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SHERMAN MOVES ON JACKSON.
New Orleans, and was yet suffering from the effects of his accident, assumed the command, and issued his first order. His field of authority comprised three departments and nine States and parts of States, from the Mississippi, between the Gulf and the great Lakes eastward, into the heart of the Appalachian
range of mountains. Rosecrans left for Cincinnati on the 19th, after issuing a touching farewell address to his army.
Let us here pause for a moment in the consideration of events in Southeastern Tennessee, to take a glance at military movements in the department commanded by Grant, from the fall of Vicksburg to his promotion just mentioned. We left him at Vicksburg, the winner of the then greatest and most important victory yet achieved by the National troops,' and the recipient of the highest encomiums from his superiors’ and fellow-citizens, while his paroled prisoners were making their way back to Jackson, then reoccupied by Johnston, and thence into the ranks of the Confederate army, in violation, on the part of the Conspirators at Richmond, of all honor.3
Johnston, as we have observed," was still hovering in Grant's rear when Vicksburg was surrendered. Sherman had been pushed out in that direction with a considerable force to keep him back, and had constructed a line of works from the Yazoo, at Haines's Bluff, to the Big Black River. This movement was effectual, and Johnston, as we have seen, was endeavoring to aid Pemberton by co-operative movements farther down the stream,' when Vicksburg was surrendered. Grant at once sent out to Sherman all that remained of that officers and McPherson's corps, to drive Johnston from Jackson and the railway. In the afternoon of the 4th of July“ the re-enforcements were in motion, and when, the next day, they joined Sherman, that leader had about fifty thousand effective men under his command. With these he crossed the Big Black, his
July 6. right, under Ord, passing at the site of the railway bridge;s his center, under Steele, at Messenger's Ford, above; and his left, under Parks, still farther up the river.
In sweltering heat and blinding dust-men and horses almost maddened by thirst, where little water might be found on account of a parching drought-the army pressed forward over a country which, by
• May 26. Grant's orders, had been desolated by General Baird for scores of miles around Vicksburg, and pushed Johnston back to Jackson, where he took shelter behind his breastworks and rifle-pits, and from
« July 7. which, with a ludicrous show of faith at such a moment and under such circumstances (which he evidently did not feel), he issued a florid ordero to his troops, telling them that “an insolent foe,
• July 9. flushed with hope by his recent success at Vicksburg, then confronted them, threatening the homes of the people they were there to protect, with plunder and conquest.” “The enemy," he said, “it is at once the duty and the mission of you, brave men, to chastise and expel from the soil
i See page 628, volume II.
2 On the 18th of July, the generous President wrote a letter to Grant, in which, after saying that he did not remember that he and the general had ever met, and that he then wrote as a grateful acknowledgment for the slmost inestimable service he had done the country, he referred to operations and proposed operations which the President thought would be best in the siege of Vicksburg, but which Grant did not, and said, “I now wish to make a personal acknowledgment that you were right and I was wrong." 3 See page 181. * See page 631, volume II. $ See page 625, volume II. • See page 612, volume II.
JOHNSTON DRIVEN FROM JACKSON.
of Mississippi. The commanding general confidingly relies on you to sustain his pledge, which he makes in advance, and he will be with you in the good work, even unto the end."
A week later these defenders of threatened homes, and the chastisers of “ an insolent foe,” twenty-four thousand strong, were flying over the “soil of Mississippi,” toward the heart of the State, in search of safety from the
wrath of the “invaders." Sherman had invested Jackson on the * July, 1863.
10th,“ each flank of his army resting on the Pearl River, that runs hard by, with his cannon planted on the hills around. With a hundred of these he opened upon the doomed city on the 12th, but his scanty supply of ammunition, on account of the tardiness of his trains, would not allow him to continue the attack. In that assault General Lauman, by misapprebension of orders, pressed his troops too near the Confederate works, and in the course of a few minutes he lost five hundred men, by a galling fire from sharp-shooters and twelve cannon charged with grape and canister shot. Two hundred of his men were made prisoners, and with them went the colors of the Twenty-eighth, Forty-first, and Fifty-third Illinois.
Johnston was aware that Sherman's ammunition train was behind, and he hoped to remove a greater portion of his stores before it should come up, satisfied that he could not hold the place against the host then hemming it
in. Under cover of a fog, on the morning of the 13th, he made July.
a sortie, but with no other result than the production of some confusion, and a considerable loss of life on his part. Finally, on the 16th, when he knew that Sherman's ammunition had arrived, he prepared for a
speedy departure, and that night he hurried across the Pearl • July 16, 17.
