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Title: Life and Military Career of Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman

Date of first publication: 1865

Author: P. C. (Phineas Camp) Headley (Jun 24, 1819-Jan. 5, 1903)

Date first posted: May 1, 2016

Date last updated: May 1, 2016

Faded Page eBook #20160501

This ebook was produced by: Larry Harrison, Cindy Beyer & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net


Young Americans






















Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by


In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for the

Southern District of New York.













Although General Sherman’s military career has only reached its most interesting and brilliant period, grateful and admiring thousands will welcome an authentic outline of his history to the present time. The facts of his early life were obtained from those who knew him best.

To Colonel Bowman, an appreciative friend of General Sherman, whose sketches of him in the U. S. Service Magazine were graphic and reliable, to the Army and Navy Journal and able correspondents, we are indebted for valuable material.

The pen-portrait of the great commander, by Mr. Alvord, which has never before been published, will be read with special interest.

The volume is not offered to the public as a complete biography, with all that might have been omitted carefully sifted from the essential statements, but the annals of a remarkable man, with incidents connected with his movements; affording the youth and all others, a general view of the nation’s hero, from infancy to the unrivalled distinction he now holds.

May the unpretending volume stimulate the youthful mind to virtuous and noble deeds, while it contributes to the more complete and voluminous memoirs which will be written in the peaceful future before us, for whose blessings of a perpetuated Union and civil liberty we shall owe a lasting debt of gratitude to General Sherman.


The Boyhood of Heroes—The ancestry of William Tecumseh Sherman—The death of his Father—Why the name of the Indian Chief was given him—The Birth-place of William Tecumseh,13
The Eventful Call—“Cump” in the Sandbank—The Unexpected Summons—He obeys—His new Home—School days—A Studious and Reliable Boy—Is appointed Cadet—Leaves Home for West Point—His Life in the Academy—Graduates and goes to Florida,23
The Lieutenant in the Florida War—Its Origin—The “Exiles”—Seminole Indians—Osceola—His wife made prisoner—The second Seminole War—Wild Cat’s Daughter—Peace—Lessons of the events before and after,28
Lieutenant Sherman in Fort Moultrie—The Fortress—The Mexican War—He goes to California—His Service there—Appointed Captain—His Marriage—Exciting Scenes in California—In the Commissary Department—Resigns his Commission—Turns Banker,39
Takes charge of a Military Academy in Alexandria, Louisiana—He sees the rising storm of Civil War—Resigns—A noble Letter—He repairs to St Louis, and superintends a Street Railroad,45
Sumter falls—Sherman repairs to Washington—His Interview with the Secretary of War and the President—His Prophetic Insight of the Threatening Times—The state of the Country—Rebel Expectations,50
The Conflict Deepens—The Captain is made Colonel of the Thirteenth New York Volunteers—The Battle of Bull Run—The unterrified Commander of the Thirteenth and his Troops—The Brave Stand,54
General Sherman goes to Kentucky—Muldraugh’s Hill—His army weakened—General Buckner’s superior force—Succeeds General Anderson—Writes General McClellan—Interview with Secretary Cameron—Paducah,60
Pittsburg Landing—The Surprise—The Battle—The Victory—Sherman’s glorious part in the Struggle—The Testimony of Officers—His Letter on the Contest,67
The Morning after the Battle—General Sherman’s column in Motion—What it did—Corinth the next Goal—The Siege—The Evacuation—General Sherman’s troops the first to enter the Works—The Hero is made Major-General—Advance on Holly Springs—Memphis—General Sherman’s successful Command in that City—The Guerrillas,82
General Sherman’s next Post—The Steele’s Bayou Expedition—A Trial of Courage—The Leader’s Heroism,89
The Position of the Western Forces—The Expedition against Vicksburg under General Sherman—The Just and Stringent Orders of the Chief—He shows the Speculators no Mercy—The Advance of the Grand Army Checked—The Embarkation of Troops—The Magnificent Pageant—The Progress and Arrival of the Fleet,95
The March—The City—Preparations for an Assault—The Attack—The Abatis and Rifle-pits—The Charge upon the Hill—Sherman succeeded by McClernand—General Sherman’s Farewell Order—Result of the Expedition,105
The Plot—General Sherman’s Part—His Successful Feint at Haines’ Bluff—Joins the Main Army—The Advance toward Jackson, the State Capital—The Victorious Entry of the City—On to Vicksburg again—Assaults—Siege—Victory—General Sherman goes after “Joe” Johnston,118
General Sherman watching Joe Johnston—Foraging—An Attack—The Enemy steals away in the Night—The Conquering Battalions have a brief rest—Encampment on the Big Black River—Scenes there—Reënforces General Rosecrans—Death of General Sherman’s Son—Beautiful Letter—The Monument,127
The Grand Advance from Memphis—The Enemy prepare to Meet it—General Sherman’s Genius equal to any Emergency—Rapid Marches—The Foe driven from the Path—New Command—The Swollen River—Into Chattanooga—The Tireless Chief and his Gallant Troops push forward to Missionary Ridge,136
The Place of Battle—The Battle-ground—General Sherman’s Part in the Struggle—Desperate Valor—Victory—Pursuit—No Rest—General Burnside in Peril—General Sherman hastens to his Relief—The Bridge breaks down—It is Rebuilt, and the Heroic Battalions save Knoxville—General Sherman again at Chattanooga,143
A New Expedition—Its Wise Design—Cause of its Failure in the Main Purpose—The Hero of Vicksburg is created Lieutenant-General—The New Order of Things—Two Grand Lines of March and of Conquest—From Chattanooga to Kenesaw Mountain,162
The Battle of Kenesaw Mountain—On to Marietta—Across the Chattahoochie—General Johnston succeeded by General Hood—Marching and Fighting—Death of McPherson—Fight at Jonesboro—The last struggle for Atlanta—Victory,186
The Tidings of Victory at Washington—The President’s Messages to the People and to the Army—General Sherman congratulates his Battalions—The Rebel General is indignant—The Correspondence between him and General Sherman—The authorities of Atlanta also unreconciled to the new order of things—The noble Letters and Conduct of the Conquerer,217
The Events which followed the Truce—General Hood’s Army in Motion—Battle at Allatoona Pass—He is left to the care of the gallant Thomas—The New and Magnificent Campaign of General Sherman—The Field of his Operations—Burning of Rome—The Advance—Atlanta partially Burned—The Rebel Fears and Hopes—The March,249
The March beyond the River—The Exciting Discovery by the Enemy—General Sherman’s Strategy—On to Savannah—The Rebel—Surprise—The Army approach the City—A bold Movement—The Scouts—The Signals—Fort McAllister stormed—Savannah invested,287
The Surrender of the City demanded—The Refusal—Preparation to Attack—The Enemy Flee—The Entrance of the Union Army—Scenes that followed—General Sherman and the Negroes,304
Major-General Sherman appreciated at Home—A Conflagration—A New and Bolder Campaign—General Sherman begins his March—Perils and Progress—Branchville and Columbia—Charleston,330
Wilmington—Peace Commissioners—General Sherman’s Statesmanship—His Characteristics—Interesting Recollections of General Sherman—His Pure Character,357


The Boyhood of Heroes—The ancestry of William Teeumseh Sherman—The death of his Father—Why the name of the Indian Chief was given him—The Birth-place of William Tecumseh.

MY youthful reader, you have heard the adage, “the boy is father of the man;” which means clearly, that the principles and habits of early years form the character and destiny of after life. And you will find in the history of nearly all great and good men, in this country certainly, that they began, in humble circumstances, their career. Not that poverty is necessary to success, but the struggle to carve one’s own way in the world, the almost unaided effort to secure an education for a profession or business, develops and strengthens character.

Another thing is true of deservedly eminent men; they were obedient and dutiful while under the parental roof. A selfish, rebellious boy, never made an honored member of society and of the State. You will find illustrations of these truths in the lives of Washington, Adams, Lincoln, Grant, Mitchel, Sherman, and many others, whose fame is lasting as our institutions.

In the year 1634 the Hon. Samuel Sherman, his brother, Rev. John Sherman, and their cousin, Captain John Sherman, who were residents of Dedham, England, came to this country. This was only thirteen years after the May Flower, with its pilgrim company, rocked in Massachusetts Bay. There were no ocean steamers then proudly ploughing the broad Atlantic. In a ship like the plain bark which bore the first colony, whose free principles, civil and religious, lie at the foundation of this Republic, they embarked for the wilderness of the New World.

You can see, in imagination, the white-winged vessel glide from its haven into the “wide, wide sea,” and float like a speck over the waste of waters. The winds blow, the crested billows toss the Shermans, with the rest of the ship’s company, about for weeks; they little dreaming of quite a different storm, in which a descendant would figure so conspicuously, just two hundred and thirty years later. At length the ship reached Boston harbor.

The Rev. John Sherman; a graduate of Immanuel College, “and a Puritan,” went at once to his work. The Sabbath dawned, and under an ancient tree in the present town of Watertown, three miles from Boston, you might have seen a quiet and attentive congregation listening to his first sermon in America. Here he settled, after receiving a call to Milford, Conn. Some of his descendants were excellent and popular divines. The captain also settled there; and from his branch of the family came Roger Sherman, the signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The Hon. Samuel Sherman pushed on to Wethersfield, Conn. Soon after he removed to Stamford, and finally settled down in Stratford. The “coat of arms,” that is to say, the family escutcheon or badge, bears a lion rampant, and a sea lion on the crest. The motto is: “Conquer death by virtue.” From him descended the “hero of our story,” whose grandfather, Taylor Sherman, for many years judge, died May 4th, 1815, in the ripeness of his manhood, at the age of fifty-eight.

The widow, like the families of Generals Grant and Mitchel, and of our most worthy President, turned her face toward the far West; for it was then a long and weary way to the rich valleys of the Mississippi and its tributaries. The beautiful State of Ohio—the empire State of the western world—became her home. The prospects, for her sons especially, on the cheap, rich soil, and in the rising towns of that vast and new territory, were much better than in New England.

The pleasant settlement of Lancaster was their first residence. Subsequently she removed to Mansfield, in the same State, where she died in 1848. Her children were Charles Robert, who was born September 26th, 1788, Daniel and Betsey. Charles married Mary Hoyt, May 8th, 1810, and settled in Lancaster. His profession was law, in which he excelled particularly as an advocate; he was very eloquent and successful in pleading the cause of his clients before the judge and jury.

In the year 1823 he was elected judge of the Superior Court of Ohio. He continued in this high position till June 20th, 1829. Could you have stood in the court room on that early summer day, you would have seen the fine intelligent face of the judge suddenly grow pale, followed by an expression of suffering. The eyes of the “gentlemen of the bar,” and of citizens present, are turned with anxious interest toward him. Soon after, he is compelled to leave the bench and remove to his private apartment, where he rapidly sinks into the embrace of death. His disease was supposed to be that fatal scourge of eastern lands and our own—the cholera. Probably my young reader was not born when it spread terror through nearly all the cities of our Union. In 1840 his remains were removed to Lancaster, Ohio. Should you become a western lawyer, you may have occasion to consult his decisions, contained in the first three volumes of the Ohio Reports.

This gifted, highly educated and popular judge left a widow with eleven children. She was a devoted wife and mother, and a communicant in the Presbyterian Church. Charles T., the eldest, is now a successful lawyer in Washington, D. C.; the next in order was Mary Elizabeth; the third, James; the fourth, Amelia; the fifth, Julia; and the sixth, William Tecumseh, our hero. After him were L. Parker, John, the able and loyal senator from Ohio, who was born May 10th, 1823; and after him were Susan D. Hoyt and Frances B.

William Tecumseh was born February 8th, 1820. It was quite difficult to decide upon a name for the boy. “What shall we call him?” was the topic of much domestic chat. Two or three favorite names were suggested and discussed, but still the child was nameless.

One day the father, who had seen the Indian chieftain Tecumseh, and admired that really great man, came in and said, “I have the name of a better man than either we have mentioned.” The eye and ear of those around the cradle were turned to know whom he could be. The bright boy only seemed to have no interest in the matter. “Tecumseh, we will name him,” was the almost startling announcement. It was softened down to the tone of civilized life by the addition of William. The further reason for the selection of a warrior’s name who fought for the English, I will tell you, as I did the story of “Ulysses S. Grant,” now his lieutenant-general, in the language of another who wrote me on the subject: “Tecumseh, the celebrated chief and warrior of the Shawanoese tribe, who was killed at the battle of the Thames, October 5th, 1813, was for a long time kept in rather fond remembrance in this immediate vicinity, by those who were engaged in that conflict, of whom Captain Sanderson is still a resident here; because they knew that several times he prevented the shedding of innocent blood. This fact, with the desire of Mr. Sherman to have one son educated for military life, led him to choose Tecumseh for the boy, he being born not long after the death of that chieftain.”

Tecumthé, or as it is written Tecumseh, a Shawanoese Indian, was born in Piqua, since called West Boston, on Mad River, in Clarke County, Ohio. Tecumseh’s grandmother was the daughter of a Southern English colonial governor, who fancied the handsome young Creek, and married him. Their only son took for his wife a Shawanese woman, who gave birth to Tecumseh while on a journey from the southern to the western hunting grounds. A few years later three more sons were born at the same time, one of whom, Tenskwautawaw, became the famous prophet who was the artful and unprincipled instrument of his brother, Tecumseh, in his great lifework, which was to arouse and unite the western tribes in the last determined effort to drive and keep their white neighbors from the valley of the Mississippi. While a boy, his splendid genius gave him the leadership among his playmates, and he “was in the habit of arranging them in parties for the purpose of fighting sham battles.”

When about fifteen years old, he was so shocked at the scene then common among the Indians—burning prisoners at the stake—that he determined to give his voice against the horrid custom. The young reformer first displayed his commanding eloquence in his bold condemnation of the practice, which through his powerful influence gradually disappeared. He advocated total abstinence from ardent spirits, the principal source of savage degradation and destruction, and urged his people to drop all superfluous ornaments, and abstain from the use of articles sold by the traders. Like his illustrious namesake, our hero, he was mighty in speech as well as in the battle-field. I will give in illustration a brief address made August 12th, 1810, to Governor Harrison, whom he met in council at Vincennes, on the Wabash River. The fine words and grand views of the warrior, will make you think of our own Tecumseh marching over the very country from which the ancestors of the Shawanoese came:

“I have made myself what I am; and I would that I could make the red people as great as the conceptions of my mind, when I think of the Great Spirit that rules over all. I would not then come to Governor Harrison to ask him to tear the treaty; but I would say to him, Brother, you have liberty to return to your own country. Once there was no white man in all this country; then it belonged to red men, children of the same parents, placed on it by the Great Spirit to keep it, to travel over it, to eat its fruits, and fill it with the same race—once a happy race, but now made miserable by the white people, who are never contented, but always encroaching. They have driven us from the great salt water, forced us over the mountains, and would shortly push us into the lakes; but we are determined to go no further. The only way to stop this evil is for all the red men to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land, as it was at first and should be now—for it never was divided, and belongs to all. No tribe has a right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers, who demand all, and will take no less. The white people have no right to take the land from the Indians, who had it first—it is theirs. They may sell, but all must join. Any sale not made by all is not good. The late sale is bad; it was made by a part only. Part do not know how to sell. It requires all to make a bargain for all.”

This upright, humane, and unequalled warrior, after struggling in vain to save his declining race, fell gloriously during the last war with England, in the battle of the Thames, not many miles from Detroit, on the Canada side.

His American namesake, by a singular course of providential events, as you know and will read in the record of his life more fully, became the greatest military commander of the age, in the very region from which, with his people, he emigrated to the West.

I will now take you to the place of William Tecumseh’s birth. Lancaster is in Fairfield County, Ohio, on the Hockhocking River, twenty-eight miles east of Columbus, the capital of the State. The valley is very beautiful. It was the home of the Wyandots less than a century ago, and was called Tarh or Crowtown, from the name of the principal chief. His wigwam was on the bank-border of a prairie, near a clear and living spring, from whose gushing waters he slaked his thirst for many years.

In 1800 a Mr. Fane laid out Lancaster on Mount Pleasant, called by the Indians, who at that time still lingered there, “Standing-Stone,” because the summit was formed of masses of sandstone. It was a place of popular resort on account of the extensive and magnificent views of the surrounding country. Duke Saxe Weimar, who travelled in this country about forty years since, carved his name on its rock.

For several years after Lancaster was settled, the people had a curious regulation, of which I must tell you, and something like which would not be a bad arrangement at the present day. Stumps of the forest trees so lately there, were scattered along the streets; and when a man was caught intoxicated, the penalty was, the removal of a stump. The drunkards and the stumps both were thinned out; for whenever a citizen went staggering among the remnants of the primeval woods, he was watched till sober enough to go to work, then set to digging at the roots. Tipplers were careful to walk abroad in straight lines; and if one failed to keep within the limits of temperate drinking, he must take good exercise at the stump, which was both a public exposure and a blessing to the village.

Lancaster is now a handsome city, full of western activity, and keeping step to the music—

“Westward the star of empire takes its way.”

Such was and is the birthplace of William Tecumseh Sherman.



The Eventful Call—“Cump” in the Sandbank—The Unexpected Summons—He obeys—His new Home—School days—A Studious and Reliable Boy—Is appointed Cadet—Leaves Home for West Point—His Life in the Academy—Graduates and goes to Florida.

MOTHER, may I go and play in the sand?” said a bright boy one day, cap in hand, ready to bound into the open air. Almost before the expected “yes” had ceased to echo in the room, “Cump,” as he was familiarly called, hastened to a bank in which excavations had been made, and the sand taken away. He was soon “busy as a bee,” throwing up miniature fortifications and heaps in various forms, after the models of his own juvenile invention.

Meanwhile the distinguished Hon. Thomas Ewing, now the venerable representative of the statesmen of the past, a resident of Lancaster, entered the widowed mother’s dwelling. He knew that the benevolent and departed father had not left her large family a fortune. It would therefore be no easy task to educate and start them in the world. And his errand there was to ask her to commit one of the boys to his home and care. He said, with a playful earnestness, “I must have the smartest of the lot; I will take no other, and you must select him for me.” After a short consultation between the mother and eldest daughter, the choice fell upon “Cump.” So it was decided that Mr. Ewing should take him to his house and educate him with his own children.

Leaving the mother and sister saddened with the prospect of parting with the boy, he went to the sandbank, where we just now left William at play. “Come, my boy,” said the unexpected visitor, “you are going to live with me. I have seen your mother; she has given her consent.”

The astonished little worker listened, and looked a moment at his benefactor, then straightened up, brushed off the sand, and started after him. That night he went to his bed in his new and beautiful home with strange thoughts, and a shadow upon his young spirit. He had left mother and the home of his childhood for life; only as an occasional visitor. It was a crisis in his history, and one which decided in the result his brilliant martial career. The public schools, which are now the pride of our land, were not then known in Ohio. But Lancaster could boast a good academy, and into its English department Tecumseh was entered as a pupil. He had reached his ninth year, and soon convinced his teacher and companions that he could take a high rank among the boy-students of his age.

Mr. Ewing assured me that there was nothing remarkable or eccentric in his experience during the years that followed, excepting his executive ability in little matters of business committed to him. He “never knew so young a boy who would do an errand so correctly and promptly as he did. He was transparently honest, faithful, and reliable. Studious and correct in his habits, his progress in education was steady and substantial.” At the age of sixteen, Mr. Ewing, in his official position, had at his disposal the appointment of a cadet to the Military Academy at West Point, and determined to offer it to his “protégé.” Tecumseh had a taste for military life, and of course gladly accepted the honor.

Before we follow him to that institution we will take another glimpse of the home of his adoption. Mrs. Ewing was a highly intelligent lady, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and had the privilege of educating her children in her own faith. Her daughter Ellen was at this time an attractive girl of nearly the same age of Tecumseh. For half a dozen of life’s most careless, happy years, they had been to school, talked and played together. And it is not strange that among the friends he left behind him, when he turned the second time from home, and now for a distant abode among strangers, that to part with her should be no common trial for his young and manly heart. But he had entered for himself

“Upon life’s broad field of battle,”

and hastened to the ordeal of examination for admission to the academy. The bright day of trial has come. Look in upon the spacious hall where the Examining Board and distinguished visitors have gathered, to see and hear what the young candidates for freshman honors may know. Now listen; young Sherman’s name is called. He is modest, yet perfectly self-possessed. After answering a test question with remarkable propriety and dignity, a professor remarked: “He is a blooded fellow!” that is, he was of good blood—had the ingrained qualities of manliness, and the promise of honorable distinction. This was in the summer of 1836. He advanced from class to class, mastering the studies in the course, and maintaining a high reputation in all his relations to the officers and students of the academy. He was quite at home in artillery, which you know is the handling of heavy guns; and in the saddle at the riding school of the institution. He graduated fifth in his class June 30th, 1840. The rebel General Beauregard was a classmate.

You have learned that, as a man, he loses no time in his military movements. Created second lieutenant in the Third Artillery, he repaired to Florida in the service of the regular army. When the autumnal leaves rustled in the war-path, he was fairly in the ranks and under the old flag, which he was destined to honor so well, and with whose stars his name would shine while it floats over the land of his birth.


The Lieutenant in the Florida War—Its Origin—The “Exiles”—Seminole Indians—Osceola—His wife made prisoner—The second Seminole War—Wild Cat’s Daughter—Peace—Lessons of the events before and after.

WHEN Lieutenant Sherman reached the Southern peninsula, our war with the “exiles” and Seminoles had been in progress about five years. “Who were the ‘exiles?’ ” you ask. In answering that question I shall give you some account of the Florida wars, in which many of our West Point graduates have been actors; among them Generals Grant, Mitchel, and Sherman. And I shall let a distinguished statesmen, who has recently died,[1] and who wrote a book about the “exiles,” tell you some interesting things concerning these people.

“Florida was originally settled by Spaniards in 1558. They were the first people to engage in the African slave trade, and sought to supply other nations with servants from the coast of Guinea. The colonists held many slaves, expecting to accumulate wealth by the unrequited toil of their fellow-men.

“Carolina, by her first and second charters, claimed a vast extent of country, embracing St. Augustine and most of Florida. Here was the first occasion for hostilities, the conflicting claims to jurisdiction, of the Spaniards and the colonies. The Carolinians also held many slaves. Profiting by the labor of their servants, the people sought to increase their wealth by enslaving the Indians who resided in their vicinity. Hence in the early slave codes of that colony we find reference to ‘negro and other slaves.’

“When the boundaries of Florida and South Carolina became established, the colonists found themselves separated by the territory now constituting the State of Georgia, at that time mostly occupied by the Creek Indians. The efforts of the Carolinians to enslave the Indians brought with them the natural and appropriate penalties. The Indians soon began to make their escape from service to the Indian country. This example was soon followed by the African slaves, who also fled to the Indian country, and, in order to secure themselves from pursuit, continued their journey into Florida.

“We are unable to fix the precise time when the persons thus exiled constituted a separate community. Their numbers had become so great in 1736 that they were formed into companies, and relied on by the Floridians as allies to aid in the defence of that territory. They were also permitted to occupy lands upon the same terms that were granted to the citizens of Spain; indeed, they in all respects became free subjects of the Spanish crown. Probably to this early and steady policy of the Spanish Government, we may attribute the establishment and continuance of this community of ‘exiles’ in that territory. A messenger was sent by the Colonial Government of South Carolina to demand the return of those fugitive slaves who had found an asylum in Florida. The demand was made upon the Governor of St. Augustine, but was promptly rejected. This was the commencement of a controversy which has continued for more than a century, involving our nation in a vast expenditure of blood and treasure, and it yet remains undetermined. The constant escape of slaves, and the difficulties resulting therefrom, constituted the principal object for establishing a free colony between South Carolina and Florida, which was called Georgia. It was thought that this colony, being free, could afford the planters of Carolina protection against the further escape of their slaves from service. These ‘exiles’ were by the Creek Indians called ‘Seminoles,’ which in their dialect signifies ‘runaways,’ and the term being frequently used while conversing with the Indians, came into almost constant practice among the whites; and although it has now come to be applied to a certain tribe of Indians, yet it was originally used in reference to these ‘exiles’ long before the Seminole Indians had separated from the Creeks.”

These “exiles,” once slaves, had settled in rich valleys, and had their flocks, and herds, and children around them. The great State of Georgia did not like to see this paradise of escaped bondmen prosper. Indeed, she looked with covetous eye upon every foot of Indian territory within her limits, and seems to have early decided, with or without the national sanction and help, to take possession of the “exiles,” and of the lands belonging to the Aborigines. The first thing was to get Florida from Spain, then seize the “exiles.”

Such influences were brought to bear upon Congress, that in secret session a law was passed in 1811 to wrest the territory from the authority of Spain. And now commenced the invasion of that country by the most desperate men. It was like the outrage upon “bleeding Kansas” since.

The Seminoles had refused to surrender the “exiles,” and the Georgians determined to exterminate them. This injustice and cruelty opened the first war with the Seminoles. Hostilities continued for many years, attended with deeds of savage heroism, scenes of horror and of death, till many an American soldier found a grave in the gloomy everglade and dark river channel. At length there was a pause in the terrible border warfare. Outrages by the white people continued, “exiles” were captured, treaties broken, and the effort renewed to remove the Seminoles to the western territory. Upon a certain day when a consultation was held over a speech addressed by the Secretary of State, General Cass, urging emigration, a youthful warrior, named “Osceola,” since very famous, drew his burnished knife from his belt, and said, while striking it into the table before him, “This is the only treaty I will ever make with the whites.” It was a threat of war again, soon realized. He was the son of an Indian trader, a white man named Powell. His mother was the daughter of a Seminole chief. He had recently married a woman said to have been very “beautiful.” She was the daughter of a chief who had married one of the “exiles,” but as all colored people, by slaveholding laws, are said to follow the condition of the mother, she was called an African slave. Osceola was proud of his ancestry. He hated slavery, and those who practised the holding of slaves, with a bitterness that is but little understood by those who have never witnessed its revolting crimes. He visited Fort King in company with his wife and a few friends, for the purpose of trading. Mr. Thompson, the agent, was present, and while engaged in business, the wife of Osceola was seized as a slave. Evidently having negro blood in her veins, the law pronounced her a slave; and, as no other person could show title to her, the pirate who had got possession of her body, was supposed, of course, to be her owner. Osceola became frantic with rage, but was instantly seized and placed in irons, while his wife was hurried away to slaveholding pollution. He remained six days in irons, when, General Thompson says, he became penitent, and was released. From the moment when this outrage was committed, the Florida War may be regarded as commenced. Osceola swore vengeance upon Thompson, and those who assisted in the perpetration of this indignity upon himself, as well as upon his wife, and upon our common humanity. The “exiles” endeavored to stimulate the Indians to deeds of valor. In general council they decreed that the first Seminole who should make any movement preparatory to emigration, should suffer death. Charley E. Mathlu, a respected chief, soon after fell a victim to this decree. Osceola commanded the party who slew him. He had sold a portion of his cattle to the whites, for which he had received pay in gold. This money was found upon his person when he fell. Osceola forbade any one touching the gold, saying it was the price of the red man’s blood, and with his own hands he scattered it in different directions as far as he was able to throw it. But his chief object appeared to have been the death of General Thompson. Other Indians and “exiles” were preparing for other important operations, but Osceola seemed intent—his whole soul was absorbed in devising some plan by which he could safely reach Mr. Thompson, who was the object of his vengeance. He, or some of his friends, kept constant watch on the movements of Thompson, who was unconscious of the danger to which he was exposed. Osceola, steady to his purpose, refused to be diverted from this favorite object. Thompson was at Fort King, and there were but few troops to protect that fortress. But Indians seldom attempt an escalade, and Osceola sought an opportunity to take it by surprise. With some twenty followers he lay secreted near the fort for days and weeks, determined to find some opportunity to enter by the open gate, when the troops should be off their guard. Near the close of December, 1835, a runner brought him information that Major Dade, with his command, was to leave Fort Brooke on the twenty-fifth of that month, and that those who intended to share in the attack upon that regiment, must be at the great “Wahoo Swamp” by the evening of the twenty-seventh. This had no effect whatever upon Osceola. No circumstance could withdraw him from the bloody purpose which filled his soul.

“On the twenty-eighth, in the afternoon, as he and his followers lay near the road leading from the fort to the house of the sutler, which was nearly a mile distant, they saw Mr. Thompson and a friend approaching. That gentleman and his companions had dined, and, on taking their cigars, he and Lieutenant Smith, of the second artillery, had sallied forth for a walk and to enjoy conversation by themselves. At a signal given by Osceola, the Indians fired. Thompson fell pierced by fourteen balls; Smith received about as many. The shrill war-whoop followed the sound of the rifles, and alarmed the people at the fort. The Indians immediately scalped their victims, and then hastened to the house where Mr. Rogers, the sutler, and two clerks, were at dinner. These three persons were instantly massacred and scalped. The Indians took as many valuable goods as they could carry, and set fire to the building. The smoke gave notice to those in the fort of the fate that had befallen the sutler and his clerks. But the condition in which the commandant found his troops forbade his sending out any considerable force to ascertain the fate of Thompson and his companion. Near nightfall a few daring spirits proceeded up the road to the hommock, and brought the bodies to the fort, but Osceola and his followers had hastened their flight, not from fear of the troops, but with the hope of joining their companions at Wahoo in time to engage in scenes of more general interest.”

The election campaign for President occurred the very fall Lieutenant Sherman went to Florida. Martin Van Buren was defeated, and there was no greater cause of it than the continuance of the Florida war, wasting precious life and treasure. You will be interested in the story of Wild Cat’s daughter. He was the son of King Philip, a Seminole chief, and became himself one of the mighty leaders in the Indian struggle for existence. Not far from the time young Sherman went to the field of conflict, the daughter of Wild Cat, “an interesting girl of twelve years of age, fell into the hands of our troops in a skirmish near Fort Mellon. This was regarded as a most fortunate circumstance, as it would be likely to procure an interview with the father. Miceo, a sub-chief and friend of Wild Cat, was despatched with a white flag, on which were drawn clasped hands in token of friendship, with a pipe and tobacco. He found Wild Cat, and delivered the message of the commanding-general, requesting an interview. Wild Cat agreed to come in, and gave Miceo a bundle of sticks, denoting the days which would elapse before he appeared in camp. Miceo returned and made his report.

“On the fifth of March Wild Cat was announced as approaching the American camp with seven of his trusty companions. He came boldly within the line of sentinels, dressed in the most fantastic manner. He and his party had shortly before killed a company of strolling theatrical performers, near St. Augustine, and having possessed themselves of the wardrobe of their victims, put it on. He approached the tent of General Worth, calm and self-possessed, and shook hands with the officers. He then addressed the general without hesitation and with dignity, saying he had received the talk and white flag sent him. He had come according to invitation to visit the American camp with peaceful intentions, relying upon his good faith.

“At this moment his little daughter escaped from the tent where she was to remain till General Worth should think the proper time to present her to her father had come. With the feelings and habits of her race, she gave him musket balls and powder which she had managed to obtain and secret until his arrival. On seeing his child he could no longer command that dignity of bearing so much the pride of every Indian chief. His self-possession gave way to parental emotions; the feelings of the father gushed forth; he averted his face and wept.

“Having recovered his self-possession he addressed General Worth, saying: ‘The whites dealt unjustly by me. I came to them, when they deceived me. I loved the land I was upon; my body is made of its sands. The Great Spirit gave me legs to walk over it; eyes to see it; hands to aid myself; a head with which I think. The sun, which shines warm and bright, brings forth our crops; and the moon brings back the spirits of our warriors, our fathers, our wives and children. The white man comes; he grows pale and sickly; why can we not live in peace? They steal our horses and cattle, cheat us, and take our lands. They may shoot us—may chain our hands and feet, but the red man’s heart will be free. I have come to you in peace, and have taken you all by the hand. I will sleep in your camp, though your soldiers stand around me thick as pine trees. I am done: when we know each other better, I will say more.’

“During the interview, Wild Cat spoke with great sincerity; frankly stated the condition and feelings of his people; stated the friendly attachment between the ‘exiles’ and Indians; said that they would not consent to be separated; that nothing could be done until their annual assemblage in June, to feast on the green corn; that, hard as the fate was, he would consent to emigrate, and would use his influence to induce his friends to do so. After remaining four days in camp, he and his companions left, accompanied by his little daughter, whom he presented to her mother on reaching his own encampment.”

Young Sherman was created first lieutenant November, 1841, and soon after the war closed, followed by the removal of the “exiles” to the country beyond the State of Arkansas, joining the Creeks there.

There are two very interesting facts you will think of in this glimpse of the early experience of our cadet-soldier. The first is, the real beginning of the great rebellion, in the unjust and oppressive claims of the Southern States upon other races, and upon our national legislation. The other curious fact is the awful desolation of that leading State in this wrong, Georgia, by the lieutenant, more than a score of years afterwards, in the defence of our own imperilled liberties.

Hon. Joshua R. Giddings.


Lieutenant Sherman in Fort Moultrie—The Fortress—The Mexican War—He goes to California—His Service there—Appointed Captain—His Marriage—Exciting Scenes in California—In the Commissary Department—Resigns his Commission—Turns Banker.

LIEUTENANT SHERMAN was next ordered to Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan’s Island, in Charleston harbor. Do you know the origin of that fortress and of its name? Six days before the Declaration of Independence was signed, there was a memorable battle and victory here, over the British squadron commanded by Sir Peter Parker. A post had been commenced, which, upon the appearance of the fleet was hastily completed, under the command of General Moultrie, a very brave officer.

General Charles Lee, the commander-in-chief at this post, urged Moultrie to abandon the works, because the men-of-war would soon blow them to pieces. “Then we will fight behind the ruins,” said the gallant leader of a band, who answered his bold words with a “hurrah!” The battle opened, and soon the American flag, which was then a white crescent on a ground of blue, went down. The spectators at a distance thought the post had surrendered. But no—the flag-staff was shot off, and Sergeant William Jasper leaped through the embrasure of the wall, and seizing it, restored it to its place on the battlements. He was a young hero, and his name is among those of the daring defenders of the first banner of the Revolution.

In this fortress Lieutenant Sherman had an unexciting round of duty. But more active service was near. If you will turn to the map of the United States you will see that the boundary between Texas and Mexico on the south, runs northwesterly toward the Pacific Ocean, where lies California, bounded on the southern side by Mexico. When war followed the dispute between the United States and the Mexican Government about the dividing line, in 1846, it was necessary to have troops in California. With the forces sent to that new and thinly-settled region, Lieutenant Sherman went under the banner he loved with all the enthusiasm of his ardent nature. The fighting was principally done, you know, at Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Monterey, Molino del Rey, and a few other points far from the post of Sherman. But he did his duty in the ranks of the frontier-guard, and was off on recruiting service when those fierce battles were fought.

California had been for many years under the Government of Mexico. The people rebelled against Santa Anna, asserted their independence, but again submitted to the old authority. In 1842 its rich plains attracted emigration from all lands, which increased rapidly till war with Mexico was declared. General Fremont was there. A quarrel began between the Mexican people and the settlers. This was increased by the conflict of the two nations, which resulted in our establishing a territorial government. The whole was ceded to the United States at the close of the war for $15,000,000, and became a State in 1850. With the flood of population from many countries, before and after Lieutenant Sherman went there, lawlessness of all kinds prevailed. Gambling was a common business, incendiarism equally so, and justice was almost unknown, even in the Government. Men were shot in open day for giving offence; the people became alarmed, and appointed a vigilance committee, who took law into their own hands. Our still youthful officer opposed such assumption of power, believing in redress for wrongs through the constitutional remedies. And often since the civil war commenced has he beguiled the weary hours of camp-life by recounting the exciting scenes of those wild days of California life. He saw a calmer period of history there. The vigilance committee at length surrendered its power to the State Government, and California has taken her place among the noblest of our commonwealths, loyal to the flag in the darkest hour of strife.

California gold! You have heard of the mania for the mines it created all over our land when the boy now sixteen was in his cradle. But you may not know what a chance to make a fortune Lieutenant Sherman had in that territory—that he saw the small beginning of the excitement. He was dining, February 8th, 1848, with Captain Sutter, of Sacramento, who was building a saw-mill. The workmen opened a sluice to wash out the “tail-race,” when lo! there was gold in the sand. A specimen was brought into the room where the officers sat, and pronounced to be the precious particles, which have since attracted the fortune-hunters of every land under the sun. But the lieutenant quietly returned to his post, and left to others the great discovery.

The rough experiences in southern and western forests—watching the stealthy Indians, and riding through perilous and difficult paths—were fitting him for work which would attract the admiring interest of the world. So well did he improve his opportunities to serve his country and perfect himself in military science, that his farther promotion to a captaincy was ordered while on the Pacific coast. The war closed in the winter of 1848, and the treaty of peace was signed in February of that year. The life of a “regular” in the army became monotonous. Garrisons and surveys occupied the troops. But there came, two years later, an interesting change in the social relations of Captain Sherman.

The friend he left with so much regret when he bade adieu to Lancaster, Ohio, for a home at West Point, Miss Ellen B. Ewing, attracted the gallant young soldier’s steps from the round of martial duty. In the spring of 1850 he led her to the altar of marriage, in Washington, D. C., where the bride’s father, the Hon. Thomas Ewing, has spent much of his long life in Congress, and in the Cabinet. Two of the greatest statesmen in this or any other nation, Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, were guests on the occasion, also General Zachary Taylor. Not many weddings in the Republic can boast of so many distinguished persons among the spectators of the ceremonies, offering their congratulations to the happy pair.

Captain Sherman was for a period connected with the Commissary Department of the Army. Its duties are the furnishing of the various supplies for the troops. Tired of the quiet and tameness of the service, in 1853 he resigned his commission, and retired to private life. That well-known and wealthy citizen of St. Louis, Mr. Lucas, proposed to establish a banking-house in San Francisco, under the name of “Lucas, Turner & Co.,” at the head of which was placed Captain Sherman.

We have come to a singular turn in his history. The cadet has been from the Florida swamps to the mountains of the northern border, rising in position, and steadily, honorably pursuing the object immediately before him, till tired of an almost useless existence, as it seems, in the army, he is at length a gentlemanly banker in the principal city of the “golden coast.” Days, weeks, months, and years, find him in the comparatively quiet round of business affairs. He is at home in the material condition and politics of the country; for he is familiar always with the current events of the times. The faithful boy at errands, is the trusty soldier and banker also. No stain rests on the record of his success in life.


Takes charge of a Military Academy in Alexandria, Louisiana—He sees the rising storm of Civil War—Resigns—A noble Letter—He repairs to St. Louis, and superintends a Street Railroad.

CAPTAIN SHERMAN, of the house of Lucas, Turner & Co., was not unsuccessful in the banking-office; but it was not suited to his culture and taste, and he was without large capital. It is not strange, therefore, that when, in 1860, he was offered the presidency of the Louisiana State Military Academy at Alexandria, on a salary of five thousand dollars per annum, he should accept the honorable position.

You know that, besides the national institution for discipline in the art of war, there are smaller schools of a similar character in several of the States, besides private enterprises of great merit. The Academy at Alexandria was organized in 1860, and, intended to accommodate two hundred cadets. Whether the State had reference to the possibility of a collision with the Government in this preparatory work we do not know, but are sure that the chief officer had no thought of serving the cause of revolt in taking its management. The town is situated on the Red River, nearly in the centre of the State, three hundred and fifty miles from New Orleans, which lies southeast of it, and down the Mississippi.

Louisiana is a great cotton-growing State, and Alexandria is in one of the richest portions of the wide plains skirting the stream which poured its flood into the magnificent tide of the “Father of Waters.” It is beautifully situated in the midst of cotton plantations, which, like snow-fields in summer, spread away in every direction from the village. Here the professor was directing his genius and attainments to carry out the wishes of the founders of the school, when the first ominous sounds of rebellion followed the election of Abraham Lincoln.

He knew the Southern feeling well. The intercourse with the people of the cotton States, from the association at West Point with their sons to that hour, convinced him of what we at the North were slow to believe, that they were determined to have their own way or fight. His clear judgment and forecast caught the signal of revolution in the stormy councils and secession resolutions which succeeded the political revolution. The evil spirit of rebellion was in the very atmosphere about him. There was hot blood, even in the recitation-rooms of the Academy. The year 1860 closed over a purpose which had slowly but steadily matured, to leave the institution in which he had just begun to feel at home, and was fully qualified to manage. It had cost him anxious thought. But far in advance, as he has been ever since, in his views of the true issue—the men and the measures we must meet—he was sure a sanguinary struggle was at hand. It saddened his heart, but nerved his strong hand to grasp the starry banner and enter the arena of carnage and victory.

Thus decided in his convictions and loyalty, he did not wait for the thunder of cannon around Fort Sumter. He wrote the following manly, strong, and patriotic letter, which tells its own glorious story:


January 18, 1861.

Gov. Thomas O. Moore, Baton Rouge, La.

Sir:—As I occupy a quasi-military position under this State, I deem it proper to acquaint you that I accepted such position when Louisiana was a State in the Union, and when the motto of the seminary was inserted in marble over the main door, ‘By the liberality of the General Government of the United States: The Union—Esto Perpètua.’

“Recent events foreshadow a great change, and it becomes all men to choose. If Louisiana withdraws from the Federal Union, I prefer to maintain my allegiance to the old Constitution as long as a fragment of it survives, and my longer stay here would be wrong in every sense of the word. In that event, I beg you will send or appoint some authorized agent to take charge of the arms and munitions of war here belonging to the State, or direct me what disposition should be made of them.

“And furthermore, as President of the Board of Supervisors, I beg you to take immediate steps to relieve me as superintendent the moment the State determines to secede; for on no earthly account will I do any act, or think any thought, hostile to or in defiance of the old Government of the United States.

“With great respect, &c.,

“(Signed)      W. T. Sherman.”


What a scorching rebuke is that in the first paragraph! How sublimely loyal the sentiments of the last!

The resignation was accepted. The professor turned his back upon his cadets and upon Louisiana, till he shall return under the torn and blackened flag of conquest. Repairing to St. Louis, he had no employment for his brain or hands. But he was ready for any honest work. Mr. Lucas, one of the millionaires of the city, offered him the office of superintendent of a street railroad, on a salary of two thousand dollars a year. He at once entered upon its duties, without a regret that he had abandoned the halls of military science and a larger reward for his labor.

My young reader, it is a lesson for all ages and all times. Embrace the providential openings for reputable and useful labor, without regard to the present applause or the favor of the busy multitude about you. Think of the brave Captain—the educated instructor—managing the affairs of a city horse-railway! Then think of the host of young men, who would rather starve, or gamble, to keep up the appearance of wealth and position, rather than go down in the world’s estimate of what is respectable and fashionable, and you will admire the truly heroic character of the gifted Sherman.


Sumter falls—Sherman repairs to Washington—His Interview with the Secretary of War and the President—His Prophetic Insight of the Threatening Times—The state of the Country—Rebel Expectations.

THE traitorous Secretary of War, John B. Floyd, had not lost sight of the probable uprising of the South at no distant period, for a moment, during all of his official career. Every fort on her soil was made an easy prey to her rebellious hand by reducing their garrisons.

The magnificent Fortress Monroe, on which the United States had expended nearly two and a half millions, could muster only eight companies of artillery. The forts, Moultrie, Pinckney, and Sumter, of Charleston harbor, had only eighty men, who were in Fort Moultrie.

And yet, had you been in the Halls of Congress when Mr. Clarke, of New Hampshire, offered a resolution of inquiry into the condition of those defences, you would have heard a storm of apparently virtuous indignation from Jefferson Davis and his fellow-conspirators, as if the intimation of treachery were an insult to Southern chivalry.

A week later General Anderson and his band, loyal to the national banner, having become assured that their capture with Fort Moultrie was designed, after destroying its equipment as far as possible, stole at dead of night from its walls and floated over the waters to silent Sumter, whose massive battlements promised a safer refuge from the passions of infatuated men. The rebels immediately seized Forts Moultrie and Pinckney; and ten days later the Star of the West, an unarmed steamer conveying a reënforcement of two hundred and fifty soldiers and supplies for the destitute garrison, was fired upon from newly-erected earthworks.

The spring came with flowers and birds, but the angry storm of rebellion beat around Sumter with increasing fury. Iron-clad batteries had risen on every hand to cut off the approach of our ships, and grim ordnance now pointed toward the old fortress.

April 12th a messenger approached it with a very brief message to Major Anderson; it was, “Surrender!” The reply was nearly as short: “His sense of honor and his obligations to the Government would prevent compliance.”

A few hours after, and “boom! boom!” was the sound, followed with shot and shell, against Sumter’s walls, which opened a bloody civil war. In the iron hail the fort was scarred, and its ground covered with exploding shells. At length the band, one-third the number of the famous warriors at Thermopylæ, against ten thousand, saw the hopelessness of resistance, and made honorable terms to themselves, of surrender. Every telegraphic wire in the land, North and South, trembled to the tidings of the battle hour.

The Hon. Thomas Ewing wrote Charles Taylor Sherman, of Washington, the brother of William Tecumseh, to use his influence to get the latter again into the army. He felt that he was, and would be needed. The intelligent, patriotic mind of the captain did not require light for action, but only opportunity.

Our railroad superintendent at St. Louis thought that all observant people must see that a terrible conflict had begun, and like Grant in Galena, left his office to offer his services to the Government, and his life, if that should be the sacrifice, included in their acceptance. He hastened to the nation’s capital. Soon after reaching Washington he called on Secretary Cameron.

“Mr. Secretary, civil war is imminent, and we are unprepared for it. I have come to offer my services to the country in the struggle before us.”

“I think,” replies Mr. Cameron, “the ebullition of feeling will soon subside, we shall not need many troops.”

Indeed the Secretary was quite surprised, if not annoyed, at the earnestness of Captain Sherman. He next sought an interview with the President, and made a similar statement and offer to him. The good President was inclined to take the whole thing as a joke. After listening to the serious enthusiasm expressed in the strong appeal, he replied, pleasantly: “We shall not need many more like you; the whole affair will soon blow over.”

He left the Chief Magistrate of a republic whose very existence he knew was assailed, with a shadow of disappointment on his brave, loyal spirit—not for himself, but for the cause near his heart. Friends then advised him to go to Ohio and superintend the organization of three months’ men there. He declared “it would be as wise to undertake to extinguish the flames of a burning building with a squirt gun, as to put down the rebellion with three months’ troops.”

To talk of any thing less than a gigantic war was to him absurd. But he was then nearly alone in his just estimate of the struggle.


The Conflict Deepens—The Captain is made Colonel of the Thirteenth New York Volunteers—The Battle of Bull Run—The unterrified Commander of the Thirteenth and his Troops—The Brave Stand.

INSTEAD of “blowing over,” the storm of rebellion grew darker, and extended toward every point of the horizon. The appointment of Captain Sherman to an important command was discussed and urged by those who knew him. And what do you think he said? You recollect our Lieutenant-General, when he asked the privilege of serving his country, declined a generalship because too modest to aspire to its honors. The lamented Major-General Mitchel desired any place, however humble, where he might defend the Stars and Stripes. And said the gallant Sherman: “I do not wish a prominent place; this is to be a long and bloody war.”

