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CHAPTER VII.

1864.

• OPENING OF THE YEAR 1864: MILITARY EVENTS, ETC

Military operations at the opening of the year 1864 — General condition of affairs, preparations for the spring

campaign, etc. — Mr. Lincoln's call for 200,000 men — Matter how arranged — Action of Congress on the enrollment question, etc.- Proceedings of rebel Congress on conscription, finances, etc. — Jeff. Davis's proclamation – Tone and temper of the rehels -- Gen. Gillmore's expedition into Florida - Its objects – Gen. Seymour in command - Advance of the troops — Seymour's unhappy decision - Disaster at Olustee - Sherman's expedition into the interior of Mississippi – Sets out February 3d, and advances to Meridian - Waits for cavalry force — Gen. Smith's advance from Memphis — Failure to join Sherman - Result of the expedition - Mobile threatened by Farragut — Gen. Palmer's march upon Dalton, Georgia - ResultCruel treatment of our officers and men in prison at Richmond - Expedition set on foot by Gen. Butler Rebel attempts upon Newbern – Wistar's movement - Kilpatrick's cavalry expedition - In sight of Rich. mond, March 1st — Forced to return by way of the Peninsula — Colonel Dahlgren's attempt and his il! success, death, etc. — Rebel charges against him — The prospect ahead.

DURING the early months of the year the Mississippi, to protect the border 1864, military operations were not states of the West from invasion, and carried on to any great extent. The to maintain the needed communications winter season, except in the far South, of the army; but these services, though was unfavorable, of course, to the en- requiring earnest care and attention, tering upon work of any magnitude; and involving various contests with the time, consequently, was mainly guerrilla and other forces, were rather spent in preparation for the severe and in the ordinary routine of regular duty, even deadly struggle which the spring and did not attract public atcampaign clearly indicated. The ground tention to any particular extent.

1864. was now much narrower than it was a Expectation, in the loyal states, no less year ago. In Tennessee, Arkansas, on than in those still under the control the line of the Mississippi, and in Loui- of the rebel leaders, was mainly centred : siana, there was good hope of being upon the armies of Meade and Lee in able speedily to include all these re- Virginia, and Grant and Johnston in gions among the loyal supporters of the vicinity of Chattanooga; for it was the Constitution and laws of the land. evident, from the p'esent position of A large and important work, it is true, affairs, that the campaigns of the spring remained to be done to the west of the would be of great and decisive impor. Mississippi, before the whole territory tance, and would tax the energies and could be fully restored to its rightful resources of the government to their allegiance in the Union, and constant fullest extent. The rebel authorities, vigilance had to be maintained at the too, conscious of their doubtful condivarious posts on the frontier and on tion, were straining every nerve to re

Cu. VII.]

PREPARATIONS FOR SPRING CAMPAIGN.

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sist the onward progress of the Union tiously opposed to the bearing of arms, arms, by accumulating stores, gather and be prohibited from doing so by ing in of conscripts, strengthening their the rules and articles of faith and pracarmies, etc.

tice of said religious denominations, On the 1st of February, 1864, Pre-were to be considered non-combatants sident Lincoln issued an order for 200, and assigned to duty in the hospitals, 000 men, in addition to the 300,000 or the care of freedmen, or be relieved called for in October, 1863, and ap- on payment of the stipulated sum of pointed the 10th of March for a draft $300. of such portion of this 500,000 as should As we have stated on a preceding not then be furnished by the states ac- page, every nerve was now to be strain. cording to their several quotas. Strenu-ed by the rebel leaders to prepare for ons efforts, by bounties and by means the coming campaign. Their congress of furloughs to the old regiments in the met, and at the beginning of February field, whose terms of service were about passed a new and stringent conscription to expire, were made, and resulted in act. It was provided by this, that all largely supplying the men called for, white men, residents of the states under so that the draft ordered for March was their control, betweeen the ages of dispensed with. In fact, so successful seventeen and fifty, should be in the did the movements for recruiting prove, military service for the war. All in

that, on the 14th of March, Pre. the service between eighteen and forty. 1864.

