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XXVIII. Sherman's Atlanta campaign.

Gen. William T. Sherman, at the instance of Lt.-Gen. Grant, succeeded him in command of the military division of the Mississippi, embracing the four great departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, the Tennessee, and the Arkansas. Receiving the order at Memphis,1 he repaired at once to Nashville, where he met the Lt.-General, and accompanied him so far as CincinnatiGrant being then on his way to Washington to direct thenceforth our operations generally, but more especially those in Virginia. The plans of the superior were freely imparted to and discussed with his most trusted subordinate, ere they parted to enter respectively on their memorable campaigns against Richmond and Atlanta. Those campaigns were to be commenced simultaneously on the Rapidan and the Tennessee; and either movement to be pressed so vigorously, persistently, that neither of the Rebel main armies could spare troops to reenforce the other. When Sherman received2 his final instructions from Grant, it was settled that the campaign should open with May; and Gen. Sherman set forth3 accordingly from the Winter encampments of his forces around Chattanooga with an army barely short of 100,000 men4 of all arms, with 254 guns. It was far superior in every thing but cavalry to that which it confronted; Candy which, though estimated by Sherman at 55,000 to 60,000, probably numbered hardly more than 50,000.5 Johnston's army was organized in three corps, led by Hardee, Hood, and Polk. Sherman was from time to time reenforced, so as nearly to keep his original number good; but, as he advanced into Georgia, the necessity of maintaining his communications seriously reduced his force at the front.

The country between Chattanooga and Atlanta is different from, but even more difficult than, that which separates Washington from Richmond. Rugged mountains, deep, narrow ravines, thick, primitive woods, with occasional villages and more frequent clearings, or irregular patches of cultivation, all traversed by mainly narrow, ill-made roads, succeed each other for some 40 miles; then intervenes a like distance of comparatively open, facile country, traversed by two considerable rivers; then another rugged, difficult region of mountains and passes reaches nearly to the Chattahoochce; [626] across which, 8 miles distant, lies the new but important city of Atlanta — a focus o several railroads, having some 20,000 inhabitants, and then the seat of extensive manufactories of Confederate supplies. It had been well fortified, early in 1863.

Johnston's position at Dalton was covered by an impassable mountain known as Rocky-Face ridge, cloven by the passage of Mill creek called Buzzard's Roost gap. The railroad traverses this pass, but our army could not; it being naturally very strong and now thoroughly fortified. Hence, while Thomas menaced6 and feebly assailed it in front, McPherson flanked the enemy's left, moving down by Ship's gap, Villanow, and Snake creek gap, to seize either Resaca or some other point well in its rear, while Schofield should press on Johnston's right. In executing these orders, Thomas was compelled to bear more heavily on the Rebel front than was intended: Newton's division of Howard's (4th) corps, and Geary's of Hooker's (20th) corps, assaulting in earnest and even carrying portions of the ridge; whence they were soon repelled with loss. Meantime, McPherson had reached the front of Resaca, scarcely resisted; but he could not carry it, and dared not remain between it and Johnston's main body; so he fell back to a strong position in Snake creek gap, which he could hold for some hours against all gainsayers. Sherman now, leaving Howard's corps and some cavalry to threaten Dalton in front, moved7 the rest of his forces rapidly in the track of Schofield, and through Snake creek gap; which compelled Johnston to evacuate his stronghold and fall back rapidly to Resaca; advancing in force against which, Kilpatrick, fighting the enemy's cavalry, was disabled by a shot. Sherman had calculated on seriously damaging Johnston when he thus retreated, but was unable to reach him — Johnston having the only direct, good road, while our flanking advance was made with great difficulty. Howard entered Dalton on the heels of the enemy, and pressed him sharply down to Resaca.

Sherman forthwith set on foot a new flanking movement by his right to turn Johnston out of Resaca; which Johnston countered by an attack on Hooker and Schofield, still in his front and on his left; but he was rather worsted in the bloody fight8 thus brought on: Hooker driving the Rebels from several hills, taking 4 guns and many prisoners. The Rebels retreated across the Oostenaula during the night, and our army entered Resaca in triumph next morning.

McPherson crossed on our right at Lay's ferry next day; Gen. Thomas moving directly through Resaca, on the heels of Hardee, who covered the Rebel retreat; while Schofield advanced on our left, over a rough region, by such apologies for roads as he could find or make. Jeff. C. Davis's division of Thomas's army kept down the north-west bank of the Oostenaula to Rome, where he took 8 or 10 great guns, and destroyed mills and founderies of great importance to the enemy; leaving here a garrison. Johnston made a momentary stand against our central advance in a strong position covering Adairsville; but, on the approach of our main body, he again retreated, with only [627]

Sherman's Atlanta campaign,

[628] sharp skirmishing between our van and his rear-guard; until, having passed through Kingston, he was again found9 holding a strong and fortified position about Cassville, apparently intent on a decisive battle. Upon being pressed, however, he retreated, under cover of night, across the Etowah; burning the railroad and other bridges, and taking a still stronger position covering the Allatoona pass, where the country again becomes mountainous, rugged, and difficult, and where he doubtless had determined to fight in earnest.

