« PreviousContinue »
SHERMAN ENTERS SOUTH CAROLINA.
threatening an advance on Augusta, army, with its trains, to traverse her -Gen. Sherman thus pursuing his whole extent, from south-west to favorite strategy of dividing the ene- north-east, in mid-winter, was a phymy's forces and distracting his atten- sical impossibility. Yet, to provide tion from his real objective, so as to against the chance of Sherman's provprevent a concentration to resist him ing able to overcome the resistance in the difficult, inhospitable region of the elements, Gov. Magrath had, through which his course lay. by proclamation, summoned ** to the
Incessant rains, which flooded most field as militia every White male in of the adjacent country, giving the the State between the ages of 16 and Savannah at Sister's ferry a surface 60, not already in the service ; prowidth of nearly three miles, submerg- claiming that those who did not voling the causeway road, and breaking untarily come out should be forced up Gen. Slocum's pontoon-bridge, out, and that all former exemptions compelled a delay of a fortnight; dur- would be disregarded. ing which, Savannah was made over" Ample time had been afforded for to Gen. Foster: Gen. Grover's division felling her abundant trees across her of the 19th corps having been sent narrow roads—that being about the by Gen. Grant to form its garrison. last conspicuous service which her Some feints were made from Poco-slaves were constrained to render to taligo of an advance on Charleston; their masters.
Wheeler's troopers Foster's position between the Coo-hovered around our advance, watchsawhatchie and Tullifinny abandoned ing for chances; while a brigade of as no longer of use; and at length- infantry lay behind the Salkehatchie the flood having somewhat abated at Rivers's bridge, prepared to disSherman's whole army moved" nearly pute its passage. This, however, was northward; Slocum, with Kilpatrick, brushed" aside by a turning movecrossing the Savannah at Sister's ferry ment from below—to make which, or Purysburg, and moving on Barn- Mower's and G. A. Smith's divisions well and Beaufort's bridge, threaten of Blair's corps waded through a ing Augusta; while the right wing, swamp three miles wide, covered keeping for some distance west of the with water, one to four feet deepCombahee and Salkehatchie, should the weather having become bitterly cross at Rivers's and at Beaufort's cold—the two Generals wading at bridges and push rapidly for the the head of their men. Edisto; thus flanking Charleston and the Rebels were quickly driven off in compelling its precipitate evacuation disorder, retreating behind the Edisto by the enemy, after they should have at Branchville: our loss here being been kept paralyzed so long as might 18 killed and 70 wounded. Our inbe in apprehension of a siege. fantry pressed rapidly after them:
Southern South Carolina is so in the enemy burning the bridges veterately and generally a swamp, over the Edisto while our men and was now so sodden and covered broke up the South Carolina railroad with water, that the belief was com for many miles; and Kilpatrick, mon among her people that for an skirmishing heavily with Wheeler, 32 Jan. 18, 1865.
34 Dec. 29, 1864.
25 Feb: 3, 1865.
33 Feb. 1.
BIERMAN'S ROUTE FROY SAVANNAI TO GOLDSBOROUGH.
CROSSING OF THE EDISTO AND CONGAREE.
moved by Barnwell and Blackville to guns of a substantial fort on the Aiken, threatening Augusta. Thus, north side, with a smaller work or by the 11th, our whole army was on bridge-head on the south: the apthe line of the railroad aforesaid, proach being over level, open ground, tearing it up, and holding apart the covered with mud from the recent enemy's forces covering Augusta on inundation. Gen. Chas. R. Woods, one hand and Charleston on the other. whose division had the advance,
Our right was now directed on turned the bridge-head by sending Orangeburg; the 17th corps crossing up Stone's brigade through a cypress the South Edisto at Binnaker's swamp on the left; when the enemy bridge, while the 15th crossed at decamped, after having fired but not Ilolman's bridge, farther up; the destroyed the bridge, which was two approaching at Poplar Spring : promptly repaired; so that our guns the 17th moving swiftly on Orange- were brought over, and at night the burg bridge over the South Edisto, head of the column bivouacked near and carrying it by a dash; the enemy the fine bridge over the Congaree trying to burn it with but partial suc- leading into Columbia, which was
A battery was in position be fired and consumed as our van aphind it, covered by a parapet of cot- proached it next morning. ton and earth, with wings extending The left wing, under Slocum, had so far as could be seen. Blair con- found the crossing of the swollen fronted it with G. A. Smith's divi- Savannah so difficult, that it was not sion, and sent his other two to a entirely clear of that river till the point two miles below, where pon- 7th; but it had encountered thencetoons were quickly laid and Force's forth very little resistance; Wheeler's division crossed; Mower's holding cavalry being the only force that the bridge as a support.
