Chapter 21: slavery and Emancipation.--affairs in the Southwest.
- The Army of the Cumberland rests at Murfreesboroa
-- Meeting of the Thirty — seventh Congress, 554.
-- Confiscation and Emancipation proposed, 555.
-- proposed compensation for emancipated slaves, 556.
-- temper of the people of the border Slave-labor States, 557.
-- the people impatient for Emancipation
-- War powers of the President, 558.
-- preliminary proclamation of Emancipation
-- public anxiety, 559.
-- Definitive proclamation of Emancipation, 560.
-- the original draft of the proclamation, 561.
-- character of the proclamation
-- the instrument, and the pen with which it was written, 564.
-- First regiment of colored troops
-- scene in a live
-- Oak Grove, 565.
-- the Confederate Congress, so-called, 566.
-- Jefferson Davis and his chosen Counselors, 567.
-- Confederate pirate
-- ships, 568.
-- the pirates Semmes and Maffit, 569.
-- Confederate naval commission, 570.
-- Barbarism and Civilization illustrated by the Alabama and George Griswold. 571.
-- Vicksburg and its importance, 572.
-- Grant's advance in Mississippi, 573.
-- serious disaster at Holly Springs, 574.
-- Sherman's descent of the Mississippi, 575.
-- natural defenses of Vicksburg, 576.
-- movements at Chickasaw Bayou in their rear, 577.
-- battle at Chickasaw Bayou, 578.
-- Sherman compelled to withdraw, 579.
-- expedition against Arkansas post, 580.
-- capture of Arkansas post, 581.
-- posts on Red River captured, 582.
The Army of the Cumberland was compelled by absolute necessity to remain at Murfreesboroa until late in 1863.
That necessity was found in the fact that its supplies had to be chiefly drawn from Louisville
, over a single line of railway, passing through a country a greater portion of whose inhabitants were hostile to the Government
This line had to be protected at many points by heavy guards, for Bragg
's cavalry force continued to be far superior to that of Rosecrans
, and menaced his communications most seriously.
But during that time the Army of the Cumberland was not wholly idle.
From it went out important expeditions in various directions, which we shall consider hereafter.
We have now taken note of the most important military operations of the war to the close of 1862, excepting some along the Atlantic coast
after the capture of Fort Pulaski
, the land and naval expedition down the coasts of Georgia
, in the spring of 1862, and the departure of Burnside
from North Carolina
in July following, to join the Army of the Potomac.1
The immediately succeeding events along that coast were so intimately connected with the long siege of Charleston
, that it seems proper to consider them as a part of that memorable event.
Let us now take a brief view of civil affairs having connection with military events, and observe what the Confederate
armed vessels were doing in the mean time.
The second session of the Thirty-seventh Congress commenced on the 2d of December, 1861.
It was a most important period in the history of the country.
A civil war of unparalleled magnitude and energy was raging in nearly every slave-labor State of the Republic
, waged on the part of the insurgents for the destruction of the old Union, that the slave system might be extended and perpetuated; and on the part of the Government
for the preservation of the life of the Republic
and the maintenance of its constitutional powers.
The people and the lawgivers had been much instructed by current events during the few months since the adjournment of Congress,
and when that body now met both were satisfied that, in order to save the Republic
, Slavery, the great corrupter of private and public morals, and the fuel of the fiery furnace in which the nation was then suffering, must be destroyed.
Therefore much of the legislation of the
session then commenced was upon the subject of that terrible evil, for it was resolved to bring all the powers of the Government
to bear upon it, positively and negatively: positively, in the form of actual emancipation, under certain conditions and certain forms, such as confiscation; and negatively, by withholding all restraints upon the slave.
Introductory to this legislation was a notice of Senator Trumbull
, of Illinois
, given as soon as Congress was organized, that he should ask leave to introduce “a bill for the confiscation of the property of rebels, and giving freedom to persons they hold in slavery.”
Such bill was accordingly introduced on the 5th of December, when the conspirators and the opposition immediately sounded the alarumbell of “unconstitutionality
,” so often heard during the struggle, and warned the people of the designs of the Government
party to destroy their liberties by revolution and despotism.
The enlightened people, perfectly comprehending the alarmists, calmly responded by their acts, “We will trust them
They agreed with Madison
, one of the founders of the Republic
, and called “the Father
of the Constitution
,” that in a time of public danger such as then existed, the power conferred upon the National Legislature by the grant of the Constitution
for the common defense had no limitation
upon it, express or implied, save the public necessity.
They remembered his wise words: “It is in vain to oppose constitutional barriers to the impulse of self-preservation: it is worse than vain,” and acted accordingly.
For a long time the public mind had been much excited by the common practice of many of the commanding officers
of the army of capturing and returning fugitive slaves to their masters.
The bondsmen generally had the idea that the Union
army was to be their liberator, and with that faith they flocked to it, when it was in camp and on its marches,2
and it seemed specially cruel to deny them the kindness of hospitality.
But that denial was a rule, and so early as the 9th of July, at the extraordinary session of Congress, Mr. Lovejoy
, of Illinois
, had called the attention of the House of Representatives to the subject, in a resolution which was passed by a vote of ninety-three yeas against fifty-five nays, that it was “no part of the duty of soldiers.
of the United States
to capture and return fugitive slaves.”
On the 4th of December following he introduced a bill, making it a penal offense for any officer or private of the army or navy to capture or return, or aid in the capture or return, of fugitive slaves.
