Army of Georgia (USA)

March 28, 1865–August 1, 1865

The Army of Georgia (USA) was a Union Army during the Civil War. It is most well-known for participating in Sherman's March to the Sea and the Carolinas Campaign.

Henry Warner Slocum, General, USA, Civil War, LOC

Henry W. Slocum commanded the left wing of Sherman’s army, 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. Image Source: Library of Congress.

What was the Army of Georgia (USA)?

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, also known as Sherman’s March to the Sea, and the Carolinas Campaign.

Army of Georgia (USA) Dates

  • Date Formed — November 1864 (formed)
  • Date Named — March 28, 1865 (officially named)
  • Date Dissolved — June 1, 1865

Army of Georgia (USA) Commanders

History of the Army of Georgia (USA)

The history of the Army of Georgia dates to Major General William T. Sherman making his 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 comprised the Army of the Tennessee, commanded by Major General Oliver O. Howard. Henry W. Slocum commanded the left-wing, which included the 14th and 20th Corps, along with part of the Army of the Cumberland’s cavalry. Informally, Slocum’s wing became known 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 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.”

Savannah Campaign

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 aimed to cut off supplies and reinforcements for Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia, which was facing off with 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.

Battle of Averasboro

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 withdrew to Bentonville under the cover of darkness, ending the Battle of Averasboro.

Battle of Bentonville

By mid-March, Johnston had assembled an army of perhaps 21,000 soldiers at Bentonville. On March 19, 1865, Johnston made 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.

Official Designation

A few days after the Battle of Bentonville, Sherman requested General Grant to separate Slocum’s wing (the 14th and 20th Army Corps)  from the Army of the Cumberland and formally designate it as the Army of Georgia. On March 28, 1865, the War Department issued General Orders No. 51 granting Sherman’s request. Afterward, The Army of Georgia occupied Goldsborough and captured Raleigh in April. Slocum was present on April 16, 1865, when Johnston surrendered the troops under his command to Sherman near Durham, North Carolina.

Discontinuation of the Army

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.

Army of Georgia (USA) Facts

  • 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).
  • On November 9, 1864, Major General William T. Sherman issued Special Field Orders No. 120, establishing the chain-of-command, objectives, and directives for the Savannah Campaign.
  • During the Savannah Campaign, the left wing of Major General William T. Sherman’s army group consisted of the 14th and 20th Corps, along with part of the Army of the Cumberland’s cavalry. Informally this wing was designated as the Army of Georgia.
  • The first — and only — commander of the Army of Georgia was Major General Henry W. Slocum.
  • According to Major General William T. Sherman when Mayor R. D. Arnold surrendered Savannah on December 21, 1864, “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.”
  • The Army of Georgia served as the left wing of Major General William T. Sherman’s army group during the Carolinas Campaign.
  • On March 16, 1865, soldiers from the Army of Georgia participated in the Battle of Averasboro, in North Carolina.
  • The Army of Georgia participated in the Battle of Bentonville (March 19–21, 1865), in North Carolina.
  • 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 officially designating the 14th and 20th Army Corps as the Army of Georgia.
  • The Army of Georgia was present on April 16, 1865, when General Joseph Johnston surrendered the troops under his command to Major General William T. Sherman near Durham, North Carolina.
  • On May 24, 1865, Major General Henry W. Slocum led the Army of Georgia through the streets of Washington, DC as part of the Grand Review of the Armies.
  • On June 1, 1865, the War Department discontinued 20th Corps.
  • On August 1, 1865, the War Department discontinued the 14th Corps.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations, including APA Style, Chicago Style, and MLA Style.

  • Article Title Army of Georgia (USA)
  • Date March 28, 1865–August 1, 1865
  • Author
  • Keywords Army of Georgia (USA), Union Army, Who commanded the Army of Georgia (USA), What battles did the Army of Georgia (USA) fight in, When was the Army of Georgia (USA) formed, Where did the Army of Georgia (USA) fight, Why was the Army of Georgia (USA) formed, How did the Army of Georgia (USA) help win the Civil War
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date April 16, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 18, 2024

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