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Chapter 15: Sherman's March to the sea.--Thomas's campaign in Middle Tennessee.--events in East Tennessee.

Sherman's force, with which he proposed to march to the sea, was composed of four army corps in two grand divisions, the right wing commanded by Major-General O. O. Howard, and the left wing by Major-General H. W. Slocum. The right was composed of the Fifteenth Corps, led by General P. J. Osterhaus, and the Seventeenth, commanded by General F. P. Blair. The left consisted of the Fourteenth Corps, commanded by General J. C. Davis, and the Twentieth, led by General A. S. Williams.1 General Kilpatrick commanded the cavalry, consisting of one division. Sherman's entire force numbered sixty thousand infantry and artillery, and five thousand five hundred cavalry.

On the 14th of November, as we have observed, Sherman's troops, destined for the great march, were grouped around Atlanta. Their last channel of. communication with the Government and the loyal people of the North was closed, when, on the 11th, the commander-in-chief cut the telegraph wire that connected Atlanta with Washington City. Then that army became an isolated moving column, in the heart of the enemy's country. It moved on the morning of the 14th, Howard's wing marching by way of Macdonough for Gordon, on the railway east of Macon, and Slocum's by the town of Decatur, for Madison and Milledgeville. Then, by Sherman's order, and under the direction of Captain O. M. Poe, chief engineer, the entire city of Atlanta (which, next to Richmond, had furnished more war materials for the Confederates than any in the South), excepting its Court-house, churches, and dwellings, was committed to the flames. In a short space of time, the buildings in the heart of the city, covering full two hundred acres of ground, were on fire; and when the conflagration was at its height, on the night of the 15th,

November 1864.
the band of the Twenty-third Massachusetts played, and the soldiers chanted, the air and words of the stirring song, “John Brown's soul goes marching on.” Sherman left desolated Atlanta the following morning, and accompanied Slocum's wing in its march, at the beginning. [406]

Sherman's first object was to place his army in the heart of Georgia, between Macon and Augusta, and so compel his foe to divide his forces, to defend not only these two important places,2 but also Millen (where a large number of Union prisoners were confined), and Savannah and Charleston. For that purpose his troops marched rapidly. Kilpatrick swept around to, and strongly menaced Macon,

Nov. 22, 1864.
while Howard moved steadily forward and occupied Gordon, on the Georgia Central railroad, east of Macon, on the 23d. Meanwhile, Slocum moved along the Augusta railway to Madison, and after destroying the railroad bridge over the Oconee River, east of that place, turned southward and occupied Milledgeville, the capital of Georgia, on the same day
Nov. 23.

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