Sherman, after halting two days to rest and reconnoiter, decided to flank him out of this by moving well to the right, concentrating his army on Dallas; to which point Jeff. C. Davis, at Rome, had already been directed, and on which Thomas now advanced; McPherson moving still farther to the right, by Van Wert, and swinging in on Thomas's right; while Schofield, moving on the east, should aim to come in on Thomas's left. Johnston promptly divined this movement, and prepared to baffle it.

Thomas, advancing from Burnt Hickory to Dallas, was confronted 10 at Pumpkinvine creek by Rebel cavalry, whom he rapidly pushed across, saving the burning bridge; but, as Hooker's corps, in the van, pushed on, his foremost division (Geary's) found the enemy in line of battle; and a severe conflict ensued, without decisive result. Hooker finally concentrated his command four miles north of Dallas, and struck hard, by Sherman's order, at Stewart's position covering New Hope church; whence, though he gained some ground, he was unable to drive the well sheltered foe. Next morning, the Rebel intrenched lines stretched unbrokenly from Dallas to Marietta, over a most difficult region, wherein days were necessarily spent by Sherman, amid continual skirmishing and fighting, in making careful approaches. He had just ordered Schofield to advance our left and flank the enemy's right, when Johnston struck heavily at our right at Dallas, held by McPherson. But this attack gave our men the advantage of breastworks, and was repulsed with loss; as one made by Howard's corps on Cleburne, farther toward the center, was repulsed by the enemy. Our army was now moved11 to the left along the Rebel front, enveloping the Allatoona pass, and compelling the enemy to evacuate it; as he soon after did his intrenchments covering New Hope church, and Ackworth also. Allatoona pass was promptly garrisoned by Sherman, and made a secondary base of supplies: the railroad bridge across the Etowah being repaired, and our trains down the road run to this point.

Gen. Frank Blair here came up,12 with two divisions of the 17th corps, and Col. Long's brigade of cavalry; raising Sherman's effective force nearly to that with which he left Chattanooga; and he moved forward next day to Big Shanty.

Kenesaw mountain, with its almost equally formidable neighbors, Pine and Lost mountains, now loomed before him with Rebel lines two miles long covering the points not impregnable by nature — lines which the enemy were actively strengthening each hour. Here Sherman halted perforce, and studied and planned [629] and manoeuvered; finally attempting to force, by sharp fighting, a way between Kenesaw and Pine mountains. In the desultory conflict that ensued, Lt.-Gen. Polk, Protestant Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana, was instantly killed13 by a cannon-ball. He was engaged, with Johnston and Hardee, in making observations, when they were observed on our side, and two shots fired at them — it was said by Thomas's order — the first of which scattered the party to places of safety; but Polk soon tired of his, and, coming out to watch the firing, was struck in the side by a three-inch shot, which tore him to pieces. He neither spoke nor breathed thereafter.

Pushing forward wherever the rugged nature of the ground would permit, with frequent assaults and constant battering and picket-firing, Sherman compelled the enemy to abandon Pine mountain,14 and then Lost mountain,15 with the long line of strong breastworks connecting the latter with Kenesaw. Meantime, rain fell almost incessantly; the narrow mountain roads were rocky gullies; and the Rebel batteries on Kenesaw belched iron constantly at our lines — the balls generally passing harmlessly over the heads of our men, whom the enemy's guns could not be depressed sufficiently to reach.

It being evident that we were steadily though slowly gaining ground, especially on our right, a sally and attack were made 16 by the enemy, led by Hood, with intent to interpose between Thomas's right and Schofield's left, near what was known as “the Kulp house.” The blow fell on Williams's division of Hooker's corps, and Hascall's of Schofield's army, but utterly failed — the enemy being repulsed from our lines with heavy loss, including some prisoners.

Sherman now determined to assault in turn, and did 17 so, after careful preparation, at two points, south of Kenesaw, and in front of Gens. Thomas and McPherson respectively; but the enemy's position was found, at fearful cost, absolutely impregnable — each attack being signally repulsed, with an aggregate loss of 3,000, including Gens. Harker and Dan. McCook, killed, and Col. Rice, with other valuable officers, badly wounded. The Rebels, thoroughly sheltered by their works, reported their loss at 442.

Gen. Sherman, in his report, defends this assault as follows:

Upon studying the ground, I had no alternative but to assault or turn the enemy's position. Either course had its difficulties and dangers. And I perceived that the enemy and our own officers had settled down into a conviction that I would not assault fortified lines. All looked to me to outflank. An army, to be efficient, must not settle down to one single mode of offense, but must be prepared to execute any plan that promises success. I wished, therefore, for the moral effect, to make a successful assault on the enemy behind his breast-works. * * * Failure as it was, and for which I assume the entire responsibility, I yet claim that it produced good fruits; as it demonstrated to Gen. Johnston that I would assault, and that boldly; and we also gained and held ground so close to the enemy's parapets that he could not show a head above them.

If these be sound reasons, they at least as fully justify Grant's order to assault at Cold Harbor: Kenesaw being a palpable Gibraltar, which Cold Harbor is not.

