1864 Civil War History


Abraham Lincoln

1864 Civil War History for Kids
Civil War History started
April 12, 1861 and continued for 4 years, 3 weeks and 6 days until May 10, 1865. The 1864 Civil War History guides you through the major events and the battles of the year including the Battle of the Wilderness, the Siege of Petersburg, the Battle of Atlanta, Sherman's March to the Sea and the Fall of Savannah. During this momentous year of the Civil War Abraham Lincoln was re-elected President.

Civil War HistoryThe Civil War

1864 Civil War History
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th American President who served in office from March 4, 1861 to April 15, 1865. This article provides interesting short facts and
information about the 1864 Civil War History, the fourth year of the conflict.

1864 - The Fourth Year of War
This article on the 1862 Civil War History is designed to provide a simple, short history of the events that occured during 1864, the fourth year in Civil War history.
Access the short history of the other Civil War years from the above Civil War History links for each year.

1864 Background History to the Civil War
The previous year had seen the Emancipation Proclamation, the draft riots and terrible bloodshed at the battlefields of Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Chattanooga and the Siege of Vicksburg. The Civil War history was about to reach the height of the conflict. Between 1864-1865 there were 1,044,660 troops fighting for the Union and 484,800 soldiers fighting for the Confederacy.

1864 Civil War History: Contents

Grant in Command
Battle of the Wilderness
Siege of Petersburg
Confederate attack on Washington
Shenandoah Valley Campaigns
The War at Sea
Battle of Atlanta
Plans of Campaign
Thomas destroys Hood's army
March to the Sea
Fall of Savannah
1864 Battlefields

Black Soldier - City Point, Virginia

1864 Civil War History: Grant in Command of all the Union Armies
The campaigns at Vicksburg and Chattanooga marked out General Ulysses S. Grant for the chief command of the Union army. Grant was appointed Lieutenant General and placed in command of all the United States armies  in March, 1864. He decided to carry on the war in Virginia in person. He entrusted the Western operations to General William T. Sherman, with General George Henry Thomas, "the Rock of Chickamauga," in command of the Army of the Cumberland. General Philip H. Sheridan accompanied Grant to Virginia and led the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac.  Maj. General George G. Meade led the Army of the Potomac.

1864 Civil War History: Battle of the Wilderness (May 1864)
The first major battle in 1864 Civil War History was between Grant and Lee in Virginia. The conflict was called the
Battle of the Wilderness and fought on May 5-7, 1864. General Ulysses S. Grant and the Union army had crossed the Rapidan River, through north-central Virginia, and marched southward through the Wilderness. The 'Wilderness' was an area of more than 70 miles in Spotsylvania County and Orange County. The woods were thick, full of underbrush and difficult to pass. There were few roads or even clearings and the terrain suited ambush attacks from the troops led by General Robert E. Lee. Everything was in favor of the attacker, but their were heavy losses on both sides. General Grant marched out of the Wilderness and moved on towards Spotsylvania Court House, located 10 miles southwest of Fredericksburg.

1864 Civil War History: Spotsylvania (May 1864)
General Lee reached Spotsylvania first and fortified his position. Generals Grant and Meade reached Spotsylvania and between May 8-18, 1864 it was the scene of fearful combats including fierce engagements on the Fredericksburg Road, Laurel Hill, and Nye River. Nearly 40,000 men lost their lives at Spotsylvania. General Grant was unable to push the Confederates back and directed his army to the North Anna in Caroline County and Hanover County. General Lee had again assumed a strong position and Grant moved on to fight in the trenches at Cold Harbor on the ground of the Peninsular Campaign and Petersburg. During this period of fighting over 60,000 men were lost in battle,  and the heaviest losses were suffered by the Union.

1864 Civil War History: The Siege of Petersburg (June 1864 - April 1865)
The Confederate defenders of the Siege of Petersburg were led by General Beauregard and joined by General Lee with his army. The campaign took on the form of not so much a siege as supply lines to the city were intact, but better described as trench warfare. Petersburg was strategically important as it guarded the roads leading from the Confederate capital of Richmond to the South and was, in reality, a part of the defenses of Richmond. If Petersburg, and its roads fell into Union hands, the Confederate capital would have to be abandoned. The opposing sides continued to lengthen their battle lines, but this process could not go on forever. The Confederacy was becoming weaker. No more men could be sent to General Lee. Sooner or later his line would become so weak that General Grant would be able to break through. General Lee made a bold decision and the Confederates made a sudden move toward Washington. And the Siege of Petersburg carried on its bloody trench warfare.

