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1864.

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 No. man'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 ered for an emergency, were able to imagination with

the shapes of all that is vast and

grandiose in war."-Swinton's " Army of the Pota make, amounted to almost nothing mac,” p. 566.

CH. XIIL]

FORT MCALLISTER CAPTURED.

491

where they

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, 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. Shercavalry 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. o'clock, P.M., Gen. Hazen's division of

1864,

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 starre 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.

Ch. XVI.]

SHERIDAN BEGINS HIS WORK.

493

CHAPTER XVI

1864.

SHERIDAN IN THE VALLEY: ARMY OF THE JAMES: WILMINGTON AND FORT FISHER.

Sheridan in command in the Shenandoah Valley — Enters upon his work with spirit - Defeats Early at

Opequan Creek — Early's attack upon our forces at Cedar Creek — Nearly a rout, but turned to a victory by Sheridan's arrival — Extracts from Sheridan’s dispatches – Early's chagrin — Grant's plans and purposes in neighborhood of Richmond — Fort Harrison taken — Cavalry expeditions and service · Reconnaissances and engagements — Attempt at Hatcher's Run — Subsequent movements - Strategic importance of Wilmington - Expedition against Fort Fisher — Porter and the naval part of the expedition – Weitzel to command the land troops — Butler accompanies the troops — Naval attack — The troops landed, but not allowed by Butler to assault the fort - Expedition given up by Butler, who is superseded by Gen. Ord - Starts anew under Terry and Porter - Extracts from Gen. Terry's report, January, 1865 — Gallant conduct of the navy and army – Value and greatness of our success.

1864.

GEN. GRANT, clearly possessed of the Severe skirmishing ensued, here and dea that it was necessary to have some elsewhere, and Sheridan found it exone efficient commander in the depart. pedient to retire again to the neighborments of West Virginia, Washington, hood of the Potomac. The month of Susquehanna, and the middle depart. August and the first half of September ment, recommended that Gen. Sheridan passed in this way, without any genbe placed in charge; which was ac eral engagement. “The two armies cordingly done, and Sheridan, on the lay in such a position—the enemy on 7th of August, assumed command of the west bank of the Opequan Creek

the “middle military division." covering Winchester, and our forces in

The enemy, at the time, were front of Berrysville—that either could concentrated in the neighborhood of bring on a battle at any time. Defeat Winchester, and our forces occupied. to us would lay open to the enemy the the line of the Monocacy, at the cross states of Maryland and Pennsylvania ing of the Baltimore and Ohio Rails for long distances, before another army road, leaving open to the rebels West-could be interposed to check him. Un. ern Maryland and Southern Pennsyl. der these circumstances, I hesitated vania.

about allowing the initiative to be Sheridan entered vigorously upon taken. Finally, the use of the Baltihis work. He pushed forward a column more and Ohio Railroad and the Chesfrom Harper's Ferry up the Shenan- apeake and Ohio Canal, which were doah Valley to Winchester, and beyond, both obstructed by the enemy,

became to Fisher's Hill, in the vicinity of Stras. so indispensably necessary to us, and burg, where Early was in position. the importance of relieving Pennsylva.

1864.

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nia and Maryland from continuously with heavy loss on the 20th. Sheridan threatened invasion was so great, that pursued him with great energy through I determined the risk shou.d be taken. Harrisonburg, Staunton, and the gaps But fearing to telegraph the order for of the Blue Ridge. After stripping an attack without knowing more than the Upper Valley of most of the supI did of Gen. Sheridan's feelings as to plies and provisions for the rebel army, what vrould be the probable result, I he returned to Strasburg, and took po

left City Point, on the 15th of sition on the north side of Cedar

September, to visit him at his Creek.” * headquarters, to decide, after conference The rebel commander, having been with him, what should be done. I met reinforced, again returned to the Valhim at Charleston, and he pointed out ley, and while Sheridan was absent on so distinctly how each army lay; what business at Washington, he made an he could do the moment he was author assault on our army, which nearly reized ; and expressed such confidence of sulted in complete rout and overthrow. success, that I saw there were but two On the night of the 18th of October, words of instructions necessary-GỌ the rebels crossed the mountains which in! For the convenience of forage, the separated the branches of the Shenanteams for supplying the army were doah, forded the North fork, and early kept at Harper's Ferry. I asked him on the morning of the 19th, under cover if he could get out his teams and sup. of the darkness and the fog, surprised plies in time to make an attack on the and turned our left flank, and captured ensuing Tuesday morning. His reply the batteries which enfiladed our whole was, that he could before daylight on line. Affairs were in a most painfully Monday. He was off promptly to time, critical condition. Panic was fast deand I may here add that the result was moralizing the army, and in a brief such that I have never since deemed it space, had not help arrived, all would necessary to visit Gen. Sheridan before have been lost. Most opportunely, giving him orders.

that help came in the person of SheriEarly on the morning of the 19th dan himself. He was on his return of September, Gen. Sheridan attacked from Washington, on this eventful Gen. Early at the crossing of the Ope. morning, and at Winchester, thirteen quan Creek, and after a most sanguin- miles distant, heard the booming of ary and bloody battle, lasting until cannon. Instantly, aware of the imfive o'clock in the evening, defeated portance of his presence, he set off at him with heavy loss, carrying his entire full speed, and never drew rein till he position from Opequan Creek to Win- reached the battle field, his horse cov. chester, capturing several thousand ered with foam and he himself in a state prisoners and five pieces of artillery. of intense excitement. He took in the The enemy rallied and made a stand in situation at once. He rode along the a strong position at Fisher's Hill, where lines; he shouted to the 'men, “turn, he was attacked and again defeated

*Report of Lieut.-Gen. U. 8. Grant,” pp. 29, 30

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