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BEGINNING OF THE MARCH.
. Nov. 22,
Sherman's first object was to place his army in the heart of Georgia, between Macon and Augusta, and so compel his foe to divide his forces, to defend not only these two important places, but also Millen (where a large number of Union prisoners were confined), and Savannah and Charleston.
For that purpose his troops marched rapidly. Kilpatrick swept around to, and strongly menaced Macon," while Howard moved
steadily forward and occupied Gordon, on the Georgia Central railroad, east of Macon, on the 23d. Meanwhile, Slocum moved along the Augusta railway to Madison, and after destroying the railroad bridge over the Oconee River, east of that place, turned southward and occupied Mil
ledgeville, the capital of Georgia, on the same day when Howard
reached Gordon. In these marches the National troops found no military resistance of any consequence, excepting near Macon, and no serious obstacle, excepting such as wretched roads presented. had its separate pontoon train; and during the march to the sea, Sherman accompanied first one wing, and then the other, with his personal staff of only five officers, none of them above the rank of major.*
Each wing THE CONFEDERATES ALARMED.
1 At Augusta were some of the inost important works in the Confederacy for the manufacture of cannon, shot and shell. A report of Colonel Rains, superintendent of those works, made in May previous to the time we are considering, gives the following list of war materials supplied to the Confederate army, by the works at Augusta, in the space of two months: -1,400,000 small-arın cartridges; 6,000 fised ammunition (shot and shell attached to cartridges for field batteries); 2,500 Colonel Rains's percussion hand-grenades; 1,500 rifle shells for field artillery; 54 tons eight and ten-inch shot and shell for columbiads; 100 tons of gunpowder; 3 complete batteries of brass twelve-ponnder Napoleon gons, with carriages, limbers, caissons, harness, equipments, ammunition, traveling forges, &c.; one battery of three-inch rifle and banded iron guns, and twelve-pounder bronze bowitzers; 1 battery of four twelve-pounder bronze howitzers. The above two batteries were complete at all points, with carriages, limbers, caissons, harness, ammunition, equipments, &c.
**All of these guns, except the rifle battery (for General Morgan), were sent to General Johnston's army, which has altogether sixteen complete batteries of brass guns, which were mainly manufactured in every part at the government foundery and machine works and gun-carriage department in this place.
** The most of these batteries are composed of the new twelve-pouniler Napoleon guns, introduced in the service of the war by the present Emperor of the French; of these, over 85, weighing in the aggregate more than 50 tons, have been cast at the governinent foundery in this city, inainly within the past year. In the same period, over 500 tons of the first quality of gunpowder have been made at the powder works and distributed throughout the Confederacy.
“ In addition to the foregoing, there has been an immense number of small-arm cartridges, cartridge bags, fixed ammunition, canteens, haversacks, horse-shoes, time-fuses, and percussion-caps made at the arsenal, as well as large amounts of signal rockets, portfires, sets of artillery harness, infantry accouterments, &c., manufactured within the past twelve months."
.? The legislature of Georgia was in session when Slocum approached. The members fled, without the formality of adjournment. The Governor followed their example, and a large number of the white citizens did likewise. Many of the young oflicers of Sherman's army took the places of the fugitive legislators at the Capi. tol, and immediately rescinded the Georgia Ordinance of Secession and other obnoxious acts, and declared that State to be back again in the Union. They elected General Sherman governor of the commonwealth, and made an immense appropriation for the pay of the new legislature. The currency in which they were paid was Confederate. About a inillion dollars were disbursed by the treasurer for that purpose, Colonel Coggswell, of New York. Some of the members received $50,000 for their few hours of service.
