General Sherman. There remained in Central Mississippi, under General Taylor, but one corps of the enemy's infantry, and about seven thousand of Forrest's cavalry, the headquarters of the command being at Meridian, Mississippi. On the sixth of February a communication was received from Lieutenant-General Grant, directing an expedition, commanded by General Stoneman, to be sent from East Tennessee to penetrate North Carolina, and well down toward Columbia, South Carolina, to destroy the enemy's railroads and military resources in that section, and visit a portion of the State beyond the control or reach of General Sherman's column. As the movement was to be merely for the purpose of destruction, directions were given General Stoneman to evade any heavy engagements with the enemy's forces. Again, on the thirteenth of February, General Grant telegraphed me to prepare a cavalry expedition, about ten thousand strong, to penetrate Northern Alabama, acting as a co-operative force to the movement on Mobile by General Canby. Before leaving Eastport, Mississippi, I had directed General Wilson to get his command in readiness for just such a campaign, of which the above was simply an outline — my instructions being for him to move on Tuscaloosa, Selma, and Montgomery, Alabama, and to capture those places if possible, after accomplishing which, he was to operate against any of the enemy's forces in the direction of Mississippi, Mobile, or Macon, as circumstances might demand. The bad state of the roads, combined with the condition of the horses of his command after completing the severe campaign in pursuit of Hood, prevented any movement for the time being, and it was only on the twenty-second of March that General Wilson, with Upton's, Long's, and McCook's divisions, could leave Chickasaw, Alabama. Hatch's division remained at Eastport, Mississippi, and R. W. Johnson's at Pulaski, Tennessee, it not being possible to mount them fully, to hold the country and prevent guerrilla depredations. When General Sherman was organizing his army for its march to the Atlantic seaboard, in November, he issued an order directing me to assume control of all the forces of the Military Division of the Mississippi not present with him and the main army in Georgia. Based on that order, all the operations of the troops within the limits of the above-mentioned military division have, during the interval, been made under my immediate direction, and I have been held responsible for their faithful execution. On the thirtieth of March General Wilson's cavalry reached Elyton, after an extremely difficult, toilsome, and exhaustive march, on account of bad roads, swollen streams, and the rough nature of the country, which had also been almost entirely stripped of all subsistence for man or beast. At Elyton Croxton's brigade, of McCook's division, was detached and sent to capture and destroy Tuscaloosa, and then march to rejoin the main body near Selma. With the remainder of his command, General Wilson pushed rapidly forward to Montevallo, where he destroyed five extensive iron works, and other valuable property. On the outskirts of the town the enemy's cavalry was found in force, attacked, routed, and pursued through Plantersville, leaving in our possession three pieces of artillery and several hundred prisoners. At three P. M. on the second of April General Wilson reached the immediate vicinity of Selma, and rapidly formed Upton's and Long's divisions to attack the defences of the town — Long attacking on the Summerfield road, and Upton across a swamp deemed impassable by the enemy. Dismounting two regiments from each of the brigades of Colonels Miller and Minty, General Long and those two officers gallantly leading their men in person, charged across an open field five hundred yards wide, over a stockade which they tore up as they passed, through the ditch, and over the enemy's parapets, sweeping everything before them. Our loss was forty-six killed and two hundred wounded; Colonel Dodds, Fourth Ohio, among the former, and General Long and Colonels Miller and McCormick among the latter. General Upton met with less resistance than Long — entered the enemy's works and the town, capturing many prisoners. In the darkness and confusion following the assault Generals Forrest, Buford, Adams, Armstrong, and others, made their escape. Lieutenant-General Dick Taylor had left earlier in the afternoon. As the fruits of the victory, however, there remained twenty-six guns and two thousand seven hundred prisoners, besides large amounts of ordnance and other property of great value. Twenty-five thousand bales of cotton had already been destroyed by the enemy. General Wilson remained at Selma from the second to the tenth of April, resting his command and completing the destruction of the immense workshops, arsenals, and foundries, and waiting for Croxton to rejoin from his expedition to Tuscaloosa, it having been ascertained, through the enemy, that he captured Tuscaloosa, and was moving to Selma via Eutaw. On the tenth General Wilson crossed the Alabama river and moved toward Montgomery, receiving the surrender of that town, without a contest, on the twelfth. The enemy burned eighty-five thousand bales of cotton before evacuating. At Montgomery five steamboats, several locomotives, one armory, and several foundries were destroyed. On the fourteenth operations were resumed by Upton's division moving through Mount Meigs and Tuskegee toward Columbus, Georgia, and Colonel La Grange, with three regiments of his brigade, of McCook's division, marching along the railroad to West Point, via Opelika. On the sixteenth, General Upton, with about four hundred dismounted men, assaulted and carried the breastworks of Columbus, saving, by the impetuosity of his attacks, the bridges over
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Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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