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Gen, Sherman in command of the southern and western part of the field—His effective helpers — Attanta his abjective point — Its important and valuable position — Sherman's task no light one — His army in motion — Buzzard's Roost Gap — Johnston falls back — Hooker's encounter with the rebels at New Hope Church — Allatoona Pass turned by Sherman's strategy — Kenesaw Mountains — Sherman's attack — Heavy loss — Marietta secured — Johnston retreats to Atlanta — Rousseau's cavalry expedition — Hood succeeds Johnston as rebel commander—Attack on Sherman — Rebel line driven in — Bloody battle of July 22d — The brave Gen. McPherson killed — Garrard's cavalry on the Augusta Road — Stoneman's and McCook's extensive expeditions — Not successful — Sherman's flank movement — Gets between Hood and Hardee — Atlanta evacuated — Hood retreats — Sherman's congratulatory order — Resolves to occupy Atlanta simply as a military post — Letters to Hood and Calhoun — Families furnished with transportation — J. H. Morgan's last raid into Kentucky — Killed at Greenville, Tennessee.
Heretofore we have gone as much into details as was possible, being desirous to afford th? reader a tolerably full account of the progress of the rebellion, and of the steps taken to put it down; but, as our remaining limits warn us to use greater brevity, we shall not undertake to describe at any length the great and closing campaigns of Sherman and Grant. Nor is this to be regretted. The rebellion was now fast approaching its end; its strength was well nigh exhausted; desperate but fitful efforts wei e all that it could make; and by the early spring of the next year, its military power and consequence were utterly broken, and with these perished all pretence to any further life in the flaunting and boastful "Confederacy."
Gen. Grant, as we have seen (p. 421), having taken command of all the armies of the United States, and having concluded to give his personal at
tention to the Army of the Potomac and its important work, left the southern and western part of the great field in the hands of one of the bravest and most skilful officers in the entire service. This was Gen. W. T. Sherman, who, by order of the war department, March 12th, was placed in command of the military division of the Mississippi, comprising the departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, the Tennessee, and the Arkansas. Gen. J. B. McPherson, who also ranked very highly in Gen. Grant's estimation, was assigned to the command of the department and Army of the Tennessee. Gen. Thomas was in command of the Army of the Cumberland, at Chattanooga, and Gen. Schofield of the Army of the Ohio, at Knoxville. By a subsequent order, in April, Gen. Hooker was placed in command of the 11th and 12th consolidated corps; Gen. Howard was assigned to the command of the 4th corps; and Gen. Schofield to the 23d corps. Relying on the co-operation of these and other tried officers in the field, including Gens. Blair, Palmer, Logan, Stoneman, etc., Gen. Sherman, at the beginning of the month of May, and simultaneously with the advance of the Army of the Potomac, already narrated, began that campaign destined to become famous in our annals, and fearfully crushing in its effects upon the rebellion.
Next to Richmond, Atlanta—the objective point of Sherman's present campaign—was the most important position, as a centre of military operations for the rebels, and it was determined to make especially vigorous efforts to deprive them of these their last, most valuable strongholds. Atlanta, from its admirably protected situation, had been chosen at the outset, as a great military depot of supplies and materials, and a vast workshop for the purposes of war. Here were arsenals, foundries, furnaces, rolling-mills, machine-shops, laboratories, factories, which had been for three years past, and were now, busily engaged in furnishing the munitions of war for the rebels. Here was the best rolling-mill in the South, which had been turning out iron rails for roads and armor plating for iron-clads, the latter in great abundance. Here were factories for shot and shell, for powder, and for equipments of all kinds needful in war; and some 2,000 men were kept steadily occupied in the various public workshops. But, further than this, Atlanta was one of the chief railroad centres in the insurgent states. Nor-1
therly ran the Western and Atlantic Road to Chattanooga. South-westerly, the Atlanta, "West Point, and Mont- | gomery Road, connecting the former point with the capital of Alabama, thence with Mobile on the south, and with the whole Mississippi Valley on the west. South-easterly ran the important road to Macon, and thence to Savannah; easterly, the road to Augusta, and again to Savannah and Charleston. There was also another important advantage which Atlanta presented. The principal military point in all the neighboring mountain region was Chattanooga. Its chief value, however, lay in its defensive relation to East Tennessee, because from that point a column could easily be thrown upon the communications of any hostile force which had passed through the mountain gaps to ravage the interioi' of the state. Accordingly, it was the key of all that was behind, and closed up that region from assault. But for penetrating Central Georgia, Atlanta formed the true, proper starting point. Atlanta was essentially the door of Georgia, as Chattanooga of Tennessee. Unless it were taken possession of by our forces, only cavalry could be used further south, and their raids would have to be hurried, brief, and always; dangerous. Even a movable column of infantry, as in the case of Sherman's march from Vicksburg to Meridian (p. 404), would encounter great peril, as 1I an army in Atlanta could harass its rear. Between these two main points, 1, Chattanooga and Atlanta, extend the j Alleghanies, ridging the whole face of i; the country into a mountainous forma
SHERMAN MOVES FROM CHATTANOOGA.
