After Gettysburg and Vicksburg in 1863, the northern states had good hopes they could win the war, but the South kept on fighting.
So Lincoln needed a very tough army general if he was to defeat the South. He chose Ulysses S. Grant.
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This lesson is a part of our GED Social Studies Guide
General Grant appointed Army General William Tecumseh Sherman as head to lead Union troops in Tennessee, and in September 1864, Sherman brutally captured the city of Atlanta. He then sent a telegraph message to Lincoln relating to his victory.
The Union navy had also captured Alabama’s Mobile Bay, and Lincoln needed more victories to secure voters’ support for his reelection. Sherman’s army continued to march from Atlanta to the Atlantic coast and then right into South Carolina territory.
Sherman ordered his army to use the tactics of total war so the southerners wouldn’t have any choice but to give up.
Sherman’s army destroyed all resources that the Confederate troops could use for fighting, and they also killed all livestock and stole all food. They wrecked railroad lines and factories and burned down barns and homes.
Grant and Lee
In 1864, at the same time that Sherman’s troops were marching through Georgia and later South Carolina, General Grant was leading a massive army to Richmond, Virginia. Here, they were, however, opposed by an army headed by Robert E. Lee.
The Union army was suffering numerous casualties, yet General Grant kept on attacking, and Lee needed to retreat further South. In 1864, in June, the troops were facing each other in the Richmond area, where they kept on fighting for nearly one year.
The Union army became stronger and stronger. These troops had plenty of soldiers and supplies, while Lee’s army became weaker and weaker. The Confederate army ran out of soldiers and money for much-needed supplies.
There were no more soldiers that they could use to fight on the front, and the remaining soldiers became more tired and hungry by the day, so some of them decided to desert.
Grant captured Richmond in April of the year 1865, and his army chased Lee’s soldiers west. The army that was led by Lee was exhausted and starving.
So in 1865, on April 9th, Lee surrendered to General Grant (at Appomattox Court House), and Union soldiers were saluting their opponents as they were marching past. Finally, the war was over.