Page images
PDF
EPUB

BRAGG ARRESTS POLK AND HINDMAN.

143

WIERA

OF THE WNIVERSITY

CALIFORNIA

CHAPTER V.

THE CHATTANOOGA CAMPAIGN.-MOVEMENTS OF SHERMAN'S AND BURNSIDE'S FORCES

V returning to Chattanooga, Rosecrans commenced the formidable line of fortifications around that town, under the skillful directions of General James St. Clair Morton, of the engineers, which excited the admiration of all; and within twenty-four hours after the army moved from Rossville, it was strongly

intrenched-so strongly that Bragg could not, with safety, make a direct attack upon it. He did not attempt it, but took measures for starving it into a surrender, by cutting off its avenues of supplies.

Bragg found himself in a most unpleasant predicament. Regarding the failure of Polk and Hindman to bring on the battle at an earlier hour on the morning of the 20th' as the chief cause of his inability to secure a substantial victory, he had them placed under arrest, and thereby caused widespread murmuring, and a mutinous spirit in his army. He was severely censured for not securing that victory himself, by pursuing the fugitives when they moved from the Missionaries' Ridge, and striking them in the open, broken plain, in front of Chattanooga. More aggravating still was a requirement by the authorities at Richmond that he should attempt the impossible feat of moving by his left across the Tennessee River, and advancing on Nashville. So preposterous was this requirement, that he could scarcely conceal his contempt when saying to his superiors, “The suggestion requires notice only because it will find a place in the files of the War Department.” He told them that such a movement was utterly impossible, for want of trans-. portation ; that half his army consisted of re-enforcements that had joined him just before the recent battle, without transportation or artillery horses; that a third of his own artillery horses were lost; that he had no means of crossing a wide river liable to be flooded any hour by a rain-storm in the mountains; and that by such movement he would have to abandon all the fruits of his victory on the Chickamauga, and leave exposed vast supplies for the use of the Confederate army.

Bragg did not entertain the proposition from the “War Department” for a moment, but proceeded at once to the more practicable business of starving the Army of the Cumberland. For this purpose he had now great advantages. By his advance to Lookout Mountain, and its vicinity, when Rosecrans retired to Chattanooga, he gained possession of the left bank of the Tennessee to Bridgeport, by which he commanded the navigation of that stream, and the road along its margin opposite, at the foot of the precipitous mountain ranges that skirt it. He thus cut off Rosecrans from direct com

· See page 187.

144

TROOPS SENT TO ROSECRANS.

munication with his bases of supply at Bridgeport and Stevenson, and compelled him to transport these in wagons from the former place, over the rugged mountains by way of the Saquatchie Valley, fifty or sixty miles, and then across the Tennessee, at Chattanooga, on pontoon bridges. This service was most severe, and its operations were perilous and precarious, for the autumn storms were beginning to howl among the mountains, and small streams were often converted into torrents in the spåce of an hour. The consequence was that for a time the Army of the Cumberland was on short allowance, and thousands of its horses and mules-not less than ten thousand, it is said—were starved or worked to death in the business of transportation.

While the Army of the Cumberland was thus imprisoned at Chattanooga, a salutary change was wrought in its organization. We have observed that when Halleck was satisfied that Longstreet had gone to Tennessee, he telegraphed to Grant and Sherman, and other commanders in the West, to give all possible aid to Rosecrans.' Grant was then in New Orleans, disabled by a fall from his horse,' and Sherman, who represented him at Vicksburg, did not receive the dispatch till several days after it was issued. Hearing nothing from either, and startled by the saddening news from the Chickamauga, Halleck at once, as we have observed, detached the Eleventh (Howard's) and Twelfth (Slocum's) corps from the Army of the Potomac, and sent them, under the general command of Hooker, to Middle Tennessee, with orders, until further directed, to guard Rosecrans's communications between Nashville and Bridgeport. These troops were moved with marvelous celerity under the wise direction of General Meigs, the Quartermaster-General, and the skillful management of Colonel D. E. McCallum, the Government Superintendent of railways, and W. Prescott Smith, Master of Transportation on the Baltimore and Ohio road. In the space of eight days, the two corps, twenty thousand strong, marched from the Rapid Anna to Washington, and were thence conveyed through West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, to the Tennessee River.

Halleck determined to hold Chattanooga and East Tennessee at all hazards. For that purpose he ordered the concentration of three armies

there, under one commander, and on the 16th of October,' an

order went out from the War Department, saying: “By order of the President of the United States, the Departments of the Ohio [Burnside's], of the Cumberland [Rosecrans's), and of the Tennessee [Grant's], will constitute the Military Division of the Mississippi. Major-General U. S. Grant, United States Army, is placed in command of the Military Division of the Mississippi, with his head-quarters in the field.” By the same order General Rosecrans was relieved of the command of the Army of the Cumberland, and General Thomas was assigned to it. General Sherman was

promoted to the command of the Army of the Tennessee. On the 18th, Grant, then at Louisville, whither he had gone from

• 1863.

