and indicated a preference for Savannah
as the objective point of the campaign, General Sherman
, about the middle of November, 1864, put his columns in motion for their march of spoliation and devastation through the heart of Georgia
The ‘smashing’ operation of this modern Alaric was fairly inaugurated by the wanton, merciless, and almost total destruction of the cities of Atlanta
For the purposes of the incursion the Federal
army was divided into two wings; the right—commanded by Major-General O. O. Howard
—comprising the Fifteenth corps, under Major-General P. J. Osterhaus
, and the Seventeenth corps, under Major-General Frank P. Blair, Jr.
, and the left, under Major-General H. W. Slocum
, consisting of the Fourteenth corps, brevet Major-General J. C. Davis
, and the Twentieth corps, Brigadier-General A. S. Williams
This infantry force of fifty-five thousand men, was accompanied by a cavalry division numbering fifty-five hundred sabres, commanded by Brigadier-General Judson Kilpatrick
There was an allowance of about one field-piece to every thousand men, aggregating between sixty-five and seventy guns, fully manned and thoroughly equipped.
A pontoon train was assigned to each wing of the army, and an efficient pioneer battalion organized for each corps.
The entire command was amply provided with good wagon trains, loaded with ammunition and carrying supplies approximating forty days rations of bread, sugar and coffee, a double allowance of salt for the same period, and grain forage for three days. Beef cattle, sufficient for forty days subsistence, attended the army.
No equipment was lacking which could in anywise enhance the comfort, power and efficiency of this formidable expedition.
Acquainted with the character of the country through which his route lay, and aware of the fact that he would meet with an abundance of provisions and forage everywhere, General Sherman
anticipated little difficulty in subsisting his troops.
At this season of the year plantation barns were filled with newly-gathered harvest.
Corn, peas, fodder, sweet potatoes, syrup, hogs, cattle, mules and horses were to be expected without stint.
The recent movement of General Hood
, ill-advised and pregnant with disaster, left the State of Georgia
fairly open to a Federal advance.
She was destitute of offering substantial resistance.
Few troops remained within her confines to dispute Sherman
's passage to the coast.
Such were the physical peculiarities of the country, that there existed only occasional and partial obstacles to a rapid and successful march; none which could not be readily