New Year’s Day, 1864 dawned with the future more clearly defined. Hope increased in the American North, while it decreased throughout the South. Union triumphs at Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and Chattanooga had effectively held in check the Southern effort at independence.
Southern armies were now confined to defending the Southern homeland against the relentless Federal invaders, who were more numerous and better equipped than the Confederates. In the South, hope for foreign intervention and the lifting of the Union blockade were now casualties of Southern defeat on the battlefield.
Many on both sides anticipated a coming end to the war. Northerners rejoiced, while understanding that many sacrifices were yet to be made. The Southern people feared the worst, with many believing that failure was perhaps now inevitable despite their best efforts