Sherman did not choose to rest on this bloody repulse; but, waiting only [630] to bury the dead and care for the wounded, he again threw18 forward his right: McPherson, in front of Kenesaw, being relieved by Garrard's cavalry, and ordered to move rapidly by the right down to the Chattahoochee, threatening to cross with the railroad at or near Turner's ferry. The success of this manoeuver was instantaneous. Though its execution began at nightfall, Kenesaw was forthwith evacuated by Johnston; our skirmishers stood on the summit at dawn ; and — our whole army pressing forward--General Sherman rode into Marietta on the heels of the Rebel rear-guard at 8 1/2 A. M.

Sherman was thus eager in the pursuit, expecting to catch Johnston crossing the Chattahoochee and destroy half his army; but the wary Confederate had ere this strongly intrenched a position on this side, covering the passage of the river, and stood here awaiting — in fact, inviting — an assault. Sherman paused, and cautiously approached; sending forward at length19 a strong skirmish-line, which carried the enemy's outer line of rifle-pits, taking some prisoners. Next morning, he was mainly over the river; and our army advanced in triumph to its bank at several points, with Atlanta just at hand.

But the Chattahoochee is here a large stream; rapid as well as deep, and barely fordable at one or two points. The railroad and other bridges, of course, were covered by the enemy's strong work on our side, which they still held. But Gen. Schofield was now moved rapidly from our extreme right to our left, and there pushed across, above Power's ferry, surprising the guard, capturing a gun, and soon fortifying himself strongly on high ground, commanding good roads, tending east, while he had laid a pontoon and a trestle bridge across the river. Howard soon had a similar bridge and position two miles below; and there was a general movement of our forces from right to left, which constrained Johnston to abandon his fort or bridge-head, burn his bridges and bring his last man across the Chattahoochee.20 His new line, covering Atlanta, had the river on its left front and Peach-tree creek on its right.

Sherman now gave his men a little much needed rest; and, before active operations recommenced, Johnston had been superseded in chief command by Gen. J. B. Hood, of Texas.

Johnston's campaign, it appeared, had not answered the expectations of his superiors at Richmond. He had not demolished Sherman, with an army of little more than half the numerical strength of ours, and in nothing superior thereto. He had not even been able to prevent Sherman's persistent, determined, and generally skillful advance. But he had made the most of the rare advantages to the defensive afforded by the chaotic region across which he had been steadily driven, and had missed no good opportunity to strike a damaging blow. Pollard says he lad lost about 10,000 in killed and wounded, and 4,700 from “all other causes” --that is, about one-fourth of his entire army — which, considering that he had fought no great battle, and could not afford to fight one, argues tolerably sharp work for a two months purely [631] defensive campaign. Nevertheless, he was set aside, and a believer in more aggressive, less cautious strategy appointed in his stead. Johnston turned over to Hood an effective force of 41,000 infantry and artillery, and 10,000 cavalry21--in all, 51,000--which is nearly as many as he had at Dalton. Nothing short of brilliant and successful generalship in his successor could justify his displacement.

Gen. Rousseau, with 2,000 cavalry, now joined22 our army; having come through, by a long circuit, in twelve days from Decatur, Ala., defeating the Rebel Gen. Clanton by the way; passing through Talladega and destroying the railroad thence 25 miles to Opelika, doing some harm to the branch or cross road, with a loss of but 30 men.

Gen. Sherman resumed23 active operations by pushing Thomas over the Chattahoochee close on Schofield's right: the latter advancing, and with McPherson, now on our extreme left, reaching forward to strike the Augusta railroad east of Decatur: the whole army thus making a right-wheel movement, closing in upon Atlanta from the north-east. Obeying these orders, McPherson had broken up the railroad for some miles, while Schofield, on his right, had reached Decatur, and Thomas had crossed24 Peach-tree creek at several points — all skirmishing heavily; when, as Thomas was moving two of Howard's divisions to the left to close on Schofield, he was vehemently assailed25 in force by Hood, who struck suddenly and heavily Newton's division of Howard's corps, Hooker's corps, and Johnson's division of Palmer's; by whom he was repulsed, after a gallant struggle; wherein our total loss — mainly in Howard's corps — was 1,500; while the enemy left on the field 500 dead, 1,000 severely wounded, and manly prisoners. Sherman estimates their total loss at not less than 5,000. Among their killed were Brig.-Gen. Geo. M. Stevens, of Md., W. S. Feathertson, of Miss., L. Armistead, of Ga., and John J. Pettus, of Miss.

The next day was spent by Sherman in reconnoitering and feeling of the enemy's intrenched position along the heights south of Peach-tree creek; which the light of the ensuing morn 26 showed to be without defenders. It was at once concluded that Atlanta was to be quietly evacuated; and our men swept eagerly forward to within two miles of that city, where they were arrested by a far stronger line of works, carefully constructed in 1863, consisting of redoubts, connected by curtains, with rifle-trenches, abatis, &c. In the skirmishing of the 21st, Brig.-Gen. Lucien Greathouse, late Col. 48th Illinois, was killed. McPherson, advancing directly from Decatur, with Logan's (15th) corps in the center, Frank Blair's (17th) on its left, and Dodge's (16th) on its right, was now close to these inner defenses; Blair had carried, the night before, by hard fighting, a high hill which gave him a full view of the heart of the city, on which he was preparing to place his batteries. Dodge, who, as the semicircle described by our army was narrowed by our advance, had been thrown in the rear of Logan, was moving across by a cart-track to come in on Blair's [632] left; when, about noon, the sound of guns, on that flank and on our rear toward Decatur, apprised Sherman that mischief was afloat. Hood had determined, while holding the bulk of our army with a small part of his, by reason of the strength of his defenses, to fall, by a long flank night-march, with his main body, led by Hardee, on our left and rear, rolling up and pulverizing each division before it could be supported by another. And Hardee had already struck his first most unexpected blow at Giles A. Smith's division of Blair's corps; while Gen. McPherson, riding in fancied security through a wood in the rear of that division, had been shot dead, just as he had given an order to hurry up Wangelin's brigade of Logan's corps to fill a gap between Blair's and Dodge's corps, into which the charging Rebels were pouring like a torrent. Here Murray's battery (6 guns) was surprised and taken — the men generally escaping to the woods; and two more guns were lost by Smith, as one wing of his division was forced back by the impetuous rush of the enemy.

