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of course, oppose no serious opposition to Sherman's march. On the contrary, when Sherman reached Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, on February 16, Hardee evacuated. Charleston, which had been defended for four long years against every attack of a most powerful Union fleet, and where the most ingenious siege-works and desperate storming assault had failed to wrest Fort Wagner from the enemy. But though Charleston fell without a battle, and was occupied by the Union troops on the eighteenth, the destructive hand of war was at last heavily laid upon her. The Confederate government pertinaciously adhered to the policy of burning accumulations of cotton to prevent it falling into Union hands; and the supply gathered in Charleston to be sent abroad by blockade runners, having been set on fire by the evacuating Confederate officials, the flames not only spread to the adjoining buildings, but grew into a great conflagration that left the heart of the city a waste of blackened wall
not here be detailed, as they were not decisive. One, however, led by Sherman himself from Vicksburg to Meridian, must be mentioned, since, during the month of February, it destroyed about one hundred miles of the several railroads centering at the latter place, and rendered the whole railroad system of Mississippi practically opening of the Mississippi River in the previous year had cut off from the rebellion the vast resources west of the great river. Sherman's Meridian campaign in February had rendered useless the railroads of the State of Mississippi. The capture of Atlanta and the march to the sea had ruined the railroads of Georgia, cutting offrior and form a junction with Sherman when he should arrive. Having had five weeks for rest and preparation, Sherman began the third stage of his campaign on February I, with a total of sixty thousand men, provisions for twenty days, forage for seven, and a full supply of ammunition for a great battle. This new undertaking pr
February 16th (search for this): chapter 29
ade a mid-winter march of four hundred and twenty-five miles in fifty days, crossing five navigable rivers, occupying three important cities, and rendering the whole railroad system of South Carolina useless to the enemy. The ten to fifteen thousand Confederates with which General Hardee had evacuated Savannah and retreated to Charleston could, of course, oppose no serious opposition to Sherman's march. On the contrary, when Sherman reached Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, on February 16, Hardee evacuated. Charleston, which had been defended for four long years against every attack of a most powerful Union fleet, and where the most ingenious siege-works and desperate storming assault had failed to wrest Fort Wagner from the enemy. But though Charleston fell without a battle, and was occupied by the Union troops on the eighteenth, the destructive hand of war was at last heavily laid upon her. The Confederate government pertinaciously adhered to the policy of burning accu
he ready help of Sherman's soldiers, were able to check the destruction. Confederate writers long nursed the accusation that it was the Union army which burned the city as a deliberate act of vengeance. Contrary proof is furnished by the orders of Sherman, leaving for the sufferers a generous supply of food, as well as by the careful investigation by the mixed commission on American and British claims, under the treaty of Washington. Still pursuing his march, Sherman arrived at Cheraw March 3, and opened communication with General Terry, who had advanced from Fort Fisher to Wilmington. Hitherto, his advance had been practically unopposed. But now he learned that General Johnston had once more been placed in command of the Confederate forces, and was collecting an army near Raleigh, North Carolina. Well knowing the ability of this general, Sherman became more prudent in his movements. But Johnston was able to gather a force of only twenty-five or thirty thousand men, of which
March 16th (search for this): chapter 29
Hitherto, his advance had been practically unopposed. But now he learned that General Johnston had once more been placed in command of the Confederate forces, and was collecting an army near Raleigh, North Carolina. Well knowing the ability of this general, Sherman became more prudent in his movements. But Johnston was able to gather a force of only twenty-five or thirty thousand men, of which the troops Hardee brought from Charleston formed the nucleus; and the two minor engagements on March 16 and 19 did little to impede Sherman's advance to Goldsboro, where he arrived on March 23, forming a junction with the Union army sent by sea under Schofield, that had reached the same point the previous day. The third giant stride of Sherman's great campaign was thus happily accomplished. His capture of Atlanta, his march to the sea and capture of Savannah, his progress through the Carolinas, and the fall of Charleston, formed an aggregate expedition covering nearly a thousand miles, w
