I’m Masud Olufani for the Atlanta History Center.
In the first week of November 1864, Northern voters cast their ballots in the Presidential election.
Sherman’s capture and occupation of Atlanta has assured the re-election of Abraham Lincoln.
Throughout the Union army, soldiers cast ballots.
It is the first time U.S. soldiers vote while serving in the field.
And they vote overwhelmingly for Lincoln.
The President wins a near landslide election.
Lincoln’s victory guarantees the North is fully committed to winning the war for Union and emancipation.
But Confederate resistance continues.
And Sherman now plans to end it once and for all.
He determines to divide his army in two.
Nearly half will go North to defeat Confederate General Hood’s army in Tennessee.
The rest will march from Atlanta to Savannah, destroying anything that can support Confederate armies – including food and livestock.
Sherman wants to turn his men loose in Georgia and strip it bare, waging war on the capability as well as the morale of the Confederacy.
He will leave nothing for the enemy – including the city of Atlanta.
Sherman’s engineers plan the systematic destruction of the city’s railroads, factories, and commercial district.
Sherman remarks, “I can make the march --- and make Georgia howl.”
I’m Masud Olufani and this is week twenty nine.