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two divisions of infantry and a large force of cavalry, to Martinsburg, twenty-two miles away, to do what damage he could to the railroad, leaving the remainder of his force in front of Winchester. Sheridan at once detected the blunder of his antagonist, and instead of moving to Newtown, as he had intended, determined to attack the enemy in detail, fighting first the two divisions left near Winchester, and then the two that had been moved to Martinsburg. Accordingly, on the afternoon of the 18th, his whole army marched from Berryville towards the Opequan. But at Martinsburg Early learned that Grant had been with Sheridan, and anticipating some movement of importance, he at once set out to return. At Martinsburg . . I learned that Grant was with Sheridan that day, and I expected an early move.—Early's Memoir, page 84. At daylight on the 19th, there was one rebel division immediately in front of Sheridan, and another only five miles to the north, while two, still nearer, were marchi
ut St. Mark's, Florida, or Savannah, Georgia. This was the first mention in the correspondence of either Grant or Sherman, of the destruction of the railroad to the rear, or of the possibility of a campaign in Georgia, like that behind Vicksburg, entirely without a base. Doubtless, the idea was presented to Sherman by the menace to his communications offered by Wheeler's cavalry, as well as by his memory of the strategy which had been so successful in Mississippi, the year before. On the 18th, Grant replied: I never would advise going backward, even if your roads are cut so as to prevent receiving supplies from the North. If it comes to the worst, move South, as you suggest. The unity of instinct between the two soldiers was as remarkable as ever. There can be no doubt that if Grant had never directed Sherman to open a line to the sea, that general would himself have conceived the idea; and if Grant had been on the spot instead of Sherman, events would beyond all question have
back to the north of Middletown, where he again made a stand. Custer and Merritt were at this time transferred to the left of the line, to protect the road to Winchester, which Lomax had not seized; and a general retreat was ordered. The condition of the troops was still deplorable, and the whole army fell back to a point six or seven miles in rear of its first position in the morning. Sheridan had arrived at Washington on the 17th, and at noon the next day he set out to return. On the 18th, he slept at Winchester, twenty miles from his command. At an early hour on the 19th, an officer on picket reported artillery firing, but a reconnoissance had been ordered for that morning, and no attention was paid to the news. At nine o'clock Sheridan rode out of Winchester, still unconscious of the danger of his army. But the sounds of heavy battle soon became unmistakable; and half a mile from the town the head of the fugitives came in sight, trains and men, with appalling rapidity. H
the sea. rather than undertake the plan of a march with the whole force through Georgia, to the sea, inasmuch as General Grant cannot co-operate with you, as at first arranged. He was especially averse to being left behind, and telegraphed on the 18th: I don't wish to be in command of the defences in Tennessee, unless you and the authorities at Washington deem it absolutely necessary. But on the 19th, Sherman gave him positive orders: I will send back to Tennessee the Fourth corps, all dismoforce Knoxville, in accordance with my directions. . He will be able to send two thousand men. . . Stoneman telegraphs me, from Louisville, that he can concentrate five mounted regiments in three days, to go to the relief of General Ammen. On the 18th, however, the rebels withdrew as rapidly as they had advanced. Nevertheless, Stoneman was ordered to concentrate as large a force as he could in East Tennessee, and either destroy Breckenridge, or drive him into Virginia. Thus, the enemy was abl
he night of the 17th, the rebels encamped at Spring Hill, and on the 18th, Hood continued his retreat across the Duck river, to Columbia. O streams, and unable to overtake the infantry until the night of the 18th, at Columbia. Even after his defeat, Hood at first had hoped to rem But just here the pursuit was interrupted for three days. On the 18th, the national cavalry arrived at Rutherford's creek, three miles norw Sound, communicated with the fleet, and invested Savannah. On the 18th, Grant congratulated both his generals. To Sherman he wrote: I hain the highest sense gratifying. You need not go further. On the 18th, the general-in-chief said to Thomas: The armies operating against Rs pontoon bridge. This column was Steedman's, which was sent on the 18th, by way of Murfreesboroa, and thence by rail to the Tennessee. Thombut he made up his mind to this at Columbia, where he arrived on the 18th, and after that day, no important captures of guns or prisoners occu
rected to concentrate detachments from garrisons, convalescents from hospitals, reserves, militia, and volunteers. On the 18th, the governor of Georgia telegraphed to Jefferson Davis: A heavy force of the enemy is advancing upon Macon, laying waste may be given you by General Foster and Admiral Dahlgren, operate from such base as you may establish on the coast. On the 18th, Halleck wrote again: When Savannah falls, then for another wide swath through the centre of the Confederacy. But I will communication with the exterior. The surrender was refused. Sherman therefore made his preparations to assault. On the 18th, he wrote to Grant: I should like very much to take Savannah before coming to you; but, as I wrote you before, I will do nes fired. The result, it was hoped, would be to blow up Fort Fisher, and perhaps the town of Wilmington itself. On the 18th, Porter came out of Beaufort harbor, and was ready to perform his part in the operations, but the troops had now been ten
adiness for their removal where they can be used. As the plans of the rebels became more apparent, Grant gave orders to break up Thomas's army. On the 14th of January, as we have seen, Schofield's corps was withdrawn from Tennessee, and on the 18th, the general-in-chief said to Halleck: I now understand that Beauregard has gone west to gather up what he can save from Hood's army, to bring against Sherman. If this be the case, Selma and Montgomery can be easily reached. I do not believe, there soon beyond the control of the brigade on duty in the town. An entire division was now brought in, but it was found impossible to check the conflagration, which by midnight had become quite unmanageable. It raged till about four A. M. on the 18th, when the wind subsided, and the flames were got under control. Sherman was abroad till nearly morning, and Howard, Logan, Wood—his highest generals—were laboring all night to save the houses and protect the families of their enemies, thus sud
The conference was therefore suspended until the following day, to give opportunity for Johnston to obtain this authority. Immediately after the close of the interview Johnston telegraphed to Breckenridge, who had proceeded as far as Charlotte, with the fugitive government. Breckenridge came promptly at the summons, together with Reagan, the Postmaster-General of the rebel cabinet. A memorandum was then drawn up of the terms which Davis and his advisers considered desirable, and, on the 18th, Johnston and Breckenridge repaired together to the place of rendezvous. Sherman, however, objected to the presence of a member of the Richmond cabinet, whereupon Johnston proposed that Breckenridge should be admitted to the interview in his capacity of major-general in the rebel army. To this Sherman consented, and the terms written out by Reagan were presented by Breckenridge and Johnston. Sherman, however, preferred to write his own, which were substantially the same as those proposed b
t, where they, together with Breckenridge's division, were encamped (Ramseur's being at Winchester, to cover the road from Berryville), to Bunker Hill; and, on the 18th, I moved Gordon's division, with a part of Lomax's cavalry, to Martinsburg, to thwart efforts that were reported to be making to repair the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. This expedition was successful, and the bridge over Back creek was burned by a brigade of cavalry sent there. On the evening of the 18th, Rhodes was moved back to Stevenson's depot, and Gordon to Bunker Hill, with orders to start at daylight to return to his camp at Stevenson's depot, which place he reached at a very earlyn, on account of the difficulties attending it, and the great strength of their position on that flank. The movement was, accordingly, begun on the night of the 18th, just after dark, Gordon's, Ramseur's, and Pegram's divisions being sent across the river and around the foot of the mountain, all under the command of General Gor