3 The Conspirator, Howell Cobb, who plotted trenson while in Buchanan's cabinet as Secretary of the Treasury (see page 41, volume I.), was in command of the Georgia militia in that section of the State, and was very careful to keep out of the way of peril. Like Toombs, he seems to have been brave in boasting, but othervise in acting. Sherman encamped on one of his plantations, not far from Milledgeville, and there received a Macon newspaper containing a proclamation by Cobb, in which he called upon his fellow white citizens to rise and defend their liberties and homes" from the invader, and “to burn and destroy every thing in his front and assail him on all sides." Cobb had left the defense of his own home to his slaves, and had omitted the patriotic duty be enjoined upon others, of burning his own buildings and crops. This fact reminds us of the manifesto put forth by this man and his fellow-conspirator, Toombs, the year before. (See note 2, page 471, volume II.) These selfconstituted leaders were willing to sacrifice others while sparing themselves.
Major Nichols, who was with Sherman, thus wrote concerning Cobb: “Becoming alarmed, Cobb sent for and removed all the able-bodied mules, horses, cows, and slaves. He left here some fifty old men-cripples-and women and children, with nothing scarcely covering their nakedness, with little or no food, and without means of procuring it. A more forlorn, neglected set of human beings I never saw," --Story of the Great Jarch, page 58
* These were Major M Coy, aid-de-camp; Captain Audenried, aid-de-camp; Major Hitchcock, assistant adjutant-general; Captain Dayton, aid-de-camp, and Captain Nichols, aid-de-camp. * Attached to his headquarters," says Brevet-Major G. W. Nichols, in his Story of the Great March, “but not technically members of his statf, were the chiefs of the separate departments for the Military Division of the Mississippi." These were General Barry, chief of artillery; Lieutenant-Colonel Ewing, inspector-general; Captain Poe, chief of engineers; Captain Baylor, chief of ordinance; Dr. Moore, chief medical director; Colonel Beckwith, chief of the CO nissa tment; and Captain Bachtal, chief of the signal ps.
The army had moved, with twenty days' provision of bread, forty days' of beef, coffee, and sugar, and three of forage in their wagons, with instructions to each subordinate commander to live off the country, and save the supplies of the train for an expected time of need, when the army should reach the less productive region near the sea-coast. This they were enabled to do, for the hill country through which they were moving was very fertile, and had not been exhausted by the presence of great armies. Sherman's audacity, and the uncertainty concerning his real destination, because of the widely separated lines of march of the two wings of his army, astounded, bewildered and paralyzed the inhabitants and the armed militia, and very little resistance was offered to foragers, who swept over the country in all directions. Kilpatrick's march from Atlanta to Gordon had appeared to them, like a meteor-flash to the supersitious, mysterious and evil-boding. At East Point he met some of Wheeler's cavalry, which Hood had left behind to operate against Sherman. These were attacked and driven across the Flint River. Kilpatrick crossed that stream at Jonesboro', and pursued them to Lovejoy, where Murray's brigade, dismounted, expelled them from intrenchments, captured the works, took fifty prisoners, and, in the pursuit, Atkins's brigade seized and held two of their guns. Pressing forward, Kilpatrick went through Macdonough and Monticello to Clinton, and then made a dash upon Macon, driving in some of Wheeler's cavalry there, threatening the strongly-manned works, burning a train of cars, tearing up the railway, and spreading the greatest consternation over that region.
By this time the Confederates began to comprehend the grand object of Sherman's movement, but could not determine his final destination. The evident danger to Georgia and the Carolinas caused the most frantic appeals to be made to the people of the former State. “ Arise for the defense of your
native soil,” shouted Beauregard in a manifesto, as he was hastening from the Appomattox to the Savannah. He told them to destroy all the roads in Sherman's front, flank and rear," and to be confident, and resolute, and trustful in an overruling Providence. He dismayed the thinking men of the State by saying, “I hasten to join you in defense of your homes and firesides," for they knew his incompetency and dreaded his folly. From Richmond, B. H. Hill, a Georgia “Senator," cried to the people of his State: “Every citizen with his gun, and every negro with his spade and ax, can do the work of a soldier. You can destroy the enemy by retarding his march. Be firm!” Seddon, the “Secretary of War,” indorsed the message; and the representatives of Georgia in the Confederate “Congress” sent an earnest appeal to the people to fly to arms, assuring them that “President Davis and the Secretary of War” would do every thing in their power to help them in “the pressing emergency.” “Let every man fly to arms,” they said. “Remove your negroes, horses, cattle, and provisions from Sherman's army, and burn what you cannot carry. Burn all bridges, and block up the roads in his route. Assail the invader in front, flank and rear, by night and by day.
