Atlanta's Capture: morale boost for the North
The Union's capture of Atlanta, one of the most important of Southern cities, immediately buoyed President Abraham Lincoln's re-election prospects — 150 years ago in the Civil War. Lincoln would ultimately be returned to office by voters with an ample victory. A North wearied by long years of grinding warfare suddenly had major news to rejoice over — even as the Confederacy and many in the South despaired. From the fall of Atlanta until the end of the war would just be a matter of months of heavy fighting to follow. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, days after his forces had entered the city, ordered its civilians to evacuate. Meanwhile, newspapers such as the Philadelphia Inquirer in the North reported Sherman's forces were still "in pursuit" of the fleeing Confederates. The Associated Press reported from Virginia on Sept. 9, 1864, that some Confederate forces in their defense works there had begun cheering after hearing a false rumor spread that Atlanta had been retaken." The AP report said those overly optimistic and mistaken Southern soldiers "were very jubilant for a time, indulging in loud cheering."