This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 of February, 1865, when Sherman crossed the Savannah into South Carolina. When Hood's crushing defeat by Thomas before Nashville had made an end of the campaign that Mr. Davis had projected as the means of throwing Sherman back out of Georgia in a ‘Moscow retreat,’ and when it was seen that Sherman, heading his columns northward towards Virginia, approached like an irresistible fate, sweeping a wide swathe of desolation through the centre of the South, the Richmond authorities, awaking to a sense of their fatal folly and goaded by the clamors of an alarmed and frenzied people, sought a measure of amelioration for the shattered fortunes of the Confederacy by the reappointment of General Johnston to the command of the forces opposing Sherman. But it was already too late. Johnston did all he could; and all he did was judicious: but he could only stay for a time a result seen to be inevitable. Withdrawing the garrisons of the seaboard cities, and uniting thereto the corps lately under Beauregard and the remnants of Hood's army, which with much address he succeeded in bringing to a junction with the troops confronting Sherman, he prepared to oppose such a resistance as was possible to the onward march of his formidable antagonist. Johnston had on paper a numerous army; but, in effect, it was not, all told, above twenty thousand strong; while the troops were in such condition of morale as may be imagined of men who had already been driven through two States into the forests of North Carolina. In this state of facts it was vain for Johnston to attempt an aggressive policy, unless indeed he should find an opportunity of striking a blow at a detached fragment. But his antagonist carried too much art into his dispositions of his columns of march to present such an opening, and the one stroke at Bentonville (a partial and unimportant success), was all the offensive essayed by Johnston. The Confederate commander was, moreover, in a trying dilemma: in order to keep open the Danville line, by which a junction of the forces of Lee and Johnston might be made, it
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.