Simultaneously with Hardee's flank attack, Stewart's corps was to have struck Blair in front; but Stewart was not up to time. Hardee swept along the slope of the hill on which Blair was preparing to plant his batteries, making prisoners of his working party. The Rebel charge bore heavily on Giles A. Smith's division of Blair's corps, which was compelled gradually to give ground and form a new line connecting with Leggett's division, which held the crest of the hill; and here for hours the battle raged fiercely: our men having the advantage in position, and inflicting heavy loss on the enemy. At 4 P. M., the Rebels virtually desisted here, having been unable to drive Blair; while Dodge, striking their right, had handled it severely, capturing many prisoners.

Meantime, Wheeler's cavalry (ours on this wing, under Garrard, being absent at Covington, breaking up a railroad) had raided, unopposed, to Decatur, where were McPherson's wagons, and attempted to capture them ; but Col. Sprague, in command there, covered them skillfully and held firmly; sending them off; so fast as he could, to the rear of our center, and losing but three, whereof the teamsters had fled with the mules.

After a brief lull, the enemy charged again up the Decatur road; catching a regiment thrown forward upon it unsupported, and taking two more guns; pushing through the interval between Wood's and Harrow's divisions of the 15th corps, posted on either side of the railroad, and hurling back Lightburn's brigade in some disorder. But Sherman was close at hand, and, perceiving the importance of checking this advance, he ordered several of Schofield's batteries to stop it by an incessant fire of shell; Logan (now commanding McPherson's army) was directed to make the 15th corps regal at any cost its lost ground; while Wood, supported by Schofield, was to go forward with his division and recover the captured batteries. These orders were promptly and thoroughly executed; all our guns being retaken but two, which had been hurried off the field; and the day closed with our army triumphant and the enemy recoiling to his defenses.

In this stubborn contest, our total [633] loss was 3,722, of whom perhaps 1,000 were prisoners. Gen. Logan counted on the battle-field 2,200 Rebel dead, and estimates that there were 1,000 more not within our lines or who otherwise escaped observation. We took 1,000 prisoners, beside the many wounded who fell into our hands; and Gen. Sherman estimates that Hood's total loss this day can not have been fewer than 8,000. Among his killed was Maj.-Gen. W. H. T. Walker, of Georgia. Gen. Garrard, with his cavalry, returned from Covington next day; having broken up the railroad, destroyed a train of cars, with much other property, and bringing in 200 prisoners, with a total loss of two men.

Hood was not inclined to force the fighting directly thereafter; and Sherman, while quietly preparing for a new movement by the right, dispatched his now augmented cavalry on a raid against the railroads in Hood's rear. Stoneman, with his own and Garrard's divisions, 5,000 strong, was to move by the left around Atlanta to McDonough; while A. D. McCook, with his own and Rousseau's (now Harrison's) freshly arrived divisions, numbering 4,000, was to move by the right to Fayetteville, thence coming up the road and joining Stoneman at a designated point near Lovejoy's. Such cooperative movements rarely succeed, and almost never in tle hands of second and third-rate leaders.

McCook moved down the west bank of the Chattahoochee to River-town, crossed on a pontoon, and tore up the West Point railroad near Palmetto station; thence pushing on to Fayetteville, where he captured and burnt 500 wagons belonging to Hood's army; taking 250 prisoners, killing 800 mules, and bringing away others; thence striking, at Lovejoy's, at the time appointed, the Macon railroad, and tearing it up; but meeting no Stoneman, and getting no news of him. He thence pushed south-west to Newnan, on the West Point road; where he was confronted by infantry coming from Mississippi to aid in the defense of Atlanta, while the Rebel cavalry were hard on his heels: so he was forced to fight against odds, compelled to drop his prisoners, and make his way out as he could, with a loss of 500 men, including Col. Harrison, captured. He reached Marietta without further loss.

Stoneman's luck — that is, his management — was far worse. He failed to meet McCook as directed, and divided the force he had ; sending Gen. Garrard to Flat Rock to cover his own movement to McDonough. Garrard, after lingering some days, and skirmishing heavily with Wheeler's cavalry, hearing nothing from Stoneman, made his way back, with little loss, to our left.