tion. Lookout Mountain, Mission Ridge, Taylor's Ridge, John's Mountain, Dug-Down Mountain, and other parallel ranges, break up the region lying between the Tennessee and the Chattahoochie. So long as Chattanooga was Sherman's base, the rebels could fight him with great advantage to themselves. But, Atlanta once acquired, it would become the new, advanced position from whence to operate, and his rear would be entirely secure.
It was no light task which Sherman had before him, to pass over a track of 138 miles by the route of the railroad, and overcome the numerous obstacles in his path. Opposed to his advance was the rebel army, under J. E. Johnston, second only to that of Lee in Virginia, and officered by experienced leaders, as Polk, Hardee, Hood, and others. In point of numbers, Sherman's force was much superior. He had nearly 100,000 men, with 254 guns. Of these, 00,000, with 130 guns, were in Thomas's Army of the Cumberland. McPherson's Army of the Tennessee numbered nearly 25,000, with 96 guns; and Schofield's Army of the Ohio numbered about 14,000, with 28 guns. The rebel force was estimated, by Gen. Sherman, at 58,000, including 10,000 cavalry, under Wheeler* But, as an offset, the rebels had every advantage of position, thorough knowledge of the ground, interior line of communication, etc.; while Sherman, at every move, departed further from his base, and risked all on the issue of the campaign.
• Pollard reports Johnston's army at, artillery and nfantry, 40,900; cavalry, about 4,000.—"Last Tear of the War," p. 48.
Under this state of affaii s, Sherman prepared for active, energetic work. The advance from Chattanooga was begun on the 2d of May, the army mor icg in three columns, Gen. Thomas in front, Gen. Schofield on the left, and Gen. McPhersou on the right. No resistance was offered until our troops came near Buzzard's Roost thirty-five miles from Chattanooga, and guarded on the west by Rocky Faced Ridge, a steep height of several hundred feet for some twenty miles in length. On the 9th of May, a part of Hooker's army attempted to gain position on this ridge, and assaulted the rebel works, under a murderous fire, j The line was carried, but was held for only a brief space. With the rebels on j this crest, guarding the passage to Dal- I ton, no efforts to capture or hold Buzzard's Roost Gap were at all practicable, I Our loss, on the 8th and 9th of May, j was about 800.
McPherson, meanwhile, was making | his way by Snake Creek Gap below, I through Rocky Faced Ridge, to Sugar j Valley on the east, opening upon Resaca, on the railroad, eighteen miles I south of Dalton. Schofield also, clos- I ing in on the flank from Cleveland, i Johnston abandoned Dalton, and fell back to Resaca. On the 12th of May, Sherman ordered a movement against | Resaca, which was bravely carried; two days later, the rebels were found in a strong position behind Camp Creek; and on the afternoon and evening of j the 15th, a heavy battle ensued. John j ston escaped during the night, and im mediate pursuit was ordered.