to sident Lincoln (in addition to five were to be retained during the the two calls above noted), “in order war. Those between seventeen and to supply the force required to be eighteen, and between forty-five and drafted for the navy, and to provide an fifty, were to form a reserve for state adequate reserve force for all contin-defence and detail duty. An act imgencies,” ordered a further enlistment posing additional taxes was also passed of 200,000 men, appointing the 15th at this session, and another, in acof April as the period when any defi- cordance with Secretary Memminger's ciencies should be made good hy a and Jeff. Davis's recommendation, prodraft. By an act of Congress, passed viding for the funding of the outstand. in February, amendatory of the Enroll. ing treasury notes or currency of the ment Act of the previous year, the mea- states in confederate bonds. This con. sure was strengthened by various pro- version was, in great measure, rendered visions, checking frauds and evasions, compulsory by the refusal of the rebel and otherwise rendering the enactment authorities to receive the currency after more efficient. Clergymen, and minis- an early day in payment of public dues, ters of the Gospel in general, were still and by the imposition of a tax on the liable to draft; but a provision was notes not funded. By another act, made by which members of religious February 16th, the privilege of the writ denominations who should, on being of habeas corpus was suspended in cerdrafted, declare themselves conscien- tain specified cases, and it was to con

VOL. IV.-51

tinue in force for ninety days after the ary or March, yet several expeditious next meeting of the rebel Congress. of less consequence were set on An address was issued at the close of foot for the purpose of check

oli 1864.

the session, February 18th, 1864, to ing the enemy's designs in the south the people of the insurgent states, con- and south-west. About the middle of taining the usual topics of consolation December, 1863, Gen. Gillmore had oband encouragement, and striving to ex- tained permission to send an expedition cite them to renewed efforts in carrying into Florida, in order to cut off rebel on the war, especially by furnishing sup- supplies, to procure an outlet for cotton, plies to support and equip the rebel lumber, and other productions of the armies. Jeff. Davis, also, sent forth a country, and to gather in for the army proclamation to the soldiers in the field, recruits from among the negroes. He in which he took his usual lofty tone, also, in January, 1864, in accordance asserting, on the one hand, in regard with Mr. Lincoln's request, inaugurated to the loyal states, that “debt, taxa measures for restoring the state of tion, repetition of heavy drafts, dissen- Florida to her allegiance under the sions occasioned by the strife for power, terms of the president's proclamation by the pursuit of the spoils of office, (p. 397). Having organized an expeby the thirst for the plunder of the dition for the purpose above stated, public treasury, and above all, the con Gillmore dispatched from Port Royal. sciousness of a bad cause, must tell with on the 5th of February, a force of about fearful force upon the overstrained 6,000 cavalry, infantry and artillery, energies of the enemy." On the other | under command of Gen. Seymour. They hand, he was equally confident in as- entered the St. John's River on the 7th, serting that “assured success awaits us and the next day effected a landing at in our holy struggle for liberty and Jacksonville, without opposition, the independence, and for the preservation few rebel soldiers there having taken of all that renders life desirable to to flight immediately. Seymour was honorable men."*

directed to move forward his mounted Although no great military move force to Baldwin, some twenty miles ments were undertaken during Febru- distant, on the Central Railroad. The

advance, under Col. Henry, pushed for. * Certain resolutions were adopted by the rebel con- ward into the interior, on the night of gress, and a manifesto issued relative to the existing the oth of n war with the United States. The tone and temper of

the 8th of February, passed by the this document were similar to those of Davis, quoted enemy, drawn up in line of battle at above: “For ourselves we have no fear of the result.

Camp Finnegan, seven miles from Jack The wildest picture ever drawn by a disordered imagination comes short of the extravagance which would sonville, surprised and captured a batdream of the conquest of 8,000,000 of people, resolved tery, three miles in the rear of the camp, with one mind to die freemen rather than live slaves, and forewarned of the savage and exterminating spirit

about midnight, and reached Baldwin in which this war has been waged upon them, and by about sunrise the next morning. The the mad avowals of the supporters of the worse than enemy absconded, sunk the steamer St. Egyptian bondage that awaits them in the event of their subjugation."

Mary's, and burned 270 bales of cotton

CH. VII.]

SEYMOUR'S DISASTER AT OULSTEE,

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a few miles above Jacksonville. About miles, over a road of loose sand or hog 100 prisuners and eight pieces of artil- and mud, weary and hungry, they were lery were captured, together with other in an ill condition to enter into battle. valuable property, to a large amount. Nevertheless, the batteries were placed On the 10th, a portion of the force was in position as speedily as possible, insent forward to Sanderson, twenty miles der the adverse circumstances, and the

further on the railroad, where a men entered, with their visual spirit, 1864.

quantity, of commissary stores into the fight. The rebel force was were found in flames, the enemy having much larger in number than Seymour's, just withdrawn to a further station at and having the advantage of choice of Lake City, where the rebel commander, position and previous preparation, made Finnegan, had gathered the fragment of sad havoc with our men. The battle his command. On the 14th, the main lasted over three hours, when Seymour body of Seymour's command was con- retired, leaving the dead and severely centrated at Baldwin, having suffered wounded on the field. By slow marches, very few casualties, and taken consider without molestation from the rebels able spoils.

