« PreviousContinue »
with its enclosure, in reference to the women, children, and others, whom you have seen proper to expel from their homes in the city of Atlanta. Had you seen proper to let the matter rest there, I would gladly have allowed your letter to close this correspondence, and without your expressing it in words, would have been willing to believe that while "the interest of the United States," in your opinion, compelled you to an act of barbarous cruelty, you regretted the necessity, and we would have dropped the subject. But you have chosen to indulge in statements which I feel compelled to notice, at least so far as to signify my dissent, and not allow silence in regard to them to be construed as acquiescence. I see nothing in your communication, which induces me to modify the language of condemnation with which I characterized your order. It but strengthens me in the opinion that it stands "pre-eminent in the dark history of war, for studied and ingenious cruelty." Your original order was stripped of all pretence; you announced the edict for the sole reason that it was "to the interest of the United States." This alone, you offered to us and the civilized world as an all-sufficient reason for disregarding the laws of God and man. You say that " General Johnston himself, very wisely and properly removed the families all the way from Dalton down." It is due to the gallant soldier and gentleman to say that no act of his distinguished career gives the least color to your unfounded aspersion upon his conduct. He depopulated no villages, nor towns, nor cities, either friendly or hostile. He offered and extended friendly aid to his unfortunate fellow-citizens, who desired to flee from your fraternal embrace. You are unfortunate in your attempt to find a justification for this act of cruelty, either in the defence of Jonesboro' by General Hardee, or of Atlanta by myself. General Hardee defended his position in front of Jonesboro' at the expense of injury to the houses, an ordinary, proper, and justifiable act of war. I defended Atlanta at the same risk and cost. If there was any fault in either case, it was your own, in not giving notice, especially in the case of Atlanta, of your purpose to shell the town, which is usual in war among civilized nations. No inhabitant of either town was expelled from his home and fireside by either General Hardee or myself, and therefore your recent order can find no support from the conduct of either of us. I feel no other emotion than pain in reading that portion of your letter which attempts to justify your shelling of Atlanta without notice, under the pretence that I defended Atlanta upon a line so close to town that every cannon-shot, and many musket-balls from your line of investment, that overshot their mark, went into the habitations of women and children. I made no complaint of your firing into Atlanta in any way you thought proper. I make none now, but there are a hundred thousand living witnesses that you fired into the habitations of women and children for weeks, firing far above and miles
beyond my lines of defence. I have too good an opinion, founded both upon observation and experience, of the skill of your artillerists, to credit the assertion, that they, for several weeks, unintentionally fired too high for my modest field-works, and slaughtered women and children by accident and want of skill.
The residue of your letter is rather discursive. It opens a wide field for the discussion of questions which I do not feel are committed to me. I am only a General of one of the armies of the Confederate States, charged with military operations in the field, under the direction of my superior officers, and I am not called upon to discuss with you the cause of the present war, or the political questions which led to or resulted from it. These grave and important questions have been committed to far abler hands than mine, and I shall only refer to them so far as to repel any unjust conclusion which might be drawn from my silence. You charge my country with " daring and badgering you to battle." The truth is, we sent commissioners to you, respectfully offering a peaceful separation, before the first gun was fired on either side. You say we insulted your flag. The truth is we fired upon it and those who fought under it when you came to our doors upon the mission of subjugation. You say we seized upon your forts and arsenals, and made prisoners of the garrisons sent to protect us against negroes and Indians. The truth is, we expelled by force of arms insolent intruders, and took possession of our own forts and arsenals, to resist your claim to dominion over masters, slaves and Indians, all of whom are to this day, with unanimity unexampled in the history of the world, warring against your attempts to become their masters. You say that we tried to force Missouri and Kentucky into rebellion in spite of themselves. truth is, my Government, from the beginning of this struggle to this hour, has again and again offered, before the whole world, to leave it to the unbiassed will of those States, and all others, to determine for themselves whether they will cast their destiny with your Government or ours; and your Government has resisted this fundamental principle of free institutions with the bayonet, and labors daily by force and fraud, to fasten its hateful tyranny upon the unfortunate freemen of these States. You say we falsified the vote of Louisiana. The truth is, Louisiana not only separated herself from your Government by nearly a unanimous vote of her people, but has vindicated the act upon every battle-field from Gettysburg to the Sabine, and has exhibited an heroic devotion to her decision which challenges the admiration and respect of every man capable of feeling sympathy for the oppressed, or admiration for heroic valor. You say that we turned loose pirates to plunder your unarmed ships. The truth is, when you robbed us of our part of the navy, we built and bought a few vessels, hoisted the flag of our country, and swept the seas in
defiance of your navy, around the whole circumference of the globe. You say we have expelled Union families by thousands. The truth is, not a single family has been expelled from the Confederate States, that I am aware of, but on the contrary, the moderation of our Government toward traitors has been a fruitful theme of denunciation by its enemies, and many wellYou say my meaning friends of our cause. Government, by acts of Congress, has confiscated "all debts due Northern men for goods sold and delivered." The truth is, Congress gave due and ample time to your merchants and traders to depart from our shores with their ships, goods, and effects, and only sequestered the property of our enemies in retaliation for their acts declaring us traitors, and confiscating our property wherever their power extended, either in their country or our own. Such are your accusations, and such are the facts, known of all men to be true.
