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army once on the offensive must maintain the offensive. We feigned to the right, but crossed the Chattahoochee by the left, and soon confronted our enemy behind his first line of intrenchments at Peach Tree Creek, prepared in advance for this very occasion. At this critical moment the Confederate Government rendered us most valuable service. Being dissatisfied with the Fabian policy of General Johnston, it relieved him, and General Hood was substituted to command the Confederate army [July 18th]. Hood was known to us to be a fighter, a graduate of West Point of the class of 1853, No. 44, of which class two of my army commanders, McPherson and Schofield, were No. 1 and No. 7. The character of a leader is a large factor in the game of war, and I confess I was pleased at this change, of which I had early notice. I knew that I had an army superior in numbers and morale to that of my antagonist; but being so far from my base, and operating in a country devoid of food and forage, I w
sed at this change, of which I had early notice. I knew that I had an army superior in numbers and morale to that of my antagonist; but being so far from my base, and operating in a country devoid of food and forage, I was dependent for supplies on a poorly constructed railroad back to Louisville, five hundred miles. I was willing to meet the enemy in the open country, but not behind well-constructed parapets. Promptly, as expected, General Hood sallied from his Peach Tree line on the 20th of July, about midday, striking the Twentieth Corps (Hooker), which had just crossed Peach Tree Creek by improvised bridges. The troops became commingled and fought hand to hand desperately for about four hours, when the Confederates were driven back within their lines, leaving behind their dead and wounded. These amounted to 4796 men, to our loss of 1710. We followed up, and. Hood fell back to the main lines of the city of Atlanta. We closed in, when again Hood, holding these lines with abou
bridges. The troops became commingled and fought hand to hand desperately for about four hours, when the Confederates were driven back within their lines, leaving behind their dead and wounded. These amounted to 4796 men, to our loss of 1710. We followed up, and. Hood fell back to the main lines of the city of Atlanta. We closed in, when again Hood, holding these lines with about one-half his force, with the other half made a wide circuit by night, under cover of the woods, and on the 22d of July enveloped our left flank in air, a movement that led to the hardest battle of the campaign. He encountered the Army of the Tennessee,--skilled veterans who were always ready to fight, were not alarmed by flank or rear attacks, and met their assailants with heroic valor. The battle raged from noon to night, when the Confederates, baffled and defeated, fell back within the intrenchments of Atlanta. Their losses are reported 8499 to ours of 3641; but among our dead was McPherson, the comm
8499 to ours of 3641; but among our dead was McPherson, the commander of the Army of the Tennessee. While this battle was in progress, Schofield at the center and Thomas on the right made efforts to break through the intrenchments at their fronts, but found them too strong to assault. The Army of the Tennessee was then shifted, under its new commander (Howard), from the extreme left to the extreme right, to reach, if possible, the railroad by which Hood drew his supplies, when, on the 28th of July, he repeated his tactics of the 22d, sustaining an overwhelming defeat, losing 4632 men to our 700. These three sallies convinced him that his predecessor, General Johnston, had not erred in standing on the defensive. Thereafter the Confederate army in Atlanta clung to its parapets. I never intended to assault these, but gradually worked to the right to reach and destroy his line of supplies, because soldiers, like other mortals, must have food. Our extension to the right brought on n
efeat, losing 4632 men to our 700. These three sallies convinced him that his predecessor, General Johnston, had not erred in standing on the defensive. Thereafter the Confederate army in Atlanta clung to its parapets. I never intended to assault these, but gradually worked to the right to reach and destroy his line of supplies, because soldiers, like other mortals, must have food. Our extension to the right brought on numerous conflicts, but nothing worthy of note, till about the end of August I resolved to leave one corps to protect our communications to the rear, and move with the other five to a point (Jonesboro‘) on the railroad twenty-six miles below Atlanta, not fortified. This movement was perfectly strategic, was successful, and resulted in our occupation of Atlanta, on the 2d of September, 1864. The result had a large effect on the whole country at the time, for solid and political reasons. I claim no special merit to myself, save that I believe I followed the teaching
September 19th (search for this): chapter 5.35
