previous next

2% of the text is displayed below. If you wish to view the entire text, please click here


Book IV:—the war in the South-West.

Chapter 1: Fort Pillow.

WE commence this book with the year 1864. The cold weather which, from the very beginning of December, has interrupted the great military operations in the valleys of the Rappahannock and Tennessee, continues with unusual severity. The Mississippi is itself covered with ice far below Vicksburg, making navigation at times very dangerous and impeding the supply or victualling of the Federal troops stationed on its banks. Great operations cannot, any more than in the previous year, be resumed until the April sun shall have melted away the ice, reduced the size of the streams, and dried the roads, which at the thawing season are impassable. In a military point of view the year 1864 will therefore not begin until the month of May. The first four months of 1864 are a period of transition, during which, if we may so express ourselves, the belligerents wind up the preceding year by pursuing one another through the southern regions, where the climate does not paralyze their activity. These are Louisiana and Mississippi; those which are situated in the same latitude more to the east, such as Alabama, Florida, Eastern Georgia, and South Carolina, having been, on the part of the Unionists, only the object of naval operations or of operations limited to the coast, which, as in the preceding volumes, will form the subjects of special chapters.

Chronological order requires that we should first follow the Federals on the left bank of the Mississippi.

It will be remembered that at the time when Grant was so suddenly summoned with a part of his troops to the assistance of Rosecrans besieged in Chattanooga he was soliciting, in concert [431] with Banks, the authority to send a large expedition against Mobile. Although his army was already much reduced, he still could, with the co-operation of the latter and the navy, undertake a campaign which the winter would not have interrupted, and from which he expected the greatest results. Such was no longer the case in the month of January, 1864. There were remaining on the banks of the Mississippi but a part of the Sixteenth corps, united under Hurlbut at Memphis, more than one-third of this corps having, with Dodge, followed the tracks of Sherman eastward, and the Seventeenth, which under McPherson was occupying the vicinity of Vicksburg. These forces, comprising six divisions of infantry, and one of cavalry under Grierson, were too few in number to allow detaching from them for any length of time a whole expeditionary corps. Their presence on the banks of the Mississippi was necessary to defend the course of the river, which the Confederates seemed disposed to close again by a last effort.

In fact, General Polk, who had come to Demopolis to take Hardee's place, had transferred his headquarters to Meridian, a central point at the junction of the two most important railroads in this region, the Mobile and Ohio Railroad and the Southern Railroad. Vast depots of provisions, arms, and material had been collected at this place, whilst all the forces forming the nucleus of Polk's little army had been pushed westward to observe as closely as possible McPherson and Hurlbut. Loring's division, seven thousand strong, which had returned from Georgia, was occupying Canton with eighteen guns. French was at Brandon with three thousand men and ten guns; Quarles' and Baldwin's brigades, which had been detached from the Army of the Mississippi during the autumn, had likewise been returned to French, and by the end of January swelled the effective force of his division to five thousand men. In the city of Jackson, General S. D. Lee, who was commanding the cavalry, had established Jackson's division, four thousand strong and comprising Ross', Stark's, and Wirt Adams' brigades; a fourth brigade of cavalry, under Ferguson, was to join him shortly. Farther north, Forrest had collected at Como and Oxford the numerous recruits which he had brought from Western Tennessee. Appointed major-general after his late success and invested with a sort of independent [432] command, he was rapidly organizing his force, which, divided into four brigades, numbered nearly six thousand men. Everywhere the Confederates were recruiting by fair means or foul—everywhere they were gathering horses, mules, and provisions. The Federals established at Memphis had not only to defend the Mississippi against the army that was thus forming by the side of them, but they had also to be prepared to oppose Kirby Smith, who, master of Red River, might suddenly appear on the banks of the great river, without concerning themselves either about Steele, away in the heart of Arkansas, or about the garrison left by Banks at Port Hudson, and whose role was solely to protect New Orleans.