the troops were brought back to the Gillmore, on the 16th of February, re- camping-ground near Jacksonville, on turned to Port Royal, leaving Seymour Monday afternoon, February 22d. Our in command of the expedition, with loss in killed, wounded and missing, a clear understanding, on Gillmore's was very heavy, numbering between part, that no forward movement was to 1,200 and 1,500; the rebel loss was put be made without further instructions, down at about 800. Jacksonville was and until certain important defences held by our troops, and various minor were well advanced. Seymour, how- raids were made from thence; but no im. ever, desirous of pushing on, left camp, portant military operations took place on the 18th of February, advanced on and the proposed effort, as noted above, the line of railroad sixteen miles, and to reconstruct the state government, the next day reached Barber's Station, was abandoned after the disaster at about forty-five miles from Jackson-Olustee.* ville. Early on the morning of Satur- At the close of January, 1864, Gen. day, the 20th, the troops were in motion, Sherman was ordered to take command the light cavalry in advance, and reached of an important expedition into the inSanderson at noon, from whence, with terior of Mississippi. His force sonsistout halting, they advanced toward Olused of two corps, under McPherson and tee, a station on the railroad, ten miles

*"Few disasters were encountered during the war beyond, where it was expected the

so utterly inexcusable. It was Braddock's defeat rerobels would be found; but skirmish- peated after the lapse of a century. Our soldiers fought

J awh as well as men ought to fight; they were abundantly iug began about two o'clock, P.M., be

able to have routed the enemy; they were simply fure reaching Olustee. Unfortunately sacrificed by a leader brave to rashness, and possessing the troops had no opportunity of rest,

every soldierly quality but the ability to plan and

direct the movements of an independent force."-and after a tedious march of sixteen Greeley's "American Conflict,” vol. ii., p. 532.

NII

1864

Hurlbut, estimated at 30,000 men, with kinds were found for the use of the sixty pieces of artillery. On the 3d army. of February, Sherman * set out from Meanwhile, Gen. W. S. Smith, who Vicksburg in light marching order, and had been ordered to report to Shermau

moved westwardly. On the at Meridian, and was expected to reach 1304. 5th, the advance came up with that point by the 14th of February, did 1864. a body of rebel cavalry, in the vicinity not leave Memphis till the 11th, in con of Canton, putting them to flight with sequence of delay in the arrival of part slight loss. The next day the com- of his force. Having with him some mand entered Jackson, and the rebels 7,000 men, he advanced southerly on were driven across Pearl River. After the Mobile Railroad by Okolona to that, the expedition encountered little West Point, where his further progress or no opposition of any moment. Sher was arrested by a combined rebel force man pushed rapidly forward through under Forrest, Chalmers, and others. Brandon to Morton, where two divisions There was some heavy fighting in this of Polk's corps had made disposition vicinity, the enemy charging both in for battle. They, however, retreated the rear and the advance, and five ! before our force, which reached Meri- howitzers were lost. Thus closely pres. dian, or the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, sed by superior numbers, Smith 150 zoiles from Vicksburg, on the 14th resolved upon a retreat, crossed of February, the rebels continuing their the Tallahatchie in safety, by forced retreat in an easterly direction. Here marches, at New Albany, and reached Sherman remained for a week, waiting Memphis on the 25th of Febrnary, the arrival of Gen. Smith's cavalry force, having done much injury to the railmaking, during the time, to use his own road, destroyed a large quantity of words, “the most complete destruction rebel stores, a million bushels of corn, of the railroad ever bebeld, south below cotton gins, etc., and brought away a Quitman; east to Cuba Station; twenty great number of negroes and some 300 miles north to Lauderdale Springs, and prisoners. The expedition, however, west all the way back to Jackson." failed of one of its most important obThe state arsenal at Meridian was des-jects, viz., making a junction with troyed, with its valuable machines for Sherman. repairs of arms, and its ordnance In consequence of this failure, Sherstores; also several military buildings man was unable to follow up his sucand grist mills. Provisions of various cesses, above noted, by extending his

march farther, and accordingly retired * Under date of January 31st, Gen. Sherman ad- slowly from Meridian, bringing his force, dressed a long and interesting letter to Major Sawyer, in excellent condition, to Canton, ncrth assistant adjutant-general of the Army of the Tennessec, in which he spoke at large of the condition of the of Jackson. On the 27th of Febru lit inhabitants in rebellion, and how they were to be he reached Vicksburg.* It had been treated. The letter is marked by Gen. Sherman's straightforwarl com 13on sense, and clearness of ex- * In a brief dispatch, sent by Gen Butterfield to pression.

| Washington, under date of March 11th, the result of

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