On the same day, Mr. Wilson
gave notice in the Senate of his intention to introduce a bill for a, similar purpose.3
It is not the province of this work to record in detail the legislation upon this important subject.4
Suffice it here to say, that measures, having a tendency to the great act of final emancipation, offered more as necessary means for suppressing the rebellion than as acts of justice and righteousness, were pressed with earnestness by the party in Congress known as Republicans
, and were as earnestly opposed by the party in that body known as Democrats
. The former, having a majority, usually carried their favorite measures; while the President
, wise, cautious, and conciliatory, although sympathizing with the Republicans, stood as a balance between the two extremes.
He saw clearly that the people were not yet educated up to the lofty point of justice which demanded, on moral as well as political grounds, the instant and universal emancipation of the slaves, and he therefore interposed objections to extreme measures, and proposed partial and gradual emancipation, in forms that would conciliate the slave-holders of the border slave-labor States.
With this spirit he recommended Congress to pass a joint resolution that the Government
, in order to co-operate with any State whose inhabitants might adopt measures for emancipation, should give to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by it at its discretion, to compensate it for the inconvenience, public and private, produced by such change of system.
It was also proposed to colonize the freedmen somewhere on the American
This emancipation proposition was commended to Congress more as a test of the temper of the slave-holders, and especially of those of the border States, and to offer them a way in which they might escape from the evils and embarrassments which emancipation without compensation (a result now seen to be inevitable, without the plan proposed) would produce, rather than as a fixed policy to be enforced, excepting with the strong approval of the people.
A joint resolution in accordance with the President
's views was passed by both houses,5
and was approved by the Executive
on the 10th of April; but the conspirators, their followers, and friends everywhere rejected this olive-branch of peace, while the more strenuous advocates of Confiscation and Universal Emancipation did not give it their approval.
In the mean time Congress had taken an important practical step forward in the path of justice by abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, over whose territory it had undisputed control.6
believed his proposition to pay for emancipated slaves would detach the border slave-labor States from an interest in the Confederacy
, and thus speedily put an end to the war. Anxious to consummate it, he invited the Congressmen of those States to meet him in conference in the Executive Chamber
They did so,
and he presented to them a carefully prepared address on the subject.
But he was forcibly taught by that conference, and its results, that the policy which had been so, long tried, of withholding vigorous blows from the rebellion out of deference to the border slave-labor States, was worse than useless.
A majority of the Congressmen submitted a dissenting reply, and told the President
plainly that they considered it his duty “to avoid all interference, direct or indirect, with slavery in the Southern States
A minority report concurred in the President
's views; but their slave-holding constituents, generally, scouted the proposition with scorn, and the authorities of not one of the States whose inhabitants were thus appealed to responded to him. And a draft of a bill which he sent into Congress on the day of the conference
was not acted upon by that body.
It was evident that the majority of the people, and their representatives in the National Legislature, were not in a mood to make any further compromise with the great enemy of the Republic
, or concessions to its supporters.
Meanwhile a bill providing for the confiscation of the property of rebels, which involved the emancipation of slaves, had been passed by Congress and approved by the President
entitled “An act to make an additional article of War,” to take effect from and after its passage.
It prohibited all officers or persons in the military or naval service of the Republic
from using any force under their commands for the purpose of restoring fugitive slaves to their alleged masters, on penalty of instant dismissal from the service.
Congress had also recently passed “An Act to Suppress Insurrection, to Punish Treason and Rebellion, to Seize and Confiscate Property of Rebels, and for other purposes,” which the President
approved on the 16th of July, and which declared the absolute freedom of the slaves of rebels under certain operations of war therein defined.7
This gave the President
a wide field for the exercise of Executive power, not only in freeing a large portion of the slaves in the country, but in employing them against their former masters in the suppression of the rebellion; and he was vehemently importuned to use it immediately and vigorously.
The patient President
held back, hoping the wiser men among
the insurgents might heed the threats contained in the muttering thunders of Congress, in which were concentrated the tremendous energies of the people against these cherished interests.
This hesitancy produced great disquietude in the public mind.
The more impatient of the loyal people began to accuse the President
of not only faint-heartedness, but whole-heartedness in the cause of freedom, and charged him with remissness of duty.8
Finally a committee, composed of a deputation from a Convention of Christians of all of the denominations of Chicago
, waited upon him,
and presented him with a memorial, requesting him at once to issue a proclamation of Universal Emancipation.
The President, believing that the time had not yet come (though rapidly approaching) when such a proclamation would be proper, made an earnest and argumentative reply; saying, in allusion to the then discouraging aspect of military affairs under the administration of McClellan
in the East
in the West
, “What good would a proclamation of emancipation from me do, especially as we are now situated?
I do not want to issue a document that the whole world would see must necessarily be inoperative, like the Pope
's bull against the Comet
Would my word free the slaves, when I cannot even enforce the Constitution
in the rebel States?”
He concluded by saying:--“I view this matter as a practical war measure,9
to be decided on according to the advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the suppression of the rebellion.”
But before the departure of the Committee
assured them of his sympathy with their views.
“I have not decided against a proclamation of liberty to the slaves,” he said, “but hold the matter under advisement.
And I can assure you that the subject is on my mind, by day and night, more than any other.
Whatever shall appear to be God's will, I will do.”
The President prayerfully considered the matter, and within a week after the battle of Antietam
a preliminary proclamation of emancipation, in which he declared it to be his purpose, at the next meeting of Congress, to again recommend pecuniary aid in
the work of emancipation and colonization to the inhabitants in States not in rebellion.
He then declared that on the first of January next ensuing, the slaves within every State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof should then be in rebellion, should be declared “thenceforward and forever free;” such freedom to be maintained by the whole force of the Government
, which should not, at the same time, repress any efforts the slaves might make for their actual freedom.
He also declared that any State in which rebellion had existed that should have in Congress at that time
representatives chosen in good faith, at a legal election, by the qualified voters of such State, should have the benefit of such conclusive evidence of its loyalty, and be exempted from the operations of the threatened proclamation.
