On 7th May Ulysses S. Grant gave William Sherman the task of destroying the Confederate Army in Tennessee. Joseph E. Johnston and his army retreated and after some brief skirmishes the two sides fought at Resaca (14th May), Adairsvile (17th May), New Hope Church (25th May), Kennesaw Mountain (27th June) and Marietta (2nd July).
Sherman decided to deprive the South of its resources. He cut a swathe of destruction 60 miles wide and 40 miles wide. Sherman commented: "If the people of Georgia raise a howl against my barbarity and cruelty, I will answer that war is war, and not popularity-seeking." His forces moved fast covering 450 miles in 50 days.
President Jefferson Davis was unhappy about Johnson's withdrawal policy and on 17th July replaced him with the more aggressive John Hood. He immediately went on the attack and hit George H. Thomas and his men at Peachtree Creek. Hood was badly beaten and lost 2,500 men. Two days later he took on William Sherman at Atlanta and lost another 8,000 men.
The Union Army gradually cut off supplies to Atlanta from the South and John Hood eventually decided to abandon the city on 1st September, 1864. The following day William Sherman entered Atlanta and set fire to it.