William Tecumseh Sherman 1820–1891
Born Lancaster, Ohio
With Ulysses S. Grant’s promotion to general-in-chief of the army in March 1864, William Tecumseh Sherman assumed command of all Union troops in the war’s western theater and embarked on the most significant campaign of his military career. Tasked with taking Atlanta and destroying Confederate general Joseph E. Johnston’s army, Sherman pushed into Georgia from Tennessee in May. After a series of hard-fought battles, his forces captured Atlanta in September before continuing on to Savannah. Though harsh in his prosecution of a “total war” strategy that exacted a devastating toll on people and property in the path of his army’s march through Georgia and the Carolinas, Sherman proved to be a magnanimous peacemaker at the war’s end. On April 17, 1865, when he met with Johnston to arrange for the surrender of the latter’s army, Sherman offered terms more generous than those agreed to by Grant and Lee at Appomattox.