Real ability to achieve, and moral worth, are never boastful and impatient to astonish the people. Even the great rebel General Lee, in a letter recently published, urges the same unassuming, calm performance of present duty upon his son: quoting as an illustration the “old Puritan,” who in the early period of our legislation, when the day suddenly became outwardly dark, as if the sun had disappeared from the heavens, causing a pause of alarm, some fearing the judgment-day was at hand, called for a light, saying he wished to proceed to business, and be found at his post of duty when the final catastrophe came. This is good counsel for us all, though from a rebel’s pen.

General McDowell, who was then one of our most popular commanders, seems to have had a just appreciation of Sherman. He wanted his services; and on the 13th of June, 1861, offered him the colonelcy of the Thirteenth Infantry in the regular army, the command dating May 14th of that year.

A month of preparation for the field passed, and the first great meeting of the opposing armies summoned him to the war-path. July 16th, General McDowell, with thirty-two thousand five hundred men, moved in four divisions upon Manassas, through which lay the route to Richmond, the capital of Virginia and of the Confederacy. From Arlington Heights, Long Bridge, and Alexandria, the troops marched proudly forward, anticipating an early victory.

Never before, my young reader, did a large army go to the plain of carnage with hearts so light and gay—“as if on a pic-nic excursion.” It was a splendid, and to most of the troops a novel spectacle, that march upon the “sacred soil” of the “Old Dominion,” to the animating notes of “The Star Spangled Banner” and other national airs. July 21st, the Sabbath day, the signals of battle were seen in our lines, regardless of the hallowed time, and confident of an almost bloodless conquest.

Colonel Bowman, one of General Sherman’s officers since, and a faithful friend, has given a clear and unvarnished story of his part in the affray:

“The enemy had planted a battery on Warrenton turnpike, to command the passage of Bull Run, and seized the stone bridge which crossed it, erecting a heavy abatis to prevent our advance in that direction. The object of the battle was to force this position, with a view to subsequent operations beyond. The army engaged was commanded by Brigadier-General McDowell. The fourth division was left in the rear. The first, second, third, and fifth were commanded respectively by Brigadier-General Tyler, and Colonels Hunter, Heintzelman, and Miles. In the plan of battle, Miles was to be in reserve on the Centreville Ridge; Tyler was to advance directly in front of Stone Bridge, on the Warrenton road, and cannonade the enemy’s batteries; Hunter and Heintzelman were to move to the right and cross the run above, and get to the enemy’s rear. Colonel Sherman commanded the third brigade in Tyler’s (first) division, consisting of troops since renowned for gallantry—Captain Ayres’ Regular Battery, the Thirteenth, Sixty-ninth, and Seventy-ninth New York, and Second Wisconsin infantry.

“The advance was commenced on the morning of the 21st, and a part of Hunter’s and Heintzelman’s divisions, according to McDowell’s official report, ‘forced the enemy back far enough to allow Sherman’s and Keyes’s brigades of Tyler’s division to cross from their position on the Warrenton road. These drove the right of the enemy, understood to have been commanded by Beauregard, from the front of the field, and out of the detached woods, and down the road, and across it, up the slopes, on the other side.’ Pressing on, these two brigades, with the two divisions on the right, came upon an elevated ridge or table of land. Here was the severest fighting of the famous battle. Sherman led his brigade directly up the Warrenton road, and held his ground till the general order came to retreat. It will be the verdict of history that the fighting at Bull Run was no more disgraceful to us than the unsuccessful fighting of the French at Waterloo. It was the disorganized rout after the day was done that showed that our army was as yet but an undisciplined rabble. The day was lost partly by the delay in attack, but chiefly by the arrival of reënforcements under Johnston, when victory was already in our hands. General Patterson was the Grouchy of our Waterloo.

“One fact in the battle has hitherto escaped comment. The orders of Tyler’s division were to cross Bull Run, when possible, and join Hunter on the right. This was done, Sherman leading off, with the Sixty-ninth New York in advance, and encountering a party of the enemy retreating along a cluster of pines. Lieutenant-Colonel Haggerty, of the Sixty-ninth, without orders, rode over to intercept their retreat, and was shot dead by the enemy. Furious at his loss, the Sixty-ninth sprang forward and opened fire, which was returned. ‘But,’ says Sherman, ‘determined to effect our junction with Hunter’s division, I ordered the fire to cease, and we proceeded with caution toward the field, where we then plainly saw our forces engaged.’ Turning to Colonel Burnside’s official report, we shall find that he was at this time overwhelmingly pressed by the enemy. It was a critical juncture. At length Major Sykes’s battalion of regulars came up, and staggered the enemy, and at the same moment Sherman came marching over the hill. ‘It was Sherman’s brigade,’ says Burnside, ‘that arrived at about twelve and a half o’clock, and by a most deadly fire assisted in breaking the enemy’s lines.’ So much for soldierly promptness and strict obedience to orders. From the vigor with which Sherman fought his brigade, the loss in his four regiments was one hundred and five killed, two hundred and two wounded, two hundred and ninety-three wounded or missing, with six killed and three wounded in the battery, making a total of six hundred and nine, the whole division losing eight hundred and fifty-nine. The loss of the army, excluding prisoners and stragglers, was computed thus: killed, four hundred and seventy-nine; wounded, eleven hundred and eleven; total killed and wounded, fifteen hundred and ninety. When the conduct of Sherman had become known, the Ohio delegation in Congress unanimously urged his immediate promotion. This was easily effected, and on the 3d of August, 1861, he was confirmed a brigadier-general of volunteers.”

Colonel Sherman’s brigade was the only one which retired from the field in order, making a stand at the bridge on the track to Washington, to dispute bravely “the right of way,” should the enemy pursue our panic-stricken forces toward the capital.


General Sherman goes to Kentucky—Muldraugh’s Hill—His army weakened—General Buckner’s superior force—Succeeds General Anderson—Writes General McClellan—Interview with Secretary Cameron—Paducah.

AWAY on the borders of Kentucky the tramp of war was heard. The hero of Sumter, General Anderson, was in command of the department. With the advent of autumn, the Union Home Guards of Kentucky, with other troops, had gathered to the banks of the Rolling Fork of Salt River—a branch two hundred feet wide and only three feet deep. Two miles from the road crossing lie the Muldraugh’s Hills, rising in romantic outline. Half way upon the ascent runs the railroad, whose bridge is trestle-work ninety feet high; it then enters Tunnel Hill, emerging into an open plain.

General Buckner, the rebel commander, was at Bowling Green, looking toward Louisville, where he boasted he would spend the winter. General Sherman was sent to join General Anderson, the second in command, and moved his force to Muldraugh’s Hills. Buckner had burned the bridge; the Home Guards were withdrawn; and the enemy’s troops numbered twenty-five thousand. To retire to Elizabethtown with the five thousand Union soldiers was the best that General Sherman could do.

At this crisis General Anderson resigned his command on account of ill health, and the mantle of authority fell on General Sherman; no very desirable honor at that time, for “most of the fighting young men of Kentucky had gone to join the rebels. The non-combatants were divided in sentiment, and most of them far from friendly. He lacked men, and most of those he had were poorly armed. He lacked, also, means of transportation and munitions of war; and if the rebel generals had known his actual condition, they could have captured or driven his forces across the Ohio in less than ten days. He applied earnestly and persistently for reënforcements, and, at the same time, took every possible precaution to conceal his weakness from the enemy, as well as from the loyal public. At that time newspaper reporters were not always discreet, and often obtained and published the very facts that should have been concealed. He issued a stringent order excluding all reporters and correspondents from his lines. This brought down upon him the indignation of the press. More unfortunately still, he failed to impress the Secretary of War with the necessities of his position and the importance of holding it. On the 3d of November he telegraphed to General McClellan the condition of affairs, with the number of his several forces, showing them to be everywhere, except at one single point, outnumbered, and concluded his despatch with the emphatic remark, ‘Our forces are too small to do good, and too large to be sacrificed.’

“In reply, General McClellan asks, ‘How long could McCook keep Buckner out of Louisville, holding the railroad, with power to destroy it inch by inch?’—giving no hint of a purpose to send reënforcements, but looking to the probable abandonment of Kentucky. Previous to this, General Sherman had had an interview with Secretary Cameron, in presence of Adjutant-General Thomas, at Lexington, Kentucky, and fully explained to him the situation of his command, and also of the armies opposed to him; and, on being asked what force was necessary for a successful forward movement in his department, answered, ‘Two hundred thousand men.’ By the 1st of November, Adjutant-General Thomas’s official report of this conversation, in all its details, was published in most of the newspapers of the country, giving the enemy full knowledge of many important facts relating to General Sherman’s department. He was too weak to defend his lines; and the enemy knew it. He had no hope of reënforcements, and, withal, was evidently in discredit with the War Department, as being too apprehensive of the power, strength, and resources of the enemy. He, therefore, felt he could not successfully conduct the campaign, and asked to be relieved. He was succeeded by General Buell, who was at once reënforced, and enabled to hold his defensive positions until Grant, the following spring, should advance down the Mississippi and up the Cumberland.

“General Sherman was now set down as ‘crazy,’ and quietly retired to the command of Benton Barracks, near St. Louis. The evidence of his insanity was his answer to the Secretary of War—that to make a successful advance against the enemy, then strongly posted at all strategic points from the Mississippi to Cumberland Gap, would require an army two hundred thousand strong! The answer was the inspiration or the judgment of a military genius; but to the mind of Mr. Secretary Cameron it was the prophecy of a false wizard.

“It has been said of the Spaniards, ‘that they generally managed to have an army when they had no general, and a general when they had no army;’ and during the first years of the war we surpassed in folly their example. It was vainly expected the rebellion could effectually be put down without either a general or an army, by a mere flourish of trumpets—as if the foundations of the Confederacy, like the walls of Jericho, would yield and fall at the blowing of a ram’s horn. Subsequent events have sufficiently vindicated General Sherman’s opinion expressed in his reply to the Secretary of War.

“Meantime General Halleck succeeded to the command of the Department of the West, and General Sherman was not long allowed to remain in charge of a recruiting-rendezvous at St. Louis. When General Grant moved on Fort Donelson, Sherman was intrusted with the forwarding to him of reënforcements and supplies from Paducah. General Grant subsequently acknowleged himself ‘greatly indebted for his promptness’ in discharging that duty. After the capture of that stronghold, General Sherman was put in command of the fifth division of Grant’s army at Pittsburg Landing. At the same time Beauregard was industriously collecting the rebel forces at Corinth, a strong strategic point, well fortified, thirty miles distant. Grant had moved up from Fort Donelson, and Buell was on his way.”

How grandly General Grant and Commodore Foote did their work at Forts Henry and Donelson! What deeds of valor were performed by our Western boys, whose couch at night was the snowy earth, reddened with the blood of carnage!

But while that storm of conflict was raging, an officer who had no superior, and longed to enter its perils and glory for his native land and his own loyal West, was patiently, and “without observation,” sending, with an intelligent appreciation of what was needed, and remarkable promptness, supplies for the heroes of the great border battles. General Grant knew the value of that service, and warmly expressed in his despatches his “indebtedness to General Sherman” for his activity, his timely and indispensable aid, apart from the bloody field.

My reader will recollect that the fall of Fort Donelson, about the middle of February, 1862, startled the whole of “rebeldom.” The strongest fortress in the West was taken. The next position in importance was Corinth, because at the junction of the Memphis and Charleston and the Mobile and Ohio Railroads. Memphis, the enemy knew, must soon be the prize for which our victorious troops would strike.

“Corinth must be defended!” was the cry from the South. General Beauregard, the hero of Sumter and Bull Run, hastened to the field of conflict, to lend the power of his name and generalship to the cause of treason.

General Grant had moved the gunboats after the surrender of Fort Donelson down the Cumberland and up the Tennessee River to Pittsburg Landing, making Savannah, ten miles distant, his own headquarters.

General Buell, with the Army of the Ohio, was marching toward this point to join him, from the pursuit of General Johnston through Nashville. The rebel officers decided to concentrate their forces, by the railroads in their possession, unexpectedly upon the Union army before Buell could get there, and after annihilating it, turn upon him and scatter his battalions. The enemy kept his counsels well, while preparing to hurl his legions upon our columns.


Pittsburg Landing—The Surprise—The Battle—The Victory—Sherman’s glorious part in the Struggle—The Testimony of Officers—His Letter on the Contest.

PITTSBURG is the nearest point to Corinth on the river, three miles from which, in the sparsely settled country, is the old log building called Shiloh Church—a dilapidated sanctuary of primitive, or rather backwoods style. Around this desolate place of former worship lay General Sherman’s division, bordering both sides of the lower road to Corinth.

Sunday morning, April 6th, the fifty thousand men or more, under such leaders as Beauregard, Johnston, Breckinridge, and Polk, fell upon the army of the Republic, emerging from their forest paths like spectres in the early light. “Carleton,” who was there, and carefully went over the field of conflict to know all that was done, thus notices our hero:

“Sherman’s pickets were being driven back by the rapid advance of the rebel lines. It was a little past sun-rise when they came in, breathless, with startling accounts that the entire rebel army was at their heels. The officers were not out of bed. The soldiers were just stirring, rubbing their eyes, putting on their boots, washing at the brook, or tending their camp kettles. Their guns were in their tents; they had a small supply of ammunition. It was a complete surprise. Officers jumped from their beds, tore open the tent-flies, and stood in undress to see what it was all about. The rebel pickets rushed up within close musket range and fired.

“ ‘Fall in! Form a line! here, quick!’ were the orders from the officers.

“There was running in every direction. Soldiers for their guns, officers for their sabres, artillerists to their pieces, teamsters to their horses. There was hot haste, and a great hurly-burly.

“General Hardee made a mistake at the outset. Instead of rushing up with a bayonet charge upon Sherman’s camp, and routing his unformed brigades in an instant, as he might have done, he unlimbered his batteries and opened fire.

“When the alarm was given General Sherman was instantly on his horse. He sent a request to McClernand to support Hilderbrand. He also sent word to Prentiss that the enemy were in front, but Prentiss had already made the discovery, and was contending with all his might against the avalanche rolling upon him from the ridge south of his position. He sent word to Hurlbut that a force was needed in the gap between the church and Prentiss. He was everywhere present, dashing along his lines, paying no attention to the constant fire aimed at him and his staff by the rebel skirmishers, within short musket range. They saw him, knew that he was an officer of high rank, saw that he was bringing order out of confusion, and tried to pick him off. While galloping down to Hilderbrand, his orderly, Halliday, was killed.

“Sherman tried to hold his position by the church. He considered it to be of the utmost importance. He did not want to lose his camp. He exhibited great bravery. His horse was shot, and he mounted another. That also was killed, and he took a third, and, before night, lost his fourth. He encouraged his men, not only by his words but by his reckless daring. Captain Behr had been posted on the Purdy road with his battery, and had had but little part in the fight. He was falling back, closely followed by Pond.

“ ‘Come into position out there on the right,’ said Sherman, pointing to the place where he wanted him to unlimber. Then came a volley from the woods. A shot struck the captain from his horse. The drivers and gunners became frightened and rode off with the caissons, leaving five unspiked guns to fall into the hands of the rebels! Sherman and Taylor, and other officers, by their coolness, bravery, and daring, saved Buckland’s and McDowell’s brigades from a panic; and thus, after four hours of hard fighting, Sherman was obliged to leave his camp and fall back behind McClernand, who now was having, a fierce fight with the brigades which had pushed in between Prentiss and Sherman.”

You shall hear from the general’s fellow-officers about his appearance and gallantry on this terrible field of strife. A brave cavalry officer said of him: “Having occasion to report personally to General Sherman, about noon of the first day of Shiloh, I found him dismounted, his arm in a sling, his hand bleeding, his horse dead, himself covered with dust, his face besmeared with powder and blood. He was giving directions at the moment to Major Taylor, his chief of artillery, who had just brought a battery into position. Mounted orderlies were coming and going in haste; staff officers were making anxious inquiries; everybody but himself seemed excited. The battle was raging terrifically in every direction. Just then there seemed to be universal commotion on our right, where it was observed our men were giving back. ‘I was looking for that,’ said Sherman, ‘but I am ready for them.’ His quick, sharp eye flashed, and his war-begrimed face beamed with satisfaction. The enemy’s packed columns now made their appearance, and as quickly the guns which Sherman had so carefully placed in position began to speak. The deadly effect on the enemy was apparent. While Sherman was still managing the artillery, Major Sanger, a staff officer, called his attention to the fact that the enemy’s cavalry were charging toward the battery. ‘Order up those two companies of infantry,’ was the quick reply, and the general coolly went on with his guns. The cavalry made a gallant charge, but their horses carried back empty saddles. The enemy was evidently foiled. Our men, gaining fresh courage, rallied again, and for the first time that day the enemy was held stubbornly in check. A moment more and he fell back over the piles of his dead and wounded.”

General Rousseau, a division officer of Buell’s Army of the Cumberland, speaks of him in the following handsome manner:

“He gave us our first lessons in the field in the face of an enemy; and of all the men I ever saw he is the most untiring, vigilant, and patient. No man that ever lived could surpass him. His enemies say that he was surprised at Shiloh. I tell you no. He was not surprised nor whipped, for he fights by the week. Devoid of ambition, incapable of envy, he is brave, gallant, and just. At Shiloh his old legion met him just as the battle was ended; and at the sight of him, placing their hats upon their bayonets, gave him three cheers. It was a touching and fitting compliment to the gallant chieftain. I am thankful for this occasion to do justice to a brave, honest, and knightly gentleman.”

Nor did he escape the attention of his commanding officer. General Grant, in a letter to the War Department, under date of July 25, 1863, said:

“At the battle of Shiloh, on the last day, he held, with raw troops, the key point of the landing. It is no disparagement to any other officer to say that I do not believe there was another division commander on the field who had the skill and experience to have done it. To his individual efforts I am indebted for the success of that battle.”

Writes Colonel Bowman: “He formed his first line of battle on the brow of a hill, or rather ridge, on the west of Lick and Owl Creeks, which served as a natural fortification. The men, by lying down or retiring a few steps, were well covered, and, by rising and advancing a few paces, could deliver their fire with terrible effect. But his troops were mostly green, and wholly untrained in the art of war. The rebel onset was well directed, rapid, and most persistent. Some of Sherman’s regiments broke and fled, while others fought like veterans. The fight soon became general; Beauregard hurled his massed columns with great impetuosity against our attenuated lines, which, though yielding to the pressure, did not break. The rebels gained ground inch by inch, but could do no more than compress the semicircle of our line of battle. Beauregard had promised his troops to drive us into the Tennessee that day before three o’clock, but nightfall found him contemplating the chances of successful retreat; for Buell had arrived. Sherman’s conduct on that day showed him to be a man of the first order of military talent. He was not disconcerted by the panic among his green troops, and, indeed, had expected it. All he asked was, that a reasonable number should remain and obey orders; and in an American army there can always be found a goodly proportion of officers and men incapable of being cowards under any circumstances. With such he did battle on the 6th of April, 1862—a day long to be remembered, as the day of the battle of Shiloh. There was not a commanding general on the field who did not rely on Sherman, and look to him as our chief hope; and there is no question that but for Sherman our army would have been destroyed. He rode from place to place, directing his men; he selected from time to time the positions for his artillery; he dismounted and managed the guns; he sent suggestions to commanders of divisions; he inspired everybody with confidence; and yet it never occurred to him that he had accomplished any thing worthy of remark.”

General Nelson, a few days before his death, in conversation with Larz Anderson and two or three other gentlemen, said: “During eight hours, the fate of the army on the field of Shiloh depended on the life of one man: if General Sherman had fallen, the army would have been captured or destroyed.”

General Halleck, in his despatch to the Secretary of War, recommending General Sherman for promotion, said of him: “It is the unanimous opinion here that Brigadier-General W. T. Sherman saved the fortunes of the day on the 6th of April, and contributed largely to the glorious victory of the 7th. He was in the thickest of the fight on both days, having three horses killed under him, and being wounded twice. I respectfully request that he be made a major-general of volunteers, to date from the 6th instant.”

Acting upon this recommendation, General Sherman was promoted to the rank designated, to date from May 1st, 1862.

I shall give you now a letter of considerable length, written by General Sherman himself about the battle. Some of my readers may not care to read it all; but it should have a place in the annals of his life, because it is one of many illustrations of his power with the pen, and is also his honest and truthful record of the great contest at Pittsburg Landing:


Headquarters Military Division Mississippi.

Professor Henry Coppee, Philadelphia:

Dear Sir: In the June number of the United States Service Magazine I find a brief sketch of Lieutenant-General U. S. Grant, in which I see you are likely to perpetuate an error, which General Grant may not deem of sufficient importance to correct. To General Buell’s noble, able, and gallant conduct you attribute the fact that the disaster of April 6th, at Pittsburg Landing, was retrieved, and made the victory of the following day. As General Taylor is said in his later days to have doubted whether he was at the battle of Buena Vista at all, on account of the many things having transpired there, according to the historians, which he did not see, so I begin to doubt whether I was at the battle of Pittsburg Landing of modern description. But I was at the battles of April 6th and 7th, 1862. General Grant visited my division in person about ten a. m., when the battle raged fiercest. I was then on the right.

“After some general conversation, he remarked that I was doing right in stubbornly opposing the progress of the enemy; and, in answer to my inquiry as to cartridges, told me he had anticipated their want, and given orders accordingly; he then said his presence was more needed over at the left. About two p. m. on the 6th, the enemy materially slackened his attack on me, and about four p. m. I deliberately made a new line behind McArthur’s drill field, placing batteries on chosen ground, repelled easily a cavalry attack, and watched the cautious approach of the enemy’s infantry, that never dislodged me there. I selected that line in advance of a bridge across Snake Creek, by which we had all day been expecting the approach of Lew. Wallace’s division from Crump’s Landing. About five p. m., before the sun set, General Grant came again to me, and, after hearing my report of matters, explained to me the situation of affairs on the left, which were not as favorable. Still the enemy had failed to reach the landing of the boat.

“We agreed that the enemy had expended the furore of his attack, and we estimated our loss, and approximated our then strength, including Lew. Wallace’s fresh division, expected each minute. He then ordered me to get all things ready, and at daylight the next day to assume the offensive. That was before General Buell had arrived, but he was known to be near at hand. General Buell’s troops took no essential part in the first day’s fight, and Grant’s army, though collected together hastily, green as militia, some regiments arriving without cartridges even, and nearly all hearing the dread sound of battle for the first time, had successfully withstood and repelled the first day’s terrific onset of a superior enemy, well commanded and well handled. I know I had orders from General Grant to assume the offensive before I knew General Buell was on the west side of the Tennessee. I think General Buell, Colonel Fry, and others of General Buell’s staff, rode up to where I was about sunset, about the time General Grant was leaving me. General Buell asked me many questions, and got of me a small map, which I had made for my own use, and told me that by daylight he could have eighteen thousand fresh men, which I knew would settle the matter.

“I understood Grant’s forces were to advance on the right of the Corinth road and Buell’s on the left, and accordingly at daylight I advanced my division by the flank, the resistance being trivial, up to the very spot where the day before the battle had been most severe, and then waited till near noon for Buell’s troops to get up abreast, when the entire line advanced and recovered all the ground we had ever held. I know that with the exception of one or two struggles, the fighting of April 7th was easy as compared with that of April 6th.

“I never was disposed, nor am I now, to question any thing done by General Buell and his army, and know that, approaching our field of battle from the rear, he encountered that sickening crowd of laggards and fugitives that excited his contempt and that of his army, who never gave full credit to those in the front line, who did fight hard, who had, at two p. m., checked the enemy, and were preparing the next day to assume the offensive. I remember the fact the better from General Grant’s anecdote of the Donelson battle, which he told me then for the first time—that, at a certain period of the battle, he saw that either side was ready to give way if the other showed a bold front, and he determined to do that very thing, to advance on the enemy, when, as he prognosticated, the enemy surrendered.

“At four p. m. of April 6th, he thought the appearances the same, and he judged, with Lew. Wallace’s fresh division, and such of our startled troops as had recovered their equilibrium, he would be justified in dropping the defensive and assuming the offensive in the morning. And, I repeat, I received such orders before I knew General Buell’s troops were at the river. I admit that I was glad Buell was there, because I knew his troops were older than ours, and better systematized and drilled, and his arrival made that certain which before was uncertain. I have heard this question much discussed, and must say that the officers of Buell’s army dwelt too much on the stampede of some of our raw troops, and gave us too little credit for the fact that for one whole day, weakened as we were by the absence of Buell’s army, long expected, of Lew. Wallace’s division, only four miles off, and of the fugitives from our ranks, we had beaten off our assailants for the time. At the same time our Army of the Tennessee have indulged in severe criticism at the slow approach of that army which knew the danger that threatened us from the concentrated armies of Johnston, Beauregard, and Bragg, that lay at Corinth.

“In a war like this, where opportunities for personal prowess are as plenty as blackberries, to those who seek them at the front, all such criminations should be frowned down; and were it not for the military character of your journal, I would not venture to offer a correction to a very popular error.

“I will also avail myself of this occasion to correct another very common mistake in attributing to General Grant the selection of that battle-field. It was chosen by that veteran soldier, Major-General Charles F. Smith, who ordered my division to disembark there, and strike for the Charleston Railroad. This order was subsequently modified by his ordering Hurlbut’s division to disembark there, and mine higher up the Tennessee to the mouth of Yellow Creek, to strike the railroad at Burnsville. But floods prevented our reaching the railroad, when General Smith ordered me in person also to disembark at Pittsburg Landing, and take post well out, so as to make plenty of room, with Snake and Lake Creeks the flanks of a camp for the grand army of invasion.

“It was General Smith who selected that field of battle, and it was well chosen. On any other we surely would have been overwhelmed, as both Lick and Snake Creeks forced the enemy to confine his movements to a direct front attack, which new troops are better qualified to resist than where flanks are exposed to a real or chimerical danger. Even the divisions of that army were arranged in that camp by General Smith’s orders, my division forming, as it were, the outlying pickets, whilst McClernand’s and Prentiss’s were the real line-of-battle, with W. H. L. Wallace in support of the right wing, and Hurlbut on the left; Lew. Wallace’s division being detached. All these subordinate dispositions were made by the order of General Smith, before General Grant succeeded him in the command of all the forces up the Tennessee—headquarters, Savannah.

“If there were any error in putting that army on the west side of the Tennessee, exposed to the superior force of the enemy also assembling at Corinth, the mistake was not General Grant’s; but there was no mistake. It was necessary that a combat, fierce and bitter, to test the manhood of the two armies, should come off, and that was as good as any. It was not then a question of military skill and strategy, but of courage and pluck, and I am convinced that every life lost that day to us was necessary; for otherwise at Corinth, at Memphis, at Vicksburg, we would have found harder resistance, had we not shown our enemies that, rude and untutored as we then were, we could fight as well as they.

“Excuse so long a letter, which is very unusual for me; but of course my life is liable to cease at any moment, and I happen to be a witness to certain truths which are now beginning to pass out of memory, and form what is called history.

“I also take great pleasure in adding that nearly all the new troops that at Shiloh drew from me official censure have more than redeemed their good name; among them that very regiment which first broke, the Fifty-third Ohio, Colonel Appen. Under another leader, Colonel Jones, it has shared every campaign and expedition of mine since, is with me now, and can march, and bivouac, and fight as well as the best regiment in this or any army. Its reputation now is equal to that of any from the State of Ohio.

“I am, with respect, yours truly,

W. T. Sherman, Major-General.”


Rarely for young and old is there a finer example of Professor Longfellow’s words in the Psalm of Life—

“Learn to labor and to wait,”

than this part of General Sherman’s career affords. He did his work well, and two years afterwards the military genius, unrecognized then by the country, filled the land with his praise.


The Morning after the Battle—General Sherman’s column in Motion—What it did—Corinth the next Goal—The Siege—The Evacuation—General Sherman’s troops the first to enter the Works—The Hero is made Major-General—Advance on Holly Springs—Memphis—General Sherman’s successful Command in that City—The Guerrillas.

THE eighth of April dawned upon the silent, sanguinary field of recent conflict. Soon large companies of men were moving from the Union camps with spades and other implements of burial, to lay in trenches the heaps of the slain. The weather was warm in that southern latitude, and General Grant hastened the work of interment alike of slaughtered friends and foes.

General Beauregard wrote to our commander, requesting leave to take rebel bodies from our lines under flag of truce; but other hands were completing the sad labor for the disfigured, blood-stained, and pulseless warriors.

Look away from that scene, after the battle, along the Corinth road, and you see the serried files of living men, led by the unresisting Sherman, dashing along in hot pursuit of the enemy. The chief of the fifth division, with a force of cavalry and two brigades of infantry, is in the war-path again. Suddenly appear the white tents of the abandoned camps of the enemy, and hospital flags are flying over them in the early breeze. What does it mean? They are false signals, hung out to deceive the pursuing commander, and protect the deserted canvas cities. Onward the sagacious, daring leader hurries after the foe.

And now a shout rings from the lips of our “boys.” The rebel cavalry are in sight. A few moments later swords cross, pistols crack, and horses rush together in the strife. Then the “graybacks” turn and fly, leaving the field, camps, and all, to our victorious ranks. The work of destruction followed. Tents, arms, ammunition, were mingled in a common ruin. The road for miles was lined with wagons the foe were compelled to leave in their haste to get out of our way; ambulances stood unused, although thousands of the mangled were in need of them; limber-boxes, which belong to the guns, were also abandoned; indeed, every thing showed a hurried retreat, which but for the cavalry in the rear to cover the flight of the infantry, would have been a complete rout of the enemy.

The victor returned from his gallant exploit only to repeat it. The general advance toward Corinth immediately followed. The fifth division swept over the country, which was arrayed in vernal verdure and bloom. The birds sang as sweetly as in any former spring-time, startled beside the highway only by the tramp of the marching host.

May 17th the first shock came. The division of General Grant’s army under Sherman, met the rebels in a severe conflict on the road to Corinth. They had to fall back before the human tide, crested with fire and steel. This brief contest only opened the way to the fortress of rebel strength. And the question was, how shall Corinth be taken? It must either be by direct and bloody assault, or by siege, surrounding it, and compelling the imprisoned army to surrender.

Beauregard watched with sleepless vigilance his foe. He ordered troops to intrench on a ridge near Philip’s Creek and oppose the Union forces. General Jeff. C. Davis approached the works; then, feigning a retreat, drew the garrison out, when a severe struggle defeated the enemy completely. This occurred May 21st; and, on the 27th, General Sherman also had a fight with the rebels.

The decisive hour at length has come; all is activity and excitement. We cannot furnish you a more vivid description of the stirring and awfully sublime scenes of such a crisis in army operations, than one given in a letter from this field of conquest:

“Regiments and artillery are placed in position, and, generally, the cavalry is in advance; but when the opposing forces are in close proximity, the infantry does the work. The whole front is covered by a cloud of skirmishers, then reserves formed, and then, in connection with the main line, they advance. For a moment all is still as the grave to those in the background; as the line moves on, the eye is strained in vain to follow the skirmishers as they creep silently forward; then, from some point of the line, a single rifle rings through the forest, sharp and clear, and, as if in echo, another answers it. In a moment more the whole line resounds with the din of arms. Here the fire is slow and steady, there it rattles with fearful rapidity; and the whole is mingled with the roar of the reserves as the skirmishers are at any part driven in; and if, by reason of superior force, these reserves fall back to the main force, then every nook and corner seems full of sound. The batteries open their terrible voices, and their shells sing horribly while winging their flight, and their dull explosion speaks plainly of death; their canister and grape go crashing through the trees, rifles ring, the muskets roar, and the din is terrific. Then the slackening of the fire denotes the withdrawing of the one party, and the more distant picket firing that the work was accomplished. The silence becomes almost painful after such a scene as this, and no one can conceive the effect who has not experienced it. The line of works was selected, and, at the word of command, three thousand men, with axes, spades, and picks, stepped out into the open field from their cover in the woods. In almost as short a time as it takes to tell it, the fence rails which surrounded and divided three hundred farm lots, were on the shoulders of the men, and on the way to the intended line of works. Then, as, for a time, the ditches deepen, the dirt is packed on the outer side, the bushes and all points of concealment are cleared from the front, and the centre divisions of our army has taken a long stride toward the rebel works. The siege guns are brought and placed in commanding positions. A log-house furnishes the hewn and seasoned timber for the platforms, and the plantation of a southern lord has been thus speedily transformed into one of Uncle Sam’s strongholds, where the Stars and Stripes float proudly.

“Soon after daylight, on Friday morning, the army was startled by rapid and long-continued explosions, similar to musketry, but much louder. The conviction flashed across my mind that the rebels were blowing up their loose ammunition, and leaving. The dense smoke arising in the direction of Corinth strengthened this belief, and soon the whole army was advancing on a grand reconnaissance. The distance through the woods was short, and in a few minutes shouts arose from the rebel lines, which told that our army was in their trenches. Regiment after regiment pressed on, and passing through extensive camps just vacated, soon reached Corinth, and found half of it in flames.”

The troops under General Sherman were first in the works. Their columns, as we have seen, were conspicuous in the entire and triumphant progress from Shiloh, sustaining the heaviest blows, and bearing aloft proudly the banner of the republic. General Sherman was in subordinate command, but in his field of action he was the uniformly wise, shrewd, daring, and successful leader. Wrote General Grant: “His services as division commander in the advance on Corinth, I will venture to say, were appreciated by the new general-in-chief beyond any other division commander.” He was appointed major-general of volunteers, dating from May 1st, 1862.

Holly Springs, of which you will read more hereafter, is situated on the railroad from Jackson, Tennessee, to New Orleans. June 20th, General Sherman coolly relieved the rebels of its care, and took possession himself, burning long stretches of trestle-work on the Mississippi Central Railroad, to prevent an unpleasant surprise by the rebels. They had removed their machinery for making and repairing arms to Atlanta, Georgia, not dreaming of a visit to that city two years later by the division-general at Holly Springs.

A few weeks after these events, July 11th, General Halleck was ordered to Washington in the high position of generalissimo of the Union armies, and a reorganization of them followed. General Grant was placed in command of the “Department of West Tennessee,” covering a large territory bordering the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers. Memphis, which had surrendered June 6th, was a very important base of operations and supplies. But guerrillas and contraband traders infested the country around, making the city a dangerous haunt of traitors from the border-land. General Grant displayed his wisdom in sending General Sherman to the post, declaring that he could the most effectually restore order and security to that disturbed district. Soon quiet reigned, guerrillas disappeared, and villanous traders went to more comfortable quarters. General Sherman did all and more than General Grant expected of him. He was just, humane, and yet severe in his administration, according to his views freely and often expressed; that when people appeal to war for the settlement of claims, they must abide entirely by the rules and consequences of so terrible a means of real or imaginary redress. His ideas were comprehensive, and, had they prevailed at an earlier period, our Government and commanders would have ended the civil strife long ago, we cannot doubt.


General Sherman’s next Post—The Steele’s Bayou Expedition—A Trial of Courage—The Leader’s Heroism.

TO secure the forces necessary for a new movement against Vicksburg, General Grant requested the War Department to reunite the thirteenth and fifteenth corps with his own. Accordingly, after the completion of the work of destruction of rebel defences and munitions at Arkansas Post, the troops reported to him at Memphis.

The country was then excited over a quiet, and yet startling act of the Chief Magistrate—one which would be felt over the world, and through all ages—the Proclamation of Emancipation! General Grant immediately addressed himself to the enforcement of its provisions within the limits of his command. Thousands wept for joy; thousands more trembled or cursed with alarm over the immortal document. Issuing his order in harmony with it, he soon after removed a portion of his magnificent army to Young’s Point, in Louisiana, and another at Milliken’s Bend down the Mississippi River, taking up his headquarters at the former place, where General Sherman was also stationed with his troops.

There was now a new device to get around Vicksburg, and so open communication with forces below the city. Canals were tried, but heavy rains, and the troops being required to fight the floods rushing into camp and excavations, compelled the commander-in-chief to abandon the enterprise. Providence Lake and its connections, and Yazoo Pass, were successively explored, and the effort made to find a ship-path through the wild region.

Admiral Porter had been looking along the shores of the “Father of Waters,” to see if he could discover a highway or byway for his gunboats. About the middle of March, 1862, he told General Grant that he was quite sure he could get through by Steele’s Bayou, Black Bayou, to Duck Creek, thence to Deer Creek, into Rolling Fork, and down Sunflower River into the Yazoo, which empties into the Mississippi.


General Grant and Admiral Porter proceeded on the experimental excursion over these dark bayous. “And what are they?” you may ask.

A bayou is a channel or outlet running from a river to other waters—sometimes it is an old bed of the stream—forming thus connections by which vessels can pass from one stream to another.

General Grant returned to Young’s Point to send a pioneer corps to cut away moss-covered trees overhanging the waters, and obstructing the way. You can scarcely imagine the awful gloom and solitude of those tangled woods, whose drooping boughs and long plumes of moss sweep the surface of the dismal bayous.

Admiral Porter soon found that the enemy were on his track, and might shut him into the wilderness. He therefore sent to General Grant for troops. The ignorance of the country, and the difficult winding way, gave the rebels time to cut off the advance, and stop the bold travellers just when near their journey’s end.

General Sherman now appears in the adventure, ordered forward by his chief, to help the admiral out of the perilous spot.

The despatch from the Admiral having reached him March 21st, that the channel was obstructed, and the enemy six hundred strong, with field batteries disputing his advance, General Sherman, with the promptness and decision characteristic of his unsleeping martial spirit, issued his orders to the troops. They made a forced march, skirmishing part of the way, and reached the gunboats before night of the 22d, a distance of twenty-one miles, over a terrible road. But the brave fellows had learned that General Sherman always had a reason for his movements, and cheerfully advanced to the rescue through exhausting trial and peril. “During the day the enemy had been largely reënforced from the Yazoo, and now unmasked some five thousand men—infantry, cavalry, and artillery. The boats were surrounded with rebels, who had cut down trees before and behind them, were moving up artillery, and making every exertion to cut off retreat and capture our boats. A patrol was at once established for a distance of seven miles along Deer Creek, behind the boats, with a chain of sentinels outside of them, to prevent the felling of trees. For a mile and a half to Rolling Fork, the creek was full of obstructions. Heavy batteries were on its bank, supported by a large force. To advance was impossible; to retreat seemed almost hopeless. The gunboats had their ports all closed, and preparations made to resist boarders. The mortar boats were all ready for fire and explosion. The army lines were so close to each other that rebel officers wandered into our lines in the dark, and were captured. It was the second night without sleep aboard ship, and the infantry had marched twenty-one miles without rest. But the faithful force, with their energetic leader, kept successful watch and ward over the boats and their valuable artillery. At 7 o’clock that morning, the 22d, General Sherman received a despatch from the admiral, by the hands of a faithful contraband who came along through the rebel lines in the night, stating his perilous condition.”

He was now fairly shut up in the bayou by the rebels.

“The first firing of the gunboats was heard by General Sherman near the Shelby plantation. He urged his troops forward, and after an hour’s hard marching, the advance, deployed as skirmishers, came upon a body of the enemy who had passed by the force which had been engaged. Immediately engaging them, the enemy stood a while disconcerted by the unexpected attack, fought a short time, and gave way.

“The next effort of the rebels was to pass around our lines in the afternoon and night, and throw their whole force still further below us; General Stuart, with four regiments, marched on Hill’s plantation the same morning, having run his transports in the night, and immediately advanced one regiment up Deer Creek, and another still further to the right. The rebels, who were making a circuit about General Sherman, thus found the whole line occupied, and abandoned the attempt to cut off the gunboats for that day. During the afternoon the troops and gunboats all arrived at Hill’s plantation.

“There were destroyed by our troops and by the rebels at least two thousand bales of cotton, fifty thousand bushels of corn, and the gins and houses of the plantations whose owners had obstructed our progress, and joined in the warfare. The resources of the country we found ample to subsist the army at Vicksburg for some length of time, and by the destruction of them we crippled the enemy so far.”

The rescue of the admiral’s force was next thing to a miracle: it was God’s kind and timely interposition. A half hour’s delay in the movements of Generals Sherman and Stuart, or of the second forced march of the former, and all would have been lost. In the hands of a less gifted and energetic leader, one of our bravest admirals, with his fleet, would have been taken by the rebels, who were confident of the prey and booty.


The Position of the Western Forces—The Expedition against Vicksburg under General Sherman—The Just and Stringent Orders of the Chief—He shows the Speculators no Mercy—The Advance of the Grand Army Checked—The Embarkation of Troops—The Magnificent Pageant—The Progress and Arrival of the Fleet.

BEFORE following our brave commander further in his war-path, let us survey the field of action in the West. The goal of patriotic ambition was now the “Gibraltar of the Father of Waters”—Vicksburg. The great work of preparation to move went forward during the autumn and early winter under the eye of the patient, persistent Grant.

December 22d, 1862, he issued an order dividing the troops into four army corps, stating that “the fifth division, Brigadier-General Morgan L. Smith commanding, the division from Helena, Arkansas, commanded by Brigadier-General Steele, and the forces in the district of Memphis, will constitute the fifteenth army corps, and be commanded by Major-General W. T. Sherman.” Meanwhile, General Sherman had been quietly put in command of his forces, and ordered to sail for Friar’s Point, eighteen miles below Helena, and be ready to coöperate with the main body of troops under General Grant, in a combined movement on the stronghold. The former had been in the vicinity of the Tallahatchie River, making reconnaissances, and was acquainted with that country by this personal observation. He had issued an order of march which showed no mercy to speculators, and, as you will see, is marked with the clear thought and forcible words of its gifted author:

“1. The expedition now fitting out is purely of a military character, and the interests involved are of too important a nature to be mixed up with personal and private business. No citizen, male or female, will be allowed to accompany it, unless employed as part of a crew or as servants to the transports. Female chambermaids to the boats and nurses to the sick alone will be allowed, unless the wives of captains and pilots actually belonging to the boats. No laundress, officer’s, or soldier’s wife must pass below Helena.

“2. No person whatever, citizen, officer, or sutler, will, on any consideration, buy or deal in cotton or other produce of the country. Should any cotton be brought on board of any transport going or returning, the brigade quartermaster, of which the boat forms a part, will take possession of it, and invoice it to Captain A. R. Eddy, Chief Quartermaster at Memphis.

“3. Should any cotton or other produce be brought back to Memphis by any chartered boat, Captain Eddy will take possession of the same, and sell it for the benefit of the United States. If accompanied by its actual producer, the planter or factor, the quartermaster will furnish him with a receipt for the same to be settled for, on proof of his loyalty at the close of the war.

“4. Boats ascending the river may take cotton from the shore for bulkheads to protect their engines or crew, but on arrival at Memphis it will be turned over to the quartermaster, with a statement of the time, place, and name of its owner. The trade in cotton must await a more peaceful state of affairs.

“5. Should any citizen accompany the expedition below Helena, in violation of these orders, any colonel of a regiment or captain of a battery will conscript him into the service of the United States for the unexpired term of his command. If he show a refractory spirit unfitting him for a soldier, the commanding officer present will turn him over to the captain of the boat as a deck hand, and compel him to work in that capacity without wages until the boat returns to Memphis.

“6. Any person whatever, whether in the service of the United States or transports, found making reports for publication, which might reach the enemy, giving them information, aid, and comfort, will be arrested and treated as spies.”

The columns of the three army corps had advanced along the railroad leading from Grand Junction to Grenada, the advance passing onward through Holly Springs the last of November. By the middle of December General Grant’s headquarters were at Oxford, his face set toward Vicksburg. On the 20th occurred a painful and memorable affair to check the forward march. Although Gen. Grant had taken every precaution against raiding parties, a dash was made at Holly Springs in his rear, held by Colonel Murphy, who at once surrendered the post.

General Grant was indignant at the cowardly surrender, and immediately dismissed the unworthy officer from the service. In consequence of the destruction of supplies, the commander-in-chief had to fall back to Holly Springs and prepare to start again. While this serious interruption in the army’s progress was transpiring, General Sherman had located his headquarters on board of the Forest Queen with his staff. This magnificent fleet consisted of one hundred and twenty-seven steamers besides the gunboats. The troops were hardy, western men, unsurpassed in the ranks for the qualities of brave warriors.

War does not often present such a pageant as that of this armada sailing down the Tennessee and then the Mississippi Rivers. The Stars and Stripes waved over the crowded decks, and music floated over the waters. The grand procession of vessels moved majestically over the broad current, which in the sunlight reflected their forms, and in the evening unnumbered signal lanterns from mast and prow and stern. Various were the scenes and incidents of the voyage.

Writes a passenger: “Until we got below Helena, wood was so scarce on the river that it was only to be obtained by cutting it, either entirely green or from the water-logged drifts which had caught against the banks. Wherever a good placer was discovered, the boats lucky enough to find it landed and all hands went out with axes, and in a few hours enough was obtained to steam on to the next good place.

“When the fleet approached Napoleon, Arkansas, the Post Boy, which is a transportation boat, was in the advance, and as she neared the shore she was hailed by a person bearing a flag of truce, with the information that there was a band of guerrillas just below, waiting to fire upon her. At this time she was the only boat visible, but in a short time the remainder of the fleet made its appearance, and the guerrillas, if there were any, concluded, no doubt, that we were too many for them. At all events, at this point there was firing. The houses in the town appeared to be nearly all deserted, but in some of them could be seen persons standing back in the door, as if to escape the observation of their neighbors, and waving their handkerchiefs. Napoleon is the place where the first shot was fired at a Federal steamer on the Mississippi River, but there may be some Union people there nevertheless.

“As we reached Helena, very little of the city could be seen for the long line of tents stretched along the bank. The fleet stopped there for the night and took on the troops that were to accompany the expedition, and next morning started on for Friar’s Point, the first place of rendezvous. It lay there all night, and about nine o’clock next morning again started down the river, and reached Gaines’ Landing, one hundred and fifty miles below Helena, about two o’clock p. m., where it stopped to wood. As the fleet approached this point the bank appeared to be lined with negroes, who all started down the shore hurrahing and shouting and jumping, and cutting all kinds of antics. I learned from some of them that they thought the fleet was going down to set all the slaves free.

“When the boats landed, a negro gave information of a large store of wood of the best quality, amounting to more than two thousand cords, secreted in the timber near the bank, in a place where it would not readily have been found. This was a great prize, and was instantly levied on for the use of Uncle Sam. Every soldier able to do duty was sent on shore to pack wood, and by nightfall all the boats were well supplied for nearly the whole trip. Near the wood were some ten or twelve houses, one of them a very fine frame. The negroes said the owners had gone to join the Southern army, and the soldiers, without more ado, burned them all down. Many of the negroes, if not all, came on the boats, and are now under the protection of the army.

“At early light the next morning the fleet moved on again, and as General Morgan’s division came opposite a little village known as Wood Cottage Landing, some guerrillas, secreted in a clump of undergrowth, fired a volley at one of his transports. To teach them a lesson for the future, General Morgan sent some troops on shore and burnt every house in the neighborhood.

“Milliken’s Bend was to be the last rendezvous of the fleet before it started out for active operations on Vicksburg, and we arrived there about dark on the evening of the 24th December. The next day would be Christmas, and many of the soldiers had the idea that the fleet would sail right in without difficulty, and that they would take their Christmas dinner in Vicksburg. Many invitations were given among friends for a dinner at the Preston House. They little dreamed of the disappointment in store for them, or that New Year’s day would find them on the wrong side of the hill.