Stoneman started with a magnificent project, to which he had, at the last moment, obtained Sherman's assent. He purposed to sweep down the road to Macon, capture that city, pushing thence by the right to Andersonville, where many thousands of of our captured soldiers were suffering inconceivable privations, liberate and, so far as possible, arm them, and then move with them to our lines in such direction as should seem advisable. The conception was a bold yet not necessarily a bad one; but it needed a Sheridan instead of a Stoneman to execute it. Sherman's assent to it was based on his orders that the [634] two bodies of horse should be concentrated at Lovejoy's, and Wheeler defeated or chased off by their superior force; but, this failing. Wheeler was too strong for either division, and the scheme became chimerical.

Stoneman, with his segment of the raiding force, struck out eastward to Covington ; thence moving down the east side of the Ocmulgee, breaking up roads and burning bridges, without even attempting to keep his tryst with McCook at Lovejoy's. When at length he appeared before Macon, he had not more than 3,000 men; and, being confronted with spirit by a hastily collected Rebel force under Iverson, he was unable even to cross the river; but, abandoning all idea of reaching Andersonville, turned on his trail, pursued by Iverson. Now he consented to a still further dispersion of his force — the three brigades composing it attempting to escape separately. That led by Col. Adams reached Sherman nearly unharmed; that under Col. Capron was surprised by the way, charged and dispersed: those who escaped generally straggling into camp before Atlanta on foot and disarmed ; while that with which Stoneman attempted to maintain some show of resistance was soon surrounded by Iverson, and Stoneman induced, by an imposing pretense of superior force, to surrender at discretion — he having 1,000 men left, and Iverson at hand only some 500. Stoneman, it was reported, cried when he discovered how he had been duped; but his sorrow subserved no good purpose. He had, by incapacity, imbecility, and disobedience of orders, squandered a full third of Sherman's cavalry.

Gen. Howard succeeded,27 by the President's order, to the command of the Army of the Tennessee; where-upon, Gen. Hooker, considering himself disparaged, was relieved, at his own request, from the command of his corps, which( was given to Gen. Slocum. Gen. Palmer was soon relieved from the command of the 14th corps by Gen. Jeff. C. Davis. Gen. D. S. Stanley succeeded Gen. Howard as the head of the 4th corps.

The Army of the Tennessee was now shifted28 from our extreme left to our extreme right; moving behind the rest of the army from the Decatur road on the east to Proctor's creek on the south-west ; initiating a general movement to flank Hood out of Atlanta by cutting the railroads in his rear. The movement was of course detected by Hood; yet it had been substantially completed, and our men were hastily covering their new front with a rude breastwork of logs and rails, when Hood struck out29 as heavily from his left as he had done the week before from his right. Evidently expecting to catch Howard in disorder, or at least unprepared, he poured out his masses from the west side of Atlanta, and charged impetuously on our new right, held by Logan's (15th) corps, which had been formed on the crest of a wooded ridge, with open fields sloping from its front, its right refused, and something like a rail breastwork in its front; Howard standing behind it, ready to hurry Blair's and Dodge's corps to its support; and Sherman himself on hand, eager and alert for the encounter. After a brief cannonade, Hood's infantry, under Hardee and Lee, was thrown forward against [635] Howard's right flank, which had been fully prepared for their reception, and which, as they approached, swept them down by a murderous fire. Again and again were they reformed and pushed up by their officers, only to be again decimated and broken; a few of them pressing up to our rail-pile parapet, only to be there shot down or hauled over as prisoners. When they could no more be driven to this foolish slaughter, their officers, at 3 P. M., gave it up and recoiled; leaving on the ground 642 dead, who were counted by our regular burial-parties; and these were not all. Sherman, whose total loss was but 600, estimates Hood's at 5,000. Hood admits but 1,500.30

Hood's appetite for attacks in force seems to have been satisfied by this time; since he made no more, though our long-range guns now reached into and shelled Atlanta from several points, kindling fires that involved heavy losses. Meantime, Sherman was steadily extending his right; bringing down Schofield's31 army, and then Palmer's corps; until his intrenched line had been pushed nearly to East Point, commanding the railroads whereby Atlanta must be fed. Hood barely watched these operations, and extended his out-works accordingly. Yet a vigorous defensive was so little suited to his impatient, heady disposition that, having squandered half his infantry in rash assaults and charges, he now dispatched Wheeler with his cavalry to our rear, to burn bridges, capture supplies, and break up the railroad whereon Sherman must depend for subsistence. Sherman had already32 resolved on a bold stroke for Atlanta; but, when he heard that Wheeler, having passed our left, was in his rear, had captured 900 beeves, broken the railroad near Calhoun, and was bent on havoc generally, he joyfully ordered Kilpatrick, now commanding our 5,000 remaining cavalry, to move33 from Sandtown, in the rear of our right, down to Fairburn, break up the West Point railroad thoroughly; then push across to the Macon road and destroy that; fighting any cavalry that might get in his way, but avoiding a serious conflict with infantry.

Kilpatrick obeyed; striking the Macon road at Jonesboroa, routing a small cavalry force under Ross, and doing some work on the railroad; when a brigade of Rebel infantry and a small force of cavalry appeared from below, and compelled him to resume his travels. Drawing off to the east, he made a circuit, and again struck the railroad near Lovejoy's but the enemy were already here; so, charging through their cavalry, taking 70 prisoners and a 4-gun battery, which he destroyed, he made for camp by a north-east circuit; reaching Decatur on the 22d.

