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men busily at work in an effort to make it an impregnable stronghold, hoping to beat off his more powerful foe. In the midst of this work he was suddenly deprived of his command.
His continual retreat before Sherman had deeply displeased the authorities at Richmond, especially President Davis, who did not approve of his cautious policy and evidently expected more from him than was possible. Experts tell us that Johnston had managed the campaign with the greatest skill and for the best interests of his cause, and that his defensive stand at Atlanta was the best course that remained for him under the circumstances; but this the government at Richmond did not believe, and the more dashing, but less skilful and prudent soldier, General Hood, was put in his place.
Davis wanted battles, and Hood was the man to accommodate him. Johnston was removed on the 18th of July, and Hood fought fierce battles on the 22d and the 28th, being defeated with heavy loss on both occasions. He fought other battles with the same result, and finally, being forced out of Atlanta, moved to the north with the purpose of cutting Sherman's lines of supply. What came of this movement may be read in our story of General Thomas. All we need say here is that the policy of “swapping horses in crossing a stream" did not prove a good one in that instance.
In February, 1865, the Richmond government, in despair at Sherman's seemingly irresistible advance, turned to General Johnston again and asked him to take command of the army collecting in South Carolina to
oppose this advance. It was a forlorn hope he was asked to lead. To check Sherman now, with the
resources at his command, was next to impossible. Johnston, however, patriotically took the command offered him.
By gathering up Hardee's men from Charleston, Beauregard's from Columbia, and Hampton's cavalry, he got together a respectable force, about forty thousand strong, and for a time put Sherman in considerable jeopardy. A stand was made by Hardee at Averasboro, North Carolina, on March 16, and a stubborn little battle took place, ending in Hardee's being pushed out of his intrenchments.
Sherman meanwhile was on the march to Goldsboro and the result of this engagement gave him a perilous sense of security. He ordered his corps commanders to march in the easiest manner and by the nearest roads to Goldsboro, as a result of which his army became separated and spread out over a distance of ten or twelve miles. He had no idea that Johnston was marching upon him swiftly and stealthily during the night and next day was hovering near, waiting for a favorable opportunity to strike.
The blow came on the morning of the 19th, falling heavily on Slocum's wing of the army, which suddenly found itself in the face of Johnston's whole host. It was a genuine surprise and only stubborn fighting enabled the troops to hold their own until help could reach them. The battle continued all day, the seasoned veterans on both sides fighting with fury. Only the rapid hurrying up of the scattered divisions saved Sherman from a disastrous defeat. As he says, his men received “six distinct assaults by the combined forces of Hoke, Hardee, and Cheatham, under the immediate command of General Johnston himself, without giving an inch of ground, and doing good
execution on the enemy's ranks, especially with our artillery, the enemy having little or none."
Thus ended the battle of Bentonville, both sides holding their own ground and neither able to claim a victory.
a memorable contest, brilliantly fought, and its whole inception and progress showed the ability of Johnston as a soldier. The manæuvres of the next two days caused him to withdraw, convinced that his chance of beating Sherman had vanished. It was the last battle in that section of the Confederacy. Not many days passed before the news of Lee's surrender reached the armies, and on the 24th of April Johnston, knowing that the cause of the Confederacy was at an end and that further fighting would be mere murder, surrendered to Sherman, receiving the same terms that had been granted to General Lee.
The remainder of General Johnston's career was a quiet one, with no incident specially calling for mention. He engaged after the war in the railroad and insurance business, and in 1877 was elected to Congress from Richmond. President Cleveland afterward appointed him United States commissioner of railroads. He made his home at Savannah, Georgia, and was active in endeavoring to improve the industries of the South. Death came to end his career on the 21st of March, 1891.
PHILIP H. SHERIDAN, THE HERO OF
THE RIDE FROM WINCHESTER
Among the many able soldiers whom the Civil War produced there was none more admired than Sheridan, the hard rider and resistless fighter. He well deserved the title of the “ Whirlwind of the Shenandoah Valley.” Grant says of him: “As a soldier there is no man living greater than Sheridan. He belongs to the very first class of captains, not only of our army, but of the world. I rank him with Napoleon and Frederick and the great commanders of history.” This is high praise, but Sheridan did much to deserve it.
Philip Henry Sheridan was of Irish descent, his father coming from Ireland three years before, on the 6th of March, 1831, Philip was born in the Ohio town of Somerset. The family was poor, and the boy had to work in the village stores, getting what little education he could. He was of the true Irish spirit, fond alike of a frolic or a fight, making friends of everybody, a born soldier, delighting in organizing the village boys into companies and drilling them severely. History he loved to read, especially the stories of wars. No doubt he took an intense interest in the battles of the Mexican war, and shortly afterwards, in 1848, he was fortunate in getting admission to West Point. Here his old spirit broke out, he had quarrels, he broke rules, and succeeded in getting suspended for a year, not graduating till 1853
As a soldier he spent years in the far West, where he succeeded in seeing some fighting against the Indians,
a party of whom attacked the blockhouse at the Cascades of the Columbia. With the dragoons and a few companies of the Ninth Infantry he drove them off. He won compliments for his gallantry in this action and was put in command over the Indian reservation. Such was his position in 1861, when the Civil War began.
Sheridan was called to the East, where every soldier was now needed, a lieutenant still, but modestly hoping that he "might get a captaincy out of the thing.” This rank was given him on June 18, he being put in command of a company in the thirteenth infantry, of which William T. Sherman was the colonel. He was next appointed quartermaster and commissary on the staff of General Curtis, then in Missouri, but in this post did not give satisfaction, and was sent to General Halleck, then advancing on Corinth, after the battle of Shiloh. Halleck had served in California and knew something of Sheridan, and on May 25, 1862, had him appointed colonel of the second Michigan cavalry.
Sheridan had now gained a position in which he was able to show what was in him. His fine fighting at Brownville, Mississippi, on July 1, won him promotion to brigadier-general of volunteers, and on October 8 he commanded a division in the battle of Perryville, where he distinguished himself alike for daring and ability in handling troops. It was, however, in the desperate two days' battle at Stone River that he had the first opportunity to make his powers known. Here his division held the key of the position for three hours, his three brigade commanders and nearly half his men falling, yet he fighting on with a stubborn resolution that went far to win the day. For his gallantry in this fight he was made a major-general of volunteers.