“On the night of the 24th, General Sherman sent out a detachment of troops, under command of General M. L. Smith, to tear up a section of the line of the Vicksburg and Texas Railroad, about ten miles west of Vicksburg. The work was well and quickly done, and the stations at Delhi and Dallas burned.

“At daylight next morning all was ready, and the fleet started for its destined port, which it reached on the banks of the Yazoo about noon the same day. Many years ago, about eight miles below the mouth of the Yazoo, the Mississippi cut a new channel for itself across a bend, coming into the main channel again just above Vicksburg. The Yazoo followed the old channel, and the mouth of the river is, therefore, really from twelve to fifteen miles below where it was originally; but from the old mouth to the new the river is known to pilots as ‘Old River.’ Where the fleet landed was about three miles above Old River, where the right rested, and the left extended to within three miles of Haynes’ Bluff, the intervening space being about six miles.

“On entering the Yazoo, the first object that attracted the attention was the ruins of a large brick house and several other buildings, which were still smoking. On inquiry, I learned that this was the celebrated plantation of the rebel General Albert Sidney Johnston, who was killed at Shiloh. It was an extensive establishment, working over three hundred negroes. It contained a large steam sugar refinery, an extensive steam saw-mill, cotton-gins, machine-shop, and a long line of negro quarters.

“The dwelling was palatial in its proportions and architecture, and the grounds around it were magnificently laid out in alcoves, with arbors, trellises, groves of evergreens, and extensive flower-beds. All was now a mass of smouldering ruins. Our gunboats had gone up there the day before, and a small battery planted near the mansion announced itself by plugging away at one of the iron-clads, and the marines went ashore after the gunboats had silenced the battery, and burned and destroyed every thing on the place. If any thing were wanting to complete the desolate aspect of the place, it was to be found in the sombre-hued pendant moss, peculiar to Southern forests, and which gives the trees a funereal aspect, as if they were all draped in mourning. As on almost every Southern plantation, there were many deadened trees standing about in the fields, from the limbs of all of which long festoons of moss hung, swaying with a melancholy motion in every breeze.

“The weather, since the starting out of the fleet, had, up to this time, been very fine; but as evening now approached, a heavy rain commenced, which, from the appearance of things, bid fair to continue for an indefinite period. The Yazoo River was low, and the banks steep and about thirty feet high. Along the edge of the water, and reaching to the foot of the bank, is a dense undergrowth of willows, briers, thorns, vines, and live oaks, twined together in a most disagreeably promiscuous manner. To effect a landing of the troops and trains, a way had to be cut through this entanglement, from every boat, and this caused such a delay that it was quite dark before all the troops were got on shore. Tents were pitched for the night, pickets sent out, and the army encamped, anxiously awaiting the dawn of the next day.”

That General Grant would fail to communicate with him, General Sherman could not know. He carried out his part of the great programme, and steadily advanced in accordance with its provisions for united action. In this profound ignorance of the occasion of the failure, he prepared to move upon Vicksburg.


The March—The City—Preparations for an Assault—The Attack—The Abatis and Rifle-pits—The Charge upon the Hill—Sherman succeeded by McClernand—General Sherman’s Farewell Order—Result of the Expedition.

ON Saturday morning, December 27th, the advance of the “right wing of the Army of the Tennessee” reached Vicksburg. The approach to the city from Johnston’s Landing was very difficult, the town “being on a hill, with a line of hills surrounding it at a distance of several miles, and extending from Haines’ Bluff, on the Yazoo River, to Warrenton, ten miles below, the city, on the Mississippi River. The low country in the vicinity is swampy, filled with sloughs, bayous, and lagoons; to approach Vicksburg with a large force by this route, even in times of peace, would be a matter of great difficulty, and with an enemy in front, it was almost an impossibility.”

The line of battle was soon formed by the army, and, from different points, the onset made upon the enemy’s works. Oh! how gallantly those Western legions beat against the ramparts! And when the twilight shadows stole over the bristling walls and hill-sides, they had driven the rebel forces a mile from their original position. Sunday dawned upon the night’s repose of the combatants, and on the sacred air rang out the summons to carnage again. But the affair at Holly Springs had broken up the grand plan of attack, while the flying troops from General Grant’s front reënforced the garrison. Over the battlements of rebellion poured the iron tempest upon Sherman’s unyielding lines. Securely the foe remained behind those defences, rising for two miles along the bluff, presenting a barrier no army small as the “right wing” could scale or remove. Meanwhile the sharpshooters from the forest dropped the officers on every hand.

The brave Sherman was all the while expecting every moment to hear the roar of General Grant’s guns in the rear. With Monday came a succession of brilliant charges, which were fruitless as the dash of sunlit waves against the cannon-pierced granite of Gibraltar. If a momentary advantage were gained, it was lost in the return tide of overwhelming numbers. A spectator of these terribly sublime encounters, wrote:

“General Morgan, at eleven o’clock a. m., sent word to General Steele that he was about ready for the movement upon the hill, and wished the latter to support him with General Thayer’s brigade. General Steele accordingly ordered General Thayer to move his brigade forward, and be ready for the assault. The order was promptly complied with, and General Blair received from General Morgan the order to assault the hill. The artillery had been silent for some time; but Hoffman’s battery opened when the movement commenced. This was promptly replied to by the enemy, and taken up by Griffith’s First Iowa battery, and a vigorous shelling was the result. By the time General Blair’s brigade emerged from its cover of cypress forest, the shell were dropping fast among the men. A field-battery had been in position in front of Hoffman’s battery; but it limbered up and moved away beyond the heavy batteries and the rifle-pits.

“In front of the timber where Blair’s brigade had been lying was an abatis of young trees, cut off about three feet above the ground, and with the tops fallen promiscuously around. It took some minutes to pass this abatis, and by the time it was accomplished the enemy’s fire had not been without effect. Beyond this abatis was a ditch fifteen or twenty feet deep, and with two or three feet of water in the bottom. The bottom of the ditch was a quicksand, in which the feet of the men commenced sinking, the instant they touched it. By the time this ditch was passed the line was thrown into considerable confusion, and it took several minutes to put it in order. All the horses of the officers were mired in this ditch. Every one dismounted and moved up the hill on foot. Beyond this ditch was an abatis of heavy timber that had been felled several months before, and, from being completely seasoned, was more difficult of passage than that constructed of the greener and more flexible trees encountered at first. These obstacles were overcome under a tremendous fire from the enemy’s batteries and the men in the rifle-pits. The line was recovered from the disorder into which it had been thrown by the passage of the abatis; and with General Blair at their head, the regiments moved forward ‘upon the enemy’s works.’ The first movement was over a sloping plateau, raked by direct and enfilading fires from heavy artillery, and swept by a perfect storm of bullets from the rifle-pits. Nothing daunted by the dozens of men that had already fallen, the brigade pressed on, and in a few moments had driven the enemy from the first range of rifle-pits at the base of the hill, and were in full possession.

“Halting but a moment to take breath, the brigade renewed the charge, and speedily occupied the second line of rifle-pits, about two hundred yards distant from the first. General Blair was the first man of his brigade to enter. All this time the murderous fire from the enemy’s guns continued. The batteries were still above this line of rifle-pits. The regiments were not strong enough to attempt their capture without a prompt and powerful support. For them it had truly been a march

Into the jaws of death—

Into the mouth of hell.

“Almost simultaneously with the movement of General Blair on the left, General Thayer received his command to go forward. He had previously given orders to all his regiments in column to follow each other whenever the first moved forward. He accordingly placed himself at the head of his advance regiment, the Fourth Iowa, and his order—‘Forward, second brigade!’—rang out clear above the tumult. Colonel Williamson, commanding the Fourth Iowa, moved it off in splendid style. General Thayer supposed that all the other regiments of his brigade were following, in accordance with his instructions previously issued. He wound through the timber skirting the bayou, crossed at the same bridge where General Blair had passed but a few minutes before, made his way through the ditch and both lines of abatis, deflected the right and ascended the sloping plateau in the direction of the rifle-pits simultaneously with General Blair, and about two hundred yards to his right.

“When General Thayer reached the rifle-pits, after hard fighting and a heavy loss, he found, to his horror, that only the Fourth Iowa had followed him, the wooded nature of the place having prevented his ascertaining it before. Sadly disheartened, with little hope of success, he still pressed forward and fought his way to the second line, at the same time that General Blair reached it on the left. Colonel Williamson’s regiment was fast falling before the concentrated fire of the rebels, and with an anxious heart General Thayer looked around for aid.

“The rebels were forming three full regiments of infantry to move down upon General Thayer, and were massing a proportionately formidable force against Gen. Blair. The rebel infantry and artillery were constantly in full play, and two heavy guns were raking the rifle-pits in several places. With no hope of succor, General Thayer gave the order for a return down the hill and back to his original position. The Fourth Iowa, entering the fight five hundred strong, had lost a hundred and twenty men in less than thirty minutes. It fell back at a quick march, but with its ranks unbroken and without any thing of panic.

“It appears that just at the time General Thayer’s brigade started up the hill, General Morgan sent for a portion of it to support him on the right. General Steele at once diverted the Second Regiment of Thayer’s brigade, which was passing at the time. The Second Regiment being thus diverted, the others followed, in accordance with the orders they had previously received from their commander. Notice of the movement was sent to General Thayer; but, in consequence of the death of the courier, the notification never reached him. This accounts for his being left with nothing save the Fourth Iowa regiment. The occurrence was a sad one. The troops thus turned off were among the best that had yet been in action, and had they been permitted to charge the enemy, they would have won for themselves a brilliant record.

“When General Blair entered the second line of rifle-pits, his brigade continued to pursue the enemy up the hill. The Thirteenth Illinois infantry was in advance, and fought with desperation to win its way to the top of the crest. Fifty yards or more above the second line of rifle-pits is a small clump of willows, hardly deserving the name of trees. They stand in a corn-field, and from the banks of the bayou below presented the appearance of a green hillock. To this copse many of the rebels fled when they were driven from the rifle-pits, and they were promptly pursued by General Blair’s men. The Thirteenth met and engaged the rebels hand to hand, and in the encounter bayonets were repeatedly crossed. It gained the place, driving out the enemy; but as soon as our men occupied it, the fire of a field-battery was turned upon them, and the place became too hot to be held.

“The road from Mrs. Lake’s plantation to the top of the high ground, and thence to Vicksburg, runs at an angle along the side of the hill, so as to obtain a slope easy of ascent. The lower side of this road was provided with a breastwork, so that a light battery could be taken anywhere along the road and fired over the embankment. From the nearest point of this embankment a battery opened on the Thirteenth Illinois, and was aided by a heavy battery on the hill. Several men were killed by the shell and grape that swept the copse.

“The other regiments of the brigade came to the support of the Thirteenth, the Twenty-ninth Missouri, Colonel Cavender, being in the advance. Meantime the rebels formed a large force of infantry to bring against them, and when the Twenty-ninth reached the copse the rebels were already engaging the Union troops. The color-bearer of the Twelfth had been shot down, and some one picked up the standard and planted it in front of the copse. The force of the rebels was too great for our men to stand against them, and they slowly fell back, fighting step by step toward the rifle-pits, and taking their colors with them.

“In this charge upon the hill the regiments lost severely. In General Blair’s brigade there were eighteen hundred and twenty-five men engaged in this assault, and of this number six hundred and forty-two were killed, wounded, and captured.”

Under a flag of truce the dead were buried and the wounded removed, after which General Sherman gave the order for his troops to reëmbark.

The arrival of General McClernand at the scene of action caused a change in the command, as he ranked General Sherman by over one month in the date of his commission; and an order was at once given by the former to withdraw from the Yazoo River, where the vessels were stationed, and return to the Mississippi River. General McClernand, on assuming the command, ordered the title of the army to be changed, and General Sherman announced the fact in the following order:


Headquarters Right Wing Army of Tennessee,     }

Steamer Forest Queen, Milliken’s Bend, January 4, 1863. }

“Pursuant to the terms of General Orders No. 1, made this day by General McClernand, the title of our army ceases to exist, and constitutes in the future the Army of the Mississippi, composed of two ‘army corps,’ one to be commanded by General G. W. Morgan and the other by myself. In relinquishing the command of the Army of the Tennessee, and restricting my authority to my own corps, I desire to express to all commanders, to soldiers and officers recently operating before Vicksburg, my hearty thanks for their zeal, alacrity, and courage manifested by them on all occasions. We failed in accomplishing one purpose of our movement, the capture of Vicksburg; but we were part of a whole. Ours was but part of a combined movement, in which others were to assist. We were on time; unforeseen contingencies must have delayed the others. We have destroyed the Shreveport road, we have attacked the defences of Vicksburg, and pushed the attack as far as prudence would justify; and having found it too strong for our single column, we have drawn off in good order and good spirits, ready for any new move. A new commander is now here to lead you. He is chosen by the President of the United States, who is charged by the Constitution to maintain and defend it, and he has the undoubted right to select his own agents. I know that all good officers and soldiers will give him the same hearty support and cheerful obedience they have hitherto given me. There are honors enough in reserve for all, and work enough too. Let each do his appropriate part, and our nation must in the end emerge from this dire conflict purified and ennobled by the fires which now test its strength and purity. All officers of the general staff now attached to my person will hereafter report in person and by letter to Major-General McClernand, commanding the Army of the Mississippi, on board the steamer Tigress, at our rendezvous at Gaines’ Landing and at Montgomery Point.

“By order of      Major-General W. T. Sherman.

J. H. Hammond, A. A.-G.


The morning light of January the 9th, 1864, fell upon the White Cloud, carrying the mail with tidings of disaster, death, and suffering, bound for St. Louis, and the City of Memphis, bearing the sick and wounded. In the Army of the Mississippi, under General McClernand, acting for the time independent of General Grant’s command, the late chief acted a subordinate part.

The fleet was again in motion, steaming up the broad current for Arkansas Post, whose fortress was the object of the expedition. It lies nearly north of Vicksburg, as a glance at the map will show you. On the 11th the transports and gunboats appeared before the fort.

The commander’s brief report will tell the story of attack, conflict, and victory, in which General Sherman had no inferior part.


Headquarters Army of the Mississippi, }

Post of Arkansas, January 11, 1863.  }

“Major-General U. S. Grant, Commanding Department of Tennessee:

“I have the honor to report that the forces under my command attacked the Post of Arkansas to-day, at one o’clock, having stormed the enemy’s work. We took a large number of prisoners, variously estimated at from seven thousand to ten thousand, together with all his stores, animals, and munitions of war.

“Rear-Admiral David D. Porter, commanding the Mississippi Squadron, effectively and brilliantly coöperated, accomplishing this complete success.

John A. McClernand, Maj.-Gen. Com’ding.”


The noble Admiral Porter, a child of the sea, whose father was famous in the last war with England, also gives an account of his work with the grim warriors of the waters:


United States Mississippi Squadron, }

Arkansas Post, January 11, 1863.   }

“Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of Navy:

Sir: The gunboats Louisville, De Kalb, Cincinnati, and Lexington, attacked the heavy fort at the Post, on the Arkansas, last night, and silenced the batteries, killing twenty of the enemy.

“The gunboats attacked again this morning, and dismounted every gun, eleven in all.

“Colonel Dunnington, late of the United States Navy, commandant of the fort, requested to surrender to the navy. I received his sword.

“The army coöperated on the land side. The forts were completely silenced, and the guns, eleven in number, were all dismounted in three hours.

“The action was at close quarters on the part of the three iron-clads, and the firing splendid.

“The list of killed and wounded is small. The Louisville lost twelve, De Kalb seventeen, Cincinnati none, Lexington none, and Rattler two.

“The vessels, although much cut up, were ready for action in half an hour after the battle.

“The light draught Rattler, Lieutenant-Commander Wilson Smith, and the other light draughts, joined in the action when it became general, as did the Black Hawk, Lieutenant-Commander R. B. Breese, with her rifle-guns. Particulars will be given hereafter.

“Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

David D. Porter, Acting Rear-Admiral.”


Thus did the army and navy share equally in the honors of the success; neither is complete without the other.

The results of the original expedition seem small; and severe comments were spoken and written about General Sherman’s haste and failure. That his gallant spirit was loyal, and his aim to serve the country, his whole career has amply shown. That he relied upon the expected battalions of Grant to meet the strength of the garrisoned enemy victoriously, is evident. The defeat was one of the lessons of our early warfare, which no leader has so well improved as Major-General Sherman.


The Plot—General Sherman’s Part—His Successful Feint at Haines’ Bluff—Joins the Main Army—The Advance toward Jackson, the State Capital—The Victorious Entry of the City—On to Vicksburg again—Assaults—Siege—Victory—General Sherman goes after “Joe” Johnston.

DURING the weeks of early spring the deeply laid plot against Vicksburg ripened into action. Quietly the master mind of the plan to reach and take it, had laid out the work for his commanders. On different sides toward the enemy feigned attacks were made to deceive the rebels. March 29th, the Thirteenth Corps, led by McClernand, made the advance from Milliken’s Bend, the grand starting-point.

Gen. Sherman, with the Fifteenth Corps, was to bring up the rear, and would therefore be last to leave in the general advance.

April 28th a message in cipher, i. e. secret characters, understood only by those in correspondence, was received by him from General Grant, apprising him of the time chosen for an attack on Grand Gulf. It also informed him that an assault upon Haines’ Bluff, on the Yazoo River, should “come off” at the same time, if it could be done in a way to be understood by our loyal people. For, to deceive the enemy and gain advantage over him, while the pretended attack was thought to be [the] real one, ending in defeat, would depress the national feeling, and do more harm than good. This was the problem for General Sherman to solve. He was sure he could make the affair understood by his troops, and those for whom they were fighting would not long be in the dark. He therefore took ten steamers, and embarking with his true-hearted warriors, started from Milliken’s Bend for the Yazoo. The spectacle was beautiful—itself a deception when contrasted with the havoc and horrors of conflict. When the fleet steamed into the mouth of the river, other vessels were waiting to join in the ruse. The whole number of boats then moved, April 29th, to the Chickasaw Bayou. The morning of the following day the fleet pushed forward to the fort. Now came preparation for action in the gunboats of Admiral Porter, the stir of the gunners about their massive engines of destruction. A few moments later the thunder of bombardment opened, and for four hours it echoed over the works and waters. The gunboats then retired out of range, and General Sherman landed his force, while the rebels looked on, expecting an immediate attack by him. No sooner had the last soldier left the transports than the naval force advanced and renewed the fire on the fortress. General Sherman saw that the feint had succeeded, the foe was getting ready to resist an assault.

Says General Grant in his official report: “To prevent heavy reënforcements going from Vicksburg to the assistance of the Grand Gulf forces, I directed Sherman to make a demonstration on Haines’ Bluff, and to make all the show possible. From information since received from prisoners captured, this ruse succeeded admirably.”

Meanwhile, the magnificent naval scene in the passing of Vicksburg by Admiral Porter’s fleet, and the unrivalled and romantic raid of Colonel Grierson through the heart of the enemy’s country to Baton Rouge, cutting railroads southeasterly of the same defiant Gibraltar, gave their promise of success to the bold plans of General Grant.

While General Sherman was frightening the enemy, and learning his strength and positions, General Grant sent for the heroic commander. He at once forwarded to Grand Gulf the two divisions of his corps left at Milliken’s Bend; and soon as the night covered his feints on the Yazoo, sailed down the tide to his encampment at Young’s Point. Nor did he pause long here. With all his troops, excepting a garrison to hold the position, he hastened to Hard Times, four miles from Grand Gulf, which you will see lies on the banks of the Mississippi in Louisiana. It was a remarkable march of sixty-three miles in about five days. The columns reached Hard Times on the morning of the 6th, and the same evening commenced crossing the ferry to join General Grant.

And now began in earnest the great movement of the army toward Vicksburg; for here the supply-wagons were furnished and in line of march, arrangements made to send on more when needed, and the long cavalcade put in motion. General Sherman commanded at Hard Times upon General Grant’s advance, till the provision for the many thousand troops was completed. Unless you have seen this part of army-work, you have no idea of the immense scale on which it is conducted. There are miles of wagons, hundreds of horses and mules to draw them, and an army of teamsters to drive the brute muscle of the campaign. The gigantic locomotive storehouse moved toward Hawkinson’s Ferry on the Black River, where the commander-in-chief was waiting for it and Sherman’s Corps. While this deliberate and determined progress was made, the Mississippians were getting alarmed. The Governor of Mississippi issued a flaming proclamation, calling upon the people “to awake and join their brothers in arms, who were baring their bosoms to the storm of battle in defence of all they held dear.”

On May 12th, “Generals Sherman and McClernand had skirmishing at Fourteen-Mile Creek, and McPherson a successful engagement at Raymond. Sherman and McPherson then started for Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, the former on the turnpike road, the latter on the Clinton road. The rain fell in torrents, making the roads at first slippery and then miry. But the troops marched without straggling, and in the best of spirits, about fourteen miles, and engaged the enemy about twelve o’clock m., near Jackson. The wily rebel General Johnston, in command there, made a vigorous feint of resisting Sherman’s progress by posting infantry and artillery on the south side of the city, meanwhile moving nearly all his force against McPherson. But Sherman at once penetrated this device, by sending a reconnoitring party to his right, which flanked the position. The enemy retreated, after a heavy engagement with McPherson, who had beaten him. From Jackson McPherson and McClernand turned to Bolton; but Sherman was left at Jackson, and effectually destroyed the railroads, bridges, factories, workshops, arsenals, and every thing valuable for the support of the enemy. General Grant meanwhile, with the other two corps, had gained the decisive victories of Champion’s Hill on the 16th of May, and Big Black River on the 17th. Early on the former day he sent for Sherman ‘to move with all possible speed until he came up with the main force near Bolton. The despatch reached him at ten minutes past seven a. m., and his advance division was in motion in one hour from that time.’ The other followed on its heels, and both reached Bolton that night, by a forced march of twenty miles. There orders came to keep on to Bridgeport; and by noon of the next day the march to Bridgeport was accomplished. There Sherman assumed the advance, starting before dawn of May 18, and rapidly marched toward Vicksburg. By a quick detour to the right he managed to throw himself before night on Walnut Hills, in a brilliant manœuvre, and thereby established communication between the army and the fleet in the Yazoo. On these latter movements of Sherman the comment of General Grant is as follows:—‘His demonstration at Haines’ Bluff, in April, to hold the enemy about Vicksburg, while the army was securing a foothold east of the Mississippi; his rapid marches to join the army afterwards; his management at Jackson, Mississippi, in the first attack; his almost unequalled march from Jackson to Bridgeport, and passage of the Black River; his securing Walnut Hills on the 18th of May, attest his great merit as a soldier.’

“General Grant first determined to carry Vicksburg by assault, and ordered a general attack for two o’clock of the 19th of May. General Sherman was, curiously enough, on the ground he had before gallantly but vainly striven to take, in December, having now seized it from the rear without a struggle. Promptly at the hour his men rushed to the work. The interval was a broad reach, rugged and broken with deep ravines, and strewed with abatis or felled timber, and with groves of standing trees. It would have been a rough and impenetrable region even if unswept with artillery. But in truth the enemy’s cannon, carefully disposed, raked and enfiladed almost every step. But the order was Forward! and forward went the gallant brigade of General A. L. Lee, of Osterhaus’s division, and, struggling across the impediments, gained the crest of one of the ridges and planted the colors of the Thirteenth infantry on the enemy’s first line of works. The charge cost this regiment six officers and seventy-seven men killed and wounded out of two hundred and fifty. The column was then called off and covered from fire. General Grant’s report says: ‘The Fifteenth Army Corps, from having arrived in front of the enemy’s works in time on the 18th to get a good position, were enabled to make a vigorous assault. The Thirteenth and Seventeenth Corps succeeded no further than to gain advanced positions covered from the fire of the enemy.’ On the morning of the 22d, a second and more terrific assault was made by all three corps, preceded by a tremendous cannonading from guns and mortars, mingled with the heavy booming from the entire fleet. The orders were to advance without firing a musket. The army dashed forward across ravines and ditches, over ground covered with artful tangles of cane and grapevines, to find only new difficulties. Yet so far did some of the gallant brigades advance as to lie underneath the guns of the fort, while hand-grenades and lighter shells were hurled over the parapet among them. The assault is worthy to be mentioned with the names of Mamelon, Vert, and Malakoff. But, like the Crimean stronghold, this Sebastopol of the Mississippi could only be carried by assault after a protracted siege. With fearful loss, the gallant army was retired from the unequal fight, and regular approaches commenced. The conduct, triumphant issue, and joyful results of the siege, are familiar. On the 4th of July, 1863, after a campaign of extraordinary energy, the unconditional surrender of Vicksburg closed up a series of movements of which General Halleck declares, ‘No more brilliant exploit can be found in military history.’

“While, however, the rest of the army, on the national holiday, moved into the city they had won, to rejoice in their success, and to rest after exhausting labors, for Sherman and his corps there was still work in hand. About a fortnight before the surrender, General Joe Johnston was threatening the rear of the besieging army with a large improvised force. Grant at once sent this message to Sherman: ‘You must whip Johnston fifteen miles from here.’ But Johnston drew back upon Jackson, and General Sherman was notified to be ready to start against the latter place on July 6th. ‘I placed Major-General Sherman in command of all the troops designated to look after Johnston. Johnston, however, not attacking, I determined to attack him the moment Vicksburg was in our possession, and accordingly notified Sherman that I would again make an assault on Vicksburg at daylight of the 6th, and for him to have up supplies of all descriptions ready to move upon receipt of orders if the assault should prove a success. His preparations were immediately made, and when the place surrendered on the 4th, two days earlier than I had fixed for the attack, Sherman was found ready, and moved at once with a force increased by the remainder of both the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Army Corps, and is at present (July 6th) investing Jackson, where Johnston has made a stand.’

“General Sherman was now intrusted with the chief part of General Grant’s army: he moved so quickly that the latter was able to telegraph to Washington, July 12th, ‘General Sherman has Jackson invested from Pearl River on the north to the river on the south. This has cut off many hundred cars from the Confederacy. General Sherman says he has force enough, and feels no apprehension about the result.’ ”

Nor was there occasion to fear; for the rebel chief was under the eye of a lion in war’s arena, that never missed his prey when fairly within his reach.


General Sherman watching Joe Johnston—Foraging—An Attack—The Enemy steals away in the Night—The Conquering Battalions have a brief rest—Encampment on the Big Black River—Scenes there—Reënforces General Rosecrans—Death of General Sherman’s Son—Beautiful Letter—The Monument.

GENERAL SHERMAN was in no haste to strike; he could leisurely watch the foe chafing in the narrow limits of his beleagured ground. Expeditions were sent out in different directions, the gallant troopers destroying railroad tracks, bridges, and culverts, and bringing in supplies from the enemy’s lands and granaries.

July 11th they accidentally found in an old building, carefully packed away, a large library, and various mementos of friendship. A glance revealed the owner. A gold-headed cane bore the inscription, “To Jefferson Davis, from Franklin Pierce.” Precious plunder! The arch traitor has hidden in the quiet country, and in a place which could awaken no suspicion, his valuable library, correspondence, and articles of cherished regard. The excited troopers soon get into the book pile, and volumes, heaps of letters, and handsome canes, are borne as trophies (a new kind of forage) to headquarters. Secession is discovered in many letters, by Northern friends of the treasonable leader, and his right to that proud distinction freely granted. Added to their capture, hundreds of cars were taken from the Confederacy.

On the 13th a heavy fog lay along the river-banks, hiding from each other’s view the opposing armies. Suddenly rebel shouts came through the gloom, and a desperate sortie from their works is made upon General Sherman’s defences. He is ready to meet the shock, and after a brief struggle they stagger back to their intrenchments.

The twilight hour of July 16th brought to a projection of the works rebel bands of music, insulting our troops with “Bonnie Blue Flag,” “My Maryland,” “Dixie’s Land,” and other airs perverted to the service of treason. The next morning’s dawn gave signs of a retreating foe. The fighting Joe Johnston had stolen away, leaving all over Jackson the marks of ruin. The day before—July 15th—the President issued a proclamation for national thanksgiving, on the 6th day of August, for the recent victories.

General Johnston was fairly whipped, and without the awful waste of life a great battle involves. And now followed other bloodless, and yet exciting scenes of war. You might have seen squads of cavalrymen galloping in every direction, in the wake of the retreating foe, and, with axe and torch, laying in ruins bridges and barns, and whatever might serve the cause of rebellion. Of our brave chieftain’s successes to this time, since he dashed forward to Walnut Hills, after the first occupation of Jackson, “the siege of Vicksburg and last capture of Jackson, and dispersion of Johnston’s army, entitle General Sherman to more honor than usually falls to the lot of one man to earn.”

The short period of rest enjoyed by the heroic army was only one of preparation for a more difficult and grander advance. The London Spectator said of the bold and splendid campaign: It comprised “a series of movements which were overlooked at the time, yet upon which hung the safety of two Federal armies—the extraordinary march of General Sherman from Vicksburg to Chattanooga.”

The camp of the Fifteenth Army Corps, during this interlude of marching, lay along the Big Black River, between Jackson and Vicksburg, about twenty miles from the latter. It was acting as guard to all that region against any return movements or raids of the enemy. A glance at the map will show you the exact position.

But there is a history of this and similar encampments which will never be written. In the sultry air and poisonous vapors of the Big Black, officers and men resorted to every possible resource for whiling away the dull hours and cheering the home-sick invalids.

Not unfrequently, in the light of the evening-lamps, the commander-in-chief has amused and interested by the hour a circle of officers gathered about him, with the narratives of his early adventures, presenting, with the vividness of reality, the exciting life among the Indians of Florida and the gold-seekers of California.

But one day there was an unusual stir around the General’s headquarters; for visitors worth more to him than all earthly honors or gold were escorted to his tent, his wife and his son, bearing his own name, had come from their western home, to meet him once more before his long and perilous marches over hostile soil. But the hours of domestic converse and delight flew swiftly by, the farewells were spoken, and the well-guarded visitors went on their homeward way. There was no safeguard against disease lurking in those Southern swamps. The gifted and beautiful boy, unconsciously to all, had been smitten, and a raging fever soon laid him at the gate of death. He had been adopted by the Thirteenth Corps as their pet—a compliment both to him and his father, who was himself the idol of those brave battalions.

How this bereavement affected him and his old veterans, you will know hereafter.

September 22d, General Grant telegraphed him from Vicksburg to send forward immediately a division to reënforce General Rosecrans, who had been defeated by General Bragg at Chickamauga, and was obliged to retreat to Chattanooga, unpursued by his successful enemy. General Rosecrans commanded the Army of the Cumberland, and was now holding the great central stronghold in the vast battle-field between Vicksburg and Charleston. At 4 o’clock of the same day the telegram was read by General Sherman, who is always a minute man. General Osterhaus’ division was on the road to Vicksburg, and the following day “it was streaming toward Memphis.” A day later, and the commander-in-chief received orders to follow with the entire corps. The tents disappeared like dew before the morning sun, and the proud host were following the columns of Osterhaus toward Memphis. Two divisions were transported by water. But the low tide and scarcity of food made their progress slow. The leader was impatient of delay, for he longed to try the metal of his corps against that of General Bragg. He is no fancy commander; but an incarnation of nervous energy, with no display of tinsel in his attire, helping with his own hands to bring in fence-rails to feed the fires, then turning teamster to wagons hauling wood from the interior to the boats.

During the first days of October, while General Osterhaus is in front of Corinth, his boats lie before Memphis.

And amid the absorbing duties of a grand campaign, look into the General’s tent, and you shall see the warrior for a moment lost in the grieving father, and will feel that the scene is, indeed, “a touching episode of the war.” The letter, addressed to the Thirteenth Infantry, and by its officers ordered to be printed for distribution among the soldiers of the regiment, cannot but touch a tender chord in every heart. Stricken father, noble patriot, the hero of uncounted battles; let the nation pause in its admiration of his gallant deeds, to weep with the mourner over the young life that no “bugle note” will awaken.


Gayoso House, Memphis, Tenn., Oct. 4, Midnight.

“Capt. C. C. Smith, Commanding Battalion Thirteenth Regulars:

My Dear Friend: I cannot sleep to-night till I record an expression of the deep feelings of my heart to you, and to the officers and soldiers of the battalion, for their kind behavior to my poor child. I realize that you all feel for my family the attachment of kindred; and I assure you all of full reciprocity. Consistent with a sense of duty to my profession and office, I could not leave my post, and sent for my family to come to me in that fatal climate, and in that sickly period of the year, and behold the result! The child that bore my name, and in whose future I reposed with more confidence than I did in my own plans of life, now floats a mere corpse, seeking a grave in a distant land, with a weeping mother, brother, and sisters clustered about him. But, for myself I can ask no sympathy. On, on, I must go to meet a soldier’s fate, or see my country rise superior to all factions, till its flag is adored and respected by ourselves and all the powers of the earth.

“But my poor Willy was, or thought he was, a sergeant of the Thirteenth. I have seen his eye brighten and his heart beat as he beheld the battalion under arms, and asked me if they were not real soldiers. Child as he was, he had the enthusiasm, the pure love of truth, honor, and love of country, which should animate all soldiers. God only knows why he should die thus young. He is dead, but will not be forgotten till those who knew him in life have followed him to that same mysterious end.

“Please convey to the battalion my heartfelt thanks, and assure each and all that if, in after years, they call on me or mine, and mention that they were of the Thirteenth Regulars, when poor Willy was a sergeant, they will have a key to the affections of my family that will open all it has—that we will share with them our last blanket, our last crust.

“Your friend,      W. T. Sherman, Maj.-Gen.


The noble Thirteenth did not stop in their expressions of sympathy with words. The chieftain went to his war-path, while the sculptor’s chisel was busy on the marble, until it formed a lasting memorial of manly affection cherished by the troops for father and son. Wrote one who saw it in Cincinnati before it was removed to the “silent city:”

“At Rule’s marble works we observed recently a beautiful monument to the memory of Major-General Sherman’s son, who died over a year since, in Memphis, while returning home with his mother from the Black River, where they had been visiting the General, and where, unfortunately, the boy contracted a fever. The monument was made by order of the Thirteenth Regiment of Regular United States Infantry, of which General Sherman was Colonel four years since, and of which his namesake-son, the deceased child, was, by general consent, considered a sergeant, having been elected to that position by the members of the regiment, who were very proud of him. The monument is about two feet square at the base, and six feet high. Above the rough ground base is the marble base, an eight-sided, finely-polished and ornamented block. Upon four of the faces are inscriptions, and upon the other four, between them, the American shield, with its Stripes and Stars. Surmounting the base is a full-sized tenor drum, with straps and sticks complete, and crossed above this two flags of the Union—all in beautiful white marble. The inscriptions are as follows:

“ ‘In Thy Tabernacles I shall dwell forever. I shall be protected under the cover of Thy wing. Psalms l. 1.’

“ ‘Our Little Sergeant Willie—from the First Battalion, Thirteenth United States Infantry.’

“ ‘William Tecumseh Sherman, son of William T. and Ellen E. Sherman. Born in San Francisco, California, June 8, 1854; died in Memphis, Tennessee, October 3, 1863.’

“ ‘In his spirit there was no guile.’

“ ‘Blessed are they undefiled in the way, who walk in the way of the Lord. Psalms cxviii.’ ”


The Grand Advance from Memphis—The Enemy prepare to Meet It—General Sherman’s Genius equal to any Emergency—Rapid Marches—The Foe driven from the Path—New Command—The Swollen River—Into Chattanooga—The Tireless Chief and his Gallant Troops push forward to Missionary Ridge.

OPEN the map, my reader, and spend a few moments, tracing the long way before the Union troops, and you will understand the greatness of the success of the march from Memphis to Chattanooga, which are three hundred and nine miles apart. The Memphis and Charleston Railway connect them. The Tennessee and Elk Rivers cross the country, many of whose bridges were gone, and the foe lurked along the lines of travel.

But when General Sherman received orders from General Halleck to transport his troops to Athens, Alabama, repairing the railroad and getting his supplies as best he could, he was off with the haste of a prepared and fearless leader, whose heart was in the cause, for whose triumph he fought. But instead of using boats, “his quick eye saw that he could move his trains faster by road under escort.” He therefore did so, and conveyed into the enemy’s country the entire Fourth Division over the iron track.

“Alarmed by this very dangerous move eastward, the enemy quickly assembled at Salem and Tuscumbia, with intent to thwart it and to foil the junction with Rosecrans. At the former point Chalmers collected three thousand cavalry and eight pieces of artillery, and planted himself in our path. Hearing of this, General Sherman, on October 11th, put his whole force in motion toward Corinth, and himself started thither in a special train with a battalion of the Thirteenth Infantry (his own regiment) as escort. On approaching Colliersville, which was defended by a few troops in a stockade, the train was fired upon, and it was discovered that Chalmers was investing the place. Instantly the General ordered his regulars to charge, and under his eye they scattered the rebels in all directions, and reached the stockade. Before General Sherman’s arrival, the little garrison had been sorely pressed in a severe contest. The General soon changed the aspect of affairs, and beat off the superior force. Corinth being reached next night, he sent General Blair to Iuka with the First Division, and pushed troops toward Bear Creek, five miles east of Iuka, as fast as they came up.

“Foreseeing difficulties in crossing the Tennessee, he had written to Admiral Porter at Cairo to watch the river and send up gunboats as soon as the water would permit, and to General Allen at St. Louis to despatch a ferry-boat to Eastport. The requests were promptly fulfilled. It now only remained to work away at the railroad, in accordance with orders, covering his working-parties from the enemy’s attacks. At the same time he despatched Blair with two divisions to drive the enemy from Tuscumbia, where, under Stephen Lee, they were five thousand strong. It was accomplished after a severe fight at Cane Creek; and Tuscumbia was occupied on the 27th of October.”

Pause here, to get a glimpse of the general movements in the programme of war, of which this was no inferior part. General Grant had been put in command of the “Departments of the Ohio, of the Cumberland, and of the Tennessee, constituting the military division of the Mississippi.” In the latter General Sherman was appointed to the command, while General Thomas succeeded General Rosecrans in the department of the Cumberland. October 23d, General Grant, modestly wearing his new laurels, reached Chattanooga. The enemy occupying Lookout Mountain, with their terraces of cannon cut off our troops to get their scanty supplies by the most difficult mountain routes. Wrote a Union soldier of the sad condition of things there:

“I confess I do not see any very brilliant prospects for continuing alive in it all this winter, unless something desperate be done. While the army sits here, hungry, chilly, watching the ‘key to Tennessee,’ the ‘good dog’ Bragg lies over against us, licking his Chickamauga sores without whine or growl. He will not reply to our occasional shots from Star Fort, Fort Crittenden, or the Moccasin Point batteries across the river; has forbidden the exchange of newspapers and the compliments of the day between pickets; has returned surly answers to flag-of-truce messengers; in fact, has cut us dead.

“The mortality among the horses and mules is frightful to contemplate. Their corpses line the road, and taint the air, all along the Bridgeport route. In these days, hereabouts, it is within the scope of the most obtuse to distinguish a quartermaster or a staff officer by a casual glance at the animal he strides. ‘He has the fatness of twenty horses upon his ribs,’ as Squeers remarked of little Wackford; and so he has. God help the others.

“I am assured that this state of things will not last long; that hordes of men are energetically at work improving our communication, and that we soon shall be benefited by the overflowing plenty of the North. The vigor and good spirits of the army all this time are developed in a most astonishing manner.”

Relief was nearer than the writer deemed at the time. General Sherman, at Iuka, reorganized his new command on the very day of the battle at Cane Creek, and sent General Ewing with a division to cross the Tennessee, and hasten with all possible speed to Eastport. A messenger from General Grant on the same day came down the river over the Muscle Shoals, with an order to suspend his work on the railroad, and press forward to Bridgeport. No message ever found a more welcome ear. November 1st, the chieftain led his columns across the Tennessee and on to the branch of the Elk River. But the river was unfordable, and with no leisure to construct a bridge or ferry, he was compelled to take a circuitous route along the stream by the way of Fayetteville, where he mapped out the routes for the different divisions, and hastening to Bridgeport, sent to General Grant, by telegram, the position of his army. November 15th, the unresting commander of admiring and uncomplaining troops reined up his steed at the headquarters of General Grant in Chattanooga, after more than three hundred miles of varied and difficult travel between him and Memphis, where he lay during the early days of October.

The hero of Vicksburg welcomed with delight his peer in the field of war’s most daring exploits. Though worn and weary with their unrivalled, if not hitherto unequalled march, such was his confidence in his brave men, he heard without hesitation the order to bring them across the Tennessee, secure a position at the extremity of Missionary Ridge, and also threatened Lookout Mountain; saying for himself, “I saw enough of the condition of men and animals in Chattanooga to inspire me with renewed energy.”

Away he flies to execute the commands. He does not wait for means of conveyance; he has no false ideas of dignity to interfere with the business in hand. Taking a row-boat, he glides before the strokes of his own strong arms, down the river to Bridgeport. The divisions are soon in order of march. But oh! what roads! Mud—mud—mud! is before the unflinching columns. They toil on, their leader sharing with them the exhausting labor, till three divisions, on the 23d, are sheltered from the observation of the enemy behind the hills, opposite the mouth of the Chickamauga.

Night comes on, and with silent, stealthy steps, a force advanced along the Tennessee, taking prisoners nineteen out of twenty men who were on picket duty. By daylight eight thousand troops were on the banks of the river, ready to cross over and fasten upon Missionary Ridge. Before the sun was above the hill-tops, a pontoon bridge, three hundred and fifty feet long, was commenced, and at 1 p. m. it was done. Proudly the grand cavalcade streamed over the causeway of boats, and advanced toward the desired position. These movements were favored by the concealment—a providential interposition—which “a light, drizzling rain and low-hanging clouds” afforded. Three o’clock found them safely lodged at the terminus of Missionary Ridge. Up the hill the gallant ranks pressed, completely surprising the enemy, who, in his vexation at the humiliating success of the flanking generalship, opened a fruitless fire of artillery and musketry. The “boys” could not allow this, and, dragging their own guns up the acclivity, soon silenced the noisy demonstration of impotent wrath. But beyond and higher was a spur, still more important in the coming trial of strength between the two great armies. Fortifying the ground gained, at midnight the orders passed along the columns to advance at dawn.


The Place of Battle—The Battle-ground—General Sherman’s Part in the Struggle—Desperate Valor—Victory—Pursuit—No Rest—General Burnside in Peril—General Sherman hastens to his Relief—The Bridge breaks down—It is Rebuilt, and the Heroic Battalions save Knoxville—General Sherman again at Chattanooga.

MY reader cannot even imagine, in his peaceful home, the dread interest which broods over preparation for a great and decisive battle. Thoughts of the loved and absent throng the minds of brave men; hasty letters are written, and messages left, should they fall in mortal combat. Bibles are read, prayers offered, and hope rekindled in many heroic hearts. Ambulances and “stretchers” are made ready for the wounded, and surgeons arrange their instruments, lint, and bandages, while orders are passed from the commanding general down to the lieutenant. This work of preparation went forward at Chattanooga during the hours of November 23d.

Writes Colonel Bowman, the friend of General Sherman, a scholar, a gentleman, and a gallant soldier: “In the plan of the battle, Hooker was to hold the enemy at Lookout Mountain, and carry it, if possible. General Sherman was to vigorously assault Missionary Ridge. As that was their vital point, the enemy would mass to defend it. This would weaken the centre, upon which Thomas would rush, to penetrate it. Simple and plausible as this plan seemed, and successful as it proved, to most men who looked up at the frowning and precipitous heights which towered even into the clouds, above Chattanooga, with rebel works studded with artillery commanding every rugged approach, the idea of carrying them seemed little short of madness. The rebels felt so secure as to risk sending Longstreet’s entire corps to Knoxville, where it closely besieged the army of Burnside. ‘By half-past three p. m. of the 24th,’ says Grant, ‘the whole of the northern extremity of Missionary Ridge, to near the tunnel, was in Sherman’s possession. During the night he fortified the position thus secured, making it equal, if not superior, in strength to that held by the enemy.’

“Before dawn of the 25th of November General Sherman was in the saddle, and had made the entire tour of his position in the dim light. It was seen that a deep valley lay between him and the precipitous sides of the next hill in the series, which was only partially cleared, and of which the crest was narrow and wooded. The farther point of the hill was held by the enemy, with a strong breastwork of logs and fresh earth, crowded with men, and carrying two guns. On a still higher hill beyond the tunnel he appeared in great force, and had a fair plunging fire on the intermediate hill in dispute. The gorge between these two latter hills, through which the railroad-tunnel passes, could not be seen from Sherman’s position, but formed the natural place d’armes, where the enemy covered his masses ‘to resist our turning his right flank, and thus endangering his communications with the Chickamauga depot.’ General Corse was to have the advance; ‘and the sun had hardly risen,’ says Sherman, ‘before his bugle sounded the “Forward.” ’

“His men moved briskly down into the valley and up the steep sides of the hill in front, and, in spite of all opposition, carried and held a sort of secondary crest on the enemy’s hill, which, however, was swept with a murderous fire from the breastworks in front. And now for more than an hour a very bloody and desperate conflict raged, our line now swaying up close to the breastwork, as though it would sweep over and engulf it, and anon dashed back, receding far away to its first conquest. Meanwhile, Sherman’s left, on the outer spur of the ridge, and his right abreast of the tunnel, were hotly engaged, and partially drew the enemy’s fire from the assaulting party on the hill-crest. Our artillery also plumped shot and shell into the breastwork, and strove to clear the hill in Corse’s front. About ten a. m. the fight raged furiously, and General Corse was severely wounded. Two brigades of reënforcements were sent up; but the crest was so crowded that they had to fall away to the west of the hill. At once the heavy masses of the enemy in a gorge, under cover of the thick undergrowth, moved out on their right and rear. So suddenly overwhelmed, the two supporting brigades fell back in some confusion to the lower edge of the field, where they reformed in good order; but, as they constituted no part of the real attack, the temporary rebuff was unimportant. General Corse, Colonel Loomis, and General M. L. Smith still stubbornly held the attacking column proper up at the crest. General Grant says of them, ‘The assaulting column advanced to the very rifle-pits of the enemy, and held their position firmly and without wavering.’ ‘When the two reserved brigades fell back,’ says Sherman, ‘the enemy made a show of pursuit, but was caught in flank by the well-directed fire of one brigade on the wooded crest, and hastily sought his cover behind the hill.’

“The desperate and incessant attack of General Sherman was triumphantly successful. It was directed against, in the words of Grant, ‘the enemy’s most northern and vital point,’ and ‘was vigorously kept up all day.’ Sherman’s position not only threatened the right flank of the enemy, but also his rear and stores at Chickamauga. The enemy, therefore, began very early to mass his line down against the single gallant storming party. ‘At three p. m.,’ writes Sherman, ‘column after column of the enemy was streaming toward me, gun after gun poured its concentric shot on us from every hill and spur that gave a view of any part of the ground.’ Long and anxiously he waited for the centre to open its part of the contest, and meanwhile held stubbornly to his bloody ridge under murderous fire. Grant, keeping his eye fixed on this key point, sent a division to Sherman’s support, but he sent it back with the note that ‘he had all the force necessary.’ Now at last the time had come for seizing victory out of doubtful battle. Hooker on the right had gallantly swept round the enemy’s left. ‘Discovering that the enemy,’ says General Grant, ‘in his desperation to defeat or resist the progress of Sherman, was weakening his centre on Missionary Ridge, determined me to order the advance at once.’ It was ordered and gallantly executed. The huge masses with which Sherman was contending, now, to their dismay, found Thomas on their left flank, and the centre of their long line broken in. They turned; but it was too late. The white line of Thomas’s musketry swept up from ridge to ridge, and the army of Bragg was flung back, in overwhelming defeat, into the valleys of Georgia. Thus was the great victory of Chattanooga won.