Sherman did not hesitate. He made the proper discount on Kilpatrick's estimate of the damage he had done to the railroads; but he was confident that, though not sufficient to interrupt transportation for ten days, as Kilpatrick judged, it was worth something. He ordered the siege to be abandoned; the sick and wounded, surplus wagons, &c., to be sent back to his intrenched position on the Chattahoochee, which the 20th corps, [636] now Gen. Slocum's, was left to cover, while the rest of the army should move by the right southward; the 4th corps, on our extreme left, marching34 to the rear of our right, while Howard, drawing back, should move 35 to Sandtown, and then to the West Point railroad above Fairburn; Thomas coming into position just above him near Red Oak; while Schofield closed in on Thomas's left, barely clear of the Rebel defenses near East Point. These movements being quietly executed without resistance or loss, our whole army, save the 20th corps, was behind Atlanta, busily and thoroughly destroying the West Point railroad, before Hood knew what Sherman was doing; and the next day it was thrown forward36 to the Macon road; Schofield moving cautiously, because of his proximity to Atlanta, and the danger of another of Hood's irruptions, to Rough-and-Ready; Thomas to a point designated as Couch's; while Howard, encountering more resistance, halted at dark: having crossed Flint river, barely half a mile from Jones-borough.

Hood had, because of Kilpatrick's recent raid, and to guard his communications, divided his army; sending half, under Hardee, to Jonesborough; while he remained with the residue in Atlanta: hence his failure to fall on Schofield during our swinging flank movement; hence the formidable resistance encountered by Howard on our right, where none was expected.

The light of day37 revealed to Howard — who had been fighting the day before, but constantly gaining ground — the immediate presence of a formidable foe. Deploying the 15th corps in the center, with the 16th and 17th on either flank, he covered his front with the habitual breastwork, and stood in quiet expectation. Hardee drew out his whole force, embracing Lee's corps beside his own, and attacked with great vigor, calculating that Howard might be overwhelmed before he could be reenforced; but Howard's position was good; his front well covered, and his soldiers as cool as though bullet-proof; and, after two hours of carnage, the enemy recoiled, leaving 400 dead on the ground, and 300 desperately wounded in Jonesboroa when he retreated. Sherman places Hardee's entire loss in this conflict at 2,500; while ours was hardly 500.

Sherman was with Thomas at Conch's, intent on road-breaking, when the sound of guns on the right drew his attention to that quarter, and induced him to impel Thomas and Schofield in that direction, leaving Garrard's cavalry to watch our rear toward Atlanta, while Kilpatrick should hasten down the west bank of the Flint and strike the railroad below Jonesborough. Davis's corps, being on Thomas's right, soon closed on to Howard, relieving Blair's (15th) corps, which was at once drawn out and thrown to Howard's right, so as to connect with Kilpatrick's troopers. All being at length ready, Davis's corps, at 4 P. M., charged the enemy's lines, covering Jonesboroa, carrying them at once, capturing Gen. Govan with most of his brigade and two 4-gun batteries. Orders were repeatedly sent to hurry up Stanley and Schofield; but tile ground was difficult [637] and the roads bad, so that they were not up in season to charge that night; and next morning38 Hardee was gone, with all that could and would follow him.

Before that morning dawned, ominous sounds, first heavy, then lighter, from the north, indicated to Sherman that something momentous was occurring in Atlanta, 20 miles distant. They might have proceeded from an attack on that stronghold by Slocum — which was most unlikely — but the more probable supposition pointed to the truth, that Hood, completely outgeneraled and at his wit's end, was blowing up his magazines, burning his stores, and escaping with the little he could, deprived of railroads, carry off in his flight. But this, if so, could wait; so Sherman ordered a vigorous pursuit in force of Hardee's beaten column.

Hardee was found well intrenched, near Lovejoy's, with his flanks covered by Walnut creek and Flint river — a strong position, which was thoroughly reconnoitered, but Sherman was in no hurry to attack it. Soon, flying rumors, then more trust-worthy accounts, imported that Hood had blown up whatever he could in Atlanta and decamped: Stewart's corps retreating on McDonough, while the militia were marched off eastward to Covington. The news was fully confirmed on the 4th by a courier from Slocum, who had entered the city unopposed on the morning after Hood's withdrawal. Sherman thereupon returned 39 to Atlanta, and, encamping his army on all sides, allowed it that season of rest which, under his able leadership, it had so nobly earned.

Atlanta had been cheaply won; for, not only was the position one of great importance, but the loss of munitions, guns, locomotives, cars, manufacturing machinery, &c., was very great, and such as the Confederacy could no longer afford. Yet, when Sherman had succeeded, without loss, in placing at least 70,000 veterans between it and the better part of Hood's army, it seems singular that his prisoners were so few. Had he known how Hood's army was divided, he ought, it would seem, to have destroyed or captured at least half of it.

General Sherman, having established his headquarters in Atlanta, ordered the removal of its remaining inhabitants — they going South or coming North, as each should prefer. In order to effect this removal with the least possible hardship, a truce for ten days was proposed by Sherman and acceded to by Hood; who took occasion to “protest, in the name of God and humanity,” against this “unprecedented measure,” which, he asserts, “transcends, in studied and ingenious cruelty, all acts ever brought to my attention in the dark history of war.”