March 19th (search for this): chapter 29
his advance had been practically unopposed. But now he learned that General Johnston had once more been placed in command of the Confederate forces, and was collecting an army near Raleigh, North Carolina. Well knowing the ability of this general, Sherman became more prudent in his movements. But Johnston was able to gather a force of only twenty-five or thirty thousand men, of which the troops Hardee brought from Charleston formed the nucleus; and the two minor engagements on March 16 and 19 did little to impede Sherman's advance to Goldsboro, where he arrived on March 23, forming a junction with the Union army sent by sea under Schofield, that had reached the same point the previous day. The third giant stride of Sherman's great campaign was thus happily accomplished. His capture of Atlanta, his march to the sea and capture of Savannah, his progress through the Carolinas, and the fall of Charleston, formed an aggregate expedition covering nearly a thousand miles, with milita
March 23rd (search for this): chapter 29
hnston had once more been placed in command of the Confederate forces, and was collecting an army near Raleigh, North Carolina. Well knowing the ability of this general, Sherman became more prudent in his movements. But Johnston was able to gather a force of only twenty-five or thirty thousand men, of which the troops Hardee brought from Charleston formed the nucleus; and the two minor engagements on March 16 and 19 did little to impede Sherman's advance to Goldsboro, where he arrived on March 23, forming a junction with the Union army sent by sea under Schofield, that had reached the same point the previous day. The third giant stride of Sherman's great campaign was thus happily accomplished. His capture of Atlanta, his march to the sea and capture of Savannah, his progress through the Carolinas, and the fall of Charleston, formed an aggregate expedition covering nearly a thousand miles, with military results that rendered rebellion powerless in the central States of the South
double numbers he pursued the policy of making strong demonstrations in front, with effective flank movements to threaten the railroad in the Confederate rear, by which means he forced back the enemy successively from point to point, until by the middle of July he was in the vicinity of Atlanta, having during his advance made only one serious front attack, in which he met a costly repulse. His progress was by no means one of mere strategical maneuver. Sherman says that during the month of May, across nearly one hundred miles of as difficult country as was ever fought over by civilized armies, the fighting was continuous, almost daily, among trees and bushes, on ground where one could rarely see one hundred yards ahead. However skilful and meritorious may have been the retreat into which Johnston had been forced, it was so unwelcome to the Richmond authorities, and damaging to the Confederate cause, that about the middle of July, Jefferson Davis relieved him, and appointed one
weeks each army tried ineffectual methods to seize the other's railroad communications. But toward the end of August, Sherman's flank movements gained such a hold of the Macon railroad at Jonesboro, twenty-five miles south of Atlanta, as to endanger Hood's security; and when, in addition, a detachment sent to dislodge Sherman was defeated, Hood had no alternative but to order an evacuation. On September 3, Sherman telegraphed to Washington: Atlanta is ours, and fairly won ... Since May 5 we have been in one constant battle or skirmish, and need rest. The fall of Atlanta was a heavy blow to the Confederates. They had, during the war, transformed it into a city of mills, foundries, and workshops, from which they drew supplies, ammunition, and equipments, and upon which they depended largely for the manufacture and repair of arms. But perhaps even more important than the military damage to the South resulting from its capture, was its effect upon Northern politics. Unti
bers he pursued the policy of making strong demonstrations in front, with effective flank movements to threaten the railroad in the Confederate rear, by which means he forced back the enemy successively from point to point, until by the middle of July he was in the vicinity of Atlanta, having during his advance made only one serious front attack, in which he met a costly repulse. His progress was by no means one of mere strategical maneuver. Sherman says that during the month of May, across nrarely see one hundred yards ahead. However skilful and meritorious may have been the retreat into which Johnston had been forced, it was so unwelcome to the Richmond authorities, and damaging to the Confederate cause, that about the middle of July, Jefferson Davis relieved him, and appointed one of his corps commanders, General J. B. Hood, in his place; whose personal qualities and free criticism of his superior led them to expect a change from a defensive to an aggressive campaign. Respon
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