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DUTIES ASSIGNED TO MEADE AND SHERMAN.
leck had been relieved of that command "at his own request," and assigned to duty as "chief of staff of the army."
General Grant made a flying visit to the head-quarters of the Army of the Potomac, and then started for the West, to make arrangements for inaugurating the grand campaign of the spring of 1864. At Nashville he issued the following modest order on the 17th of March, dated "Head-quar ters of the Armies of the United States" :
"In pursuance of the following order of the President :
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, November 10, 1864.
'Under the authority of the Act of Congress to appoint to the grade of Lieutenant-General in the Army, of March 1, 1864, Lieutenant-General Ulysses S. Grant, United States Army, is appointed to the command of the armies of the United States. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.'
I assume command of the Armies of the United States. Head-quarters will be in the field, and, until further orders, will be with the Army of the Potomac. There will be an office head-quarters in Washington, to which all official communications will be sent, except those from the army where the head-quarters are at the date of their address."
General Grant spent the remainder of March and a greater portion of April in making arrangements for the decisive campaigns which followed, the grand geographical objectives being Richmond and Atlanta, and the prime object the destruction or capture of the two principal armies of the Conspirators, one under Lee and the other under Johnston. To General Meade, as commander of the Army of the Potomac, Grant assigned the task of conquering Lee and taking Richmond, and to Sherman was intrusted the duty of conquering Johnston and taking Atlanta. In these two generals Grant reposed the most perfect confidence, and was not disappointed. He made his head-quarters thenceforth with the Army of the Potomac, and gave to Meade the help of his counsel and the prestige of his name; while Sherman, who was appointed to succeed Grant in the command of the Military Division of the Mississippi, with Major-General J. B. McPherson as commander of the Department and Army of the Tennessee, was left to his own resources, under general but explicit orders from the Lieutenant-General.
JAMES B. MCPHERSON.
high honor conferred. With the aid of the noble armies that have fought on so many battle-fields for our common country, it will be my earnest endeavor not to disappoint your expectations. I feel the full weight of the responsibilities now devolving on me, and I know that, if they are properly met, it will be due to those armies and, above all, to the favor of that Providence which leads both nations and men."
1 General Order of the War Department, March 12, 1864. In that order occurred the following sentence: In relieving Major-General Halleck from duty as General-in-Chief, the President desires to express his approbation and thanks for the zealous manner in which the arduous and responsible duties of that position have beer performed." 2 Order of the War Department, March 12, 1864.
MENDACITY OF THE CONSPIRATORS.
Meanwhile the Conspirators at Richmond made the most frantic efforts to avert their impending doom. They heard with dismay of the gigantic preparations making by the Government against them. They keenly realized the fact that in the wide world they had no sympathizing friend among the rulers, to speak a word of substantial comfort, excepting the Pope of Rome,' whose power to help was less than nothing. They knew that the sentiment. of the civilized world, unbiassed by self-interest, was against their cause. They saw England, from which they had hoped most, virtually laughing at their calamity, and its people offering no other aid than such as the greed of traffic might supply for a full equivalent of profit; and they beheld with the greatest concern the despondency of their own dupes and victims within the bounds of the Confederacy. It was vitally important to speak to the latter words of encouragement. Truth could furnish none. So Jefferson Davis, equal to the occasion, as usual, issued an address to the troops in the field early in February, and the members of "Congress" at Richmond put forth a long epistle "to the People of the Confederate States," both of which, undeniable facts warrant us in saying were deceptive and untruthful in the highest degree. They were filled with the most artful misrepresentations of events in the past and current history of the war.
Davis assured his poor conscripts that they were patriotic volunteers, and that "the pulse of the people beat in unison with theirs ;" and he compared their "spontaneous and unanimous offer of their lives for the defense of their country with the halting and reluctant service of the mercenaries,” who were "purchased by the enemy at the price of higher bounties than have hitherto been known in war." He assured them that "debt, taxation, repetition of heavy drafts, dissensions occasioned by the strife for power, by the pursuit of the spoils of office, by the thirst for the plunder of the public treasury, and, above all, the consciousness of a bad cause, must tell with fearful force upon the overstrained energies of the enemy. His campaign of 1864," he said, "must, from the exhaustion of his resources of men and
1 See page 47.
2 On the 1st of April, 1864, Lord Lyons, the British minister at Washington, forwarded to Jefferson Davis, by permission of our Government, a letter from Earl Russell, the British Foreign Secretary, in which, in the name of her Majesty's Government," he protested against the further procuring of pirate vessels within the British dominions by the Confederates. After courteously reciting facts connected with the matter, Russell said: "Under these circumstances, her Majesty's Government protests and remonstrates against any further efforts being made on the part of the so-called Confederate States, or the authorities or agents thereof, to build, or cause to be built, or to purchase, or cause to be purchased, any such vessels as those styled 'rams, or any other vessels to be used for war purposes against the United States, or against any country with which the United Kingdom is at peace and on terms of amity; and her Majesty's Government further protest and remonstrate against all acts in violation of the neutrality laws of the realm."
These words, from one who personally and as the representative of the British Government, had given the insurgents all the “aid and comfort" a wise business prudence would allow, kindled the hottest indignation of the Conspirators, and Jefferson Davis instructed one of his assistants (Burton N. Harrison) to reply that it "would be Inconsistent with the dignity of the position he [J. Davis] fills as Chief Magistrate of a nation comprising a population of more than twelve millions, occupying a territory many times larger than the United Kingdom, and possessing resources unsurpassed by those of any other country on the face of the globe, to allow the attempt of Earl Russell to ignore the actual existence of the Confederate States, and to contemptuously style them "so-called," to pass without a protest and a remonstrance. The President, therefore, does protest and remonstrate against this studied insult; and he instructs me to say that in future any document in which it may be repeated will be returned unanswered and unnoticed.” The scribe of the irate "President" added: "Were, indeed, her Majesty's Government sincere in a desire and a determination to maintain neutrality, the President would not but feel that they would neither be just nor gallant to allow the subjugation of a nation like the Confederate States, by such a barbarous, despotic race as are now attempting it."
* Compare this with the fact mentioned on page 97, that by a late act of the Confederate “Congress,” every able-bodied white man, of prescribed age, in the Confederacy, was to be considered “in the military service,” and liable to be punished as a deserter if not found there.
FORREST'S RAID INTO TENNESSEE.
money, be far less formidable than those of the last two years." The address of the " Congress was a most notable example of a few men "clothed with a little brief authority" by usurpation, and, conscious of their wickedness and weakness, trying to shield themselves from popular wrath for carrying on a useless struggle, and sacrificing all other interests for one-the aggrandizement of the slave-holding Oligarchy-by a shameful perversion of the plainest truth. In that address they sought to make the enemies of the Government the innocent party, and, with an amazing affront to the common sense of their people and mankind, after saying, "the red glare of battle kindled at Sumter dissipated all hopes of peace, and the two Governments were arrayed in hostility against each other"-an act originating wholly with the Conspirators-they said, "We charge the responsibility of this war on the United States. The war in which we are engaged was wickedly, and against all our protests, and the most earnest efforts to the contrary, forced upon us."
Before considering the great campaigns of the principal armies, let us notice other important movements in the country between the mountains and the Mississippi River, and beyond that stream.
When General Sherman was ordered to the assistance of Rosecrans, he left General McPherson in command at Vicksburg.' That officer soon found the Confederates swarming again upon the railway running north and south in the rear of Vicksburg, and so, at the middle of October, he took the divisions of Tuttle and Logan, about eight thousand strong, and pushed out in the direction of Canton, where the heaviest force was concentrating.' He was soon met, after crossing the Big Black, by a heavy body of cavalry, under General Wirt Adams, with ample infantry supports. After pushing these back some distance, he found himself suddenly confronted by a superior force, some of which had hastened down from Grenada, and some had come even from distant Mobile. Deeming it imprudent to give battle, McPherson retreated" to Vicksburg by way of Clinton.
* October 21, 1863.
Forrest, meanwhile, with about four thousand men, had been watching an opportunity to break through the line of National troops then holding the Memphis and Charleston railway, for the purpose of a raid in Tennessee in search of supplies. The repulse of McPherson emboldened him, and early in December, under cover of demonstrations at Colliersville, and other places between Corinth and Memphis, by other detachments, he dashed through the line near Salisbury, east of Grand Junction, and pushed on to Jackson, in Tennessee, without molestation. There he found himself in the midst of friends, from whose plantations he drew supplies, and from whose households he gained many recruits. He made Jackson his head-quarters, and sent out raiding parties in various directions to gather up cattle and other supplies. But his career in that region was short. General Hurlbut sent out troops
1 Page 158.
2 Soon after Sherman left, General Hurlbut, then in command in West Tennessee, sent out raiding parties of cavalry, or mounted infantry. Some of the latter were under Lieutenant-Colonel J. J. Phillips, of the Ninth Illinois Infantry, and detachments of the former were led by Lieutenant-Colonel W. R. M. Wallace, Fourth Illinois, and Major D. E. Coon, Second Iowa Cavalry. They swept through Northern Mississippi to Grenada, an important railway junction, where, on the 16th of August, they captured and destroyed fifty locomotives and about five hundred cars of all kinds collected there. McPherson had sent word not to destroy this rolling stock, but the messenger arrived too late to save it.
• Dec. 25, 1863.
SHERMAN'S MARCH THROUGH MISSISSIPPI.
from Columbus, on the north, and from Corinth, on the south, to oppose him, the former under the command of General A. J. Smith, and the latter composed of General Mower's brigade of infantry and Colonel Mizner's cavalry. At the same time, the Seventh Illinois Cavalry, under Colonel Prince, moved out from Memphis to Bolivar. Owing to the state of the roads, these several columns could not co-operate, and Prince, surrounded by a superior force near Somerville"a—a thousand to his five hundred— barely escaped capture, with a considerable loss. Forrest was satisfied that a web of danger was gathering around him (for Hurlbut had an ample supply of troops for the emergency), and started to make his escape into Mississippi. His progress was slow, for the streams were brimful. Hurlbut's troops burned the bridges in his track, and he had but few pontoons with him. One bridge-an important one, near Lafayette-was left standing, and over that he passed with a large drove of cattle and other plunder, and nearly all fresh horses, and escaped under cover of an attack on Colliersville, by General Richardson. This attack misled Grierson, who was waiting and watching for Forrest at La Grange; and the wily guerrilla had too much the start when Grierson, properly informed, pressed on in pursuit, to be easily caught. Grierson gave up the chase at Holly Springs, and Forrest found safety farther south.
Sherman now reappeared in Mississippi. After the return of his troops to Chattanooga from Knoxville, his command was stationed along the line of the Memphis and Charleston railway, in Northern Alabama, from Scottsboro' to Huntsville. There he remained with them until toward the close of January, when he was ordered to Vicksburg, to command an expedition that was to be impelled eastward from that city to perform such service for the National cause as circumstances might allow. Its first object was to strike Meridian at the intersection of the railway from Vicksburg, in the direction of Montgomery, Alabama, and another from Mobile to Corinth. A further object was contemplated in the destruction of the great Confederate ironfounderies in Selma, Alabama; also in a march upon Mobile.
Sherman left Vicksburg on the 3d of February with four divisions, two each from the corps of McPherson and Hurlbut, and accompanied by those leaders at the head of their respective troops, together with other cavalry and infantry, in all less than twenty-three thousand effective men.' His whole force was in light marching order, and prepared for quick movements. He marched in the advance with McPherson's corps. He crossed the Big Black at the old railway bridge, skirmished some, and reached Jackson on the 6th. There he crossed the Pearl River, on pontoons left by the Feb., 1864. Confederates in their hasty flight, and advanced rapidly through Brandon, Morton, and other towns on the line of the railway, and reached Meridian, on the eastern borders of the State of Mississippi, at the middle of the month, driving General Polk across the Tombigbee, some distance eastward of that town. Notwithstanding the Bishop had nine thousand infantry, under Generals French and Loring, and half that number of cav
1 These were composed of the divisions of Generals Veatch and A. J. Smith, of Hurlbut's (Sixteenth) corps, and of Generals Leggett and Crocker, of McPherson's (Seventeenth) corps; a brigade of cavalry, under Colonel Winslow; a brigade of infantry, under Colonel Chambers; a battalion of cavalry, under Captain Foster (Fourth Ohio, of McPherson's body-guard); two pioneer corps, and seven batteries of light artillery.
OPERATIONS IN CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI.
239 alry, under S. D. Lee, Wirt Adams, and Ferguson, he did not make a serious stand anywhere.
Sherman's object being the infliction of as much injury upon the Confederate cause as possible, the line of his march from Jackson eastward, presented a black pathway of desolation. No public property of the Confederates was spared. The station-houses and the rolling stock of the railway were burned; and the track was torn up, and the rails, heated by the burning ties cast into heaps, were twisted and ruined, and were often, by bending them when red-hot around a sapling, converted into what the men called "Jeff. Davis's neck-ties."1
General Sherman had made arrangements for a junction of his forces at Meridian with a division, chiefly of horsemen, that was to be sent from Memphis, under General W. S. Smith, then chief of cavalry in the Division of the Mississippi. His troops consisted of about seven thousand cavalry, a brigade of infantry, and a respectable artillery force. Brigadier-General Grierson was placed under his command. These troops were called in from Middle Tennessee and Northern Mississippi, and concentrated at Colliersville, twentyfour miles east of Memphis. Smith was ordered to be at Meridian on the 10th of February, but for some reason he did not leave Colliersville until the 11th, when he pushed across the country as rapidly as possible, crossed the Tallahatchie River at New Albany without opposition, and moved on to Okolona, on the Mobile and Ohio railway. Then they pressed southward, along the line of that road, toward Meridian. Colonel Grierson was sent to
threaten Columbus, while Smith, with the main body, moved on toward West Point, tearing up the railway track, and burning nearly a million bushels of corn, and about two thousand bales of cotton. Negroes flocked to his lines by hundreds, mounted on the horses and mules of their masters, welcoming him as their deliverer, and becoming, necessarily, great incumbrances.
On the 20th of February," Smith was met by what he supposed to be the combined forces of Forrest, Lee, and Chalmers, not far from West Point, and nearly a hundred miles north of Meridian. Their number he supposed to be greatly superior to his own, and comparatively fresh. Feeling himself unable, with his inferior force and the living incumbrances with which he was burdened, to cope with his adversaries, he ordered a retreat. The Confederates (who were really only about three thousand in number, under Forrest) followed him closely, and struck him heavily at Okolona, where, after a gallant struggle, he lost five guns. He pushed
1 In regard to the treatment of thepeople, General Sherman thus discoursed in a long letter to his AdjutantGeneral' just before setting out on his expedition: "To those who submit to rightful law and authority, all gentleness and forbearance; but to the petulant and persistent secessionists, why, Jan. 31. death is mercy, and the quicker he or she is disposed of, the better. Satan, and the rebellious saints of heaven, were allowed a continuous existence in hell, merely to swell their just punishment. To such as would rebel against a government so mild and just as ours was in peace, a punishment equal would not be unjust."
The cavalry consisted of three brigades. The First was commanded by Colonel G. E. Waring, Jr., of the Fourth Missouri Cavalry; the Second was under Lieutenant-Colonel Hepburn, of the Second Iowa Cavalry; and the Third was led by Colonel McCrellis, of the Third Illinois Cavalry.