MACOY AND ACGCSTA THREATENED.
Nov. 22, 1564.
Let him have no rest.” And Governor Brown, just before he fled from Milledgeville, issued a proclamation ordering a levy, en masse, of the whole white population of the State between the ages of sixteen and forty-five years; and offered a pardon to the prisoners in the penitentiary at Milledgeville, if they would volunteer and prove themselves good soldiers. But the people neither flew to arms nor burned property, nor set the negroes at work making obstructions; and only about one hundred of the convicts seemed to think that fighting Sherman was to be preferred to imprisonment, for only that number accepted the Governor's offer. All confidence in “President Davis" and the “Confederate Government ” had vanished. The great mass of the people were satisfied that it was “the rich man's war and the poor man's fight," as they expressed it, and would no longer lend themselves to the wicked work of the corrupt Conspirators at Richmond.
When Howard struck the Georgia Central railway at Gordon, his troops began the work of destroying the road eastward from that point to Griswoldsville, and while thus engaged, the most serious contest of the Georgia campaign occurred. While the right wing of the Fifteenth Corps, under General Wal
cott, was operating at Griswoldsville, about five thousand Contederates came upon them from the direction of Macon. These con
sisted of several brigades of militia, under General Phillips, and a part of Hardee's command, which had been sent up from Savannah. Walcott's troops quickly intrenched themselves, and, with small loss, repulsed six desperate assaults made upon them, while the assailants, who finally fled toward Macon, left three hundred dead upon the field. The entire loss of the Confederates was estimated at twenty-five hundred men, including General Anderson severely wounded. Howard could easily have taken Macon, after this blow upon its defenders, but such was not a part of Sherman's plan, and tlic fuimer was content to cover the roads diverging from that city toward the Oconee River.
Howard and Slocum now moved eastward simultaneously, the former from Gordon to Sandersville, destroying the railway to Tennille Station. Ile was confronted at the Oconee River, when laying a pontoon bridge for the passage of his army, by a force under General Wayne, of Georgia, composed of some of Wheeler's cavalry, a body of militia, and convicts from the Milledgeville penitentiary, already mentioned. Most of the latter, dressed in their prison garb, were captured in a skirmish that ensued, and Howard crossed the river without much difficulty. Slocum also moved to Sandersville from Milledgeville, and had some skirmishing near the former, with the main body of Wheeler's cavalry. At the same time Kilpatrick moved from Gordon to Milledgeville, and thence by Sparta and Gibson to Waynesboro', on the Angusta and Millen railway, for the threefold purpose of making a feint toward Augusta, covering the passage of the main army over the Ogeechee River, and making an effort to liberate the prisoners at Millen.'
Kilpatrick had several skirmishes with Wheeler on the way, but no severe battle; and on the 27th a portion of his troopers, under
1 It was intended to deceive the Confederates with the impression that Augusta, and not the sea-coast, was Sherman's destination, and so possibly prevent the removal of the captives from Millen. The value of Augusta to the Confederates. As a manufactory of cannon, et cetera, caused a general belief that it was Sherman's chief objective, until after he had passed Millen.
PASSAGE OF THE OGEECHEE.