“And now pursuit swiftly followed victory. The same night Sherman pushed his skirmishers out, and, finding that enemy had given way, sent a division after him to the depot, and followed it up at four a. m. with a part of Major-General’s Howard’s Eleventh Corps. As the column advanced, wagons, guns, caissons, forage, stores, pontoons, and all the ruins of a defeated army and an abandoned camp, were found on the route. At night of the 26th, so rapid was the pursuit that the rear-guard of the enemy was reached, and a sharp fight ensued, till darkness closed in. The next day all three armies pressed on, Hooker and Thomas sharing with Sherman the marching and fighting. General Sherman meanwhile detached Howard to move against the railroad between Dalton and Cleveland, and destroy it. This was done, and communication thereby cut between Bragg and Longstreet. The same movement also turned the flank of the enemy, who were engaging Hooker so heavily further south at Ringgold that the latter sent to Sherman to turn their position. It was already done before Hooker’s messenger arrived. Continuing to Ringgold, he found General Grant. The enemy had been driven from Tennessee, and Sherman was ordered to move leisurely back to Chattanooga. The next day he effectually destroyed the railroad from half-way between Graysville and Ringgold to the State line, and General Grant ‘consented that, instead of returning to Chattanooga, he might send back all my artillery, wagons, and impediments, and make a circuit by the north as far as the Hiawassee.’ This, too, was effected, with the destruction of more railroad and the capture of more stores. ‘This,’ says Sherman, ‘was to have been the limit of our journey. Officers and men had brought no baggage or provisions; and the weather was bitter cold.’ But at this time Grant received an urgent appeal for relief from Burnside, stating that his supplies could only last until the 3d of December. Nothing but incomparable energy would save Knoxville and its gallant commander. Granger had already been ordered thither, but ‘had not yet got off,’ says General Grant, ‘nor would he have the number of men I directed. Besides, he moved with reluctance and complaint. I therefore determined, notwithstanding the fact that two divisions of Sherman’s forces had marched from Memphis and had gone into battle immediately on their arrival at Chattanooga, to send him with his command.’ Accordingly General Sherman received command of all the troops designed for relieving Knoxville, including Granger’s. ‘Seven days before,’ he writes, ‘we had left our camps on the other side of the Tennessee, with two days’ rations, without a change of clothing, stripped for the fight, with but a single blanket or coat per man, from myself to the private included. Of course, we then had no provisions, save what we gathered by the road, and were ill supplied for such a march. But we learned that twelve thousand of our fellow-soldiers were beleaguered in the mountain town of Knoxville, eighty-four miles distant, that they needed relief, and must have it in three days. This was enough; and it had to be done.’

“That night General Howard repaired and planked the railroad-bridge, and at daylight the army passed the Hiawassee and marched to Athens, fifteen miles. On the 2d of December the army hurried thence toward London, twenty-six miles distant, and the cavalry pushed ahead to save the pontoon bridge across the Tennessee, held by Vaughn’s brigade of the enemy. They moved with such rapidity as to capture every picket, but found Vaughn posted strongly in earthworks containing artillery in position. They were forced to wait till night, when Howard’s infantry came up. During the night the enemy retreated, destroying the pontoons, running three locomotives and forty-eight cars into the Tennessee, and leaving for Howard to capture at daylight a large quantity of provisions, four guns, and other material.

“The bridge was gone, and but one day of the allotted three remained. The same night, therefore, Sherman sent word to Colonel Long, commanding the cavalry brigade, that Burnside must know within twenty-four hours of his approach—ordering him to select his best material, to start at once, ford the Little Tennessee, and push into Knoxville, ‘at whatever cost of life and horse-flesh.’ The distance to be travelled was forty miles, and ‘the road villanous.’ Before dawn they were off. At daylight the Fifteenth Corps was turned from Philadelphia to Morgantown; but even at this place the Little Tennessee was found too deep for fording. A bridge was skilfully extemporized by General Wilson—‘working partly with crib-work and partly with square trestles made of the houses of the late town of Morgantown;’ and by dark of December 4th the bridge was down and the troops passing. Next morning came the welcome message from Burnside, dated December 4th, that Long’s cavalry had reached Knoxville on the night of the 3d, and all was well. Just before this news, the diagonal bracings of Wilson’s bridge had broken, from want of proper spikes, and there was delay. But the bridge was mended, and the forced march continued, till, at Marysville, on the night of the 5th, a staff officer of General Burnside rode up to announce that Longstreet had raised the siege the night before. Sending forward Granger’s two divisions to Knoxville, General Sherman at once ordered the rest of his gallant army to halt and rest; for their work was done.

“General Sherman rode from Marysville to Knoxville, greeted General Burnside, and freely expressed his admiration at the skilful fortification of the place, including Fort ‘Saunders,’ where Longstreet’s assaulting columns had met a bloody repulse. Knoxville being saved, it was obviously best for Sherman’s army, excepting Granger’s two divisions, to return to support the suspended movement against Bragg. But before General Sherman left he received the following letter:


Knoxville, December 7th, 1863.

To Major-General Sherman:

I desire to express to you and your command my most hearty thanks and gratitude for your promptness in coming to our relief during the siege of Knoxville, and am satisfied your approach served to raise the siege.

A. E. BURNSIDE, Major-General.


“General Sherman now leisurely returned to Chattanooga, his cavalry giving chase for some distance to a rebel wagon-train on the way. On the 14th of December his command reached the banks of the Hiawassee. Four days of easy marches brought them to Chattanooga, after a three-months’ campaign unparalleled in the history of the war. His losses had amounted to something over two thousand men. His official report states that his men had marched for long periods, without regular rations or supplies of any kind, through mud and over rocks, sometimes barefooted, without a murmur. Without a moment’s rest, after a march of over four hundred miles, without sleep for three successive nights, they crossed the Tennessee River, fought their part in the battle of Chattanooga, pursued the enemy out of Tennessee, then turned more than a hundred miles north and compelled Longstreet to raise the siege of Knoxville, which had been the source of anxiety to the whole country. ‘The praises of Confederate generals,’ says the London Spectator, in reviewing some of these facts, ‘have been sung abundantly on this side the water: the facts are, that all military skill and military perseverance and courage are not on one side. . . . Such a display of genuine military qualities should not pass without some record; and we offer it to our readers as some proof that, with all their faults, the Federal officers and soldiers are not without great virtues, which soldiers at least should admire.’ ”

General Sherman repaired to Vicksburg to look after the affairs of the widening field of the Union army under his leadership. Here, in answer to inquiries from Adjutant-General Sawyer, at Huntsville, Alabama, he wrote a splendid letter, both in comprehensiveness of views and the clear vigorous style of composition. If you begin it you will want to finish it, though long. It is full of fire, historical knowledge, and yet so plain a child can understand it. The matter discussed, is the treatment of rebels in a conquered territory:


Headquarters Department of the Tennessee, }

Vicksburg, Jan. 31, 1864.           }

“Major R. M. Sawyer, Assistant Adjutant-General,

    Army of the Tennessee, Huntsville:

Dear Sawyer: In my former letter I have answered all your questions save one, and that relates to the treatment of inhabitants known or suspected to be hostile or ‘secesh.’ This is in truth the most difficult business of our army as it advances and occupies the Southern country. It is almost impossible to lay down rules, and I invariably leave the whole subject to the local commanders, but am willing to give them the benefit of my acquired knowledge and experience.

“In Europe, whence we derive our principles of war, as developed by their histories, wars are between kings or rulers, through hired armies, and not between peoples. These remain, as it were, neutral, and sell their produce to whatever army is in possession.

“Napoleon, when at war with Prussia, Austria, and Russia, bought forage and provisions of the inhabitants, and consequently had an interest to protect farms and factories which ministered to his wants. In like manner, the allied armies in France could buy of the French inhabitants whatever they needed, the produce of the soil or manufactures of the country. Therefore, the rule was and is, that wars are confined to the armies, and should not visit the homes of families or private interests.

“But in other examples a different rule obtained the sanction of historical authority. I will only instance that, when in the reign of William and Mary the English army occupied Ireland, then in a state of revolt, the inhabitants were actually driven into foreign lands, and were dispossessed of their property, and a new population introduced. To this day a large part of the north of Ireland is held by the descendants of the Scotch emigrants sent there by William’s order and an act of Parliament.

“The war which now prevails in our land is essentially a war of races. The Southern people entered into a clear compact of government, but still maintained a species of separate interests, history, and prejudices. These latter became stronger and stronger, till they have led to a war which has developed fruits of the bitterest kind.

“We of the North are, beyond all question, right in our lawful cause, but we are not bound to ignore the fact that the people of the South have prejudices, which form a part of their nature, and which they cannot throw off without an effort of reason or the slower process of natural change. Now, the question arises, should we treat as absolute enemies all in the South who differ from us in opinion or prejudice, kill or banish them; or, should we give them time to think, and gradually change their conduct so as to conform to the new order of things, which is slowly and gradually creeping into their country?

“When men take arms to resist our rightful authority, we are compelled to use force, because then all reason and argument fail. When the provisions, horses, mules, wagons, etc., are used by the enemy, it is clearly our duty and right to take them, because otherwise they might be used against us.

“In like manner, all houses left vacant by an inimical people are clearly our right, or such as are needed as storehouses, hospitals, and quarters. But a question arises as to dwellings used by women, children, and non-combatants. So long as the non-combatants remain in their homes and keep to their accustomed business, their opinions and prejudices in nowise influence the war, and therefore should not be noticed. But if any one comes out into the public streets and creates disorder, he or she should be punished, restrained, or banished either to the rear or front, as the officer in command adjudges. If the people, or any of them, keep up a correspondence with parties in hostility, they are spies, and can be punished with death, or minor punishment.

“These are well-established principles of war, and the people of the South having appealed to war, are barred from appealing to our Constitution, which they have practically and publicly defied. They have appealed to war, and must abide its rules and laws. The United States, as a belligerent party claiming right in the soil as the ultimate sovereign, have a right to change the population, and it may be and is both politic and just we should do so in certain districts. When the inhabitants persist too long in hostility, it may be both politic and right we should banish them and appropriate their lands to a more loyal and useful population. No man will deny that the United States would be benefited by dispossessing a single, prejudiced, hard-headed and disloyal planter, and substitute in his place a dozen or more patient, industrious, good families, even if they be of foreign birth. I think it does good to present this view of the case to many Southern gentlemen, who grow rich and wealthy, not by virtue alone of their industry and skill, but by reason of the protection and impetus to prosperity given by our hitherto moderate and magnanimous Government. It is all idle nonsense for these Southern planters to say that they made the South, that they own it, and that they can do as they please—even to break up our Government, and to shut up the natural avenues of trade, intercourse, and commerce.

“We know, and they know, if they are intelligent beings, that, as compared with the whole world, they are but as five millions are to one thousand millions; that they did not create the land; that their only title to its use and usufruct is the deed of the United States, and that if they appeal to war, they hold their ally by a very insecure tenure.

“For my part, I believe that this war is the result of false political doctrines, for which we are all as a people responsible, viz.: That any and every people have a right to self-government; and I would give all a chance to reflect, and when in error to recant. I know slaveowners, finding themselves in possession of a species of property in opposition to the growing sentiment of the whole civilized world, conceived their property in danger, and foolishly appealed to war; and by skilful political handling involved with themselves the whole South on the doctrines of error and prejudice. I believe that some of the rich and slaveholding are prejudiced to such an extent that nothing but death and ruin will extinguish, but hope that as the poorer and industrial classes of the South will realize their relative weakness, and their dependence upon the fruits of the earth and good will of their fellow men, they will not only discover the error of their ways, and repent of their hasty action, but bless those who persistently maintained a constitutional Government, strong enough to sustain itself, protect its citizens, and promise peaceful homes to millions yet unborn.

“In this behalf, while I assert for our Government the highest military prerogatives, I am willing to bear in patience that political nonsense of slave rights, State rights, freedom of conscience, freedom of press, and such other trash, as have deluded the Southern people into war, anarchy, bloodshed, and the foulest crimes that have disgraced any time or any people.

“I would advise the commanding officers at Huntsville, and such other towns as are occupied by our troops, to assemble the inhabitants and explain to them these plain, self-evident propositions, and tell them it is for them now to say whether they and their children shall inherit the beautiful land which by the accident of nature has fallen to their share. The Government of the United States has in North Alabama any and all rights which they choose to enforce in war, to take their lives, their homes, their lands, their every thing, because they cannot deny that the war does exist there, and war is simply power unrestrained by constitution or compact. If they want eternal war, well and good—we will accept the issue and dispossess them, and put our friends in possession.

“I know thousands and millions of good people who, at simple notice, would come to North Alabama and accept the elegant houses and plantations now there. If the people of Huntsville think different, let them persist in war three years longer, and then they will not be consulted. Three years ago, by a little reflection and patience they could have had a hundred years of peace and prosperity, but they preferred war; very well, last year they could have saved their slaves, but now it is too late; all the powers on earth cannot restore to them their slaves any more than their dead grandfathers. Next year their lands will be taken, for in war we can take them, and rightfully, too, and in another year they may beg in vain for their lives. A people who will persevere in war beyond a certain limit, ought to know the consequences. Many, many people, with less pertinacity than the South, have been wiped out of national existence.

“My own belief is, that even now the non-slaveholding classes of the South are alienating from their associations in war. Already I hear criminations. Those who have property left, should take warning in time.

“Since I have come down here I have seen many Southern planters who now hire their negroes, and acknowledge that they knew not the earthquake they were to make by appealing to Secession. They thought that the politicians had prepared the way, and that they could depart in peace. They now see that we are bound together as one nation in indissoluble ties, and that any interest or any people that set themselves up in antagonism to the nation must perish.

“While I would not remit one jot or tittle of our nation’s right in peace or war, I do make allowances for past political errors and false prejudices. Our national Congress and Supreme Courts are the proper arenas in which to discuss conflicting opinions, and not the battle-field.

“You may not hear from me again, and if you think it will do any good call some of the better people together and explain these my views. You may even read to them this letter and let them use it, so as to prepare them for my coming.

“To those who submit to the rightful law and authority, all gentleness and forbearance, but to the petulant and persistent secessionists, why, death is mercy, and the quicker he or she is disposed of the better. Satan, and the rebellious saints of heaven, were allowed a continuance of existence in hell, merely to swell their just punishment. To such as would rebel against a Government so mild and just as ours was in peace, a punishment equal would not be unjust.

“We are progressing well in this quarter. Though I have not changed my opinion that we may soon assume the existence of our National Government, yet years will pass before ruffianism, murder, and robbery will cease to afflict this region of our country.

“Truly, your friend,      W. T. Sherman,

Major-Gen. Commanding.”


As it was at the beginning of the war, so in this earnest declaration of views, the great commander keeps in advance of the popular and ruling ideas of the conflict.

Like Napoleon in military genius and sublimely daring marches, he is vastly his superior in principles of human progress, and the foundations of true national prosperity.


A New Expedition—Its Wise Design—Cause of its Failure in the Main Purpose—The Hero of Vicksburg is created Lieutenant-General—The New Order of Things—Two Grand Lines of March and of Conquest—From Chattanooga to Kenesaw Mountain.

THE holidays of the season which introduced the year 1863 had scarcely passed, and your gifts of affection, young reader, were still in your hands, or in a snug corner of your home, when the untiring chief, who was and is defending that home from the hosts of rebellion, was planning a grand expedition into Central Mississippi.

The map will show you the town of Meridian, where important railroads have their junction, more than a hundred miles from Vicksburg. To this centre of the empire, claimed by the usurper Davis, around which lay the richest corn and cotton fields of the South, and swarmed the toiling slaves, General Sherman determined to lead his battalions. You must recollect, he would have to cut loose from his “base of supplies,” and, with a long wagon-train carrying rations for twenty days, conduct his “movable column”—that is, the entire army in motion, and with no communications open—over the enemy’s country, where well-disciplined troops were not very far from his path. It was a most daring adventure, but just like the brave commander who conceived it. Comprehending the gigantic revolt, and the vital points in the Confederacy, he has had but one view of the means to suppress the infamous rebellion. Had his plan been adopted, the war might have been ended now. Large armies, bold and rapid movements into the home of secession, sparing nothing that affords it any nourishment, has been the war-creed of General Sherman. February found the campaign complete in preparation. On the 3d the commander left the streets of Vicksburg, reining his steed toward Meridian.

Two days before, General W. S. Smith was to leave Memphis, Tenn., with eight thousand cavalry, and join him at Meridian. The course of march was in part along the track in which the troops advanced on Vicksburg. The cavalcade of twenty thousand men, followed by miles of supply-wagons, crossed the Big Black River, moved along by Champion Hills and Clinton to Jackson. Here General McPherson, with the Sixteenth Corps, and General Hurlbut, with the Seventeenth Corps, who had taken different routes, met General Sherman, and were united to his army.

The rebels did not seem to care about fighting the daring chieftain, but retreated before him. At Line Creek resistance was offered, a short battle followed, and again the host moved forward, taking the towns of Quitman and Enterprise, on every hand spreading alarm.

February 13th he reached the Big Chunkey River. Meridian was the next point to be gained, when, with all his forces, he could push on, getting between General Johnston and Mobile, where Commodore Farragut was thundering with his naval ordnance, and perhaps interfere very much with General Polk’s army. Meanwhile, military depots would disappear before the torch, and other havoc with supplies distract and cripple the foe. With such successes, it would not be difficult to hasten over the intervening ground, and hurl his legions against the city from the land side, thus finishing the work Commodore Farragut had so well commenced. At Meridian, February 13th, 150 miles from Vicksburg, he congratulated his troops in these words:

“The General Commanding conveys his congratulations and thanks to the officers and men composing this command, for their most successful accomplishment of one of the great problems of the war. Meridian, the great railway centre of the Southwest, is now in our possession, and, by industry and hard work, can be rendered useless to the enemy, and deprive him of the chief source of supply to his armies. Secrecy in plan and rapidity of execution accomplish the best results of war; and the General Commanding assures all that, by following their leaders fearlessly and with confidence, they will in time reap the reward so dear to us all—a peace that will never again be disturbed in our country by a discontented minority.”

But as General Grant’s delay at Holly Springs, on account of its cowardly surrender, turned the first attack upon Vicksburg into a defeat, so by the failure of General Smith to start from Memphis till the 13th of February, the further success of the expedition was made impossible. Still, the affair was a magnificent raid into the heart of “rebeldom,” which spread terror along its way, and left the ruins of railroads, bridges, and storehouses behind, while securing animals and various material for the use of the Union army.

The great commander was now compelled to turn his column toward Vicksburg again, which he entered three weeks after his departure, having led his troops safely across hostile soil more than two hundred and fifty miles, surrounded by large armies. March 2d, General Sherman reached New Orleans in the gunboat Diana, and when referring to his expedition, termed it “a big raid only.” Before he had rested his heroic men, a law which had been before Congress while he was marching, was passed, creating the office of Lieutenant-General, the President conferring the honor of it upon Major-General Grant. The same order of March 12th gave to General Sherman the command before held by the hero of Vicksburg, called the Department of the Mississippi, and including the smaller departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the Tennessee, with the Arkansas. Around him were to stand Generals McPherson, Hooker, Thomas, Hurlbut, Logan, Schofield, and Howard, the “Havelock of the army.”

The grandest and most decisive campaigns of the war were now planned. The Army of the Potomac, commanded by General Meade, was again to start for Richmond, under the eyes of the Lieutenant-General; and the divisions of General Sherman were to take Atlanta, the former the “head, the latter the heart of the Confederacy.”

It was a sublime crisis in the struggle. The two great heroes of the conflict had in their hands enterprises worthy of their genius, and which would hold the interest of the nation and of the world. For if either of the bold movements succeeded, the other it would seem must, because beyond the single victory were the vast results of the cöoperating armies on the coast, from the mouth of the James River to Savannah. Immediately upon receiving the notice of his appointment, in the middle of March, General Sherman began a tour of inspection, visiting Athens, Decatur, Huntsville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and other places of military importance, carefully acquainting himself with the extent and resources of the new field of his command. From reports published, it is believed that on the 1st day of May the effective strength of the several armies, for offensive purposes, was about as follows:

Army of the Cumberland, Major-General Thomas Commanding.
Army of the Tennessee, Major-General McPherson Commanding.
Army of the Ohio, Major-General Schofield Commanding.
Grand aggregate number of troops, 98,779; guns, 254.


About these figures were maintained during the campaign, the number of men joining from furlough and hospitals about compensating for the loss in battle and from sickness. These armies were grouped on the morning of May 6th, as follows: That of the Cumberland at and near Ringgold; that of the Tennessee at Gordon’s Mill, on the Chickamauga; and that of the Ohio near Red Clay, on the Georgia line, north of Dalton.

A reference to the map again will show you Dalton on the railroad between Chattanooga and Atlanta, with Ringgold northwest of it. A distinguished general of the army describes the advance:

“Marching from Chattanooga on the 5th of May, and from Ringgold on the 7th, he first encountered Johnston at Tunnel Hill, a strong position, but which was used by him merely as an outpost to his still stronger one of ‘Buzzard Roost.’ This latter is a narrow gorge or pass in the Chatoogata Mountains, flanked on one side by the precipitous sides of Rocky Face Ridge (not unlike the Palisades of the Hudson River) and on the other by the greater but less precipitous elevation called John’s Mountain. This gorge was commanded on the Dalton side by an amphitheatre of hills, which, as well as the tops of Rocky Face and John’s Mountain, was crowned by batteries, lined with infantry, and terraced by sharpshooters. The railroad and wagon-road wind through the gorge, which is absolutely the only passage through the mountains at this place. Taking a leaf from the book of his Yorktown experience, Johnston had skilfully flooded the entrance to the gorge by damming a neighboring mountain-stream, and covering both railroad and wagon-road with water to the depth in some places of eight to ten feet. It is scarcely possible to conceive a stronger defensive position, and the rebels had been induced to believe that it was unassailable.”

The pass, which doubtless received its name from a large bird common at the south, was made impassable by abatis, and piles driven down filling the defile, and the whole overflowed by the waters of Mill Creek. Two days’ reconnoissance and sharp skirmishing proved to General Sherman that an attack in front would cost too great a sacrifice of life, and that the pass must be turned. The means for this were found in a gap called Snake Creek Gap, some fifteen miles to the southwest. The thick dark forest, by its concealment, would protect the march. Rising almost perpendicularly are the flinty sides of Rocky Face, on the other side of which stands Oak Knob. Into this wild and romantic seclusion our army pushed its front, while the rebels lurked in the heights around and above the Union “boys.”

General Morgan, whose command was there, relates, that “a corporal of Company I, Sixtieth Illinois, broke from the line, and under the cover of projecting ledges got up within twenty feet of a squad of rebels on the summit. Taking shelter from the sharpshooters, he called out:

“ ‘I say, rebs, don’t you want to hear Old Abe’s amnesty proclamation read?’

“ ‘Yes! yes!’ was the unanimous cry, ‘give us the ape’s proclamation.’

“ ‘Attention!’ commanded the corporal, and in a clear and resonant voice he read the amnesty proclamation to the rebels, beneath the cannon planted by rebel hands to destroy the fabric of Government established by our fathers. When he arrived at those passages of the proclamation where the negro was referred to, he was interrupted by cries of ‘None of your Abolitionism; look out for rocks!’ And down over his hiding-place descended a shower of stones and rocks. Having finished the reading, the corporal asked:

“ ‘Well, rebs, how do you like the terms? Will you hear it again?’

“ ‘Not to-day, you bloody Yank. Now crawl down in a hurry and we won’t fire,’ was the response; and the daring corporal descended and rejoined his command, which had distinctly heard all that passed. I regret I could not learn the name of the corporal, for he must get promotion at the hands of Father Abraham and Governor Dick Yates.”

Another incident of army life at this crisis of the campaign will interest you: While on Rocky Face General Howard stood upon a ledge of rocks from which he could see a large force of rebels upon a projecting spur of the ridge immediately beneath him. Tired of gazing upon the enemy, the General, in the absence of hand grenades, lighted the fuse of shells, and amused himself by dropping them down into the centre of the enemy, in whose ranks there was quite a lively commotion in consequence. The frightened enemy little suspected that the hand that dropped the shells into their ranks was the companion of the one lost at Fair Oaks by the fearless leader of the Eleventh Army Corps.

The flank movement was led by General McPherson with the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Corps, and Garrard’s division of cavalry, supported by General Thomas with the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps, while Generals Howard and Schofield, with the Fourth, Twenty-third, and Stoneman’s division of cavalry, “amused the enemy in front.” Suddenly General Johnston waked up from his dream of security, and hastily abandoning his stronghold fell back upon a new position to save his communications, which were around the town of Resaca, almost due south from Chattanooga, and distant from it by railroad fifty-six miles. It is situated in Gordon County, Georgia, on the north bank of the Coosawattee River, which flows southwest, changing its name to the Oostalantee, and joins Etowah at Rome, the two forming the Coosa, which, joining the Tallapoosa, forms the Alabama, and flows into the Gulf at Mobile.

The railroad bridge at Resaca, destroyed by the rebels on their retreat, is one of the most important, perhaps the most important, on the Western and Atlantic Railway; it is six hundred feet long. The distance from Resaca to Atlanta is eighty-two miles by rail, and the country much more favorable for our operations than that from Chattanooga to Resaca.

The rebel general began to learn lessons of caution in the flanking school of General Sherman, and so guarded the extremities of his army that the latter was compelled to try a direct assault in front. For three days the sound of battle at intervals echoed among the hills, with constantly increasing advantage to the vigilant, skilful, and unyielding Sherman, until he had in his possession commanding hills, with railroads and bridges in his rear. Eight guns, two flags, large quantities of stores, and several hundred prisoners, were the trophies of the hard-earned victories.

The night of the 15th of May the rebel chief, finding himself outwitted and outflanked, made a hurried retreat. When the morning revealed the flight of the foe, General Sherman’s army started in pursuit. General Thomas, second only in splendid achievements and gallantry to his commander, was “directly on his heels,” while Generals McPherson and Schofield took different routes. Amusing scenes occasionally lit up the darkest hours of night and conflict.

During the whole operations of Saturday and Sunday, while forcing General Johnston from his intrenchments, General Beatty’s brigade, of Wood’s division, was in reserve. The boys did not relish their position, and, while the battle raged with great fury, they showed unmistakable signs of uneasiness. One fellow, more daring than his companions, quietly sauntered out and made for the front. Meeting a wounded soldier returning from the front, the “Buckeye” borrowed his “fixins” and entered Hazen’s brigade, where he fought bravely until shot in the jaw. Retiring to the rear, he met a staff-officer, who inquired the number of his regiment, and, learning it was not under fire, asked how he came to be wounded. “Well,” replied the soldier, “you see I don’t like to be back in the rear, so I came out to take a shot at the Johnnies, and I be dogged if they haven’t peppered me.”

At nine on Saturday night the Nineteenth Alabama was lying in line, with a rebel battery separating it from another regiment. The battery was withdrawn, and the colonel of the Nineteenth went down to fill the gap with his regiment; he was accompanied by four hundred men. Arriving at the gap they found it filled with pickets, who quietly “took them in out of the wet,” and brought them in. Our boys had crawled up unobserved, and filled the gap in the enemy’s line, captured Colonel McSpadden and companions, and retired without receiving a shot. The rebel colonel himself highly praised the strategy of his captors.

Onward through forest, across streams, and over heights, the nobly proud and confidant columns pressed toward Atlanta. The song and joke—the sacred page and prayer—the inexcusable oath—all marked the long marches, the night encampment, and the morning hour of preparation to renew the tramp of embattled legions toward the interior of the Confederate Territory. How sublime the music, rising over that moving host, which a listener thus describes:

“At early dawn one morning, ere the troops were fully awakened from their slumbers, the melodious notes of ‘Old Hundred,’ given forth by one of the brigade bands, rang out upon the air, and were echoed by the green-capped hills beyond. Soldiers intently occupied in preparing the morning meal stood still and listened to the melody, and instinctively joined in it. It flew from regiment to regiment; brigade after brigade took it up, and, ere the notes of the band ceased to reverberate, five thousand voices were raised in ‘Praise God from whom all blessings flow.’ A moment later all was still. Breakfast was taken; and so silently did the veterans of many battle-fields break camp and fall into line that everybody remarked it, and complimented them for their conduct. I have heard ‘Old Hundred’ often, when the lungs of the organ seemed inspired with life, and a congregation joined their melodious voices, but never until to-day did I hear it sung with the full inspiration of the soul.”

May 25th, General Thomas’s troops, with the fearless Hooker in the advance, were sweeping toward Dallas, when the enemy crossed their path. The action of New Hope Church came off, leaving the Union colors streaming victoriously over the exulting volunteers. But there was a different flag taken from hostile hands. General Stoneman, the splendid cavalry officer, captured from the Third Texas Cavalry a black flag with a skeleton figured upon it together with a death’s head and cross-bones. This flag is no myth or creation of the wild fancy of some terrified trooper, but a reliable thing now in possession of a surgeon in the General’s command, and seen and handled by the members of General Schofield’s staff. They are said to have carried it from the first. What they expect to have understood by it is easily arrived at from the remark of a member of another Texas regiment who was taken prisoner and brought to headquarters. When asked by a member of the staff if he belonged to the regiment which carried the black flag, he replied that he did not, else he should not have been brought there. It is, perhaps, needless to state that our men are reported to have taken no prisoners from the Third Texas Cavalry.

While the forces were approaching Dallas, occurred one of war’s striking contrasts, related by a participant in the scenes:

“Last night the enemy kept up a lively demonstration along our whole line sufficient to interfere slightly with our slumbers at headquarters. About three o’clock yesterday afternoon Cheney’s First Illinois Battery, 20-pounder Parrott guns, opened a brisk fire upon a strong rebel fortification, one mile from Dallas, which frowns upon our lines at an altitude of nearly two hundred feet, and from which a fine view is easily obtained of our movements. The cannonade was continued till sunset, shells bursting in all directions, scattering their death-dealing fragments among loyal and disloyal. The monotony was relieved by the constant arrival of mounted orderlies bearing their important despatches of the enemy’s doings from the respective brigade and division commanders, while the music of the Minié balls, as they whistled through the trees over our heads, lent enough exhilarating excitement to the afternoon hours to dispel all thought of drowsiness. While the musketry rattled quite lively along our lines, causing the vales to reverberate, and the loud reports of the deadly rifles rang through the mountain forests, the military bands were discoursing sentimental and patriotic melodies within sound of the rebel lines.

“So near have our skirmishers advanced to the enemy’s front, that last night, while a prayer-meeting was being held in the rebel camps, our troops could hear quite distinctly their appeals to Heaven for peace. I regret to state that some of the ‘Yankees’ were sacrilegious enough to interpolate the names of Grant and Sherman, just at the point where the traitors invoked health and strength to Lee and Johnston. The tone of their petitions was for peace, which Gen. Sherman is determined they shall not enjoy until he secures that piece of Georgia which he has marked out as the reward for his invincible army.”

At this crisis in the march, already among the rivers flowing to the Gulf, with the iron-works on their banks at different points, General Sherman issued an order containing directions respecting care of the wounded, who were to be carried from the field by the musicians and others not in the ranks; and requiring hospitals to be kept nearer the moving columns, protecting them by the irregularities on the surface, and not by distance. Here is what he says of cowards:

“Skulking, shirking, and straggling behind in time of danger, are such high detestable crimes that the General Commanding would hardly presume them possible, were it not for his own observation, and the report that at this moment soldiers are found loafing in the cabins, to the rear, as far back as Kingston. The only proper fate of such miscreants is that they be shot, as common enemies to their profession and country; and all officers and patrols sent back to arrest them, will shoot them without mercy, on the slightest impudence or resistance. By thus wandering in the rear they desert their fellows, who expose themselves in battle in the full faith that all on the rolls are present, and they expose themselves to capture and exchange as good soldiers, to which they have no title. It is hereby made the duty of every officer who finds such skulkers, to deliver them to any provost guard, regardless of corps, to be employed in menial or hard work, such as repairing roads, digging drains, sinks, &c. Officers, if found skulking, will be subjected to the same penalty as enlisted men, viz., instant death, or the hardest labor and treatment. Absentees not accounted for, should always be mustered as deserters, to deprive them of their pay and bounties, reserved for honest soldiers.”

We cannot chronicle all the battles and skirmishes of the “running fight”—not from the enemy, but after him. The charge upon Allatoona Pass by the Union cavalry, June 2d, where General Sherman had flanked General Johnston a week before, was a brilliant display of valor baptized in blood.

The first week in June had passed, and General Sherman’s troops, after marching more than a hundred miles since leaving Chattanooga, through a country unknown to them, daily skirmishing with the watchful foe, striking against works capable of resisting twice their number of troops, and all the time without broken ranks, gaining substantial advantage, now fairly confronted General Johnston intrenched upon Lost Mountain, Pine Hill, and Kenesaw Mountain, three bold peaks connected together by a line of ridges, and twenty-six miles north of Atlanta. His line was closely circumscribed by ours. In no place were the hostile parallels more than a musket-shot apart. The rebel right rested on Kenesaw Mountain, on the railroad, four miles north of Marietta, their left on Lost Mountain, some six miles west of Kenesaw. Between these two formidable ridges the rebels had gradually been forced back from a triangle, with the apex toward us, until their line was but a faint crescent, their centre still being slightly advanced. Right, left, and centre, their position was closely invested. Our troops shed parallel after parallel, until the country in their rear was furrowed with rifle-pits and abatis, and scored with a labyrinth of roads.

“The country is covered with primitive forests, and in very few places are there cleared spaces sufficiently large to display the movements of a brigade. There is an abundance of scrubby undergrowth which hides every thing a few yards distant from view; and when one inspects the difficulties, it seems hardly credible, though such is the case, that we fully developed the enemy’s position with two days’ skirmish.”

A brave officer from whose accurate observations passages have already been taken, says of this halting-place in the great race for Atlanta: “The ridge in front of Kenesaw commences about Wallace’s House on the Burnt Hickory and Marietta road, and extends thence across the railroad behind Noonday Creek about two miles in an east-by-north direction. Lost Mountain and Kenesaw are about eleven hundred feet high, Pine Hill and Brushy Hill about four hundred feet high, and the ridges everywhere about one hundred and fifty to two hundred feet, or about the same as, and, in fact, not very dissimilar to Missionary Ridge at Chattanooga. The enemy was everywhere strongly intrenched behind log barricades, protected by earth thrown against them, with a ditch, formidable abatis, and in many places a chevaux-de-frise of sharpened fence-rails besides. Their intrenchments were well protected by thick traverses, and at frequent intervals arranged with emplacements and embrasures for field-guns. The thickness of this parapet was generally six to eight feet at top on the infantry line, and from twelve to fifteen feet thick at the top, where field-guns were posted or where fire from our artillery was anticipated. The amount of digging and intrenching that Johnston’s army had done is almost incredible. General Sherman’s tactics resulted in wresting Lost Mountain, Pine Hill, the ridge in front of Kenesaw, and Brushy Hill from the enemy, and forcing back his two wings, Kenesaw Mountain operating as a sort of hinge, until his left was behind Olley’s Creek, and his right behind the stream which flows between the houses named on the map as McAffee and Wiley Roberts. Kenesaw Mountain then became the projecting fortress of the defensive line, the wings being turned backward from it. It is a rocky eminence, rather precipitous, thickly-wooded, and crowned with batteries.

“Our respective lines were about eight or nine miles in length, from six hundred to seven hundred yards distant from each other, and strongly intrenched. Skirmishing went on incessantly, and artillery duels occurred two or three times daily. The enemy at different times made some dozen or more assaults, sometimes getting within fifty yards of our intrenchments, but were always repulsed, and generally with heavy loss to them. To gain certain positions, we opened a heavy artillery fire upon their whole line, pressed their two flanks heavily, and made assaults in two places upon their centre. The assaults were unsuccessful; but the Twenty-third Corps, upon their extreme right, gained important advantages of position.”

Wrote another: “We fancy out here that the over-expectant loyal public are disappointed at the seemingly slow progress of our cause in this department. It is only necessary to state that the immense amount of supplies required for an army of this size, to be transported a distance of over two hundred miles through the enemy’s country, with a single-track railroad, is a gigantic undertaking. As for subsisting upon the country, that is out of the question, the inhabitants themselves depending upon the charity of the ‘ruthless invaders’ for daily sustenance. Forage, ordnance stores, and commissary supplies, must all flow through this single artery with lightning rapidity, if we would replenish these stores as fast as exhausted. Nothing but the most thorough organization and complete system, with great energy in the various departments, could ever have prevented our troops from suffering for the want of food and clothing. The public can never appreciate the innumerable natural obstacles that have embarrassed the operations of this unflinching army. The truly loyal do not demand any such explanations as these, for with such leaders as Grant and Sherman apprehension is groundless; but of late the Copperhead press, not content with misrepresenting and belittling General Grant’s victorious advance toward the rebel capital, sneer at General Sherman’s generalship, and insinuate already, in the face of brilliant successes achieved, that the ‘On to Atlanta’ movement is a failure.

“Standing upon the martial-crowned top of Pine Mountain, amid the fluttering of those peculiar flags used by the Signal Corps, we learned that from this eminence were transmitted, in those mysterious signals, all the movements of the enemy, and such operations of our army as were necessary. In front of you stands the defiant, frowning Kenesaw, with its thick woods concealing the rebel batteries from view that line its steep sides, while five or six miles west of Kenesaw, Lost Mountain lifts its sugar-loaf crest to the sky, solitary and alone, looming up against the gorgeously tinted clouds that deck the heavens. Just before you, looking south, can be discerned the suburbs of Marietta, with the Georgia Military Institute standing out prominently in the picture. Gazing down the steep declivity into the thickly-wooded vales which lie at the spectator’s feet, a magnificent panorama of natural beauty is unfurled. So close are the lines of the contending armies, that the dense volumes of smoke from their camp fires roll up united, but hang in portentous clouds over friend and foe.

“While wrapt in silent admiration, mixed with a deep sense of awe at the wild and romantic scene before me, the bands encamped in the valley which encircles the base of the mountain struck up the ‘John Brown’ or ‘Glory Hallelujah Chorus,’ the echoes of which vibrated, re-echoed, and, finally, as the sun’s departing rays began to fade from the horizon, its pathetic notes died away, or mingled with the rattle of musketry which flashed along our skirmish line. I can never forget the peculiar impression photographed upon my mind by the swelling of this historical anthem of Freedom’s first battle, as it grandly sailed over Pine Mountain. My reverie was soon disturbed by the sudden roar of many batteries belching out their savage peals with fearful rapidity from both sides, and for several minutes quite an artillery duel was indulged in, interspersed with short rolls of musketry. It was curious to watch the rebel guns, as the smoke lazily curled from the cannon’s mouth, while the solid shot whizzed and shells shrieked over our breastworks.”

Among the incidents of this part of the great campaign was a dress parade of the rebels on the top of Kenesaw Mountain. Our lines were so near, that the display was distinctly visible and audible. Below the regiment, whose bayonets gleamed in the rays of the setting sun, were the bristling rifle-pits. A courier suddenly dashed up to the adjutant, and handed him a despatch from General Johnston, announcing that General Sherman “had brought his army so far south, that his line of supplies was longer than he could hold; that he was too far from his base—just where their commanding general wished to get him; that a part of their army would hold the railroad, thirty miles north of the Etowah; and that the great railroad bridge at Allatoona had been completely destroyed; that in a few days Sherman would be out of supplies, because he could bring no more trains through by the railroad. They were urged to maintain a bold front, and in a few days the Yankees would be forced to retreat. Breathless silence evinces the attention which every word of the order receives, as the adjutant reads. Cheers are about to be given, when hark! loud whistles from Sherman’s cars, at Big Shanty, interrupt them. The number of whistles increase. Allatoona, Ackworth, and Big Shanty depots resound with them. Supplies have arrived. The effect can easily be imagined. The illustration was so apt, the commentary so appropriate, that it was appreciated at the instant. ‘Bully for the base of supplies!’ ‘Bully for the long line!’ ‘Three cheers for the big bridge!’ ‘Here’s your Yankee cars!’ ‘There’s Sherman’s rations!’ Bedlam was loose along their line for a short time.”

There was a tree in front of General Herron’s division of the Fifteenth Army Corps, to which was given the name of fatal tree. Seven soldiers in succession, who hid behind it to shoot, were killed. Then a board was put on the tree, on which was chalked “dangerous.” The rebels soon shot this sign to pieces, when a sergeant took his position there, and in less than two minutes two Minié balls pierced his body, making the eighth victim of rebel bullets—a tragical item in war’s dread work.


The Battle of Kenesaw Mountain—On to Marietta—Across the Chattahoochie—General Johnston succeeded by General Hood—Marching and Fighting—Death of McPherson—Fight at Jonesboro—The last struggle for Atlanta—Victory.

JUNE 14th, General Hooker was on the right and front of the rebel intrenchments, General Howard on the left and front. A heavy cannonading was opened, filling the air with bursting shells and whistling balls, till the old mountains echoed with the thunder and shouts of battle, and hung upon their tops the streamers of its sulphurous smoke. Look away among the rebel battalions, and mark that daring and conspicuous officer, with the air of dignified, cultivated, and mature manhood. With words of command on his lips, he reels, and falls from his steed. The fatal missile has opened the life current of the Bishop and General Polk, the severest loss to the rebels of that sanguinary day.

The next morning brightened the summit of Pine Mountain without the gleaming bayonets and bristling cannon on which the sunset rays fell a few hours before; the enemy had abandoned the summit during the night. The heroic Thomas and Schofield immediately advanced, and found the stubborn foe again strongly intrenched along a range of rocky hills running from Kenesaw to Lost Mountain. General McPherson crowded the opposing lines on the left. The unyielding and steady advance of the Union forces made the sides of Lost Mountain too warm for the rebels, and on the 17th, just when General Sherman was about to order a charge, they withdrew, leaving in our hands not only the formidable heights, but the “admirable breastworks connecting it with Kenesaw Mountain.” Onward through dark forests and across deep ravines, the resolute chief led the “boys,” fighting every step of the way, toward the next fiery barrier of bullets and steel. This was found at Kenesaw. The fastness had become the last defence against the Northern troops among the peaks which had for more than two weeks frowned upon them. It was the enemy’s front, the outer lines having fallen back to cover Marietta and the railroad to the Chattahoochie.

Sadly glorious deeds were done in these wilderness fights. When the One Hundred and Nineteenth New York regiment was so near the hostile ranks that a halt to throw up a temporary breastwork of logs was necessary, by some singular and melancholy mistake a party of twelve or fifteen men were ordered to advance beyond these works on picket duty. Though knowing that it was almost certain death to show their heads above the walls of their little fort, still they obeyed without question or hesitation. They had advanced scarcely more than a rod beyond their comrades, when a heavy volley of musketry prostrated to the ground every man save two! Two were killed instantly, and the rest wounded more or less severely. All of the wounded, however, were able to drag themselves back and escape, except one poor fellow, Sergeant Guider, who was so badly wounded that he could not stir from his place. There he lay almost within arms-length of his comrades, and yet they were powerless to rescue him or give him aid, so galling was the rebel fire. One bolder than the rest made the hazardous attempt, but scarcely had he got over the breastworks when he fell severely wounded. They endeavored to allay his raging thirst by throwing to him canteens of water, and even one of these was pierced by a rebel bullet. Finally, as they could not go over the breastworks, they dug a way under them with no other implements than their bayonets, and through it two men crawled and succeeded in reaching him unhurt. Just as they reached him their comrades in the rear gave an exultant cheer, which elicited from the rebels another volley. A fatal ball pierced the poor fellow’s breast for a second time, and he had only time to murmur feebly to his rescuers, “Now I die content; I am in your hands,” and expired.

Then came the terrible assault upon the stronghold to dislodge the enemy. Oh, how bravely yet vainly did the columns to whom the voice of their leader was enough to take them anywhere, dash against the rocks terraced with cannon! Again the charge sounded, and, like tides thundering on the face of Gibraltar, the lion-hearted Hooker hurled his forces upon the death-dealing intrenchments. There was an Illinois regiment, whose sublime patriotism, like that of the One Hundred and Nineteenth New York, shed immortal radiance on the sanguinary field, assuring all men that our conflict is no tragical play of ambition, or murderous work of revenge.

“In the bloody charge led by General Hooker, the Twenty-seventh Illinois was pressing upon the rebel works; and when they had approached very near them, Michael Delaney, the color-bearer, rushed some ten paces forward ahead of his regiment, and holding aloft the starry banner of his country, shouted to his comrades to follow. Just then a ball struck his left arm, inflicting a flesh wound, from which the blood trickled in profuse currents. Still grasping the flag, and keeping it to the breeze, he drew his revolver, and rushing forward, leaped upon the enemy’s works, waving his flag, and firing his pistol upon the foe. Thus, standing upon the enemy’s works, his pistol in hand, and his colors streaming over his head, two rebels approached him, one on each side, and thrust their bayonets into the sides of the hero martyr. He felt the cold steel pierce to the very quick of his young life, yet he did not falter. With the blood gushing from his wounds, he clasped the flag to his breast, and bore it back in safety to his comrades, among whom he soon after bled to death. Though no star or eagle decorated his shoulders, he is of the country’s heroes, his name stamped among theirs, high on the roll of honor. Though no sculptured marble may mark the spot of his lonely grave among the melancholy pines of northern Georgia, his intrepid bravery entitles him to the homage of all who honor the flag he so bravely bore, and laid down his life to save. The Twenty-seventh Illinois regiment suffered heavily, but behaved nobly, in this fierce and unequal contest.”

And the unresting, yet patient, sagacious commander, in his own report, tells us how he alarmed his antagonist, and drew him away from the slopes of Kenesaw to save his path of retreat: “On the 1st of July General McPherson was ordered to throw his whole army by the right down to and threaten Nickajack Creek and Turner’s Ferry, across Chattahoochie. General McPherson commenced his movement on the night of July 2d, and the effect was instantaneous. The next morning Kenesaw was abandoned, and with the first dawn of day I saw our skirmishers appear on the mountain top. General Thomas’s whole line was then moved forward to the railroad, and turned south in pursuit toward the Chattahoochie. In person I entered Marietta at 8.30 o’clock in the morning, just as the enemy’s cavalry vacated the place. General Logan’s corps of General McPherson’s army, which had not moved far, was ordered back into Marietta by the main road, and General McPherson and General Schofield were instructed to cross Nickajack, and attack the enemy in flank and rear, and, if possible, to catch him in the confusion of crossing the Chattahoochie; but Johnston had foreseen and provided against all this, and had covered his movement well. He had intrenched a strong tête-du-pont at the Chattahoochie, with an advanced intrenched line across the road at Smyrna camp-meeting ground, five miles from Marietta.”