He called their attention to the acts of Congress approved March 13, 1862, and July 16, 1862, bearing upon the subject, as his warrant for the warning.
It seemed as if this preliminary proclamation would indeed be as “inoperative as the Pope
's bull against the Comet
It was made instrumental in “firing the Southern
heart” and intensifying the rebellious feeling, for it was pointed to by the conspirators, and their followers and friends in all parts of the Republic
, as positive evidence that the war was waged, not for the restoration of the Union
, but for the destruction of slavery, and the plunder of the inhabitants of the slave-labor States.
This was vehemently asserted, notwithstanding the clear and evidently sincere assurances of the President
to the contrary — notwithstanding the document itself opened with the solemn declaration, “that hereafter, as heretofore, the war will be prosecuted for the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation between the United States
and each of the States, and the people thereof.”
During the hundred days which intervened between the issuing of this proclamation and the first of January--this kindly, considerate, and warning proclamation, which gave to the conspirators and their associates in crime ample time for reflection and calm decision--millions of hearts in both hemispheres were stirred with emotions of greatest anxiety.
Philanthropists and lovers of righteousness, whose aspirations rose above the considerations of temporary expedients, and the vast multitude of the slaves, who were all deeply interested in the decision, trembled with a fear that the liberal terms of reconciliation might be accepted, and thereby the great act of justice be delayed.
And when it was seen that the rebels were still more rebellious, and waged war upon the Government
more vigorously and malignantly than ever, the question was upon every lip, Will the President
He answered that question on the appointed day by issuing the following
Fac-simile of the draft of the President's proclamation of Emancipation.
That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States, by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion.
against the United States. |
The President's pen.11 |
This Proclamation, considered in all its relations, was one of the mos important public documents ever issued by the hand of man. And as tim<*> passes on, adding century to century of human history, it will be regarded with more and more reverence, as a consummation of the labors of the Fathers of the Republic
, who declared the great truth, that “all
men are created equal.”
With that belief, the writer has inserted, for the gratification of the present generation and of posterity, the form of the proclamation as it came from the hand of the President
, and of the pen with which it was written.
Unlike the preliminary proclamation, it was wonderfully potential.
The loyal portion of the nation was ready for the great act, and hailed it with
joy, while the disloyal portion, and especially the conspirators, were struck with dismay, for it was a blow fatal to their hopes.
It dissipated the charming vision of a magnificent empire within the Golden Circle
founded on human slavery, which the conspirators had presented to the imaginations of their cruelly deceived dupes.
It touched with mighty power a chord of sympathy among the aspirants for genuine freedom in the old world; and from the hour when that proclamation was promulgated,.the prayers of true men in all civilized lands went to the throne of God in supplication for the success of the armies of the Republic
against its enemies.
And from the moment when the head of the nation proclaimed that act of justice, the power of the rebellion began to wane.
Already freedmen by thousands had
entered the public service, and large numbers were enrolled soldiers in the army of the Republic
; and the first utterance of tidings by the mouth of man to freedmen of the Proclamation of Emancipation, was made to a regiment of them in arms beneath the shadows of a magnificent live-oak grove near Beaufort, in South Carolina
, within bugle-sound of the place where many of the earlier treasonable movements in that State were planned.
In Beaufort district, the stronghold of slavery, the first regiment of colored troops, under the provisions of the act of Congress, was organized, and it was to these that a public servant of the Republic
announced the glad tidings.13
While a large portion of the time of Congress, during the session of 1861-‘62, was consumed in the consideration of military measures, and especially the subjects of slavery, confiscation, and emancipation, the financial affairs of the country, and public interests of every kind, were attended to with great assiduity.
The financial measures and their operations and results will be considered hereafter.
Let us now turn for a moment, and see what the Conspirators were doing at Richmond
while their armies were in the field.
The Confederate Congress, so called, reassembled in Richmond
on the 18th of November, 1861, and continued in session, with closed doors most of the time, until the 18th of February, 1862, when its term as a “Provisional Congress,” made up of men chosen by conventions of politicians and legislatures of States, expired.
On the same day a Congress, professedly
elected by the people,14
commenced its session under the “Permanent Constitution of the Confederate States
In this assembly all of the slave-labor States were represented excepting Maryland
The oath to support the Constitution
of the Confederate States
was administered to the “Senators
” by R. M. T. Hunter
, of Virginia
, and to the “Representatives” by Howell Cobb
, of Georgia
, of Virginia
, was elected “Speaker.”
On the following day the votes for “President
” of the Confederacy
were counted, and were found to be one hundred and nine in number, all of which were cast for Jefferson Davis
Three days afterward
he was inaugurated President
for six years. He chose for his “Cabinet” Judah P. Benjamin
, of Louisiana
, as “Secretary of State
;” George W. Randolph
, of Virginia
, “Secretary of War
;” S. R. Mallory
, of Florida
, “Secretary of the Navy
;” C. G. Memminger
, of South Carolina
, “Secretary of the Treasury
;” and Thomas H. Watts
, of Alabama
resigned in the autumn of 1862, when James A. Seddon
, a wealthy citizen of Richmond
, who figured conspicuously in the Peace Convention at Washington
was chosen to fill his place.
The Confederate Congress passed strong resolutions in favor of prosecuting the war more vigorously than ever, and declared, by joint resolution, that it was the unalterable determination of the people of the Confederate States
“to suffer all the calamities of the most protracted war,” and that they would never.
“on any terms, politically affiliate with a people who were guilty of an invasion of their soil and the butchery of their citizens.”
