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At the start of the 1864 campaign in Georgia the Confederates opposing Sherman, the Army of Tennessee, were commanded by General Joseph E. Johnston. Johnston fell back more than one hundred miles before Sherman's larger force, to the area of Atlanta. Johnston almost started a battle two times, but got flanked by the Yankees and had to retire. Johnston was a cautious man and did not like to fight a battle unless everything was perfect. He fought only two battles in the entire war, and lost both. Having retreated all the way to Atlanta Johnston was replaced by John B. Hood. Hood was the exact opposite of Johnston - extremely reckless. Hood promptly attacked Sherman three times, but lost so many men doing so that he no longer had sufficient force to man the vast entrenchments surrounding Atlanta. Hood had to pull out of the city and allow the Yankees to walk right in. Hood continued to lurk in the area.

Then Hood hit on the idea of destroying Sherman's supply line, which was a single railroad line extending back through Chattanooga, Nashville and on to Louisville. Hood did not know that Sherman had already planned to destroy his own supply line, and Atlanta, and strike out for Savannah, "living off the land", "foraging liberally", meaning robbing all the farmers along the way that his army could reach of all foodstuffs. When Hood moved against Sherman's supply line nothing could have delighted Sherman more. Sherman said if Hood would go to the Ohio River he would give him rations for the trip.

So there was the extremely rare spectacle in war of two opposing armies marching off in opposite directions. Hood came to grief in Tennessee in the Battles of Franklin and Nashville, as there was another entire Federal army in Tennessee waiting for him.

All there was remaining in Georgia to oppose Sherman were some state militia troops. These were too few to do much, but did what they could. Convicts were released from the state prison and promised a pardon if they would fight, and these, along with the boys comprising the student body of the Georgia Military Academy tried to fight Sherman at Griswoldsville, but were slaughtered and easily brushed aside.

General Hood lead the Confederate Army of Tennessee North toward Chatanooga hoping he could cut Sherman's supply lines and force the Union army to leave Georgia and come north after him. Thus there were no significant Confederate forces left in Georgia to oppose Sherman.

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Q: Why did the Confederate army not fight when Sherman marched on Savannah?
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