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the heart of the Confederacy, his work only begun, not ended. Before taking another step he awaited the movements of his antagonist. When they came Sherman was delighted. Hood, finding himself helpless before his strong foe, and knowing it to be useless to strike in front, decided to strike from the rear, to cut Sherman's long line of communication, and by threatening his base of supplies, to force him to retreat. He could not have done anything more to the liking of his shrewd antagonist. “If Hood will go to Tennessee," said Sherman, with a chuckle, “I will supply him with rations for the trip.” All he did was to send General Thomas to Nashville to protect his rear while he himself prepared for a new and daring project, to perform which he wanted Hood and his veterans out of
Georgia lay before him, the greatest source of supply for the Confederate armies, “the workshop and corncrib of the South.” Savannah lay on the sea, nearly three hundred miles away. The withdrawal of Hood had left the field open before him. He could let go of his base of supplies. Georgia was able to feed him and his army. Savannah once reached, the ships of the North could bring all he needed. It was a great and spectacular plan, the device of a soldier of genius.
None knew of his project, north or south. Nothing so bold was dreamed of. He and his army simply disappeared from view and for a month nothing was heard of them. There was intense anxiety in the North about his fate, many fearing that he had walked into a trap from which he might never escape. President Lincoln did not appear to share this anxiety. He had as much confidence in Sherman as in Grant and simply said to anxious inquirers, in his humorous way, “I know which hole he went in at, but I do not know which hole he will come out at.”
Meanwhile Sherman was “marching through Georgia,” with hardly an enemy to oppose him, with scarcely an obstacle in his path. He set out from Atlanta on November 16, with an army sixty-two thousand strong. Through Georgia he swept, with a front thirty miles from wing to wing, cutting a broad swath through the centre of the State, gathering food from the country, rendering it incapable of furnishing supplies to the Confederacy. It was to the soldiers like a holiday march. To the slaves it was the “day of jubilee." Thousands of them followed the army, flocking from every plantation, keeping on for miles when told that there was no food to give them. They were content to starve, if they could only gain freedom.
On December 13, Fort McAllister, near Savannah, was captured. On the 21st the city surrendered. Two days afterwards Sherman sent the President a dispatch that has become famous: “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty guns and plenty of ammunition, and about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.” The success of the daring march was brilliant. Sherman wrote, “We have not lost a wagon on the trip and our trains are in a better condition than when we started.”
The news of this great march filled the North with exultation. There was a strain of the romantic and unusual in it that riveted men's attention. Sherman's enterprise had proved an easy and safe one, but it seemed as if he had plunged through a sea of danger, and men looked on him as if he was one of the daring knights-errant of old. For a time nothing was talked of but Sherman's wonderful march, and the song in
which it was commemorated is still a favorite marching tune.
But the work of dissecting the Confederacy, which he had set out to do, was but half accomplished. After giving his men a thorough rest in Atlanta, he set out on January 15, 1865, to cut it in twain from south to north. Northward he went, opposition melting away before him. Town after town was occupied. Columbia, the beautiful capital of South Carolina, took fire from burning cotton and was more than half consumed. Charleston, which had held out for four years against all attacks from the sea, surrendered without a blow and without Sherman's going near it. North Carolina was reached and here Sherman for the first time found a strong force, under his old opponent, General Johnston, gathered to meet him. Only one battle was fought, at Bentonville, on March 21, in which Johnston was beaten with heavy loss. He fell back on Raleigh, and Sherman was pursuing him when, on April 11, news reached him of General Lee's surrender two days before.
Further fighting would have been murder. The Confederacy was conquered. Its leaders recognized this, and on April 26 Johnston surrendered, being granted the same terms as were given to General Lee. The last appearance of Sherman's army in history was on May 24, in Washington, where it took part in the great two days' review. Sherman, in his “ Memoirs," says of it as it appeared that day: “It was, in my judgment, the most magnificent army in existence, sixty-five thousand men in splendid physique, who had just completed a march of nearly two thousand miles in a hostile country."
With this review the spectacular portion of Sherman's life ended. He remained a soldier, honored and revered, seeking no political honors, asking for no place or privilege. When, in 1868, Grant was appointed general of the army, Sherman succeeded him as lieutenant-general. When Grant was inaugurated as President, March 4, 1869, Sherman was raised to the rank of general. He was relieved at his own request, November 1, 1883, and was succeeded by Sheridan. He then took up his residence in St. Louis, afterwards removing to New York, where he died February 14, 1891.
An able critic thus sums up Sherman's qualities as a soldier: Above all his other excellencies shone his promptitude, celerity, and immeasurable activity. What for some commanders were winter-quarters were to him a bivouac. Always ready for the start, indefatigable on the march, omnipresent in battle, relentless in pursuit, General Sherman made himself not only more feared but more respected by the enemy than any general in the national armies save, perhaps, the one who commanded them all.”
Sherman was able not only as a soldier but as a writer. His “ Memoirs ” tell admirably the story of his military career and have given him a high literary reputation. As a speaker he was ready and apt, and said so many striking things that Chauncey Depew declared that “ he never ought to be permitted to go anywhere without being accompanied by a stenographer.” He was not partisan either in politics or religion. In politics no one could tell which party he favored, while in religion he expressed his creed in the following pithy sentence:
“If men will only act half as well as they know how, God will forgive them the balance."
THOMAS J. JACKSON, THE STONE WALL
OF THE CONFEDERACY
THERE was no great amount of piety among the generals of the Civil War. They were engaged in a business which called for other qualities than that of religious devotion. But one of the greatest of them was an ardent Christian, a man of prayer and conscience, of religious earnestness alike in war and peace. This was Thomas Jonathan Jackson, General Lee's right-hand man, who aided his superior in his great successes as much as Sherman and Sheridan aided Grant. The fall of Jackson on the field of Chancellorsville was a more serious disaster to Lee than the loss of that great battle would have been.
This famous soldier was born in Clarksburg, Virginia, January 21, 1824. He was of that hardy ScotchIrish stock which has given so much of strength and resolute virtue to the population of our Middle States. He entered the military academy at West Point in 1843 so poorly equipped in education that he never took a high standing in his classes, though earnest and conscientious in his studies. He showed there the same qualities which he afterwards exhibited, courage, patience, constancy of purpose, faithfulness to duty, and a simplicity of character which won everyone's confidence.
Though looked on as a dull and slow student, he graduated in 1846 seventeenth in a class of fifty-nine, and at once was sent as an artillery lieutenant to the war in Mexico, where he distinguished himself in