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Prologue

It is April 1864, exactly one hundred fifty years ago. The American Civil War is entering its fourth year as President Abraham Lincoln faces re-election. General William Tecumseh Sherman and his 110,000 Union soldiers prepare to invade Georgia, sights set on Atlanta. The fate of a nation hangs in the balance.

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Episode Transcript

I'm Masud Olufani for the Atlanta History Center. It is April 1864. The American civil war is entering its fourth year.

More than half a million soldiers are dead...a million more wounded. Yet, there is no end in sight.

In the north, president Abraham Lincoln is facing re-election.

His political opponents call for a negotiated peace with the confederacy. If he loses.... it is the end of the United States.

And the end to the dream of freedom for four million slaves. Lincoln must show that union armies can win the war. He needs a victory.

In Georgia a newspaper proclaims, “every bullet we can send against the Yankees is the best ballot that can be deposited against Lincoln’s election.”

Exactly one hundred fifty years ago, 110,000 union soldiers under general William Tecumseh Sherman prepare to invade Georgia. Their target is Atlanta.

Facing them are seventy thousand hard fighting confederates. The fate of the nation hangs in the balance.

Sherman's campaign in Georgia lasted thirty-seven weeks. On this, the 15oth anniversary of that time, Georgia public broadcasting and the Atlanta History Center will spend the next thirty seven weeks telling the remarkable stories of that crucial period - thirty seven weeks: Sherman on the march.

I'm Masud Olufani.