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OPERATIONS IN CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI.
JEFF. DAVIS's NECK-TIE
alry, under S. D. Lee, Wirt Adams, and Ferguson, he did not make a serious stand anywhere.
Sherman's object being the infliction of as much injury upon the Confederate cause as possible, the line of his march from Jackson eastward, presented a black pathway of desolation. No public property of the Confederates was spared. The station-houses and the rolling stock of the railway were burned; and the track was torn up, and the rails, heated by the burning ties cast into heaps, were twisted and ruined, and were often, by bending them when red-hot around a sapling, converted into what the men called “Jeff. Davis's neck-ties." I
General Sherman had made arrangements for a junction of his forces at Meridian with a division, chiefly of horsemen, that was to be sent from Memphis, under General W. S. Smith, then chief of cavalry in the Division of the Mississippi. His troops consisted of about seven thousand cavalry,' a brigade of infantry, and a respectable artillery force. Brigadier-General Grierson was placed under his command. These troops were called in from Middle Tennessee and Northern Mississippi, and concentrated at Colliersville, twentyfour miles east of Memphis. Smith was ordered to be at Meridian on the 10th of February, but for some reason he did not leave Colliersville until the 11th, when he pushed across the country as rapidly as possible, crossed the Tallahatchie River at New Albany without opposition, and moved on to Okolona, on the Mobile and Ohio railway. Then they pressed southward, along the line of that road, toward Meridian. Colonel Grierson was sent to threaten Columbus, while Smith, with the main body, moved on toward West Point, tearing up the railway track, and burning nearly a million bushels of corn, and about two thousand bales of cotton. Negroes flocked to his lines by hundreds, mounted on the horses and mules of their masters, welcoming him as their deliverer, and becoming, necessarily, great incumbrances.
On the 20th of February," Smith was met by what he supposed to be the combined forces of Forrest, Lee, and Chalmers, not far from West Point, and nearly a hundred miles north of Meridian. Their number he supposed to be greatly superior to his own, and comparatively fresh. Feeling himself unable, with his inferior force and the living incumbrances with which he was burdened, to cope with his adversaries, he ordered a retreat. The Confederates (who were really only about three thousand in number, under Forrest) followed him closely, and struck him heavily at Okolona, where, after a gallant struggle, he lost five guns. He pushed
1 In regard to the treatment of thepeople, General Sherman thus discoursed in a long letter to his AdjutantGeneral just before setting out on his expedition : "To those who submit to rightful law and authority, all gentleness and forbearance; but to the petulant and persistent secessionists, why, ► Jan. 31. death is mercy, and the quicker he or she is disposed of, the better. Satan, and the rebellious saints of heaven, were allowed a continuous existence in hell, merely to swell their just punishment. To such as would rebel against a government so mild and just as ours was in peace, a punishment equal would not be unjust."
? The cavalry consisted of three brigades. The First was commanded by Colonel G. E. Waring, Jr., of the Fourth Missouri Cavalry; the Second was under Lientedant-Colonel Hepburn, of the Second Iowa Cavalry; and the Third was led by Colonel McCrellis, of the Third Illinois Cavalry.
EFFECT OF SHERMAN'S INVASION.
steadily on toward Memphis as rapidly as possible, skirmishing frequently, but found no formidable assailants after crossing the Tallahatchie.
reached Memphis late in the evening of the 25th, after marching
that day about fifty miles. Although the chief object of the expedition was not accomplished, Smith had inflicted heavy injuries upon the Confederates; and during the thirteen days of marching and skirmishing—a march of three hundred and fifty miles—he lost only about two hundred men. :
But the remainder were worn down and dispirited, and one-third of them were dismounted.
Expecting Smith at Meridian every hour, Sherman remained there several days, during which time he laid that town in ashes, with the arsenal, several buildings containing commissary stores, and all the railway property there. “We staid at Meridian a week,” said Sherman in a dispatch to General
Grant, "and made the most complete destruction of the railroads
ever beheld—south below Quitman, east to Cuba Station, twenty miles north to Lauderdale Springs, and west, all the way back to Jackson.” By this work one of the prime objects of the expedition was accomplished; but Smith's failure to reach Meridian, and so give Sherman ample cavalry, prevented the infliction of tenfold more injury. Without that cavalry, Sherman did not think it prudent to go farther, nor remain at Meridian, so he retraced his steps leisurely back to Canton, where he arriyed on the 26th, with four hundred prisoners, a thousand white Unionist refugees, and about five thousand negroes of all ages. He reported his own loss during the whole expedition at only one hundred and seventy-one men.
