« PreviousContinue »
Columbus, Mississippi. Avoiding the enemy's cavalry, Colonel Palmer left Leighton on the thirty-first December, moved rapidly via La Grange and Russellville, and by the Cotton-gin road, and overtook the enemy's pontoon train, consisting of two hundred wagons and seventyeight pontoon boats, when ten miles out from Russellville. This he destroyed. Having learned of a large supply train on its way to Tuscaloosa, Colonel Palmer started on the first of January toward Aberdeen, Mississippi, with a view of cutting it off, and succeeded in surprising it about ten P. M. on the same evening, just over the line in Mississippi. The train consisted of one hundred and ten wagons and five hundred mules, the former of which were burned, and the latter sabred or shot. Returning, via Tollgate, Alabama, and on the old Military and Hacksburg roads, the enemy under Roddy, Biffles, and Russel, was met near Russellville and along Bear creek, while another force under Armstrong was reported to be in pursuit of our forces Evading the force in his front by moving off to the right, under cover of the darkness, Colonel Palmer pushed for Moulton, coming upon Russel when within twelve miles of Moulton and near Thornhill, attacked him unexpectedly, utterly routing him, and capturing some prisoners, besides burning five wagons. The command then proceeded to Decatur without molestation, and reached that place on the sixth of January, after a march of two hundred and fifty miles. One hundred and fifty prisoners were captured, and nearly one thousand stand of arms destroyed. Colonel Palmer's loss was one killed and two wounded. General Hood, while investing Nashville, had sent into Kentucky a force of cavalry numbering about eight hundred men, and two guns, under the command of Brigadier General Lyon, with instructions to operate against our railroad communications with Louisville. McCook's division of cavalry was detached on the fourteenth December, and sent to Bowling Green and Franklin, to protect the road. After capturing Hopkinsville, Lyon was met by Lagrange's brigade near Greensburg, and after a sharp fight, was thrown into confusion, losing one gun, some prisoners and wagons; the enemy succeeded, however, by making a wide detour, via Elizabethtown and Glasgow, in reaching the Cumberland river, and crossing at Burkville, from where General Lyon proceeded, via McMinnville and Winchester, Tennessee, to Larkinsville, Alabama, on the Memphis and Charleston railroad, and attacked the little garrison at Scottsboro' on the tenth of January. Lyon was here again repulsed, and his command scattered, our troops pursuing him toward the Tennessee river, which, however, he, with about two hundred of his men and his remaining piece of artillery, succeeded in crossing. The rest of his command scattered in squads among the mountains. Colonel W. J. Palmer, commanding Fifteenth Pennsylvania cavalry, with one hundred and fifty men, crossed the river at Paint Rock and pursued Lyon to near Red
Hill, on the road from Warrentown to Tuscaloosa, at which place he surprised his camp during the night of the fourteenth January, capturing Lyon himself, his one piece of artillery, and about one hundred of his men, with their horses. Lyon being in bed at the time of his capture, asked his guard to permit him to dress himself, which was acceded to, when, watching his opportunity, Lyon seized a pistol, shot the sentinel dead upon the spot, and escaped in the darkness. This was the only casualty during the expedition.
To Colonel Palmer and his command is accorded the credit of giving Hood's army the last blow of the campaign, at a distance of over two hundred miles from where we first struck the enemy on the fifteenth December, near Nashville.
To all my sub-commanders (Major-Generals Schofield, Stanley, Rousseau, Steedman, Smith, and Wilson, and Brigadier-General T. J. Wood), their officers and men, I give expression of my thanks and gratitude for their generous selfsacrifice and manly endurance, under the most trying circumstances and in all instances. Too much praise cannot be accorded to an army which, hastily made up from the fragments of three separate commands, can successfully contend against a force numerically greater than itself, and of more thoroughly solid organization, inflicting on it a most crushing defeatalmost an annihilation.
Receiving instructions unexpectedly from General Sherman in September to repair to Tennessee, and assume general control of the defenses of our line of communication in the rear of the Army of the Mississippi, and not anticipating a separation from my immediate command, the greater number of my staff officers were left behind at Atlanta, and did not have an opportunity to join me, after General Sherman determined on making his march through Georgia, before the communications were cut. I had with me Brigadier-General W. D. Whipple, my Chief of Staff; Surgeon G. E. Cooper, Medical Director; Captains Henry Stone, Henry M. Cist, and Robert H. Ramsay, Assistant Adjutants-General; Captain Henry Bernan, Acting Chief Commissary; Captains John P. Willard and S. C. Kellogg, Aids-de-Camp; and Lieuteuant M. Kelly, Chief of Couriers; all of whom rendered important service during the battles of the fifteenth and sixteenth, and during the pursuit. I cordially commend their services to favorable consideration.