1864 Civil War History: Confederate attack on Washington (July 1864)
General Lee detached General Jubal Early (1816 1894) with a formidable Confederate force and sent him through the Shenandoah Valley to Washington. Without letting go of his hold on Petersburg, General Grant sent two army corps by water to Washington. General Jubal Early was an able soldier, but he delayed his attack on Washington until soldiers came from the James. He was then forced to withdraw to the Shenandoah Valley.

1864 Civil War History: The Shenandoah Valley Campaigns
General Grant now gave the aggressive Philip Sheridan 40,000 infantry and 15,000 cavalry, calling them the Army of the Shenandoah, and sent them to the  Shenandoah Valley. Sheridan was given orders to drive out General Jubal Early and destroy all supplies in the Valley which could be used by another Southern army. This was a particularly sensitive time during 1864 Civil War history. It was imperative for the Union armies to avoid any disasters that might lead to the defeat of Abraham Lincoln in the impending presidential election of 1864. Philip Sheridan and his men fought bravely and the Confederates were swept from the field and sent back up the Valley in some confusion following the Battle Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864. Philip Sheridan then proceeded to destroy anything that could be of use to another invading army and returned to rejoin Grant at Petersburg. In the November following this great victory for the Union, Abraham Lincoln was re-elected President.

1864 Civil War History: Battle of Mobile Bay and the War at Sea (Summer 1864)
The 1864 Civil War History
saw the Union blockade become stricter and tighter than ever. By August, 1864, Admiral David Farragut had carried his fleet into Mobile Bay, Alabama and had closed it to commerce (Admiral Farragut is famous navy phrase "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" during the Battle of Mobile Bay, on August 5, 1864). On the open sea, with England's aid, a few ships flew the Confederate flag and ran the blockade. The best known of these ships was the Alabama. On June 19, 1864, the United States ship, the Kearsarge, dealt another blow to the Confederacy and sank the Alabama off Cherbourg, France. Englishmen were also building two mighty Ironclad Warships for the Confederates. However, the Ironclads never reached the Confederacy. The United States minister at London, Mr. Charles Francis Adams, said that if they were allowed to sail, it would be "war". The English backed down and kept the ironclads for their own navy. The Confederacy were losing the Civil War on land and at sea.

1864 Civil War History: Sherman and the Battle of Atlanta (History of July 1864)
The Atlanta Campaign was a series of battles fought in the Western Theater during the history of the Civil War throughout northwest Georgia and the area around Atlanta. William T. Sherman invaded Georgia from the vicinity of Chattanooga, Tennessee, beginning in May 1864, opposed by the Confederate general Joseph E. Johnston. General Sherman had 100,000 veterans, led by Generals George Henry Thomas, James B. McPherson, and John Schofield. The Confederate forces, led by General Johnston, had fewer men, but he occupied strongly fortified positions. Week by week General Sherman forced Johnston back until, after 2 months of steady fighting, the Confederate general found himself in the vicinity of Atlanta, the most important manufacturing center in the South. It was imperative for the Confederacy keep control of Atlanta. Johnston was no match for Sherman and the more aggressive General John Bell Hood was appointed in his place. General Hood fought bravely and over and over again attacked Sherman - only to be beaten off with heavy losses. On July 22, 1864 General Hood was forced to abandon Atlanta to save his army. From May to September General Sherman had lost 22,000 men, but the Confederate Army had lost 35,000 men and Atlanta too.

1864 Civil War History: Plans of Campaign
Confederate general John Bell Hood now led his army northward to Tennessee. But Sherman, instead of following him, only sent generals George Thomas and John Schofield in pursuit. Sherman knew that the Confederacy was nearing defeat. What would be the result of a grand march through Georgia to the coast, and then northward through the Carolinas to Virginia? Surely such an unopposed march would show the people of the South that further resistance was useless? William T. Sherman thought that it would, and that once in Virginia, he could help Grant crush General Robert E. Lee. General Ulysses S. Grant agreed with Sherman, and told him to carry out his plans.