Colonels Hayes and Estes, dashed in to Waynesboro' and burned the railroad bridge over Brier Creek, near by. Then, being assured that the prisoners had been removed from Millen, he fell back with his whole force to the vicinity of Louisville, to which point Slocum had advanced. In this retrograde movement, Kilpatrick was closely pressed by Wheeler, and at one time, the former, with his staff, and the Eighth Indiana and Ninth Michigan, was, through a misunderstanding of orders, cut off from the main body and nearly surrounded by the foe. They fought their way out with very little loss, and rejoined their companions. Wheeler still pressing, Kilpatrick chose a good position, dismounted his men, cast up a breast work, and received a desperate charge from his antagonist. It was repulsed at all points. Soon after this, Kilpatrick was met by Hunter's brigade of Baird's division of the Fourteenth Corps, which Davis had sent out to his relief. The peril was over. Wheeler was keeping at a respectful distance, and Kilpatrick joined the left wing of the army near the Ogeechee River. Meanwhile the right wing, under Howard, had been moving toward the Ogee
* November, chee, southward of the railway, and on the 30th," Sherman's entire army, with the exception of the Fifteenth Corps, which covered the right wing, had passed that stream, and was ready to march on Millen.
Sherman's admirable stratagem in securing the passage of the Ogeecheea most formidable barrier—without serious difficulty or loss, was highly applauded by experts. Thus far his march had been a wonderful success. His orders had been faithfully executed, and no plan, as to time or circumstance, had miscarried. He had destroyed, over long distances, the great railways of Georgia. That leading from Atlanta to Augusta was utterly ruined from the former place to the Oconee; and the Georgia Central road was destroyed from Gordon to the Ogeechee. The Conspirators at Richmond, and the local
politicians and military leaders, who had been trying to deceive the people into a belief that Sherman was making a most disastrous retreat from Atlanta, were now compelled to own that he was making a thorough conquest of Georgia. It cannot be denied that Sherman's march to the sea, was a necessity imposed by the perils of his situation at Atlanta, with a powerful
THE MARCH ON MILLEN.
enemy commanding, in a large degree, his communications, yet it was in no sense a retreat, but a new campaign, offensive in all its plans and their execution. Sherman was with Blair's corps when it crossed the Ogeechee and
moved down the left bank of that stream towards Millen. In .Nov. 30,
order to distract his foe, he directed Kilpatrick to leave his
wagons and all obstructions with the left wing, make demonstrations in the direction of Augusta, and give Wheeler all the fighting he desired. At the same time Howard, with the divisions of Woods and Corse, was moving south of the Ogeechee, along the dirt road leading to Savannah, while the divisions of Hazen and J. E. Smith were still further to the right.
At Statesborough the former had a severe skirmish with some
Confederate cavalry, which he dispersed. Slocum marched from Louisville with the left wing, on the 1st of December, the Twentieth Corps in advance. It moved down the left bank of the Ogeechee, everywhere met by fallen trees or other obstructions in the swamps. The Fourteenth Corps moved farther to the left, and Kilpatrick, supported by Baird's infantry division of that corps, pushed on toward Waynesboro'. At Thomas's Station, on the railway connecting Millen and
Augusta, he fought Wheeler, and drove him from his, barricades
through Waynesboro' and across Brier Creek, full eight miles, while Baird was breaking up the iron road and destroying bridges. Then cavalry and infantry rejoined the Fourteenth Corps, which was concentrated in the vicinity of Lumpkin's Station, on the Augusta railway.
► Dec. 4.
« Dec. 4.
Sherman reached Millen, with the Seventeenth Corps, on the 3d of December. It had destroyed the railway from the Ogeechee to that town, where, so lately, thousands of Union prisoners had been confined. The sight of the horrid prison-pen, in which they had been crowded, and tortured with hun
1 This pen was built of large logs driven in the ground, with sentry posts on the top, at short intervals No shelter whatever was afforded the prisoners, and they were compelled to burrow in the earth, to avoid the scorching sun or the biting frost, for their captors robbed them of most of their clothing, with all their money, watches, et cetera. The ground inclosed within the stockade was about three hundred feet square, and at times it was crowded with the suffering captives. Just inside of the palisades was a light rail fence, which marked the “ dead line," or a boundary beyond which no prisoner was allowed to pass, under penalty of death from the bullet of a guardsman.