There were captured from the enemy during the various actions of which the foregoing report treats, thirteen thousand one hundred and eighty-nine prisoners of war, including seven general officers and nearly one thousand other officers of all grades, seventy-two pieces of serviceable artillery, and battle-flags. During the same period over two thousand deserters from the enemy were received, to whom the oath was administered. Our own losses will not exceed ten thousand in killed, wounded, and missing.
1 716 14 22 212 601 1,887 9,008
the oath has been administered from
Colonel and P. M. G.
OFFICE CHIEF OF ORDNANCE,
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, February 5, 1865.
GENERAL: In compliance with your instruc77 tions of the 20th ultimo, I have the honor to submit the following report of ordnance material captured from the enemy by the army under your command, between the first October, 1864, ..11,857 and the twentieth January, 1865, all of which material has been received by the Ordnance Department:
Report of Rebel Deserters received at Nashville, Tennessee, from September 7, 1864, up to the 20th of January, 1865.
5 15 61
23 106 1,175
Forty-two light 12-pounder guns, rebel model. Seven light 12-pounder guns, United States model.
Seven light 12-pounder howitzers, United States model.
Three 3-inch rifles, rebel model.
Two 10-pounder Parrotts, calibre 2.9 inch, United States model.
One 3-inch wrought-iron rifle, United States model.
Two 6-pounder smooth-bore guns, United States model.
Fifty-nine field carriages and limbers complete.
Two field carriages and limbers without 1 wheels.
Prisoners of War exchanged during the month
of September, 1864.
Two field carriages, no limbers.
Three thousand seventy-nine infantry small arms of different models, no bayonets.
Two hundred and sixty-two bayonets of different models.
One thousand two hundred and eight cartridge boxes, infantry.
Two hundred and thirty-eight cartridgebox plates.
Two hundred and thirty-four cartridge-box belts.
One hundred and forty-one cartridge-box belt-plates.
One hundred and seventy-eight waist belts.
Two 12-pounder guns, carriages and limbers, were captured by Major-General Milroy at freesboro, Tennessee, December, 1864.
Kilpatrick's division of cavalry, to the Atlantic slope, aiming to approach the grand theater of war in Virginia by the time the season would admit of military operations in that latitude. The first lodgement on the coast was made at Savannah, strongly fortified and armed, and valuable to us as a good sea-port, with its navigable Mur-stream inland. Near a month was consumed there in refitting the army, and in making the proper disposition of captured property, and other local matters, but by the fifteenth of January I was all ready to resume the march. Preliminary to this General Howard, commanding the right wing, was ordered to embark his command at Thunderbolt, transport it to Beaufort, South Carolina, and thence by the fifteenth of Three 12-pounder guns, carriages, and lim- January make a lodgement on the Charleston bers; one 10-pounder Parrott rifle and car- railroad, at or near Pocotaligo. This was accomriage; one 3-inch wrought iron rifle and car-plished punctually, at little cost, by the Sevenriage, United States, were captured at Colum-teenth corps, Major-General Blair, and a depot bia, Tennessee.
One 12-pounder howitzer, carriage and limber, was captured by Colonel Palmer from the command of the rebel General Lyon, near Huntsville, Alabama.
Two 6-pounder smooth-bore guns, carriages and limbers, were captured by Major-General Steedman, near Decatur, Alabama.
All the remaining artillery and carriages, and all the small arms and accoutrements were captured before Nashville, on the fifteenth and sixteenth December, 1864.
The larger number of ammunition chests captured were filled with ammunition in good condition, and six wagons loaded with similar ammunition were captured before this place.
I am informed that there are, in addition to what are reported above, four guns and carriages now at Pulaski, Tennessee, and three or four guns in the Duck river at Columbia, Tennessee, all captured from the enemy or abandoned by him in his retreat to the Tennessee river.
GOLDSBORO, N. C., April 4, 1865. GENERAL: I must now endeavor to group the events of the past three months, connected with the armies under my command, in order that you may have as clear an understanding of the late campaign as the case admits of. The reports of the subordinate commanders will enable you to fill up the picture.
I have heretofore explained how, in the progress of our arms, I was enabled to leave in the West an army under Major-General George H. Thomas of sufficient strength to meet emergencies in that quarter, while in person I conducted another army, composed of the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Seventeenth, and Twentieth corps, and
for supplies was established near the mouth of Pocotaligo creek, with easy water communication back to Hilton Head.