It was painful, however, to Grant and Sherman to confine to a simply defensive part all these veteran troops, whose co-operation would have been so useful to them in the campaign which they were about to undertake. In order to be able to remove a part of them from guarding the Mississippi it was necessary to take advantage of the first months of the year and place the enemy beyond the power of threatening seriously the Federal garrisons on the river. Another consideration was pressing them to act: as we will explain later on, the Federal Government had promised furloughs to all the volunteers who, having but a few months more to serve, would re-enlist immediately. This measure, an excellent one for the future, rapidly thinned then the ranks of the armies of the West. It was therefore necessary, if it was intended to act, to do so promptly, before the time when, by the effect of these furloughs, they would be for some weeks reduced to an insignificant number of effectives. It was agreed between Grant and Sherman that the latter, forming a powerful movable column, should leave Vicksburg to penetrate as far as possible into the State of Mississippi. If he could reach Polk's little army, he was to press, attack, and fight it; if it retreated at his approach, he was to destroy the stores and also the railroads, so that it might not again collect within reach of Vicksburg. Sherman in this case was to push on at least as far as Meridian, and if he could as far as Selma. According to some of Grant's despatches addressed to other officers, it might even be surmised that he had authorized his lieutenant to march on Mobile instead of [433] retracing his steps. We, however, do not think so; not only has Sherman positively denied it, but everything disproves such a supposition. To undertake the long march from Vicksburg to Mobile with the very small army he could collect would have been, on his part, exposing himself to being crushed by the troops which Johnston could bring together against him from the west, north, and south. Had he succeeded, he would have found himself, after a long and exhausting campaign, out of all the operations in which his part and that of his soldiers were already marked, and to which the return of the spring season was to give the signal.

But Grant, to mislead the enemy, was anxious to keep him in fear of this campaign against Mobile and to draw his forces on this side. He therefore did not hesitate to allow the rumor to spread among his staff, in the ranks of the army, and in the newspapers that Sherman was about to penetrate as far as the shore where the waters of the Alabama disappear into the Gulf of Mexico. He even endeavored to spread it himself. In short, to confirm it he requested

