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into the heart of the enemy's country, for a march of three hundred and fifty miles, might well seem a rash undertaking. Hood was manifestly incredulous, otherwise he would hardly have been now on a wild chase, far away from the State he had just been endeavoring to protect, and which his present movement was intended to relieve from the presence of the "invader." Even Gen. Sherman himself is believed to have doubted the practicability of this undertaking, when first indicated to him by Lieut.-Gen. Grant. The latter, nevertheless, had determined on thus testing his conviction that "the South was but a shell,” and his order was given. As yet, the destination of the army was a secret to all but the leaders-friend and foe alike being left in mystery.
The forces taken on this expedition were the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Seventeenth and Twentieth Corps, together with Gen. Kilpatrick's Division of cavalry-in all, about 70,000 men. The march from Atlanta commenced on the 14th of November.
The right, consisting of the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps, under command of Maj.-Gen. Howard, advanced in the direction of Macon, while the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps, on the let, commanded by Maj. Gen. Slocum, moved toward Augusta, both wings destroying the railroads in their march. On the 16th, Iverson was driven from Rough-and-Ready by Gen. Howard, who occupied Jonesboro and McDonough on the 17th, his advance skirmishing with Rebel cavalry and infantry. Gen. Slocum reached Covington and Social Circle on the day last named-destroying the depots and other property. On the 18th, the Macon railroad was cut at Forsyth, and the Georgia Legislature, then in session at Milledgeville, together with the State authorities, fled with precipitancy, in alarm at the close proximity of Gen. Sherman. On the 19th, Howard threw a bridge across the Ocmulgee River, advancing on the State Capital, while on the extreme left, the same day, a force entered Madison, on the Augusta railroad, destroying public property at that place. On the 20th, Griswoldville, east of Macon, on the Georgia Central railroad, was taken, and the railroad track and property destroyed. Instead of attacking
Macon, which was well fortified, and defended by State militia, our forces passed wide of the town, steadily advancing. Howard entered Milledgeville on the 20th, and Sherman's extreme left, on the same day, crossed the Oconee, and entered Greensboro, half-way from Atlanta to Augusta. On the 21st, after a slight cavalry engagement, Gordon, an important railroad junction, was reached by the right, and the chief remaining communication with Richmond by rail was severed. The following day was occupied in destroying the railroad, and some fighting occurred near Griswoldville, on the 23d; Wolcott's brigade, of the Fifteenth Corps, having made a reconnoissance toward Macon, and defeated a party of the enemy advancing for a similar purpose. The portion of the army proceeding along the Georgia Central railroad, crossed the Oconee River on the 26th, Kilpatrick encountering and defeating a Rebel force under Wayne, which contested the passage of the stream. This was the principal fighting done in the interior of the State during the campaign, and a victory over Kilpatrick was proclaimed by the Rebel press, after Sherman's entire force was beyond the Oconee, having destroyed the bridges in their rear. The Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps had crossed somewhat earlier at Milledgeville, forty miles above.
On the 28th, the Seventeenth Corps was at Sandersville, advancing toward the Ogeechee river, while to Slocum's command was left the work of destroying the Georgia Central railroad, between the Oconee and the Ogeechee. The Seventeenth Corps crossed the latter river on the 30th of November, following the railroad, while the Fifteenth Corps moved down the south bank of the same stream. During the next eight days, the army moved steadily on, in parallel columns, its flanks well guarded, and scarcely even annoyed by the enemy's cavalry. During all the march there had been liberal foraging; the men were well supplied, and the animals were in excellent condition, accessions being made also to their numbers. The incidents of this memorable procession, sweeping over a wide belt across the territory of the Southern Empire State, attracting the wondering eyes and elating the simple hearts of tens of thousands of the faithful race that hailed
their deliverers from long-accumulating wrongs; flashing the light of divine ideas from columns of gleaming bayonets by day, and from cities of camp-fires by night, will live in the pages of history and romance while our country shall endure. For weeks enveloped in a cloud to the world around-even to the Rebels, mainly, who were often only ignorant when affecting to be reticent--tidings of the great expedition began to be anxiously awaited. A fleet, under Admiral Dahlgren, was, meanwhile, arriving off the coast, near Savannah, prepared to rejoin the long-broken line of communication with Washington.