The left wing, Major-General Slocum, and the cavalry, Major-General Kilpatrick, were ordered to rendezvous about the same time near Robertsville and Coosawhatchie, South Carolina, with a depot of supplies at Pureysburg, or Sister's Ferry, on the Savannah river. General Slocum had a good pontoon bridge constructed opposite the city, and the "Union Causeway" leading through the low rice fields opposite Savannah was repaired and "corduroyed," but before the time appointed to start, the heavy rains of January had swelled the river, broken the pontoon bridge, and overflowed the whole "bottom," so that the causeway was four feet under water, and General Slocum was compelled to look higher up for a passage over the Savannah river. He moved up to Sister's Ferry, but even there the river with its overflowed bottoms was near three miles wide, and he did not succeed in getting his whole wing across until during the first week of February.
In the mean time General Grant had sent me Grover's division of the Nineteenth corps to garrison Savannah, and had drawn the Twentythird corps, Major-General Schofield, from Tennessee, and sent it to reinforce the conimands of Major-Generals Terry and Palmer, operating on the coast of North Carolina, to prepare the way for my coming.
On the eighteenth of January I transferred the forts and city of Savannah to Major-General Foster, commanding the Department of the South, imparted to him my plans of operations, and instructed him how to follow my movements inland, by occupying in succession the city of Charleston and such other points along the sea-coast as would be of any military value to us. The combined naval and land forces under Admiral Porter and General Terry had, on the fifteenth of January, captured Fort Fisher and the rebel forts at the mouth of Cape Fear river, giving me an additional point of security on the sea-coast. But I had already resolved in
my own mind, and had so advised General Grant, that I would undertake at one stride to to make Goldsboro, and open communication with the sea by the Newbern railroad, and had ordered Colonel W. W. Wright, Superintendent of Military Railroads, to proceed in advance to Newbern, and to be prepared to extend the railroad out from Newbern to Goldsboro by the fifteenth of March.
On the nineteenth of January all preparations were complete and the orders of march given. My Chief Quartermaster and Commissary, Generals Easton and Beckwith, were ordered to complete the supplies at Sisters' Ferry and Pocotaligo, and then to follow our movement coastwise, looking for my arrival at Goldsboro, North Carolina, about the fifteenth March, and opening communication with me from Morehead City.
On the twenty-second of January I embarked at Savannah for Hilton Head, where I held a conference with Admiral Dahlgren, United States Navy, and Major-General Foster, commanding the Department of the South, and next day proceeded to Beaufort, riding out thence on the twenty-fourth to Pocotaligo, where the Seventeenth corps, Major-General Blair, was encamped. The Ffteenth corps was somewhat scattered Wood's and Hazen's divisions at Beaufort, John E. Smith marching from Savannah by the coast road, and Corse still at Savannah, cut off by the storms and freshet in the river. On the twentyfifth a demonstration was made against the Combahee ferry and railroad bridge across the Salkehatchie, merely to amuse the enemy, who had evidently adopted that river as his defensive line against our supposed objective, the city of Charleston. I reconnoitered the line in person, and saw that the heavy rains had swollen the river so that water stood in the swamps, for a breadth of more than a mile, at a depth of from one to twenty feet. Not having the remotest intention of approaching Charleston, a comparatively small force was able, by seeming preparation to cross over, to keep in their front a considerable force of the enemy disposed to contest our advance on Charleston. On the twenty-seventh I rode to the camp of General Hatch's division of Foster's command, on the Tullafuiney and Coosawhatchie rivers, and directed those places to be evacuated, as no longer of That division was then moved any use to us. to Pocotaligo to keep up the feints already begun, until we should with the right wing move higher up and cross the Salkehatchie about Rivers' or Broxton's bridge.
On the twenty-ninth I learned that the roads back of Savannah had at last become sufficiently free of the flood to admit of General Slocum putting his wing in motion, and that he was already approaching Sisters' ferry, whither a gunboat, the Pontiac, Captain Luce, kindly furnished by Admiral Dahlgren, had preceded him to cover the crossing. In the meantime three divisions of the Fifteenth corps had closed up at Pocotaligo, and the right wing had loaded its
wagons and was ready to start. I therefore di-
The Seventeenth and Fifteenth corps drew
threatening Branchville, force the enemy to burn the railroad bridge, and Walker's bridge below, across the Edisto. All hands were at once set to work to destroy railroad track. From the seventh to the tenth of February this work was thoroughly prosecuted by the Seventeenth corps from the Edisto up to Bamberg, and by the Fifteenth corps from Bamberg up to Blackville. In the meantime General Kilpatrick had brought his cavalry rapidly by Barnwell to Blackville, and had turned toward Aiken, with orders to threaten Augusta, but not to be drawn needlessly into a serious battle. This he skil fully accomplished, skirmishing heavily with Wheeler's cavalry, first at Blackville and afterward at Williston and Aiken. General Williams, with two divisions of the Twentieth corps, marched to the South Carolina railroad at Graham Station on the eighth, and General Slocum reached Blackville on the tenth. The destruction of the railroad was continued by the left wing from Blackville up to Windsor. By the eleventh of February all the army was on the railroad from Midway to Johnson's sta. tion, thereby dividing the enemy's forces, which still remained at Branchville and Charleston on the one hand, Aiken and Augusta on the other.
