confederacy surrender in any way whatsoever. So a new plan was put in place by Sherman. Instead of focusing on the opposing army to gain specific tactical goals, Sherman proposed a strategy of total war. Beginning on November 15, Sherman marched his army from Atlanta to Savannah, taking crops, livestock, and supplies while cutting a wide swath through Georgia. By the time Sherman reached Savannah on December 21, the Confederacy had litte hope of victory. They still kept fighting, though, because they were fighting an ideological war, and waited to be routed before surrendering.