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body of soldiers, officers and men, was ever organized. They had faith in themselves, and in their leader.
From Atlanta to the sea, there ran two nearly parallel lines of railway; one leading to Charleston, South Carolina, and the other to Savannah, Georgia. The road to Charleston from Atlanta, was 308 miles long, while that to Savannah was 293 miles. On the 11th of November, Sherman telegraphed from Kingston to Chattanooga, “all is well,” then ordered
” the wires to be cut and started for the ocean. He would probably be heard from next from the sea coast.
On the evening of the 15th of November, the torch was applied to the machine shops, store houses, and depot buildings of Atlanta. The band of the Thirty-third Massachusetts was playing the air “ John Brown's soul is marching on" by the light of the blazing buildings of this city, which, next to Richmond, had been considered the most important stronghold of the slaveholding Confederacy. The army marched eastward towards Macon, the cavalry covering its flanks. As it advanced, it destroyed the railroads, and everything which could be of value to the Confederates. Sherman reached and occupied Milledgeville, the Capital of Georgia, without any serious opposition. By skillful maneouvres, he deceived the enemy as to his real purpose, and induced them to concentrate far away from his line of march, so that he reached Savannah without difficulty or loss.
Savannah was held by General Hardee, with 15,000 troops. The City was invested, and scouts sent down the river to find the fleet, which was known to be on the coast, watching for Sherman's arrival. The fleet was found, and the news expressed to the North that Sherman had got through and all was well. To open communication between his army and the fleet, it was necessary for Sherman to capture Fort McAllister which commanded the approaches from the sea. On the 13th of December, a column under the gallant General Hazen, attacked and carried the fort by assault. The communications with the fleet were opened; General Sherman went immediately on board, and sent his first despatch to the Secretary of War, announcing his complete success. The investment of Savannah now proceeded so rapidly, that by
the 20th, Hardee was compelled to save the garrison by flight. He burned the rebel iron clads, and such stores and material, as in his rapid flight he was able to destroy, and on the 21st of December, Sherman entered the city, and on the 22d, he sent to President Lincoln the following despatch:
“I beg to present to you as a Christmas gift, the City of Savannah, with 150 guns, plenty of ammunition, and about 25,000 bales of cotton.”
Thus ended Sherman's grand march to the sea! This narch is already a part of the romance of history. With the steady, resistless force of the glacier; with the overwhelming power of the avalanche, Sherman descended froin the North, crushing everything in his path from the mountains to the sea. Then, turning again towards the North, that grand Northwestern army, coöperating with the long tried veterans of Grant, crushed the fragments of the rebellion between the opposing forces.
Five weeks from the time he left Atlanta, with a total loss of less than 1,500 men, he marched through the great State of Georgia, called the “Empire State of the South," occupying its capital, destroying its railroads, and now rested his victorious soldiers in its chief city. It is not recorded that the haughty Toombs, Iverson, and other slaveholders who were accustomed to exhibit the arrogance and swagger of the slave overseer in Congress, were heard of by Sherman in his easy march through their State. Sherman appropriated and destroyed the corn and forage for thirty miles on either side of a line from Atlanta to Savannah, and also “ all the sweet potatoes, cattle, hogs, sheep, and poultry, and carried away more than ten thousand horses and mules, as well as a vast number of their slaves.” The belt of country through
. which Sherman marched, was full of negroes, and the General invited all the able bodied men to join the column, and he took especial pleasure in telling them they were free; that Massa Lincoln had given them their liberty, and that they could go where they pleased. *
* Sherman's Report. Vide Nichols' Story of the Great March, p. 61, and 62
The negroes already understood that the Proclamation of Emancipation had made them free. They regarded the advent of the “ Yankee,” as the fulfillment of the millenial prophesies. “The day of Jubilee,” the hope and prayer of a life time, had come. They had the most perfect trust and confidence in their deliverers. One day, a woman with a child in her arms was working her way among the teams, crowds of cattle, and horsemen. An officer called kindly to her: “Where are you going auntie?” She looked
She looked up with a hupeful, beseeching look and replied, “ Ise gwine whar youse gwine, massa.
