« PreviousContinue »
make about fifteen miles a day, unless the officer in command thinks proper, otherwise ordered. The army was di. give written certificates of the facts, but rected to "forage liberally on the coun. no receipts; and they will endeavor to try during the march.” For this leave with each family a reasonable purpose, brigade commanders were to portion for their maintenance. Negroes organize “good and sufficient foraging who are able-bodied and can be of serparties, under the command of one or vice to the several columns, may be more discreet officers,” to gather corn taken along; but each army comor forage of any kind, meat, vegetables, mander will bear in mind that the quesor other necessaries, aiming always to tion of supplies is a very important one, keep on hand ten days provisions for and that his first duty is to see to those the men and three days' forage. “Sol. who bear arms." A pontoon train diers must not enter the dwellings of fully equipped and organized was asthe inhabitants or commit any trespass; signed to each wing of the army. during the halt or a camp, they may
be In accordance with his plan, Gen. permitted to gather turnips, potatoes, Sherman effectually destroyed the railand other vegetables, and drive in road in his rear, and then set fire to stock in front of their camps.” The and burned all the storehouses, depots, power was entrusted to army corps machine-shops, and everything else in commanders to destroy mills, houses, Atlanta which could be of any service cotton-gins, etc., in districts or neigh- to the rebels. Having concentrated at borhoods where the army was molested Atlanta, his troops, numbering between by guerrillas or bushwhackers, or the 50,000 and 60,000, the right wing, under inhabitants should burn bridges, ob- Howard, moved on the 12th of Novemstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local ber, and was followed by the left, hostility; but no such devastation was under Slocum, on the 14th. Sherman to be permitted where the inhabitants himself accompanied the left wing. remained quiet. · As for horses, mules, The lines of march followed generally wagons, etc., belonging to the inhabi- the two lines of railroad traversing the tants, the cavalry and artillery may state, the Georgia and Central, runappropriate freely and without limit; ning from Savannah to Macon, and discriminating, however, between the thence by a north-westerly line to Atrich, who are usually hostile, and the lanta, a distance in all of nearly 300
poor or industrious, usually neu- miles; and the Georgia Railroad, run
tral or friendly. Foraging par- ning north of the former, in an easterly ties may also take mules or horses direction, between Atlanta and Auto replace the jaded animals of their gusta. This was connected with the trains, or to serve as pack mules for southerly line by way of Waynesbothe regiments or brigades. In all for- rough and Millen with Savannah. In the aging, of whatever kind, the parties area bounded by these lines, resem. engaged will refrain from abusive and bling a parallelogram with Atlanta, threatening language, and may, when Macon, Augusta and Millen at the four
MARCH OF TIIE RIGHT AND LEFT WINGS.
corners, and Milledgeville at a central crossed the Ocmulgee, and passing south, point in the enclosure, the important left-Macon on the right and in the rear, movements of Gen. Sherman's army and then moved rapidly through Monwere effected.
ticello and Hillsborough to Clinton, so The rebels at first, and for some time, as to strike the Georgia Central at Gorsupposed that Sherman was engaged don, twenty miles east of Macon. Kil upon a raiding expedition into Georgia. patrick's cavalry, meanwhile, were deIt seemed as if it were impossible for monstrating in the direction of Macon, them to grasp the boldness of that gen- and the rebels were firmly possessed of eral's undertaking; and hence, as Grant the idea that that city was to be atsays, “the blindness of the enemy in tacked, and gathered all the forces they ignoring his movement, and sending could, under Cobb, for its defence. Hood's army, the only considerable On striking the Georgia Central, on force they had west of Richmond and the 22d of November, Howard's corps east of the Mississippi River, north- began to destroy the track between ward on an offensive campaign, left the Gordon and Griswoldville, in that thowhole country open, and Sherman's rough and complete manner which they route to his own choice.* For full and had acquired by long experience. While accurate details, we must refer the engaged in this work, a severe skirmish reader to Sherman's report, written in or battle between a section of our artilhis lively and energetic style. A brief lery and some cavalry, and about 5,000 outline is all that we have room here of the rebels, occurred at Griswoldville. to present.