► October.

1 See page 131.

2 Grant arrived at New Orleans on the 2d of September, to visit General Banks, and confer concerning future operations in the Mississippi region. On the 4th he attended a grand review at Carrollton, and on his return to the city, his horse became frightened by the noise of a steam-whistle, and, springing against a vehicle with great violence, caused the fall of himself and rider to the pavement. Grant's hip was temporarily par. alyzed by the concussion, and he was compelled to use crutches for several weeks.

3 See page 99.

SHERMAN MOVES ON JACKSON.

145

3

New Orleans, and was yet suffering from the effects of his accident, assumed the command, and issued his first order. His field of authority comprised three departments and nine States and parts of States, from the Mississippi, between the Gulf and the great Lakes eastward, into the heart of the Appalachian range of mountains. Rosecrans left for Cincinnati on the 19th, after issuing a touching farewell address to his army.

Let us here pause for a moment in the consideration of events in Southeastern Tennessee, to take a glance at military movements in the department commanded by Grant, from the fall of Vicksburg to his promotion just mentioned. We left him at Vicksburg, the winner of the then greatest and most important victory yet achieved by the National troops,' and the recipient of the highest encomiums from his superiors' and fellow-citizens, while his paroled prisoners were making their way back to Jackson, then reoccupied by Johnston, and thence into the ranks of the Confederate army, in violation, on the part of the Conspirators at Richmond, of all honor.

Johnston, as we have observed,' was still hovering in Grant's rear when Vicksburg was surrendered. Sherman had been pushed out in that direction with a considerable force to keep him back, and had constructed a line of works from the Yazoo, at Haines's Bluff, to the Big Black River. This movement was effectual, and Johnston, as we have seen, was endeavoring to aid Pemberton by co-operative movements farther down the stream,' when Vicksburg was surrendered. Grant at once sent out to Sherman all that remained of that officer's and McPherson's corps, to drive Johnston from Jackson and the railway. In the afternoon of the 4th of Julyo the re-enforcements were in motion, and when, the next day, they joined Sherman, that leader had about fifty thousand effective men under his command. With these he crossed the Big Black," his

July 6. right, under Ord, passing at the site of the railway bridge ; & his center, under Steele, at Messenger's Ford, above; and his left, under Parks, still farther up the river.

In sweltering heat and blinding dust—men and horses almost maddened by thirst, where little water might be found on account of a parching drought—the army pressed forward over a country which, by Grant's orders, had been desolated by General Baird for scores of miles around Vicksburg, and pushed Johnston back to Jackson, where he took shelter“ behind his breastworks and rifle-pits, and from

July 7. which, with a ludicrous show of faith at such a moment and under such circumstances (which he evidently did not feel), he issued a florid order to his troops, telling them that “an insolent foe, flushed with hope by his recent success at Vicksburg, then con

• July 9. fronted them, threatening the homes of the people they were there to protect, with plunder and conquest.” “The enemy," he said, “it is at once the duty and the mission of you, brave men, to chastise and expel from the soil

[ocr errors]

May 26.

See page 628, volume II.

? On the 13th of July, the generous President wrote a letter to Grant, in which, after saying that he did not remember that he and the general had ever met, and that he then wrote as a grateful acknowledgment for the almost inestimable service he had done the country, he referred to operations and proposed operations which the President thought would be best in the siege of Vicksburg, but which Grant did not, and said, " I now wish to make a personal acknowledgment that you were right and I was wrong." 3 See page 181. * See page 631, volume II. 3 See page 625, volume II. • See page 612, volume II.

VOL. III.-88

146

JOHNSTON DRIVEN FROM JACKSON.

of Mississippi. The commanding general confidingly relies on you to sus-tain his pledge, which he makes in advance, and he will be with you in the good work, even unto the end.”

A week later these defenders of threatened homes, and the chastisers of "an insolent foe,” twenty-four thousand strong, were flying over the “soil of Mississippi,” toward the heart of the State, in search of safety from the

wrath of the “invaders.” Sherman had invested Jackson on the * July, 1563.

10th,“ each flank of his army resting on the Pearl River, that runs hard by, with his cannon planted on the hills around. With a hundred of these he opened upon the doomed city on the 12th, but his scanty supply of ammunition, on account of the tardiness of his trains, would not allow him to continue the attack. In that assault General Lauman, by misapprebension of orders, pressed his troops too near the Confederate works, and in the course of a few minutes he lost five hundred men, by a galling fire from sharp-shooters and twelve cannon charged with grape and canister shot. Two hundred of his men were made prisoners, and with them went the colors of the Twenty-eighth, Forty-first, and Fifty-third Illinois.

