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December 1864

'The Final Curtain Falling?'


Already known as the “Rock of Chickamauga,” George Henry Thomas (left) adds to his list of wartime nicknames with the “Sledge of Nashville,” by smashing John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee in mid-December.  In the meantime, William T. Sherman (right) draws his dramatic “March to the Sea,” to a close by capturing Savannah and offering it as a Christmas present to Abraham Lincoln.  The former West Point classmates and erstwhile friends have not always seen matters in the same way, with Sherman referring to Thomas before Atlanta as “my off-wheel horse, and knows how to pull with me, though he don’t pull in the same way.”  Cump is the same one who has chided Old Pap consistently for being “slow” and reminded Ulysses Grant of that fact so regularly that the frustrated Union commander has almost relieved the Virginian before Thomas finally strikes Hood at Nashville.  Whatever doubts may or may not persist, Grant is not prepared to offer Thomas the latitude he gives to Sherman, yet both have crippled Confederate chances for success in the crucial Western Theater.  In the meantime, the war rolls on elsewhere, with Robert E. Lee holding onto his lines outside Petersburg and Richmond in Virginia, but it is becoming clearer that the Confederacy’s hopes of securing independence arediminishing rapidly.

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