Desperate assaults were made on our Howard marched in two columns force, but they resulted in nothing but southwardly on the railroad as far as loss and disaster, and the rebels were Jonesborough, the rebels being able to glad to make their way back to Macon. make but feeble opposition. One of Milledgeville was occupied on the 21st his columns occupied McDonough, on of November, just a week after leaving the 15th of November, about thirty-five Atlanta, the distance travelled being miles south-east of Atlanta, and the about ninety-five miles. county seat of one of the richest
por- The corps under Slocum marched tions of Georgia. Howard, on the 20th, eastwardly towards Augusta, and by
the 17th of November, the road was * “ The whole plan, which had originated in the brain of President Davis, to compensate for the enemy's effectually destroyed as far as Covingoffensive movement in Georgia by penetrating Ten-ton. One column turned southeastnessee was outrageously foolish, from the simple con- wardly in the direction of Milledgeville,
, equal; for that into the enemy's country could not while another continued on the line of seriously affechis superabundant resources, while the railroad, and destroyed it as far as that into the southern interior went right into the heart of the Confederacy; and having once passed the Madison, sixty-nine miles east of Atfrontiers, on which the South had necessarily thrown lanta, and 102 west of Augusta. The all its resources in men, was destined to realize Gen. cavalry were pushed on between twenty Grant's assertion, that the Confederacy was merely a shell.”—Pollard's “ Last Year of the War,” p. 130.
and thirty miles further, serving as a
sideration that the two invasions were necessarily un
demonstration against Augusta, and against a large and well appointed thoroughly deceiving the enemy as to army, such as Sherman's was. Sherman's real plan. From Madison On the 24th of November, the army Slocum marched to Milledgeville, which left Milledgeville, having Millen, sevenwas reached November 22d; and the ty-four miles distant, in view. The two wings were thus brought together main body crossed the Oconee at Milagain.
ledgeville, destroying the bridge over A few days before, when Gor. Brown that river, and the railroad bridge over and the legislature (then in session) Fisher's Creek, south of the city. A waked up to the fact that Sherman's large force of Kilpatrick's cavalry dearmy was about to enter the city, they monstrated at the Central Railroad fled in a very great hurry, carrying off bridge over the Oconee, twentywhat they could, the public archives, five miles south-east of Milledgefunds, etc., and escaping to Augusta, ville, which was defended by earthand Macon, and anywhere, to get out works, by the rebel Gen. Wayne, with of the
way of the dreaded Yankee host. a body of stragglers and militia which In fact, the leaders of the rebellion had been picked up between Milledge could no longer evade the unwelcome ville and Augusta. This road here truth, that our army was moving di- runs for several miles through a swamp, rectly and successfully through the which borders the west bank of the heart of Georgia to the sea coast, and Oconee. Wheeler, who had been left that, unless it could be stopped, disas- in the rear at Macon, by the excellent trous results must inevitably follow. strategy practiced in his case, as above Beauregard came to the rescue, in his noted, made extraordinary efforts and peculiar way, and issued an address, succeeded in getting across the Oconee, November 18th, calling on the Geor- in order, with Wayne's help, to disgians to “obstruct and destroy all the pute the passage of the river. Howroads in Sherman's front, flank and ard, finding the bridge strongly guardrear, and then his army will soon starve ed, sent the 15th corps some eight miles in your midst.” So, too, rebel con below to a ford where a pontoon bridge gressmen urged upon the people to de- was laid. The rebels thereupon revastate and destroy everything in Sher- treated hastily, and by the 26th of Noman's path, a kind of advice which, as vember, the whole right wing was might be expected, was treated with across the river, moving eastward along indifference or contempt. Gov. Brown set forth a proclamation, and ordered
* “ Sherman's march assumes the aspect of a great a levy, en masse, of all the white popu- swinging movement the pivot of which was the army lation, in the effort to stay the progress described on a radius of half a continent—one of those
before Petersburg. But it was a swinging movement of our army. But it was all in vain. colossal enterprises whereof there are few exemplars in The resistance which troops, thus gath. military history, and which fill up the measure of the
imagination with the shapes of all that is vast and ered for an emergency, were able to
grandiose war."-Swinton's “ Army of the Pota make, amounted to almost nothing mac,” p. 586.
