pected that, discarding Johnston's Fabian policy, Hood would speedily teach Shern an some bitter lessons, and as he phrased it, " wrest his country from the grasp of the invader." * On the 20th of July, all the armies had closed in, converging towards Atlanta; but as Hood had discovered a point in the line weaker than the rest, he resolved to commence the new system which he proposed to introduce, viz., of taking the offensive, and making a sudden, overwhelming attack upon our men. Accordingly about four P.m., of the 20th, he sallied out from his works in force and attacked Sherman's right centre. The blow was heavy and wholly unexpected, and for several hours the battle raged fiercely, Hooker's corps being especially exposed; but Hood was defeated, with a loss of probably 5,000, whereas Sherman's did not exceed 1,500. During the 21st of July, a division of the 17th corps, under Leggett, drove the enemy from a high hill to the south and east of the railroad, and thereby obtained a commanding position, within easy view of the very heart of the city. The rebels fought desperately to retake the hill, but without success, and McPherson immediately threw out working parties to occupy it with strong batteries.

The rebels having, on the 2 2d of July, abandoned their advanced line of works, Sherman at first thought that

* Pollard, in his spiteful way, says: "Johnston was removed, and Lieul.-Gen. Hood put in command of the army, Piesident Davis declaring that if the people wanted' a fighting general,' they should have such in this man, who was brave, headstrong, incompetent; who had thi heart of a lion, but, unfortunately, with it a head cj cood,"—" Last Year of the War," p. 8G.

they meant to give up Atlanta without j further contest; but this was not so. | Hood was manoeuvring in order to induce Sherman to advance rapidly, and i thereby afford him an opportunity to' make a sudden and crashing assault upon our troops. Sherman pushed for- | ward his force, thus favoring in part I Hood's wishes; but he was by no means unaware that the rebel commander intended to fight, and he continued his j dispositions for pressing the city on its i eastern and southern fronts. During the forenoon, Sherman met McPherson and had a conference with him on some points of importance. Shortly afterwards, Gen. McPherson was killed. It j appears that, in some way, unattended i by his staff, which had been sent off on J duty in various directions, he had fallen in with the rebel skirmishers, and refusing to surrender, had been shot down,! —a loss particularly severe just at this time.*

The battle, which had been begun by the enemy's attack on Sherman's left flank, raged violently during the remainder of the day. The rebels fough t with persistency and even fury; while their assaults were met by our men, who stubbornly refused to give way. The details are fully given in Gen. Sher man's report, to which the reader is

* " Among the dead," are Sherman's few, expressive words, in his report, " was Major-General McPherson, whose body was recovered and brought to me in the heat of battle, and I bad it sent in charge of his jier sonal 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." Gen. Grant, in his report, speaks of the " brave, accomplished, and noble-hearted McPherson," p. 34.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

referred. This battle of the 22d of July, we may here mention, was by far the most bloody which had as yet been fought in Georgia. Sherman's loss, in killed, wounded, and missing, was 3,722. The rebel I0ss was much heavier, over 3,000 being killed, and some 5,000 or 6,000 wounded and made prisoners.

On the 21st of July, Sherman detached Gen. Garrard's cavalry to go to Covington, on the Augusta Road, fortytwo 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 the Ocmulgee. The work was thoroughly performed, and immense damage was inflicted on the rebels. Garrard returned in safety on the 24th of July. Sherman nest determined to cripple the Macon Road, the only avenue by which the rebels obtained stores and ammunition. Two large bodies of cavalry were organized for this purpose, under Stoneman and McCook. Stoneman's force amounted to 5,000, McCook's to 4,000, and Sherman considered that between them the rebels under Wheeler could be disposed of, and their work effectually accomplished. These well appointed forces were to move in concert, the one to the left to McDonough, the other to the right by Fayetteville; both were to meet on the Macon Road near Lovejoy's, on the night of July 28th, and destroy it completely. Stoneman was not successful in his portion of the task, and was taken prisoner with several hundred men, the rest of his force managing to escape. McCook did better, but was not successful to

VOL. IV.—60.

the extent which Sherman expected. As a whole, the raid was rather a failure, and the rebel communications were only temporarily interrupted.

Steadily pursuing his purpose, Sherman, early in August, extended his right in order to flank Hood in that direction; but the rebel commander, having interior lines and impregnable works, acted on the defensive entirely, and could not be assaulted to advantage. This led Sherman to resolve on a new movement, which virtually involved raising the siege of Atlanta, and by which, marching to the eouth and south-west of the city, he meant to break up the roads and means of communication of the rebels. Setting a battery at work on Atlanta, Sherman proceeded to carry out his movement, much to the surprise of the enemy, watching him, who thought that he might be retreating. On the morning of August 28th, the Armies of the Cumberland and the Tennessee devoted themselves to the destroying the West Point Railroad. It was done with a will, as Sherman said, and over twelve miles were destroyed, the rails being heated and twisted in the most effectual manner, and some torpedoes and shells being left to explode in case of any attempt at repairing the road. On the 30th of August, the army again moved southeasterly to strike the Macon Road, from Rough and Ready to Jonesboro. A severe engagement took place with Hardee's troops, in which the enemy lost very heavily. Sherman was in hope of closing in upon the rebels, and an assault was made, September 1st, on their works at Jonesboro, with Howard's corps. The other corps did not get up in time, and Hardee, during the night, fell back seven miles to Lovejoy's and entrenched himself.

