Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

As soon as it became possible to navigate the Potomac I started from Alexandria with the Third division, Twenty-third Army Corps, under command of Major-General J. D. Cox, and reached the mouth of Cape Fear river on the ninth of February, and landed upon the peninsula near Fort Fisher.

GENERAL: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of the troops under my command since January 1, 1865, the date of my last report, addressed to MajorGeneral George H. Thomas, commanding Depart-thousand men, then held a line across the peninment of the Cumberland, under whose command I was then serving.

On the second of January, 1865, I marched with the Twenty-third Army Corps from Columbia, Tennessee, and arrived at Clifton, on the Tennessee river, on the eighth, under orders to embark my troops at that point, and, move to Eastport, Mississippi. But before the embarkation had commenced, I received, January fourteenth, an order from the Lieutenant-General commanding, through the Chief of Staff of the Army, to move with the Twenty-third Army Corps to Annapolis, Maryland. Accordingly ingly the movement was commenced on the following day. The troops moved with their artillery and horses, but without wagons, by steam transports to Cincinnati, Ohio, and thence by rail to Washington, District of Columbia, and Alexandria, Virginia, a second order from Washington having changed the destination from Annapolis.

Although in midwinter, and weather unusually severe, even for that season, the movement was effected without delay, accident, or suffering on the part of the troops. By the thirty-first of January the whole command had arrived at Washington and Alexandria.

Major-General A. H. Terry, with about eight

sula about two miles above the fort, and occupied Smithville and Fort Caswell on the south side of the river, while the naval squadron, under Rear-Admiral Porter, occupied positions in Cape Fear river and off the coast, covering the flanks of General Terry's line.

The enemy occupied Fort Anderson, on the west bank, with a collateral line running to a large swamp about three fourths of a mile distant, and a line opposite Fort Anderson, running across the peninsula from Cape Fear river to Masonboro sound. His position was impregnable against direct attack, and could be turned only by crossing Masonboro sound, above his left, or passing around the swamp which covered his right.

The force I then had seemed too small for so extended a movement as either of those mentioned, but time being important, I determined to make the attempt without waiting for the arrival of more of my troops. On the eleventh of February I pushed forward General Terry's line, supported by General Cox's division, drove in the enemy's pickets, and intrenched in a new position, close enough to the enemy's line to compel him to hold the latter in force. I then made preparation to send a fleet of navy At Alexandria great and unavoidable delay boats and pontoons by sea to a point on the was caused by the freezing of the Potomac, beach above the enemy's position, while a force which rendered its navigation impossible much composed of General Cox's and General Ames' of the time for several weeks. Meanwhile I divisions was to march along the beach in the met the Lieutenant-General commanding at night to the point where the boats were to land, Fortress Monroe, and went with him to the haul them across the beach into the sound, and mouth of Cape Fear river to consult with Rear-cross the latter to the main land in rear of Admiral Porter and Major-General Terry relative to future operations. On my return to Washington an order was issued from the War Department creating the Department of North Carolina, and assigning me to its command.

My instructions from the Lieutenant-General commanding, as well as those received from you, through Major-General Foster, made the ultimate object of my operations the occupation of Goldsboro, the opening of railroad communication between that point and the sea-coast, the accumulation of supplies for your army, and the junction of my force with your main army at or near Goldsboro. Wilmington was made my first objective, because it would afford a valuable auxiliary base to Morehead City, in the event of our junction being made at Goldsboro, as designed, and because its possession by us would be of great value to you in case the movement of the enemy's main army or other circumstances should render advisable a concentration of your army at some point further south than Goldsboro.