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Shreveport (Louisiana, United States) (58)
Meridian (Mississippi, United States) (25)
Tennessee (Tennessee, United States) (24)
Camden, Ark. (Arkansas, United States) (23)
Arkansas (Arkansas, United States) (22)
Little Rock (Arkansas, United States) (19)
Okolona (Mississippi, United States) (18)
Natchitoches (Louisiana, United States) (17)
Dalton, Ga. (Georgia, United States) (16)
Cowleech Fork Sabine River (Texas, United States) (15)
Cane (Louisiana, United States) (15)
Louisiana (Louisiana, United States) (14)
Fort De Russy (Louisiana, United States) (14)
Jackson (Mississippi, United States) (12)
Arkadelphia (Arkansas, United States) (11)
Simsport (Louisiana, United States) (10)
Paducah (Kentucky, United States) (10)
Demopolis (Alabama, United States) (10)
Cairo, Ill. (Illinois, United States) (10)
West Point (Mississippi, United States) (9)
Lake City (Florida, United States) (9)
Fort Pillow (Tennessee, United States) (9)
Eastport (Mississippi, United States) (9)
Union City (Tennessee, United States) (8)
Starkville (Mississippi, United States) (8)
Pine Bluff (Arkansas, United States) (8)
Jacksonville (Florida, United States) (8)
Crow Valley (Georgia, United States) (8)
Ringgold, Ga. (Georgia, United States) (7)
Gulf of Mexico (7)
Fort Jessup (Louisiana, United States) (7)
Collierville (Tennessee, United States) (7)
College Hill (Massachusetts, United States) (7)
Selma (Alabama, United States) (6)
Rocky Face (Georgia, United States) (6)
Baldwin, Fla. (Florida, United States) (6)
Rocky Face Ridge (North Carolina, United States) (5)
Georgia (Georgia, United States) (5)
Bayou Pierre Lake (Louisiana, United States) (5)
Aberdeen (Mississippi, United States) (5)
Trinity, La. (Louisiana, United States) (4)
Trenton, Tenn. (Tennessee, United States) (4)
Sanderson (Florida, United States) (4)
Port Hudson (Louisiana, United States) (4)
Neosho, Mo. (Missouri, United States) (4)
Mayfield (Kentucky, United States) (4)
Marksville (Louisiana, United States) (4)
Decatur (Mississippi, United States) (4)
Yellow Bayou (Louisiana, United States) (3)
Yazoo City (Mississippi, United States) (3)
Vidalia (Louisiana, United States) (3)
Sand Creek, Larimer county (Colorado, United States) (3)
Saint Marys River (Virginia, United States) (3)
Osage (Missouri, United States) (3)
Olustee (Florida, United States) (3)
North Carolina (North Carolina, United States) (3)
Newton (Florida, United States) (3)
Missouri (Missouri, United States) (3)
Mansura (Louisiana, United States) (3)
Louisville (Kentucky, United States) (3)
Knoxville (Tennessee, United States) (3)
Houston (Mississippi, United States) (3)
Hilton Head (South Carolina, United States) (3)
Germantown (Tennessee, United States) (3)
De Soto, Jefferson County, Missouri (Missouri, United States) (3)
Cotile (Louisiana, United States) (3)
Brownsville, Tenn. (Tennessee, United States) (3)
Brashear City (Louisiana, United States) (3)
Bayou Rapides (Louisiana, United States) (3)
Augusta (Georgia, United States) (3)
Alleghany Mountains (United States) (3)
Alabama (Alabama, United States) (3)
Abbeville (Mississippi, United States) (3)
United States (United States) (2)
Tennessee River (United States) (2)
Spring Hill (Tennessee, United States) (2)
Rockport (Arkansas, United States) (2)
Ouachita (United States) (2)
Opelousas (Louisiana, United States) (2)
Ocean Pond (Florida, United States) (2)
Mississippi (Mississippi, United States) (2)
Minden (La.) (Louisiana, United States) (2)
Loggy Bayou (Louisiana, United States) (2)
Jackson (Tennessee, United States) (2)
Higdon (Mississippi, United States) (2)
Haynes Bluff (Mississippi, United States) (2)
Greenwood (Mississippi, United States) (2)
Fort Hamilton (Ohio, United States) (2)
Florence, Ala. (Alabama, United States) (2)
Crump (Mississippi, United States) (2)
Covington (Kentucky, United States) (2)
Cheneyville (Louisiana, United States) (2)
Calhoun, Ga. (Georgia, United States) (2)
Bolivar, Tenn. (Tennessee, United States) (2)
Benton, Ark. (Arkansas, United States) (2)
Atchafalaya River (Louisiana, United States) (2)
Arkansas (United States) (2)
Will's Valley (Alabama, United States) (1)
Waverly, Mo. (Missouri, United States) (1)
Waterford (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Tyner's Station (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Tulip, Ark. (Arkansas, United States) (1)