During that raid, Sherman destroyed a vast amount of property, and spread dismay throughout the Confederacy from the Mississippi to the Savan
nah. When he first started, Watts, the Governor of Alabama,
issued an appeal' to the people of that State, and called upon them to turn out to resist the threatened invasion. General Polk tele
graphedd to General D. Maury, commander at Mobile, that SherFeb. 10.
man was marching from Morton on that city, when the non-combatants were requested to leave it; and it was believed, when he was at Meridian, that both Selma and Mobile would be visited by him. Great relief was felt when he turned his face westward, leaving Meridian a heap of smoldering embers. When the writer, in April, 1866, passed over the line of Sherman's raid from Jackson to Meridian, two years before, the marks of his desolating hand were seen everywhere. Meridian was then only a little village, mostly of rude cabins. When a fellow-passenger in the cars, who was the mayor of that “city,” and also county judge, was asked by the writer, whether Sherman injured the place much, he replied, with emphasis : “ Injured! Why he took it with him!” It was almost literally so, for when he turned back a strong east wind was blowing, and smoke and ashes-almost all that remained of the ruined town—were wafted in the direction of the march of the army toward Vicksburg.'
1. Feb. 6.
i The sum of injury done to the Confederates during Sherman's mid, including that of Smith, and an expedition which Porter sent siinultaneously to attack Yazoo City and distract the Confederates, inay be stated in general terms as follows: The destruction of 150 miles of railway, 67 bridges, 700 trestles, 20 locomotives, 23 cars, several thousand bales of cotton, several steam mills, and over 2,000,000 bushels of corn, About 500 prisoners were taken, and over 8,000 negroes and refugees followed the various columns back to Vicksburg.
The expedition sent to Yazoo City consisted of some gun-boats, under Lieutenant Owen, and a detachment of troops, under Colonel Osband. They did not then capture the place, but inflicted considerable damage, and returned with a loss of not more than 50 men. Yazoo City was soon afterward occupied by a Union force, composed of the Eighth Louisiana and 200 of the Seventh Mississippi colored troops, and the Eleventh Illinois. They were attacked by a superior force on the 5th of March. A desperate fight ensued. The assailants were finally driven away by some re-enforcements from below, and soon afterward the town was evacuated. The Union loss in this struggle was 130. That of the Confederates was about the same.
OPERATIONS IN NORTHERN GEORGIA.
. Feb. 22,
When General Johnston, then at Dalton, in Northern Georgia (where the railway up from Atlanta forks, the left to Chattanooga and the right to Cleveland), in command of Bragg's army, heard of Sherman's advance on Meridian, and perceived that General Polk and his fifteen thousand men were net likely to impede his march to Rome, Selma, Mobile, or wheresoever he liked, he sent two divisions of Hardee's corps, under Generals Stewart and Anderson, to assist the prelate. The watchful Grant, then in command at Chattanooga, quickly discovered the movement and perceived its aim, and at once put the Fourteenth Army Corps, under General Palmer, in motion to counteract it. These troops moved directly upon Dalton. The divisions of Jefferson C. Davis, Johnson, and Baird marched along the direct road to that place, passing to the left of the Chickamauga battle-ground and over Taylor's Ridge; and Stanley's division, under General Crufts, which had been in camp at Cleveland, moved down from the latter place farther to the left, and joined the other three between Ringgold and Tunnel Hill. Then the whole column pressed forward, driving the Confederate cavalry, under Wheeler, before them, who made a stand at Tunnel Hill Ridge, a short distance from the village. There a line of log breast works stretched along the crest of the ridge, and a battery of four pieces was planted in a commanding position. These were opened upon the advancing column, but were soon silenced by the Second Minnesota and Nineteenth Indiana Batteries, when Wheeler, finding his position flanked by troops under General Morgan and Colonel Hambright, fell back.
It was now between two and three o'clock in the afternoon. The Nationals passed on, Morgan and Colonel D. McCook in advance, keeping up a close pursuit of Wheeler, and at five o'clock approached the range of hills called Rocky Face Ridge, one of which, near Dalton, rises into a lofty peak, called Buzzard's Roost. Through a deep gorge in that ridge the railway and turnpike passed. It was a strong defensive position, and there the Confederates made another stand. They kept up a furious cross-fire from six guns until dark, when Morgan and McCook advanced, took position in the mouth of the gorge, and held it until morning, when it was found that the Confederates were still retreating toward Dalton.
The Nationals moved on into Rocky Face Valley, skirmishing heavily, but continually pushing their adversaries, until they reached a point which, if held by the Unionists, would make a descent into the Dalton Valley comparatively easy. There the Confederates made a stand, with the evident determination to resist to the last. A hill in the center of the valley, on which they were posted, was the key-point of the position. General Palmer determined to carry it. To General Turchin the task was committed. With a portion of his brigade (Eleventh, Eighty-ninth, and Ninety-second Ohio, and Eighty-second Indiana) he advanced through a wood, and forming his battle-line on the slope of the hill to be carried, pressed rapidly forward. A heavy battle instantly opened. The Unionists swept steadily up the hill,
> Feb, 24.