Let us consider:

Every one who could shoulder a musket or drive a team had been conscripted into and marched off with the Rebel army. All the factories, founderies, machine-shops, &c., in which Atlanta lad hitherto abounded, and which had done the Confederacy good service, had been destroyed by Hood on leaving, or so dismantled as to be unserviceable. No food of consequence had been left by Hood in Atlanta; while our single railroad [638] (which Hood had just broken, and was purposing more thoroughly to destroy) was fully taxed with transporting the supplies needed by our army; and not a pound of food would be sent in by the Confederates from the adjacent country, whoever might perish. To feed the remaining inhabitants of Atlanta in that city could not cost our Government less than $1,000,000 per quarter, supposing it were at all practicable; while it must greatly cripple Sherman and fetter his future operations, even supposing it could be done at all. To let them stay an starve would have excited still louder and more frenzied denunciations. The order for the removal of the people was therefore at once wise, provident, and humane; yet Mayor J. M. Calhoun and his council appealed to Sherman in deprecation of “the woe, the horror, the suffering” involved in the execution of his order, as if it had been impelled by mere caprice or wanton cruelty, instead of being the stern dictate of an obvious, imperative necessity. And this was but one of many instances wherein the Rebels chilled the admiration which the desperate gallantry of their fighting was calculated to excite, by screechy objurgations, and theatrical appeals for sympathy with their distresses, which they, who had so haughtily and so needlessly rushed into war, should have had the dignity and self-respect to abstain from.

The removal was quietly and humanely effected: all who chose to go South (446 families, 2,035 persons) being transported in wagons at the national cost, with their furniture and clothes, averaging 1,651 pounds per family, to Rough-and-Ready, or to our outpost in that direction ; while those who preferred to come North were brought at Government cost by railroad to Chattanooga. When all was done, Major Clan, of Hood's staff, tendered to Col. Warner, of Sherman's staff, his written acknowledgment40 of “the uniform courtesy you have shown on all occasions to me and my people, and the promptness with which you have corrected all irregularities arising in our intercourse.” This was the simple truth. The removal was not only right in itself, but was effected with considerate tenderness.

While Sherman was still north of the Chattahoochee, a Rebel raiding, force of cavalry, under Pillow, had dashed into Lafayette, nearly up to Chattanooga, held by Col. Watkins with 400 men, and had very nearly taken it; when Col. Croxton, 4th Kentucky, came up and beat them off; taking 70 prisoners. The killed and wounded on either side were about 100.

Wheeler, after breaking the railroad at Calhoun, as already narrated, appeared before Dalton, which he summoned ; but Col. Leibold held it firmly till Gen. Steedman arrived from Chattanooga and drove the Rebels off. Wheeler now pushed up into East Tennessee, halting at Athens; whence, on being menaced, he dashed eastward across the Little Tennessee, and thence across the Holston at Strawberry plains; and so, circling around Knoxville, he crossed the Clinch near Clinton, and the Cumberland mountains, by Sequatchie, MeMinnville, Murfreesborough, [639] and Lebanon, whence he was chased southward across the Tennessee near Florence into Alabama. He destroyed much property during this extensive raid; but his operations had little influence on the results of the campaign.

Hardee, moving to his right, formed a junction with Hood near Jonesboroa, and their army was soon considerably reenforced : Jefferson Davis hastening from Richmond to Georgia, visiting the army at Palmetto, and making at Macon41 a speech remarkable for the frankness of its admissions that the loss of Atlanta was a great blow, and that the prospects of the Confederates were gloomy; yet which was said to have aroused many to a more desperate activity in the cause. Hood was still retained in command; and very soon, flanking Sherman's right, he crossed the Chattahoochee, pushed up to Dallas, and thence impelled his cavalry rapidly by the right to Big Shanty, where they tore up the railroad and broke the telegraph; while French's division of infantry appeared 42 before Allatoona, where one million rations were stored, under protection of Col. Tourtelotte, 4th Minnesota, with three thin regiments. Happily, Gen. Corse, holding Rome, had been ordered hither with his brigade, and had arrived with two regiments a few hours before.

Sherman had ere this been aroused by news that the Rebels had crossed the Chattahoochee; and he had sent 43 Gen. Thomas to Nashville to look out for Rebel demonstrations across the Tennessee. Leaving Slocum's 20th corps to hold Atlanta, he had impelled the bulk of his army northward ; and, when French attacked Allatoona, he was near Kenesaw, 18 miles distant ; whence, at 10 A. M., he could see the smoke of the conflict and faintly hear the sound of the guns. He was even able to signal Corse that he was not to be abandoned.

Corse had 1,944 men; French many times that number. The place was completely invested at daylight, and a sharp cannonade of two hours was followed by a summons., which being declined, French assaulted in full force, rushing his men up to the very parapets, where they were mowed down by hundreds; yet still assault after assault was delivered; while the 23d corps, under Gen. J. D. Cox, were making all haste to come to the rescue, and flags conveying from peak to peak the messages interchanged by Sherman and Corse. Sherman, on learning that Corse was there, exclaimed, “He will hold out! I know the man!” And he did hold out; though 707 (more than a third) of his men had fallen, when the enemy desisted. Corse himself had been struck in the face at noon by a bullet, but refused to leave his post; Tourtelotte and Col. R. Rowell, 7th Illinois, were also among the wounded. French drew off, as Cox approached, leaving 231 dead, 411 prisoners, and 800 of his muskets behind, to attest the severity of the struggle.