f the Potomac. He therefore cast around for a suitable commander for this field of operations, and settled upon Major-General Philip H. Sheridan, whom he had brought from the West to command the cavalry corps of the Army of the Potomac. Sheridan promptly went to his new sphere of operations, quickly ascertained its strength and resources, and resolved to attack Early in the position which he had chosen in and about Winchester, Va. He delivered his attack across broken ground on the 19th of September, beat his antagonist in fair, open battle, sending him whirling up the valley, inflicting a loss of 5500 men to his own of 4873, and followed him up to Cedar Creek and Fisher's Hill. Early recomposed his army and fell upon the Union army on the 19th of October, at Cedar Creek, gaining a temporary advantage during General Sheridan's absence; but on his opportune return his army resumed the offensive, defeated Early, captured nearly all his artillery, and drove him completely out of his
September 21st (search for this): chapter 5.35
of which I had knowledge; and, better still, I had pleased Mr. Lincoln, who wanted success very much. But I had not accomplished all, for Hood's army, the chief objective, had escaped. Then began the real trouble. We were in possession of Atlanta, and Hood remained at Lovejoy's Station, thirty miles south-east, on the Savannah railroad, with an army of about 40,000 veterans inured to war, and with a fair amount of wagons to carry his supplies, independent of the railroads. On the 21st of September he shifted his position to Palmetto Station, twenty-five miles south-west of Atlanta, on the Montgomery and Selma railroad, where he began systematic preparations for an aggressive campaign against our communications to compel us to abandon our conquests. Here he was visited by Mr. Davis, who promised all possible cooperation and assistance in the proposed campaign; and here also Mr. Davis made his famous speech, which was duly reported to me in Atlanta, assuring his army that they w
October 1st (search for this): chapter 5.35
rewarned, I took immediate measures to thwart his plans. One division was sent back to Rome, another to Chattanooga; the guards along our railroad were reenforced and warned of the coming blow. General Thomas was sent back to the headquarters of his department at Nashville, Schofield to his at Knoxville, while I remained in Atlanta to await Hood's initiative. This followed soon. Hood, sending his cavalry ahead, crossed the Chattahoochee River at Campbelltown with his main army on the 1st of October, and moved to Dallas, detaching a strong force against the railroad above Marietta which destroyed it for fifteen miles, and then sent French's division to capture Allatoona. I followed Hood, reaching Kenesaw Mountain in time to see in the distance the attack on Allatoona, which was handsomely repulsed by Corse. Hood then moved westward, avoiding Rome, and by a circuit reached Resaca, which he summoned to surrender, but did not wait to attack. He continued thence the destruction of th
October 19th (search for this): chapter 5.35
to his new sphere of operations, quickly ascertained its strength and resources, and resolved to attack Early in the position which he had chosen in and about Winchester, Va. He delivered his attack across broken ground on the 19th of September, beat his antagonist in fair, open battle, sending him whirling up the valley, inflicting a loss of 5500 men to his own of 4873, and followed him up to Cedar Creek and Fisher's Hill. Early recomposed his army and fell upon the Union army on the 19th of October, at Cedar Creek, gaining a temporary advantage during General Sheridan's absence; but on his opportune return his army resumed the offensive, defeated Early, captured nearly all his artillery, and drove him completely out of his field of operations, eliminating that army from the subsequent problem of the war. Sheridan's losses were 5995 to Early's 4200 ; but these losses are no just measure of the results of that victory, which made it impossible to use the Valley of Virginia as a Conf
November 4th (search for this): chapter 5.35
n thus far rapid and skillful, I detached by rail General Schofield and two of my six corps to Nashville, all the reenforcements that Thomas deemed necessary to enable him to defend Tennessee, and began my systematic preparations for resuming the offensive against Georgia. Repairing the broken railroads, we collected in Atlanta the necessary food and transportation for 60,000 men, sent to the rear all impediments, called in all detachments, and ordered them to march for Atlanta, where by November 4th were assembled four infantry corps, one cavalry division, and 65 field-guns, aggregating 60,598 men. Hood remained at Florence, preparing to invade Tennessee and Kentucky, or to follow me. We were prepared for either alternative. According to the great Napoleon, the fundamental maxim for successful war is to converge a superior force on the critical point at the critical time. In 1864 the main objectives were Lee's and Johnston's armies, and the critical point was thought to be Richmo
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