Strange scenes, indeed, are witnessed in this civil war: “The two armies in Georgia met in the persons of some of their superior officers—Generals Clayborne, Cheatham, Hindman, and Maney—parties having been detailed from each by mutual agreement, for the burial of their dead. Grouped together in seemingly fraternal unity were officers and men of both contending armies, who but five minutes before were engaged in the work of slaughter and death. Cheatham looked rugged and healthy, though seemingly sad and despondent. He wore his ‘fatigue’ dress, a blue flannel shirt, black necktie, gray homespun pantaloons, and slouch black hat. Colonel Clancy, of the Fifty-second Ohio, in talking to Generals Maney and Hindman, remarked that it was a sad state of affairs to witness human beings of a common origin and nationality dig two hours every day to bury the dead of twenty minutes’ fighting. ‘Yes, yes, indeed,’ said one, ‘but if the settlement of this thing were left to our armies there would be peace and good fellowship established in two hours.’ ”

With the “forward to Atlanta!” ringing over the proud ranks of Generals Logan, Howard, Palmer, and Hooker, moving out through the enemy’s works, and defiling into the valley along the railroad toward Marietta, let us look into the deserted mountain fortress. First you will notice twenty feet in front of the battlements, to prevent approach, the small trees cut down and sharpened, presenting an impenetrable thicket of pointed green-wood under the “dread artillery.” Besides, “hay-rakes,” as they are called by the “boys,” are added. They are trees half of a foot in diameter, pierced with two rows of auger holes about the same distance apart, through which are driven sticks sharp at both ends—no trifling barrier to a successful charge. Inside of the defences all the means of strength suggested by military art had been employed to make them impregnable. But before the irresistible Sherman, General Johnston is obliged to retreat, hastening on toward the bulwarks of Atlanta.

At Smyrna, General Sherman continues: “General Thomas found him, his front covered by a good parapet, and his flanks behind the Nickajack and Rottenwood Creeks. Ordering a garrison for Marietta, and General Logan to join his own army near the mouth of Nickajack, I overtook General Thomas at Smyrna. On the 4th of July we pushed a strong skirmish line down the main road, capturing the entire line of the enemy’s pits, and made strong demonstrations along Nickajack Creek, and about Turner’s Ferry. This had the desired effect, and the next morning the enemy was gone, and the army moved to the Chattahoochie, General Thomas’s left flank resting on it near Price’s Ferry, General McPherson’s right at the mouth of Nickajack, and General Schofield in reserve; the enemy lay behind a line of unusual strength, covering the railroad and pontoon bridges and beyond the Chattahoochie.”

The commander-in-chief now began to cast about for places to ford the Chattahoochie, whose waters crossed his path. He had secured three safe points of passage above his enemy, with good roads running toward the city, ten miles distant, on which his eager eye was fixed.

Marietta, where General Johnston paused to make a faint resistance before reaching the river, is a pleasant town which before the war contained a thousand inhabitants, with neat villas and elegant brick mansions. Nearly all the families left before or with the rebel army on their retreat, leaving their deserted houses and gardens as trophies for the “invading horde of Lincolnites.” But about forty houses were occupied, principally by rabid rebel women, who, as our officers rode through the town, betrayed evident uneasiness, rushing into their houses in some instances, and locking their doors against all callers who politely asked admittance. The town is beautifully situated in the Kenesaw valley, with nearly all the houses nestling in beautiful groves of southern trees that gave forth fragrant odors, to mingle with the air that is wafted to the mountain resort, where the ladies made their lookout to witness the efforts of the Federals to drive back Johnston and his followers. Our troops occupied the town about ten o’clock, while the bells of the Episcopal Church pealed out the call to public worship. The minister and the congregation were not interrupted in their devotions, the troops behaved very orderly, and, after a brief rest, resumed the march to the Chattahoochie.

While here, the chieftain wrote the following noble letter to a friend of former days, the wife of Rev. Charles Bowen, in reply to a note reminding him of the cherished past in their social relations, and of the melancholy present with its cruel “Yankee invasion.”


Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, }

In the Field near Marietta, Ga., June 30.    }

Mrs. Anna Gilman Bowen, Baltimore, Md.

Dear Madam: Your welcome letter of June 18th, came to me here amid the sound of battle, and, as you say, little did I dream, when I knew you, playing as a school-girl on Sullivan’s Island beach, that I should control a vast army, pointing, like the swarm of Alaric, toward the plains of the South. Why, oh why is this? If I know my own heart it beats as warmly as ever toward those kind and generous families that greeted us with such warm hospitality in days long past but still present in memory, and to-day, were Frank and Mrs. Porcher, and Eliza Gilman, and Mary Lamb, and Margaret Blake, the Barksdales, the Quashis, the Pryors, indeed any and all of our cherished circle, their children, or even their children’s children, to come to me as of old, the stern feelings of duty and conviction would melt as snow before the genial sun, and I believe I would strip my own children that they might be sheltered; and yet they call me barbarian, vandal, and monster, and all the epithets that language can invent that are significant of malignity and hate. All I pretend to say, on earth as in Heaven, man must submit to some arbiter. He must not throw off his allegiance to his Government or his God without just reason and cause. The South has no cause; not even a pretext. Indeed, by her unjustifiable course she has thrown away the proud history of the past, and laid open her fair country to the tread of devastating war. She bantered and bullied us to the conflict. Had we declined battle, America would have sunk back, coward and craven, meriting the contempt of all mankind. As a nation, we were forced to accept battle, and that once begun, it has gone on till the war has assumed proportions at which even we in the hurly-burly sometimes stand aghast. I would not subjugate the South in the term so offensively assumed, but I would make every citizen of the land obey the common law, submit to the same that we do—no worse, no better—our equals and not our superiors. I know and you know that there were young men in our day, now no longer young, but who control their fellows, who assumed to the gentlemen of the South a superiority of courage and manhood, and boastingly defied us of northern birth to arms. God knows how reluctantly we accepted the issue, but once the issue joined, like the northern race in other ages, though slow to anger, once aroused are more terrible than the more inflammable of the South. Even yet my heart bleeds when I see the carnage of battle, the desolation of homes, the bitter anguish of families; but the very moment the men of the South say that instead of appealing to war they should have appealed to reason, to our Congress, to our courts, to religion, and to the experience of history, then will I say Peace—Peace; go back to your point of error, and resume your places as American citizens, with all their proud heritages. Whether I shall live to see this period is problematical, but you may, and may tell your mother and sisters that I never forgot one kind look or greeting, or ever wished to efface its remembrance; but in putting on the armor of war I did it that our common country should not perish in infamy and dishonor. I am married, have a wife and six children living in Lancaster, Ohio. My course has been an eventful one, but I hope when the clouds of anger and passion are dispersed, and truth emerges bright and clear, you and all who knew me in early years will not blush that we were once dear friends. Tell Eliza for me that I hope she may live to realize that the doctrine of ‘secession’ is as monstrous in our civil code as disobedience was in the Divine law. And should the fortunes of war ever bring you or your sisters, or any of our old clique under the shelter of my authority, I do not believe they will have cause to regret it. Give my love to your children, and the assurance of my respects to your honored husband.

“Truly,      W. T. Sherman.”


Wrote a loyal pen in that grand cavalcade of freedom from the heights on the banks of the Chattahoochie: “The view is exceedingly interesting. Away off to the southeast, ten miles distant, can be distinctly seen the farm-houses that nestle in the forests around Atlanta—the tall spires of the churches and public buildings, and the fortifications that guard the approaches to the ‘Gate City.’ Stretching away to the south, the eye beholds a vast forest, dotted by innumerable plantations and villages. Nearer, almost at the base of the mountain, the Serpentine River can be seen through the thick growth of trees that line its banks, while the military, State, and private roads to the east and south, remind the beholder of a huge spider’s web, so numerous are they, and forming so many angles.

“On the 4th the curiosity of the troops to see Atlanta was so strong, that stragglers left their regiments and climbed the side from which they viewed the promised land to which they are ‘pilgrimaging.’ Many of the poor fellows, I fear, will never live to obtain a nearer view, as a desperate defence will be made ere Johnston evacuates it for another position, and by surrendering it open the doors for greater Federal success beyond and on either side.”

July 10th found General Sherman in possession of the country north and west of the river, with only the smoking ruins of the enemy’s bridges left to tell of his hurried retreat toward Atlanta, for whose gates the race was renewed. Manœuvring, marching, and skirmishing again, marked the movements of the contending armies.

I shall let you read further the great commander’s own story of the chase after leaving the banks of the river, in which he pays a passing tribute to the gallant McPherson:

“On the 21st of July we felt the enemy in his intrenched position, which was found to crown the heights overlooking the comparatively open ground of the valley of Peach-tree Creek, his right beyond the Augusta road to the east, and his left well toward Turner’s Ferry, on the Chattahoochie, at a general distance from Atlanta of about four miles.

“On the morning of the 22d, somewhat to my surprise, this whole line was found abandoned, and I confess I thought the enemy had resolved to give us Atlanta without further contest; but General Johnston had been relieved of his command, and General Hood substituted. A new policy seemed resolved on, of which the bold attack on our right was the index. Our advancing ranks swept across the strong and well-finished parapet of the enemy, and closed in upon Atlanta, until we occupied a line in the form of a general circle of about two miles radius, when we again found him occupying in force a line of finished redoubts, which had been prepared for more than a year, covering all the roads leading into Atlanta; and we found him also busy in connecting these redoubts with curtains strengthened by rifle trenches, abatis, and chevaux-de-frise.


“General McPherson, who had advanced from Decatur, continued to follow substantially the railroad, with the Fifteenth Corps, General Logan; the Seventeenth, General Blair, on its left; and the Sixteenth, General Dodge, on its right; but as the general advance of all the armies contracted the circle, the Sixteenth Corps, General Dodge, was thrown out of line by the Fifteenth connecting on the right with General Schofield near the Howard House. General McPherson, the night before, had gained a high hill to the south and east of the railroad, where the Seventeenth Corps had, after a severe fight, driven the enemy, and it gave him a most commanding position, within easy view of the very heart of the city. He had thrown out working-parties to it, and was making preparations to occupy it in strength with batteries. The Sixteenth Corps, General Dodge, was ordered from right to left to occupy this position and make it a strong general, left flank. General Dodge was moving by a diagonal path, or wagon track, leading from the Decatur road in the direction of General Blair’s left flank. General McPherson remained with me until near noon, when some reports reaching us that indicated a movement of the enemy on that flank, he mounted and rode away with his staff. I must here also state that the day before I had detached General Garrard’s cavalry to go to Covington, on the Augusta road, forty-two miles east of Atlanta, and from that point to send detachments to break the two important bridges across the Yellow and Ulcofauhatchee Rivers, tributaries of Ocmulgee, and General McPherson had also left his wagon-train at Decatur under a guard of three regiments, commanded by Colonel, now General Sprague. Soon after General McPherson left me at the Howard House, as before described, I heard the sounds of musketry to our left rear—at first mere pattering shots, but soon they grew in volume, accompanied with artillery, and about the same time the sound of guns was heard in the direction of Decatur. No doubt could longer be entertained of the enemy’s plan of action, which was to throw a superior force on our left flank, while he held us with his forts in front, the only question being as to the amount of force he could employ at that point. I hastily transmitted orders to all points of our centre and right to press forward, and to give full employment to all the enemy in his lines, and for General Schofield to hold as large a force in reserve as possible, awaiting developments. Not more than half an hour after General McPherson had left me, viz., about 12½ p. m. of the 22d, his adjutant-general, Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, rode up and reported that General McPherson was either dead or a prisoner; that he had ridden from me to General Dodge’s column, moving as heretofore described, and had sent off nearly all his staff and orderlies on various errands, and himself had passed into a narrow path or road that led to the left and rear of General Giles A. Smith’s division, which was General Blair’s extreme left; that a few minutes after he had entered the woods a sharp volley was heard in that direction, and his horse had come out riderless, having two wounds. The suddenness of this terrible calamity would have overwhelmed me with grief, but the living demanded my whole thoughts. I instantly despatched a staff officer to General John A. Logan, commanding the Fifteenth Corps, to tell him what had happened; that he must assume command of the Army of the Tennessee, and hold stubbornly the ground already chosen.

“But among the dead was Major-General McPherson, whose body was recovered and brought to me in the heat of battle, and I had it sent, in charge of his personal staff, back to Marietta, on its way to his northern home. He was a noble youth, of striking personal appearance, of the highest professional capacity, and with a heart abounding in kindness, that drew to him the affections of all men. His sudden death devolved the command of the Army of the Tennessee on the no less brave and gallant General Logan, who nobly sustained his reputation and that of his veteran army, and avenged the death of his comrade and commander.”

What high appreciation of a gifted and gallant officer, tender regard, and sublime self-control, are displayed in those words from the field of carnage! Lieutenant-General Grant was not ashamed to weep in his tent over McPherson’s death; in the closing circle of conflict around Atlanta, General Sherman could only feel the pang of poignant regret, and marshal the unfallen for further and bloodier strife.

At this crisis, Congress having passed a law authorizing the organization of colored troops, a Massachusetts State Agent applied to him to know where, in the rebel States penetrated by our troops, would be the best points for recruiting stations. His letter in reply will possess interest, because while it furnishes the desired information, it contains the writer’s views of the subject. The best treasure, and the best blood of the nation, has been his estimate of the great and glorious sacrifice demanded in our struggle for national existence. He scorns all evasions of duty, and resorts to doubtful expedients, for relief from any of the burdens of such a war.


Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, }

In the Field, near Atlanta, Ga., July 30, 1864.  }

Sir: Yours from Chattanooga, July 28th, is received, notifying me of your appointment by your State as lieutenant-colonel and provost-marshal of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, under the act of Congress approved July 4, 1864, to recruit volunteers to be credited to the States respectively. On applying to General Webster, at Nashville, he will grant you a pass through our lines to those States, and, as I have had considerable experience in those States, would suggest recruiting depots to be established at Macon and Columbus, Miss., Selma, Montgomery, and Mobile, Alabama, and Columbus, Milledgeville, and Savannah, Georgia. I do not see that the law restricts you to black recruits, but you are at liberty to collect white recruits also. It is [a] waste of time and money to open rendezvous in Northwest Georgia, for I assure you I have not seen an able-bodied man, black or white, there, fit for a soldier who was not in this army or the one opposed to it.

“You speak of the impression going abroad that I am opposed to the organization of colored regiments. My opinions are usually very positive, and there is no reason why you should not know them. Though entertaining profound reverence for our Congress, I do doubt their wisdom in the passage of this law:

“1st. Because civilian agents about an army are a nuisance.

“2d. The duty of citizens to fight for their country is too sacred a one to be peddled off by buying up the refuse of other States.

“3d. It is unjust to the brave soldiers and volunteers who are fighting, as those who compose this army do, to place them on a par with the class of recruits you are after.

“4th. The negro is in a transition state, and is not the equal of the white man.

“5th. He is liberated from his bondage by the act of war; and the armies in the field are entitled to all his assistance and labor and fighting in addition to the proper quotas of the States.

“6th. This bidding and bantering for recruits, white and black, has delayed the reënforcement of our armies at the times when such reënforcements would have enabled us to make our successes permanent.

“7th. The law is an experiment which, pending war, is unwise and unsafe, and has delayed the universal draft which I firmly believe will become necessary to overcome the wide-spread resistance offered us; and I also believe the universal draft will be wise and beneficial; for under the Providence of God it will separate the sheep from the goats, and demonstrate what citizens will fight for their country, and what will only talk.

“No one will infer from this that I am not a friend to the negro as well as the white race. I contend that the treason and rebellion of the master freed the slave, and the armies I have commanded have conducted to safe points more negroes than those of any general officer in the army; but I prefer negroes for pioneers, teamsters, cooks, and servants, others gradually to experiment in the art of the soldier, beginning with the duties of local garrisons, such as we had at Memphis, Vicksburg, Natchez, Nashville, and Chattanooga; but I would not draw on the poor race for too large a proportion of its active, athletic young men, for some must remain to seek new homes and provide for the old and young, the feeble and helpless. These are some of my peculiar notions, but I assure you they are shared by a large proportion of our fighting men.”


The honesty, directness, and philanthropy of these views, will command respect from those who opposed them, and would raise an army of emancipated slaves. With him it was not contempt of the negro, but the scorn of a timid, easy policy by the North, while exactly the opposite course was taken by the South.

General Sherman now ordered from Chattanooga four rifled cannon, whose calibre was four and a half inches, and whose signals of his arrival were to be dropped into streets of Atlanta. August 10th, these messengers of peace with victory, arrived and began their negotiations. Night and day they sent their globes of fire into the city, kindling conflagrations and spreading confusion and terror on every hand. But the enemy had come to the strongest position along the entire war-path between Chattanooga and the ocean; and although the “Gate City” was made a heap of ruins, he was resolved to hold the forts, which would guard the way, even over the smoking embers of destruction.

The fine cavalry officer, General Stoneman, was sent on a raid to the Macon Railroad, in which he was taken prisoner. This had so elated the rebels they began to think of “turning the tables” on General Sherman. Suddenly Major-General Wheeler appeared before Dalton, which you recollect was the first important position taken after leaving Chattanooga, with a force of infantry and cavalry variously reported at from seventeen hundred to five thousand men. It was defended by a garrison of four hundred men under Colonel Seibold. Approaching the town in line of battle, General Wheeler demanded the surrender of the place in the following terms: “To prevent the effusion of blood, I have the honor to demand the immediate and unconditional surrender of the forces under your command at this garrison.” To which Colonel Seibold replied: “I have been placed here to defend the post, but not to surrender it. B. Seibold, commanding U. S. forces.”

On the receipt of this reply, an attack was made on the garrison, who retired into their defences, where they succeeded in holding their position until the arrival of General Steedman with reënforcements from Chattanooga, when the rebels were forced to retreat after inflicting some slight damage to the railroad track near Dalton.

A few days later General Sherman issued orders for a general advance of the army by the right flank. All the sick, with surplus wagons and encumbrances of every kind, were sent back to the intrenched position near the river bridge, reducing the number of wagons to three thousand and of ambulances to one thousand; and on the night of August 25th the canvas city gave place to the marshalled host, moving forward in the darkness to gather more closely the fatal cordon around Atlanta. The following night flung its shadows upon the still marching thousands, getting nearer and nearer the throat of the foe. The Army of the Tennessee moved to the West Point Railroad, when General Sherman ordered “a day’s work to be expended in destroying the road, and it was done with a will,” to use his own words. Having surveyed in person the ruins, and satisfied with the thoroughness of the devastation, he led the whole army forward.

General Howard moved on the right toward Jonesboro’, General Thomas had the centre, whose goal was Conch’s, on the Decatur and Fayetteville road, and General Schofield the extreme left. To get a clear impression of the army operations here, you will need the help of a large map, on which the railroads and towns about Atlanta can be seen in their relation to it. Meanwhile General Hood was growing merry over a fancied retreat by the manœuvring and confident Sherman. The long trains moving to the rear, and the course of the battalions backward toward Sandtown on the Chattahochie, looked like it. But the commander knew his enemy and the way to trap him.

August 28th, the grand army was keeping cheerful step to the music of the march to conflict and victory; the long columns of warriors proudly gazing after their chief, who with equal pride cared for and led them to the fields of conquest.

Atlanta was now the object of enthusiastic interest. It was profound strategy which divided the rebel forces at Jonesboro’ and Atlanta, throwing the Union army like a wedge between them, thus making the fall of Atlanta certain: “During the night of the 28th, the rest of the army being well under way, the Twenty-third Corps withdrew and followed the general movement toward the Macon Road, General Schofield timing his movements with the corps further on the left, which had the longer arc of the circle to traverse. The general line of march for the Twenty-third Corps was toward the junction of the two railroads at East Point, the Third division, under General Cox, holding the advance, and with the Second Division, under General Hascall, occasionally erecting temporary works to guard against threatened attacks from the enemy, who were on the alert against this demonstration. On the 31st these two divisions effected a junction with General Stanley, of the Fourth Corps. General Hascall’s division went into position to guard the left toward East Point, and General Cox pushed forward toward the Macon road, which was reached by two or three o’clock p. m., General Stanley, of the Fourth Corps, striking it about the same time. The troops of these two corps at once set to work fortifying, while details were sent out, which destroyed the track for miles. No opposition was encountered, and by dark strong works had been thrown up, facing east and south, the work of destruction on the railroad being continued through the night. On the morning of the 1st of September, Newton’s and Kimball’s divisions were marched along the line of the railroad the length of a brigade front, and at a given signal the ties and rails were lifted from their bed, piled up and burnt. Thus a mile and a half was turned up and destroyed in half an hour. An advance of another mile and a half was then made down the road, and the operation repeated. Thus alternately marching and destroying the road, the two divisions marched a distance of ten miles, to within two miles of Jonesboro’, where they formed a junction with the Fourteenth Corps. Soon after the Twenty-third Corps, which followed the Fourth, came into position on its left. Further to the left was the Army of Tennessee.

“Previous to this the enemy had discovered the direction of General Sherman’s march, and two corps under Hardee had been sent to confront him at Jonesboro’, Hood meanwhile remaining for the defence of Atlanta. Daring the night of August 30th the march of a rebel column was heard on our left and centre, and in the morning two corps were found massed on our right. At daybreak, the Second brigade of Hazen’s division of the Fifteenth Corps advanced and drove the enemy from a hill, which gave, our artillery command at Jonesboro’, and the railroad less than one half mile distant. This success was immediately followed up by the reënforcement of the brigade holding the hill, by a brigade from Osterhaus’ division. Toward three p. m. the enemy appeared in front of Hazen’s position, Lee’s corps advancing to the assault through a field of corn, while Hardee’s Corps attempted a flanking movement on the right, which was checked by Harrow’s division. Both divisions were soon engaged in checking the desperate and determined assault with which the enemy sought to overwhelm them. The rebels were driven back, only to rally again and again for the assault, until after two hours of desperate fighting they were finally repulsed. They had fortunately struck a position which we held too strongly to be easily dislodged. A reënforcement of two regiments were sent during the attack, by General Howard to General Wood, and a brigade of the Seventeenth Corps, Colonel Bryant’s, to General Hazen. Failing in this assault, Cleburne’s rebel division marched to our extreme right, and assaulted Kilpatrick, who held the bridge on Flint River. General Kilpatrick succeeded, however, in holding his position until relieved by General Giles B. Smith’s division.

“During the night Hardee despatched Lee’s corps to look after the safety of Atlanta, so that but a single rebel corps was found opposed to our army on the morning of September 1st. This corps lay in position in front of Jonesboro’, with their right resting on the railroad. Having failed in the assault with which they hoped to drive back our army, they were prepared to resist its further advance in the best position they could secure. They had a large number of guns in position, which did effective service during the day. Late in the afternoon General Davis formed his troops for a charge upon the enemy’s position; Brigadier-General Carlin’s division on the left, and Brigadier-General Morgan, joining the Fifteenth Corps on the right, General Baird being in reserve. The line was formed in the arc of a circle on the edge of the woods, the two flanks thrown forward overlapping the enemy, who held a position on some commanding ridges in front, covering Jonesboro’. In the face of a deadly fire of musketry, shell, and canister, the gallant Fourteenth Corps charged upon the rebel position, driving them from their breastworks and capturing many prisoners, including Brigadier-General Govan, several colonels and other commissioned officers. Eight guns were also taken, among them part of Loomis’s battery captured at Chickamauga. The troops captured belonged to the fighting division of Cleburne. The approach of night prevented pursuit of the broken columns of the rebels, who escaped under cover of the darkness.

“At daybreak on the 2d, the Fourth and Twenty-third Corps advanced in pursuit of the retreating rebels, who came to bay near Lovejoy’s Station, six miles beyond Jonesboro’, toward Macon, taking position on a wooded ridge behind a swamp bordering a creek. Some skirmishing was had with the enemy’s first line until night, which was spent by our troops in intrenching. The enemy being found in strong position, and his retreat being assured, no further advance was attempted.

“Meantime Atlanta was alive with excitement. Despair had succeeded confidence as it became known that Hardee had been driven from Jonesboro’ south, while Hood was left in Atlanta with his communications severed, and our army threatening both from the north and the south. Early on Thursday, September 1st, the removal of supplies and ammunition commenced, and was continued through the day. Large quantities of provisions that could not be removed were distributed to the citizens, the storehouses at the same time being thrown open to the troops as they passed through the city. The rolling stock of the railroad, consisting of about one hundred cars and six engines, was gathered together and destroyed. The cars were laden with the surplus ammunition taken out on the Augusta Railroad, and set on fire and blown up, making the earth tremble with the explosion. Over one thousand bales of cotton were also given to the torch. The scene of confusion and excitement among the town’s people when it became evident that the city was to be evacuated, is beyond description. Every possible and impossible vehicle was brought into requisition to carry away the effects of the inhabitants, who, in sorrowful procession, took up their line of march toward the South. For the third time the peripatetic Memphis Appeal was on the wing, its editor reporting himself at this time ‘thoroughly demoralized.’ From the shanties and cellars of the city swarmed out the lower classes of the population to seize what they could from the general wreck. The explosion of ammunition was heard by General Slocum, of the Twentieth Corps, seven miles distant. Suspecting the cause, he sent out a heavy column to reconnoitre at daybreak on the morning of the 2d instant. They met with no opposition, and pushed forward on the roads leading into Atlanta from the north and northwest. Arriving near the city, they were met by the mayor, Mr. Calhoun, who formally surrendered the city. The formalities disposed of, our troops entered Atlanta with banners flying and music playing, the inhabitants looking on in silence. General Slocum established his headquarters at the Trout House, the principal hotel of the city. Eleven heavy guns, mostly sixty-six pounders, were found in the forts of the city, and others were subsequently discovered buried in fictitious graves. About three thousand muskets, in good order, and three locomotives were also secured, besides large quantities of manufactured tobacco. About two hundred rebel stragglers were gathered up by the Second Massachusetts, which was detailed for provost duty, its colonel, Cogswell, being appointed provost-marshal. But a small proportion of the inhabitants remained in the city, and these principally of the lower classes, and tradesmen who proposed to make an honest penny out of the army. Their hopes were speedily cut short by a peremptory order from General Sherman ordering all civilians from the city.”

In looking back upon this campaign, a very remarkable feature of it was the protection of his line of communication: “It was not a little precarious, and more than once aroused the anxiety of the nation. It might well occasion solicitude. His base was, in one sense, not at Chattanooga, but at Nashville; with the former point as a secondary base. Accordingly, the enemy bent his efforts not only to breaking the railroad between Atlanta and Ringgold, striking it at Dalton and Calhoun, but also to raiding on the road from Chattanooga back to Nashville. From Atlanta to Chattanooga the railroad is one hundred and thirty-five miles long; from Chattanooga to Nashville, only a little less. With this line of two hundred and fifty miles, stretched clear across the great Alleghany chain from flank to flank, in a disputed country, filled with guerrillas and hostile inhabitants, with myriads of nooks and eyries in the mountainous region, apt for the assemblage and protection of marauding bands, with that attenuated line infested by many squadrons of the best cavalry in the Confederacy, long accustomed to be victorious everywhere—cavalry who had devastated almost with impunity the broad States of Kentucky and Tennessee again and again, under such bold and skilful leaders as John Morgan, Forrest, Wheeler, Stephen Lee, Rhoddy, and Chalmers—in spite of all, for four eventful months, through victory and repulse, in action and repose alike, Sherman has been able to keep his lines strong and clear.

“While all the Southern newspapers and many Southern generals, and while even English journals of great ability were proving by all the laws of logic and strategy that Sherman must now retreat, Sherman did not retreat. At the very moment, indeed, when the exultation of the Confederates was the highest at the absolute certainty of his downfall, Sherman pushed on and took Atlanta, ending logic and campaign both at once.”

It was one of the grandest, most decisive and exciting scenes of the civil war, when the great leader of the Union battalions in Georgia enjoyed the pause in marches and battles afforded by the occupation of Atlanta. The sound of booming cannon, the crack of musketry, all the Babel discord of war, was comparatively hushed. In the distance the foe was reluctantly, slowly retreating; and along the track of both armies the new-made graves and the wounded were lying, the waymarks of a gigantic struggle for

“The land of the brave, and the home of the free.”


The Tidings of Victory at Washington—The President’s Messages to the People and to the Army—General Sherman congratulates his Battalions—The Rebel General is indignant—The Correspondence between him and General Sherman—The authorities of Atlanta also unreconciled to the new order of things—The noble Letters and Conduct of the Conquerer.

ATLANTA has fallen!” flew on lightning-wing over the country, making the wildest rejoicing of the loyal millions, and darkening with despondency and wrath the faces of traitors in their own camps and those among the patriots of the north. “Atlanta is ours, and fairly won!” was the sublimely simple message of General Sherman. The importance and grandeur of the achievement called forth an enthusiastic expression of rejoicing in the Executive mansion, and of gratitude to God.

We can almost imagine our calm and excellent President gathering about him his Cabinet, and proposing three cheers for Sherman; then retiring to his private apartment, raising his tearful eye upward to the “King of kings,” in thankful recognition of the source of strength and conquest, before he took the pen to send over the land the brief and stirring messages given below:


To Major-General Dix, New York:

“The President has issued the following recommendations and orders in relation to the recent successes by the United States forces at Mobile and Atlanta.

Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War.”


Executive Mansion, Washington City,

September 3, 1864.

“The signal success that Divine Providence has recently vouchsafed to the operations of the United States army and navy in the harbor of Mobile, and the reduction of Forts Powell, Gaines, and Morgan, and the glorious achievements of the army under Major-General Sherman in the State of Georgia, resulting in the capture of the city of Atlanta, call for devout acknowledgments to the Supreme Being, in whose hands are the destinies of nations.

“It is therefore requested that on next Sunday, in all places of public worship in the United States, thanksgiving be offered to Him for His mercy in preserving our national existence against the insurgent rebels who so long have been waging a cruel war against the Government of the United States for its overthrow, and also that prayer be made for the Divine protection to our brave soldiers and their leaders in the field, who have so often and so gallantly perilled their lives in battling with the enemy, and for blessings and comfort from the Father of Mercies to the sick, and wounded, and prisoners, and to the orphans and widows of those who have fallen in the service of their country, and that he will continue to uphold the Government of the United States against all the efforts of public enemies and secret foes.

Abraham Lincoln.


Executive Mansion, September 3.

“The national thanks are tendered by the President to Major-General William T. Sherman, and the gallant officers and soldiers of his command before Atlanta, for the distinguished ability, courage, and perseverance displayed in the campaign in Georgia, which, under Divine favor, have resulted in the capture of the city of Atlanta.

“The marches, battles, sieges, and other military operations that have signalized this campaign, must render it famous in the annals of war, and entitle those who have participated therein to the applause and thanks of the nation.

Abraham Lincoln.


Executive Mansion, September 3.

“Ordered—First. That on Monday, the 5th day of September, commencing at the hour of twelve o’clock noon, there shall be given a salute of one hundred guns at the arsenal and navy yard at Washington, and on Tuesday, the 6th of September, or the day after the receipt of this order, at each arsenal and navy yard in the United States, for the recent brilliant achievements of the fleet and the land forces of the United States in the harbor of Mobile, in the reduction of Fort Powell, Fort Gaines, and Fort Morgan. The Secretary of War and Secretary of the Navy will issue the necessary directions in their respective Departments for the execution of this order.

Second. That on Wednesday, the 7th day of September, commencing at the hour of twelve o’clock noon, there shall be fired a salute of one hundred guns at the arsenal at Washington, and at New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburg, Newport, Ky., and St. Louis, and at New Orleans, Mobile, Pensacola, Hilton Head, and Newbern, the day after the receipt of this order, for the brilliant achievements of the army under the command of Major-General Sherman in the State of Georgia, and the capture of Atlanta. The Secretary of War will issue directions for the execution of this order.

Abraham Lincoln.


The glad tidings swept over the broad belt of hostile soil to the headquarters of the lieutenant-general, who sent back a laconic, but noble response:


City Point, Va., September 4–9 p. m.

“Major-General Sherman:

“I have just received your despatch announcing the capture of Atlanta. In honor of your great victory I have just ordered a salute to be fired with shotted guns from every battery bearing upon the enemy. The salute will be fired within an hour, amidst great rejoicing.

U. S. Grant, Lieutenant-General.”


The gallant chieftain of the conquering battalions, followed with his official congratulations to the proud and exultant columns which had pierced, like a wedge, the “heart of the Confederacy.” It is a finished and eloquent order:


Headquarters Military Division of Mississippi, }

In the Field, Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 8, 1864.   }

“The officers and soldiers of the Armies of the Cumberland, Ohio, and Tennessee, have, already received the thanks of the Nation, through its President and Commander-in-Chief, and it now remains only for him who has been with you from the beginning, and who intends to stay all the time, to thank the officers and men for their intelligence, fidelity, and courage displayed in the campaign of Atlanta.

“On the 1st of May our armies were lying in garrison, seemingly quiet from Knoxville to Huntsville, and our enemy lay behind his rocky-faced barrier at Dalton, proud, defiant, and exulting. He had had time since Christmas to recover from his discomfiture on the Mission Ridge, with his ranks filled, and a new commander-in-chief, second to none of the Confederacy in reputation for skill, sagacity, and extreme popularity. All at once our armies assumed life and action, and appeared before Dalton; threatening Rocky Face we threw ourselves upon Resaca, and the rebel army only escaped by the rapidity of its retreat, aided by the numerous roads with which he was familiar, and which were strange to us. Again he took position in Allatoona, but we gave him no rest, and by a circuit toward Dallas and subsequent movement to Ackworth, we gained the Allatoona Pass. Then followed the eventful battles about Kenesaw, and the escape of the enemy across Chattahoochie River.

“The crossing of the Chattahoochie and breaking of the Augusta road was most handsomely executed by us, and will be studied as an example in the art of war. At this stage of our game our enemies became dissatisfied with their old and skilful commander, and selected one more bold and rash. New tactics were adopted. Hood first boldly and rapidly, on the 20th of July, fell on our right at Peach Tree Creek, and lost. Again, on the 22d, he struck our extreme left, and was severely punished; and finally, again on the 28th he repeated the attempt on our right, and that time must have been satisfied; for since that date he has remained on the defensive. We slowly and gradually drew our lines about Atlanta, feeling for the railroads which supplied the rebel army and made Atlanta a place of importance. We must concede to our enemy that he met these efforts patiently and skilfully, but at last he made the mistake we had waited for so long, and sent his cavalry to our rear, far beyond the reach of recall. Instantly our cavalry was on his only remaining road, and we followed quickly with our principal army, and Atlanta fell into our possession as the fruit of well-concerted measures, backed by a brave and confident army. This completed the grand task which had been assigned us by our Government, and your general again repeats his personal and official thanks to all the officers and men composing this army, for the indomitable courage and perseverance which alone could give success.

“We have beaten our enemy on every ground he has chosen, and have wrested from him his own Gate City, where were located his foundries, arsenals, and workshops, deemed secure on account of their distance from our base, and the seemingly impregnable obstacles intervening. Nothing is impossible to an army like this, determined to vindicate a Government which has rights wherever our flag has once floated, and is resolved to maintain them at any and all costs.

“In our campaign many, yea, very many of our noble and gallant comrades have preceded us to our common destination, the grave; but they have left the memory of deeds on which a nation can build a proud history. McPherson, Harker, McCook, and others dear to us all, are now the binding links in our minds that should attach more closely together the living, who have to complete the task which still lies before us in the dim future. I ask all to continue as they have so well begun, the cultivation of the soldierly virtues that have ennobled our own and other countries. Courage, patience, obedience to the laws and constituted authorities of our Government; fidelity to our trusts and good feeling among each other; each trying to excel the other in the practice of those high qualities, and it will then require no prophet to foretell that our country will in time emerge from this war purified by the fires of war and worthy its great founder—Washington.

W. T. Sherman,

“Major-General Commanding.”


“All the corps, regiments, and batteries composing the army may, without further orders, inscribe Atlanta on their colors. By order of

“Major-General Sherman.

L. M. Dayton, Aide-de-Camp.”


I am sure you will read with lively interest the remarkable correspondence between General Hood, with that of the city authorities, and General Sherman. The favorite motto among literary men, “The pen is mightier than the sword,” is not quite true perhaps of our hero; for he excels in the use of both, as the Georgia campaign and letters will show. The annals of war have no finer productions of cultivated genius from the plains of death and victory. The following orders opened the spirited battle of the chiefs with the weapons of intellect:


Headquarters, Military Div. of the Miss., }

In the Field, Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 4.     }

“1. The city of Atlanta being exclusively required for warlike purposes, will at once be vacated by all except the armies of the United States, and such civilian employés as may be retained by the proper departments of Government.

“2. The chief quartermaster, Colonel Easton, will at once take possession of buildings of all kinds, and of all staple article, such as cotton, tobacco, &c., and will make such dispositions of them as are required by existing regulations, or such orders as he may receive from time to time from the proper authorities.

“3. The chief engineer will promptly reconnoitre the city and suburbs, and indicate the sites needed for the permanent defence of the place, together with any houses or other buildings that stand in his way, that they may be set apart for destruction. Colonel Easton will then, on consultation with the proper officers of the ordnance, quartermaster, medical, and railroad departments, set aside such buildings and lots of ground as will be needed for them, and have them suitably marked and set apart; he will then, in consultation with Generals Thomas and Slocum, set apart such as may be necessary to the proper administration of the military duties of the department of the Cumberland and of the post of Atlanta, and all buildings and materials not thus embraced will be held subject to the use of the Government, as may hereafter arise, according to the just rules of the quartermaster’s department.

“4. No general, staff, or other officer, or any soldier, will, on any pretence, occupy any house or shanty, unless it be embraced in the limits assigned as the camp of the troops to which such general or staff belongs. But the chief quartermaster may allow the troops to use boards, shingles, or other materials of building, barns, sheds, warehouses and shanties, not needed by the proper departments of Government, to be used in the reconstruction of quarters and barracks as the troops and officers serving with them require. And he will also provide, as early as practicable, the proper allowance of tents for the use of the officers and men in their encampments.

“5. In proper time, just arrangements will be made for the supply to the troops of all articles they may need over and above the clothing, provisions, &c., furnished by the Government; and on no pretence whatever will traders, manufacturers, or suttlers, be allowed to sell in the limits of fortified places; and if they manage to come in spite of this notice, the quartermaster will seize their stores and appropriate them to the use of the troops, and deliver the parties or other unauthorized citizens, who thus place their individual interest above that of the United States, into the hands of some provost-marshal, to be put to labor on the forts, or conscripted into one of the regiments or batteries already in service.

“6. The same general principles will apply to all military posts south of Chattanooga.

“By order of Major-General W. T. Sherman.

L. M. Dayton, Aide-de-Camp.”


The message addressed to the enemy contained the following words, which were like oil to the fire on the defeated General’s smothered wrath: “All citizens are required to leave Atlanta and proceed either South or North. The Government will furnish transportation South as far as Rough and Ready, and North as far as Chattanooga. All citizens may take their movable property with them. Transportation will be furnished for all movables. Negroes who wish to do so may go with their masters. Other male negroes will be put in Government employ. Negro women and children will be sent out of the lines.”

The rebel General sent his indignant protest against the determination of General Sherman to send the disloyal people of Atlanta where their friends could support them. How well he talks of God and humanity!


Headquarters Army of the Tennessee, }

Office Chief of Staff, Sept. 9, 1864.  }

“Major-Gen. Sherman, Commanding United States Forces in Georgia:

General: Your letter borne by James W. Ball and James R. Crew, citizens of Atlanta, is received. You say therein, ‘I deem it to be to the interest of the United States, that the citizens now residing in Atlanta should remove,’ &c. I do not consider that I have any alternative in the matter. I, therefore, accept your proposition to declare a truce of ten days, or such time as may be necessary to accomplish the purpose mentioned, and shall render all the assistance in my power to expedite the transportation of citizens in this direction. I suggest that a staff officer be appointed by you to superintend the removal from the city to Rough and Ready, while I appoint a like officer to control their removal further South; that a guard of one hundred men be sent by either party, as you propose to maintain order at that place; and that the removal begin on Monday next.

“And now, sir, permit me to say that the unprecedented measure you propose transcends in studied and ingenious cruelty all acts ever before brought to my attention in the dark history of war.

“In the name of God and humanity I protest, believing that you will find that you are expelling from their homes and firesides the wives and children of a brave people.

“I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. B. Hood, General.

OfficialA. McHummett, Lieutenant, &c.”


Accompanying the above letter was one addressed to Colonel Calhoun, Mayor:


Headquarters Army of the Tennessee, Sept. 9, 1864.

“Hon. James H. Calhoun, Mayor:

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter touching the removal of the citizens of Atlanta, as ordered by General Sherman. Please find enclosed my reply to General Sherman’s letter. I shall do all in my power to mitigate the terrible hardship and misery that must be brought upon your people by this extraordinary order of the Federal commander. Transportation will be sent to Rough and Ready to carry the people and their effects further South.

“You have my deepest sympathy in this unlooked-for and unprecedented affliction. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. B. Hood, General.”


Like his polished sword, flashes with thought and patriotism the pen of the victor in his reply:


Headquarters Military Div. of the Miss.,     }

In the Field, Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 10, 1864. }

“General J. B. Hood, Comm’g Army of the Tenn. Confederate Army:

General: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter at the hands of Messrs. Ball and Crew, consenting to the arrangements I had proposed to facilitate the removal South of the people of Atlanta, who prefer to go in that direction.

“I enclose you a copy of my orders, which will, I am satisfied, accomplish my purpose perfectly. You style the measures proposed ‘unprecedented,’ and appeal to the dark history of war for a parallel, as an act of ‘studied and ungenerous cruelty.’ It is not unprecedented, for General Johnston himself very wisely and properly removed the families all the way from Dalton down, and I see no reason why Atlanta should be excepted. Nor is it necessary to appeal to the ‘dark history of war,’ when recent and modern examples are so handy. You yourself burned dwelling-houses along your parapet, and I saw to-day fifty houses that you have rendered uninhabitable because they stood in the way of your forts and men. You defended Atlanta on a line so close to the town that every cannon-shot and many musket-shots from our line of investment, that overshot their mark, went into the habitations of women and children. General Hardee did the same at Jonesboro’, and General Johnston did the same last summer at Jackson, Miss.; I have not accused them of heartless cruelty, but merely instance these cases of very recent occurrence, and could go on and enumerate hundreds of others, and challenge any fair man to judge which of us has the heart of pity for the families of ‘a brave people.’ I say it is kindness to the families of Atlanta to remove them now at once from scenes that women and children should not be exposed to, and the ‘brave people’ should scorn to commit their wives and children to the rude barbarians who thus, as you say, violate the laws of war, as illustrated in the pages of its ‘dark history.’

“In the name of common sense, I ask you not to appeal to a just God in such a sacrilegious manner.

“You who in the midst of peace and prosperity have plunged a nation into war, ‘dark and cruel war;’ who dared and badgered us to battle, insulted our flag; seized our arsenals and forts that were left in the honorable custody of a peaceful ordnance sergeant; seized and made prisoners of war the very garrisons sent to protect your people against negroes and Indians, long before any overt act was committed by the (to you) hateful Lincoln Government; tried to force Kentucky and Missouri into rebellion in despite of themselves; falsified the vote of Louisiana; turned loose your privateers to plunder unarmed ships; expelled Union families by the thousands; burned their homes, and declared, by an act of your Congress, the confiscation of all debts due to Northern men for goods had and received! Talk this to the marines, but not to me, who have seen these things, and who will this day make as great sacrifice for the peace and honor of the South as the best Southerner among you.

“If we must be enemies, let us be men, and fight it out as we propose to-day, and not deal in such hypocritical appeals to God and humanity. God will judge us in due time, and he will pronounce whether it be more humane to fight with a town full of women and the families of a ‘brave people’ at our back, or to remove them in time to places of safety among their own friends and people.

“I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. T. Sherman, Maj.-Gen. Commanding.

“[Official copy:]      L. M. Dayton, Aide-de-Camp.”


The conquering chief humanely gives the rebels time to depart, declaring a truce of ten days:


Headquarters Military Division Mississippi, }

In the Field, Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 10, 1864.   }

“1. Pursuant to an agreement between General J. B. Hood, commanding the Confederate forces in Georgia, and Major-General W. T. Sherman, commanding this army, a truce is hereby declared to exist from daylight of Monday, September 12, until daylight of Thursday, September 22—ten (10) full days—at a point on the Macon Railroad known as Rough and Ready, and the country round about or a circle of two (2) miles radius, together with the roads leading to and from, in the direction of Atlanta and Lovejoy station, respectively, for the purpose of affording the people of Atlanta a safe means of removal to points South.

“2. The Chief Quartermaster at Atlanta, Colonel Easton, will afford all the citizens of Atlanta who elect to go South all the facilities he can spare to remove them comfortably and safely, with their effects, to Rough and Ready station, using cars and ambulances for that purpose; and commanders of regiments and brigades may use their regimental and staff teams to carry out the object of this order; the whole to cease after Wednesday, 21st instant.

“3. Major-General Thomas will cause a guard to be established on the road out beyond the camp-ground, with orders to allow all wagons and vehicles to pass that are used manifestly for this purpose; and Major-General Howard will send a guard of one hundred men, with a field officer in command, to take post at Rough and Ready during the truce, with orders in concert with a guard from the Confederate army of like size, to maintain the most perfect order in that vicinity during the transfer of these families. A white flag will be displayed during the truce, and a guard will cause all wagons to leave at 4 p. m. of Wednesday, the 21st instant, and the guard to withdraw at dark, the truce to terminate the next morning.

“By order of      Major-General W. T. Sherman.

L. M. Dayton, Aide-de-Camp.”


The letter of the authorities of Atlanta, referred to by Hood, and his reply, are as follows:


Atlanta, Ga., September 11.

Major-General W. T. Sherman:

Sir: The undersigned mayor, and two members of council for the city of Atlanta, for the time being the only legal organ of the people of the said city, to express their wants and wishes, ask leave most earnestly, but respectfully, to petition you to reconsider the order requiring them to leave Atlanta. At first view it struck us that the measure would involve extraordinary hardship and loss, but since we have seen the practical execution of it, so far as it has progressed, and the individual condition of many of the people, and heard their statements as to the inconveniences, loss, and suffering attending it, we are satisfied that the amount of it will involve in the aggregate consequences appalling and heartrending. Many poor women are in an advanced state of pregnancy; others now having young children, and whose husbands are either in the army, prisoners, or dead. Some say: ‘I have such a one sick at home; who will wait on them when I am gone?’ Others say: ‘What are we to do? We have no houses to go to, and no means to buy, build, or to rent any—no parents, friends, or relatives to go to.’ Another says: ‘I will try and take this or that article of property, but such and such things I must leave behind, though I need them much.’ We reply to them: ‘General Sherman will carry your property to Rough and Ready, and General Hood will take it there on.’ And they will reply to this: ‘But I want to leave the railroad at such a point, and cannot get conveyance from there on.’ We only refer to a few facts to try to illustrate in part how the measure will operate in practice. As you advanced, the people north of us fell back, and before your arrival here a large portion of the people had retired south, so that the country south of this is already crowded, and without houses to accommodate the people, and we are informed that many are now staying in churches and other out-buildings. This being so, how is it possible for the people still here (mostly women and children) to find any shelter? and how can they live through the winter in the woods—no shelter or subsistence—in the midst of strangers who know them not, and without the power to assist them, if they were willing to do so? This is but a feeble picture of the consequences of this measure. You know the woe, the horror, and the suffering cannot be described by words. Imagination can only conceive of it, and we ask you to take these things into consideration. We know your mind and time are constantly occupied with the duties of your command, which almost deter us from asking your attention to this matter; but thought it might be that you had not considered the subject in all its awful consequences, and that on more reflection, you, we hope, would not make this people an exception to all mankind, for we know of no such instance ever having occurred—surely none such in the United States; and what has this helpless people done, that they should be driven from their homes, to wander as strangers, outcasts, and exiles, and to subsist on charity? We do not know, as yet, the number of people still here. Of those who are here we are satisfied a respectably number, if allowed to remain at home, could subsist for several months without assistance, and a respectable number for a much longer time, and who might not need assistance at any time. In conclusion, we most earnestly and solemnly petition you to reconsider this order, or modify it, and suffer this unfortunate people to remain at home and enjoy what little means they have. Respectfully submitted,

James M. Calhoun, Mayor.
E. E. Rawson,}
L. C. Wells.”} Councilmen.