River, burning the bridges behind him, and pushed on through Brandon to Morton.' Sherman did not pursue in force beyond the former place, his chief object being to drive off the Confederate army and make Vicksburg secure.
For this purpose
up the railway at intervals for many miles in every direction, and destroyed every thing in Jackson that could be useful to the foe, and more. The place was shamefully sacked by the soldiers ;' and the capital of Mississippi, one of the most beautiful towns, in its public buildings and elegant suburban residences, in all that region, was totally ruined. The business part of the city was laid in ashes, and many of the fine dwellings in the neighborhood, owned by known secessionists, shared the same fate. Among these was the residence of Bishop Green, of the Protestant Episcopal Church, that stood on a beautiful shaded eminence, House, furniture, and fine library of three thousand volumes, were committed to the flames. When the writer visited the spot, in the spring of 1866, nothing remained of it but broken walls, as delineated in the picture on the next page. It was a sad sight. Only the day before he had traveled DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY AT JACKSON.
1 Sherman's loss in the recapture of Jackson, excepting Lauman's troops, was trifling. Johnston reported his loss in Jackson at about 600, and added that on his retreat desertions were frequent.
2 " The first few hours," wrote an eye-witness, “were devoted by our soldiers to ransacking the town, and appropriating whatever of value or otherwise pleased their fancy, or to the destruction of such articles as they were unable to appreciate or remove. Pianos and articles of furniture were demolished, libraries were torn to pieces or trampled in the dust, pictures thrust through with bayonets, windows broken and doors torn from their hinges. Finally, after every other excess had been committed in the destruction of property, the torch was applied.” Household furniture, beds, &c., costly and otherwise, were dragged into the streets and burned. It was one of the most shameful exhibitions of barbarism of which the Union soldiers were occasionally guilty. and soiled, with an indelible stain, the character of the Patriot Army.
with the venerable prelate from Vicksburg to Jackson. A hotel near the
RUINS OF BISHOP GREEN'S HOUSE.
over the Pearl River, which had been inclosed and converted into a prison for Union captives. There, over the often turbulent waters, in cold and storm, they had been crowded and most cruelly treated. Two or three were in it when Sherman's troops took possession of the town. It seems to have been selected by the Confederates as a place to torture and permanently disable their captives in, as was their practice elsewhere, for they had many other places in the city in which to
confine prisoners. When Sherman had completed his work of destruction, he fell back by way of Clinton, across the Big Black, toward Vicksburg, followed by a great multitude of negroes, of both sexes and all ages. Most of these were the infirm and children, the able-bodied having been sent farther south by their masters. On Sherman's departure, some Confederate troops in the vicinity re-entered Jackson, and burned Bowman's large hotel, because he had given shelter to wounded National soldiers. By Sherman's operations, Vicksburg was secured from all danger of an immediate attack. Grant proceeded to cast up a line of strong works for its defense, and sent out expeditions to other places.
1 See page 278, volume II.
2 These works were completed at the beginning of 1864. They were three miles in length, extending around the city from river to river. The entire line, including eleven batteries, was called Fort Grant. The batteries were named and located as follows:-Battery Rawlins, on the Warrenton road, half a mile south of the town. Battery Castle (site of Mr. Burwell's house), near the railroad bridge, on the prolongation of Washington Street Battery Comstock, in the southeastern ion of the town, on Crawford Street, near the residence of
EXPEDITION UP THE YAZOO RIVER.
We have observed, that, on the fall of Vicksburg, Grant was about to send General Herron to the aid of Banks, then besieging Port Hudson, when he heard of the surrender of that post. Herron had already embarked
with his troops, when the order was countermanded, and he was * July 12.
sent“ in lighter draft vessels up the Yazoo, for the purpose of
capturing a large fleet of steamboats, which had escaped Porter's fleet, and were then lying at Yazoo City. The transports were convoyed by the armored gun-boat, De Kalb, and two of lighter armor, called “tin-clad" vessels, under Captain Walker. When they approached Yazoo City, a small garrison there, of North Carolinians, fled, and the steamboats, twenty-two in number, moved rapidly up the river. The De Kalb pushed on, and, just as she was abreast the town, the explosion of a torpedo under her sunk her. Herron's cavalry were landed, and, pursuing the steamers up the shore, captured and destroyed a greater portion of them. The remainder were sunk or burned, when, soon afterward, Captain Walker went back after the guns of the De Kalb. Herron captured three hundred prisoners, six heavy guns, two hundred and fifty small-arms, eight hundred horses, and two thousand
bales of Confederate cotton. After finishing his work at Yazoo July 18.
