Halfway through the critical election year of 1864, the North had little to show for its efforts. Grant had not broken the Army of Northern Virginia. He had lost tens of thousands of men and was stalled around the small city of Petersburg. Likewise, Sherman was pushing Johnston's Confederate army southward but had won no large prize. Guerilla bands plagued Tennessee. The North was discouraged, and even Lincoln thought he might not be re-elected. But the South was suffering, too, and it had few resources to fall back on.

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