Many people mistakenly combine and intermingle the events of the Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea. They are two distinct campaigns. Their only similarity is that they were fought in Georgia. The Atlanta Campaign was a series of battles whose stated intent was to destroy the Army of Tennessee.
During the winter of 1863-64 operations in the west did not ceased. In late February Sherman marched on Meridian, Mississippi to attack Leonidas Polk and settle a small piece of business he left open whenn Ulysses S. Grant called him to Chattanooga. George Thomas feinted against the Rebel fortifications in Dalton from his base at Ringgold to prevent Joe Johnston from reinforcing Polk. Thomas was easily repulsed. All during the winter, preparations continued for the campaign coming in the spring. "Uncle Billy" ordered his soldiers trained not only in military tactics but rail work as well, since he realized the Western and Atlantic Railroad would be his lifeline, and any Rebel damage would have to be quickly repaired.
General Ulysses S. Grant told Sherman that his mission was "...inflicting all the damage you can against their War resources." The destruction of the Southern war machine played a key role in Lincoln's "divide and conquer" strategy. Atlanta lay as Sherman's prize with the Appalachian Mountains and the Confederate Army as its protector.
Georgia History Articles about North Georgia history and the state in general. This section is currently being developed. For more information on Georgia History, please see The Civil War in Georgia The Civil War in Georgia Beginning with the Great Locomotive Chase and the battle of Chickamauga, to the Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea