« PreviousContinue »
EFFECT OF SHERMAN'S INVASION.
steadily on toward Memphis as rapidly as possible, skirmishing frequently, but found no formidable assailants after crossing the Tallahatchie. He
reached Memphis late in the evening of the 25th," after marching
that day about fifty miles. Although the chief object of the expedition was not accomplished, Smith had inflicted heavy injuries upon the Confederates; and during the thirteen days of marching and skirmishing—a march of three hundred and fifty miles—he lost only about two hundred men.
But the remainder were worn down and dispirited, and one-third of them were dismounted.
Expecting Smith at Meridian every hour, Sherman remained there several days, during which time he laid that town in ashes, with the arsenal, several buildings containing commissary stores, and all the railway property there. “We staid at Meridian a week,” said Sherman in a dispatch to General
Grant, “and made the most complete destruction of the railroads
ever beheld-south below Quitman, east to Cuba Station, twenty miles north to Lauderdale Springs, and west, all the way back to Jackson." By this work one of the prime objects of the expedition was accomplished; but Smith's failure to reach Meridian, and so give Sherman ample cavalry, prevented the infliction of tenfold more injury. Without that cavalry, Sherman did not think it prudent to go farther, nor remain at Meridian, so he retraced his steps leisurely back to Canton, where he arrived on the 26th, with four hundred prisoners, a thousand white Unionist refugees, and about five thousand negroes of all ages. He reported his own loss during the whole expedition at only one hundred and seventy-one men.
During that raid, Sherman destroyed a vast amount of property, and spread dismay throughout the Confederacy from the Mississippi to the Savan
nah. When he first started, Watts, the Governor of Alabama,
issued an appeal to the people of that State, and called upon them to turn out to resist the threatened invasion. General Polk tele
graphedd to General D. Maury, commander at Mobile, that Sher
man was marching from Morton on that city, when the non-combatants were requested to leave it; and it was believed, when he was at Meridian, that both Selma and Mobile would be visited by him. Great relief was felt when he turned his face westward, leaving Meridian a heap of smoldering embers. When the writer, in April, 1866, passed over the line of Sherman's raid from Jackson to Meridian, two years before, the marks of his desolating hand were seen everywhere. Meridian was then only a little village, mostly of rude cabins. When a fellow-passenger in the cars, who was the mayor of that “city,” and also county judge, was asked by the writer, whether Sherman injured the place much, he replied, with emphasis : “ Injured! Why he took it with him !" It was almost literally so, for when he turned back a strong east wind was blowing, and smoke and ashes—almost all that remained of the ruined town—were wafted in the direction of the march of the army toward Vicksburg.'
¢ Feb. 6.
« Feb. 10.
| The sum of injury done to the Confederates during Sherman's raid, including that of Smith, and an expedition which Porter sent simultaneously to attack Yazoo City and distract the Confederates, may be stated in general terms as follows: The destruction of 150 miles of railway, 67 bridges, 700 trestles, 20 loconjotives, 28 cars, several thousand bales of cotton, several steam mills, and over 2,000,000 bushels of corn. About 500 prisoners were taken, and over 8.000 negroes and refugees followed the various columns back to Vicksburg.
The expedition sent to Yazoo City consisted of some gun-boats, under Lieutenant Owen, and a detachment
OPERATIONS IN NORTHERN GEORGIA.
. Feb. 22,
When General Johnston, then at Dalton, in Northern Georgia (where the railway up from Atlanta forks, the left to Chattanooga and the right to Cleveland), in command of Bragg's army, heard of Sherman's advance on Meridian, and perceived that General Polk and his fifteen thousand men were not likely to impede his march to Rome, Selma, Mobile, or wheresoever he liked, he sent two divisions of Hardee's corps, under Generals Stewart and Anderson, to assist the prelate. The watchful Grant, then in command at Chattanooga, quickly discovered the movement and perceived its aim, and at once put the Fourteenth Army Corps, under General Palmer, in motion to counteract it. These troops moved directly upon Dalton. The divisions of Jefferson C. Davis, Johnson, and Baird marched along the direct road to that place, passing to the left of the Chickamauga battle-ground and over Taylor's Ridge; and Stanley's division, under General Crufts, which had been in camp at Cleveland, moved down from the latter place farther to the left, and joined the other three between Ringgold and Tunnel Hill. Then the whole column pressed forward, driving the Confederate cavalry, under Wheeler, before them, who made a stand at Tunnel Hill Ridge, a short distance from the village. There a line of log breastworks stretched along the crest of the ridge, and a battery of four pieces was planted in a commanding position. These were opened upon the advancing column, but were soon silenced by the Second Minnesota and Nineteenth Indiana Batteries, when Wheeler, finding his position flanked by troops under General Morgan and Colonel Hambright, fell back.
It was now between two and three o'clock in the afternoon. The Nationals passed on, Morgan and Colonel D. McCook in advance, keeping up a close pursuit of Wheeler, and at five o'clock approached the range of hills called Rocky Face Ridge, one of which, near Dalton, rises into a lofty peak, called Buzzard's Roost. Through a deep gorge in that ridge the railway and turnpike passed. It was a strong defensive position, and there the Confederates made another stand. They kept up a furious cross-fire from six guns until dark, when Morgan and McCook advanced, took position in the mouth of the gorge, and held it until morning, when it was found that the Confederates were still retreating toward Dalton.
The Nationals moved on into Rocky Face Valley, skirmishing heavily, but continually pushing their adversaries, until they reached a point which, if held by the Unionists, would make a descent into the Dalton Valley comparatively easy. There the Confederates made a stand, with the evident determination to resist to the last. A hill in the center of the valley, on which they were posted, was the key-point of the position. General Palmer determined to carry it. To General Turchin the task was committed. With a portion of his brigade (Eleventh, Eighty-ninth, and Ninety-second Ohio, and Eighty-second Indiana) he advanced through a wood, and forming his battle-line on the slope of the hill to be carried, pressed rapidly forward. A A heavy battle instantly opened. The Unionists swept steadily up the hill,
> Feb. 24.
wo erzor ot. f, and as Genera? Pisi
Jobina when the as d, when bir a br his
h, he nies
135 am ing, and so men med
test ha's 1.7.98 best DE CU
of troops, under Colonel Osband. They did not then capture the place, but inflicted considerable damage, and returned with a loss of not more than 50 men. Yazoo City was soon afterward occupied by a Union force, composed of the Eighth Louisiana and 200 of the Seventh Mississippi colored troops, and the Eleventh Illinois. They were attacked by a superior force on the 5th of March. A desperate fight ensued. The assailants were finally driven away by some re-enforcements from below, and soon afterward the town was evacuated. The Union loss in this struggle was 130. That of the Confederates was about the same.
FORREST'S ASSIGNED DUTIES.
drove the Confederates from it, and planted the National standard on its crest. The triumph was momentary. The Confederates rallied half way down the other side of the hill, and, supported by re-enforcements, returned to the attack with overwhelming numbers, and drove Turchin from his prize. The Nationals fell back, and Palmer, finding his adversaries gathering in much larger force than his own in his front, and hovering on his flanks, and informed that Johnston, on hearing of Sherman's retreat from Meridian, had
ordered back the divisions of Hardee sent to re-enforce Polk, he thought it prudent to retreat to Tunnel Hill. This was done at once, and on the 10th of March his command took post at Ringgold. In this short campaign the Nationals lost three hundred and fifty killed and wounded, and the Confederates about two hundred.
The sphere of General Forrest's duties were at this time enlarged, and their importance increased. He was acknowledged to be one of the most daring and skillful of the Confederate leaders in the West, notwithstanding he was subordinate to S. D. Lee, Commander-in-Chief of the mounted men in that region. He seems to have had a sort of roving commission, and the service in which he was engaged partook more of the character of guerrilla than of regular warfare. It being evident that there would be a great struggle between the opposing troops in Northern Georgia, below Chattanooga, Forrest was charged with the special duty of keeping the National forces then on the line of the Mississippi, from Vicksburg to Cairo, employed, and prevent their re-enforcing the army opposed to Johnston. In the performance of this duty, Forrest, taking advantage of the withdrawal
1 This is from a sketch made by the author from the railway, in May, 1866. The view is from a point little south of Dalton.
FORREST'S RAID INTO KENTUCKY.
• March 14,
► March 23.
of troops from Vicksburg, to assist General Banks in another expedition against Texas, started on another raid into Tennessee a few days after Palmer fell back from before Dalton. He extended it into Kentucky, and, under the inspiration of the tone of feeling and action among the chief Conspirators at Richmond, he marked it, on his part, with a most inhuman spirit toward the negro soldiers in the Union army, and the white troops associated with them. The ferocity of the Conspirators had been bridled, as we have seen, by their fears and the suggestions of expediency;' but men in the field, like Forrest, ready and willing to carry the black flag’ at any time, and especially so against negro troops, found occasions to exercise it whenever the shadow of an excuse might be found.
Forrest led about five thousand troops on his great raid. He swept rapidly up from Northern Mississippi into West Tennessee, rested a little at Jackson, and then pushed on toward Kentucky. He sent Colonel Faulkner to capture Union City, a fortified town at the junction of railways in the northwestern part of Tennessee, then garrisoned by four hundred and fifty of the Eleventh Tennessee Cavalry, under Colonel Hawkins. Faulkner appeared before the town on the 24th,' and demanded its surrender. Hawkins refused. Faulkner attacked, and was repulsed, when, on renewing his demand for surrender, Hawkins made no further resistance, but gave up the post, contrary to the earnest desires of his men. He surrendered the garrison, about two hundred horses, and five hundred small-arms. At that moment General Brayman, who had come down from Cairo, was within six miles of Union City, with an ample force for Hawkins's relief.
This conquest opened an easy way for the possession of Hickman, on the Mississippi. A small Confederate force occupied that town. Meanwhile, Forrest moved with Buford's division directly from Jackson to Paducah, on the Ohio River, in Kentucky, accompanied by Buford and General A. P. Thompson. Paducah was then occupied by a force not exceeding sever. hundred men, under the command of Colonel S. G. Hicks; and when word came that Forrest was approaching in heavy force, that officer threw his troops into Fort Anderson, in the lower suburbs of the town. Before this, Forrest appeared' with three thousand men and four guns, and, after making a furious assault and meeting with unexpected resistance, he made a formal demand for its surrender, and with it a threat of a massacre of the whole garrison in the event of a refusal and the carrying of the works by storm. To this
i See page 229.
? The shallow Beauregard was continually anxious to make the war as ferocious as possible. We have already noticed (note 1, page 295, volume II.) his coincidence of opinions with “Stonewall" Jackson, that the time had come for raising the black flag." In a letter to William Porcher Miles, one of the most bitter of the South Carolina Conspirators (see chapter IV., volume I.), dated at "Charleston, October 13, 1862," Beauregard said: “ Has the bill for the execution of Abolition prisoners, after January next, been passed ? Do it; and England will be stirred into action. It is high time to proclaim the black flag after that period. Let the execution be with the garrote.-G. T. BEAUREGARD."
3 They consisted of portions of the Sixteenth Kentucky Cavalry, under Major Barnes; of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois, Major Chapman, and nearly three hundred colored artillerists (First Kentucky), under Colonel Cunningham.
4 The following is a copy of the ferocious summons: “Having a force amply sufficient to carry your works and reduce the place, in order to avoid the unnecessary effusion of blood, I demand the surrender of the fort and
FORREST REPULSED AT PADUCAH.
flat refusal, when the assault was renewed with increased vigor, while other portions of Forrest's command were plundering and burning in the town. Fighting was kept up all the afternoon, and the crack of musketry was heard until midnight. The garrison were materially aided by the gun-boats Peosta and Paro Pann, which shelled the buildings within musket range of the
fort, in which the Confederate sharpshooters swarmed. Satisfied that he could not carry the fort by storm, Forrest lingered about the place
until the 27th, hoping • March, 1864.
something would turn up to his advantage, when, hearing of the approach from Cairo of re-enforcements for the garrison, he decamped, having lost, it was estimated, over three hundred
men, killed and wounded. General Thompson was torn in pieces by a shell that passed through him. Other officers were killed or maimed. The Union loss was fourteen killed
and forty-six wounded. Forrest was greatly chagrined by the failure of his arms and his trickery at Paducah, and, hastening back to Tennessee, he sought more successful employment for both in an attack upon Fort Pillow, on the Mississippi, above Memphis. That post was then garrisoned by about five hundred and fifty men, including officers, under the command of Major L. F. Booth. Two hundred and sixty-two of the soldiers were colored, under the immediate command of Major Booth, and the remainder were white, commanded by Major W. F. Bradford." Booth ranked Bradford, and held chief command. The regular garrison stationed at Fort Pillow had been withdrawn toward the close of January, to accompany General Sherman in his expedi
N. B. FORREST.
troops, with all the public stores. If you surrender, you shall be treated as prisoners of war; but if I hars to storm your works, you may expect no quarter.-N. B. FORREST."
i Paducah suffered terribly from the bombardment and conflagration. Besides the ravages by fire made by the Confederates, all the buildings near the fort, in which the sharp-shooters were concealed, were burned by order of Colonel Ilicks, on the night after the assault. The Confederates burned a steamboat on the marine ways; also sixty bales of cotton.
? At Paducah, as elsewhere, Forrest's conduct was marked by bad faith. He took advantage of his flag of truce to gain positions for his men not otherwise attainable; and when the women and children went to the river-side to cross over and escape danger before the bombardment of the place, his sharp-shooters mingled with them, and so protected from assault in return, fired upon the gun-boats. The Confederates also placed women in front of their lines as they moved on the fort, or were proceeding to take positions, while the flag of truce was at the fort, so as to compel the garrison to withhold their fire upon the faithless assailants. In this cowardly manner Forrest tried to win what real valor could not accomplish.—Report of a Committee of Congress on the Massacre at Fort Pillow,
On the morning after Forrest's repulse he tried twice to gain some advantage of position by the means of a flag of truce, to renew his attack, but failed. He proposed to open negotiations for an enchange of prisoners. Hicks told him he had no authority to do so. Then he proposed a private interview with Hicks, to which the latter replied he would meet Forrest, each accompanied by two officers of designated rank. To this Forrest made no reply; and, having failed in force and trickery, he sullenly withdrew.
• See page 296, volume II.
4 These troops comprised one battalion of the Sixth United States Heavy Artillery of Colored Troops under Major Booth; and one section of the Second United States Light Artillery, Colored; and one battalion of the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry (white), under Major Bradford.