“Mine eyes have beheld the Promised Land!”
So wrote Major James Connolly of the 123rd Illinois Infantry to his wife, describing the arrival of Union forces on a high bluff overlooking the second-most important city in the Confederate States of America – Atlanta, Georgia - in mid-July of 1864.
The Union soldiers, on seeing the city, gave voice to a cheer that Major Connolly supposed might have been heard all the way to Atlanta. Within moments, he said, Generals William T. Sherman and George Thomas had joined them on the overlook, gazing southward across the Chattahoochee River at the city in the distance. Atlanta was a strategic city, a rail hub with foundries, factories, munitions plants and supply depots all very vital to the survival of the Confederacy. Its importance to the rebellious south could not be overstated, and the Confederates had encircled it with elaborate fortifications.
Read the entire article in the July 10th issue of the Express.
When Ulysses S Grant arrived at the encampment of the Army of the Potomac north of the Rapidan River in Virginia in May of 1864, he was eyed by the veteran soldiers now under his command with a degree of curiosity. One officer, seeing the new supreme commander of all Union forces for the first time, commented that he was “stumpy, unmilitary, slouchy.” Indeed, he was a short man, not stately in demeanor, and he tended to be a bit frumpy in his attire. But the men who had faced defeat, retreat and failure time and again under more flamboyant generals noticed what many others had already noticed about Grant. Said one soldier, “We all felt that at last that the boss had arrived.”
Read the entire article in the May 15th issue of the Express.