You order into exile the whole population of
You come into our country with your army
Having answered the points forced upon me
Your obedient servant,
F. H. WIGFALL,
J. B. HOOD,
THE CITIZENS' PETITION.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA, September 11
SIR: The undersigned, mayor and two memMajor-General W. T. Sherman : bers of council for the city of Atlanta, for the the said city, to express their wants and wishes, time being the only legal organ of the people of ask leave most earnestly, but respectfully, to peAt first view it struck us that tition you to reconsider the order requiring them to leave Atlanta. the measure would involve extraordinary hardship and loss, but since we have seen the prac tical execution of it, so far as it has progressed, and the individual condition of many of the people, and heard their statements as to the inconveniences, loss, and suffering attending it, we are satisfied that the amount of it will involve, in the aggregate, consequences appalling and heartrending. Many poor women are in an advanced state of pregnancy, others now having young children, and whose husbands are either in the army, prisoners or dead. Some say: I have such a one sick at home; who will wait on them when I am gone? Others say: What are we to do? we have no homes to go to, and no means to buy, build, or to rent any-no parents, friends or relatives to go to. Another says: I will try and take this or that article of property, though I need them much. We reply to them, Genbut such and such things I must leave behind, eral Sherman will carry your property to RoughAnd they will reply to that: But I want to and-Ready, and General Hood will take it thence on. leave the railroad at such a point, and cannot get conveyance from there on. We only refer to a few facts to try to illustrate in part how this measure will operate in practice. As you advanced, the people north of us fell back, and before your arrival here a large portion of the people had retired south, so that the country south of this is already crowded, and without houses to accommodate the people; and we are informed that many are now staying in churches and other for the people still here (mostly women and out-buildings. This being so, how is it possible children) to find any shelter? and how can they live through the winter in the woods-no shelter or subsistence-in the midst of strangers who know them not, and without the power to assist them, if they were willing to do so? This is but You know the woe, the horror, and a feeble picture of the consequences of this
the suffering, cannot be described by words. Imagination can only conceive of it, and we ask you to take these things into consideration. We know your mind and time are constantly occupied with the duties of your command, which almost deters us from asking your attention to this matter; but though it might be that you had not considered the subject in all its awful consequences, and that on more reflection you, we hope, would not make that people an exception to all mankind, for we know of no such instance ever having occurred; surely none such in the United States; and what has this helpless people done, that they are at once to be driven from their homes, to wander as strangers, outcasts and exiles, and to subsist on charity? We do not know, as yet, the number of people still here. Of those who are here, we are satisfied a respectable number, if allowed to remain at home, could subsist for several months without assistance, and a respectable number for a much longer period, and who might not need assistance at any time. In conclusion, we most earnestly and solemnly petition you to reconsider that order, or modify it, and suffer this unfortunate people to remain at home and enjoy what little means they have.
JAMES M. CALHOUN,
E. E. RAWSON,
GENERAL SHERMAN'S REPLY.
HEADQUARTERS DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
James M. Calhoun, Mayor, E. E. Rawson, and
GENTLEMEN: I have your letter of the eleventh, in the nature of a petition to revoke my orders removing all the inhabitants from Atlanta. I have read it carefully, and give full credit to your statements of the distress that will be occasioned by it, and yet shall not revoke my order, simply because my orders are not designed to meet the humanities of the case, but to prepare for the future struggles in which millions, yea hundreds of millions, of good people outside of Atlanta have a deep interest. We must have Peace, not only in Atlanta, but in all America. To secure this we must stop the war that now desolates our once happy and favored country. To stop war, we must defeat the rebel armies that are arrayed against the laws and Constitution, which all must respect and obey. To defeat these armies we must prepare the way to reach them in their recesses, provided with the arms and instruments which enable us to accomplish our purpose.