With this spirit they did prosecute the war on land, and by the aid of some of the British
aristocracy, merchants, and shipbuilders they kept afloat piratical craft on the ocean, that for a time drove most of the carrying trade between the United States
to British vessels.
We have already noticed the commissioning of so-called “privateers” by the Confederate Government, 18
and some of their piratical operations
in the spring
Before the close of July, more than twenty of those depredators were afloat, and had captured millions of property belonging to American citizens.
The most formidable and notorious of the sea-going ships of this character, were the Nashville
, Captain R. B. Pegram
, a Virginian, who had abandoned his flag, and the Sumter
, Captain Raphael Semmes
The former was a side-wheel steamer, carried a crew of eighty men, and was armed with two long 12-pounder rifled cannon.
Her career was short, but quite successful.
She was finally destroyed by the Montauk
, Captain Worden
in the Ogeechee River
The career of the Sumter
, which had been a New Orleans and Havana
packet steamer, named Marquis de Habana
, was also short, but much more active and destructive.
She had a crew of sixty-five men and twenty-five marines, and was heavily armed.
She ran the blockade at the mouth of the Mississippi River
on the 30th of June,
and was pursued some distance by the Brooklyn
. She ran among the West India islands
and on the Spanish Main
, and soon made prizes of many vessels bearing the American
She was everywhere
Pirate Ship Sumter. |
received in British colonial ports with great favor, and was afforded every facility for her piratical operations.
She became the terror of the American
merchant service, and everywhere eluded National vessels of war sent out in pursuit of her. At length she crossed the ocean, and at the close of 1861 was compelled to seek shelter under British guns at Gibraltar
, where she was watched by the Tuscarora
. Early in the year 1862 she was sold, and thus ended her piratical career.
Encouraged by the practical friendship of the British
evinced for these corsairs, and the substantial aid they were receiving from British subjects in various ways, especially through blockade-runners, the conspirators determined to procure from those friends some powerful piratical craft, and made arrangements for the purchase and construction of vessels for that purpose.
, a ship-builder at Liverpool
and member of the British Parliament, was the largest contractor in the business, and, in defiance of every obstacle, succeeded in getting pirate ships to sea.
The first of these ships that went to sea was the Oreto
, ostensibly built for a house in Palermo, Sicily
. Mr. Adams
, the American
minister in London
, was so well satisfied from information received that she was designed for the Confederates
, that he called the attention of the British Government
to the matter so early as the 18th of February, 1862.
But nothing effective was done, and she was completed and allowed to depart from British waters.
She went first to Nassau
, and on the 4th of September suddenly appeared
off Mobile harbor, flying the British
flag and pennants.
The blockading squadron there was in charge of Commander George H. Preble
, who had been specially instructed not to give offense to foreign nations while enforcing the blockade.
He believed the Oreto
to be a British vessel, and while deliberating a few minutes as to what he should do, she passed out of range of his guns, and entered the harbor with a rich freight.
For his seeming remissness Commander Preble
was summarily dismissed from the service without a hearing — an act which subsequent events seemed to show was cruel injustice.
Late in December the Oreto
escaped from Mobile
, fully armed for a piratical cruise, under the command of John Newland Maffit
, son of a celebrated Irish Methodist preacher of that name.
had been in the naval service of the Republic
,.but had abandoned his flag, and now went out to plunder his countrymen on the high seas “without authority.”
The name of the Oreto
was changed to that of Florida
. Her career will be noticed hereafter.
The most famous of all these pirate ships built in England
for the conspirators was the Alabama
, made for the use of Semmes
, the commander of the Sumter
. As in the case of the Oreto
, Mr. Adams
called the attention of the British Government
to the matter, but every effort to induce it to interpose its authority, in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Queen
's proclamation of neutrality,22
watched her, but in vain.
She was allowed to depart, with ample assistance, and under false pretenses she was supplied with cannon and other materials of war by an English merchant vessel, in a Portuguese harbor of the Western Islands
When all was in readiness, Captain Semmes
and other officers of the Sumter
were brought to her by a British steamer, and she left for Cardiff
, to coal.
took formal command, mustered his crew,
and read his commission, duly signed and sealed by the Confederate
“Secretary of the Navy
A copy of that commission, in blank, is given on the following page.24
With orders from thing which flies the Semmes
went forth on the Conspirators “to sink, burn, and destroy every ensign of the so-called United States of America
,” the ocean in the Alabama
to achieve fame as one of
Confederate naval commission. |
the most eminent sea-robbers noted in history, and succeeded.
His vessel had neither register nor record, no regular ship's papers, no evidence of transfer; and no vessel captured by her was ever sent into any port for adjudication.
All the forms of law of civilized nations for the protection of
private rights, and all the regulations of public justice which discriminate, the legalized naval vessel from the pirate, were disregarded.
Although she was a British vessel, manned chiefly by British subjects from a British port, armed with British cannon, and provided with coal and other supplies from British soil, she had no acknowledged flag nor recognized nationality, nor any accessible port to which she might send her prizes, nor any legal tribunal to adjudge her captures.
She was an outlaw, roving the seas as an enemy of mankind, for plunder and destruction, and her commander
The Alabama. |
was a pirate, whose career as such was as cowardly as it was criminal.
For a year and a half, while care-fully avoiding contact with our National vessels of war, he illuminated the seas with blazing merchant-ships.
During the last ninety days of 1862, he destroyed by fire no less than twenty-eight helpless vessels.
career of the Alabama
will be considered hereafter.
While this British ship was upon the sea, commissioned for destruction, a notable American ship was also on the sea, but for a widely different purpose.
The blockade caused a lack of the cotton supply in England
, and the greatly advanced price of that article made the manufacturers either run their mills only a part of each day, or shut them up altogether.