The colored people manifested a forgiving spirit towards their late masters, and a docile, obedient spirit towards those who set them free. One of them said to Sherman “ we don't wish to do anything wrong. We know you came here to set us free, and we expect you to tell us what to do. Some of these masters have treated us shamefully; whipped, imprisoned, and sold us about, but we don't wish to be revenged on them. The Bible says we must forgive our enemies. They have been our enemies and we forgive them. Thank God we are slaves no longer!” *
Nothing occurred during the war which more incensed the the American people, than the ravages upon their commerce by the English built cruisers, sailing under the rebel flag. By avoiding all armed antagonists, they roamed the sea with impunity, robbing and destroying American merchantmen, and finding refuge and protection, and very often supplies, in neutral ports, and especially in those of Great Britain. The most destructive of these cruisers were the the Alabama, Florida and the Georgia. Early in June, 1864, the, Alabama, after a successful cruise among the American Merchant ships of the South Atlantic, returned to Northern waters and putiuto Cherbourg, France. The Kearsarge, Captain John A. Winslow commanding, immediately sailed for Cherbourg. On the 15th of June, Captain Semmes of the Alabama, knowing escape was impossible, with characteristic bravado, sent a note to Captain Winslow, asking him not to depart until the two vessels could meet, and expressing a desire to fight the Kearsarge ! Winslow had come for the purpose, had been long in pursuit of the Alabama, and had no intention of allowing the Alabama to escape, as Semmes very well knew. The Alabama having prepared herself at leisure for the conflict, on the 19th of June came out of the harbor. She was followed by the English Steam Yacht Deerhound, to act as her tender, and to be ready to receive her officers in case of disaster, The Alabama opened at long range, to which the Kearsarge made no reply, but steaming directly for the Alabama, sought close quarters. In a short time the Alabama hung out a white flag, and Winslow reserved his fire, but the Alabama again opening her fire, she received another broadside. She was then abandoned by her commander. The Deerhound picked up Semmes and his officers and steamed off with them, Winslow and his crew, too busy in picking up the drowning crew of the Alabama, to prevent her. The Alabama in a few moments went down, even before all the wounded could be saved.
* Nichols' Grand March
Nichols' Story of the Great March, page 103.
Semmes, conscious of the danger to which his irregular proceedings after his surrender would subject him in case of capture, got on board the Deerhound, which immediately steamed for the friendly port of Southampton, Great Britain. This fight was so near the French coast that thousands of spectators on the shore witnessed the triumph of the American flag, and the speedy sinking of the English-rebel ship.
The Florida was captured by Captain II. Collins of the Wachusett on the 6th of October, in the Bay of San Salvador, Brazil. She was brought to Ilampton Roads and accidentally sunk. The Georgia was captured by the Niagara, on the 15th of August.
Admiral Farragut was, in the summer of 1864, in command of the squadron off Mobile; and late in July received an addition of four monitors to his fleet. The principal entrance to Mobile Bay was defended by Forts Gaines and Morgan. There were also Fort Powell, a water battery, and earthworks. Inside were Confederate iron-clads. On the 5th of August, Admiral Farragut made his preparations for attack. In order to obtain an unobstructed view, and to give his
orders with clearness, he ascended to the main-top of his flagship the Hartford, and moved forward to the attack. The conflict was most furious and terrific. One of the monitors, the Tecumseh, commanded by the brave Craven, struck a torpedo, and sunk, carrying down her gallant commander and nearly all on board. Still the indomitable Farragut steamed in and passed the forts. The rebel fleet was destroyed or disabled, except the iron-clad ram Tennessee. This boldly bore down upon the flag-ship, the Hartford. The fleet was directed to run her down. The Hartford was the third ship which struck lier; but as the Tennessee shifted her helm, the blow was a glancing one, and as she rasped along side of Farragut’s ship, he poured in a whole broadside of nine inch solid shot, within ten feet of her casement." * The Hartford was again approaching, when the Tennessee struck her colors. She was undoubtedly the strongest vessel ever constructed by the Confederates, and she was most gallantly fought. The victory of Farragut over the fleet was followed by the surrender of Forts Gaines and Powell. Fort Morgan still held out, but on being invested by General Granger, on the 23d, this last of the rebel defenses of Mobile, unconditionally surrendered. This brief review of the military operations of 1864, which has been given, exhibits the progress of the Union arms. The heavy, continuous pounding of Grant upon the armies under Lee, the sledge-hammer, crushing blows he gave, the brilliant marches and victories of Sherman, the rapid, dashing triumphs of Sheridan, and the successes of the Navy, culminating with this characteristic exploit of Farragut, gave joy and confidence to the loyal people throughout the republic. It was a significant fact that the President had for some time issued official announcements of victory “ to the friends of Union and Lib
“ erty." * In his judgment these were becoming more and more identical. Proclamations of thanksgiving and gratitude to God were issued, the President was buoyant with hope, and obviously encouraged in the belief of an early termination of the war.
In following the grand military campaigns of 1864,
* Vide Farragut's Report. * President's Proclamation of May 4, 1864.