Here is General Sherman’s answer to the letter of Mayor Calhoun and the Councilmen of Atlanta:


Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, }

In the Field, Atlanta, September 12, 1864.   }

James M. Calhoun, Mayor, E. E. Rawson and S. C. Wells,

    representing City Council of Atlanta:

Gentlemen: I have your letter of the 11th, in the nature of a petition to revoke my order removing all the inhabitants from Atlanta. I have read it carefully, and give full credit to your statements of the distress that will be occasioned by it, and yet shall not revoke my order, simply because my orders are not designed to meet the humanities of the case, but to prepare for the future struggle in which millions, yea, hundreds of millions of good people outside of Atlanta have a deep interest. We must have peace, not only in Atlanta, but in all America. To secure this, we must stop the war that now desolates our once happy and favored country. To stop the war, we must defeat the rebel armies that are arrayed against the laws and Constitution which all men must respect and obey. To defeat these armies, we must prepare the way to reach them in their recesses, provided with the arms and instruments which enable us to accomplish our purpose.

“Now I know the vindictive nature of our enemy, and that we may have many years of military operations from this quarter, and therefore deem it wise and prudent to prepare in time. The use of Atlanta for warlike purposes is inconsistent with its character as a home for families. There will be no manufactures, commerce, or agriculture here for the maintenance of families, and, sooner or later, want will compel the inhabitants to go. Why not go now, when all the arrangements are completed for the transfer, instead of waiting until the plunging shot of contending armies will renew the scenes of the past month? Of course I do not apprehend any such thing at this moment, but you do not suppose this army will be here till the war is over? I cannot discuss this subject with you fairly, because I cannot impart to you what I propose to do; but I assert that my military plans make it necessary for the inhabitants to go away, and I can only renew my offer of services to make their exodus in any direction as easy and comfortable as possible. You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will.

“War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war on our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know that I will make more sacrifices than any of you to-day to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on till we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The United States does and must assert its authority wherever it has power; if it relaxes one bit of pressure it is gone, and I know that such is not the national feeling. This feeling assumes various shapes, but always comes back to that of Union. Once admit the Union, once more acknowledge the authority of the National Government, and instead of devoting your houses and streets and roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army become at once your protectors and supporters, shielding you from danger, let it come from what quarter it may. I know that a few individuals cannot resist a torrent of error and passion such as has swept the South into rebellion; but you can point out, so that we may know those who desire a Government, and those who insist on war and its desolation.

“You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against the terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop this war, which can alone be done by admitting that it began in error, and is perpetuated in pride. We don’t want your negroes, or your horses, or your houses, or your land, or anything you have; but we do want and will have a just obedience to the laws of the United States. That we will have; and if it involves the destruction of your improvements, we cannot help it. You have heretofore read public sentiment in your newspapers, that live by falsehood and excitement, and the quicker you seek for truth in other quarters the better for you.

“I repeat, then, that by the original compact of government, the United States had certain rights in Georgia which have never been relinquished, and never will be; that the South began the war by seizing forts, arsenals, mints, custom houses, &c., long before Mr. Lincoln was installed, and before the South had one jot or tittle of provocation. I myself have seen in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, hundreds and thousands of women and children fleeing from your armies and desperadoes, hungry, and with bleeding feet. In Memphis, Vicksburg, and Mississippi, we fed thousands upon thousands of the families of rebel soldiers left on our hands, and whom we could not see starve. Now that war comes home to you, you feel very different—you deprecate its horrors, but did not feel them when you sent carloads of soldiers and ammunition, and moulded shells and shot to carry war into Kentucky and Tennessee, and desolate the homes of hundreds and thousands of good people, who only asked to live in peace at their old homes, and under the Government of their inheritance. But these comparisons are idle. I want peace, and believe it only can be reached through Union and war, and I will ever conduct war purely with a view to perfect and early success.

“But, my dear sirs, when that peace does come, you may call on me for anything. Then will I share with you the last cracker, and watch with you to shield your homes and families against danger from every quarter. Now you must go, and take with you the old and feeble; feed and nurse them, and build for them in more quiet places proper habitations to shield them against the weather, until the mad passions of men cool down, and allow the Union and peace once more to settle on your old homes at Atlanta.

“Yours, in haste,

W. T. Sherman, Major-General.”


The next effort of his facile pen corrects a falsehood which had been copied from a rebel paper:


Atlanta, Sept. 24, 1864.

To the Louisville Agent of the New York Associated Press:

“Your press despatches of the 21st embrace one from Macon, of the 14th, announcing the arrival of the first train of refugees from Atlanta, with this addition, ‘that they were robbed of everything before being sent into the rebel lines.’ Of course, that is false; and it is idle to correct it so far as the rebels are concerned, for they purposed it as a falsehood, to create a mischievous public opinion. The truth is, that during the truce, 446 families were moved South, making 705 adults, 860 children, and 479 servants, with 1,651 pounds of furniture and household goods on the average for each family, of which we have a perfect recollection by name and articles. At the end of the truce, Colonel Warner, of my staff, who had general supervision of the business, received from Major Clan, of General Hood’s staff, the following letter:


“ ‘Rough and Ready, Sept. 21, 1864.

“ ‘Colonel: Our official communications being about to close, you will permit me to bear testimony to 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. Hoping at some future time to be able to reciprocate your courteousness, and in many instances your positive kindness, I am, with respect, your obedient servant,

“ ‘U. T. Clan, Major and A.-G.-G. Gen. Hood’s Staff.’


“I would not notice this, but I know the people of the North, liable to be misled by a falsehood calculated for special purposes, and by a desperate enemy, will be relieved by this assurance, that not only care, but real kindness has been extended to families who lost their home by the act of their male protectors.

“(Signed)          W. T. Sherman,

“Major-Gen. Commanding.”


The congratulations of the heroic, devoutly Christian General Howard, who is equally at home in the Sabbath school and in the smoke of battle, will add to the interest of the records of this eventful time:


“It is with pride, gratification, and a sense of Divine favor, that I congratulate this noble army upon the successful termination of the campaign.

“Your officers claim for you a wonderful record—for example, a march of four hundred miles, thirteen distinct engagements, four thousand prisoners, and twenty stands of colors captured, and three thousand of the enemy’s dead buried in your front.

“Your movements upon the enemy’s flank have been bold and successful; first upon Resaca, second upon Dallas, third upon Kenesaw, fourth upon Nickajack, fifth, via Roswell, upon the Augusta Railroad, sixth upon ‘Ezra Church,’ to the southwest of Atlanta, and seventh upon Jonesboro’ and the Macon Railroad. Atlanta was evacuated while you were fighting at Jonesboro’.

“The country may never know with what patience, labor, and exposure you have tugged away at every natural and artificial obstacle that an enterprising and confident enemy could interpose. The terrific battles you have fought may never be realized or credited; still a glad acclaim is already greeting you from the Government and people, in view of the results you have helped to gain; and I believe a sense of the magnitude of the achievements of the last hundred days will not abate, but increase with time and history.

“Our rejoicing is tempered, as it always must be, by the soldier’s sorrow at the loss of his companions in arms. On every hillside, in every valley throughout your long and circuitous route, from Dalton to Jonesboro’, you have buried them.

“Your trusted and beloved commander fell in your midst; his name, the name of McPherson, carries with it a peculiar feeling of sorrow. I trust the impress of his character is upon you all, to incite you to generous actions and noble deeds.

“To mourning friends, and to all the disabled in battle, you extend a soldier’s sympathy.

“My first intimate acquaintance with you dates from the 28th of July. I never beheld fiercer assaults than the enemy then made, and I never saw troops more steady and self-possessed in action than your divisions which were then engaged.

“I have learned that for cheerfulness, obedience, rapidity of movement and confidence in battle, the army of the Tennessee is not to be surpassed, and it shall be my study that your fair record shall continue, and my purpose to assist you to move steadily forward and plant the old flag in every proud city of the rebellion.

“(Signed)      O. O. Howard, Major-Gen.

Official: Samuel L. Taggart, A.-A.-G.”


The most decided and pleasing evidence of the manly and magnanimous heart of the conqueror, is given by the enemy himself. In his despatches, General Sherman sends the following note:


Atlanta, Sept. 26.

“The following, which belongs to the testimonials from the authorities at Atlanta, has just been received in communication; and in conclusion of the subject, I send you a copy of the mayor’s letter.

W. T. Sherman.


“ ‘Atlanta, Sept. 20.

“ ‘On leaving Atlanta, I should return my thanks to General Sherman, General Slocum, General Ward, Colonel Colburn, Major Beck, Captain Mott, and other officers, with whom I have had business transactions in carrying out the orders of General Sherman for the removal of the citizens, and in transacting my private business, for their kindness to, and their patience in answering the many inquiries I had to make on the duration of the delicate and arduous duties devolving on me as mayor of this city.

“ ‘Respectfully,      James M. Calhoun.’ ”


Similar testimony appeared in the columns of rebel newspapers. The next quotation is from the Macon Telegraph: “Refugees report generally kind personal treatment from General Sherman and his officers. Whatever exceptions may have occurred have been in violation of orders—instances of individual pilfering, which cannot always be prevented in an army, and in many cases have been detected and punished.

“A friend, whose wife was left an invalid in Atlanta, and came within our lines a day or two since, says, that at her request General Sherman came to see her, and finding her unable to attend to the arrangement of her movables for transportation, had them all bound up nicely and transported to our lines, even to her washtub.

“The Federal general had three hours’ conversation with her, and justified at length his order for the removal, insisting that in his exposed position, liable to be cut off and besieged, it was the part of humanity to require that non-combatants should not be exposed to the privations and perils to which his army must probably be subjected; and worse, because he could not provide food for a large population. Goods left behind were stored and duplicate receipts given, with the promise that they should be safely returned.

“Refugees report that Sherman’s army is going North by thousands, and his force is now very small. Whether this movement is confined to men going out of service, or embraces reënforcements to Grant, they were unable to say.”

I must give you a pleasant picture of the chief while marshalling his troops at Atlanta: “While I was watching to-day the endless line of troops shifting by, an officer with a modest escort rode up to the fence near which I was standing, and dismounted. He was rather tall and slender, and his quick movements denoted good muscle added to absolute leanness—not thinness. His uniform was neither new nor old, but bordering on a hazy mellowness of gloss, while the elbows and knees were a little accented from the continuous agitation of those joints.

“The face was one I should never rest upon in a crowd, simply because, to my eye, there was nothing remarkable in it save the nose, which organ was high, thin, and planted with a curve as vehement as the curl of a Malay cutlass. The face and neck were rough and covered with reddish hair, the eye light in color and animated; but, though restless and bounding like a ball from one object to another, neither piercing nor brilliant; the mouth well closed but common, the ears large, the hands and feet long and thin, the gait a little rolling, but firm and active. In dress and manner there was not the slightest trace of pretension. He spoke rapidly, and generally with an inquisitive smile. To this ensemble I must add a hat which was the reverse of dignified or distinguished—a simple felt affair, with a round crown and drooping brim—and you have as fair a description of General Sherman’s externals as I can pen.

“Seating himself on a stick of cordwood hard by the fence, he drew a bit of pencil from his pocket, and spreading a piece of note paper on his knee, he wrote with great rapidity. Long columns of troops lined the road a few yards in his front, and beyond the road, massed in a series of spreading green fields, a whole division of infantry was waiting to take up the line of march, the blue ranks clear cut against the verdant background. Those who were near their general looked at him curiously; for in so vast an army the soldier sees his commander-in-chief but seldom. Page after page was filled by the general’s nimble pencil, and despatched.

“For a half hour I watched him, and, though I looked for and expected to find them, no symptoms could I detect that the mind of the great leader was taxed by the infinite cares of a terribly hazardous military coup de main. Apparently it did not lay upon his mind the weight of a feather. A mail arrived. He tore open the papers and glanced over them hastily, then chatted with some general officers near him, then rode off with characteristic suddenness, but with fresh and smiling countenance, filing down the road beside many thousand men, whose lives were in his keeping.”

The truly great mind is magnanimous in the hour of victory; a selfish, narrow one is arrogant and oppressive. We ought to be devoutly grateful to God for leaders in this second life-struggle of freedom, who in general character emulate our unrivalled Washington, and do not tarnish the cause he loved by revengeful or unworthy deeds.


The Events which followed the Truce—General Hood’s Army in Motion—Battle at Allatoona Pass—He is left to the care of the gallant Thomas—The New and Magnificent Campaign of General Sherman—The Field of his Operations—Burning of Rome—The Advance—Atlanta partially Burned—The Rebel Fears and Hopes—The March.

DURING the truce which closed September 22d, General Hood had moved his army toward Macon, to protect that important town. But the startling rumor reached his ear that his bold antagonist would turn his front toward Mobile, away on the shores of the Gulf. This drew the rebel chief from his position, and brought him by a westward movement across the track toward the seaboard.

On Sunday, September 25th, at Macon, Jeff Davis addressed the soldiers, assuring them their feet would soon press the soil of Tennessee, spreading before them golden visions of conquest and abundance of supplies. To compel General Sherman to abandon his southern march, and follow him into Tennessee, the desperate leader of treason’s battalions wheeled about and recrossed the Chattahoochie River. Thus was abandoned the great State of Georgia, and the “hotbed of secession,” South Carolina, to the Union army. Generals Hood and Forrest began to cut railroad lines and burn bridges.

At Allatoona Pass the enemy made a furious assault on our garrison to regain this Thermopylæ of the campaign, but dashed in vain upon the valor of our unyielding ranks. The commander-in-chief of our forces, who had signalled General Corse from the top of Kenesaw Mountain to meet the enemy there, sent the “boys” his warm congratulations:


Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, }

In the Field, Kenesaw Mountain, Oct. 7, 1864.   }

“The General commanding avails himself of the opportunity, in the handsome defence made of ‘Alatoona,’ to illustrate the most important principle in war, that fortified posts should be defended to the last, regardless of the relative numbers of the party attacking and attacked.

“Allatoona was garrisoned by three regiments, commanded by Colonel Tourtelotte, and reënforced by a detachment from a division at Rome, under command of Brigadier-General J. M. Corse, on the morning of the 5th, and a few hours after was attacked by French’s division of Stewart’s corps, two other divisions being near at hand, and in support. General French demanded a surrender, in a letter, to ‘avoid a useless effusion of blood,’ and gave but five minutes for answer. General Corse’s answer was emphatic and strong, that he and his command were ready for the ‘useless effusion of blood’ as soon as it was agreeable to General French.

“This was followed by an attack which was prolonged for five hours, resulting in the complete repulse of the enemy, who left his dead on the ground, amounting to more than two hundred, and four hundred prisoners, well and wounded. The ‘effusion of blood’ was not ‘useless,’ as the position at Allatoona was and is very important to our present and future operations.

“The thanks of this army are due, and are hereby accorded, to General Corse, Colonel Tourtelotte, officers and men, for their determined and gallant defence of Allatoona, and it is made an example to illustrate the importance of preparing in time, and meeting the danger, when present, boldly, manfully, and well.

“The army, though unseen to the garrison, was cöoperating by moving toward the road by which the enemy could alone escape, but unfortunately were delayed by the rain and mud; but this fact hastened the retreat of the enemy.

“Commanders and garrisons of the posts along our railroads are hereby instructed that they must hold their posts to the last minute, sure that the time gained is valuable and necessary to their comrades at the front.”


While General Hood was thus retracing his steps, capturing Dalton and threatening Chattanooga, General Sherman was on his track, pursuing him to the Tennessee. The lion-hearted Thomas was at Nashville, and, quite sure that he could “take care of Hood,” as the order ran, the great commander turned his face again southward.

He had telegraphed to the Secretary of War that his army needed rest at Atlanta. It was true, but General Sherman did not intend to have it then. The rebels and the country were bewildered by his mysterious movements. Early in November he was between the Tennessee and Chattahoochie, his headquarters at Kingston, with Rome on the line to Atlanta. The deeply-laid game was played by the master hand in the dark to others. Preparations were at once made for a grander campaign than that which had just closed.

On the 10th, when the evening darkened around the beautiful Rome of Georgia, the heavens glowed with its conflagration. A fearful storm had ceased, the advance was at hand, and it was necessary, in the stern demands of war, to make a torch and desolation of that place, in the wake of the march. The fire was kindled by General Corse, according to the orders of the commander. A spectator wrote of the scenes of that terrific conflagration:


“All the barracks were laid in ashes, and a black veil of dense smoke hung over the war-desolated city nearly all day, arising from the smouldering ruins.

“Owing to the great lack of railroad transportation, General Corse was obliged to destroy nearly a million of dollars’ worth of property, among which was a few thousand dollars’ worth of condemned and unserviceable government stores. Nine rebel guns, captured at Rome by our troops, were burst, it being deemed unsafe to use them. One thousand bales of fine cotton, two flour mills, two rolling mills, two tanneries, one salt mill, an extensive foundry, several machine shops, together with the railroad depots and storehouses, four pontoon bridges, built by General Corse’s pioneer corps for use on the Coosa and Etowah rivers, and a substantial trestle bridge, nearly completed for use, were destroyed. This trestle, constructed by the Engineer corps, I am told, would have cost fifty thousand dollars North. Recollecting the outrages perpetrated upon Colonel Streight by the ‘Romans,’ our troops, as soon as they learned that the town was to be abandoned and a portion of it burned, resolved to lay Rome in ashes in revenge. The roaring of the flames, as they leaped from window to window, their savage tongues of fire darting high up into the heavens, and then licking the sides of the buildings, presented an awful but grand spectacle, while the mounted patrol and the infantrymen glided along through the brilliant light like the ghostly spectres of horrid war.”

Concentrating at Atlanta, the last use made of the stronghold and cherished hope of the Confederacy was the finishing work of getting a vast army in motion—a grand start into hostile country, away from the base of supplies.

After the men had bivouacked for the night, the following orders, issued by General Sherman, were read to the troops, and were greeted with many manifestations of approbation by the veterans, who, in so many bloody battles, have followed the lead of Sherman:


Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, }

In the Field, Kingston, Ga., Nov. 8, 1864.   }

“The General commanding deems it proper at this time to inform the officers and men of the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Seventeenth, and Twentieth Corps, that he has organized them into an army for a special purpose well known to the War Department and to General Grant. It is sufficient for you to know that it involves a departure from our present base, and a long and difficult march to a new one. All the chances of war have been considered and provided for as far as human sagacity can. All he asks of you is to maintain that discipline, patience and courage which have characterized you in the past, and he hopes, through you, to strike a blow at our enemy that will have a material effect in producing what we all so much desire, his complete overthrow. Of all things the most important is, that the men, during marches and in camp, keep their places, and not scatter about as stragglers or foragers, to be picked up by hostile people in detail.

“It is also of the utmost importance that our wagons should not be loaded with anything but provisions and ammunition. All surplus servants, non-combatants, and refugees should now go to the rear, and none should be encouraged to encumber us on the march. At some future time we will be enabled to provide for the poor whites and blacks who seek to escape the bondage under which they are now suffering.

“With these few simple cautions in your minds, he hopes to lead you to achievements equal in importance to those of the past.

“By order of

“Major-General W. T. Sherman.”


The grand army, of more than fifty thousand men, was divided into two wings, although in some of its movements arranged in three or more separate columns. General Slocum commanded the left wing, composed of the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps, and General Howard the right wing, made up of the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps. The dashing, brilliant Kilpatrick was chief of a cavalry force. The marching orders were issued, and flew along the extended battle front, meeting with a glad welcome from the troops. The clear directions of the chieftain will present the line and method of march:


In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 9, 1864.

“I. For the purpose of military operations, this army is divided into two wings, viz.: The right wing, Major-General O. O. Howard, commanding the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps; the left wing, Major-General H. W. Slocum, commanding the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps.

“II. The habitual order of march will be, whenever practicable, by four roads, as nearly parallel as possible, and converging at points hereafter to be indicated in orders. The cavalry, Brigadier-General Kilpatrick commanding, will receive special orders from the Commander-in-Chief.

“III. There will be no general trains of supplies, but each corps will have its ammunition and provision train, distributed habitually as follows: Behind each regiment should follow one wagon and one ambulance; behind each brigade should follow a due proportion of ammunition wagons, provision wagons, and ambulances. In case of danger, each army corps should change this order of march by having his advance and rear brigade unencumbered by wheels. The separate columns will start habitually at seven a. m., and make about fifteen miles per day, unless otherwise fixed in orders.

“IV. The army will forage liberally on the country during the march. To this end each brigade commander will organize a good and sufficient foraging party, under the command of one or more discreet officers, who will gather, near the route travelled, corn or forage of any kind, meat of any kind, vegetables, corn-meal, or whatever is needed by the command; aiming at all times to keep in the wagon trains at least ten days’ provisions for the command and three days’ forage. Soldiers must not enter the dwellings of the inhabitants or commit any trespass; during the halt or a camp they may be permitted to gather turnips, potatoes, and other vegetables, and drive in stock in front of their camps. To regular foraging parties must be intrusted the gathering of provisions and forage at any distance from the road travelled.

“V. To army corps commanders is intrusted the power to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, etc., and for them this general principle is laid down: In districts and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested, no destruction of such property should be permitted; but should guerillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, then army corps commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless, according to the measure of such hostility.

“VI. As for horses, mules, wagons, etc., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit; discriminating, however, between the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor or industrious, usually neutral or friendly. Foraging parties may also take mules or horses to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to serve as pack mules for the regiments or brigades. In all foraging, of whatever kind, the parties engaged will refrain from abusive or threatening language, and may, when the officer in command thinks proper, give written certificates of the facts, but no receipts; and they will endeavor to leave with each family a reasonable portion for their maintenance.

“VII. Negroes who are able-bodied and can be of service to the several columns, may be taken along; but each army commander will bear in mind that the question of supplies is a very important one, and that his first duty is to see to those who bear arms.

“VIII. The organization at once of a good pioneer battalion for each corps, composed, if possible, of negroes, should be attended to. This battalion should follow the advance guard, should repair roads and double them if possible, so that the columns will not be delayed after reaching bad places. Also, army commanders should study the habit of giving the artillery and wagons the road, and marching their troops on one side; and also instruct their troops to assist wagons at steep hills or bad crossings or streams.

“IX. Captain O. M. Poe, chief engineer, will assign to each wing of the army a pontoon train, fully equipped and organized, and the commanders thereof will see to its being properly protected at all times.

“By order of      Major-General W. T. Sherman.”


The feeling of the troops is expressed in the words of another who was with them: “They do not stop to ask questions. Sherman says ‘Come,’ and that is the entire vocabulary with them. A most cheerful feature of the situation is the fact that the men are healthful and jolly as men can be, hoping for the best, daring to do the worst.

“Behind us we leave a track of smoke and flame. Half of Marietta was burned up, not by orders, however, for the command is that proper details shall be made to destroy all property which can ever be of use to the rebel armies. Stragglers will get into these places, and dwelling-houses are levelled to the ground. In nearly all cases these are the deserted habitations formerly owned by rebels, who are now refugees.

“Yesterday, as some of the men were marching toward the Chattahoochie River, they saw in the distance pillars of smoke rising along its banks; the bridges were in flames. Says one, hitching his musket a bit on the shoulder in a free and easy way, ‘I say, Charley, I believe Sherman has set the river on fire.’ ‘Reckon not,’ replied the other, with the same indifference. ‘If he has, it’s all right.’ And so they pass along, obeying orders, not knowing what is before them, but believing in their leader.”

The foraging parties were to bring in from the country along the war-path, supplies for the long cavalcade, sweeping over a belt of land twenty to seventy miles wide, right across the proud State of Georgia.

The regulations respecting retaliation for outrages were wise and humane, because they prevented the very ruin which the rebels, unrestrained by fear, would have drawn upon themselves. It was not an idle threat, but proved to be a most timely, useful one.

November 12th, you might have seen the magnificent spectacle a great war alone affords. Mounted on his steed, his cork hand on the rein, General Howard led the right wing in bristling ranks, to the sound of martial airs, from Atlanta. And here I must tell you about that cork hand. You may recollect that the heroic chief lost his arm at Fair Oaks, fighting under General McClellan. He returned soon after to his home in Lewiston, Maine. It happened that I was there upon a beautiful summer day, when the Sabbath-school children had a meeting in Rev. Mr. Adams’s church, at Auburn, across the river. General Howard was present, the first time he had attended a public gathering since the wound was received. And many hearts were touched to hear him talk earnestly of truth and duty, while the yet unhealed stump would try to gesticulate, as the arm did of old. He is a complete man, and appreciated by his general-in-chief.

The imposing pageant of the advancing host was repeated on the 14th, when General Slocum marched at the head of the left wing from the doomed city. Then General Sherman, with his staff and body-guard, gave a last look, and took his road to Macon. “Let Hood go North; our business is down South,” was his brief comment upon the rebel general’s movements.

The torch was applied to the public buildings and railroad depots, flinging at night a lurid light over the dismantled ruined fortifications, and upon the surrounding hills. The scene was grand and awful, memorable to all who witnessed this burning of the “Gate City.” No private residences were designedly given to the flames. “The evidence of the rebels themselves has since appeared to show, that though Atlanta had been besieged, captured, and depopulated, there was no heartless or unavoidable destruction of private property, such as the enemy have delighted to charge upon General Sherman. Thus abandoned, it was left in the rear of our army, whose face was now seaward, and the hand of time, with a higher degree of civilization, can only efface the marks inflicted by a warlike occupation. Before the war Atlanta was one of the most thriving inland cities of the South, and contained 12,000 inhabitants.

“The rebels at Richmond received their first news of Sherman’s departure from Atlanta, from the North, but refused to place confidence in it. ‘It is a big Yankee lie,’ said the Richmond Examiner, ‘and if Sherman really has burnt Atlanta, it is to cover a retreat northward, to look after Hood.’ ‘But if Sherman is really attempting this prodigious design,’ it continued, ‘his march will only lead him to the “Paradise of Fools.” ’ The more Southern papers, those of Augusta, Savannah, etc., were alike incredulous with those of Richmond, upon the receipt of the first news of Sherman’s movement. ‘It is rumored that Atlanta is evacuated,’ said the Augusta Chronicle, of November 15, ‘and we trust the rumor will prove correct.’ The same paper of November 18, implores the citizens of Augusta to ‘look at the situation without nervousness or fear—pray to God, but keep your powder dry—meet the storm like men—it’s always darkest just before day.’

“It is only necessary to follow Sherman’s course, to note the precision with which he moved, the width of country which he covered, and the directness of his march upon his objective point, to realize the impotency of all the shrieks, invocations, and proclamations that only spoiled so much valuable paper in the Confederacy.”

While the heavens hung like curtains of glowing crimson above and around the circular theatre of ruin, whose cinders shot through the hot atmosphere continually, the fine band of the Thirty-third Massachusetts were playing, “John Brown’s soul goes marching on!” The effect was awfully grand; the strange stirring anthem rising over the advance of that mighty host whose way was flashing with the torchlights of burning buildings.

Let us suppose we were upon an eminence near Atlanta, with power of vision to look away over the “heart of Georgia,” the goal of General Sherman’s moving columns. Running through it are two railroads, the only lines traversing the State of Georgia, and forming the chief link of railway connection between Virginia and the States of Alabama and Mississippi, now the southwestern limit of the so-called Confederacy. One of these railroads is the Georgia Central, running from Savannah to Macon, 190 miles, thence to Atlanta, by the Macon and Western Railroad, 101 miles, making the total distance from Savannah to Atlanta by railroad, 291 miles. The other is the Georgia Railroad, running from Augusta to Atlanta, at from 40 to 60 miles north of the Georgia Central Railroad, and making the distance to Atlanta, from Augusta, 171 miles. At Millen, on the Georgia Central road, 79 miles north of Savannah, is the junction of a branch road, called the Waynesboro’ Railroad, which connects with Augusta, 53 miles distant, and makes the distance by rail from Savannah to Augusta 132 miles. Along these lines of travel the country is thickly settled, and richly productive. Cotton, wheat, and corn fields, with forests and streams, mansions and slave huts, make a southern landscape inviting to a great army, whose thousands of men must have food to eat, and plenty of it. To cover the railroads and destroy them as the troops advanced, making Milledgeville, the capital, a point of rendezvous, was the first object of the commander. General Kilpatrick’s splendid cavalry protected flank and front—“the eyes of the army.” On, on, the extended wings move; while a cavalry force sweeps off toward Macon, where General Cobb commands the rebel militia, to make him believe an attack upon him is designed. The “fire-eater” is awake to his perilous position, and ready to defend “Southern rights;” when, lo! the horsemen suddenly disappear. Their enterprise seems a serious joke, provoking a laugh; for it was to keep at Macon the only force that could dispute the way, excepting some cavalry brigades at Macon, till left fairly in the rear. This being done, General Sherman cared little where the Confederate hero went. The enemy was amazed and bewildered—the bold invader’s plans baffled his attempts to decipher them. An extract from a Richmond paper will be both a curious and interesting illustration.

The Sentinel with assurance declared: “It is not Sherman’s object to make his way to the Atlantic to assist Meade, leaving Thomas heir to his far higher honors and responsibilities in the West. If he shall succeed in penetrating the circle that now surrounds him, and escaping to Port Royal, his first anxiety, like Kilpatrick’s, will be for ships to take him away. Steam to Annapolis, and steam to Nashville, if Nashville be not already fallen, will be all too slow to quiet his impatience and to mollify his chagrin. While his own course through Georgia will have been that of an arrow through the air, or a ship over the sea, leaving no track behind; while his exploits and his honors will have been those of the baffled fox hounded from the barn-yard, or the disappointed wolf, chased and pelted by the shepherds; he will return to Tennessee to find Hood, we trust, in possession of the State. He will return to find that his campaign into Georgia, so boastfully entered upon, has but lost the territories won by his predecessors.”

While the editors and other leading minds at the Confederate capital were thus speculating and wondering, General Sherman was having a most auspicious start on the long march over rebel soil. “The right wing moved directly south from Atlanta, which is in Fulton County, to Rough and Ready and Jonesboro’ stations on the Macon and Western Railroad, in Fayette County. On November 16th one column of the right wing passed through Jonesboro’, twenty-six miles south of Atlanta, Wheeler’s cavalry and Cobb’s militia retiring upon Griffin. Another column of the right wing occupied McDonough, November 17th, the county seat of Henry County, some distance east of Jonesboro’, and about thirty-five miles southeast of Atlanta. Henry County is one of the largest and richest of Georgia, and here our forces found large supplies of provisions and forage. On the 16th Wheeler engaged our cavalry at Bear Creek station, ten miles north of Griffin, and telegraphed General Hardee that he had ‘checked the Yankee advance.’ The very same evening, at six o’clock, his ragged troopers fell back through Griffin, in the direction of Barnesville, where Cobb’s militia had already preceded him. Our cavalry occupied Griffin, which is the county seat of Spalding County, on the 17th, and on the 18th drove Wheeler out of Barnesville, in Pike County, and through Forsyth, the county seat of Monroe County, seventy-six miles south of Atlanta and twenty-five miles northwest of Macon.”

Turning to the map you will see the Ocumulgee River, on whose banks Macon is situated, northeast of which, on the Oconee, is Milledgeville, the State capital. November 20th General Sherman crossed the former stream with his face toward the seat of government; this was the first intelligence the rebels had of his purpose to pass by Macon. Meanwhile General Howard’s columns moved rapidly through Monticello, the shire town of Jasper County, burning the courthouse, thence to Hillsboro’, the county seat of Jones County, to reach the Georgia Central Railroad at Gordon, where the branch track to Milledgeville has its junction. Thus General Sherman left General Cobb behind, and sending to Griswoldville a rear-guard of infantry, pushed on the 21st to Milledgeville, with General Howard’s troops ready to join him.

The march, so far, had averaged thirteen and a half miles each day, making ninety-five miles from Atlanta. There was no need of great haste, and the strength of the men was spared for the vast enterprise before them. “General Sherman camped on the plantation of Howell Cobb. We found his granaries well filled with corn and wheat, part of which was distributed and eaten by our animals and men. A large supply of syrup made from sorghum, which we have found at nearly every plantation on our march, was stored in an out-house. This was also disposed of to the soldiers and the poor decrepit negroes, which this humane, liberty-loving major-general, abandoned to die in this place a few days ago.

“General Sherman distributed to the negroes with his own hands the provisions left here, and assured them that we were their friends, and they need not be afraid that we were foes. One old man answered him: ‘I spose dat you’se true; but, massa, you’se’ll go way tomorrow, and anudder white man will come.’ He had never known any thing but oppression, and had been kept in such ignorance that he did not dare put faith in any white man. The negroes were told that as soon as we got them into our power, they were put into the front of the battle, and we killed them if they did not fight; that we threw the women and children into the Chattahoochie, and when the buildings were burned in Atlanta, we filled them with negroes, to be devoured by the flames.

“General Sherman invited all able-bodied negroes (others could not make the march) to join the column, and he takes especial pleasure when they join the procession, on some occasions telling them they are free: that Massa Lincoln has given them their liberty, and that they can go where they please; that if they earn their freedom they should have it, but that Massa Lincoln had given it to them anyhow. Thousands of negro women join the column, some carrying household truck; others, and many of them there are, who bear the heavy burdens of children in their arms, while older boys and girls plod by their sides. All these women and children are ordered back, heartrending though it may be to refuse them liberty.

“But the majority accept the advent of the Yankees as the fulfilment of the millennial prophecies. The ‘day of jubilee,’ the hope and prayer of a lifetime, has come. They cannot be made to understand that they must remain behind, and they are satisfied only when General Sherman tells them, as he does every day, that we shall come back for them some time, and that they must be patient until the proper hour of deliverance comes.”

The enemy finding our army had deceived them and was gone, General Cobb sent a force from Macon to attack the rear-guard at Griswoldsville, a part of which had been employed to threaten Macon, where a sharp skirmish resulted in a loss to them of several hundred killed and wounded; the severest battle of all the march. General Slocum’s left wing had pressed on through De Kalb County to Covington, burning railroad buildings on the way. Near this town, while foraging in the fine fertile country, a force from one of the brigades of the Twentieth Corps was assailed by a party of “bushwhackers,” and one of our soldiers killed. Then followed the execution of General Sherman’s threat of devastation, involving in it the burning of the Methodist College at Oxford. The large libraries, the cabinets and apparatus, all were swept away by the fires of war, the charred ruins of an institution which cost nearly a million of dollars, only remaining in the wake of relentless Mars. General Slocum pushed forward his troops, living on the “fat of the land,” destroying railways, and flinging on his path the flames of burning warehouses, markets, and bridges. The same day that General Howard reached Gordon, General Slocum was at Eatonton, the northern terminus of the branch railroad. The troops came together at Milledgeville, General Howard entering it first with his troops; because the far-seeing commander-in-chief found that the best point for crossing the Oconee was there.

The legislature, which was in session on the 18th, hearing of the advance of General Sherman’s resistless columns, prepared to flee before them. Governor Brown departed in his private carriage for Macon, taking with him the public papers, funds, and whatever of personal effects he could convey. Never was such a stampede of the law-making chivalry of Georgia dreamed of by them. Members of this terrified body hurried away to Augusta, and others followed the Governor to Macon; some in carriages, some on horses, and others on foot, not having Confederate currency enough to pay for other means of escape. Two of the honorable fugitives paid one thousand dollars to be carried eight miles. Scarcely had Governor Brown reached Macon when he hastened to the City Hall and issued a flaming proclamation—chanticleer crowing after he is driven from the field by his rival in the fight.

Catching the contagious alarm, in the wake of the fugitive legislature, the citizens able to get away, carrying with them to the depot their household treasures, then also fled, until the infirm and the negroes only represented the just now proud and defiant population. The latter were wild with joy, embracing the soldiers, and exclaiming, “Bless de Lord! tanks be to Almighty God, the Yanks is come; the day of jubilee hab arrived!” Such was their simple recognition of God in the war, and of the friends of liberty. General Sherman’s headquarters were at the Executive Mansion, its former occupant having, with extremely bad grace, in fleeing from his distinguished visitor, taken with him the entire furniture of the building. As General Sherman travels with a roll of blankets, and haversack full of hard tack, which is as complete an outfit for a life out in the open air as in a palace, this discourtesy of Governor Brown was not a serious inconvenience.

The campaign toward the sea was now fairly opened, and successful in all its details: “At first, moving his army in three columns, with a column of cavalry on his extreme right, upon eccentric lines, he diverted the attention of the enemy, so that he concentrated his forces at extreme points, Macon and Augusta, leaving unimpeded the progress of the main body. In this campaign it was not the purpose of the General to spend his time before fortified cities, nor yet to encumber his wagons with wounded men. His instructions to Kilpatrick were to demonstrate against Macon, getting within five miles of the city.

“With that ignorance of danger common to new troops, the rebels rushed upon our veterans with the greatest fury. They were received with grape-shot and musketry at point blank range, our soldiers firing coolly while shouting derisively to the quivering columns to come on, as if they thought the whole thing a nice joke. The rebels resumed the attack, but with the same fatal results, and were soon in full flight, leaving more than three hundred dead on the field. Our loss was some forty killed and wounded, while their killed, wounded, and prisoners, are estimated to exceed two thousand five hundred. A pretty severe lesson they received. It is said, ‘Ce n’est que le premier pas qui coûte.’ This first step has been a most expensive one, and judging from the fact that we have not heard from them since, they seem to have interpreted the proverb otherwise than in the recognized sense.”

Gov. Brown reluctantly left in Milledgeville three thousand muskets and several thousand pounds of powder, to be destroyed by our troops. Then came a comic episode in the march. A number of officers and men took possession of the State House, elected a speaker, a clerk, and a chaplain, and went to work upon bills and resolutions in earnest. Calls to order, deciding between members claiming the floor, and humorous hits, filled up the time. When in the midst of the amusing excitement, a courier rushed in, saying, the “Yankees are coming!” then there was a sudden suspension of business, a panic, and a run for the doors. This was succeeded by an uproar of laughter.

Somehow the entreaty of the politicians and editors of the Confederacy to burn and otherwise destroy property likely to fall into our hands, did not move the hearts of traitors. Each waited to see his neighbor commence the havoc, and excepting what the army appropriated, and the rebels carried off, but little damage was done. The enemy was completely in the mist of mystery, and General Sherman’s skilful, blinding movements, successfully deluded his antagonists. Their blows were always hesitating, and, when given by them, were equally ineffectual. It was evident, however, that the Oconee River must be passed at some point by our troops. Accordingly, the enemy posted himself where the railroad crosses the river, five miles east of Gordon, and here burned the bridge. Wednesday, the 23d, brought our troops well up to the river.

The people along the line of march seldom expressed their sentiments to the army. A few illustrations from those who saw and heard for themselves, will give the general feeling: “When they do speak it is not in vain eulogy of the rebel army and the cause in which they are engaged. They are broken in spirits, and the haughty secession ladies, who by force of ‘arms’ and tongue drove their brothers, sons, and lovers, into the army, are now as meek as singed kittens, and only too glad to smile upon a good-looking Yankee. They all frankly admit that their cause is hopeless—that subjugation awaits them in the future, and all they now wish is for the storm to burst and pass; that peace with them, crushed beneath the Yankee heel, is preferable to the present state of things.

“ ‘Great God!’ exclaimed one very intelligent Milledgeville lady, whose all had been taken, ‘little did I think, when I bade my dear boys, who now sleep in their graves, good-bye, and packed them off, that this day would come, when old, impoverished, and childless, I must ask the men whom they fought against for a meal of victuals to satisfy my hunger. But it serves me right; I was deceived, drove them to battle, death, and infamy, and here I stand, their murderer.’

“Riding up to a house one day, I met an old woman and three grown-up daughters at the door uttering frantic appeals for help. I inquired what was wrong, when the old woman pointed to a burning cotton gin, and exclaimed, ‘Put it out! You uns are burnin’ me child!’ I asked where the child was, and succeeded in learning that it was in the burning gin house. Away I went, with some men, to rescue the innocent, and at the door met a ten year old boy, who, badly singed, issued forth from the fiery furnace. Returning to the house, I inquired how the boy came there? Putting the pipe between her lips, to compose her nerves, the old lady at last ventured an explanation: ‘Well,’ said she, ‘we uns heard that you uns killed all the little boys, to keep them out from growing up to fight ye, and we hid ’em.’ Strange as this may seem, among the poor, ignorant dupes of Davis, it is a common belief that the Yankees slay all the male children. We found many infant Moseses and Jeffs hid away in cellars and corn-cribs, but none in bulrushes. An officer called upon a lady in Effingham County, whose plantation had been stripped of every thing, and found her in tears and her children crying for bread. He endeavored to soothe her, when she lifted up her beautiful eyes beseechingly, and implored, ‘Give me something for my starving children.’ Away the officer went to his mess and fed the children from his private larder. On the following morning he was quite chagrined to witness two oak boxes, one barrel of flour, four trunks, and other articles exhumed from the garden by the soldiers.”

The eight days’ march to Millen, seventy-five miles from Milledgeville, was full of varied and remarkable interest. General Kilpatrick, with his “ubiquitous cavalry,” galloped away to the Central Railroad bridge, over the Oconee, twenty-five miles southeast of Milledgeville, where General Howard was trying to build a pontoon bridge, which the rebel General Wayne, with a brigade of released inmates of the penitentiary, and of militia, was determined to prevent; a battle followed, and the enemy was driven back. Then again the unrivalled trooper acted as “a curtain” upon the extreme left, having covered in the same way the right wing in the earlier part of the campaign; while all the time he had the nobler aim, if possible, to reach Millen in time to rescue our incarcerated and dying prisoners of war. “The stockade or coop in which our prisoners were confined, after their removal from Andersonville, was located in a dense pine forest, six miles from Millen station, on the Savannah and Augusta Railroad. It was a square of fifteen acres, enclosed by pine logs set upright in the ground, very close together. At intervals of twenty feet along the palisades were the sentry boxes, fifteen feet from the ground; access to them could only be had by means of ladders on the outside. The palisade logs were uniformly ten inches thick, and so straight and close were they that all view of the pine woods beyond them was shut out from the unfortunates within. Entering at the broad gate they crossed the ‘dead line’ (single rail fence) fearlessly, and approached the burrows or adobe huts where the ‘Yankees’ had slept in confinement. These were not filthy, because no considerable amount of filth could accumulate during the three weeks our men were kept there; but they were cheerless and comfortless. There was no attempt at regularity in laying out this village of Kennel. In one of them the dead body of a Union soldier, name unknown, was found unburied. Decidedly the most comfortable looking appendage to the stockade was the brick cook-house near the centre, with accommodation for a dozen or fifteen men to work at a time. At the southeast angle of the stockade, on the outside, stood a square earthwork, built to command with its guns both the burrows inside and the approaches to the logs on the outside. In the hospital huts, a quarter of a mile from the pen, were good accommodations for three hundred men, and there were evidences that they were not sufficient. A fine large spring, where excellent water bubbled out, completed the lists of objects familiar to the brave boys who had lived in that silent clearing in the pine woods. The dead prisoners were buried in rows, a short distance from the hospital, graves being numbered as high as six hundred and fifty. The prisoners were kept at Millen only three weeks.”

November 29th the “boys” kept Thanksgiving upon the luxuries of Georgia plantations. The Ogeehee was crossed on November 30th. It is a stream sixty yards wide, where the troops passed over on a bridge which was put in repair, and with pontoons.

In a sketch from a reliable source, we have an explanation of the false charge made by a distinguished orator against General Sherman, that he removed a bridge, and left unprotected negroes to the enemy. He knew nothing of the sad affair when it occurred:

“From the time we left Atlanta, with fifty or one hundred contrabands, the ‘colored brigades’ continued to swell in numbers until we arrived at the Ogeechee River, when fully ten thousand were attached to the various columns. They represented all shades and conditions, from the almost white housemaid servant, worth $15,000 in rebel currency, to the tar black, pock-marked cotton picker, who never crosses massa’s door sill. A very large majority of them were women and children, who, mounted on mules, sometimes five on an animal, in ox wagons, buggies, and vehicles of every description, blocked the roads and materially delayed the movement of the columns. It was no unusual sight to behold a slave mother carrying two young children and leading a third, who, in a half nude state, trudged along the thorny path to freedom. Columns could be written descriptive of the harrowing scenes presented by this unfortunate class of fugitives. So much difficulty did General Davis find in moving his column, that at the Ogeechee River, as a military necessity, he placed a guard at the bridge, who halted the caravan of contrabands until the rear of the column passed, and then removed the pontoon. The negroes, however, not to be frustrated, constructed a foot-bridge and crossed. Next day the column had its full complement of negroes.

“Arriving at Ebenezer Creek, the same method was taken to clear the column, with better success. The creek runs through a half mile of swamp, which is covered by water, and can only be crossed by a narrow bridge. This bridge was taken up, and the moment our forces disappeared the brutal Wheeler was in our rear. Next day only a few darkies came up. Another day passed and still fully two-thirds were missing. Inquiries elicited the information that Wheeler, on finding the defenceless negroes blocked, drove them pellmell into the water, where those who escaped say they struggled to reach the opposite bank, amidst heartrending shrieks; but most of the mothers went down in the water with their children clasped to their bosoms, while Wheeler and his inhuman band looked on with demoniac smiles. How far true this may be I know not, but all the negroes who escaped, with whom I have talked, seem to agree in their account of the hellish slaughter.”

The bridges over the Oconee and Fisher’s Creek were burned behind the army. The rebels were compelled to speak well, on the whole, of General Sherman’s command. I shall add their testimony, given at the time:

“In their route they destroyed, as far as possible, all mills, cribs, and gin-houses, cotton screws and gins, cotton implements, etc., and carried off all stock, provisions, and negroes. When their horses gave out they shot them. At Eatonton they killed over one hundred. At Milledgeville they only destroyed the arsenal, depot, and penitentiary. They did not burn the factory near that place. The right wing of the Federal army, under General Howard, crossed the Ocmulgee River between Adams’s Ferry and Macon. It is said that the town of Forsyth was completely demolished. The Federals expressed great astonishment at the rich country they were passing, and the abundance of provisions in it. General Slocum gave orders to the citizens along his route to shoot down his stragglers without mercy. One punishment inflicted by some of the Federal generals for plundering, was severe whipping. A portion of Major Graham’s command reached this city last night. They report that they visited Atlanta several days since, and found it completely evacuated and burned. They state that the Federals took all the cattle and forage in their route, but did not molest those who stayed at home.”