1864 Civil War History: Thomas destroys Hood's army (History of December 1864)
The 1864 Civil War History rumbled on in some confusion.
Never dreaming that General Sherman was not in pursuit, Confederate general John Bell Hood marched rapidly north until he had crossed the Tennessee. He then spent 3 weeks resting his exhausted soldiers and bringing in supplies. This delay gave Union general George Thomas time to draw in recruits. At last General Hood engaged Schofield at the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864 - it was the one of the worst disasters in Civil war history for the Confederate States Army. General Schofield moved on to Nashville to join General Thomas with the bulk of his army.  Confederate general John Bell Hood followed. On December 15, 1864 General Thomas struck a mighty blow against the Confederates, and in two days of fighting destroyed Hood's whole army. The Battle of Nashville, Tenn. on December 15-16, 1864 was the last great battle in the West during the history of the Civil War.

1864 Civil War History: The March to the Sea
The 1864 Civil War History witnessed
Sherman's March to the Sea between November 15 to December 10, 1864 by General William T. Sherman and his totally destructive "scorched earth policy". Sherman first destroyed the mills and factories of Atlanta. Sherman and his army then set out for the seashore, marching through Georgia. He had 60,000 men with him. His men were all veterans and marched along as if they were on holiday. Spreading out over a line of 60 miles, they took everything that was edible. Along their march they destroyed railroads. They took up the rails, heated them in the middle of fires made from burning sleepers, and then twisted them around the nearest trees. Sherman's men succeeded in cutting a gap 60 miles long in the railroad communication between the already half-starved army of northern Virginia and the storehouses of southern Georgia. His merciless men were totally ruthless in the destruction of Southern property, causing an estimated $100 million in damages. On December 10, 1864, General William T. Sherman finally reached the sea and turned his sights on the destruction of Savannah.

1864 Civil War History: The Fall of Savannah (December 1864)
The 1864 Civil War History never saw a Battle at Savannah. The reputation of
William T. Sherman and his men had already reached the inhabitants of Savannah. On December 17, 1864 Sherman sent a message to Confederate general William J. Hardee demanding the surrender of the city of Savannah, offering liberal terms if accepted but threatening attack or the "slower and surer process of starvation" and the burning destruction of the city if declined.  General Hardee had totally inadequate forces and eventually evacuated Savannah, Georgia on December 20, 1864. Two days after Savannah fell, General William T. Sherman presented Savannah to the nation as a Christmas gift and sent the following telegram to President Lincoln:

"I beg to present to you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty heavy guns and plenty of ammunition.
 Also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton."

1864 Civil War History
So ends the major events and battlefields of the 1864 Civil War history - details of the major battles of 1864 are provided below but to continue the story click 1865 Civil War History.


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1864 Civil War History: Major Battlefields in 1864 (Over 500 men)
The following chart provides the details of the numbers of soldiers from the North and South who were killed, wounded, and missing in Engagements in the major battlefields in 1864 Civil War history in which over 500 men were involved in the conflict (the numbers of Confederate troops are estimated.

