The year 1864 was a turning point for the Union war effort led by President Abraham Lincoln. After a three-year search for a general to lead the Union armies, Lincoln settled in March on General Ulysses S. Grant – a man whose aggressive instincts and strategic vision coincided with the president’s. Grant led bloody campaigns in northern Virginia – moving steadily on the Confederate capital at Richmond. The resulting military stalemate undercut Lincoln’s campaign for reelection even as the president struggled to maintain control of reconstruction of the former Confederate states. It required a delicate balancing act that tested Lincoln’s patience, resolve, and tactical skills.
— Lewis E. Lehrman