Johnston was aware that Sherman's ammunition train was behind, and he hoped to remove a greater portion of his stores before it should come up, satisfied that he could not hold the place against the host then hemming it

in. Under cover of a fog, on the morning of the 13th, he made

a sortie, but with no other result than the production of some confusion, and a considerable loss of life on his part. Finally, on the 16th, when he knew that Sherman's ammunition had arrived, he prepared for a

speedy departure, and that night he hurried across the Pearl July 16, 17.

River, burning the bridges behind him, and pushed on through Brandon to Morton.' Sherman did not pursue in force beyond the former place, his chief object being to drive off the Confederate army and make Vicksburg secure. For this purpose he broke up the railway at intervals for many miles in every direction, and destroyed every thing in Jackson that could be useful to the foe, and more. The place was shamefully sacked by the soldiers; and the capital of Mississippi, one of the most beautiful towns, in its public buildings and elegant suburban residences, in all that region, was totally ruined. The business part of the city was laid in ashes, and many of the fine dwellings in the neighborhood, owned by known secessionists, shared the same fate. Among these was the residence of Bishop Green, of the Protestant Episcopal Church, that stood on a beautiful shaded emi

House, furniture, and fine library of three thousand volumes, were committed to the flames. When the writer visited the spot, in the spring of 1866, nothing remained of it but broken walls, as delineated in the picture on the next page. It was a sad sight. Only the day before he had traveled

► July.

[ocr errors]

nence.

i Sherman's loss in the recapture of Jackson, excepting Lauman's troops, was trifling. Johnston reported his loss in Jackson ut about 600, and added that on his retreat desertions were frequent.

? " The first few hours," wrote an eye-witness, “were devoted by our soldiers to ransacking the town, and appropriating whatever of value or otherwise pleased their fancy, or to the destruction of such articles as they were unable to appreciate or remove. Pianos and articles of furniture were demolished, libraries were torn to pieces or trampled in the dust, pictures thrust through with bayonets, windows broken and doors torn from their hinges. Finally, after every other excess had been committed in the destruction of property, the torch was applied." Household furniture, beds, &c., costly and otherwise, were dragged into the streets and burned.. It was one of the most shameful exhibitions of barbarism of which the Union soldiers were occasionally guilty, and soiled, with an indelible stain, the character of the Patriot Army.

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY AT JACKSON.

147

RUINS OF BISHOP GREEN'S HOUSE.

with the venerable prelate from Vicksburg to Jackson. A hotel near the railway station, kept by a violent rebel known as Dick Edwards, called the “Confederate House," was a special object of the wrath of the Union soldiers, because, when General Prentiss and his fellow-prisoners were taken to Jackson by railway, after the battle of Shiloh,' the proprietor refused the famished soldiers food or drink, and the women, who crowded the galleries in front of his house, sent boys to the captives with insulting, and, in some cases, indecent messages. The building was reduced to ashes, and when the writer was there, three years afterward, only a few scattered bricks lying among rank grass marked its site. Another object of their hatred was soon demolished. It was a portion of an old covered bridge

over the Pearl River, which had been inclosed and converted into a prison for Union captives. There, over the often turbulent waters, in cold and storm, they had been crowded and most cruelly treated. Two or three were in it when Sherman's troops took possession of the town. It seems to have been selected by the Confederates as a place to torture and permanently disable their captives in, as was their practice elsewhere, for they had many other places in the city in which to

confine prisoners. When Sherman had completed his work of destruction, he fell back by way of Clinton, across the Big Black, toward Vicksburg, followed by a great multitude of negroes, of both sexes and all ages. Most of these were the infirm and children, the able-bodied having been sent farther south by their masters. On Sherman's departure, some Confederate troops in the vicinity re-entered Jackson, and burned Bowman's large hotel, because he had given shelter to wounded National soldiers. By Sherman's operations, Vicksburg was secured from all danger of an immediate attack. Grant proceeded to cast up a line of strong works for its defense,' and sent out expeditions to other places.

[graphic]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

BRIDGE PRISON AT JACKSON.

1 See page 273, volume II.

? These works were completed at the beginning of 1864. They were three miles in length, extending around the city from river to river. The entire line, including eleven batteries, was called Fort Grant. The batteries were named and located as follows:—Battery Rawlins, on the Warrenton road, half a mile south of the town. Battery Castle (site of Mr. Burwell's house), near the railroad bridge, on the prolongation of Washington Street Battery Comstock, in the southeastern portion of the town, on Crawford Street, near the residence of

« PreviousContinue »