Gary Eclebarger's incisive book about the 1864 Battle of Atlanta provides a comprehensive look at one of the Civil War's most decisive-- but less heralded-- battles. Read this book, then check out the movie "Gone with the Wind" to see another rendition of war-time Atlanta.
The book discusses President Lincoln's multi-faceted dilemma of appointing disastrous generals, thus incurring horrendous numbers of casualties (1,500 per day) yet having few definitive victories to show for it all. This lack of victories put Lincoln's viability as president in question. Atlanta, as the iconic symbol of the South, became the linchpin for his re-election.
On July 22, 1864, opposing commanders McPherson (Union) and Hood (Confederate) managed an eight-hour blood bath that decimated both sides. One out of every five soldiers involved would not answer roll call the next morning. Chief among the Union's shocking losses was the death of McPherson, while the Confederates lost 60 field officers, something from which the South would not recover. The Union was labeled the victor only because the siege held and Atlanta was taken by federal "survivors".