Hood was astounded on ascertaining the true position of affairs, and that our army was between him and Hardee. He at once ordered an evacuation of Atlanta, and the destruction of such supplies and ammunition as could not be carried away. Fire was applied about midnight, September 1st, and explosions of ordnance trains were heard for miles in every direction. Gen. Slocum, the next morning at nine o'clock, entered the city without opposition, and the national flag waved over the rebel stronghold.

Hood marched towards McDonough, and soon after formed a junction with Hardee and Lee. Sherman followed, on the 2d of September, but did not attack the rebels in their strongly fortified position. On the 4th, he began his march to Atlanta. and in a few days the armies were encamped around the city.*

As giving a comprehensive summary of the striking incidents of this campaign, we may quote Gen. Sherman's

* Wheeler, with the rebel cavalry, did some mischief to Sherman's railroad communication, but the roads were repaired about as fast as he broke them. On the 15th of September, as Sherman stated, the roads and telegraph were in order, and the cars running with regularity and speed. It may be mentioned here, that, during the operation of this campaign, expeditions were sent out from Memphis and Vicksburg to check any movements of the enemy's forces in Mississippi upon our communications. The manner in which this object was accomplished reflected credit upon Gens. A. J. Smith, Washburn, Slocum, and Mower; and although Gen. Sturgis's expedition was less successful than the others, it assisted in the main object to be accomplished.

words, in his congratulatory order, dated at Atlanta, September 8th: "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 vou 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, 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 jj post 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

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

will he studied as an example in the art of war. At this stage of our game, our enemies, dissatisfied with their old and skilful commander, 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 Peachtree 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 from 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 wait

j ed 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

I 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 supervening. 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."

Gen. Sherman, in view of the exigencies of the case, determined to remove the citizens of Atlanta, and garrison it strictly as a military post. Situated in the heart of the enemy's country, and valuable only as a base of further operations, he could not consent that it should be occupied by a doubtful or disaffected population, composed largely of families many of whose members were in the rebel service. He accord ingly announced to Gen. Hood his in tention of removing the remaining in habitants, offering to them the choice of going North or South; and in order to give them the opportunity of doing so, he proposed a cessation of hostilities for ten days. Servants or negro slaves were to be allowed, if they wished to do so, to accompany their masters or mistresses; otherwise, to be sent away or employed by the quartermaster. Hood accepted the proposition as a matter of necessity, but protested, M in the name of the God of humanity, against the expulsion of the people of Atlanta from their firesides," declaring, while he agreed to the truce, that Gen. Sherman's purpose "transcended the studied and ungenerous cruelty of acts ever before brought to the attention of mankind, even in the darkest history I of war."

I Sherman, whose pen had a point to it quite equal in its way to that of his sword, replied to Hood, under date of September 10th. The whole letter is worth reading; we give only a single extract: "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 civil 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 jgo4 custody of a peaceful ordnance serjeant, 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 the rebellion in spite of themselves, falsified the vote of Louisiana, turned loose your privateers to plunder unarmed ships, expelled Union families by the thousand, burned their houses, and declared by act of your Congress the confiscation of all debts due northern men for goods had and received. Talk thus to the marines, but not to me, who have seen these things, and who will this day make as much sacrifice for the peace and honor of the South, as the best born 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."

The city authorities of Atlanta also made an appeal to Gen. Sherman; but his purpose was fixed, and in his reply to Mayor Calhoun he reiterated some home truths for the benefit of the insurgents generally. Transportation was furnished south as far as Rough and Ready, and north as far as Chattanooga. Great complaints were made of cruelty to the exiles, and that they had been "robbed of everything before being sent into the rebel lines," which complaints were distinctly and pointedly denounced by Gen. Sherman as without any foundation. Atlanta was henceforth occupied simply and exclusively for warlike purposes, in accord ance with Sherman's order of September 14th.

It may be noted here, that, at the end of May, the notorious raider, J. H. Morgan, with his guerrillas, some 2.000 or 3,000 in number. invaded Kentucky.

It mi

Passing through Pound Gap, he moved on, robbing wherever he could, and destroying railroads and bridges as much as possible. Hobson, at Cynthiana, was captured, June 11th, with 1,600 men; but Gen. Burbridge, who was in pursuit, came upon Morgan at Cynthiana and routed him completely. Morgan escaped, with a part of his followers, into Tennessee; but at the beginning of September, In? was surprised at Greenville by Union troops under Gen. Gillem, and in attempting to get away Morgan was killed, and his guerrilla career brought to an inglorious end.

« 上一頁繼續 »