Army of Georgia (March 28, 1865 – August 1, 1865)

Updated: October 13, 2016

The Army of Georgia, consisting of the 14th and 20th Army Corps, served as the left wing of Major General William T. Sherman's army group throughout the Savannah Campaign and the Carolinas Campaign.

The history of the Army of Georgia dates to Major General William T. Sherman's preparations for the Savannah Campaign (November 15, 1864–December 21, 1864). After occupying Atlanta on September 2, 1864, Sherman received approval from General-in-Chief of the Armies Ulysses S. Grant to embark upon his “March to the Sea” that would make "Georgia howl."

On November 9, 1864, Sherman issued Special Field Orders No. 120, establishing the chain-of-command, objectives, and directives for the Savannah Campaign. Sherman divided his forces into two wings. The right wing consisted of the Army of the Tennessee, commanded by Major General Oliver O. Howard. Henry W. Slocum commanded the left wing, which consisted of the 14th and 20th Corps, along with part of the Army of the Cumberland's cavalry. Informally, Slocum's wing was designated as the Army of Georgia. For the next five weeks, the Yankees cut a swath of destruction across Georgia nearly sixty miles wide and 250 miles long. Neither wing met much organized resistance before reaching the outskirts of Savannah by December 10. On December 21, 1864, Savannah Mayor R. D. Arnold surrendered Savannah in exchange for a promise to protect the city's citizens and their property. According to Sherman, "the left flank (Slocum), especially Geary's division of the Twentieth Corps, claimed to have been the first to reach the heart of the city."

Sherman remained in Savannah for approximately five weeks to rest and to re-provision his men. On February 1, 1865, he embarked on a campaign through the Carolinas with the objective of cutting off supplies and reinforcements to Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia facing Grant's Army of the Potomac near Richmond, Virginia. Once again, the Army of Georgia served as the left wing of Sherman's army group.

On March 16 1865, soldiers from the Army of Georgia attacked General Joseph Johnston's entrenched Rebels north of Averasboro, North Carolina. Slocum's soldiers flanked the Confederates, forcing them to withdraw to a second defensive line. The Grey Coats made a brief stand at the second line, before falling back to their third and final line of defense. Despite several Union assaults, the Confederates held their position until nightfall and, then, withdrew to Bentonville under the cover of darkness.

By mid-March, Johnston had assembled an army of perhaps twenty-one thousand soldiers at Bentonville. On March 19, 1865, Johnston decided to make a stand, entrenching his army at Cole's Plantation, blocking the road to Goldsboro. Once again, the Army of Georgia was the target. That afternoon, Johnston launched an assault on the Federals, forcing them to fall back temporarily. By nightfall, Slocum's men checked the Rebel advance, and the first day of fighting at the Battle of Bentonville ended in a stalemate. On the next day, Federal reinforcements arrived, and Slocum gradually pushed Johnston's men back. Johnston held on until March 21, when he withdrew during the night.

A few days after the Battle of Bentonville, Sherman contacted General Grant requesting that Slocum's wing (the 14th and 20th Army Corps) be separated from the Army of the Cumberland and designated formally as the Army of Georgia. On March 28, 1865, the War Department issued General Orders No. 51 granting Sherman's request. The Army of Georgia went on to occupy Goldsborough and to capture Raleigh in April. Slocum was also present on April 16, 1865, when Johnston surrendered the troops under his command to Sherman near Durham, North Carolina.

On May 24, 1865, Slocum led the Army of Georgia through the streets of Washington, DC, as part of the Grand Review of the Armies. One week later, on June 1, 1865, the War Department discontinued the 20th Corps. Later that summer, on August 1, the War Department discontinued the 14th Corps, thus ending the existence of the Army of Georgia.

Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiments that served with the Army of Georgia included:
5th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (3 years)
11th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry Battalion
14th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (3 years)
17th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (3 years)
29th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
31st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
33rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
38th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
52nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
55th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
61st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
66th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
69th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
73rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
74th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
79th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
82nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
89th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
92nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
94th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
98th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
105th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
108th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
113th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
121st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Cite this Entry

MLA Style

"Army of Georgia," Ohio Civil War Central, 2017, Ohio Civil War Central. 19 Oct 2017 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1309>

APA Style

"Army of Georgia." (2017) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved October 19, 2017, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1309

Comments powered by Disqus

Help support the ongoing development of Ohio Civil War Central by clicking the banner and then purchasing products from Amazon.com.

Ohio Civil War Central: An Encyclopedia of the American Civil War