This caused wide-spread distress among the poorly remunerated operatives in those mills, on which, in Lancashire
alone, nearly a million of stomachs depended for food.
Starvation invaded that region, and a most pitiful cry of distress came over the sea. The just indignation of the: loyal Americans
, because of the conduct of the ruling classes of Great Britain
, and especially because of the conduct of the. Government in the matter of the pirate-ships, was quenched by the emotions of common humanity, and the citizens of New York.
alone, whose merchants suffered most by the piracies, contributed more than one hundred thousand dollars for the relief of starving English families.
They loaded the ship George Griswold
with food, and sent her out on an errand of mercy, while at the same time they were compelled to send with.
her a Government war-vessel to protect her from the torch of the pirate, which.
had been lighted at the altar of mammon by British hands!
forgive their British brethren for their unkindness in the hour of trial, but all the waters of the Atlantic
cannot wash out the stain.
Let us now turn again to a consideration of military events, whose theater of action, at the close of 1862, was nearly coextensive with the area of the slave-labor States.
Up to that time the loyal States had furnished for the war, wholly by volunteering, more than one million two hundred thousand men, of whom; on the 1st of January, 1863, about seven hundred thousand were in the service.
Sickness, casualties in the field, the expiration of terms of enlistment, discharges for physical disability, and desertions, had greatly thinned the original regiments.26
The most important movement at the close of 1862 was that of the beginning of the second siege of Vicksburg
, which resulted in its capture at the following midsummer, and which engaged the services of nearly all the troops westward of the Alleghanies
, directly or indirectly, during several months.
Though a city of only between four and five thousand inhabitants when the war broke out, the position of Vicksburg
soon became one of the most important on the Mississippi River
in a military point of view, while its peculiar topography made its conversion into a strong defensive post an easy matter.
below (about twenty-five miles above Baton Rouge
), another position of great natural strength, was now quite heavily fortified, and growing in defensive power every day. Between these fortified places, only, the Mississippi
was free from the and patrol of National warvessels.
Here was now the only connecting link between the portions of the Confederacy
separated by the Mississippi
, and here
alone could the vast supplies of the grain and cattle growing regions of Western Louisiana
be passed safely over the great River to Confederate armies, which, with those of the Nationals, were exhausting the regions eastward, between it and the mountain ranges that project into Georgia
The importance of holding this connecting link firmly was felt by the Confederates
, and when, in the autumn of 1862, Jefferson Davis
visited his home within the bounds of that link, and was returning, he declared in a speech at Jackson
and Port Hudson
must be held at all hazards.
, equally impressed with the importance of destroying that link, now bent all their energies to effect
At that time the Confederate forces at and near Vicksburg
were under the command of General John C. Pemberton
, a Pennsylvanian, who had lately been commissioned a Lieutenant-General
, and ranked both Van Dora and Lovell
we left the main forces of General Grant
confronting the Confederates
, on the Tallahatchee
's plan was for General Sherman
, then at Memphis
, to descend the River
with troops in transports from that city, and from.
Helena, in Arkansas
, and, with a gun-boat fleet, make an attack on Vicksburg
At the same time, General McClernand
was to go down with troops from Cairo
and re-enforce Sherman
soon after his attack.
himself was to advance rapidly in the mean time upon the main body of the Confederate
troops under Van Dorn
, north and eastward of Vicksburg
, and, if they should retreat to that place, follow them, and assist Sherman
in the reduction of the post.
on the 4th of November Grant
transferred his Headquarters from Jackson (Tennessee)
to La Grange
, a few miles West of Grand Junction
, on the Memphis and Charleston railway.
He had concentrated his forces for a vigorous movement in the direction of Vicksburg
On the 8th he sent out McPherson
, with ten thousand infantry, and fifteen hundred cavalry under Colonel A. L. Lee
, to drive a large body of Confederate cavalry from Lamar
, on the railway southward of him. It was accomplished, and the Confederates
were gradually pushed back to Holly Springs
, on the same railway.
it was now evident that the Confederates
intended to hold the line of the Tallahatchee River
, for there Pemberton
had concentrated his forces and cast up fortifications.
Grant at once prepared to dislodge them, and on the 20th of November he moved toward Holly Springs
with his main body, Hamilton
's division in the advance.
In the mean time Generals A. P. Hovey
and C. C. Washburne
had crossed the Mississippi
, landed at Delta
, and moved in the direction of Grant
Their cavalry was distributed.
That of Washburne
pushed rapidly eastward to the Cold
water River, where they captured a Confederate camp.
Moving swiftly down that stream and the Tallahatchee
, they made a sweep by way of Preston
, and struck the railway at Garner
's. Station, just north of Grenada
, where the railways from Memphis
and Grand Junction
meet, and destroyed the road and bridges there.
They then went northward to Oakland
, on the Memphis
road, and then struck across the country southeast to Coffeeville
, on the Grand Junction
having accomplished the object of their expedition, Hovey
returned to the Mississippi
this raid, in which the railways on which the Confederates
depended were severely damaged, and the rolling stock destroyed, while Grant
was pressing in front, disconcerted Pemberton
, and he fell back to Grenada
, and by the 1st of December Grant
held a strong position south of Holly Springs
, and commanding nearly parallel railways in that region, as we have observed on page 524. he pushed on to Oxford
, the Capital
of Lafayette County, Mississippi
, and sent forward two thousand cavalry, under Colonels Lee
and T. L. Dickey
, to press the rear of Van Dorn
's retreating column.
, several miles southward, these encountered
a superior force of Van Dorn
's infantry and some artillery, and, after a sharp struggle, were driven back several miles, with a loss of one hundred men, killed, wounded, and missing.
