Often at the mercy of the men who fought alongside

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often at the mercy of the men who fought alongside her husband to learn not only the details ofhis death, but even that the death had occurred.By the fall of 1864, military and social events played against the backdrop of thepresidential election of 1864. While the war raged on, the presidential contest featured atransformed electorate. Three new states (West Virginia, Nevada, and Kansas) had been addedsince 1860 while the eleven states of the Confederacy did not participate. Lincoln and his VicePresidential nominee, Andrew Johnson (Tennessee), ran on the National Union Party ticket. Themain competition came from his former commander, General George B. McClellan. ThoughMcClellan himself was a “War Democrat,” the official platform of the Democratic Party in 1864revolved around negotiating an immediate end to the Civil War. McClellan’s Vice Presidentialnominee was George H. Pendleton of Ohio—a well-known “Peace Democrat.”On Election Day—November 8, 1864—Lincoln and McClellan each needed 117electoral votes (out of a possible 233) to win the presidency. For much of the ’64 campaignseason, Lincoln downplayed his chances of reelection and McClellan assumed that largenumbers of Union soldiers would grant him support. However, thanks in great part to William T.Sherman’s capture of Atlanta on September 2, 1864, and overwhelming support from Uniontroops, Lincoln won the election easily. Additionally, Lincoln received support from more radicalRepublican factions (such as John C. Fremont) and members of the Radical Democracy Partythat demanded the end of slavery.In the popular vote, Lincoln crushed McClellan by a margin of 55.1% to 44.9%. In theElectoral College, Lincoln’s victory was even more pronounced at a margin of 212 to 21. Lincolnwon twenty-two states, and McClellan only managed to carry three: New Jersey, Delaware, andKentucky.
170In the wake of reelection, Abraham Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address onMarch 5, 1865, in which he concluded:With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as Godgives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind upthe nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for hiswidow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and alasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.1864 and 1865 was the very definition of hard war. Incredibly deadly for both sides, theseUnion campaigns in both the West and the East destroyed Confederate infrastructure anddemonstrated the efficacy of the Union’s strategy. Following up on the successful capture ofAtlanta, William Sherman conducted his infamous March to the Seain the fall of 1864 arrivingin Savannah with time to capture it and deliver it as a Christmas present for Abraham Lincoln.Sherman’s path of destruction took on an even more destructive tone as he moved into the heartof the Confederacy in South Carolina in early 1865. The burning of Columbia, South Carolina,and subsequent capture of Charleston brought the hard hand of war to the Magnolia state. Inaddition, with Grant’s dogged pursuit of the Army of Northern Virginia, Lee surrendered the

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