When infested its march, and this being Force emerged from the swamp on kept quite busy by Kilpatrick alone. the right flank of the Rebels at Augusta was full of Rebel stores; Orangeburg, they gave way; when and, in painful apprehension of a Smith pushed over; occupied their visit from Sherman, was defended by works, repaired the bridge; and by such Georgians as could be mustered 4 P. M. the whole corps was in and for militia ; but Sherman had no noaround Orangeburg, tearing up the tion of molesting or being molested railroad leading to Columbia; press- by them. The shattered remnant of ing thence, so soon as possible, on that IIood's army-once more consigned metropolis, regardless of Branchville to Jo. Johnston-was making its way, or Charleston on their right; as Sher- under Cheatham, from north Missisman knew that, being thus flanked, sippi across Sherman's track through they must be abandoned rather than Georgia to his front in the Carolinas, run the obvious risk of losing the but was not yet near enough to give troops by whom they were held. us trouble : so Slocum, unvexed by
The 15th corps was again resisted" any obstacle but the necessity of corat the crossing of the Congaree; duroying the interminable swamps where the bridge was swept by the he must traverse, crossed the South
36 Feb. 15.
Edisto on the 13th, concentrating Howard touching the conduct of the troops. his command at and below Lexing-senals and public property not needed for
These were: to destroy absolutely all arton, and reaching the Saluda a few our own use, as well as all railroads, dépôts, miles above Columbia only an hour and machinery useful in war to an enemy; or two after Howard appeared on asylumns, and harmless private property. Í
but to spare all dwellings, colleges, schools, that river (which here unites with was the first to cross the pontoon-bridge, the Broad to form the Congaree) on and, in company with Gen. Howard, rode
into the city. The day was clear ; but a the 16th.
perfect tempest of wind was raging. The Gen. Howard, by Sherman's or- brigade of Col. Stone was already in the der, promptly threw forward his left city, and was properly posted. Citizens
, and across the Saluda, skirmishing with eral good order prevailed. Gen. Wade cavalry; then, during the ensuing Hampton, who commanded the Confede
rate rear-guard of cavalry, had, in anticinight, threw a flying bridge over the pation of our capture of Columbia, ordered Broad, three miles above Columbia ; that all cotton, public and private, should crossing Stone's brigade, and thus be moved into the streets and fired, to
prevent our making use of it. Bales were securing a foothold on the Columbia piled everywhere; the rope and bagging side, north of the city, and enabling cut, and tufts of cotton were blown about
in the wind, lodged in the trees and against him to lay his pontoons on the morn- houses, so as to resemble a snow-storm. ing of the 17th. Columbia was now
Some of these piles of cotton were burning, plainly ours; there being no adequate especially one in the very heart of the city,
near the court-house; but the fire was parforce present to dispute its possession; tially subdued by the labor of our soldiers. so the Mayor came out, at 11 A. M., During the day, the 15th corps passed
through Columbia and out on the Camden and formally surrendered it to Col. road. The 17th did not enter the town at Stone, of Logan's corps, on the north, all; and, as I have before stated, the left about the same time that some of the wing and cavalry did not come within two
miles of the town. 17th corps, crossing the Congaree in “Before one single public building had a skiff, entered it, unresisted, from been fired by order
, the smoldering fires, the west. Sherman and Howard now the wind, and communicated to the build
set by Hampton's order, were rëkindled by rode in; Col. Stone having already ings around. About dark, they began to taken poss
possession and posted sentinels: spread, and got beyond the control of the the inhabitants moving fearlessly whole of Woods's division was brought in ;
brigade on duty within the city. The through the streets. During the day, but it was found impossible to check the the 15th corps marched through the flames ; which, by midnight, had become un
manageable, and raged until about 4 a. M.; city and out on the Camden road. when, the wind subsiding, they were got The 17th corps did not enter it at under control. I was up nearly all night,
and saw Gens. Howard, Logan, Woods, all; while the left wing and the and others, laboring to save houses and cavalry, crossing both rivers above, protect families thus suddenly deprived were at no time within two miles of of shelter, and of bedding and wearing ap
parel. I disclaim on the part of my army it. Yet night saw that city in flames, any agency in this fire ; but, on the contrary, and a great part of it reduced to claim that we saved what of Columbia reashes: hence, mutual accusations tion, I charge Gen. Wade Hampton with
mains unconsumed. And, without hesitaand reproaches by Gens. Sherman having burned his own city of Columbia; and Wade Hampton. Here is Gen. not with malicious intent, or as the mani
festation of a silly 'Roman stoicism,' but Sherman's statement in his report: from folly and want of sense, in filling it
with lint, cotton, and tinder. Our officers "In anticipation of the occupation of the and men on duty worked well to extinguish city, I had made written orders to Gen. I the flames; but others, not on duty, includ
PILLAGE AND BURNING OF COLUMBIA.