“The most pathetic scenes occur upon our line of march daily and hourly. Thousands of negro women join the column, some carrying household truck; others, and many of them there are, who bear the burden of children in their arms, while older boys and girls plod by their sides. All these women and children are ordered back, heartrending though it may be to refuse them liberty. They won’t go. One begs that she may go to see her husband and children at Savannah. Long years ago she was forced from them and sold. Another has heard that her boy was in Macon, and she is ‘done gone with grief goin’ on four years.’

“The other day a woman with a child in her arms was working her way along amongst the teams and crowds of cattle and horsemen. An officer called to her kindly: ‘Where are you going, aunty?’

“She looked up into his face with a hopeful, beseeching look, and replied:

“ ‘I’se gwine whar you’se gwine, massa.’

“At a house a few miles from Milledgeville we halted for an hour. In an old hut I found a negro and his wife, both of them over sixty years old. In the talk which ensued nothing was said which led me to suppose that either of them was anxious to leave their mistress, who, by the way, was a sullen, cruel-looking woman, when all at once the old negress straightened herself up, and her face, which a moment before was almost stupid in its expression, assumed a fierce, almost devilish, aspect.

“Pointing her shining black finger at the old man, crouched in the corner of the fire-place, she hissed out: ‘What for you sit dar? you spose I wait sixty years for nutten? Don’t yer see de door open? I’se follow my child; I not stay. Yes, nodder day I goes ’long wid dese people; yes sar, I walks till I drops in my tracks.’ A more terrible sight I never beheld. I can think of nothing to compare with it, except Charlotte Cushman’s Meg Merrilies. Rembrandt only could have painted the scene, with its dramatic surroundings.

“It was near this place that several factories were burned. It was odd to see the delight of the negroes at the destruction of places known only to them as task-houses, where they had groaned under the lash.

“Pointing to the Atlanta and Augusta Railroad, which had been destroyed, the question was asked, ‘It took a longer time to build this railroad than it does to destroy it?’

“ ‘I would think it did, massa; in dat ar woods over dar is buried ever so many black men who were killed, sar, yes, killed, a working on dat road—whipped to deth. I seed em, sar.’

“ ‘Does the man live here who beat them?’

“ ‘Oh no, sar; he’s dun gone long time.’

“I have seen blind and lame mules festooned with infants in bags, and led by fond parents so aged and weak they could hardly totter along. ‘Mars’r Sherman was a great man, but dis am de work ob de Lord,’ they said.”

The swampy borders were belted with “corduroy,” and their heavy fogs hung over the halting columns. At evening the spectacle was weird-like in its wild romance. “A novel and vivid sight was it to see the fires of pitch pine flaring up into the mist and darkness, the figures of men and horses looming out of the dense shadows in gigantic proportions. Torchlights are blinking and flashing away off in the forests, while the still air echoed and reëchoed with the cries of teamsters and the wild shouts of the soldiers. A long line of the troops marched across the foot-bridge, each soldier bearing a torch, their light reflected in quivering lines in the swift running stream. Soon the fog, which settles like a blanket over the swamps and forests of the river bottoms, shut down upon the scene, and so dense and dark was it that torches were of but little use, and men were directed here and there by the voice.”

Not far from this spot the troops encountered a singular character. He had been depot-master before the railroad was destroyed—a shrewd, intelligent old man, so far as the war is concerned. He said to the soldiers: “They say you are retreating, but it is the strangest sort of retreat I ever saw. Why, the newspapers have been lying in this way all along. They allers are whipping the Federal armies, and they allers fall back after the battle is over. It was that ar’ idee that first opened my eyes. Our army was allers whipping the Feds, and we allers fell back. I allers told ’em it was a humbug, and now by —— I know it, for here you are right on old John Wells’s place; hogs, potatoes, corn, and fences all gone. I don’t find any fault. I expected it all.

“ ‘Jeff. Davis and the rest,’ he continued, ‘talk about splitting the Union. Why if South Carolina had gone out by herself, she would have been split in four pieces by this time. Splitting the Union! Why, the State of Georgia is being split right through from end to end. It is these rich fellows who are making the war, and keeping their precious bodies out of harm’s way. There’s John Franklin went through here the other day running away from your army. I could have played dominoes on his coat tails. There’s my poor brother, sick with small-pox at Macon, working for eleven dollars a month, and hasn’t got a cent of the stuff for a year. Eleven dollars a month and eleven thousand bullets a minute. I don’t believe in it, sir.

“ ‘My wife came from Canada, and I kind o’ thought I would some time go there to live, but was allers afraid of the ice and cold; but I can tell you this country is getting too hot for me. Look at my fence-rails burning there. I think I can stand the cold better.

“ ‘I heard as how they cut down the trees across your road up country and burn the bridges; why, one of your Yankees can take up a tree and carry it off, tops and all; and there’s that bridge you put across the river in less than two hours—they might as well try to stop the Ogeechee as you Yankees.

“ ‘The rascals who burnt this yere bridge thought they did a big thing; a natural born fool would have more sense than any of them.

“ ‘To bring back the good old time,’ he said, ‘it’ll take the help of Divine Providence, a heap of rain, and a deal of hard work, to fix things up again.’ ”

It is interesting to look over the sea and get a glimpse of the impressions of our English friends regarding the “wandering host.” The organ of the army and navy said: “It is clear that, so long as he roams about with his army inside the Confederate States, he is more deadly than twenty Grants, and that he must be destroyed if Richmond or any thing is to be saved. Lee will probably be forced by this condition of affairs to assume the offensive, because he cannot afford to let Grant hold his hands whilst Sherman is committing burglary in the Southern mansion. If Sherman has really left his army in the air, and started off without a base to march from Georgia into South Carolina, he has done either one of the most brilliant or one of the most foolish things ever performed by a military leader.”

The great leader and his intelligent troops must have enjoyed the mystery in which both friends and foes were living; knowing well that in public and private circles, in the periodical press and the national councils, the speculations and theories about him, the fears and hopes, were manifold and often ludicrous, while his battalions were having a triumphal march over the proudest portion of the Confederacy. “The great army, over the lands and into the dwellings of the poor and rich alike, through towns and cities, like a roaring wave, swept, and paused, revelled and surged on. In the day-time, the splendor, the toil, the desolation of the march; in the night-time, the brilliance, the gloom, the music, the joy and the slumber of the camp. Memorable the music ‘that mocked the moon’ of November of the soil of Georgia; sometimes a triumphant march, sometimes a glorious waltz, again an old air stirring the heart alike to recollection and to hope. Floating out from throats of brass to the ears of soldiers in their blankets and generals within their tents, these tunes hallowed the eves to all who listened.

“Sitting before his tent in the glow of a camp fire one evening, General Sherman let his cigar go out to listen to an air that a distant band was playing. The musicians ceased at last. The general turned to one of his officers; ‘Send an orderly to ask that band to play that tune again.’

“A little while, and the band received the word. The tune was ‘The Blue Juniata,’ with exquisite variations. The band played it again, even more beautifully than before. Again it ceased, and then, off to the right, nearly a quarter of a mile away, the voices of some soldiers took it up with words. The band, and still another band, played a low accompaniment; camp after camp began singing; the music of ‘The Blue Juniata’ became, for a few minutes, the oratorio of half an army.

“Back along the whole wide pathway of this grand march from border to coast, the eye catches glimpses of scenes whose savage and poetic images an American, five years ago, would have thought never could have been revived from the romantic past.”

History records no war scenes so full of poetic interest, with so little bloodshed, as those along the path of this advancing host.


The March beyond the River—The Exciting Discovery by the Enemy—General Sherman’s Strategy—On to Savannah—The Rebel—Surprise—The Army approach the City—A bold Movement—The Scouts—The Signals—Fort McAllister stormed—Savannah invested.

GENERAL HOWARD’S column moved down the east side of the Oconee River, reaching Sandersville November 26, burning the depot and tearing up the railroad near that place. General Slocum’s battalions of the right wing marched northward toward Sparta, the cavalry scouring the country, getting all the forage they needed, horses and mules, and making havoc with the railroads, mills, and gin-houses. These horsemen galloped about as if quite at home; more like troops at a “general muster” than warriors at work, excepting the signals of ruin they left behind.

At this very time, November 25, the secessionists lurking among us at the North, matured a plot for burning the city of New York, by firing the principal hotels. Combustibles were placed in rooms which had been mysteriously engaged, the match applied, and then the doors locked. But while a dozen hotels or more were thus set on fire, a watchful Providence led to timely discovery. Indeed, he confused the conspirators, so that the plot was poorly executed; the very effort to conceal and give time for the flames to spread, by leaving the apartments closed, excluding the currents of air, defeated the fiendish design.

December 1st, the Fourteenth Corps threatened Augusta: “The rebels became greatly frightened. Up to that time many of them were consoled with the idea that, after all, Sherman was only on a great raid into the heart of the State, or would yet turn and move westward upon Columbus, Montgomery, and Mobile. But such hopes were dispelled when his cavalry were discovered in Washington and Hancock counties. At Augusta preparations for defence went on vigorously. Bragg was summoned from Wilmington, and came, the Augusta papers said, with ten thousand men. Troops came from Charleston, Hampton’s cavalry came from Virginia, and the entire population of the city was put under arms, and all the slaves in the surrounding country were impressed to work upon the fortifications. Then began, also, a vigorous system of rebel brag. Wheeler was put to his trumps, and required to whip Kilpatrick three times a day, and to invariably close the report of his victory with the announcement, ‘after this glorious success we fell back!’ All this Wheeler most valiantly did; but on one occasion, in a fight near Gibson, the county seat of Glascock County, being required to bring in Kilpatrick’s head as a trophy, he humbly apologized with his hat, observing, that in his haste to fall back, he had left Kilpatrick’s head on its shoulders.

“Until it was fully ascertained that Sherman had reached Millen, the rebels believed that he was passing down between the Ogeechee and Oconee Rivers, aiming to reach the coast at Darien or Brunswick. Very adroit strategy was necessary at this juncture to conceal the real direction of the march, for had the rebels known in time that Augusta was certainly to be avoided, the entire force there could have been sent down to Millen, and thus thrown in Sherman’s front, and resisted or delayed his march upon Savannah, and in the end would have proved a formidable addition to the garrison of that place. Kilpatrick, therefore, pressed Wheeler more vigorously than ever, and the latter fell back toward Augusta, which put him out of Sherman’s way most effectually, again leaving him in the rear of the very army whose advance he was endeavoring to resist. It was during these cavalry operations that the fight took place at Waynesboro’, December 3d, where Wheeler attacked Kilpatrick, and reported that he had ‘doubled him up on the main body.’ But Kilpatrick wouldn’t stay ‘doubled up.’ On the next day Wheeler was compelled to make his usual report that he had ‘signally repulsed Kilpatrick’ but was ‘obliged to fall back,’ the result of which was that he was driven back through Waynesboro’ and beyond Brier Creek, the railway bridge over which was destroyed, within twenty miles of Augusta, which was the nearest approach of our forces to that city. Kilpatrick then took up a position to guard Sherman’s rear, and while doing so, his force loaded their wagons with the forage and provisions of Burke County, for use in the less fertile counties in the region of the coast.”

If you have consulted the map, you have noticed four principal rivers on the line of march; the Ocmulgee, the most westerly, on whose banks is Macon; the Oconee, on which is situated Milledgeville; the Ogeechee, that passes Millen, and the Savannah. Augusta is on the latter. Besides these there were several small streams, and great swamps across the war-path of General Sherman. He called the country between Sparta and Warrenton “one universal bog.”

The 4th of December found the great army “swinging slowly round from its eastern course,” taking Millen as the pivot, and striking in six columns, along roads running in the same direction, between the Ogeechee and Savannah Rivers, for the city of Savannah. General Sherman at his leisure had secured forage in the rich counties of Washington, Burke, Glascock, Warren, and Hancock, to prepare for a formidable resistance at Savannah, which might delay the communication with Port Royal for supplies. The rebels said he stopped to “grind corn;” but, while this was unnecessary, because the horses could manage the ears, and the troops had better fare, he was grinding their hopes of disaster to him and of escape, to powder. They had sent forces from Charleston and Wilmington to Augusta and vicinity, sure of meeting him there, when lo! he was hurrying, like an avalanche, upon the more important city by the sea. Their feelings, when the bitter truth came fairly home to their comprehension, were announced in an Augusta paper: “Sherman has not for a moment hesitated, in our humble judgment, as to the point to be attacked or the road to it. When his forage and provision trains are full he will mass his entire force; throwing his cavalry to the rear, with his wagon-train between the two wings of his army, he will move in compact columns, steadily but cautiously, upon the city of Savannah, with no fear of an attack on either flank. The Ogeechee and a few crossings and terrible swamps on his right, and the Savannah River and its equally swampy banks on his left, both flanks will be most securely covered—a grand desideratum in army movements. And thus situated, he has a march of something over eighty miles to the city of Savannah.” When the Augusta people heard that their city was no longer threatened, they drew a long breath and congratulated themselves. “The frowns and sadness with which the countenances of our citizens have been bedecked,” said the Sentinel, “have given way to smiles and mirth.” That is, “smiles and mirth” because their neighbors in Savannah were to be the recipients of Sherman’s favors, and not they.

Generals Davis and Kilpatrick had hitherto concealed and guarded the army movements. The Fifteenth Corps, on the right bank of the river, instead of the left wing, now menaced the enemy’s rear. These flank manœuvres of the dashing Kilpatrick, joined to General Howard as he had been to General Davis, were indispensable; for our battalions could not clear the State of rebel troops, and must, therefore, avoid the delays which would attend the opposition of a much smaller force at the river-crossings, or any other spot where the difficulties of advance favored the enemy.

The army found the once magnificent cotton fields some of them having a thousand acres covered with corn, according to the order of Jeff Davis, while the fleecy crops of former harvests had been sent to a safer distance from the suspected course of General Sherman’s columns. At Ogeechee Church, on the river bearing that name, and the narrowest part of the peninsula between the streams, the army concentrated on the 5th and 6th of December. Meanwhile General Kilpatrick, when dashing toward Alexandria to burn the bridge over Brier Creek, encountered General Wheeler at Waynesboro’. The sabres gleam in the sunlight, and the bullets fly on their fatal mission, resulting at each conflict in the flight of the rebel general. The seventy-nine miles from Millen to Savannah steadily diminished, the splendid and triumphant army getting by the 8th within less than a score of miles from the goal of their martial and patriotic ambition.

The heroic General Howard, at this crisis of affairs, executed a bold and brilliant movement. The rebels, to hold the Gulf Railroad, which they were using in earnest, had pushed across the Ogeechee. General Corse, of “Allatoona memory,” who, before they were aware of it, was between the Little and Great Ogeechee, thirteen miles in advance of the main army, reached and bridged the canal connecting the river with Savannah, then crossing it, intrenched himself securely, almost in sight of the city. And now the approach was hotly disputed, and brave men fell in the ranks of General Blair’s columns. But some were killed by the most cowardly and shameful conduct of the enemy. Shells and torpedoes had been buried in the way of the march, and the tread of the heroes exploding them, a number were prostrated in a sudden and horrible death. The precaution then taken was a just though severe one. Prisoners of war were ordered forward to remove the murderous and unseen means of destruction. The prisoners were sent in advance as ordered. Crawling, begging, praying, as their trembling fingers descended to dig away the earth about the death-traps which they had, perhaps, helped to set, they were a piteous spectacle. Soon the path was cleared for the onward steps of the Union boys. General Howard’s next daring deed was to communicate immediately with our fleet below Fort McAllister, held by a strong garrison of the enemy. Here, on the gunboat Dandelion, Admiral Dahlgren was anxiously waiting for tidings from the great army somewhere between Atlanta and the sea.

On the evening of December 9th General Howard sent three of his trustiest scouts, Captain Duncan, and Sergeants Myron J. Emmick and George W. Quinly, in a small boat down the river. What a moment of thrilling interest to both the General and the brave daring fellows floating over the waters in that frail bark, right toward bristling McAllister! All was silent—the speck glided under the cover of darkness safely by, and hastened toward the Dandelion. Up went a white signal flag, and another from the little boat answered it. The scouts were soon on board the gunboat. Captain Duncan brought the following despatch from General Howard:


Headquarters Army of the Tennessee, }

Near Savannah Canal, Dec. 9, 1864.   }

To the Commander of the United States Naval Forces in the vicinity of Savannah:

Sir: We have met with perfect success thus far. The troops are in fine spirits and near by.

“Respectfully,      O. O. Howard, Major-General,

Commanding Right Wing of the Army.”


This was the first intelligence direct from the army, and “completely dispelled all doubts and fears, as well as dissipated an immense amount of rebel bombast and boasting of the impediments and difficulties with which Sherman had met, to say nothing of the repeated total annihilation of Kilpatrick’s cavalry, which seems not to have been worthy of mention by General Howard or General Sherman. Wheeler, who at last accounts was ‘hacking away at Sherman’s rear,’ must have had a very dull sabre.”

The gallant Hazen was preparing, with his western boys, to storm Fort McAllister, according to General Sherman’s orders. On the Ogeechee, opposite the fort, stood the rice mill of Dr. Cheroe, from whose roof the view of the fortress was distinct. There you might have seen Generals Sherman and Howard, with staff and signal officers about them. He was waiting for General Hazen’s signals, and gazing away toward the sea for some sign of the fleet’s presence there. Suddenly a smile lights up the bronzed face of the eagle-eyed leader of the Union legions, and he exclaims:

“ ‘Look! Howard; there is the gunboat!’

“Time passed on, and the vessel now became visible, yet no signal from the fleet or Hazen. Half an hour passed, and the guns of the fort opened simultaneously with puffs of smoke that rose a few hundred yards from the fort, showing that Hazen’s skirmishers had opened. A moment after Hazen signalled:

“ ‘I have invested the fort, and will assault immediately.’ At this moment Bickley announces ‘A signal from the gunboat.’ All eyes are turned from the fort to the gunboat that is coming to our assistance with news from home. A few messages pass, which inform us that Foster and Dahlgren are within speaking distance. The gunboat now halts and asks—

“ ‘Can we run up? Is Fort McAllister ours?’

“ ‘No,’ is the reply, ‘Hazen is just ready to storm it. Can you assist?’

“ ‘Yes,’ is the reply. ‘What will you have us do?’

“But before Sherman can reply to Dahlgren the thunders of the fort are heard, and the low sound of small arms borne across three miles of marsh and river. Field glasses are opened, and sitting flat upon the roof the hero of Atlanta gazes away off to the fort. ‘There they go grandly; not a waver,’ he remarks.

“Twenty seconds pass, and again he exclaims:

“ ‘See that flag in the advance, Howard; how steadily it moves; not a man falters. * * There they go still; see the roll of musketry. Grand! grand!’

“Still he strained his eyes, and a moment after speaks without raising his eyes:

“ ‘That flag still goes forward; there is no flinching there.’

“A pause for a minute.

“ ‘Look!’ he exclaims, ‘it has halted. They waver; no! it’s the parapet! There they go again; now they scale it; some are over. Look! there’s a flag on the works! Another, another. It’s ours! The fort’s ours!’

“The glass dropped by his side; and in an instant the joy of the great leader at the possession of the river and the opening of the road to his new base burst forth in words:

“ ‘As the old darkie remarked, dis chile don’t sleep dis night!’ And turning to one of his aids, Captain Auderied, he remarked, ‘Have a boat for me at once; I must go there,’ pointing to the fort, from which half a dozen battle flags floated grandly in the sunset.

“And well might William Tecumseh Sherman rejoice; for here, as the setting sun went down upon Fort McAllister reduced, and kissed a fond good night to the Starry Banner, Sherman witnessed the culmination of all his plans and marches, that had involved such desperate resistance and risk, the opening up of a new and shorter route to his base. Here at sunset, on the memorable 13th of December, the dark waters of the great Ogeechee bore witness to the fulfilment of the covenant Sherman made with his iron heroes at Atlanta twenty-nine days before, to lead them victorious to a new base.

“Sherman’s account of his movement on Fort McAllister was characteristic. Said he, ‘I went down with Howard and took a look at it, and I said to my boys, “Boys, I don’t think there are over four hundred in that fort; but there it is, and I think we might as well have it.” ’ The word was scarcely spoken before the work was done. Fifteen minutes were all that was required.”

The object of this fortress was the protection of the coast from our war vessels. It was surrounded by obstructions made of rows of piles, through which was a small opening for a ship’s entrance.

General Sherman sent word to the fleet “that he would be down that night, and to look out for his boat. The tug immediately steamed down to Ossabaw Sound, to find General Foster or Admiral Dahlgren; but they not being there, despatches were sent to them at Warsaw announcing General Sherman’s intended visit, and the tug returned to its old position. While approaching the fort again a small boat was seen coming down. It was hailed with—

“ ‘What boat is that?’ and the welcome response came back ‘Sherman.’ It soon came alongside, and out of the little dugout, paddled by two men, stepped General Sherman and General Howard, and stood on the deck of the Dandelion. The great leader was received with cheer after cheer, and with every manifestation of delight and satisfaction by all. He was in splendid spirits, and expressed his gratification at reaching his base. He remained on board till about two o’clock in the morning. While on the boat he wrote his despatches to General Grant, General Halleck, General Foster, and Admiral Dahlgren.

“On the following day he came on board the Nemaha, and was received by General Foster. The Nemaha then proceeded to Warsaw Sound, when Admiral Dahlgren, accompanied by his staff, came on board and spent some time in conversation with the General. Colonel A. H. Markland, superintendent of mails for the armies, came on board with despatches for General Sherman, and delivered a verbal message from the President. Taking the General by the hand, the Colonel said:

“ ‘General Sherman, before leaving Washington I was directed by the President to take you by the hand, wherever I met you, and say for him, ‘God bless you and the army under your command;’ and he furthermore added, ‘Since cutting loose from Atlanta, my prayers, and those of the nation, have been for your success.’

“General Sherman seemed to be deeply affected, and after a moment’s silence could only say, ‘I thank the President. Say my army is all right.’ ”

Meanwhile Admiral Dahlgren sent a despatch to the Government, in which he said of the army’s success and the brave scouts:

“Captain Duncan states that our forces were in contact with the rebels a few miles outside of Savannah, and that Sherman’s army are not in want of any thing. Perhaps no event could give greater satisfaction to the country than that which I announced, and I beg leave to congratulate the United States Government on its occurrence. It may, perhaps, be exceeding my province, but I cannot refrain from expressing the hope that the department will commend Captain Duncan and his companions to the Hon. Secretary of War for some marks of approbation, for the success in establishing communications between General Sherman and the fleet. It was an enterprise that required both skill and courage.”

This was followed by a message from General Sherman:


On Board ‘Dandelion,’        }

Ossabaw Sound, 11.50 p. m., Dec. 13. }

“To-day, at 5 p. m., General Hazen’s division of the Fifteenth Corps carried Fort McAllister by assault, capturing its entire garrison and stores. This opened to us the Ossabaw Sound, and I pulled down to this gunboat to communicate with the fleet. Before opening communication, we had completely destroyed all the railroads leading into Savannah, and invested the city. The left is on the Savannah River, three miles above the city, and the right is on the Ogeechee River, at King’s Bridge. The army is in splendid order and equal to any thing. The weather has been fine and supplies abundant. Our march was most agreeable, and we were not at all molested by guerillas. We reached Savannah three days ago, but owing to Fort McAllister we could not communicate; now we have McAllister, we go ahead.

“We have already captured two boats on the Savannah River, and have prevented their gunboats from coming down. I estimate the population of Savannah at twenty-five thousand and the garrison at fifteen thousand. General Hardee commands. We have not lost a wagon on the trip, but have gathered in a large supply of mules, negroes, horses, etc., and our teams are in far better condition than when we started. My first duty will be to clear the army of surplus negroes, mules, and horses. We have utterly destroyed over two hundred miles of railroad, and consumed stores and provisions that were essential to Lee’s and Hood’s armies.

“The quick work made with Fort McAllister, and the opening of communication with our fleet and consequent independence for supplies, dissipate all their boasted threats to head me off and starve the army. I regard Savannah as already gained. Yours truly,

W. T. Sherman, Major-General.”


The fall of the fortress opened, as we have seen, the Ogeechee River to Ossabaw Sound at its mouth, into which our vessels sailed; it also gave General Sherman the opportunity of establishing a “water-base” anywhere on that stream between his army and the sea, just back of Savannah. It did more; the Savannah and the Albany and Gulf Railroads communicating with the southern part of the State, were taken from the enemy, cutting off large supplies. The next move was to stretch the army across the peninsula between the rivers, the left resting on the Savannah, three miles above the city, and the extreme right on the Ogeechee at King’s Bridge. All the railways were in our possession, the rebel gunboats which had gone up the Ogeechee to prevent General Sherman from crossing into South Carolina were shut in, and the commander-in-chief prepared to seize the beautiful town. Savannah, the largest city of Georgia, was founded by General Oglethorpe in 1731−’32.

The ocean side of the town was well guarded with fortifications—those grim and silent watchmen when unmolested, whose voice is thunder, and their words massive globes of iron, frowned along the river-banks. Forts Jackson and Pulaski were formidable defences; so much so that even the engineer, Beauregard, did not dream of an approach in the rear of the invested city. General Hardee commanded the forces keeping it.

The forces of General Sherman were so posted, that Hardee had to divide and weaken his force to be ready for any attack, while the rice-fields were flooded from the canals, and every advantage taken by the enemy to ward off the impending blow. This is the general view of the situation, December 13th, 1864. Such was the derided retreat of General Sherman, after General Hood swept backward from burning Atlanta into Tennessee! I need not record here what the noble Thomas, with tried veterans, did with the rebel general at Nashville, sending his battalions “whirling” toward his invaded Secessia, just as the comprehensive genius of the pursuer had planned, and confidently expected he would. For, the glory of this marvellous campaign, under God, belongs to that sagacious, resolute, and modest chieftain.


The Surrender of the City demanded—The Refusal—Preparation to Attack—The Enemy Flee—The Entrance of the Union Army—Scenes that followed—General Sherman and the Negroes.

DECEMBER 20th, Fort Lee and other defences of Savannah had been taken, but there was left a single narrow path of escape for the beleaguered enemy—the Union Causeway, just below Hutchinson’s Island, which it was difficult for our troops to reach. But General Sherman had his eye on this outlet, intending to secure it within a day or two, shutting in General Hardee and his army. The next morning a flag of truce was sent toward the city gates, under whose protection was conveyed the demand for its surrender. The brief message of General Sherman closed with the words which General Hood used in his call for the surrender of Dalton, a few months before, with its negro troops:

“If the demand is not complied with, I shall take no prisoners.”

General Hardee replied defiantly, declaring that he had men and supplies for a successful defence. This was done to deceive the army closing like the coil of an anaconda about him. General Sherman suspected it, but the officers generally expected a battle. The preparations for assault went forward rapidly.

The rebel chief improved his opportunity, and suddenly decamped under cover of night, defiling along the causeway while our weary troops were resting on their arms. He had stationed his iron-clads near Hutchinson’s Island, which, with the battalions on its lower end, protected the highway of the flying thousands whose arms reflected the glare of the burning Navy Yard, fired during the evacuation. The thunder of exploding iron-clads, destroyed by the rear-guard, was the last signal of his retreat from the boastful Hardee: “The night was exceedingly propitious for such an operation. It was dark and a heavy wind was blowing from the west, conveying the sound of trampling feet over the pontoons away from our lines. But during some of the lulls that occurred General Geary, commanding the Second division, Twentieth Corps, the extreme left of our lines resting on the Savannah River, heard the movement across the bridge, but could not decide in which direction the troops were passing. He ordered his division to be ready at a moment’s notice to move, and then watched the progress of affairs. At midnight General Geary became convinced in his own mind that the enemy were evacuating the town, and notified the commanding general of this fact. The enemy’s skirmish line continued a fusilade on our pickets, and did not cease until two or three o’clock, when they were drawn in, and not many moments after our picket line was advanced, and meeting no opposition, rushed still further on, crawled through the abatis, floundered through the ditches, and scrambled over the parapets and found the first line deserted. General Geary immediately advanced his division, occupied the line and pushed on toward the city. The second line was found abandoned as well, and General Geary, at the head of a small body of men, hurried on.”

On the following morning, December 21st, the Savannah Republican, which two days before emulated the departed commander in the language of defiance—hurling the anathemas of southern chivalry upon the “Yankees”—came out with an earnest appeal to the citizens, counselling quiet and decorum, and the use of all proper means to secure the “respect of a magnanimous foe.” What a strange revolution in tactics—a marvellous light streamed into the city and the editor’s “sanctum” along the causeway from the wake of the fugitive “Greybacks.” Before General Geary “had entered the city, Mayor Arnold, of the city, with four or five of the commonalty, rode up and surrendered the city to him unconditionally, and expressed a trust in the magnanimity of an honorable foe for the safety of the lives and property of the inhabitants. General Geary accepted the surrender unconditionally, and assured them that their lives and property should be protected. He then entered the city, despatching Captain Veale of his staff, with four hundred men, to take possession of Fort Jackson; and also another member of his staff to General Slocum, to inform him of his occupation of the town. The officer who bore this message had some difficulty in convincing our soldiers that Geary’s division was in town. They said to him, ‘You can’t come that, Johnnie Reb. The game is an old one and will not work.’ Finally he assured them sufficiently to gain a passage, and delivered his despatch to General Slocum, commanding the left wing of the army. At eight o’clock all the enemy’s works were in our possession. Captain Veale, with his party, took possession of Fort Jackson and Fort Barlow, taking about sixty heavy guns in both works and lines connecting with them. The enemy had fired the barracks, but the fire was soon subdued.”

In the haste of his departure Hardee strangely neglected to destroy the ammunition of the forts, and the cotton in the city. Only a portion of the guns left behind were spiked. Munitions of war, more than 30,000 bales of cotton, and railroad rolling stock, fell into our hands.

“General Sherman’s entry into the town was marked by no extraordinary commotion. The city received him quietly and respectfully, though not with open arms.

“The population of Savannah, during the past thirty days, has been immensely increased by emigration from the interior. Thousands of people, including many wealthy families, fled from the country threatened by General Sherman’s march, to find, as they presumed, an undisturbed refuge in the city. The houses overflow with them; numbers dwell in sheds, and live upon the streets. Negroes form a large part of this transient population. Many rebel officers and soldiers are found concealed in houses, and probably considerable valuable property, not yet estimated in the fruits of this almost bloodless siege, will yet be brought to light likewise.

“A number of prisoners, which may be counted in addition to those found in the city, were previously captured during our advance against the enemy’s works. Colonel Clinch, of General Hardee’s staff, with thirty men, was taken on board a transport in the Savannah River a few days before the surrender. A quantity of whiskey was aboard the transport, and when our officers reached it, every man on board, except Colonel Clinch, was found in a state of beastly intoxication. General Harrison, a militia general, and a man of considerable wealth, residing near the city, was also taken prisoner during the siege.”

While the sun of December 21st was moving toward the zenith, General Sherman rode at the head of his enthusiastic columns, with music and banners enlivening the magnificent scene, into the broad, quiet streets of Savannah, followed by his wing-commanders, the gallant Howard and Slocum. Hour after hour the tramp of Union soldiers echoes on the pavements, until at length, in mansions, public buildings, and tents, the exultant host settled down into comparative repose. The next day the wires of the telegraph transmitted to the President this laconic message:


Savannah, Ga., December 22, 1864.

His Excellency President Lincoln;

“I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.

W. T. Sherman, Major-General.”


In all the world’s history of the Christmas times, was there ever a gift so memorable, or one more worthy to receive it? You will always recollect it with the delight expressed by a playful pen: “The sugar plum which Sherman dropped into the national stocking that Abraham Lincoln hung up, came in the semblance of Savannah. We have all enjoyed it. We have admired its roundness and its sweetness. We rejoice over the one hundred and fifty heavy guns, and the thirty-three thousand bales of cotton. The capture of Savannah is an event which we have long anticipated, and are therefore only quietly enjoying it. Reaching us, as the intelligence did, on a day that was meteorologically gloomy, it shed an interior sunlight brighter than a more substantial one.”

The quartermaster, in General Sherman’s behalf, a little later announced, that “all persons wishing to leave the city under existing orders, and go within the Confederate lines, are informed that the steamer F. R. Spalding will be in readiness at the wharf at the foot of Drayton Street, at six o’clock a. m. on Wednesday, the 11th instant, to transport them to Charleston, S. C. Wagons and ambulances will be sent to the residences of families, to take them and their baggage to the boat. As there are no conveniences on the boat to provide food, each family had better provide itself with what it will require for twenty-four hours.

“Applications for wagons and ambulances must be made to Captain J. E. Remington, assistant quartermaster, last house on the west end of Jones Street, south side.”

About two hundred citizens availed themselves of the opportunity thus offered them to rejoin their relatives or friends within the enemy’s lines. The new paper, the Loyal Georgian, thus hoisted its flag, with the notices following: “The mind that conceived, and the arm that, under Omnipotence, could execute these grand army movements, has not yet finished its work. That same powerful body which with its gigantic wings swept over the State of Georgia as a whirlwind, must yet move on its irresistible course until the whole land shall acknowledge the power and authority of the Government of the United States. When that day comes, the commander will lay aside his laurels, the soldier his sword, and this broad and fair abounding land of ours shall once more teem with the busy hum of peaceful life. May a merciful God grant the happy day soon to be ushered in upon us, and peace, sweet peace! be our portion; but until the ‘last armed foe expires,’ the army of the Union will and must stand as a bulwark against all destroyers, come from where they may.

“General Sherman has his headquarters at the house of Mr. Charles Green. General Howard’s headquarters are at the house of Mr. Molyneux, late British consul at Savannah, who is now in Europe. General Slocum’s headquarters are at the late residence of Hon. John E. Ward. General Geary, commandant of the post, has his office in the Bank building, next door to the Custom House.

“Divine service will be held in the Independent Presbyterian, the Lutheran, Baptist, St. John’s Church, and Methodist Churches, to-morrow morning at half-past ten o’clock, by their respective pastors.

I. S. K. Axson,D. M. Gilbert,
 S. Landrum,A. M. Wynn,
C. F. McRae.”

The condition of the city under the new rule was very clearly given by rebel papers. January 10th, the Richmond Whig, whose hatred of the North has been unsurpassed, was compelled to confess that General Sherman was wise and humane in his administration, as an extract will show:

“The Augusta Chronicle and Sentinel of the 4th instant publishes a number of news items, derived from a gentleman who left Savannah on the 1st instant.

“The most perfect order is maintained in the city. No soldier is allowed to interfere with the citizens in any particular. A citizen was arrested by a drunken soldier a few days since. The citizen knocked the soldier down. The officer of the guard, as soon as he arrived, said nothing to the citizen, but had the soldier taken to the barracks, gagged and soundly whipped for his misbehavior.

“A drunken soldier, who undertook to create a disturbance recently, and who refused to allow himself to be arrested, was shot down at once by the guard.

“One or two of the Insurance Companies of Savannah are considering the project of establishing a National Bank for the issue of ‘greenbacks.’

“The Custom House and Post Office are being cleaned and repaired, preparatory to the commencement of business again.

“The soldiers are not allowed under any circumstances whatever to enter private residences.

“The negroes in most cases are orderly and quiet, remaining with their owners and performing their customary duties.

“One store with goods from the North has already been opened.

“Nothing but ‘greenbacks’ are in circulation.

“The churches on Sundays are well filled with ladies. On week days, however, but few of them are seen on the streets.

“A majority of the male population have remained in the city. The families of most of the men who have left still remain.

“A majority of the citizens have provisions for some time to come, but there is a scarcity of wood, but General Sherman has announced that he will soon remedy this last difficulty by getting wood via the Gulf Railway, and hauling it to the citizens.

“No pass is allowed to any male person to go toward the city.

“All females who are caught going toward the city are thoroughly searched.

“Eleven hundred loaves of good baker’s bread, which had been collected for the soldiers of Sherman’s army, but for which authorized agents did not call, were on Thursday turned over to the Poor Association of Savannah by the Committee acting in behalf of the Soldier’s Dinner, and were yesterday distributed to the poor of the city. It was truly a kind and providential gift, for the city is entirely out of breadstuffs of every kind, and for days past have been unable to issue a pound of meal or flour to the hundreds who were sorely in need of it.”

General Sherman had a very summary way of answering inquiries of the citizens on whose lips was the gall of secession. To a proud lady who said to him: “General, you may conquer, but you can’t subjugate us,” he instantly replied, “I don’t want to subjugate you, I mean to kill you, the whole of you, if you don’t stop this rebellion.” In conversation a short time since with several citizens of Savannah on the subject of the war, General Sherman, in his characteristic manner, remarked: “We wish to cultivate friendly feeling with your people; if they love monarchy we will not quarrel with them; but we love a strong republic and mean to maintain it.” He also said he had been through Mississippi twice and through Georgia once. “The sun goes North on the 21st, and by that time I shall be ready to go North, too.” In a private letter to a distinguished military man in New York, his noble and magnanimous spirit appears:

“Colonel Ewing arrived to-day, and bore me many kind tokens from the North, but none gave me more satisfaction than to know that you watched with interest my efforts in the national cause. I do not think a human being could feel more kindly toward an enemy than I do to the people of the South, and I only pray that I may live to see the day when they and their children will thank me, as one who labored to secure and maintain a Government worthy the land we have inherited, and strong enough to secure our children the peace and security denied us.

“Judging from the press, the world magnifies my deeds above their true value, and I fear the future may not realize its judgment. But whatever fate may befall me, I know that you will be a generous and charitable critic, and will encourage one who only hopes in this struggle to do a man’s share.”

Two days later a gentleman addressed a note to General Sherman, asking questions designed to draw from him his views upon the prospects of Georgia, and her relations to the General Government. His reply is marked with his original thought, and reveals his high ability as a statesman:


Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, }

In the Field, Savannah, Ga., Jan. 8, 1865.     }

N. W——, Esq., —— County, Ga.:

Dear Sir: Yours of the 3d instant is received, and in answer to your inquiries, I beg to state I am merely a military commander, and act only in that capacity; nor can I give any assurances or pledges affecting civil matters in the future. They will be adjusted by Congress when Georgia is again represented there as of old.

“Georgia is not out of the Union, and therefore the talk of ‘reconstruction’ appears to me inappropriate. Some of the people have been and still are in a state of revolt; and as long as they remain armed and organized, the United States must pursue them, with armies, and deal with them according to military law. But as soon as they break up their armed organizations and return to their homes, I take it they will be dealt with by the civil courts. Some of the rebels in Georgia, in my judgment, deserve death, because they have committed murder, and other crimes, which are punished with death by all civilized governments on earth. I think this was the course indicated by General Washington, in reference to the Whiskey Insurrection, and a like principle seemed to be recognized at the time of the Burr conspiracy.

“As to the Union of the States under our Government, we have the high authority of General Washington, who bade us be jealous and careful of it, and the still more emphatic words of General Jackson, ‘The Federal Union, it must and shall be preserved.’ Certainly Georgians cannot question the authority of such men, and should not suspect our motives, who are simply fulfilling their commands. Wherever necessary, force has been used to carry out that end; and you may rest assured that the Union will be preserved, cost what it may. And if you are sensible men you will conform to this order of things or else migrate to some other country. There is no other alternative open to the people of Georgia.

“My opinion is, that no negotiations are necessary, nor commissioners, nor conventions, nor any thing of the kind. Whenever the people of Georgia quit rebelling against their Government and elect members of Congress and Senators, and these go and take their seats, then the State of Georgia will have resumed her functions in the Union.

“These are merely my opinions, but in confirmation of them, as I think, the people of Georgia may well consider the following words referring to the people of the rebellious States, which I quote from the recent annual message of President Lincoln to Congress at its present session;

“ ‘They can at any moment have peace simply by laying down their arms and submitting to the national authority under the Constitution. After so much, the Government would not, if it could, maintain war against them. The loyal people would not sustain or allow it. If questions should remain we would adjust them by the peaceful means of legislation, conference, courts, and votes. Operating only in constitutional and lawful channels, some certain and other possible questions are and would be beyond the Executive power to adjust, as, for instance, the admission of members into Congress and whatever might require the appropriation of money.’

“The President then alludes to the general pardon and amnesty offered for more than a year past, upon specified and more liberal terms, to all except certain designated classes, even these being ‘still within contemplation of special clemency,’ and adds:

“ ‘It is still so open to all, but the time may come when public duty shall demand that it be closed, and that in lieu more vigorous measures than heretofore shall be adopted.’

“It seems to me that it is time for the people of Georgia to act for themselves, and return, in time, to their duty to the Government of their fathers.

“Respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. T. Sherman, Major-General.”


Bearing the same date of this able letter, are his words of congratulation to his rejoicing army:


In the Field, Savannah, Ga., Jan. 8.

“The General Commanding announces to the troops composing the military division of the Mississippi, that he has received from the President of the United States and from Lieutenant-General Grant, letters conveying the high sense and appreciation of the campaign just closed, resulting in the capture of Savannah and the defeat of Hood’s army in Tennessee.

“In order that all may understand the importance of events, it is proper to revert to the situation of affairs in September last. We held Atlanta, a city of little value to us, but so important to the enemy that Mr. Davis, the head of the rebellious faction in the South, visited his army near Palmetto, and commanded it to regain it, as well as to ruin and destroy us by a series of measures which he thought would be effectual.

“That army, by a rapid march, first gained our railroad near Big Shanty, and afterward about Dalton. We pursued, but it marched so rapidly that we could not overtake it, and General Hood led his army successfully far toward Mississippi, in hopes to decoy us out of Georgia. But we were not then to be led away by him, and purposed to control and lead events ourselves. Generals Thomas and Schofield, commanding the department to our rear, returned to their posts, and prepared to decoy General Hood into their meshes, while we came on to complete our original journey.

“We quietly and deliberately destroyed Atlanta and all the railroads which the enemy had used to carry on war against us; occupied his State capital, and then captured his commercial capital, which had been so strongly fortified from the sea as to defy approach from that quarter.

“Almost at the moment of our victorious entry into Savannah came the welcome and expected news that our comrades in Tennessee had also fulfilled, nobly and well, their part; had decoyed General Hood to Nashville, and then turned on him, defeating his army thoroughly, capturing all his artillery, great numbers of prisoners, and were still pursuing the fragments down into Alabama. So complete a success in military operations, extending over half a continent, is an achievement that entitles it to a place in the military history of the world.

“The armies serving in Georgia and Tennessee, as well as the local garrisons of Decatur, Bridgeport, Chattanooga, and Murfreesborough, are alike entitled to the common honor, and each regiment may inscribe on its colors at pleasure the words ‘Savannah,’ or ‘Nashville.’

“The General Commanding embraces in the same general success the operations of the cavalry column under Generals Stoneman, Burbridge, and Gillem, that penetrated into Southwestern Virginia, and paralyzed the efforts of the enemy to disturb the peace and safety of the people of East Tennessee. Instead of being put on the defensive, we have, at all points, assumed the bold offensive, and completely thwarted the designs of the enemies of our country. By order of

“Major-General W. T. Sherman.”


This was followed on the 14th by a message regulating the trade and social life of the people:


In the Field, Savannah, Ga., Jan. 14.

“It being represented that the Confederate army and armed bands of robbers, acting professedly under the authority of the Confederate government, are harassing the people of Georgia and endeavoring to intimidate them in the efforts they are making to secure to themselves provisions, clothing, security to life and property, and the restoration of law and good government in the State, it is hereby ordered and made public:

“I. That the farmers of Georgia may bring into Savannah, Fernandina, or Jacksonville, Fla., marketing, such as beef, pork, mutton, vegetables of any kinds, fish, &c., as well as cotton in small quantities, and sell the same in open market, except the cotton, which must be sold by or through the Treasury agents, and may invest the proceeds in family stores, such as bacon and flour, in any reasonable quantities, groceries, shoes, and clothing, and articles not contraband of war, and carry the same back to them families. No trade-store will be attempted in the interior, or stocks of goods sold for them, but families may club together for mutual assistance and protection in coming and going.

“II. The people are encouraged to meet together in peaceful assemblages to discuss measures looking to their safety and good government, and the restoration of State and national authority, and will be protected by the national army when so doing; and all peaceable inhabitants who satisfy the commanding officers that they are earnestly laboring to that end, must not only be left undisturbed in property and person, but must be protected as far as possible consistent with the military operations. If any farmer or peaceful inhabitant is molested by the enemy, viz., the Confederate army of guerillas, because of his friendship to the National Government, the perpetrator, if caught, will be summarily punished, or his family made to suffer for the outrage; but if the crime cannot be traced to the actual party, then retaliation will be made on the adherents to the cause of the rebellion. Should a Union man be murdered, then a rebel selected by lot will be shot; or if a Union family be persecuted on account of the cause, a rebel family will be banished to a foreign land. In aggravated cases, retaliation will extend as high as five for one. All commanding officers will act promptly in such cases, and report their action after the retaliation is done. By order of

“Major-General W. T. Sherman.”


We have now a very remarkable interview between a delegation of the negro population, including twenty men, nearly all of whom were preachers, and Secretary Stanton and General Sherman. There were members of the parishes whose pastors were present, worth from $3,000 to $30,000. Rev. Garrison Frazier, sixty-seven years of age, was the speaker. The answers to various questions touching slavery, the war, and the ability of the negroes to take care of themselves, were promptly and intelligently answered. After General Sherman had left the room, an inquiry touching their opinion of General Sherman was made, with the following reply:

“We looked upon General Sherman prior to his arrival as a man in the Providence of God specially set apart to accomplish this work, and we unanimously feel inexpressible gratitude to him, looking upon him as a man that should be honored for the faithful performance of his duty. Some of us called on him immediately upon his arrival, and it is probable he would not meet the Secretary with more courtesy than he met us. His conduct and deportment toward us characterized him as a friend and a gentleman. We have confidence in General Sherman, and think whatever concerns us could not be under better management.”

The conference was followed by the following order:


Headquarters Military Div. of the Miss.,     }

In the Field, Savannah, Ga., Jan. 16, 1865. }

“I. The islands from Charleston, south, the abandoned rice-fields along the river for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering the St. John River, Florida, are reserved and set apart for the settlement of the negroes now made free by the acts of war and the President of the United States.

“II. At Beaufort, Hilton Head, Savannah, Fernandina, St. Augustine, and Jacksonville, the blacks may remain in their chosen or accustomed avocations; but on the islands, and in the settlements hereafter to be established, no white person whatever, unless military officers and soldiers detailed for duty, will be permitted to reside; and the sole and exclusive management of affairs will be left to the freed people themselves, subject only to the United States military authority and the acts of Congress. By the laws of war, and orders of the President of the United States, the negro is free, and must be dealt with as such. He cannot be subjected to conscription or forced military service, save by the written orders of the highest military authority of the department, under such regulations as the President or Congress may prescribe. Domestic servants, blacksmiths, carpenters, and other mechanics, will be free to select their own work and residence; but the young and able-bodied negroes must be encouraged to enlist as soldiers in the service of the United States, to contribute their share toward maintaining their own freedom, and securing their rights as citizens of the United States. Negroes so enlisted will be organized into companies, battalions, and regiments, under the orders of the United States military authorities, and will be paid, fed, and clothed according to law. The bounties paid on enlistment may, with the consent of the recruit, go to assist his family and settlement in procuring agricultural implements, seed, tools, boats, clothing, and other articles necessary for their livelihood.

