« PreviousContinue »
of condemning him, felt unbounded gratitude, that he had outwitted the enemy, and saved his army and guns. But the General-in-Chief was guilty of deception, as well as injustice. When he said that "an investigation had been ordered,” it had not only been ordered but finished, and the report laid on his table six weeks previous. He himself had directed Major-General Wright to make this investigation; and, in his report, the latter said he “did not see how, with starvation staring him (Morgan) in the face, and with no certainty of relief being afforded, he could have come to any other conclusion than the one he arrived at," &c. He stated also that it was unanimously decided, in a council of war, to be the only course left, if he would avoid a surrender of his
army When Morgan, who was at Memphis, saw Halleck's report, stung by its gross injustice, he immediately wrote to him, demanding a court of inquiry or court-martial, at once, before which he could be heard. Halleck, in reply, said “thatGeneral Wright was directed some time since to investigate and report the facts concerning that affair, and if that report shall be satisfactory, no further proceedings will be required, and you
will be relieved from all blame.” Morgan immediately wrote to General Wright, and found to his astonishment, that he had sent in his report the October previous, exonerating him from all blame, and that this report was in Halleck's hands when he made out his own report. That the latter should be guilty of the gross injustice of casting censure on a brave officer, in order to cover up his own short-comings, is perhaps not surprising; but that he should put on record, statements, which, placed side by side, present him in such a painful aspect to the public, is certainly very remarkable. The whole campaign as planned, was a palpable blunder, and it was natural that he should put the blame of failure upon some one else; but this mode of doing it admits of no excuse
STATE OF AFFAIRS IN THE WESTEAST TENNESSEBARKANSAS-BATTLE OF
PRAIRIE GROVE-FORREST'S RAID IN KENTUCKY-SURRENDÉR OF HARTSVILLE, TENNESSEE -BUTLER'S DEPARTMENT-EXPEDITION AGAINST VICKSBURG-SURRENDER OF HOLLY SPRINGS-ASSAULT UPON VICKSBURG-GAL
LANTRY OF GENERAL BLAIR-SHERMAN SUPERSEDED BY MC CLERNANDARMY OF THE POTOMAC-MCCLELLAN DELAYS TO MOVE CORRESPONDENCE
BETWEEN HIM AND HALLECK-RAID OF STUART-MC CLELLAN ORDERED BY THE
PRESIDENT TO MOVE-HIS ADVANCE-SUPERSEDED BY BURNSIDEPARTING WITH THE ARMY-REVIEW OF MC CLELLAN'S CAMPAIGN AGAINST
URING this month, October, while East Tennessee had
again fallen into the hands of the enemy, General Blunt; by a vigorous attack on the rebel Hindman, at Fort Wayne, Arkansas, had routed him, capturing his artillery, and thus relieved South-western Missouri from rebel depredations. In the latter part of the month, General Herron dispersed a large band of guerrillas, near Fayetteville, in Missouri
. November passed without any battles of moment, though throughout the West, constant fighting was going on between detached forces. But in the last of this month, Gen. Blunt, who was fast rising into distinction, was pressing hard against the rebel forces under Hindman and Marmaduke in Arkansas. At Cane Hill, after a sharp contest, he forced the enemy to retreat. A few days after, however, learning that Hindman and Marmaduke, in conjunction, were moving from different points in heavy force to attack him, he immediately began to concentrate his troops, and on Friday, the 7th of December, gave him battle at Prairie Grove.
BATTLE OF PRAIRIE GROVE.
General Herron, who, in obedience to orders from General Blunt, .endeavored to join him, was attacked by an overwhelming force, but, by the most gallant fighting, held his own until Blunt formed a junction with him. It was a beautiful day, and, the battle occurring in a comparatively open country, the scene it presented was picturesque and thrilling. It lasted till night-fall, apparently without any decisive results. But the next morning it was found that the enemy had retreated. Herron and Blunt had out-generaled the enemy and defeated him, though superior in numbers, in a fair field fight. Our loss was a little over a thousand, while that of the rebels must have been nearly three times as great. Soon after, hearing that Hindman was at Van Buren, Blunt pushed on and captured it.
