Page images
PDF
EPUB

CIIAPTER XXXVII.

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 1864.

HERMAN PREPARES TO MARCH-ORDERS RESPECTING FORAGING PARTIES

DIVISION OF THE ARMY-SLOCUM'S WING-HOWARD'S WING-KILPATRICK'S CAVALRY-MARCII OF THE FORMER-PILLAGE OF MADISON-SLOCUM ENTERS MILLEDGEVILLE-MARCH OF THE RIGHT WING-THE ENEMY AT LOVEJor's-KILPATRICK'S CAVALRY-MAČOX LEFT IN THE REAR-SHERMAN ENTERS MILLEDGEVILLE AND OCCUPIES THE GOVERNOR'S HOUSE-THE SOL

DIERS ORGANIZE A LEGISLATURE-REBELS REPULSED AT GRISWOLDVILLE

KILPATRICK DRIVES WHEELER BEFORE HIM AND THREATENS AUGUSTA-THE

ARMY AT MILLEN-MARCH TO SAVANNAH-CAPTURE OF FORT MC ALLISTER

BY HAZEN-SAVANNAH INVESTED-HARDEE SUMMONED TO SURRENDERSHERMAN STARTS FOR PORT ROYAL-THE CITY EVACUATED

-SHERMAN'S DIS

PATCH TO THE PRESIDENT-REVIEW OF THE CAMPAIGN.

IN

N preparing for his march across the State of Georgia,

Sherman gave stringent rules for the conduct of his troops. Of necessity, they must live off the country. He. therefore, issued the following order:

“The army will forage liberally on the country during the march. To this end, each brigade Commander will organize a good and efficient foraging party, under command of one or more discreet officers. To regular foraging parties must be intrusted the gathering of provisions and forage at any distance from the roads traveled.

“As for horses, mules, wagons, &c., the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit. Foraging parties may also take mules or horses to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to serve as pack-mules for the regiments or brigades.”

This order shows that Sherman possessed the right spirit, and desired that his army should not behave like banditti.

FORAGING PARTIES.

523

Every brigade and regiment had its organized foraging party, which was to forage under established rules, and be under the command of one or more discreet officers. It was also ordered,

"Soldiers shall not enter the dwellings of the inhabitants or commit any trespass; but, during the halt or camp, they may be permitted to gather turnips, potatoes and other veg. etables, and drive in stock in front of their camps."

Officers were also directed “to leave with each family a reasonable portion for their maintenance.”

These were humane regulations, and shed as much lustre on Sherman's character, as his great victories. But who, familiar with the history of invading armies, does not know what foraging in the enemy's country means. Foraging parties are usually joined by every servant and idler about the camps, who, in the various expeditions, scatter over the country, enter houses and strip the inmates of jewelry, and every thing valuable that they possess, and often commit violence of the grossest kind. Sherman's army formed no exception to this rule.

Says an officer, who commanded in the expedition, in speaking of these lawless hangers-on :-"In most instances, they burned down houses to cover their depredations, and in some cases, took the lives of their victims, as they would not reveal concealed treasures. These gangs spread like locusts over the country. În all cases where the foraging parties were under the command of a respectable officer, they acted with propriety, simply taking what provisions and necessaries they needed. They might as well have stripped the place, though, for soon came the bummers, and commenced a scene of ruin and pillage. Boxes were burst open; clothes dragged about; the finest silks, belonging is the planters' ladies, carried off to adorn some negro wencnes around camp; pictures, books, furniture, all tossed about

524

SHERMAN'S START FOR THE SEA.

and torn in pieces. Though these wretches were acting against military orders, there was no one to complain. The planter and his family were thankful if they escaped with their lives.

When about to start, Sherman wrote to Admiral Porter, on the Atlantic coast, that he might be "looking out for him about Christmas, from Hilton Head to Savannah," and to his wife, “this is my last letter from here; you will only hear of me hereafter through rebel sources.”

The four Corps, as before stated, were divided into two wings—the right, consisting of the Fifteenth and Seventeenth, was commanded by Howard; and the left, composed of the Fourteenth and Twentieth, by Slocum. There was no general train of supplies for the army, but each Corps had its own, distributed among the brigades and regiments, the whole amounting to about two thousand wagons.