Hoke's position. The weather, however, became so stormy as to render the execution of this plan impossible. On the night of February fourteenth I attempted to move the pontoons upon their wagons along the beach with the troops, but the unusually high tides, caused by the heavy sea and wind, made it impracticable to reach the point of crossing before daylight in the morning, when our movement would be discovered by the enemy before a crossing of the sound could be secured. Hence, after a hard night's work, the attempt was abandoned, and I turned attention to the enemy's right, where I would not have to contend with the dif ficulties of both land and sea. General Cox's and General Ames' divisions were crossed over to Smithville, where they were joined by Colonel Moore's brigade of General Couch's division, which had just debarked, and advanced along the main Wilmington road, until they encountered the enemy's position at Fort Anderson and adjacent works. Here two brigades were intrenched to occupy the enemy, while

DOCUMENTS.

General Cox, with his other two brigades and
General Ames' division, started around the
swamp covering the enemy's right, to strike
the Wilmington road in rear of Fort Anderson.
The distance to be travelled was about fifteen
miles. The enemy, warned by his cavalry of
General Cox's movement, hastily abandoned his
works on both sides of the river during the
night of February nineteenth, and fell back be-
hind Town creek on the west, and to a corre-
sponding position, covered by swamps, on the
east. We thus gained possession of the main
defences of Cape Fear river and of Wilmington,
with ten pieces of heavy ordnance and a large
Our loss was but
amount of ammunition.
trifling.

On the following day General Cox pursued
the enemy to Town creek, behind which he was
found intrenched, and had destroyed the only
bridge. General Terry also encountered the
enemy in his new postion, and in force superior
General Ames' division
to General Terry's.
was recrossed to the east bank and joined Gen-
eral Terry on the night of the nineteenth.

On the twentieth General Cox crossed Town creek below the enemy's position, by the use of a single flat boat found in the stream, and by wading through swamps reached the enemy's flank and rear, attacked and routed him, capturing two pieces of artillery, three hundred and seventy-five prisoners, besides the killed and wounded, and dispersed the remainder. During the night General Cox rebuilt the bridge, crossed his artillery, and the next morning pushed on toward Wilmington without opposition.

General Terry was unable to make any further advance, but occupied the attention of all of Hoke's force, so that he could not send any to replace that which Cox had destroyed. On the twenty-first General Cox secured a portion of the enemy's pontoon bridge across Brunswick river, which he had attempted to destroy, put a portion of his troops on to Eagle Island, and threatened to cross the Cape Fear above Wilmington. The enemy at once set fire to his steamers, cotton, and 'military and naval stores, and abandoned the town. Our troops entered without opposition early on the morning of February twenty-second, and General Terry pursued the enemy across North-east river.

Our total loss in the operations from February eleventh to the capture of Wilmington was about two hundred officers and men killed and wounded. That of the enemy was not less than one thousand killed, wounded, and prisoners; fifty-one pieces of heavy ordnance, fifteen light pieces, and a large amount of ammunition fell into our hands.

It affords me pleasure to acknowledge the cordial and constant cooperation of the naval squadron under Rear-Admiral Porter, so far as the nature of the operations would admit.

Having no rolling stock at Wilmington, and being nearly destitute of wagon transportation, I was compelled to operate from Newbern alone

for the capture of Goldsboro. I had already
sent to Newbern about five thousand troops
belonging to the various corps of your amy, and
directed Brigadier-General I. M. Palmer to move,
with as little delay as practicable, with all his
available force toward Kinston, to cover the
workmen engaged in repairing the railroad.
As soon as Wilmington was secured, I also sent
General Ruger's division, Twenty-third Army
Corps, which was then arriving at Cape Fear in-
let by sea, to Morehead City, to reinforce the
column moving from Newbern. On the twenty-
fifth, finding that General Palmer had not moved,
as was expected, I sent Major-General Cox to
take command at Newbern and push forward at

once.

General Couch's division, which had nearly completed its debarkation when Wilmington was captured, was brought to that place, and that division, with General Cox's, temporarily commanded by Brigadier-General Reilly, was prepared as rapidly as possible to join the These arrangements were made because of the column moving from Newbern by a land march. scarcity of both land and sea transportation. It was not until March sixth that I was able to obtain wagons enough, including those belonging to General Terry's command, to move the two divisions from Wilmington to Kinston.