We then began the movement on Orangeburg. The Seventeenth corps crossed the south fork of Edisto river at Binnaker's bridge and moved straight for Orangeburg, while the Fifteenth corps crossed at Holman's bridge and moved to Poplar Springs in support. The left wing and cavalry were still at work on the railroad, with orders to cross the South Edisto at New and Guignard's bridges, move to the Orangeburg and Edgefield road, and there await the result of the attack on Orangeburg. On the twelfth the Seventeenth corps found the enemy intrenched in front of the Orangeburg bridge, but swept him away by a dash, and followed him, forcing him across the bridge, which was partially burned. Behind the bridge was a battery in position, covered by a cotton and earth parapet, with wings as far as could be seen. General Blair held one division (Giles A. Smith's) close up to Edisto, and moved the other two to a point about two miles below, where he crossed Force's division by a pontoon bridge, holding Mower's in support. As soon as Force emerged from the swamp the enemy gave ground, and Giles Smith's division gained the bridge, crossed over, and occupied the enemy's parapet. He soon repaired the bridge, and by four P. M. the whole corps was in Orangeburg and had begun the work of destruction on the railroad. Blair was ordered to destroy this railroad effectually up to Lewisville, and to push the enemy across the Congaree and force him to burn the bridges, which he did on the fourteenth; and without wasting time or labor on Branchville or Charleston, which I knew the enemy could no longer hold, I turned all the column's strength on Columbia. The Seventeenth corps followed the State
road, and the Fifteenth crossed the North Edisto from Poplar Springs at Schilling's bridge, above the mouth of "Cawcaw Swamp" creek, and took a country road which came into the State road at Zeigler's. On the fifteenth, the Fifteenth corps found the enemy in a strong position at Little Congaree bridge (across Congaree creek), with a tête-de-pont on the south side, and a well-constructed fort on the north side, commanding the bridge with artillery. The ground in front was very bad, level and clear, with a fresh deposit of mud from a recent overflow. General Charles R. Woods, who commanded the leading division, succeeded, however in turning the flank of the tête-de-pont by sending Stone's brigade through a cypress swamp to the left; and following up the retreating enemy promptly, he got possession of the bridge and the fort beyond. The bridge had been partially damaged by fire, and had to be repaired for the passage of artillery, so that night closed in before the head of the column could reach the bridge across Congaree river in front of Columbia. That night the enemy shelled our camps from a battery on the east side of the Congaree above Granby. Early next morning (February sixteen) the head of column reached the bank of the Congaree, opposite Columbia, but too late to save the fine bridge which spanned the river at that point. It was burned by the enemy. While waiting for the pontoons to come to the front we could see people running about the streets of Columbia, and occasionally small bodies of cavalry, but no masses. A single gun of Captain De Grass' battery was firing at their cavalry squads, but I checked his firing, limiting him to a few shots at the unfinished State House walls, and a few shells at the railway depot, to scatter the people who were seen carrying away sacks of corn and meal that we needed. There was no white flag or manifestation of surrender. I directed General Howard not to cross directly in front of Columbia, but to cross the Saluda at the Factory, three miles above, and afterward Broad river, so as to approach Columbia from the north. Within an hour of the arrival of General Howard's head of column at the river opposite Columbia, the head of column of the left wing also appeared, and I directed General Slocum to cross the Saluda at Zion church, and thence to take roads direct for Winnsboro, breaking up en route the railroads and bridges about Alston.
General Howard effected a crossing of the Saluda, near the Factory, on the sixteenth, skirmishing with cavalry, and the same night made a flying bridge across Broad river, about three miles above Columbia, by which he crossed over Stone's brigade, of Wood's division, Fifteenth corps. Under cover of this brigade, a pontoon bridge was laid on the morning of the seventeenth. I was in person at this bridge, and at eleven A. M. learned that the Mayor of Columbia had come out in a carriage, and made a formal surrender of the city to Colonel Stone,