Hood, instructed to draw Sherman out of Georgia, moved rapidly northwest, threatening again to strike the railroad, and compelling Sherman to make a forced march of 38 miles to save Kingston.44 Here he learned [640] that Hood, after making a feint on Rome, had moved 11 miles down the Coosa and was passing that river on a pontoon-bridge: Sherman followed to Rome,45 and dispatched thence Gen. Cox's division and Garrard's cavalry across tle Oostenaula to harass the right flank of the enemy, as he moved northward. Garrard chased a brigade of Rebel cavalry toward the Chattooga, capturing 2 guns.

Hood, moving rapidly, had by this time appeared before Resaca, summoning it; but Sherman had reenforced it with two regiments, and Col. Weaver had held it firmly, repulsing the enemy; who had moved up the railroad through Tilton and Dalton, destroying it so far as the Tunnel. Sherman, on reaching Resaca,46 was evidently puzzled to divine what his adversary meant in thus employing the second army of the Confederacy on a raiding expedition, but resolved to strike him in flank and force him to fight a battle. Accordingly, Howard was impelled westward to Snake creek gap, where he was to skirmish and hold the enemy, while Stanley, with the 4th and 14th corps, moved from Tilton on Villanow, with intent to gain Hood's rear.

But Hood had other plans; so Howard encountered no solid resistance at the gap, but had pressed through it by noon, before Stanley had time to gain its rear. Our army was then directed on Lafayette, expecting thus to get into the enemy's rear; but Hood had evidently been cured of his voracious appetite for fighting, and, having very scanty trains, was far too light-footed to be caught. He nimbly evaded Sherman, slipping around his front, and, moving by his left, was soon out of reach; Sherman halting47 in the vicinity of Gaylesville, Alabama, and feeling in various directions for his vanished foe.

After the lapse of a week, he was satisfied that his adversary, as if intent on drawing him out of Georgia at all events, had crossed Sand mountain, and was making for the Tennessee. Sherman refused to follow an enemy who would not fight, whom he could not overtake, and who might be able to lead him a profitless wild-goose-chase for months. He detached Stanley, with his (4th) corps, and Schofield, with the 23d, with orders to march to Chattanooga, and thence report to Thomas at Nashville; most of the cavalry, under Wilson, being given similar orders. A single division, under Kilpatrick, was reserved for operations in Georgia.

To Thomas was confided the defense of Tennessee, with unlimited discretion as to the use of his resources. A. J. Smith, then on his way from hunting Price out of Missouri, was ordered to report to him. Sherman had of course a full understanding with him, as well as with Grant, as to his plans. Hood's army, he advised them, now consisted of about 35,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry; and he did not turn his back again on Tennessee until assured that Thomas was strong enough to hold it. And now, learning that Hood, after a feint on Decatur, had passed on to Tuscumbia and laid a pontoon-bridge across the river to Florence, Sherman turned his face southward, and, gathering up all his garrisons [641] holding the railroad, sending some back to Chattanooga to aid in the defense of Tennessee, and drawing others forward to Atlanta, he thoroughly dismantled tile railroads, burned the founderies, mills, &c., at Rome, and, cutting loose from all his communications, and drawing around him all his remaining forces, made diligent preparations for the Great March wherewith his name is so inseparably linked, and which so largely contributed to hasten the downfall of the Rebellion.

1 March 14, 1864.

2 April 30.

3 May 6.


Army of the Cumberland--Gen. Thomas:
Army of the Tennessee--Gen. McPherson:
Army of the Ohio--Gen. Schofield:
Grand total98,797

5 Johnston reported his infantry at 40,900. Sherman estimated his cavalry (under Wheeler) at 10,000. Estimating his artillery at 3,100, his total force would be 54,000. It was occasionally swelled rather than strengthened by drafts of such Georgians not already in the service as passed for militia. The force which Sherman, after passing the Oostenaula, could show at the front, was probably about 70,000 to Johnston's 45,000.

6 May 7.

7 May 10-11.

8 May 15.

9 May 19.

10 May 25.

11 June 1.

12 June 8.

13 June 14.

14 June 15.

15 June 17.

16 June 22.

17 June 27.

18 July 2.

19 July 4.

20 July 10.

21 So says Pollard — doubtless quoting from Johnston's official report.

22 July 22.

23 July 16.

24 July 19.

25 July 20, 4 P M.

26 July 22.

27 July 27.

28 July 26-7

29 July 28.

30 Logan estimates the Rebel loss at from 6,000 to 7,000. He says he took 1,500 to 2,000 muskets, with 160 prisoners, beside 73 wounded.

31 Aug. 1.

32 Aug. 16.

33 Aug. 18.

34 Aug. 25-6.

35 Aug. 26-7.

36 Aug. 29.

37 Aug. 31.

38 Sept. 1.

39 Sept. 5-7.

40 Sept. 21.

41 Sept. 23.

42 Oct. 5.

43 Sept. 28.

44 Oct. 8-10.

45 Oct. 11.

46 Oct. 14.

47 Oct. 19.

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