On the sixth, General Couch started with the On the two divisions, Second and Third of the Twenty-third corps, and marched, via Onssame day I went by sea to Morehead City, low and Richland's, for Kinston. and joined General Cox beyond Newbern on the eighth. General Cox had advanced to Wise's forks, about one and a half miles below South-west creek, and the railroad was in rapid process of reconstruction.

The force in front of General Cox, which appeared to consist of Hoke's division and a small body of reserves, had fallen back behind Southwest creek, and General Cox had sent two regiments, under Colonel Upham, Fifteenth Connecticut infantry, to secure the crossing of the creek on the Dover road. The enemy, having been reinforced by a portion of the old Army of above the Dover road, came down in rear of Tennessee, recrossed the creek some distance Colonel Upham's position, and surprised and captured nearly his entire command, about seven hundred men.

The enemy then advanced and endeavored to penetrate between General Carter's and General Palmer's divisions, occupying the Dover road by General Ruger's division, which was just and the railroad respectively, but was checked arriving upon the field. There was no engagement during the day beyond light skirmishing, of the prisoners captured from Colonel Upham, and the loss on either side, with the exception was insignificant.

It being evident that the enemy's force was at least equal to that of General Cox, and that

reinforcements were arriving as rapidly as they could be brought by rail, I directed General Cox to put his troops in position, intrench them securely, and await the arrival of General Couch.

On the ninth, the enemy pressed our lines strongly, and felt for its flanks. Heavy skir

decisive in their results upon the present re-
bellion.
I have the honor to be, General,
Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
Major-General,

Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi.

GENERAL BARRY'S REPORT.

mishing was kept up during the day, but no Major-General W. T. SHERMAN,
assault was made. On the tenth, the enemy
having been largely reinforced, and doubtless
learning of the approach of General Couch's
column. made a heavy attack upon General
Cox's left and centre, but was decisively re-
pulsed, and with heavy loss. Both attacks
were met mainly by General Ruger's division,
a portion of that division having been rapidly
transferred from the centre to the left to meet
the attack there, and then returned to the cen-
tre in time to repel the attack on that portion
of the line. The enemy retreated in confusion
from the field, leaving his killed and wounded,
also a large number of arms and intrenching
tools, and during the night fell back across the
Neuse, and burned the bridge. Our loss in this
engagement was about three hundred killed
and wounded; that of the enemy probably
about fifteen hundred in killed, wounded, and
prisoners. General Couch effected his junction
with General Cox on the following day.

ARTILLERY HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, GOLDSBORO, N. C., March 31, 1865. GENERAL: I have the honor to report the operations of the artillery of the armies under your command during the Carolina campaign of February and March, 1865.

Having no pontoon train I was unable to cross the Neuse until the bridge could be repaired, or the pontoons which had just arrived from the North could be brought by rail from Morehead City. The crossing was effected without opposition on the fourteenth, the enemy having abandoned Kinston and moved rapidly toward Smithfield to join the force under Johnston, which was concentrating to oppose your advance from Fayetteville.

Immediately upon the occupation of Kinston I put a large force of troops to work upon the railroad, in aid of the construction corps under Colonel Wright, rebuilt the wagon bridge over the Neuse, and brought forward supplies preparatory to a further advance.

I moved from Kinston on the morning of the twentieth, and entered Goldsboro with but slight opposition on the evening of the twentyfirst.

The portion of my command which had remained at Wilmington, under Major-General Terry, moved from that point March fifteenth, reached Faison's depot on the twentieth, and in compliance with your orders, moved from that point to Cox's bridge, and secured the crossing of the Neuse on the twenty-second. Your plans for the concentration of your entire army about this place having been fully accomplished on the twenty-third and twenty-fourth, I then had the honor of reporting to you in person, and uniting my troops to their old comrades in arms after a separation of near five months, marked by unparalleled marches and brilliant achievements, which will ever furnish bright pages in military history, and it is hoped proved

In consideration of the peculiarities of the campaign, involving long and rapid marches over bad roads, and at an inclement season of the year, the same precautions which were so advantageously taken for your Savannah campaign of last autumn were again observed. The number of guns was reduced to one per thousand effective bayonets, and each artillery carriage was provided with eight draught animals.

