Railroads were essential to moving men and military supplies during the Civil War. The Battle of Atlanta, fought on July 22, 1864, was an attempt by federal troops under Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman to seize Atlanta’s rail center and cripple the Confederate war effort.
On the 150th anniversary of that battle, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College’s Christopher R. Gabel examines the importance of rail transportation to both Union and Confederate commanders.
The Confederacy’s rail system performed just well enough in the first two years of the war to keep the fledgling nation in the fight. Ultimately, though, the Southern railroads lost their capacity to support the war, while the Northern railroads achieved unprecedented levels of effectiveness.