General William Sherman and his army were set to take Atlanta in July, 1864. General Joseph Johnston’s Confederate army had fought them since May. But they could only slow Sherman down, not stop him.
The citizens of the Confederacy’s major railroad hub were justifiably worried. So was Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Fearing Atlanta would fall without a fight, he replaced Johnston with the more aggressive General John Bell Hood on July 17.
Hood’s 50,000 men faced Sherman’s 80,000 just five miles outside the city. Hood took the offensive, attacking at Peachtree Creek; U.S. forces pushed him back. Hood struck again to the east, inflicting serious damage: General James McPherson, one of Sherman’s best officers, was killed.
The Battle of Atlanta—later memorialized by the Cyclorama—was the greatest Confederate success of the entire Atlanta campaign. But Sherman’s army was bloodied, not beaten, and more determined than ever to capture the city after the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.