Following the Battle of Franklin, the Union army dashed north into their supply base of Nashville and its vast network of fortifications where Gen. George H. Thomas had assembled a sizeable force. In pursuit came Gen. John Bell Hood's battered Confederate Army of Tennessee, stopping just south of the city.
Then, Gen. Thomas waited. Despite mounting pressure from President Lincoln and Gen. U.S. grant to attack, Thomas let the frigid winter of 1864 weaken his opponent even further. For days, dropping temperatures and icy rains battered Hood's exposed troops. On December 15th, Thomas finally launched an overwhelming attack, crushing Hood's once formidable army in two days. On the night of December 16th, Hood's remaining men retreated southward toward Franklin.
Over the next week and a half, Federal infantry and cavalry pushed Hood's dissolving command further and further south. Despite several intense rearguard fights, the dwindling Army of Tennessee escaped across the Tennessee River, eventually halting in northeast Mississippi. In January 1865, Hood resigned.
In his place stepped Gen. Joseph Johnston, who took the remnants of the Army of the Tennessee into the Carolinas to oppose Gen. William T. Sherman's army fresh from its "March to the Sea."
On April 26, 1865, more than two weeks
after Appomattox, Gen. Johnston and his men surrendered to Gen. Sherman's army at Bentonville, North Carolina. The war was over, and the survivors from both sides could finally head home.