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CHAPTER XXII.

JANUARY-APRIL, 1864.

GRANT AT THE HEAD OF ALL OUR ARMIES-SIERMAN APPOINTED OVER GRANT'S

DEPARTMENT WEST-SURVEY OF THE WIIOLE FIELD--FARRAGUT AT MOBILE-CALL FOR FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND MEN-BUTLER'S FAILURE BEFORE RICHMOND-THE EXPEDITION INTO FLORIDA UNDER GENERAL SEYMOURBATTLE OF OLUSTEE-KILPATRICK's

BOLD ATTEMPT TO LIBERATE OUR PRISONERS IN RICHMOND_DEATH OF COLONEL DAHLGREN-FORREST'S RAID

IN KENTUCKY-SURREXDER OF UNION CITY--ATTACK ON PADUCAH-DAS

TARDLY CONDUCT OF THE REBELS-ATTACK ON FORT PILLOW-TIE MASSACRE-THE REBELS ATTACK PLYMOUTH, NORTH CAROLINA-A REBEL IRON, CLAD ATTACKS THE MIAMI AND SOUTHFIELD, SINKING THE LATTER-EVACUA: TION OF PLYMOUTH POPULAR INDIGNATION.

EVER

VVERYTHING now seemed ready for the great change

that took place the next month, when LieutenantGeneral Grant was put at the head of all the armies of the Union. The same order of the 12th of March, that gave him this high position, assigned to Sherman the command of the Department of the Mississippi--composed of the minor Departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, the Tennessee, and Arkansas-in short, the command vacated by Grant. Under him, was

a group of lieutenants rarely equaled, never sạrpassed, in any army-McPherson, Hooker, Thomas, Howard, Hurlbut, Logan and Schofield.

It was à grand army, and grandly officered.

Grant, in Washington, at once went back to the original military plan of moving two armies simultaneously southone east, and the other west of the Alleghanies. Richmond and Atlanta were the objective points, which, when once reached the former the head, and the latter the heart of the Confederacy--the two mighty armies could steadily

288

SURVEY OF THE FIELD.

approach each other, crushing and grinding whatever lay between them. As Grant, from his high position, took a glance at the work before him, what a spectacle met his gaze! Never before had one Commander surveyed such a vast field of operations, and looked over such a mighty array, subject to his single control. From the Potomac to the Rio Grande, for five thousand miles, arose the smoke of camp-fires, and stood embattled hosts awaiting his bidding. To aid him in the gigantic task before him, six hundred vessels of war lined the rivers and darkened the coast for twenty-five hundred miles, while four thousand guns lay ready to send their stern summons into rebel defenses.

Soon, the effect of Grant's grand designs began to be felt, though scarcely seen by the public eye. Railways groaned under the weight of soldiers returning to their regiments; the rivers were black with transports bearing ordnance and supplies, and the entire North trembled under the tremendous preparations going forward. It was no single isolated battle that Grant contemplated, but mighty, unceasing blows to be dealt by the colossal force under his com· mand. It was to be a final struggle between the North and South-the last fatal interlocking of the two giants in a death grapple.

We needed a practical head like his, over the Navy Department. If the naval power of the South had borne any proportion to its land forces, this want would liave been felt in a deplorable manner. But our naval strength was so overwhelmingly preponderant, that great disasters were almost impossible. But the feelings of our naval Commanders may be gathered from Farragut's dispatches from before Mobile, on the outer forts of whose Bay he was fiercely pounding, while Sherman was traversing the State of Mississippi with the hope of lending him a helping hand. In the latter part of January, he had made a bold reconnoissance

FARRAGUT AT MOBILE.

289

of Forts Morgan and Gaines, and, as a result of his observa. tions, wrote to the Secretary of the Navy that he was satisfied that if he had had but a single iron-clad, he could have “destroyed the whole force in the Bay, and reduced the forts at his leisure.” In the latter part of February, he shelled Fort Powell. Two or three months later, he wrote: “I deeply regret that the Department has not been able to give us one of the many iron-clads that are off Charleston and on the Mississippi. I have always looked for the latter, but it appears that it takes us twice as long to build an ironclad as any one else. It looks as if the contractors and the fates were against us: While the rebels are bending their whole energies to the war, our people are expecting the war to close by default, and if they do not awake to a sense of their danger soon, it will be so." This was very plain talk, by one who stood at the head of the navy, to the Secretary, and shows how differently things.would have been managed if he had been allowed to control matters. • Between the victory of Chattanooga and the next May, when Grant would be ready to begin his great simultaneous movement of the two grand armies of the republic, there was considerable activity in military affairs in various parts of the country. In January, quite a fight occurred at Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, and the rebels obtained some successes in Western Virginia. The President's proclamation, on the 1st of February, ordering a draft for five hundred thousand men to be made on the 10th day of March, showed what mighty preparations were in prospect.

Butler, having heard that Richmond was weakly garrisoned, started an expedition to liberate the prisoners there, but it turned out a miserable failure.

One of the most important expeditions—or, at least, most talked about—was one under General Seymour, that left Port Royal, the fore part of the month, for Jacksonville,

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290

FLORIDA EXPEDITION.

Florida. It was composed of, twenty steamers, eight schooners, and about, five thousand troops. It left Hilton Head on the morning of the 6th, and occupied Jacksonville the next day. Gillmore, the Commander of the Department, said the object of the expedition was: First, to procure an outlet for cotton, lumber, timber, &c. Second, to cut off one of the enemy's sources of supplies. Third, to obtain recruits for any colored regiments. And last, "to inauguTate measures for the speedy restoration of Florida to her allegiance, in accordance with instructions received from the President, by the hands of Major John Hay, Assistant AdjutantGeneral.The three first reasons might as well have been omitted, as the last was the true one. Seymour, in accordance with his instructions, pushed a force on to Baldwin, twepty miles from Jacksonville, while another portion was sent forward to Sanderson. These preliminary steps being taken, Gillmore returned to Jacksonville, leaving Seymour in command in the field. The latter, on his own responsibility, now determined to advance inland a hundred miles, without supplies, in order to destroy the railroad, near the Savannah River, On the 18th, the army left its camp at Jacksonville, in light marching order, with ten days' rations, and made sixteen miles, over bad roads, that day. The next day, it marched seventeen miles, and encamped at a place called Barber's. In the morning,

In the morning, the march was resumed, the objective point being Lake City, nearly forty miles distant; but the columns had proceeded only sixteen or eighteen miles, when the enemy's skirmishers were met. Pushing these back four miles, the army came upon the rebels in force. The columns were at once deployed, and Hamilton's battery ordered forward to within a hundred and fifty yards of the hostile line. This close proximity, of course, brought the gunners completely under the fire of the sharpshooters. It went in with four pieces, fifty horses,

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