, with his main Army, remained at Oxford
the railway had been put in running order as far southward as Holly Springs
, and there he had ,made his temporary depot of arms and supplies of every kind, valued, late in December, at nearly four millions of dollars.
That very important post was placed in charge of Colonel R. C. Murphy
, with one thousand men, who, as we have seen, abandoned a large quantity of stores at Iuka
on the approach of the Confederates
he now permitted a far greater disaster to befall the National
His treasures were a powerful temptation to Van Dorn
, and Grant
was so satisfied that he would attempt to seize them, that he had enjoined Murphy
to be extremely vigilant.
On the night of the 19th he had warned him of immediate danger, and sent four thousand men to make the security of the stores absolutely.
Certain; but Murphy
seems not to have heeded it. He made no preparations, by barricading the streets or otherwise, for defense.
When, at daybreak the next morning, Van Dorn
and his cavalry burst into the town like an overwhelming avalanche, he was met by very little resistance.
He captured Murphy
and a greater portion of his men, gathered what plunder his troops wanted for personal use, and burned all the other public property, not sparing even a large hospital, filled with sick and wounded soldiers.
The Second Illinois cavalry refused to surrender, and gallantly fought their way out with a loss of only seven men. Murphy
accepted a parole, with his soldiers; and on the 9th of January General Grant
, in a severe order, “to take effect,” he said, “from December 20th, the date of his cowardly and disgraceful conduct,” dismissed Murphy
from the Army.31
after remaining at Holly Springs
ten hours, engaged in pillaging and
destroying, blowing up the arsenal, and burning the public property,32 Van Dorn
's men departed at five o'clock in the evening, highly elated, and immediately afterward assailed in rapid succession the National
troops at Coldwater
, Davis's Mills, Middleburg
, and even Bolivar
, but without other success than the effect produced upon Grant
by a serious menace of his communications.33
two hours after they had left Holly Springs
, the four thousand troops which Grant
had dispatched by railway to re-enforce Murphy
They had been detained by accident on the way, or they might have reached the place in time to have saved the property.
Its loss was a paralyzing blow to the expedition, for Grant
was. Compelled to fall back to Grand Junction
, to save his Army from the most imminent peril, and perhaps from destruction.
This left General Pemberton
at liberty to concentrate his forces at Vicksburg
for its defense.
in the mean time General Sherman
had been preparing for his descent upon Vicksburg
While in command of the right wing of the Army of the Tennessee, with his Headquarters at Memphis
, he had thoroughly drilled his troops, and put that important post in the most complete defensive state.
In Fort Pickering
he had constructed one of the finest of the numerous look-outs that were so extensively used by both parties during the war, from which, on several occasions, notice of the approach of guerrillas was given in time to save the place from pillage.
with a little more than twenty thousand troops in transports, on the day of the sad disaster at Holly Springs
leaving Ie as a guard to the city a strong force of infantry and cavalry, and the siege-guns in place with a complement of artillerists.
He proceeded to Friar's Point
, a little below where Hovey
landed, where he was joined by Admiral D. D. Porter
(whose naval force was at the mouth of the Yazoo River
) in his flag-ship Black Hawk
, and with the gun-boats Marmora
to act as a convoy.
On the same evening the troops at Helena
embarked, and joined Sherman
at Friar's Point
made his entire force full thirty thousand strong.
Arrangements for future action were completed the following morning
by the two commanders.
The army and navy moved down the stream, and were all at the mouth of the Yazoo River
, about twelve miles above Vicksburg
, on the 25th.34
the plan was to make an attack upon Vicksburg
in the rear, with a strong force, and for that purpose
the fleet and army passed up the Yazoo
(which, in a great bend, sweeps: round within a few miles of Vicksburg35
) twelve miles, to Johnston's Landing, the troops debarking
at points in that vicinity along the space of three miles, without opposition.
to understand the difficulties in Sherman
's way, we must consider, for a moment, the topography of his field of intended operations.
The bluffs or hills on which Vicksburg
stands rise a little below the city, and extend northeast twelve or fifteen miles to the Yazoo River
, where they terminate in Haines's Bluff.
In the passing rear of the city the ground is high and broken, falling off gradually toward the Big Black River
This, range of hills, fronting the Mississippi
and the Yazoo
, was fortified along its, entire length, and the only approach to Vicksburg
by land was up their steep faces, through which roads were cut in a manner indicated by the, engraving.
At the base of these bluffs.
To render the, approach still more difficult, there is a deep natural ditch, called Chickasaw Bayou
, extending from the Yazoo
, below Haines's Bluff, passing along near the base of the bluffs for some distance, and emptying into the Mississippi
Added to this is a deep slough, whose bottom is quicksand, and supposed to have once been a lake which stretched along the foot of the bluffs, and entered the Bayou
where the latter approached them.
These formed a natural moat in front of the fortifications, while on the plain over which Sherman
had to approach the bluffs the cypress forests were felled in places, and formed a difficult
's army was organized in four divisions, commanded respectively by Brigadier-Generals G. W. Morgan
, Morgan L. Smith
, A. J. Smith
, and Frederick Steele
The first three divisions had three brigades each, and the fourth one (Steele
In the plan of attack Steele
was assigned to the
command of the extreme left, Morgan
the left center, M. L. Smith
the right center, and A. J. Smith
the extreme right.
The latter division not having arrived from Milliken's Bend
(where it had remained as a support to a force under Colonel Wright
, sent to cut the railway on the west side of the Mississippi
, that connects Vicksburg
) when Sherman
was ready to advance, General Frank P. Blair
, of Steele
's division, was placed in command on the extreme right.
All of these divisions were to converge toward the point of attack on the bluffs at or near Barfield
's plantation, where only, it had been ascertained, the Bayou
could be crossed at two points--one at a sand-bar, and the other at a narrow levee.
Both were commanded by Confederate batteries and rifle-pits.
The battery at the levee was on an ancient Indian Mound
near the banks of the Bayou
, and could sweep nearly the whole ground over which the Nationals must advance.
Everywhere on that advance the ground was so soft that causeways had
to be built for the passage of the troops and cannon.
Difficulties were found to be much greater and more numerous than was anticipated.
the army was ready to move on the 27th,
and the center divisions, including Blair
's, marched s lowly toward the bluffs, driving the Confederate
pickets, silencing a battery on the left where Steele
, was to join the forward movement, and cheered by the confidence of the commanding General
that full success would crown their endeavors.
Alas! he did not then know of the disaster at Holly Springs
, the recoil of Grant
, and the heavy re-enforcements which Pemberton
had been sending to Vicksburg
He knew that the line that he was to attack was fifteen miles in length, and supposed there were only fifteen thousand men to man it, and he believed that, with his superior force concentrated at some point, he might break through the line, demolish it in detail, and march triumphantly into Vicksburg
He knew the position to be assailed was a strong one, ut he was not aware of the ample preparations, by rifle-pits rising tier above tier upon the slopes, and batteries crowning every hill, to enfilade his troops at every point, and make success almost an impossibility.
In ignorance of the strength before him, and expecting Grant
's co-operation on the morrow, Sherman
reposed on the night of the 27th, his army bivouacking in the cold air without fires.
the army pressed forward on Sunday morning, the 28th, driving the pickets of the Confederates
across the Bayou
, moving on the extreme left, was soon checked by a slough and cypress swamp, across which there was no passage excepting by a corduroy causeway, enfiladed by the Confederate batteries and rifle-pits.
had advanced under cover of a heavy fog and the fire of his artillery against the Confederate
He pressed on to a point at the Bayou
where it approaches
nearest the bluffs, and where it was impassable.
He held his ground there throughout the day and the following night.
At the same time M. L. Smith
had advanced far to the right, and before noon was disabled by a sharpshooter's ball wounding his hip, when his command devolved on General David Stuart
. A. J. Smith
pushed forward on the extreme right until his pickets reached a point from which Vicksburg
was in full view.
's division was brought around that night to a point a little below the junction of the Bayou
with the Yazoo
, and on the morning of the 29th, General Sherman
, aware that the force of the Confederates
on his front was rapidly increasing, ordered a General advance of his whole army.
, being nearest the Bayou
and the bluffs, was expected to cross early and carry the batteries and heights on his front; but at the dawn the Confederates
opened a heavy cannonade upon him, and it was almost noon before he thought it prudent to move forward.
Meanwhile detachments had been constructing bridges over the Bayou
, for the purpose of crossing to assail the foe on the bluffs, and when Morgan
was ready to move, Blair
had come up with his brigade and was ready to go into the fight, with Thayer
, of Steele
's division, as a support.
had moved forward between the divisions of Smith
, and obliquing to the left, which exposed him to a severe flank fire, in which Colonel J. B. Wyman
, of the Thirteenth Illinois, was killed, he crossed Morgan
's track, and there detached two regiments to the support of that commander.
With the remainder he worked his way to the front of Morgan
's left, near the house of Mrs. Lake
, and at the van of Steele
he crossed the Bayou
over a bridge his men had built, and advanced to the slough, whose bottom was a quicksand, and its banks were covered with a snarl of felled trees.
Over this they passed, Blair
leaving his horse floundering in the shallow water with its unstable bed. Dashing through the abatis
, and followed by Thayer
, with only a single regiment (Fourth Iowa) of his brigade then in hand, he pressed across a sloping plateau, captured two lines of rifle-pits, and fought desperately to gain the crest of the hill before him, while De Courcy
's brigade of Morgan
's command, which had crossed the Bayou
, charged on his right.
The battle of Chickasaw Bayou. |
effort was vain.
The assailants suffered terribly, for the hills were swarming with men, bristling with weapons, and ablaze with the fire of murderous guns.
It was a struggle of three thousand in open fields below with ten thousand behind intrenchments above.
, who had arrived and was in command, had been re-enforced by three brigades from Grenada
, released by Grant
's retrograde movement, and he defied Sherman
and his companions were compelled to
He had lost one-third of his brigade, and De Courcy
, by a flank charge by the Seventeenth and Twenty-Sixth Louisiana, lost four flags, three hundred and Thirty-two men made prisoners, and about five hundred small arms.38
so heavy and active was the force on the bluffs, that all attempts to construct bridges were frustrated, and they were abandoned.
General A. J. Smith
's advance (Sixth Missouri) had crossed the Bayou
at a narrow sandbar on the extreme right, but could not advance because of the cloud of sharp-shooters that confronted them.
So they lay below the bank until night, and then withdrew.
Darkness closed the struggle, when Sherman
had lost nearly two thousand men, and his foe only two hundred and seven.
Thus ended the battle of Chickasaw Bayou
was loth to relinquish his effort against Vicksburg
He had ordered another attack on the left after Blair
was repulsed, but
wisely countermanded it; but that night, while rain was falling copiously, he caused his men to rest on their arms without fire, preparatory to another struggle in the morning.
During the night he visited Admiral Porter
on board his flag-ship, and concerted a fresh plan of attack, but on the following day,
after a careful estimate of his chances for success, and despairing of any co-operation on the part of Grant
, he concluded to abandon the attempt to penetrate the Confederate
lines, but to try and turn them.
He proposed to go stealthily up the Yazoo
with the land and naval forces, and attack and carry Haines
's bluff, on their extreme right, while by some diversion on the Bayou
should be prevented from sending re-enforcements there in time to oppose the National Army
in securing a firm footing.
The latter was then to take the remaining Confederate fortifications in flank and reverse, and fight its way to Vicksburg
preparations were made for this flank movement to begin at midnight of the 31st.
a dense fog interposed.
The enterprise became known to Pemberton
, and it was abandoned.
Rumors of Grant
's retreat to Grand Junction
had reached Sherman
, and he resolved to return to Milliken's Bend
on the Mississippi
The troops were all re-embarked, and ready for departure from the Yazoo
, when the arrival of General McClernand
's senior in rank, was announced.
on the 4th of January that officer assumed the chief command, and the Army and navy proceeded to Milliken's Bend
The title of Sherman
's force was changed to that of the Army of the Mississippi, and was divided into two corps, one of which was placed under the command of General Morgan
, and the other under General Sherman
's arrival Sherman
had agreed upon a plan for attacking Fort Hindman, or Arkansas
post, on the left bank, and at a sharp Bend of the Arkansas River
fifty miles from the Mississippi
, while Grant
was moving his Army to Memphis
, preparatory to a descent of the River
, to join in the further prosecution of the siege of Vicksburg
approved of the plan, and the forces moved up the Mississippi
to Montgomery Point
, opposite the mouth of White River
On the 9th the combined force proceeded up that River fifteen miles, and, passing through a canal into the Arkansas
, reached Notrib's farm, three miles below Fort Hindman, at four o'clock in the afternoon, when preparations were made for landing the troops.
This was accomplished by noon the next day,
when about twenty-five thousand men, under McClernand
, A. J. Smith
, and Osterhaus
, were ready, with a strong flotilla of armored and unarmored gun-boats, under the immediate command of Admiral Porter
, to assail the Fort
, garrisoned by only five thousand men, under General T. J. Churchill
, who had received orders from General T. H. Holmes
at little Rock, then commanding in Arkansas
, to “hold on until help should arrive or all were dead.”
the gun-boats moved slowly on, shelling the Confederates
out of their rifle-pits along the levee, and driving every soldier into the Fort
and in the mean time the land troops pressed forward over swamps and bayous, and bivouacked that night around Fort Hindman, without tents or fires, prepared for an assault in the morning.
at about noon on the 11th, McClernand
that the Army was ready to move upon the Fort
The gun-boats opened fire at one o'clock, and soon afterward the brigades of Hovey
, Giles A. Smith
, and T. Kilby Smith
, pushed forward at the double-quick, finding temporary shelter in woods and ravines with which the ground was diversified.
In a belt of woods, three hundred yards from the Confederate
rifle-pits, they were brought to a halt by a
Fort Hindman. |
very severe fire of musketry and artillery, but they soon resumed their advance with the support of Blair
's brigade, and pushed up to some ravines fringed with bushes and fallen timber, within musket range of the fort.
's artillery and the gun-boats had covered this advance by a rapid fire, and, with the batteries of Hoffman
, and Barrett
, had nearly silenced the Confederate
guns (10 and 20-pounders), under Lieutenants Webster
, had performed excellent service in dismounting cannon that most annoyed the gunboats.
In this movement Hovey
had been wounded by a fragment of a shell, and the horse of Thayer
had been shot under him.
General A. J. Smith
now deployed nine regiments of Burbridge
's and Landrum
's brigades, supported by three more regiments in reserve, and drove the Confederate
advance on the right, back behind a cluster of cabins, from which shelter they were dislodged by a charge of the Twenty-third Wisconsin, Colonel Guppy
, meanwhile, pushed on his division until it was not more than two hundred yards from the fort, while Colonel Sheldon
, of Osterhaus
's division, had sent Cooley
's battery, supported by the One Hundred and Eighteenth and One Hundred and Twentieth Ohio, and Sixty-ninth Indiana, to within two hundred yards of another face of the fort.
They cleared the rifle-pits before them, and the One Hundred and Twentieth Ohio attempted to scale and carry by assault the eastern side of the fort, but were prevented by a deep ravine in addition to the ditch.
At a little past three o'clock, the guns of the fort having been silenced, and Sherman
's right strengthened by the Twenty-third Wisconsin, Nineteenth Kentucky, and Ninety-seventh Illinois, of Smith
's division, McClernand
ordered an assault, when the troops dashed forward under a dreadful fire, Burbridge
's brigade, two regiments of Landrum
's, and the One Hundred and Twentieth Ohio, bearing the brunt.
The Confederates saw that all was lost, and raised a white flag just as the One Hundred and Twentieth Ohio, followed by the Eighty-third Ohio and Sixteenth Indiana, under Burbridge
, were pouring over the intrenchments on the east, while the troops of Sherman
, which had stormed the works farther to the north
and west, were also swarming over the works.
had the honor of planting the standard of the Republic
on the fort, which General Smith
had placed in his hands in acknowledgment of his bravery.
The garrison flag was captured by Captain Ennes
, one of General Smith
So ended the battle of Arkansas post
, in which the army and navy won equal renown.42
After dismantling and blowing up Fort Hindman, burning a hundred wagons and other property that he could not take away, embarking his prisoners for St. Louis
, and sending an expedition in light-draft steamers, under General Gorman
and Lieutenant Commanding J. G. Walker
up the White River
to capture Des Arc
and Duval's Bluff,43 McClernand
, by order of General Grant
, withdrew with his troops and the fleet to Napoleon
, on the Mississippi
, at the mouth of the Arkansas River
had come down the river from Memphis
in a swift steamer, and at Napoleon
he and the other military commanders
, with Admiral Porter
, made arrangements for the prosecution of the campaign against Vicksburg