During several days following, from
the 16th to the 19th of May, Gens. Thomas, McPterson and Schofield pushed forward by different roads, and met with encouraging success. Kingston was passed through on the 18th (seventy-nine miles south of Chattanooga), and on the 19th, the rebels retreated across the Etowah River, near Cartersville, twelve miles further south on the railroad. Sherman now gave the troops a few days needed rest, and had supplies brought forward. Satisfied that Johnston would check his advance at the Allatoona Pass, Sherman resolved to turn it by a circuit to the right. On the 23d of May, the army was put in motion for Dallas. Two days after, Gen. Hooker met a body of the enemy, while he was pushing forward to secure a point known as New Hope Church, where three roads meet from Ackworth, Marietta, and Dallas. A sharp engagement ensued, and Sherman's plans were considerably interfered with by the resistance of the enemy, entrenched in front of the roads leading from Dallas to Marietta. On the 28th of May, the rebels ventured an attack on McPherson at Dallas, but were repulsed with heavy loss. Sherman, by gradually moving his force to the left, was able, on the 1st of June, to occupy all the roads leading back to Allatoona and Ackworth. He then pushed Stonemau's cavalry into Allatoona (ninety-eight miles from Chattanooga), at the east end of the Pass, and Garrard's cavalry around by the rear, to the west end of Pass. Thus was accomplished Sherman's real purpose oi turning the Allatoona Pass. Having ordered the railroad bridge
over the Etowah to be rebuilt, Sherman, on the 4th of June, moved direotly upon Ackworth, compelling thereby Johnston to abandon New Hope Church, and occupying Ackworth on the 6th of June. On the 9th, a forward movement of five miles was made, to Big Shanty. Between this and Marietta (twenty miles from Atlanta), is a mountainous region with three prominent summits, Kenesaw, Pine and Lost Mountains, covering perfectly the town of Marietta and the railroad back to the Chattahoochie. Johnston had determined to make a stand here, and, accordingly, had covered th« lofty hills and summits with batteries, and set his men at work in felling trees, digging pits, and preparing for the severe struggle at hand. Signal stations, at various points, enabled the rebels to watch Sherman's advance to good effect. The rebel front extended westward from the railroad about three miles, comprising several successive lines of entrenchments. McPherson moved towards Marietta, his right on the railroad, Thomas on Kenesaw and Pine Mountains, and Schofield toward Lost Mountain. By the 11th of June, dispositions were made to break the line between Kenesaw and Pine Mountains. For several days, the enemy were pressed at all points with vigor and success. The works on Pine Mountain were abandoned on the 14th of June, and those on Lost Mountain on the 17th, and the next day possession was secured of the Dallas and Marietta Road. The weath er, at the time, was very bad, and it showed the spirit and energy of our troops that there was no cessation of
continual skirmishing and harassing the rebels in their mountain fastnesses.
Johnston drew in his left flank towards Kenesaw. covering Marietta and his important communications with the Chattahoochie River. On the 22d of June, the rebels made an attack on our troops atKulp House; but were speedily repulsed with heavy loss. ! Sherman, on studying the ground, had no alternative but to assault the rebel lines, or turn their position. He resolved on the former, and accordingly, on the 27th of June, a vigorous assault was made. It resulted, however, we are sorry to say, in failure and heavy loss; Gens. Harker and McCook were killed, and our entire loss numbered 3,000. The next step was to turn the enemy's left, the movements for which, on the 1st and 2d of July, were noted by the rebel commander, who at once abandoned Kenesaw. Thomas's whole line was moved forward in pursuit toward the Chattahoochie, and on the morning of the 3d of July, Gen. Sher man entered Marietta. During the retreat about 2,000 prisoners were captured.
The rebel general endeavored to make a stand at the Chattahoochie, where he had constructed a strong tete de pont, with an advanced line at Smyrna Sherman, by his excellent strategy, forced Johnston across the river, and while leading him to suppose that the purpose was to turn his left flank, Sherman pushed forward really against Johnston's right flank. For several days, energetic movements were in progress, and Johnston soon took the alarm. On the 9th of July, he retreated to Atlanta,
burned his bridges, and left Sherman undisputed master, north and west, of the Chattahoochie.*
Thus, one principal object of the campaign was accomplished, the advancement of our lines from the Tennessee to the Chattahoochie; but Atlanta, only eight miles distant, was yet to be taken; and Sherman could not rest till his great work was accomplished. The troops needing repose after their severe labors, they remained in camp on the Chattahoochie until the 16th of July. The next day a general advance was made, the river was crossed, and a line formed along the Old Peach Tree Road. McPherson, and his fellow workers, Thomas and Schofield, under Sherman's direction, continued their movements from different points, and everywhere found the enemy in more or less force, skirmishing frequently and heavily.
Great complaints having been made against the rebel Gen. Johnston, seeing that he had done little else than retreat before Sherman's advance, he was removed by Jeff. Davis from command, and J. B. Hood put in his place, July 18th. This latter was the impersonation of the impetuous, dashing "chivalry" of the South; and it was confidently ex
* On the 10th of July, Sherman sent a force of about 2,000 cavalry, under Gen. Rousseau, from Decatur, Alabama, to cut the Montgomery and Opelika Railroad, and destroy Johnston's source of supply from this quarter. Rousseau, as Gen. Sherman states, " fulfilled his orders and instructions to the very letter, whipping the rebel Gen. Clinton en route; he passed through Talladega, and reached the railroad on the 16th, about twenty-five miles west of Opelika, and broke it well up to that place; also three miles of the branch toward Columbus, and two toward West Point. He then turned north, and brought his command safely to Marietta, arriving on the 22d, having sustained a trifling loss, not to exceed thirty men."