Now, I know the vindictive nature of our enemy, and that we may have years of military operations from this quarter, and, therefore,
deem it wise and prudent to prepare in time. The use of Atlanta for warlike purposes is not consistent with its character as a home for families. There will be no manufactures, commerce or agriculture here for the maintenance of families, and sooner or later want will compel the inhabitants to go. Why not go now, when all the arrangements are completed for the transfer, instead of waiting till the plunging shot of contending armies will renew the scenes of the past mouth? Of course, I do not appre hend any such thing at this moment, but you do not suppose this army will be here till the war is over. I cannot discuss this subject with you fairly, because I cannot impart to you what I propose to do, but I assert that my military plans make it necessary for the inhabitants to go away, and I can only renew my offer of services to make their exodus in any direction as easy and comfortable as possible. You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will.
War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war on our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a peeople can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices today than any of you to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on till we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The United States does and must assert its authority wherever it has power; if it relaxes one bit to preserve it, it is gone, and I know that such is not the national feeling. This feeling assumes various shapes, but always comes back to that of Union. Once admit the Union, once more acknowledge the authority of the National Government, and instead of devoting your houses, and streets, and roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army at once become your protectors and supporters, shielding you from danger, let it come from what quarter it may. I know that a few individuals cannot resist a torrent of error and passion such as has swept the South into rebellion; but you can point out, so that we may know, those who desire a government, and those who insist on war and its desolation. You might as well appeal against the thunderstorm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home is to stop this war, which can alone be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride. We don't want your negroes, or your horses, or your houses, or your land, or anything you have; but we do want, and will have, a just obedience to the laws of the United States. That we will have, and if it involves the destruction of your improvements we cannot help it. have heretofore read public sentiment in your newspapers, that live by falsehood and excitement, and the quicker you seek for truth in other quarters, the better for you.
I repeat, then, that by the original compact
of government, the United States had certain rights in Georgia, which have never been relinquished, and never will be; that the South began war by seizing forts, arsenals, mints, custom-houses, etc., long before Lincoln was installed, and before the South had one jot or title of provocation. I, myself, have seen in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, hundreds and thousands of women and children fleeing from your armies and desperadoes, hungry, and with bleeding feet. In Memphis, Vicksburg, and Mississippi, we fed thousands upon thousands of the families of rebel soldiers left on our hands, and whom we could not see starve. Now, that war comes home to you, you feel very different-you deprecate its horrors, but did not feel them when you sent carloads of soldiers and ammunition, and moulded shells and shot to carry war into Kentucky and Tennessee, and desolate the homes of hundreds and thousands of good-people, who only ask to live in peace at their old homes, and under the government of their inheritance. But these comparisons are idle. I want peace, and believe it can only be reached through Union and war, and I will ever conduct war purely with a view to perfect an early suc
But, my dear sirs, when that peace does come, you may call on me for anything. Then will I share with you the last cracker, and watch with you to shield your homes and families against danger from any quarter. Now, you must go, and take with you the old and feeble; feed and nurse them, and build for them in more quiet places proper habita tions to shield them against the weather, until the mad passions of men cool down and allow the Union and peace once more to settle on your old homes at Atlanta.
GENERAL LOGAN'S REPORTS.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
GENERAL: I have the honor to report the following summary of the result of the battle of the twenty-second ult:
teenth corps was four hundred and twenty-two. We have over one thousand of their wounded in our hands-a larger number of wounded having been carried off during the night, after the engagement, by them. We captured eighteen stands of colors, and have them now; also captured five thousand stand arms. The attack was made on our line seven times, and was seven times repulsed. Hood's, Hardee's corps and Wheeler's cavalry engaged us. We have sent to the rear one thousand prisoners, includ ing thirty-three commissioned officers of high rank. We still occupy the field, and the troops are in fine spirits.
Our total loss is 3,521; the enemy's dead, thus far reported, buried or delivered to them, 3,220; total prisoners sent north, 1,017; total prisoners wounded in our hands, 1,000; estimated loss of enemy, at least 10,000. Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
JNO. A. LOGAN,
To Major-General W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS, BEFORE ATLANTA, July 29, 1864. COLONEL: I have the honor to report that, in pursuance of orders, I moved my command in position on the right of the Seventeenth Army Corps, which was the extreme right of the army in the field, on the night and morning of the twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth instant, and during my advance in line of battle to a more desirable position we were met by the rebel infantry from Hardee's and Lee's corps, who made a desperate and determined attack at half-past eleven o'clock A. M., on the twentyeighth.
My lines were only protected by logs and rails, hastily thrown in front of them. The first onset was received and checked, and the battle commenced, and lasted until about three o'clock in the afternoon. During that time six successive charges were made, which were six times gallantly repulsed, each time with fearful loss to the enemy.