FORREST'S ASSIGNED DUTIES.
drove the Confederates from it, and planted the National standard on its crest. The triumph was momentary. The Confederates rallied half way down the other side of the hill, and, supported by re-enforcements, returned to the attack with overwhelming numbers, and drove Turchin from his prize. The Nationals fell back, and Palmer, finding his adversaries gathering in much larger force than his own in his front, and hovering on his flanks, and informed that Johnston, on hearing of Sherman's retreat from Meridian, had
ordered back the divisions of Hardee sent to re-enforce Polk, he thought it prudent to retreat to Tunnel Hill. This was done at once, and on the 10th of March his command took post at Ringgold. In this short campaign the Nationals lost three hundred and fifty killed and wounded, and the Confederates about two hundred.
The sphere of General Forrest's duties were at this time enlarged, and their importance increased. He was acknowledged to be one of the most daring and skillful of the Confederate leaders in the West, notwithstanding he was subordinate to S. D. Lee, Commander-in-Chief of the mounted men in that region. He seems to have had a sort of roving commission, and the service in which he was engaged partook more of the character of guerrilla than of regular warfare. It being evident that there would be a great 'struggle between the opposing troops in Northern Georgia, below Chattanooga, Forrest was charged with the special duty of keeping the National forces then on the line of the Mississippi, from Vicksburg to Cairo, employed, and prevent their re-enforcing the army opposed to Johnston. In the performance of this duty, Forrest, taking advantage of the withdrawal
| This is from a sketch made by the author from the railway, in May, 1866. The view is from a point a little south of Dalton.
FORREST'S RAID INTO KENTUCKY.
of troops from Vicksburg, to assist General Banks in another expedition against Texas, started on another raid into Tennessee a few
• March 14, days after Palmer fell back from before Dalton. He extended it into Kentucky, and, under the inspiration of the tone of feeling and action among the chief Conspirators at Richmond, he marked it, on his part, with a most inhuman spirit toward the negro soldiers in the Union army, and the white troops associated with them. The ferocity of the Conspirators had been bridled, as we have seen, by their fears and the suggestions of expediency;' but men in the field, like Forrest, ready and willing to carry the black flag' at any time, and especially so against negro troops, found occasions to exercise it whenever the shadow of an excase might be found.
Forrest led about five thousand troops on his great raid. He swept rapidly up from Northern Mississippi into West Tennessee, rested a little at Jackson, and then pushed on toward Kentucky. He sent Colonel Faulkner to capture Union City, a fortified town at the junction of railways in the northwestern part of Tennessee, then garrisoned by four hundred and fifty of the Eleventh Tennessee Cavalry, under Colonel Hawkins. Faulkner appeared before the town on the 24th, and demanded its surrender. Hawkins refused. Faulkner attacked, and was repulsed, when, on renewing his demand for surrender, Hawkins made no further resistance, but gave up the post, contrary to the earnest desires of his men, He surrendered the garrison, about two hundred horses, and five hundred small-arms. At that moment General Brayman, who had come down from Cairo, was within six miles of Union City, with an ample force for Hawkins's relief.
This conquest opened an easy way for the possession of Hickman, on the Mississippi. A small Confederate force occupied that town. Meanwhile, Forrest moved with Buford's division directly from Jackson to Paducah, on the Ohio River, in Kentucky, accompanied by Buford and General A. P. Thompson. Paducah was then occupied by a force not exceeding sever. hundred men, under the command of Colonel S. G. Hicks; and when word came that Forrest was approaching in heavy force, that officer threw his troops into Fort Anderson, in the lower suburbs of the town. Before this, Forrest appeared with three thousand men and four guns, and, after making a furious assault and meeting with unexpected resistance, he made a formal demand for its surrender, and with it a threat of a massacre of the whole garrison in the event of a refusal and the carrying of the works by storm. To this savage demand Hicks gave a
& March 25.
1 See page 229.
* The shallow Beauregard was continually anxious to make the war as ferocious as possible. We have already noticed (note 1, page 295, volume II.) his coincidence of opinions with “Stonewall" Jackson, that “the time had come for raising the black flag." In a letter to William Porcher Miles, one of the most bitter of the South Carolina Conspirators (see chapter IV., volume I.), dated at “ Charleston, October 13, 1862," Beauregard said: “ Has the bill for the execution of Abolition prisoners, after January next, been passed? Do it; and England will be stirred into action. It is high time to proclaim the black flag after that period. Let the execution be with the garrote.-G. T. BEAUREGARD.”
They consisted of portions of the Sixteenth Kentucky Cavalry, under Major Barnes; of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois, Major Chapman, and nearly three hundred colored artillerists (First Kentucky), under Colonel Cunningham.
* The following is a copy of the ferocious summons: “ Having a force amply sufficient to carry your works and reduce the place, in order to avoid the unnecessary effusion of blood, I demand the surrender of the fort and