FORT MCALLISTER CAPTURED.
the railroad, and destroying it effect- road bridge, and then took up his posi ually as the column advanced.
tion as a guard in Sherman's rear. Slocum crossed the Oconee at the Howard passed through Sanderssame time with the right wing, and ville, November 26th, and Louisville, moved northwardly, aiming for Sparta November 30th. Slocum marched in Hancock County. On the evening through Sparta and then moved upon of the 24th of November, Slocum's ad. Louisville. Millen was reached on the vance encamped at Devereaux, seven 2d of December, Sherman having movmiles west of Sparta, and the cavalry ed slowly, but with a purpose. As it scoured the whole country, one of the was somewhat uncertain as to supplies most fertile and thickly settled in the when he moved on to Savannah, Sherwhole state, and vast quantities of man paid special attention to foraging, forage and provisions, and many horses and also to the complete destruction and mules were obtained, and much of the railroads, including the bridge cotton burned. The Georgia Railroad, over the Ogeechee, twenty-five miles on Slocum's left flank was not neglected. west of Millen. While the army lay at Milledgeville, a Savannah was now about eighty portion of the cavalry force was actively miles distant, and Sherman having left engaged in different directions, striking the rebel troops in his rear, where they the railroad repeatedly, burning the could do no harm, advanced rapidly bridge over the Oconee at Blue Spring, and regularly forward. Howard, on destroying public property, etc.
the 9th of December, struck the canal The army being now east of the which connects the Ogeechee with the Oconee, the rebels were much frighten- Savannah, about ten miles in the rear ed, not knowing whether Sherman and west of the city. From this point would strike at Augusta or Savannah. he communicated, by means of scouts, His own purpose was clear enough to with a gun boat in Ossabaw Sound, himself, but by the exceeding activity and gave intelligence of his success thus and skill of the cavalry, and by various far. On the 10th of December, Sherapparent indications that Augusta was man advanced to within five miles of the point immediately in view, the Savannah, where the rebels had erected rebels were again deceived; Wheeler's the first of a line of defences. Sher. cavalry fell back, and forces from every man resolved to capture Fort McAllisquarter were gathered at Augusta in ter and thus open the Ogeechee, so as order to defend it; Sherman, all this to communicate with the fleet, and cut while, was quietly advancing towards off communication between Savannah Millen, and securing an unobstructed and the southern part of the state. passage of the Ogeechee with his main Accordingly, as Sherman stated in a body. Kilpatrick, having driven dispatch, dated 11.50, P.M, December Wheeler back through Waynesborough 13th, on board the gun boat Dandelion, and beyond Brier Creek, within twenty Ossabaw Sound : “ To-day, at five miles of Augusta, destroyed the rail. 1 o'clock, P.M., Gen. Hazen's division of
the 15th corps carried Fort McAllister the army of surplus negroes, mules and by assault, capturing its entire garrison horses. We have utterly destroyed and stores. This opened to us the over two hundred miles of rails, and Ossabaw Sound, and I pushed down consumed stores and provisions that to this gun boat to communicate with were essential to Lee's and Hood's the fleet. Before opening communica- armies. The quick work made with tion we had completely destroyed all Fort McAllister, and the opening of the railroads leading into Savannah, communication with our fleet, and the and invested the city. The left is on consequent independence of supplies, the Savannah River, three miles above dissipates, all their boasted threats to
the city, and the right on the head me off and starve the army.
Ogeechee, at King's bridge. I regard Savannah as already gained.” The army is in splendid order, and Hardee, in Savannah, undertook to equal to anything. The weather has hold out for a while; but, on the 20th been fine, and supplies are abundant. of December, he considered the case Our march was most agreeable, and hopeless, and destroying whatever he we were not at all molested by the could, he fled to Charleston. On the guerrillas. We reached Savannah three 21st, Savannah was occupied, and Sherdays ago, but, owing to Fort McAllis- man sent a message to the president ter, could not communicate; but now begging to present him with the city we have McAllister, we can go ahead." as a Christmas gift," with its 150 We have already captured two boats heavy guns, its ammunition, and some on the Savannah River, and prevented 25,000 bales of cotton. Gen. Geary their
gun boats from coming down. I was placed in command, and Sherman's estimate the population of Savannah order, December 26th, with reference at 25,000, and the garrison at 15,000. to the government of the city, was General Hardee commands. We have judicious and considerate. The disnot lost a wagon on the trip, but have position of the citizens was to quiet gathered in a large supply of negroes, and orderly behavior, and little if any mules, horses, etc., and our teams are trouble was given to the constituted in far better condition than when we authorities in the changed condition of started. My first duty will be to clear affairs.