The whole number of field batteries was sixteen, comprising sixty-eight guns, which were distributed and of calibres as follows:

RIGHT WING.

Fifteenth Army Corps......
Seventeenth Army Corps...

LEFT WING.

Fourteenth Army Corps..
Twentieth Army Corps.
Cavalry division..

Total..

20-pounders.

Parrotts.

12-pounders.

3-inch rifles.

4

10

14

8

8

Total.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Including the reserve supply, each gun was furnished with three hundred and fifty rounds of ammunition.

A careful and critical personal inspection, made a few days preceding our departure from Savannah, satisfied me that in all essentials the artillery was in excellent condition for any kind of work. The result fully justified these expectations. During the whole march the artilIery supplied itself, unaided by infantry or cav. alry, with provisions for its officers and men, forage for its animals, and to a great extent with fresh horses and mules captured in the country. A tabular statement is appended to this report, showing the extent to which this unusual artillery service was performed.

No gun or artillery carriage of any description was abandoned, disabled, or at any time even a temporary impediment to the march of the infantry columns a fact the more credita

DOCUMENTS.

ble to the artillery, since in many places the roads were of the worst possible description.

Although the nature of your operations did not, except at the battles of Averysboro and Bentonville, call for any general use of artillery, yet in support of skirmish lines, brushing away cavalry, and covering the crossings of several difficult and important rivers, it was advantageously used at the following times and places, namely:

January twenty, 1865, Pocotaligo, Seventeenth Army Corps.

January twenty-two, 1865, Combahee, Fifteenth Army Corps.

January twenty-nine, 1865, Robertsville, Twentieth Army Corps.

February one, 1865, Hickory Hill, Fifteenth Army Corps.

February two, 1865, Lawtonville, Twentieth Army Corps.

February two, 1865, Whippy Swamp, Seventeenth Army Corps.

February three, 1865, "Store" at Duck creek, Fifteenth Army Corps.

February six, 1865, Little Salkehatchie, Fifteenth Army corps.

February nine, 1865, Binnaker's bridge, Seventeenth Army Corps.

February eleven, 1865, North Edisto, Seventeenth Army Corps.

February fifteen, 1865, Congaree creek, Fifteenth Army Corps.

February sixteen, 1865, Columbia, Fifteenth and Seventeenth Army Corps. February seventeen, 1865, Broad river, Fif teenth Army Corps.

March sixteen, 1865, Little Rockfish creek,
Fifteenth Army Corps.

At the battle of Averysboro, March sixteen,
the batteries of the Twentieth corps were
promptly and judiciously posted by Major Rey-
nolds, the Chief of Artillery of that corps, and
by the precision and rapidity of their fire did
most excellent service in dislodging the ene-
capture of three of his guns.
my from his intrenched line, and the consequent

At the battle of Bentonville, March nineteen, twenty, and twenty-one, it was the fortune of The batteries of the Fourteenth and Twentieth the artillery to play a more conspicuous part. and after the first temporary advantage gained corps were hotly engaged on the nineteenth, battery, not by any fault of its own, lost three by the enemy, in which the Nineteenth Indiana day), they poured in a fire so steady, rapid and of its guns (one of which was recaptured next peated assaults were successfully repulsed. On effective, that all of the enemy's frequently refirst, the batteries of the Fifteenth corps lent the twentieth, and particularly on the twentyin repelling the enemy's assaults, and in inflictmost efficient aid in advancing our own lines, of battle gave abundant proof of the precision ing heavy loss upon him. Both of these fields of our artillery fire.

