UPDATE: Unfortunately Mr. Bearss will not be able to speak tomorrow night. We are working to line up a replacement speaker. Our meeting will be held, as planned, at the Presbyterian Church. So we hope you will still join us – same time, same place.
October LCCWRT Meeting Notice. We welcome all guests with the hopes that they will join, so please consider bringing someone to the meeting this month.
Meeting time: Tuesday, October 14, 2014; 7:30 p.m.
Location: Presbyterian Church, 207 West Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia (across the street from Thomas Balch Library)
Topic: Joe Johnston and the 1864 Atlanta Campaign
The Atlanta Campaign of 1864 involved an important series of engagements fought in northwest Georgia for control of the important industrial and rail center of the South at Atlanta. Beginning in May 1864, Union Major General William T. Sherman invaded northwest Georgia, following up on the major Union victory at Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the end of 1863. His opponent in this important military contest was one of the Confederacy’s most important generals, Joseph E. Johnston.
In a series of adroit maneuvers, Johnston’s Army of Tennessee withdrew toward Atlanta in the face of successive flanking maneuvers by Sherman’s larger army. In the middle of this important campaign, Confederate President Jefferson Davis made a momentous military decision to replace Johnston with the more aggressive and ambitious John Bell Hood, who began to immediately challenge the Union Army in a series of damaging frontal assaults. Hood’s army was eventually besieged in Atlanta, and the city fell on September 2, 1864, setting the stage for Sherman’s March to the Sea and hastening the end of the war.
The presentation by Mr. Bearss will attempt to analyze and assess the effective leadership of arguably one of the South’s most controversial army commanders, Joseph Johnston, versus one of the North’s most effective army commanders, William Sherman, during one of the Civil War’s most critical campaigns in 1864.
About our speaker: Edwin C. Bearss served as the Chief Historian of the National Park Service from 1981 to 1994. He holds a B.S. degree from Georgetown University and an M.A. in history from Indiana University. He served in the Marine Corps during World War II. Bearss first joined the National Park Service in 1954 and was assigned to Vicksburg National Military Park. There he researched the sinking and the site of the ironclad USS Cairo. During the Centennial, he led efforts to develop and improve battlefield parks.