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Week 2

April 28 - May 4

Now in May, 1864, war in Georgia is imminent. A general who sleeps little and talks ceaselessly stands for the Union: 44-year-old William Tecumseh Sherman, the man who vows to make Georgia howl. Defending Georgia for the Confederacy is 57-year-old Virginian Joseph Eggleston Johnston, adored by his soldiers and thoroughly professional in manner. The battle is about to begin…

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Episode Transcript

I'm Masud Olufani for the Atlanta History Center.

He talks incessantly – always moving his hands – sleeping only three or four hours a night. He is forty-four year-old Major General William Tecumseh Sherman -- the man who vows to make Georgia howl.

Sherman – an Ohio native and west point graduate -- quit the army in 1853 to run a bank in San Francisco.

In 1861 he was back in the army, predicting the war would last far longer than anyone imagined. People thought he was crazy. A few months later Sherman suffered a nervous breakdown and was relieved of command.

Called back to duty by Ulysses Grant, Sherman’s victories in Mississippi and Tennessee have made him one of the union’s most trusted generals.

Defending Georgia against Sherman is a fifty-seven year old blueblood from Virginia named Joseph Eggleston Johnston.

Johnston is also a west point graduate. But unlike Sherman, he fought in the Mexican war – and has more than thirty years’ service in the U.S. army.

Johnston is punctual, deliberate, and thoroughly professional. Confederate President Jefferson Davis thinks he is vain and selfish.

But Johnston’s soldiers adore him. They will follow “Old Joe” anywhere -- and fight Sherman all the way to Atlanta if need be.

The battle is about to begin…

I’m Masud Olufani and this is week 2.