Cory Brannon, who is bitter over the failure of the Confederate army at Chattanooga, takes part in a series of battles as the Army of Tennessee retreats slowly toward Atlanta during May and early June. By the end of August, Atlanta is lost and the Confederate retreat continues. Meanwhile, the Brannon family farm in Culpeper County, Virginia, is now behind enemy lines. At the same time, Cory is trapped in Savannah, surrounded by Sherman's marauding hordes. The Union army lays siege to the city, much as it had at Vicksburg. When Gen. William Hardee realises that defending the city is hopeless, he abandons Savannah and heads toward the Carolinas, hoping for the chance to fight another day in another place. Sherman's March to the Sea is now complete and despair grips the Confederacy. Fractured and defeated at every turn, the nation asks itself how much longer it can continue to fight.