In Kentucky, Forrest's great raid was the important event of the month of December. He seemed to go where he liked with his half-wild followers, sending consternation through the country. Elizabethtown was captured by Morgan on the 27th, and a large amount of property destroyed.
The shameful surrender of Hartsville, Tennessee, with some fifteen hundred men, this month, awakened the deepest indignation, and disgraced the troops left to hold it.
On the last day of the month, Forrest was defeated at Parker's Cross Roads by Sullivan, with a loss of a thousand men; but, on the whole, affairs in Kentucky and Tennessee at the close of the year, were in a very unsatisfactory condition.
The Department of New Orleans furnished nothing more important than the retirement of Butler, on the 15th of December, and the appointment of Banks in his place. The nonth previous, at Bayou Teche, fourteen miles from Bra
shear City, a fight occurred between five Union gunboats and a large rebel force, supported by the gunboat Cotton, which resulted in the retreat of the enemy anıl the escape of the gunboat.
Up the Mississippi, however, more important events were transpiring. Grant, in command, planned an expedition to take Vicksburg, which, though it proved a sad failure, was the beginning of the great measures to open that river to our fleet.
The plan was, for Sherman with his army to move straight on the place, and attempt to carry it by assault, while Grant himself was to advance against Jackson City, and attack the enemy there, to keep him from sending troops to Vicksburg
Sherman left Memphis on the 20th day of December, and the day after Christmas, entered the Yazoo, and ascended it nearly to Haines' Bluff. Here the army was disembarked, and moved down towards Vicksburg.
The gunboats had previously, on the 26th, assaulted the eight-gun battery on the bluff, but were unable to silence it.
In the meantime, disaster had overtaken Grant, so that his co-operation became impossible. Holly Springs, on which he partly relied for supplies, was attacked and disgracefully surrendered. This brought him to a halt, and the rebel forces, that he expected to keep back from Vicksburg were left free to reinforce the place.
Sherman, however, ignorant of all this, proceeded to carry out his part of the plan, and, on the 27th day of December, advanced with his accustomed rapidity against the city, and before night drove the enemy from his outer lines. For the next two days he continued to press the assault, and on the 29th, a series of charges was made with a fury amounting almost to desperation.
“Blair's brigade, in the advance, emerging from the cover of a cypress forest, came upon an intricate abattis of young trees, felled about three feet from
A GALLANT ATTACK.
the ground, with the tops left interlacing each other in confusion. Beyond the abattis was a deep ditch, with quicksand at the bottom, and several feet of water over it. Beyond the ditch was a more impenetrable abattis of heavy tínıber. All this was swept by a murderous fire from the enemy's artillery. Yet, through and over it all, the brigade gallantly charged, and drove the enemy from his rifle pits at the base of the center hill, on which the city lay. Other brigadès now came up in support, and the second line was carried ; and still up the hill pressed the heroic advance."
But it was all in vain. The city was impregnable to so small a force, and reluctantly, the storming party yielded up their hardly earned conquests, Blair's brigade losing onethird of his men in the daring assault.*
Sherman now saw it was a hopeless task, and, under a flag of truce burying his men, re-embarked his
proceeded to Young's Point. Here McClernand assumed command, and the army was divided into two corps, which were placed under Sherman and Morgan. In announcing the change of command, Sherman complimented his troops, adding: “Ours was but part of a combined movement in which others were to assist. We were in time; unforeseen contingencies must have delayed the others. We have destroyed the Shreveport road; we have attacked Vicksburg, and pushed the attack as far as prudence would justify, and, having found it too strong for our single column, we have drawn off in good order and good spirits, ready for any new move."
In the East, the year had closed disastrously to our arms. McClellan, after the Battle of Antietam, rested so long a time on the north side of the Potomac, that the President and his advisers became impatient, and urged an immediate advance
* Col. Bowman.