The march, when practicable, was to be by four parallel roads, to commence every morning at seven o'clock, and to average fifteen miles a day. Howard, with the right wing, was to follow the Georgia Central railroad, running in a south-westerly direction, through Macon and Milledgeville, to Savannah ; while Slocum, with the left wing, would march along the railroad running due east to Augustaboth roads to be destroyed as the armies advanced. Two divisions of cavalry, under Kilpatrick, covered the flanks of the columns. It was a hundred and seventy miles to Augusta, by the railroad along which Slocum marched, and two hundred and ninety-one to Savannah, by that which. Howard took.

Slocum, moving out on different roads, and destroying the rail track as he advanced, pushed on through Decatur, Stone Mountain, Social Circlc, Rutledge, and Madison-filling the inhabitants with consternation, especially at the latter place. While the depot and railroad track were being destroyed

MADISON PILLAG ED.

525

here, together with two hundred bales of cotton, the strag, glers entered the place and pillaged unchecked. Stores were burst open-houses entered, and plates and valuables carried off, while mirrors and pianos were ruthlessly smashed. Wine-cellars were broken into, and the liquors drank till soldiers were seen reeling along the streets. All the stores were gutted and the contents scattered around; even a milliner's shop was entered and sacked, and the ribbons and flowers put in the caps of the soldiers.

This disgraceful scene continued until the head of Slocum's column entered the place, when it was quickly brought to a close, and a guard placed over what was left of the town,

From Madison, the division of Geary marched on the Oconee River, while a body of cavalry crossed it and advanced to Greenboro', sixty-four miles from Augusta. From this place, however, it turned directly south toward Milledgeville. The Fourteenth Corps wheeled in the same direction before it reached the town, marching toward the same point, and last, Geary, farther to the cast, took the same direction, moving down the west bank of the Oconee.

On the 21st, Slocum entered Milledgeville, the State Capital, one day ahead of Howard. The latter moved directly on Macon, covered by Kilpatrick's cavalry. Some three thousand militia were found at Lovejoy's, but a single charge of Kilpatrick served to scatter them. At Bear Creek, he encountered Wheeler's cavalry and forced it back to Macon. Howard followed leisurely, destroying the railroad behind him, until he arrived within a few miles of the place. A large army was concentrated here, defended by breastworks, well mounted with artillery, for the enemy never doubted that Sherman intended to lay siege to this place. He however had no such intention. He had apparently forgotten the old, well-established military niaxim, “nevca to

526

THE ARMY AT MILLEDGEVILLE,

leave a fortified place of the enemy in your rear,” and designed to pass it without halting.

Wishing to get across the Ocmulgee without opposition, and strike the railroad again beyond the town, he scat Kilpatrick over the river with a large force of cavalry, who came down on the place from the east-driving in the rebel pickets, and charging up to the very earthworks of the enemy. His daring and vigorous movements kept the garrison in a state of constant alarm, and while the rebel army was listening to the sound of his bugles, Howard quietly slipped across the river to Griswoldville, ten miles beyond. Leaving here a part of the Fifteenth Corps to protect his rear, the latter pushed on to Milledgeville, which, as we have said, he reached the next day after Howard entered it. Sherman took

up his head-quarters in the Governor's house, but found it completely stripped of furniture. This, however, was of little consequence to one who had often made the earth his couch, and spreading a couple of blankets on the floor, slept in State.

The Georgia Legislature was in session when the news of the approach of our army was received, and at once adjourned in great terror. The soldiers took possession of the State House, and organized a Legislature of their own--winding up their hilarious proceedings by having a soldier appear at the door, shouting “the Yankees are coming," when the uproarious, laughing crowd rushed at once for the door.

In the meantime the rebel leaders at Macon, enraged at finding themselves so completely outwitted, made a furious attack with three brigades of militia, on the force left at Griswoldville, but were repulsed with a loss of a thou. sand men.

Having rested his now united army at Milledgeville, and stored forty days' rationis in his wagons, Sherman once more

« PreviousContinue »