Tippah River (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Tilton (Georgia, United States) (1)
Terre Noir Creek (Arkansas, United States) (1)
Tampico (Tamaulipas, Mexico) (1)
Tallahatchie River (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Suffolk, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)
Spring Creek (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Spanish Lake (Louisiana, United States) (1)
South Fork Canadian River (Colorado, United States) (1)
South Carolina (South Carolina, United States) (1)
Rossville (Georgia, United States) (1)
Roseville (Arkansas, United States) (1)
Rob Roy (Indiana, United States) (1)
Resaca (Georgia, United States) (1)
Rawlinsville (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Quitman (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Providence, R. I. (Rhode Island, United States) (1)
Port Royal (South Carolina, United States) (1)
Plymouth, N. C. (North Carolina, United States) (1)
Picolata (Florida, United States) (1)
Paw Paw (Michigan, United States) (1)
Patton (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Paraclifta (Arkansas, United States) (1)
Palo Alto (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Palatka (Florida, United States) (1)
Normandy (France) (1)
New Orleans (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Napoleon (Arkansas, United States) (1)
Morganza (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Moreauville (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Missionary Ridge, Tenn. (Tennessee, United States) (1)
McMinnville (Tennessee, United States) (1)
McCulloch (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Maine (Maine, United States) (1)
Magnolia, Columbia County, Arkansas (Arkansas, United States) (1)
Logansport (Indiana, United States) (1)
Lake Station (Missouri, United States) (1)
Lafayette (Louisiana, United States) (1)
La Fayette (Georgia, United States) (1)
Kentucky (Kentucky, United States) (1)
Jetersville (Virginia, United States) (1)
Island Number Ten (Missouri, United States) (1)
Holly Springs (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Hineston (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Hempstead, Texas (Texas, United States) (1)
Harper's Ferry (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Guntersville (Alabama, United States) (1)
Graysville (Georgia, United States) (1)
Gainesville (Florida, United States) (1)
Fulton, Mo. (Missouri, United States) (1)
France (France) (1)
Fort Taylor (Texas, United States) (1)
Fort Sumner (New Mexico, United States) (1)
Fort Defiance (Arizona, United States) (1)
Florida (Florida, United States) (1)
Fleetwood (Alabama, United States) (1)
Fernandina, Fla. (Florida, United States) (1)
Egypt Station (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Edward's Depot (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Edgefield (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Dresden, Tenn. (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Cumberland City (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Cotton Plant, Ark. (Arkansas, United States) (1)
Como (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Cloutierville (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Clinton (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Cleveland, Tenn. (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Cleveland (Ohio, United States) (1)
Cedar Keys (Florida, United States) (1)
Campti (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Camden, S. C. (South Carolina, United States) (1)
Calcasieu (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Buzzard Roost (Georgia, United States) (1)
Burr Ferry (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Bakers Creek (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Atlanta (Georgia, United States) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Banks (144)
Jefferson E. Forrest (85)
Francis T. Sherman (79)
Marsh B. Taylor (68)
James H. Steele (62)
Kirby Smith (54)
A. J. Smith (43)
S. D. Lee (41)
George C. Porter (38)
Franklin (38)
U. S. Grant (33)
Charles H. Walker (31)
Sooy Smith (31)
McCulloch (25)
T. J. Churchill (22)
Halleck (19)
Grierson (19)
William Green (19)
Camille Polignac (18)
George D. Johnston (17)
Emory (17)
Bee (17)
Lucius Polk (16)
Mouton (15)
Hurlbut (15)
Samuel Woodson Price (14)
Chalmers (14)
Bailey (14)