DateName of Battle and Location KilledWoundedMissingTotal
Union Loss
CSA Loss
February 20, 1864Olustee, Fla. 1931,1754601,828500
April 8, 1864Sabine Cross Roads, La. 2009001,8002,9001,500
April 9, 1864Pleasant Hills, La. 1007003001,1002,000
April 12, 1864Fort Pillow, Tenn. 3506016457480
April 17-20, 1864Plymouth, N. C. 20801,5001,600500
April 30, 1864Jenkins' Ferry, Saline River, Ark. 200955-1,1551,100
May 5-7, 1864Wilderness, Va. 5,59721,46310,67737,73711,400
May 5-9, 1864Rocky Face Ridge, Ga. includes Tunnel Hill, Mill Creek Gap, Buzzard Roost, Snake Creek Gap, and near Dalton 200637-837600
May 8-18, 1864Spottsylvania Court House, Va.; includes engagements on the Fredericksburg Road, Laurel Hill, and Nye River 4,17719,6872,57726,4619,000
May 9-10, 1864Swift Creek, Va. 90400-490500
May 9-10, 1864Cloyd's Mountain and New River Bridge, Va. 12658534745900
May 12-16, 1864Fort Darling, Drewry's Bluff, Va. 4222,3802103,0122,500
May 13-16, 1864Resaca, Ga. 6002,147-2,7472,800
May 15, 1864New Market, Va. 120560240920405
May 16-30, 1864Bermuda Hundred, Va. 2001,000-1,2003,000
May 23-27, 1864North Anna River, Va. 2231,4602901,9732,000
May 25-June 4Dallas, Ga. ---2,4003,000
June 5, 1864Piedmont, Va. 130650-7802,970
June 9-30, 1864Kenesaw Mountain 1,3706,5008008,6704,600
June 10, 1864Brice's Cross Roads, near Guntown, Miss. 2233941,6232,240606
June 10, 1864Kellar's Bridge, Licking River, Ky. 1354700767-
June 15-19, 1864Petersburg, Va.;  1,2987,4741,81410,586-
June 17 & 18, 1864Lynchburg, Va. 100500400700200
June 20-30, 1864Trenches in front of Petersburg, Va. 1125068001,418-
June 22-30, 1864Wilson's raid on the Weldon Railroad, Va. 762657001,041300
June 22 & 23, 1864Weldon Railroad, Va. 6042,4942,2175,315 
June 27, 1864Kenesaw Mountain ---3,000608
July 1-31, 1864Chattahoochee River, Ga. 80450200730600
July 9, 1864Monocacy, Md. 905791,2901,959400
July 13-15, 1864Tupelo, Miss. 85563-648700
July 20, 1864Peach Tree Creek, Ga. 3001,410-1,7104,796
July 22, 1864Atlanta, Ga. 5002,1411,0003,6418,499
July 24, 1864Winchester, Va. ---1,200600
July 26-31, 1864Stoneman's raid to Macon, Ga. -1009001,000-
July 26-31, 1864McCook's raid to Lovejoy Station, Ga. -100500600-
July 28, 1864Ezra Chapel, Atlanta, Ga. 100600-7004,642
July 30, 1864Mine explosion at Petersburg, Va. 4191,6791,9104,0081,200
August 1-31, 1864Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom Run, Va. 4001,7551,4003,5551,100
August 18, 19 & 21Six Mile House, Weldon Railroad, Va. 2121,1553,1764,5434,000
August 21, 1864Summit Point, Va. ---600400
August 25, 1864Ream's Station, Va. 1275461,7692,4421,500
August 31-September 1Jonesboro', Ga. -1,149-1,1492,000
May 5 to September 8Campaign in Northern Georgia, from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Atlanta, Ga. 5,28426,1295,78637,199-
September 1 to Oct 30Trenches before Petersburg, Va. 1708228121,8041,000
September 19, 1864Opequan, Winchester, Va. 6533,7196184,9905,500
September 23, 1864Athens, Ala. --95095030
September 24-Oct 28Price's invasion of Missouri 170336-506-
September 28-30New Market Heights, Va. 4002,029-2,4292,000
September 30-Oct 1Preble's Farm, Poplar Springs Church, Va. 1417881,7562,685900
October 5, 1864Allatoona, Ga. 1423522127061,142
October 19, 1864Cedar Creek, Va. 5883,5161,8915,9954,200
October 27, 1864Hatcher's Run, South Side Railroad, Va. 1561,0476991,9021,000
October 27-28, 1864Fair Oaks, near Richmond, Va. 1207834001,303451
November 28, 1864Fort Kelly, New Creek, West Va. --700700-
November 30, 1864Franklin, Tenn. 1891,0331,1042,3266,252
November 30, 1864Honey Hill, Broad River, S. C. 66645-711-
December 6-9, 1864Deveaux's Neck, S. C.39 39390200629400
December 15-16Nashville, Tenn. 4001,740-2,14015,000
DateName of Battle and Location KilledWoundedMissingUnion LossCSA Loss

1864 Civil War History - President Abraham Lincoln Video
The article on the 1864 Civil War History provides an overview of this year of the American Civil War during his presidential term in office. The following Abraham Lincoln video will give you additional important facts and dates about the political events experienced by the 16th American President whose presidency spanned from March 4, 1861 to April 15, 1865.




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