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SHERMAN'S MARCH TO THE SEA.
General Grant's plan of operations at the time of his assuming command of the armies of the United States em. braced the co-operation, as has been previously stated, of ali of the Union forces. The principal co-operating force, and the second army in point of numbers, was the force gathered at Chattanooga, under Major-General W. T. Sherman. This force numbered nearly one hundred thousand men, with two hundred and fifty-four guns. Opposed to him was a large army, fully sixty thousand men, under General Joseph E.Johnston, encamped in and about Dalton, Georgia.
General Sherman commenced his ad. vance movement on May 6th, and by the 10th of July, after a most brilliant series of WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN. maneuvers and fierce fighting at Buzzard's Roost, Snake Gap, Resaca, Cassville, Dallas, Kenesaw, Pine Hill, and
Lost Mountain, he had forced his antagonist to fall back beyond the Chattahoochie, and within eight miles of At. lanta. Here Johnston was relieved and General J. B. Hood assumed the command, inaugurating his taking command by a desperate attack on Sherman on the afternoon of the 20th. The blow was gallantly received and returned with equal force, and the assailants were driven back within their entrenchments with heavy loss.
On the 22d another attack, led by General Hardee, was made upon the Army of the Tennessee, with McPherson at its head—a furious battle ensued, in which McPherson was killed; for a time the attack of the Confederates threatened the entire wing of the army. Sherman, fully comprehending the importance of checking the advance of the rebels, reinforced this wing and ordered Logan, who had assumed command of McPherson's Division, to charge the enemy at any cost, which was gallantly accomplished, the Confederates giving way and retiring to their entrench. ments.
Sherman, the following day, commenced a flank movement to his right, capturing the Montgomery and Macon Railroad, compelling Hood, a few days after, to retire from Atlanta. The city being at once occupied by General Slocum, of the Twentieth Corps, Sherman now gave his army a short rest, and set himself to work refitting it, and preparing for his “ march to the sea.”
While Sherman was thus occupied, General Hood had broken up his encampment at Florence and Tuscumbia, and abandoned the South which Sherman was now about to invade, by marching northward, he hoped to be able to cut Sherman's lines of communication and compel him to return to Chattanooga. Sherman, amazed at Hood's folly in leaving the South defenceless, wasted no time in follow, ing him or defending the positions in his rear, but assigned to Thomas the protection of Tennessee and to take Hood in hand. The Fourth Corps under Stanley, and the Twenty-third under Schofield, were detached from his army and given to Thomas. Before cutting loose from his base of supplies, General Sherman considered it a military necessity to dismantle and destroy the City of Atlantahaving first removed all citizens from the city, and sent them into the Confederate lines.
On the 14th of November he began his sublime march southward — a march which has no parallel in history. With his magnificent army he swept across the entire State of Georgia, in a path sixty miles in width and over three hundred in length, destroying everything which could give aid or comfort to the enemy. In this “grand gallop through Georgia” he found no enemy to oppose him. A force of sixty thousand men were gathered under his ban. ners; before his advance the hurriedly-gathered forces of Johnston rapidly disappeared. The wail of agony of the Confederacy was fierce and bitter. Passing around Savannah, he stormed and captured
W. J. HARDEE. Fort McAllister, while Beauregard and Hardee were glad to escape from the city. Twenty-four days had been occupied in the march, with the loss of but five hundred and sixty-seven men—in killed and wounded. Thirteen hundred and thirty-eight of the Confederate Army liad been made prisoners, twenty thou. sand bales of cotton burned, beside twenty-five thousand captured at Savannah. Thirteen thousand head of beef cattle, nearly ten million pounds of corn, and ten million and a half pounds of fodder were taken from the country; five thousand horses and four thousand mules impressed for the cavalry and trains; three hundred and twenty miles of railroad were destroyed-every tie being burnt and rails twisted by the heat; also every depot, enginehouse, repair tank, water tank, and turn-table. Only by this seemingly harsh method could the Confederate Army of Virginia be effectually severed from that in the West. The Union General felt that the hour for temporizing had passed, and that only by such direful blows could the Rebellion be brought to an end. While this waste and destruction was going on the discipline of the army was well maintained.
From the time Sherman left Atlanta until its arrival before Savannah, not a word of intelligence respecting his advance was received by our Government, except through rebel sources. On the 25th day of December, President Lincoln received the following telegram from General Sherman:
“I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with a hundred and fifty heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton."
To this President Lincoln immediately replied:
"My Dear GenerAL SHERMAN,—Many, many thanks for your Christmas gift,--the capture of Savannah. When you were about to leave Atlanta for the Atlantic, I was anxious, if not fearful; but fee)ing that you were the better judge, and remembering that nothing risked, nothing gained,' I did not interfere. Now, this undertaking being a success, the honor is all yours; for I believe that none of us went further than to acquiesce. And taking the work of General Thomas into the count, as it should be taken, it is indeed a great success.
“Not only does it afford the obvious and immediate military advan. tages, but in showing to the world that your army could be divided, putting the stronger part to an important new service, and yet leaving enough to vanquish the old opposing forces of the whole -Hood's army,-it brings those who sat in darkness to see a great light.
“But what next? I suppose it will be sase, if I leave General Grant and yourself to decide. Please make my grateful acknowledgements to your whole army,--officers and men.
“Yours very truly,
“A. LINCOLN." During Sherman's march to the sea, Hood in his march North moved rapidly into Tennessee, crossing the Tennessee River at Florence. At this time Thomas' effective force under Schofield was only about thirty thousand
men. At different points holding important posts, he had also twenty or more thousand men, while Hood, who had just been reinforced by General Taylor's army from Mobile, now had about fiftyfive thousand.
On November 17,
General Hood ad. J. B, HOOD.
vanced in two col. umns toward Nashville, Thomas had resolved to keep as