The enemy had thrown up some rude earth-works at the railroad bridge across the little Ogeechee, but retired before the First Division of the Seventeenth Corps, deployed for the purpose, had come within attacking distance. The whole force of the enemy was found to be concentrated, on the 9th of December, behind intrenchments, in an apparently strong natural position, thirteen miles from Savannah. A gallant charge of the single division just named, through a swamp in front of the enemy's position—the men sometimes marching waist deepdrove him from his works, in spite of a heavy artillery fire, and they were firmly held by our forces. The Rebels retired within another line of works, three or four miles from the city, which were found, by reconnoissance on the 10th, to be covered by a more formidable swamp, artificially deepened by a canal cut from the Savannah to the Ogeechee river, and really impassable. Destroying the Charleston railroad to the Savannah River, and the bridge across that stream, the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps took position before the city. The Fifteenth Corps having crossed the Ogeechee at King's Bridge, had previously struck the Gulf Railroad, at a point seven miles from Savannah, and the Seventeenth Corps moved to the right to relieve the Fifteenth, which was advanced toward the sea.
On the evening of the 13th of December, the Second Division of the Fifteenth Corps, commanded by Gen. Hazen, assaulted and carried Fort McAllister, at the point of the bayonet—a brilliant feat of arms, quickly executed, which opened
communications with the fleet of Admiral Dahlgren, connecting the hitherto floating army with a secure base, and apprising the country of the success of "Sherman's march to the sea. Fort McAllister is four miles from the mouth of the Ogeechee river, where Dahlgren's fleet now lay.
During the next few days, there was some further destruction of railroads, and more or less shelling and skirmishing. The city of Savannah was taken possession of on the 21st of December, with some prisoners, and a large amount of cotton and other property. The enemy, under Hardee, mostly escaped across the Savannah river, toward Charleston. The grand culmination of this remarkable campaign gave joy to the nation, as the Christmas bells were sounding, giving new assurance of "peace," if not of "good-will," soon to be restored throughout the land.
Hood, who, aided by Beauregard, menacingly advanced into Tennessee, causing a temporary anxiety, had already ceased to be a subject of concern. The sanguine hopes of Davis in that direction had been terribly crushed. The movement of Hood westward, brought the scene of operations comparatively near the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, and their tributaries, so that re-enforcements and supplies were within easy reach of Gen. Thomas, while the cavalry of Grierson, and other forces, made destructive raids through the States of Mississippi and Alabama, in the enemy's rear. On the other hand, Thomas had a long line to defend, on portions of which annoying attacks were occasionally made by raiding parties. At Johnsonville, on the Tennessee, where he had a depot of supplies, Forrest made his appearance, planting batteries above and below the town, and capturing it on the 4th of November. Three "tin-clad " gunboats, a number of transports and barges, and a large amount of stores were destroyed. Near Bull's Gap, in East Tennessee, on the extreme left of Thomas' line, also, Gen. Gillem was attacked by a superior force and beaten, losing his trains and artillery, and falling back toward Knoxville.
The movement of Hood, after leaving Gaylesville, in Northeastern Alabama, to which place he was pursued by most of Sherman's force, had been southward to Jacksonville, from
whence, he took a north-west course toward the Tennessee river, marching on the 22d of October. He remained for some time in the vicinity of Tuscumbia, while a corps of observation, sent out by Thomas, was watching the enemy's movements, at Florence, nearly opposite. The advance of the Rebels northward began about the 20th of November. Gen. Schofield withdrew to Pulaski, seventy-three miles from Nashville, on the 21st, concentrating there his command, consisting of the Fourth aud Twenty-third Corps, with some other forces. The First and Third Divisions of the Sixteenth Corps, under the command of Major-Gen. A. J. Smith, which had been watching for any signs of the the enemy's advance upon Memphis, or other points on the Mississippi river, hastened eastward to join Schofield, on learning the direction of Hood's move
On the 22d, Hood was reported to be approaching, within twenty miles of Pulaski, which place he had flanked on the west, by moving directly on Gaynesboro from Florence Thereupon Gen. Schofield fell back to Columbia, on the south side of the Duck river. Hood rapidly pursued, moving across to Mount Pleasant and Spring Hill, on the opposite flank, while Schofield continued his retreat, carefully covering his long trains, to Franklin. The enemy's advance was beginning to press closely on the rear of our forces, and more or less skirmishing took place between Columbia and Franklin. At Spring Hill, on the 29th, an attack was made upon the Union cavalry, which was driven in upon its infantry support, and the army was really in a critical condition, had Hood now been able to bring his main body of infantry into action. But this opportunity passed. Schofield's loss in the encounter was less than 300 men. He was not overtaken by the Rebel infantry south of Franklin, which place he reached about noon on the 30th. He had now fallen back for a distance of fifty-five miles, and was within eighteen miles of Nashville. He would have preferred to avoid a general engagement so far from the latter place, but it was now impossible. He accordingly formed his lines in a strong position, with Gen. Stanley on the right and Gen. Cox on the left, and prepared to give battle.