John A. Wharton (13)
George E. Waring (13)
Horatio Seymour (13)
McPherson (13)
Robert A. Gillmore (13)
Kilby Smith (12)
Hepburn (12)
Barteau (11)
George Hicks (10)
Dwight (10)
J. A. Ross (9)
Camille De Polignac (9)
James H. Coates (9)
Clara Bell (9)
John M. Palmer (8)
Hardee (8)
Fagan (8)
Duckworth (8)
Benedict (8)
Winslow (7)
Vincent (7)
Henry Richardson (7)
T. E. G. Ransom (7)
Parsons (7)
Mower (7)
Charles Cruft (7)
Bradford (7)
Waul (6)
R. Thompson (6)
George H. Thomas (6)
Thayer (6)
Tappan (6)
J. Shaw (6)
Scurry (6)
Marmaduke (6)
Mansfield (6)
St. John R. Liddell (6)
A. T. Hawkins (6)
Nathan B. Forrest (6)
Finegan (6)
Cameron (6)
Absalom Baird (6)
Charles B. Randall (5)
Edward H. Phelps (5)
McCrillis (5)
Alexander Marshall (5)
Loring (5)
Lincoln (5)
Bushrod R. Johnson (5)
John K. Jackson (5)
T. C. Hindman (5)
Ellet (5)
Jefferson C. Davis (5)
Buford (5)
Philemon P. Baldwin (5)
Darius B. Warner (4)
Shelby (4)
James Monroe (4)
G. R. McRae (4)
McMillen (4)
McMillan (4)
McClernand (4)
Lyne (4)
C. H. Lynch (4)
Michael Gooding (4)
J. M. French (4)
Cornay (4)
P. R. Cleburne (4)
Booth (4)
Bagby (4)
Yoist (3)
John A. Wilson (3)
J. T. Wheeler (3)
C. L. Stevenson (3)
P. D. Roddey (3)
Ramsay (3)
Neely (3)
Maxey (3)
Lucas (3)
Eli Long (3)
Logan (3)
Lawrence (3)
Landram (3)
Thomas J. Harrison (3)
Gholson (3)
Joshua A. Fessenden (3)
T. B. Ferguson (3)
Debray (3)
H. D. Clayton (3)
Cabell (3)
Brayman (3)
Blunt (3)
Birge (3)
C. C. Andrews (3)
Washington (2)
Vance (2)
Unionists (2)
George A. Stone (2)
Alexander P. Stewart (2)
Starke (2)
Sanderson (2)
George C. Owen (2)
Marshall F. Moore (2)
James H. M. Montgomery (2)
McClellan (2)
Charles L. Matthies (2)
James Longstreet (2)
Bassett Langdon (2)
Indians (2)
Morton C. Hunter (2)
Houston (2)
Joseph Hooker (2)
James T. Holmes (2)
Henry (2)
Hawley (2)
Grover (2)
Gause (2)
Foster (2)
Farragut (2)
Emerson (2)
Drake (2)
Dockerey (2)
Dieu (2)
Silver Cloud (2)
J. S. Cleveland (2)
B. F. Cheatham (2)
Carr (2)
E. R. S. Canby (2)
Braxton Bragg (2)
Rigolets Bon (2)
Beaseley (2)
William S. Barton (2)
Woodford (1)
Warren (1)
William M. Ward (1)
Alice Vivian (1)
Veatch (1)
John B. Turchin (1)
Stark (1)
David S. Stanley (1)
Springfield (1)
W. Sooy Smith (1)
Shirk (1)
Shepley (1)
Horace B. Sargent (1)
William S. Rosecrans (1)
Milton S. Robinson (1)
S. A. Rice (1)
Joseph J. Reynolds (1)
W. A. Quarles (1)
Pope (1)
Lee Pennsylvania (1)
Pemberton (1)
George E. Peck (1)
Overton (1)
Ormand (1)
Orion (1)
Nims (1)
Dabney Maury (1)
Magruder (1)
Jay (1)
Hoffman (1)
B. J. Hill (1)
Hastings (1)
Greer (1)
Samuel F. Gray (1)
Granberry (1)
S. L. Freeman (1)
Fitzhugh (1)
Elder (1)
Dudley (1)
Joseph B. Dodge (1)
Dickey (1)
Jefferson Davis (1)
Dahlgren (1)
Crocker (1)
C. C. Crews (1)
John M. Corse (1)
Caudle (1)
Kit Carson (1)
Buchel (1)
John C. Breckinridge (1)
Bolton (1)
Samuel Benton (1)
J. Q. Arnold (1)
Americans (1)
Wirt Adams (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1864 AD (6)
8th (6)
March (5)
26th (5)
14th (5)
13th (5)
April 2nd (4)
April (4)
February (4)
27th (4)
19th (4)
17th (4)
12th (4)
11th (4)
May 2nd (3)
April 1st (3)
February 1st (3)
January (3)
23rd (3)
18th (3)
16th (3)
10th (3)
9th (3)
7th (3)
6th (3)
January, 1864 AD (2)
1863 AD (2)
May (2)
April 30th (2)
April 28th (2)
April 20th (2)
April 8th (2)
April 4th (2)
March 16th (2)
March 15th (2)
March 7th (2)
February 15th (2)
February 11th (2)
February 7th (2)
February 4th (2)
January 13th (2)
25th (2)
24th (2)
21st (2)
20th (2)
15th (2)
3rd (2)
December, 1863 AD (1)
November, 1863 AD (1)
December, 1862 AD (1)
1855 AD (1)
1846 AD (1)
December 23rd (1)
December (1)
November (1)
May 22nd (1)
May 19th (1)
May 13th (1)
May 10th (1)
May 8th (1)
May 4th (1)
May 1st (1)
April 25th (1)
April 16th (1)
April 15th (1)
April 14th (1)
April 11th (1)
April 9th (1)
April 7th (1)
April 3rd (1)
March 31st (1)
March 30th (1)
March 29th (1)
March 27th (1)
March 25th (1)
March 24th (1)
March 23rd (1)
March 14th (1)
March 5th (1)
March 4th (1)
March 1st (1)
February 29th (1)
February 28th (1)
February 22nd (1)
February 18th (1)
February 16th (1)
February 12th (1)
February 8th (1)
February 6th (1)
February 3rd (1)
February 2nd (1)
January 31st (1)
January 28th (1)
January 27th (1)
January 25th (1)
January 23rd (1)
January 20th (1)
January 15th (1)
January 4th (1)
30th (1)
28th (1)
22nd (1)
5th (1)
4th (1)
1st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: