and the roads bad, so that they were not up in season to charge that night; and next morning1 Hardee
was gone, with all that could and would follow him.
Before that morning dawned, ominous sounds, first heavy, then lighter, from the north, indicated to Sherman
that something momentous was occurring in Atlanta
, 20 miles distant. They might have proceeded from an attack on that stronghold by Slocum
— which was most unlikely — but the more probable supposition pointed to the truth, that Hood
, completely outgeneraled and at his wit's end, was blowing up his magazines, burning his stores, and escaping with the little he could, deprived of railroads, carry off in his flight.
But this, if so, could wait; so Sherman
ordered a vigorous pursuit in force of Hardee
's beaten column.
was found well intrenched, near Lovejoy
's, with his flanks covered by Walnut creek
and Flint river
— a strong position, which was thoroughly reconnoitered, but Sherman
was in no hurry to attack it. Soon, flying rumors, then more trust-worthy accounts, imported that Hood
had blown up whatever he could in Atlanta
and decamped: Stewart
's corps retreating on McDonough
, while the militia were marched off eastward to Covington
The news was fully confirmed on the 4th by a courier from Slocum
, who had entered the city unopposed on the morning after Hood
thereupon returned 2
, and, encamping his army on all sides, allowed it that season of rest which, under his able leadership, it had so nobly earned.
had been cheaply won; for, not only was the position one of great importance, but the loss of munitions, guns, locomotives, cars, manufacturing machinery, &c., was very great, and such as the Confederacy
could no longer afford.
Yet, when Sherman
had succeeded, without loss, in placing at least 70,000 veterans between it and the better part of Hood
's army, it seems singular that his prisoners were so few. Had he known how Hood
's army was divided, he ought, it would seem, to have destroyed or captured at least half of it.
, having established his headquarters in Atlanta
, ordered the removal of its remaining inhabitants — they going South or coming North, as each should prefer.
In order to effect this removal with the least possible hardship, a truce for ten days was proposed by Sherman
and acceded to by Hood
; who took occasion to “protest, in the name of God and humanity,” against this “unprecedented measure,” which, he asserts, “transcends, in studied and ingenious cruelty, all acts ever brought to my attention in the dark history of war.”
Let us consider:
Every one who could shoulder a musket or drive a team had been conscripted into and marched off with the Rebel
All the factories, founderies, machine-shops, &c., in which Atlanta
lad hitherto abounded, and which had done the Confederacy
good service, had been destroyed by Hood
on leaving, or so dismantled as to be unserviceable.
No food of consequence had been left by Hood
; while our single railroad