Sherman aimed for the South's manufacturing and railroad hub.
Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman had two objectives during his Georgia campaign of 1864; defeat the Confederate army, and damage the South's war arsenals. By capturing Atlanta, he could do both.
Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston intended to delay or stop Sherman. Kennesaw Mountain offered Johnston a strong defensive position from which to draw Sherman's larger army into battle.
The fate of Atlanta - with its citizens, factories, armories, warehouses, and railroads - hung in the balance.
The northern Georgia landscape of 1864 (above) consisted of dense woods, boggy creeks, dirt roads, and sparsely settled towns. One Federal general called it a "wilderness of mire." Just beyond lay Atlanta (left) - the industrial and transportation hub of the southeast.