The past year.
The year 1864 has gone with the last year's snow.
It has passed away, and is lost in the ocean of eternity.
It was a memorable year in the history of this continent — the most memorable, from the gigantic character of the incidents to which it gave rise, that has passed over it since Columbus
first "gave a new world to the Kingdoms of Castile
. " It may not be uninteresting to our readers to go rapidly over the principal incidents which it witnessed, and which have rendered it forever memorable in the history of mankind.
We begin with the famous raid of Kilpatrick
, which took place in the latter part of February and beginning of March, and which had for its object the capture of this city, the release of the prisoners, the total destruction of the town, and the murder of the President
and his Cabinet.
This part of the undertaking was entrusted to Colonel Dahlgren
, who seems to have been formed by nature for the execution of the most atrocious schemes.
's forces divided in the upper country.
One portion of them, after having attempted to capture the artillery of General Lee
's army at Frederick's Hall, and been driven off, came on direct, and made their appearance on the outskirts of the city, where they had an artillery duel with our batteries, without much damage to either side.
The other, under Dahlgren
, passed through Goochland
, robbing and burning as they went.
They approached the city in a dark night, on the Westham
road, and within a few miles of town, were met, in a dark night, by the battalion of clerks, who fired not more than two or three volleys at them, when, as was to have been expected from professional house-burners and hen roost thieves, they faced to the right about and galloped off. General Bradley Johnson
had already met a party of them, numbering about a thousand, with a small force near Old Church, in Hanover
, and routed them effectually. --The next night, General Wade Hampton
, who had by this time arrived with a body of cavalry, shelled a large body of them, commanded by Kilpatrick
himself, and frightened them so badly that they took to their heels and escaped down the Peninsula
was not so fortunate.
He crossed the river into King
, and falling into a body of home guards and militia, was surrounded, in a dark night, and furiously attacked.
He himself was killed on the spot and the greater part of his men taken prisoners.
On his person were found papers which revealed his design to set fire to the city during the night and to inaugurate a general scene of pillage and massacre.--The most ample preparations had been made.
Oakum and turpentine had been formed into the most convenient shapes for executing the diabolical purpose.--But death cut short his designs.
The next most notable incident was the defeat of Banks
in Western Louisiana
by Dick Taylor
This was a most important victory.
The enemy lost at least twenty thousand men, and would have lost his whole army and the fleet that operated with it but for the want of vigor in following up the blow.
Next came our successes in North Carolina
, especially that at Washington
, in which General Hoke
so highly distinguished himself that he was made a major-general for his gallantry.
We now come to Grant
's great expedition, the object of which was to overwhelm Lee
in the upper country and pass on over his body to Richmond
, which he expected to enter without further opposition.
The Yankee papers had said he was to celebrate the 4th of July in Richmond
, and he seems to have entertained that opinion himself.
He crossed the Rapid Ann
on the 4th of May with an enormous force — reckoned at not less than one hundred and fifty thousand men, in one body.
Notwithstanding a great inferiority of numbers, General Lee
hastened to attack him. The battle lasted three days, and resulted in our complete success.
, whose face was south, and who had proclaimed his determination to fight it out on that line if it took him all summer, was forced to make a move his former line of march, having been utterly unable to drive Lee
out of his way. He lost, according to the Washington Chronicle,
paper, edited by Forney
, --thirty-five thousand men on this occasion.
As the Yankees
, of course, do not speak half the truth on such occasions, we may fairly infer that the loss was at least sixty thousand, which estimate is rendered probable by the number of small arms picked up by our men--fifty — seven thousand in all. Grant
wrote a lying dispatch, claiming a victory, at the very time that he was retiring before Lee
; while the latter, following him up, drove him out of Spotsylvania Courthouse and established himself there.
Here he was again assailed by Grant
on the 9th and 10th of May.
On the latter day, he sustained a sanguinary repulse, in which he lost twenty thousand men. On the 12th, he made a sudden assault upon a portion of our lines which was too far advanced, and, by the suddenness of the onset, routed the division of General Edward Johnson
and captured two thousand prisoners (among them the General
himself) and all the artillery of the division.
, however, were soon driven off, and the most tremendous battle of the war ensued.
Being behind breast-works, our men suffered little, while the slaughter of the Yankees
was without a parallel.
We think we may safely put it at thirty thousand men, since they themselves confess to twenty thousand.
The armies remained facing each other for several days; but Grant
had enough of it, and would not try a general assault again.
Several feeble attempts were made, but his men had lost spirit and could not be brought up to the scratch again.
Before he left Spotsylvania
had already lost one hundred thousand men. He had been reinforced by twenty-five thousand veterans, so Stanton
Finding he could not drive Lee
out of his path, he again stole around his left, and endeavored to get before him in the race for Richmond
.--He was again unsuccessful; but there was no more heavy fighting until Grant
had arrived at Cold Harbor, where he found Lee
again facing him. Here he sustained another tremendous slaughter, and here he was reinforced by a portion of Butler
's men and forty thousand one-hundred-days' men from Cincinnati
.--Finding it utterly impossible to enter Richmond
from that quarter, he subsequently crossed over the river and united his forces to these of Butler
He had had, operating immediately with, first, his own original army, one hundred and fifty thousand second, twenty-five thousand veteran reinforcement third, forty thousand hundred-days' men fourth, twenty thousand from.
But or total, two hundred and thirty-five thousand men, under his own eye. Of these he had lost one hundred and twenty-five thousand before he left Cold Harbor.
