During the winter of 1864–65, the end of the Civil War neared as Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant maintained pressure against the dying Confederacy. Major General William T. Sherman ripped through Georgia and presented Savannah to President Abraham Lincoln as a Christmas gift.
Grant continued the long siege at Petersburg, pinning down General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. He held Lee in place while his armies demolished the Confederacy elsewhere.
Grant knew that the Confederacy could not long survive. He must have seen it in the faces of the Confederate peace commissioners who appeared at City Point at the end of January, although their meeting with Lincoln at Hampton Roads was unproductive. Grant prepared to strike the final blow.