“III. Whenever three respectable negroes, heads of families, shall desire to settle on land, and shall have selected for that purpose an island or a locality clearly defined within the limits above designated, the Inspector of Settlements and Plantations will himself, or by such subordinate officer as he may appoint, give them a license to settle such island or district, and afford them such assistance as he can to enable them to establish a peaceable agricultural settlement. The three parties named will subdivide the land, under the supervision of the inspector, among themselves and such others as may choose to settle near them, so that each family shall have a plot of not more than forty acres of tillable ground, and, when it borders on some water channel, with not more than eight hundred feet front, in the possession of which land the military authorities will afford them protection until such time as they can protect themselves, or until Congress shall regulate their title. The quartermaster may, on the requisition of the Inspector of Settlements and Plantations, place at the disposal of the inspector one or more of the captured steamers to ply between the settlements and one or more of the commercial points heretofore named in orders, to afford the settlers the opportunity to supply their necessary wants, and to sell the products of their land and labor.

“IV. When a negro has enlisted in the military service of the United States, he may locate his family in any of the settlements at pleasure, and acquire a homestead and all other rights and privileges of a settler as though present in person. In like manner negroes may settle their families, and engage on board the gunboats, or in fishing, or in the navigation of the inland waters, without losing any claim to land or other advantages derived from this system. But no one, except an actual settler as above defined, or unless absent on government services, will be entitled to claim any right to land or property in any settlement by virtue of these orders.

“V. In order to carry out this system of settlement, a general officer will be detailed as Inspector of Settlements and Plantations, whose duty it shall be to visit the settlements, to regulate their police and general management, and who will furnish personally to each head of a family, subject to the approval of the President of the United States, a possessory title in writing, giving as near as possible the description of boundaries, and who may adjust all claims or conflicts that may arise under the same, subject to the like approval, treating such titles as altogether possessory. The same general officer will also be charged with the enlistment and organization of the negro recruits, and protecting their interests while so absent from their settlements, and will be governed by the rules and regulations prescribed by the War Department for such purpose.

“VI. Brigadier-General R. Saxton is hereby appointed Inspector of Settlements and Plantations, and will at once enter on the performance of his duties. No change is intended or desired in the settlement now on Beaufort Island, nor will any rights to property heretofore acquired be affected thereby.

“By order of      Major-Gen. W. T. Sherman.”


This was a kind and honorable provision—giving the unfortunate race just the opportunity which was desired of self-culture and progress. They do not desire to come north and mix with the white population, but own themselves, and have a fair opportunity for improvement.

An “Educational Association” followed, to establish schools for the freedmen, which should be taught by those of their own people already possessed of some learning. All were invited to join it by paying three dollars. The first evening the number of members swelled the fund to more than seven hundred dollars. Then five hundred children were gathered together to be formed into schools. Rev. J. W. Alvord was a leading philanthropist in the work. They were divided into ten schools, of fifty scholars, and, with a teacher at the head of each, marched in a procession two by two through the city—a strange spectacle indeed to all beholders! “The procession marched on till they came to the old Slave-market—a large building, three stories high. General Geary, who now commands the city, said they might have this for a school-house. So they took possession of it, placing the children along the very platforms where the old slave-traders used to set men and women to be examined for sale. The fathers and mothers of the children looked on in wonder to think what a change had taken place; while many wept joyful tears, and shouted praises to God who had done such great things for them.”

But oh, the sad want and suffering of the masses in the conquered city! All that could be done by General Sherman to alleviate the famine, was promptly offered.

The mayor and a few of the citizens had not only a formal meeting to express loyalty to the Stars and Stripes, so long dishonored there, but asked for an exchange of rice for other articles of food. For this purpose a vessel was sent by permission of the commander-in-chief to New York. That city, Boston, and Philadelphia, immediately took measures to forward supplies. The accompanying message of the mayor of Boston was a fraternal and excellent tender of former friendship and a renewal of old associations. When, on January 19th, the steamship Rebecca Clyde lay at the wharf with her large cargo of provisions, the mayor thanked the people of the North for their generosity, and complimented very warmly the “wise and impartial administration” of General Geary. He said: “He has restored order out of chaos, and made the people of Savannah feel that the Northern army has not come among them to ruin or pillage them. Life and property have been as safe during the Federal occupation as it ever had been under civil rule.”

Captain Veale, of General Geary’s staff, replied, assuring the mayor that the “Federal officers and soldiers had always treated the people of the South with kindness and forbearance, and hoped that they would soon again join in one bond of brotherhood for the preservation and welfare of our common country. He also thanked the mayor for his high eulogium on General Geary, and assured him that the general’s object was to promote the welfare of Savannah and make her citizens feel that the Northern army was not inimical to the South.”

Savannah in the old Revolutionary days extended her hand in time of trouble to Massachusetts, whose sons repay the debt of gratitude with unfeigned delight.

Such were the events and scenes attending the return of the old flag to its place in Savannah, never again to be trailed in the dust by traitorous hands.


Major-General Sherman appreciated at Home—A Conflagration—A New and Bolder Campaign—An amusing Letter from a Rebel—General Sherman begins his March—Perils and Progress—Branchville and Columbia—Charleston.

WITH the advent of the New Year, the friends of General Sherman in his native State inaugurated a movement to secure a fitting testimonial of their appreciation of his brilliant achievements. A public meeting was called at Columbus, Ohio, at which Governor Brough presided, and made the subjoined remarks: “General Sherman has been identified with our army from the commencement of the contest. Able and discreet—daring, yet prudent—ever active and energetic—he has led his forces with almost universal success. He has been in earnest from the beginning; and if his life is spared, will so continue to the end. Sharing the privations and dangers of his army, and, ever consulting and promoting the comfort and safety of his men, he has acquired their unlimited respect and confidence. His State should hold him in honor, and the nation owes him a debt of gratitude.

“While Ohio should not boast, she should not allow her modesty to make her entirely oblivious to the merits and greatness of her sons. While other States are providing solid testimonials for men who have perilled their lives and fortunes, and distinguished themselves in the cause of the country, we should not hesitate in similar acts of appreciation and gratitude toward one of our own citizens who has stood in the foremost rank in all this contest. On the contrary, we should come to it in the spirit of zeal and enthusiasm. This movement has been inaugurated by the people of the city where General Sherman was born—its originators are gentlemen of high character and integrity—and our people should cordially meet it with the determination that it shall be promptly and fully successful, and the testimonial be at once worthy of all the State, and its noble, patriotic, and distinguished citizen.”

Lieutenant-General Grant sent the following expressive note to the committee having the tribute of grateful affection in charge:


Dear Sirs: I have just this moment received your printed letter in relation to your proposed movement in acknowledgment of one of Ohio’s greatest sons. I wrote only yesterday to my father, who resides in Covington, Ky., on the same subject, and asked him to inaugurate a subscription to present Mrs. Sherman with a house in the city of Cincinnati. General Sherman is eminently entitled to this mark of consideration, and I directed my father to head the subscription with five hundred dollars for me, and half that amount from General Ingalls, chief quartermaster of this army, who is equally alive with myself to the eminent services of General Sherman.

“Whatever direction this enterprise in favor of General Sherman may take, you may set me down for the amount named. I cannot say a word too highly in praise of General Sherman’s services from the beginning of the rebellion to the present day, and will therefore abstain from flattery of him. Suffice it to say, the world’s history gives no record of his superiors, and but few equals.

“I am truly glad for the movement you have set on foot, and of the opportunity of adding my mite in testimony of so good and great a man. Yours truly,

U. S. Grant, Lieutenant-General.”


How noble and beautiful such evidence of true greatness, the master minds of the war-field delighting to honor each other! A frightful conflagration in Savannah was among the painful incidents of these winter months, crowded so full of stirring events. The unresting brain and form of General Sherman had scarcely completed the new order of things in Savannah, before a still grander campaign in some of its aspects, one more perilous and decisive in its results on the rebellion, was planned, and his glad host waiting his word of command to march. Sherman’s rule of military action is, not to rest while possible motion promises substantial results. Looking away from Savannah toward South Carolina, and beyond to Richmond, his masterly genius formed deliberately the plan of advance, which was kept in his own breast. He threatened several points at once, so that the enemy could not tell whether he would strike first with an avalanche of living men, Branchville, Augusta, Columbia, or Charleston. The “dazzling rapidity” of his movements always completely paralyzed the foe. To concentrate after he was fairly in motion, and his immediate object discerned, in time to successfully stop him, was next to impossible. We have had no military leader in this intelligent and irresistible celerity of movement that approaches him. The Secretary of War announced in the following message to Mr. Lincoln, the fact, that the laurelled chieftain was again in the war-path over a hostile country, with continuous swamps and morasses at the very entrance into its perils:


Fortress Monroe, Tuesday, January 17—10 p. m.

To the President:

“General Sherman renewed the movement of his forces from Savannah, last week. The Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps went in transports to Beaufort on Saturday, the 14th. The Seventeenth Corps, under Major-General Blair, crossed Port Royal Ferry, and, with a portion of General Foster’s command, moved on Pocotaligo. General Howard, commanding that wing of the army, reported on Sunday, 15th, that the enemy abandoned his strong works in our front during Saturday night. General Blair’s corps now occupies a strong position across the railroad, covering all approaches eastward to Pocotaligo. All the sick of General Sherman’s army are in good hospitals at Beaufort and Hilton Head, where the genial climate affords advantages for recovery superior to any other place. The peace and order prevailing at Savannah since its occupation by General Sherman, could not be surpassed. Few male inhabitants are to be seen on the streets.

Edwin M. Stanton.


Refer to a large map, and you will perceive at a glance the field of operations before General Sherman. About half way from Savannah to Charleston, is Pocotaligo, on the direct railroad—an important place, which was the object of an expedition soon after Beaufort came into our hands. Its capture secured General Sherman’s flank from attack in his progress toward Branchville, a great railway centre, in importance resembling Atlanta. His advance lay as it did when he approached Savannah, between two rivers, whose borders were guarded with swamps. Having carried Pocotaligo Bridge, on the 13th of January, whose strong garrison had always successfully repulsed us hitherto, the onward march from Beaufort commenced. General Hatch’s division was already occupying a “position not far from the bridge, with their guns turned on the railroad. The Seventeenth Corps crossed Port Royal Ferry on a pontoon bridge laid by the Engineer Corps, and marched swiftly, but cautiously, to the railroad. The enemy’s pickets were soon aroused, and attempted some skirmishing, but were pushed off without trouble. On the 15th, with the Seventeenth Corps on the left, and Hatch’s troops on the right, after slight resistance, the railroad was gained, a little south of the bridge. Our skirmishers dashed lightly ahead, encountered the enemy’s, who were supported with light artillery, swept them off, gained the bridge, and a brigade of the Seventeenth charged and carried it, together with the earthworks at the further end. Several heavy guns, which the enemy had spiked, fell into our hands; one of the earthworks carrying seven, and the other five. The great bridge, with the trestle-work in the swamp on either side, is fully a mile in length. The enemy, finding he must give up the work he had so long defended, tried to burn it. But our men were too quick for him and saved it. Our loss was only about fifty killed and wounded. Lieutenant Chandler, of General Blair’s staff, was killed while leading a gallant and victorious charge.

“The enemy’s force consisted of General McLaws’s detachment of Hardee’s forces; and were pushed out of Pocotaligo, the Seventeenth Corps occupying the railroad from the Coosawatchie to the Salkehatchie. So soon as this lodgment was effected, Sherman sent the First and Third divisions of Geary’s Twentieth Corps, of Slocum’s column, across the Savannah, so as to hold the railroad continuously from Savannah to the lines of the Seventeenth Corps. On the 16th, also, the Fifteenth Corps embarked at Thunderbolt for Beaufort.”

On the legions swept toward Branchville, more than half way to Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, and northwest of Charleston. The threatening front of our army against Charleston at the same moment, kept occupied and apart Generals Beauregard and Hardee. General Kilpatrick hung like a thunder-cloud around Augusta, keeping General D. H. Hill with his troops there, while General Howard’s right wing reached and cut the railroad below Branchville; General Blair’s Seventeenth Corps crossed the Salkehatchie, wading waist deep through the current, defeating the enemy in the very water, and seizing River’s Bridge; and General Slocum had gone above Branchville, cutting the railroad there. This was during the first week in February. Sunday night, the 11th, the enemy finding Branchville hopelessly encircled, cutting the paths of communication, fled from the town, and the next day our victorious troops, with flying banners, entered it.

Over streams, into which they plunged with a shout; through morasses, building corduroy roads in swamps, destroying railroads for nearly a hundred miles of a single line, the brave boys had got within reach of the “tempting prize,” as the Columbia Guardian called it, now seventy miles distant, and a hundred and forty-three from Augusta, Georgia.

That paper began to use quite different speech from that addressed a few weeks before to the “gentle warrior.” He thus discoursed to the people: “South Carolinians are not to be intimidated by the fulminations of a brutal foe, and we are mistaken if South Carolinians have forgotten how to treat the insolence of the hireling.” The same paper said that Columbia would not even be approached, because Sherman was bent on Charleston. “To believe it is contrary to common sense, contrary to a knowledge of Sherman’s character and confessed determination, and contrary to all military strategy. Possibly a raid may be made here for the purpose of creating a diversion. It will not find us unprepared. Long before Columbia falls, we look for a battle and a victory.” Sherman, however, having left Branchville, was marching over the fine, high, fertile region northward, where supplies were abundant, and the country roads excellent. Already he was aiming at Kingsville, where he would, if successful in his object, at one fell swoop destroy the Columbia and Charleston Railroad, and the Wilmington and Manchester Railroad. “That he will succeed in doing this, we have doubts—very grave doubts; for we know something of the dangerous operations of an army in the hands of Beauregard.” In order to dissipate the doubts of some skeptical as to which side the operations of Beauregard would be dangerous, the same journal announced with pleasure the arrival of that chieftain and his staff at Nickerson’s Hotel in Columbia.

General Sherman, in a brief time, cleared away the painful doubts from the mind of this editor. Taking Kingsville, he commenced a skirmishing march on Columbia. While the quiet of a pleasant evening was settling down upon Columbia, a sudden shriek in the air startled the inhabitants. The signal shells of approach were fired from “Yankee” guns.

The army then under cover of darkness moved up the river, and in the morning forded the Saluda and Broad Rivers. While the waters were surging around the cheerful host, the enemy decided that “prudence was the better part of valor,” and hastened out of the capital. The female employés of the treasury department were hurried off to Charlotte, a panic-smitten company of maidens, young and old; lithographic presses for the currency were left behind; and a large amount of medical stores was seized by our troops. General Sherman pressed forward toward Charlotte after Beauregard, who was completely in the fog respecting the goal of his antagonist—whether it was Charlotte, North Carolina, a hundred miles from Columbia, or Florence, South Carolina, ninety miles away, likewise a railroad centre. The map again will shed light on the field of this great game of war. The only road remaining for escape from Charleston was the threatened track to Florence. Meanwhile General Gilmore’s time to move near the doomed city had come.

February 10th, General Schemmelfinnig threw his command of about 3,000 strong across a bridge laid over the creek separating Folly and Cole Islands from James Island, and fastened with firm foothold upon the latter, only three miles from Charleston. The Fifty-fourth New York, acting as skirmishers, encountered the enemy a mile farther, at Grimball’s, on Stono River, up which the iron-clads Augusta and Savannah, and the mortar schooner Commodore McDonough, made their way to protect our forces on the flank, shelling the rebels. Toward night General Hartwell advanced with his brigade, the columns double in front dashing upon the rifle-pits with a shout that assured him of victory. The bloody struggle was brief. The foe returned to his main works, leaving less than a hundred of our troops killed and wounded, and their own, with twenty prisoners, in our hands. This was the first time these works had been taken by our troops.

General Potter moved toward Bull’s Bay to cut the railroad north of the city. General Hatch moved across the Ashepoo, toward the South Edisto.

General Hardee, with General Sherman, master of Columbia, shutting him on that side, had been watching with eagle eye the manœuvres of General Potter, endangering his last highway from the city, and resolved upon flight. Friday, February 17th, his preparations for it began. In the night the garrisons of Sullivan’s Island and Point Pleasant withdrew, just in time to escape General Potter’s advance on the road by Christ’s Church. For the movements of Hardee had been discovered by General Schemmelfinnig’s watchful scouts and signal officers, and he barely slipped from the grasp of his antagonist. The troops in the city marched out by the Northeastern Railroad on Saturday. Wrote Mr. O. G. Sawyer from the gates of the city:

“Shortly after daylight it was discovered that there were no troops in and about Sumter, or Moultrie, or in the works on James Island. Lieutenant-Colonel Bennett, of the Twenty-first United States colored troops, commanding Morris Island, immediately despatched Major Hennessy, of the Fifty-second Pennsylvania Volunteers, to Fort Sumter, in a small boat, to ascertain whether the fort was evacuated. Major Hennessy proceeded to Sumter, and soon waved the old Stars and Stripes over the battered battlements of the work, from which they had been torn down in April, 1861. The sight of the old flag on Sumter was an assurance that the enemy had evacuated all their works, and it was hailed by every demonstration of joy by all, on ship and on shore. Another boat in charge of Lieutenant Hackett of the Third Rhode Island artillery, was immediately sent to Fort Moultrie to take possession of that work, and raise again the national colors upon its parapet. The navy, anxious to share in the honors of the day, also launched a boat, and strove to gain the beach of Sullivan’s Island before the army, and an exciting race ensued between the boats of the different branches of the service. Each boat’s crew were urged on to the utmost by their respective commanders, and every nerve and muscle was strained to pull the boats to their utmost speed. It was a friendly but earnest trial of endurance and skill. Every man felt that the credit and honor of the service rested on himself, and redoubled his exertions to attain success. The race was a close one, the boats being evenly matched; and when one forged a little ahead it was recognized by the cheers of its friends, who watched with intense interest the progress of the contest.

“Finally, after a hard pull and as fast a race as Charleston harbor ever witnessed, the army boat, under Lieutenant Hackett, reached the shore in advance. As she touched the officer and crew sprang out on the beach, through the surf, and rushed for the goal. The parapet was soon gained and the flag given to the breeze, amid the cheers of the soldiers and sailors, who had come up a moment or two behind him. The fort was found completely evacuated, as were all the works on the island. The guns were all spiked and some of the carriages somewhat damaged. A large quantity of munitions was found in the magazines, which the enemy had not found time to destroy.

“When the flag floated over Moultrie, Lieutenant-Colonel Bennett, Major Hennessy, and Lieutenant Burr, of the Fifty-second Pennsylvania, started out for the city, leaving orders to have troops follow. They pulled up the bay, while the rebel iron-clads and vessels were in flames, and the city itself was burning at various points. Reaching Fort Ripley, or what is known as the Middle Ground battery, the flag was displayed over the work, and waved for a few moments. The party then pushed on to Castle Pinckney, when the same ceremony of taking possession was observed, and then the boat was pulled cautiously, but directly, toward the city. No hostile force was observed, but a large number of negroes and some whites were congregated on the docks, watching the approach of the ‘Yankee boat.’ Colonel Bennett immediately landed, and ‘Old Glory’ was displayed again in the city of Charleston, amid the cheers and cries of joy of the crowd assembled about it. It was a perfect storm of applause, and outbursts of unfeigned joy and satisfaction. The negroes, with all their impulsiveness, were equalled by the whites in their exhibition of satisfaction and pleasure at the great event. They seized the hands of the officers and men, and wept with excess of exultation and delight. Such a scene was never dreamed of by the most enthusiastic believer in the loyalty of a certain portion of the citizens of Charleston. It took all our men by surprise.

“On landing it was not deemed advisable by Col. Bennett to advance into the city, as he was informed that a rebel brigade was still at the depot, taking the cars, and that a force of cavalry was scouring the city and impressing men into the ranks and driving the negroes before them. As he had but nine men with him he confined himself merely to sending to Mayor Macbeth the following peremptory demand for the surrender of the city:


“ ‘Headquarters United States Forces, }

Charleston, S. C. Feb. 18, 1865.   }

“ ‘Mayor Charles Macbeth, Charleston:

“ ‘Mayor: In the name of the United States Government, I demand the surrender of the city of which you are the executive officer.

“ ‘Until further orders all citizens will remain within their houses.

“ ‘I have the honor to be, Mayor,

“ ‘Very respectfully, your obed’t serv’t,

“ ‘A. G. Bennett,

“ ‘Lieut.-Col. Commanding U. S. Forces, Charleston.’


“To this demand Colonel Bennett was subsequently handed, by a committee from the mayor, consisting of Alderman Gilland and Williams, a letter which he was about to despatch to Morris Island:


“ ‘To the General Commanding U. S. Army at Morris Island:

“ ‘Sir: The military authorities of the Confederate States have evacuated this city. I have remained to enforce law and preserve order until you take such steps as you may think best.

“ ‘Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

“ ‘Charles Macbeth, Mayor.’


“After a brief interview, in which the aldermen informed Col. Bennett that the city had been fired by the rebels in various places, and that the town was threatened by a total destruction, as the firemen were all secreted, in consequence of the operations of the rebel cavalry, who were impressing them and driving them from the town whenever found; and they desired protection from the rebels, in order that the firemen might perform their duty without fear of being seized. To this application Colonel Bennett returned to the Mayor the following communication:


“ ‘Headquarters U. S. Forces, Charleston Harbor, }

near Atlantic Wharf, Feb. 18, 1865.       }

“ ‘Mayor Charles Macbeth: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of this date. “ ‘I have in reply thereto to state that the troops under my command will render every possible assistance to your well-disposed citizens in extinguishing the fires now burning. I have the honor to be, Mayor, very respect fully, &c.

“ ‘A. G. Bennett,

“ ‘Lieut.-Col. commanding U. S. Forces, Charleston.’


“Alderman Williams, who happened to be mounted on a fine horse, rode back to the Mayor to deliver the communication. He had not proceeded more than a block or two when he came upon fifty rebel cavalry, who were watching affairs. They instantly halted the peace commissioner, and blandly observed that they thought they should be compelled to dismount him, as they were under the impression that they would take the horse in the country. He reflected an instant, and then observed, in a careless way, that perhaps the Yankees, who had just landed five hundred strong, might object, and he would think of the matter. The announcement of the arrival of five hundred Yankees was quite enough for the bold troopers. Without taking his horse or further palaver, they wheeled, and rode wildly up Meeting Street, announcing the approach of the Yankees to all stragglers, and there was instantly a great commotion and a hurrying off trains. Meanwhile the fires were spreading with great rapidity, and threatened to sweep over the city, until fifty men from Morris Island reënforced Colonel Bennett’s little handful of men, when he instantly moved up into town with twenty-five men, sending small detachments to take charge of the public buildings and depots. His march up Meeting Street was one continued ovation. Crowds thronged the streets and cheered, hurrahed, waved handkerchiefs, and in other ways manifested their delight at the arrival of our troops, and at the sight of the old flag, borne ahead of the little company of colored troops. The officers were mounted on horses, borrowed for the occasion, and could hardly keep their saddles, so many enthusiastic individuals, of both sexes, were at the same time shaking them by the hand, catching hold of their garments, hugging their horses, and welcoming them in other violent styles. Charleston never witnessed such a scene before, or echoed so loudly to the cheers for ‘President Lincoln,’ the ‘Stars and Stripes,’ the ‘Yankee army,’ and other patriotic subjects, as it did on that memorable day. One would suppose that the people had gone mad with joy. It was a universal outburst of joy, and the little band of Yankees moved on with all the éclat of most honored friends, instead of successful enemies and conquerors. Was this, indeed, the hotbed of treason; the very home of disloyalty and rebellion? None would have dreamed of it had they witnessed the reception of our flag and troops that day. It was the most wonderful display of loyalty and patriotism.”

And thus, after all the terrific cannonading of four years, with the sufferings and death of the long siege, the “accursed city” fell without a battle for its possession. When the Confederate and Palmetto flags were raised on the walls of Fort Sumter in place of the dishonored banner of freedom, in the spring of 1861, the boastful Mayor of Charleston made a flaming speech, declaring that they should wave there forever!—that Southern independence was secure, and her career of glory begun. He assured the enthusiastic people, that if their ensigns were struck down they would be trailed in “a sea of blood!” We may leave him to his meditations while we join in the shouts of victory.

Standing on the walls of Sumter, look away in the direction of General Sherman’s march. From Atlanta to the shattered fortress, in this campaign “our great victories were almost bloodless, and therefore the more joyous and the more memorable. Branchville fell by manœuvre, not by the costly price of heroic troops. The turning of Branchville was the signal for the evacuation of Charleston, and its capture was the capture of Charleston. It was as if Sherman, sixty two miles distant from Hardee, had sent him a telegraphic message to vacate the premises, and the notice was obeyed without question.

“Ordinarily, one would have supposed that the streams which crossed Sherman’s path at every step would have been successfully contested. But he appears to have passed them without a day’s delay at any one. Of such vital importance was time to both parties—to the one, that he might make his combinations and concentrations; to the other, that he might break them—that no sacrifice would have seemed too great on the enemy’s part to ensure delay. But, at the very first show of resistance at a river crossing, our advance, not waiting for support, would dash into it, waist deep, with loud cheers, while the rest of the column hurried to flank the position above and below, and invariably in a few hours the enemy was in hot retreat.

“Indeed, the enthusiasm of our troops, with Sherman as a leader, has known no bounds. They felt themselves invincible, and have laughed at obstacles. Sixty or seventy thousand troops is a large force for such operations, but larger ones have miserably failed. It is large enough, however, when directed by genius and inspired by enthusiasm. On the other hand, the enemy has fled from Sherman’s path as from that of a pestilence. His troops feel that there is little use in opposing our columns, and go as quickly as possible to the rear. The unprejudiced topographer, speculating upon the probable location of that mysterious region, ‘the last ditch,’ would hitherto have assigned it to South Carolina. But the ‘great flanker’ has, in fact, flanked that famous ditch, and it has been evacuated through fear of enfilading. Day after day, the theatrical bills of the Confederacy announce ‘one more and positively the very last ditch;’ and still the comedy is played. Branchville, Columbia, and Charleston fell, but we see no Derry, no Saragossa, no Puebla, in their defence. Lame and impotent conclusion indeed from such bravado of prologue! The chance of becoming the sepulchre of the Confederacy will be taken from South Carolina.”

But let us walk over Charleston after its occupation by our troops. The flames shoot up on every hand, and the firemen rush to the centres of conflagration. Thousands of bales of cotton and many buildings are consumed, amid the frantic distress of the people, who are principally the poorer classes, left in the wake of retreat. The depot of the Northeastern Railroad became the arena of new horrors.

“In this building a quantity of cartridges and kegs of powder had been stored by the rebels, and as they had not time to remove it they left it unprotected. A number of men, women, and children had collected to watch the burning of a quantity of cotton in the railroad yard, which the rebels had fired, and during the conflagration a number of boys, while running about the depot, had discovered the powder. For the fun of the thing, and without realizing the danger they incurred, they began to take up handfuls of loose powder and cartridges and bear them from the depot to the mass of burning cotton on which they flung them, and enjoyed a deal of amusement in watching the flashes of the powder and the strange effects on the cotton as it was blown hither and thither by the explosion of the cartridges. Quite a number of boys soon became engaged in this dangerous pastime, and speedily the powder running from their hands formed a train upon the ground leading from the fire to the main supplies of powder in the depot. The result is easily conjectured. A spark ignited the powder in the train, there was a leaping, running line of fire along the ground, and then an explosion that shook the city to its very foundations from one end to the other. The building was in a second a whirling mass of ruins, in a tremendous volume of flame and smoke. A report rivalling Heaven’s artillery followed, and then a silence ensued that, made every one tremble and hold his breath. The cause of the tremendous explosion soon became known, and a rush was made for the scene of the catastrophe. Such a sight is rarely witnessed. The building was in ruins, and from the burning mass arose the agonizing cries of the wounded, to whom little or no assistance could be rendered by the paralyzed spectators. Many, wounded by the flying fragments of the building were removed from the additional danger of the fire, but those in the depot or immediately about it were irretrievably lost. One by one was reached by the furious flames, the supplicating voices and the fearful, agonizing groans, that appalled the stoutest heart, died away and ceased, and charred remains only were left by the devouring element as it moved on to new victims, who soon passed amid that horrid scene from life to death. Language cannot adequately describe the terrible nature of the scene. The cries for aid and rescue from the wounded within fell upon willing ears, but nothing could be done to assist them or even to alleviate the final pangs. The flames, like a fabled monster, strode on, licking up every thing inflammable, and enveloping its victims in its fiery and deadly embrace. Fortunately the sufferings of the unfortunate creatures were not prolonged. The work was done quickly, and soon every voice was silenced, every moan hushed, and every spirit gathered to its Maker. The horrors of the scene will never fade from the minds of those who were so unfortunate as to witness it. Over one hundred and fifty are said to have been charred in that fiery furnace, and a hundred men were wounded more or less seriously by the explosion or were burned by the fire.”

Then came the destruction of the rebel fleet. Very fittingly the Palmetto State first flew into fragments with a loud report, which signalled well the fate of the home of secession, and over it soon swept the free waves. The Chicora and Charleston followed in the work of ruin. Cotton, rice, tobacco, locomotives, etc., fell into our hands.

“The reports of the Charleston editors that the city experienced but little damage from our shells, like nearly all others emanating from the same source, were essentially false. It requires no very extended examination in the lower streets of the city—those near the bay—to satisfy the most sceptical of the fact that our shells were working most serious injury to the town, and that the continuance of the bombardment would make it a mass of ruins, as it had already rendered it untenable to the most courageous resident. But two persons resided in ‘Shell-town,’ as some wag named that portion of the city east of the two-mile post, visited by our shells, and they clung to their firesides with a tenacity of purpose that the most demonstrative and aggressive Parrott shell failed to relax. Though their beds were torn to pieces while they were engaged in their domestic affairs—both being females—by impertinent shells, and their culinary affairs seriously damaged by projectiles, their roofs perforated, and ventilators put in front of their dwellings, they would not move, but endured the bombardment with a coolness and equanimity rarely found. Even the rebel officers, who ordered them away from the dangerous ground, failed to call a third time to ascertain whether or not the order had been obeyed. They lived through the entire bombardment, became accustomed to the howl of the rushing shell and its sharp explosion, and paid no rent, although the buildings they occupied suggested heavy rents. Now that quiet and safety are insured they propose to repair and live comfortably once more.

“On landing you observe that the wharves are in a very dilapidated condition, that tell very plainly that they have not been much in use the past four years. The palmetto logs that form the cribs are covered with grass, and the planking is much decayed, full of man-traps, and about worthless so far as cartage is concerned. Advancing up the rickety docks, you come to a parapet of sand, over which peer the muzzles of heavy guns, bearing down the channel, for home defence; then around or over the batteries into the silent streets, covered with the débris from shattered stores and dwellings, and bearing at points a tolerably good crop of grass—the same kind of grass that was to have sprung up in the streets of New York when King Cotton exercised his potent sway. Not a building for blocks here that is exempt from the marks of shot and shell. All have suffered more or less. Here is a fine brown-stone bank building, vacant and deserted, with great gaping holes in the sides and roof, through which the sun shines and the rain pours, windows and sashes blown out by exploding shell within, plastering knocked down; counters torn up, floors crushed in, and fragments of mosaic pavement, broken and crushed, lying around on the floor, mingled with bits of statuary, stained glass and broken parts of chandeliers. Ruin within and without, and its neighbor in no better plight. Here a great shell has struck the chimney and crushed a large portion of the roof in; then exploding, distributed its fragments through the ceilings, and burst out great patches of brick and mortar, which now lie on the pavement below, untouched since they fell. Every imaginable portion of buildings have been damaged by our fire, and not a single house in this portion of the town has escaped. Not a building is occupied, save by the brave women to whom I have already referred, and the front doors or windows gape open, through which you may gaze upon battered offices, demolished stores and counting-rooms in ruin, where commerce once dwelt and active business men pursued their respective vocations unmolested and undisturbed. The churches, St. Michael’s and St. Philip’s, have not escaped the storm of our projectiles. Their roofs are perforated, their walls scarred, their pillars demolished, and within, the pews filled with plastering or fragments of mural tablets, which were to perpetuate the memory of some good man long asleep in the grave-yard near by. You may count up a round number of shell-holes in their steeples, and many upturned monuments in their grave-yards. War is cruel, and the howling projectile that takes its start four miles and a half away is indifferent whether it ploughs up the marble that affection has placed over the remains of long buried worth, or crashes into the political halls where treason is plotted or crime against humanity is conceived. The cold iron has been no respecter of property in Charleston. The good and bad, rich and poor, criminal and saint—if there be any of the latter here—have received visits from the Parrott projectiles, and keenly felt the justice of the visitation.”

February 19th, Charleston was placed under martial law. Some of the regulations had a peculiar interest in the reference made to colored officers; a condition of things in that most southern of the cities of the South, in its love of the “peculiar institution,” the wildest reformer did not dream of four years ago.

General Sherman disdained the display of success on entry into South Carolina, and remained on the hostile territory surrounded with mystery, caring only, in his own language, to do “a man’s share” in suppressing the frightful revolt. On February 19th, he was at Winsboro, thirty miles north of Columbia, on the railroad leading to Charlotte. The first telegram from him was dated at Laurel Hill, North Carolina, March 8th, saying: “We are all well, and have done finely.”



Wilmington—Peace Commissioners—General Sherman’s Statesmanship—His Characteristics—Interesting Recollections of General Sherman—His pure Character.

THE able General Schofield has been successful in the Department of North Carolina. Wilmington was compelled to strike the Confederate flag, and “Cavalry Sheridan” sent Early’s troops “whirling” from his path whenever they measured swords on the battle-field.

With light spreading toward the zenith from every part of the horizon of our land, the first spring month is passing away. The rebellion grows weak and furious, hastening to the overthrow for which all true freemen have prayed, and which despots great and small have only feared.

While General Sherman was on his way to Richmond, piercing the Carolinas with his lines of march and driving the rebel armies from his path, two important events transpired outside of martial movements. One was the sending of “peace commissioners” from Richmond, early in February, who were met near General Grant’s headquarters by the President and Secretary Seward, and whose conference left the question of peace where it was before, in the hands of Generals Grant and Sherman. The other memorable event was the passage of the Constitutional Amendment by Congress, forbidding, after its approval by three-fourths of the States, involuntary servitude, excepting for crime, throughout the land. It was an occasion of intense interest in the national Capitol, followed by similar scenes in the loyal North, giving to the celebration of Washington’s Birth Day an importance in connection with the recent victories which was never known before, nor is it likely to have again.

General Sherman has from the beginning of the war shown those great qualities of generalship rarely combined, even in successful commanders. His genius reminds us of Napoleon Buonaparte in the comprehensive appreciation of the entire field of action and the exact issue, in high military culture, in the daring campaigns which have given him a preëminence among the few who stand alone in their unquestioned mastery of the art of war and ability to meet its largest responsibilities, and in a statesmanship equal to his military attainments.

Whatever question in the complicated interests of the stirring times he touches, it finds a clear and decisive answer. He has studied history, and the principles which lie at the foundation of the Republic. He is not cruel, but believing war to be simply an engine of destruction to secure an ultimate good which can be reached by no peaceful means, his policy is the legitimate working of that engine. He would wield it with no tears of false philanthropy that would protract the appeal to its sanguinary settlement of difficulties, nor with the vacillation that would spare the enemy present suffering and secure a greater amount of sorrow in the future. Loyal, patriotic, and modest, he has kept his eye on the national ensign through untold labors and perils, amid detraction and the rivalries of a mean ambition, holding the rein upon his war-horse with a warm but unrelaxing grasp.

With a highly nervous temperament and manner, he is always calm and self-possessed in action. Genial and sincere his troops admire and love him, and are ready to follow him to the bosom of a boundless wilderness thronged with foes, or into the swamps waist deep to storm a fortress beyond.

Since this biography was written some pleasant reminiscences of General Sherman have appeared in the Leavenworth Conservative, of Kansas, which, on account of their interesting character, are here added to his life:

“Citizens of Leavenworth will remember that there stood on Main Street, between Delaware and Shawnee, in 1857, 1858, and 1859, on the ground now occupied by handsome brick buildings, a shabby-looking, tumbling, cotton-wood shell. It was occupied, on the ground floor, by Hampton P. Denman, ex-mayor, as a land agency office. The rooms above were reached by a crazy-looking stairway on the outside, up which none ever went without dread of their falling. Dingy signs informed the curious that within was a ‘law shop,’ kept by Hugh Ewing, Thomas Ewing, Jr., W. T. Sherman, and Daniel McCook. Those constituted the firm known here in the early part of 1859 as Ewing, Sherman, & McCook. All were comparatively young men. All were ambitious; the one who has gained the greatest fame, perhaps, the least so of the associated lawyers. The Ewings had the advantage of high culture, considerable natural abilities, cold, impassive temperaments, and a powerful family influence to aid their aspirations. Hugh Ewing was but little known hereabouts, though acknowledged to be a brilliant and versatile genius by his intimates. ‘Young Tom,’ as the other scion is familiarly called, has always been a prominent and influential man.

“The third member of the firm fills to-day one of the proudest pages in the history of our land. His name and fame take rank with the greatest of earth. All conspire to do him honor. Aliens bow to his genius, and enemies show the extent of their fears of its power by the virulence of their hate and its manifestations. W. T. Sherman never mingled in our public affairs. He lived among us for several months, having some landed interests here. An outlying part of our city plat is marked on the maps as ‘Sherman’s Addition.’ Prior to entering upon the practice of law in this city, he lived for some time in the vicinity of Topeka, upon a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, which we believe he still owns. His neighbors tell of his abrupt manner, reserved, yet forcible, speech and character. Previous to residing in Kansas, Sherman lived in California, where, as a miner, banker, and lawyer, he made and lost a large fortune. A graduate of West Point, he had previously held a captain’s commission in the Topographical Engineer Corps, and, in pursuance of duty, had made several important surveys and explorations, the reports of which had been duly published by Government. They relate principally to routes for the Pacific Railroad.

“A good story is told of Sherman’s experience as counsel, and of his dissolution of partnership to take the position held by him when the war broke out—that of President of the Military College of Louisiana.

“While in the practice of the law here, Sherman was consulting partner, having an almost insurmountable objection to pleading in court. He is accorded the possession, as a lawyer, of thorough knowledge of legal principles; a clear, logical perception of the points and equity involved in any case. He could present his views in the most direct manner, stripped of all verbiage, yet perfectly accurate in form. He was perfectly au fait in the authorities.

“But to return to our story. Shortly after the reception of the offer from the Governor of Louisiana in relation to the college, Sherman was compelled to appear before the Probate Judge—Gardner, we believe. The other partners were busy, and Sherman, with his authorities and his case all mapped out, proceeded to court. He returned in a rage two hours after. Something had gone wrong. He had been pettifogged out of the case by a sharp, petty attorney opposed to him, in a way which was disgusting to his intellect and his convictions. His amour propre was hurt, and he declared that he would have nothing more to do with the law in this State. That afternoon the business was closed, partnership dissolved, and in a very short time Sherman was on his way to a more congenial clime and occupation. The war found him in Louisiana, and despite of his strong pro-slavery opinions, found him an intense and devoted patriot.

“We met him here, and though but slightly acquainted, have remembered ever since the impression he left on our mind. He sphered himself to our perception as the most remarkable intellectual embodiment of force it had been our fortune to encounter. Once since, we met him in our lines before Corinth, where he had command of the right wing of Halleck’s magnificent army. The same impression was given then, combined with the idea of nervous vitality, angularity of character, and intense devotion to what he had in hand. Sherman is truly an idealist, even unto fanaticism, though, in all probability, if told so, he would abruptly retort back an unbelieving sarcasm. He outlines himself to our memory as a man of middle stature, nervous, muscular frame, with a long, keen head, sharply defined from the forehead and back of the ears. His eyes have a bluish-gray cast, and an introverted look, but full of smouldering fire. His mouth is sharp and well cut; the lower part of the face powerful, but not heavy. His complexion fair, and hair and beard of a sandy-red, straight, short, and strong. His temperament is nervous sanguine, and he is full of crotchets and prejudices, which, however, never stand in the way of practical results. The idea, or rather object, which rules him for the time, overrides every thing else. Round the mouth we remember a gleam of saturnine humor, and in the eyes a look of kindness which would attract to him the caresses of children.

“Such are the impressions left on our mind by the only military educated member of this legal quartette—all of whom have held commissions as Generals in our army.”

I shall give you, reader, from the pen of a friend, the Rev. Mr. Alvord, a pioneer in the religious army-work, who has been much with General Sherman, the best pen-picture of him which has appeared, and which has never before been published: “Tall, lithe, almost delicately formed. If at ease stoops slightly; when excited, erect and commanding. Face stern, savage almost; yet smiling as a boy’s when pleased. Every movement, both of mind and body, quick and nervous. A brilliant talker, announcing his plans, but concealing his real intention. A graceful easy rider, when leading a column looking as if born only to command. Approachable at times, almost to a fault, again not to be approached at all.

“I saw him in a grand review at Savannah. His position was in front of the Exchange on Bay Street. The Twelfth Corps was to pass before him; he rode rapidly to the spot, almost alone, leaped from his horse, stepped to the bit and examined it a moment, patted the animal on the cheek, then adjusted his glove, looked around with an uneasy air as if in want of something to do; catching in his eye the group of officers on the balcony he bowed, and commenced a familiar conversation, quite unconscious of observation by the surrounding and excited crowds. Presently music sounded at the head of the approaching corps. Quick as thought he vaulted to the saddle and was in position. There was peculiar grace in the gesture of arm and head which did not weary, as for an hour he returned the salutes of every grade of officers. Reverence was added as the regimental flags were lowered before him. The more blackened and torn and riddled with shot they were, the higher the General’s hat was raised and the lower his head was bent in recognition of the honored colors. Every soldier, as he marched past, showed that he loved his commander. He evidently loved his soldiers.

“I saw him in his princely headquarters at Charles Green’s, on New Year’s Day. Many were congratulating him. He was easy, affable, magnificent. Presently an officer with hurried step entered the circle and handed him a sealed packet. He tore it open instantly, but did not cease talking. Read it, still talking as he read. Commodore Porter had despatched a steamer, announcing the defeat at Fort Fisher.

“ ‘Butler’s defeated!’ he exclaimed, his eye gleaming as it lifted from the paper. ‘Fizzle—great fizzle!’ nervously, ‘knew ’twould be so. I shall have to go up there and do that job—eat ’em up as I go and take ’em back side.’ Thus the fiery heart exploded, true to loyalty and country.

“I entered the rear parlor and sat down at the glowing grate. He came, and leaning his elbow upon the marble mantel, said: ‘My army, sir, is not demoralized—has improved on the march—Christian army I’ve got—soldiers are Christians, if anybody is—noble fellows—God will take care of them—war improves character. My army, sir, is growing better all the while.’

“I expressed satisfaction at having such testimony, and the group of officers who stood around could not suppress a smile at the General’s earnest Christian eulogium.

“Such is W. T. Sherman. A genius, with greatness grim and terrible, yet simple and unaffected as a child. The thunderbolt or sunbeam, as circumstances call him out.

“On the march from Atlanta his order was ‘No plunder by the individual soldier;’ but his daily inquiry as he rode among them would be, ‘Well, boys, how do you get along? like to see soldiers enterprising; ought to live well, boys; you know I don’t carry any thing in my haversack, so don’t fail to have a chicken leg for me when I come along; must live well boys on such a march as this.’ The boys always took the hint. The chicken leg was ready for the General, and there were very few courts-martial between Atlanta and Savannah to punish men for living as best they could.

“When McAllister fell, he stood with his staff and Howard by his side, awaiting the assaulting column. ‘They are repulsed,’ he exclaimed, as the smoke of bursting torpedoes enveloped the troops; ‘must try something else.’ It was a moment of agony. The strong heart did not quail! A distant shout was heard. Again raising his glass the colors of each of the three brigades were seen planting themselves simultaneously on the parapet. ‘The fort is ours,’ said he, calmly. He could not restrain his tears. ‘It’s my old division,’ he added. ‘I knew they’d do it.’

“ ‘How long, General,’ said a Southron, ‘do you think this war will last; we hear the Northern people are nearly exhausted?’ ‘Well, well,’ said he, ‘about six or seven years of this kind of war, then twenty or twenty-five of guerrilla, until you are all killed off, then we will begin anew.’

“A wealthy planter appealing to his pity, ‘Yes, yes,’ said he, ‘war is a bad thing, very bad, cruel institution—very cruel; but you brought it on yourselves, and you are only getting a taste of it.’

“The English ex-consul asked him for protection and a pass on the ground of his neutrality and that of his country. ‘Don’t talk to me,’ said Sherman, ‘of your neutrality, my soldiers have seen on a hundred battle fields the shot and shell of England with your queen’s mark upon them all, and they never can forget it. Don’t tell me you couldn’t leave before I came; you could send out your cotton to pay Confederate bonds and bring cannon in return—don’t tell me you couldn’t get away yourself.’

“The consul stood abashed, and awkwardly bowed himself from his presence.

“Such is his treatment of rebels. He receives no apology nor has any circumlocution. He strikes with his battalions; he strikes with every word he utters, whether from pen or lips. The secessionists of Georgia and South Carolina believe he’ll do what he threatens.

“Said the rebel colonel who had placed the torpedoes in the Savannah River, when ordered to take them up, ‘No! I’ll be d——d if I do any such drudgery.’

“ ‘Then you’ll hang to-morrow morning; leave me,’ said the stern commander. The torpedoes were removed.

“In this way, by his words, his manner, his personal presence, his threats with their literal execution, and the swift and utter destruction in the track of his army on their late march, he has struck terror to all hearts. Though thoroughly secretive, he is strangely frank.

“ ‘Give me your pass, General?’ said I; ‘I’ll meet you again on your march.’

“ ‘You don’t know where I am going,’ said he, with emphasis.

“ ‘I think I do, General, if I can catch you.’

“ ‘Where?

“ ‘At Charleston.’

“ ‘I’m not going to Charleston.’

“ ‘Then, at Wilmington.’

“ ‘I’m not going to Wilmington.’

“ ‘I’ll see you, I think, in Richmond.’

“ ‘I’m not going to Richmond. You don’t know where I’m going. Howard don’t know.’

“But he gave me the pass; I, at least, know where he was not going.

“The country may well honor and admire General Sherman. His personal presence is an army of itself. His army is duplicated by the spirit with which he inspires it. Such a man wields destiny. God will guide his way. May He sanctify him. We shall hear more of him hereafter.”

General Sherman’s character from childhood has been above reproach, and his honor unsullied. His amiable wife is a member of the Roman Catholic Church, while he, as has been intimated, usually attends the Episcopal service. Besides the death of his son recorded in these pages, within a year he has lost a child he had never seen—born while he was in the smoke of battle; the young spirit went to heaven before the father’s eye could rest on its earthly greeting to him through the smile of infancy.

But a nation sympathizes with him in his sublime self-denial and his griefs, and in the language of our beloved President, “follows him with its prayers.”



Misspelled words and printer errors have been corrected. Where multiple spellings occur, majority use has been employed.

Punctuation has been maintained except where obvious printer errors occur.

Some illustrations were moved to facilitate page layout.

A cover was created for this eBook.


[The end of Life and Military Career of Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman by P. C. (Phineas Camp) Headley]