The following tabular statements will exhibit number of animals captured by the unaided the amounts of provision and forage, and the cers, enlisted men, and animals, the expenditure labors of the artillery, the casualties among offius and captured from the enemy: of ammunition, and the number of guns lost by

Provisions, Animals, Forage, &c.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]
[blocks in formation]

Of these all were serviceable, and about fourfifths were field guns of recent and approved pattern.

Illinois artillery, Chief of Artillery Fourteenth
Army Corps.

I respectfully ask that each of these officers, who have also served faithfully and creditably through the Atlanta and Savannah campaigns, be recommended for promotion by brevet.

The officers of my staff, Major Dickson, Inspector of Artillery; Captain Marshall, Assistant Adjutant-General; Captain Merritt, and Lieutenant Verplanck, Aides-de-camp, at all times performed cheerfully and well the duties with which they were charged.

I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient
WILLIAM F. Barry,

servant.

Brev. Maj.-Gen., Chief of Artillery. Major-General W. T. SHERMAN,

Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi.

CORRESPONDENCE.

Wheeler to General Howard.

GRAHAMS, S. C., February 7, 1865. GENERAL: I have the honor to propose that if the troops of your army be required to discontinue burning the houses of our citizens I will discontinue burning cotton.

As an earnest of the good faith in which my If to the operations of your armies, the legiti- proposition is tendered, I leave at this place mate fruits of which they really are, be credited about three hundred bales cotton, unharmed, the guns captured at Charleston and Wilming-worth, in New York, over a quarter of a million, ton, (excluding from the number of the latter and in our currency one and a half millions. I those captured at Fort Fisher and the other trust my having commenced will cause you to forts at the mouth of Cape Fear river), the total use your influence to ensure the acceptance of artillery captured during the past ten months by the proposition by your whole army. troops under your immediate command will exceed seven hundred guns.

I trust that you will not deem it improper for me to ask that you will require the troops under your command to discontinue the wanton destruction of property not necessary for their sustenance.

Respectfully, General,

Your obedient servant,
J. WHEELER,
Major-General, C. S. A.

Throughout the campaign, the ammunition, fuses, and primers proved unusually good and reliable, the only fault observed being sand cracks and insufficient bursting charges in a few of the twenty-pounder Parrott projectiles, want of care in the screwing of the Bohrman fuse in forty-two-pounder projectiles, and insufficient bursting charges in many of the Hotch- Major-General O. O. HOWARD, kiss three-inch shell and case shot. Ammunition and fuses received from St. Louis arsenal appear to be more complained of (especially the fuses) than that received from other places.

In conclusion, I am gratified to be able to commend the officers and men for attention to their duties in preparation for the field, and for good conduct after entering it; for the details of which I respectfully invite attention to the sub-reports which will be laid before you.

The services of the following-named officers give evidence of industry, intelligence, and gallant conduct, and entitle them to notice and

reward:

United States Army, Commanding, &c.

Answered by General Sherman. HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, IN THE FIELD, February 8, 1865.

GENERAL: Yours, addressed to General Howard, is received by me. I hope you will burn all cotton, and save us the trouble. We don't want it; and it has proven a curse to our country. All you don't burn I will.

As to private houses, occupied by peaceful families, my orders are not to molest or disturb them, and I think my orders are obeyed. Vacant houses, being of no use to anybody, I care little about, as the owners have thought them of no use to themselves. I don't want them destroyed, but do not take much care to pre

serve them.

Major Osborn, First New York artillery, Chief of Artillery, Army of Tennessee; Major Reynolds, First New York artillery, Chief of Artillery, Twentieth Army Corps; Major Waterhouse, First Illinois Artillery, Chief of Artillery, Seventeenth Army Corps; Lieutenant Colonel Ross, First Michigan artillery, Chief of Artillery, Fif- Major-General J. WHEELER, teenth Army Corps; Major Houghtaling, First |

I am, with respect, yours truly,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General Commanding.

Commanding Cavalry Corps, Confederate Army.

« PreviousContinue »