He crossed the river with one hundred and ten thousand men, and there united his operations with those of Butler
, who had with him about twenty thousand men, besides those he had sent to Grant
This brings us to the notice of Butler
We should notice, however, that a Yankee force, under General Siegel
, having advanced down the Valley
as far as New Market
, was there met by General Breckinridge
and completely routed.
It fled up the Valley
; burning the bridge over the Shenandoah
to prevent pursuit.
The forces of General Breckinridge
having been withdrawn to reinforce General Lee
, the Valley
was left comparatively unprotected, except by the small force under General Jones
An enormous body of cavalry, numbering at least twenty thousand, under Sheridan
, while Lee
was still facing Grant
, passed around his army, and, after committing unheard of devastation in the intermediate counties, appeared in the neighborhood of Richmond
Here they were met by General Stuart
, who, in the battle that ensued, lost his life.
The Department forces and the local troops, under the command of Colonel Curtis Lee
, displayed, on this occasion, a most commendable alertness and gallantry.
In the meantime, Siegel
had been removed in the Valley
, and Hunter
appointed to succeed him. Finding the Valley
open, this officer advanced in the direction of Staunton
, it being his object to capture Lynchburg
, and thus perform a part in the grand operations by which Grant
hoped to isolate Richmond
Encounter defeated it after a severe battle, in which General Jones
He then proceeded to Staunton
, and afterwards to Lexington
, burning and destroying as he went.
, having set out with the intention of joining him through Charlottesville
, was met at Trevillian
's depot, in Louisa
, by General Hampton
, and utterly routed.
He was driven back to the lower country, and, after sustaining another defeat in Charles City
, crossed over the river.
We must go back a little.
Simultaneously with Grant
's movements in Spotsylvania
, a large land and naval force, under Beast Butler
, passed up from Old Point
, landed at City Point
, took possession of Bermuda Hundred
, and endeavored to capture Petersburg
and the Port Walthall
In these attempts they were thwarted by the skill and gallantry of General Pickett
, who, with vastly inferior forces, succeeded not only in holding Petersburg
and the railroad until the arrival of General Beauregard
with his forces from North Carolina
, but in repulsing them and inflicting a severe loss upon them.--General Pickett
added greatly to the renown he had already won at Gettysburg
and other hotly contested fields by his success on this occasion.
Had he been less firm, less determined, or less skillful, it seems certain that Petersburg
would have been lost.
ought to raise a monument to Colonel David Harris
.--There is no doubt that he deserved one at her hands, as did General Beauregard
But it may be doubted whether General Pickett
's claims to her gratitude are not even greater than those of either of these two great officers.
The arrival of General Beauregard
with heavy reinforcements quieted the public mind, which was greatly excited.
An attempt to flank Drewry's Bluff
brought on a battle, in which the enemy were signally defeated.
found it impossible to enter Richmond
, he crossed the river and attempted to carry Petersburg
He was repulsed with enormous slaughter.
themselves computed their loss at twelve thousand.
It was, undoubtedly, at least twenty thousand.
Subsequently they sprung mine under part of our works.
The men rushed in and occupied the chasm caused by the explosion.--Our troops attacked them.
They could not get out, and an awful slaughter ensued.
We have not room to detail the numerous actions around Petersburg
in all of which, with the exception of one, we were victorious.
Nor can we enter into the details of Hunter
's march to Lynchburg
, or his retreat from that place, pursued by Early
; nor of the march of the latter up the Valley
, through Maryland
, to within one mile of Washington
; nor of his subsequent return to the Valley
, and defeats at Winchester
and New Market
, on both of which occasions he rose superior to disaster, and still continued to show a bold front to the enemy.
All of these movements on the part of the enemy were parts of Grant
's grand plan to manœuvre Lee
out of his position after he had failed to do it by direct attacks.
One grand attack along our whole line he attempted in November, soon after the Presidential election, the success of Lincoln
in which the Yankees
fondly believes would so terrify the Confederates
that they would lay down their arms at their bidding.
He failed, and was disastrously repulsed everywhere.
Nor need we speak of the capture of Fort Harrison
, or the AlmsHouse, or Darbytown
, or of Beast Butler
and his grand canal at Dutch gap
It is time to turn our eyes elsewhere.
The campaign of Sherman
, early in the spring, from Vicksburg
to the Alabama
line, with the purpose of taking Mobile
, having failed, that officer was transferred to Chattanooga
to take command there.
He began to move against General Johnston
early in June That officer fell back from one position to another until he had reached Atlanta
, fighting on the retreat several severe battles, in which, while he lost only nine thousand men, he inflicted upon the enemy, according to their own statements, a loss of fifty-five thousand.
Here, to the great regret of the whole country, and of none so much as the army he commanded, he was relieved by General Hood
This General, after fighting a bloody and indecisive action, was eventually defeated by Sherman
', and fell back in the direction of Macon Subsequently, he got in the rear of Sherman
and marched into Tennessee
, where, after a hard-won victory at Franklin
, he was defeated before Nashville
We have the results of that defeat only from the Yankees
We shall, therefore, not state them here.
In the meantime, Sherman
, finding himself unopposed, marched, almost without resistance, through Georgia
and took Savannah
The march of Price
and defeat of the great Yankee armada at Wilmington
were the last exploits of the year which we shall notice.
This summary is, no doubt, very inaccurate; but the events are of such a late date that every man's memory will enable him to correct errors.