Chapter 17: Sherman's March through the Carolinas.--the capture of Fort Fisher.
- Sherman prepares to move northward from Savannah, 456.
-- his invasion of South Carolina, 457.
-- he presses on toward the capital of the State, 458.
-- he moves on Columbia, 459.
-- surrender of Columbia, 460.
-- destruction of Columbia, 461.
-- Charleston evacuated, 462.
-- destruction of property in Charleston, by the Confederates.
-- Charleston Repossessed by the National forces, 464.
-- the old flag at Sumter, 465.
-- expedition sent to Florida. 466.
-- invasion of Florida, 467.
-- battle of Olustee, 468.
-- events on the Carolina coasts, 469.
-- siege of Plymouth, 470.
-- duel between iron-clads, off Plymouth, 471.
-- destruction of the Albemarle, 472.
-- Port of Wilmington to be opened, 473.
-- plan for capturing Wilmington, 474.
-- designs against Fort Fisher, 475.
-- an immense torpedo to be used, 476.
-- delay of the fleet, 477.
-- explosion of the great torpedo, 478.
-- attack on Fort Fisher, 479.
-- withdrawal of Union troops from the attack, 480.
-- the author's visit to Fort Fisher, 481.
-- also to Charleston harbor, Beaufort, Hilton Head, and Savannah, 482, 483.
Having made the necessary orders for the disposition of his troops at Savannah
, General Sherman
directed his chief engineer (Captain Poe
) to examine the works around the city and its vicinity, with a view to their future use. He directed portions of them, including Forts McAllister
, Thunderbolt, and Pulaski
, to be put in perfect order.
The remainder were to be dismantled and destroyed, and their heavy armament sent to Hilton Head
was made a base of supplies.
The formidable obstructions in the river were sufficiently removed to allow the passage of vessels, and the torpedoes which abounded were gathered up under the direction of Admiral Dahlgren
These arrangements were completed by the first of January, when General Sherman
was ready for a march northward through the Carolinas.
appointed the 15th of January
as the day when he would commence his march.
The Seventeenth Corps, of Howard
's troops, was sent by water, around by Hilton Head
, to Pocotaligo
, on the Charleston and Savannah railway, where it had made a lodgment by the day above named, and from that point seriously menaced Charleston
The left wing, under Slocum
, accompanied by Kilpatrick
's cavalry, was to have crossed the Savannah River
on a pontoon bridge laid at the city; but incessant rains, which flooded the country, swelled the streams and overflowed the swamps on their margins, had caused the submergence of a causeway which Slocum
had constructed opposite Savannah
, and broken up his pontoon bridge.
He was compelled to look higher up the river for a passage, and marched his troops to Sister's Ferry, or Purysburg
The delay caused by the flood prevented Slocum
getting his entire wing of the army across the Savannah River
until the first week in February.
In the mean time, General Grant
had sent to Savannah Grover
's division of the Nineteenth Corps, to garrison that city, and had drawn the Twenty-third Corps, under General Schofield
, from General Thomas
's command in Tennessee
, and sent it to re-enforce Generals Terry
, operating on the coast of North Carolina
, to prepare the way for Sherman
and its dependencies to General Foster
, then commanding the Department of the South, with instructions to follow Sherman
's inland movements by occupying, in succession, Charleston
and other places.
, with the troops with which he fled from Savannah
, was then in Charleston
, preparing to defend it to the best of his ability.
had advised General Grant
that it was his intention “to undertake, at one stride,” after leaving Savannah
, “to make Goldsboroa, and open
communications with the sea, by the New Berne railroad,” and for that purpose, he sent Colonel W. W. Wright
, superintendent of military roads, to New Berne to prepare for extending the railway from that place to Goldsboroa.
Meanwhile, during the delay caused by the floods, some feints were made from Pocotaligo
of an advance on Charleston
, and thereby Hardee
was kept from interfering with Sherman
's preparations for his proposed “stride.”
Finally, when the waters had somewhat subsided, and every thing was in readiness for an advance, the posts at the Tullifinny
and Coosawhatchie rivers
were abandoned as useless and the troops a long the Charleston and Savannah railway were concentrated at Pocotaligo
's whole army moved forward on the first of February, nearly in a due north course, toward Columbia
, the capital of South Carolina
All the roads in that direction had, for weeks, been held by