ing the officers who had long been im- , the South Carolina College, was accosted prisoned there, rescued by us, may have as- by a Yankee and a negro, who compelled sisted in spreading the fire after it had once him, under threat of death, to give it up. begun, and may have indulged in uncon- “ The conflagration which destroyed the cealed joy to see the ruin of the Capital of city commenced about dusk. The fire South Carolina."
started near the rear of the jail. A high
wind prevailed; and, in a short time, the It will be seen that Gen. Sherman flames were in full and unconquerable prodoes not charge Hampton with in- gress, spreading rapidly in three directions
-up and down Main-street, and eastwardly. tending to burn the city, which he From 10 P. M. till 3 A. M., the scene was apwas confessedly unable to hold ; nor palling. The sky was one broad sheet of
flame; above which, amid the lurid smoke, does he deny that some of our men, drifted in eddying circles a myriad of sparks: not on duty, may have aided to ex- these falling, scattered the conflagration on tend the conflagration. Nor does every side. The monotone of the roaring,
leaping, hissing tongues of flame, as they Beauregard, who was Hampton's careered on their wild course, alone filled superior in command at Columbia, hearts with dismay. The air was like that and who ordered its evacuation, passable. Frightened men, women, and
of a furnace. Many of the streets were imindorse the charges against his suc-children, ran in all directions; some only cessful antagonist. Nor does Pollard to flee again from the fresh attacks of the
destroying element. Property thrown out —who never misses an opportunity of houses was either burned or stolen. to defame the detested “Yankees? Many of the Federal soldiers, maddened by directly accuse Sherman of having liquor, dashed through the city with lighted
yet unordered or desired the conflagration; touched. Morning revealed, to some exthough he evidently wishes to content, the broad sweep of destruction. Four
thousand or more citizens were houseless vey the impression that he did. and homeless. From the State House to Here is his account of the capture: Cotton Town, and an average of two or
three squares on each side of Main-street, " A white flag, displayed from the steeple nothing but blackened ruins remained. of the City Hall, announced the surrender Every vestige of that once busy street was of the town. With bands playing, drum
After having completed, as far as corps beating, flags flying, and their men in possible, the destruction of Columbia, Sherstep, the Yankee army marched down
man continued his march northward." Main-street to the Capitol square.
“No sooner had the enemy entered Co- As the fall of Columbia involved lumbia than a wild and savage scene of pil; | that of Charleston, including Fort lage commenced. Stragglers, bunmers,' pontoon men, and the riffraff of the army, Sumter and all its other defenseswere to be met in every street and almost Hardee properly declining to be here boots, they took them from one's feet. isolated and consigned to capture at Watches were in constant demand -- in our convenience-and, as the scene several instances
, being snatched from the of destruction which marked that persons of ladies.
Ear and finger rings were taken by force ; and, in isolated cases
, evacuation has not even been charged the dresses of ladies were torn from their to the Unionists, we will copy Polbodies by villains who expected to find jewels or plate concealed. Search for silver lard's graphic description of this also, and provisions was made in every conceiv- as a companion-piece to that of Coable place. Ramrods were used as probes to indicate where boxes were buried; and
lumbia. He gardens, out-houses, cellars, garrets, chim- 6. The movement of Sherman had already neys, and nooks never thought of by any- been decisive of the fate of Charleston. body but a thief in search of plunder, were Gen. Hardee, finding himself flanked at turned, so to speak, inside out. Rev. Mr. Charleston, and appreciating the instant Shand, the Episcopalian clergyman, while necessity of effecting a junction with Beauconveying a trunk containing the com- regard and Cheatham and concentrating all munion service of silver from the church to l available forces in Sherman's path, resolved