Later in the evening my lines were several times assaulted vigorously, but each time with like result. The most of the fighting occurred on Generals Harrow's and Smith's fronts, which formed the centre and right of the command. The troops could not have displayed more courage nor greater determination not to yield. Had they shown less they would have been driven from their position. Brigadier-Generals Wood's, Harrow's, and Smith's division commands are entitled to equal credit for gallant conduct and skill in repelling the assaults. My thanks are due to Major-Generals Blair and Dodge for sending me reinforcements at a time when they were much needed.
Total loss in killed, wounded and missing, three thousand five hundred and twenty-one, and ten pieces of artillery. We have buried and delivered to the enemy under a flag of truce sent in by them, in front of the Seventeenth Army Corps, one thousand of their killed; the number of their dead in front of the Fourth division of the same corps, including those on ground not now occupied by our troops, General Blair reports will swell the number of their dead on his front to two thousand. The number of dead buried in front of the Fifteenth corps, up to this hour, is three hundred and sixty; and the commanding officer My losses are fifty killed, four hundred and reports at least as many more are unburied. thirty-nine wounded, and fifty-three missing; The number of dead buried in front of the Six-aggregate, five hundred and seventy-two.
rebel loss in prisoners captured was three thou sand two hundred. The known dead of the enemy in front of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth corps and one division of the Seventeenth corps was two thousand one hundred and forty-two. The other divisions of the Seventeenth corps repulsed six assaults of the enemy before they fell back, and which will swell the rebel loss in killed to at least three thousand. The latest reports state that we buried over three thousand two hundred rebels killed in this fight. There were captured from the enemy in this battle stands of arms.
The division of General Harrow captured five battle-flags. There were about fifteen hundred or two thousand muskets captured. One hundred and six prisoners were captured, exclusive of seventy-three wounded, who have been removed to hospitals, and are being taken care of by our surgeons. Five hundred and sixty-five rebels, up to this time, have been buried, and about two hundred are supposed to be yet unburied. Large numbers were undoubtedly carried away during the night, as the enemy did not withdraw until nearly daylight. The enemy's loss could not have been, in my judg-eighteen stands of colors and five thousand ment, less than six or seven thousand.
I am, very respectfully.
JOHN A. LOGAN,
By command of
W. D. WHIPPLE,
GENERAL HOWARD'S ORDER.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE
General Field Orders No. 10.
Divine favor that I congratulate this noble army It is with pride, gratification and a sense of upon the successful termination of the campaign.
Your officers claim for you a wonderful record for example, a march of four hundred miles, thirteen distinct engagements, four thousand prisoners, and twenty stands of colors captured, and three thousand of the enemy's dead buried in your front.
Your movements upon the enemy's flank have been bold and successful; first upon Resaca, second upon Dallas, third upon Kenesaw, fourth upon Nickajack, fifth, via Roswell, upon the Augusta railroad, sixth upon Ezra Church, to the south-west of Atlanta, and seventh upon Jonesboro' and the Macon railroad. Atlanta was evacuated while you were fighting at Jonesboro'.
The country may never know with what patience, labor and exposure, you have tugged away at every natural and artificial obstacle that an enterprising and confident enemy could interpose. The terrific battles you have fought may never be realized or credited, still a glad acclaim is already greeting you from the Government and people, in view of the results you have helped to gain, and I believe a sense of the magnitude of the achievements of the last hundred days will not abate, but increase with time and history.
The Major-General commanding the army congratulates the troops upon the brilliant success attending the Union arms in the late battles. In the battle of the twentieth instant, in which the Twentieth corps, one division of the Fourth corps, and part of the Fourteenth corps were engaged, the total Union loss in killed, wounded and missing was one thousand seven hundred and thirty-three. In front of the Twentieth corps there were put out of the fight six thousand rebels; five hundred and sixty-three of the enemy were buried by our own troops, and the rebels were permitted to bury two hundred and fifty. The Second division of the Fourth corps repulsed seven different assaults of the enemy, Our rejoicing is tempered, as it always must with light loss to themselves, and which must be, by the soldier's sorrow at the loss of his have swelled the number of dead buried by the companions-in-arms. On every hillside, in every rebels to beyond three hundred. We also cap-valley, throughout your long and circuitous tured seven stands of colors. No official report route, from Dalton to Jonesboro', you have buhas been received of the part taken in the battle ried them. by the Fourteenth corps. In the battle of the twenty-second instant the total Union loss in killed, wounded and missing was three thousand five hundred, and ten pieces of artillery. The
Your trusted and beloved commander fell in your midst; his name, the name of McPherson, carries with it a peculiar feeling of sorrow. trust the impress of his character is upon you