City, he started to cross the country to Benton and Canton, in
aid of Sherman, when information reached him of Johnston's July 21.
flight from Jackson. Then he returned to Vicksburg. On the day when Vicksburg was surrendered, there were stirring events at Helena, Arkansas, farther up the Mississippi, which the Confederates hoped would have a salutary bearing upon the fortunes of the garrison of the doomed city below. Helena had been held by National troops as a depot of recruits and supplies for about a year, since Washburne's cavalry of Curtis's army took possession of it; and in the summer of 1863 the post was in command of General B. M. Prentiss, whose troops were so sorely smitten at Shiloh.3 The Confederates in Arkansas, under such leaders as Sterling Price, Marmaduke, Parsons, Fagan, McRae, and Walker, were then under the control of General Holmes, who, at the middle of June, asked and received permission of General Kirby Smith, commander of the TransMississippi Department, to attack Prentiss. He designated Clarendon, on the White River, as the rendezvous of all the available troops under his command, and left Little Rock for that point on the 26th of June. Some of his troops were promptly at the rendezvous, while others, under Price,
owing to heavy rains and floods, did not reach there until the
30th. This delay baffled his plans for surprise, for Prentiss had been apprised of his movement and was prepared for his reception.
The post of Helena was strongly fortified, and behind the earth-works and heavy guns and the abatis in front of them, was a garrison of three thousand eight hundred men. The gun-boat Tyler, Lieutenant-commanding
Mr. Willis. Battery Clark, in the eastern part of the city, between Grove and Jackson Streets Battery Boomer, one half mile east of the city, on the Jackson road. Battery Sherman, one hundred yards in advance of Battery Wilson, between Jackson road and Win hayou. Battery Crocker, three-fourths of a mile north of Win bayou. Battery Ransom, one-fourth of a mile north of Fort Crocker. Battery Smith, one-fourth of a mile west of Ransom. Battery Hickenlooper, one mile north of the city, on the Valley road. I am indebted to Captain William J. White, aid-de-camp of General T. J. Hood. for the information contained in this note. See note 1, page 616, volume II, See page 631, volume II. 2 See page 525, volume II.
3 See page 278, volume II.
Pritchett, was lying there, ready to give support. The main work, near the
Holmes's entire force—the remnants of armies decimated by the warm
Price was accompanied by Harris Flanagan, the Confederate Governor
Fort Curtis, six hundred yards distant, exposed to a terribly galling
Fagan, meanwhile, under the immediate direction of Holmes, had attacked the battery on Hindman's Hill with his little force. He left his artillery at the first obstructions, and with his infantry rushed up ravines and steep acclivities and over abatis, driving the National sharp-shooters from their rifle-pits, and pushing on to carry the battery by assault. The assailants fought desperately but uselessly, and suffered fearful loss. Toward noon Holmes ordered a retreat, to save this little force from utter destruction. Marmaduke, at the same time, was attempting to take the battery on Righton's Hill, but failed on account of a heavy fire from artillery and musketry from behind the levee, and a lack of co-operation on the part of some cavalry. At three o'clock in the afternoon the assailants were repulsed at all points and withdrew, with a loss, reported by Holmes, of twenty per cent. of his entire force. Holmes hastily retreated with his shattered army, and thenceforth Confederate soldiers never molested Helena. There was quiet for some time along the eastern borders of the Mississippi, likewise, for the attention and the material forces of both parties were drawn toward Chattanooga,
Helena lies upon flat ground, on the western bank of the Mississippi River. Back of it are high ridges, running parallel with the river, and commanding the city and approaches. Fort Curtis was erected on the low ground, and being commanded by these bluffs, it was thought proper to place strong batteries upon them. The work was done under the immediate directions of Lieutenant J. G. Patton, of the Thirty-third Missouri. There were four batteries, mounting heavy guns. On the low ground above and below the town there were ritle-pits, with flanking batteries of 10-pounder Parrott guns and 6 and 12-pounder brass pieces.
* Price reported his loss at 1,111, of whom 106 were killed, 505 were wounded, and 500 were missing.
3 He reported his entire loss at 1,636 mnen. Prentiss (whose loss was only 250 men) male that of Holmes appear much greater, by stating that he buried 800 Confederates left dead on the field, and took 1,100 of them prisoners.