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wings. Thomas's line of entrenchments, supported by a chain of forts, protected the city, and reached on each flank to the river, which was protected and securely held by gun boats and two ironclads.
After delaying action for nearly two weeks, mainly on account of the inclemency of the weather and the remounting his cavalry force, Thomas assumed the offensive, on the morning of the 15th of December, and began the attack upon Hood's army. The battle lasted for two days, and the rebels were driven from the river, from their entrenchments, from the range of hills on which their left rested, and forced back at all points, during the loth and 16th of December, for some eight or nine miles. They were, in fact, completely routed, and anxious only to escape from the victorious defenders of the cause of loyalty and order. Sixty-eight pieces of artillery were taken from the enemy, besides about 10,000 prisoners. In addition, they lost in killed and wounded at least 10,000 more. Pursuit was kept up for several days, notwithstanding the roads were almost impassable in consequence of the heavy rains and deep mud, and the shattered forces of the enemy were closely pressed, principally by our cavalry, even to the Tennessee River. On the 28th of December, our advance ascertained that Hood and his army had made good their escape to the south side of the river. Thus, the close of the year saw Tennessee thoroughly freed from the presence of the rebel army, and the invasion, from which so much had been
hoped and expected by Davis and others, resulted in complete rout and confusion*
Gen. Sherman, having sent two of his army corps to aid Thomas against Hood, retained the four others and the cavalry division for carrying:
out the work which he had set himself to do. On the 9th of November, he issued a special order to this effect: the armv was divided into two wings; the right, consisting of the 15th and 17th corps, was under command of Gen. Howard; the left, con sisting of the 14th and 20th corps, was under command of Gen. Slocum; and the cavalry division was assigned to the command of Gen. Kilpatrick. The habitual order of march, it was ordered, should be, whenever practicable, by four roads, as nearly parallel as possible, and converging at points to be hereafter indicated. There were to be no general trains of supplies, and each corps was to have its limited ammuni tion and provision train so distributed that, in case of danger, the advance and rear brigades should be unencumbered by wheels. The separate columns were to start habitually at seven, A.m., and
■ * Pollard, in his account of this mortifying and discreditable termination of the battle and campaign, says of Hood, no favorite with him (see p. 472, note): "He finally made his escape across the Tennessee River with the remnant of his army, having lost from various causes more than 10,000 men, half of his generals, and nearly all of his artillery. Such was the disastrous issue of the Tennessee campaign, which put out of existence, as It were, the splendid army that Johnston had given up at Atlanta, and terminated forever the whole scheme of Confederate defence west of the Alleghanies." Pollard also says: "the effect of Sherman's march to the sea on the morale of the Confederacy dates the first chapter of its subjugation." —" Last Year of (he War," pp. 128,129.
make about fifteen miles a day, unless otherwise ordered. The army was directed to "forage liberally on the country during the march." For this purpose, brigade commanders were to organize "good and sufficient foraging parties, under the command of one or more discreet officers," to gather corn or forage of any kind, meat, vegetables, or other necessaries, aiming always to keep on hand ten days' provisions for the men 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." The power was entrusted to army corps commanders to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, etc., in districts or neighborhoods where the anny was molested by guerrillas or bushwhackers, or the inhabitants should burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility; but no such devastation was to be permitted where the inhabitants remained quiet. "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 neu
1864. . .
tral 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 and 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. 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." A pontoon train fully equipped and organized was assigned to each wing of the army.
In accordance with his plan, Gen. Sherman effectually destroyed the railroad in his rear, and then set fire to and burned all the storehouses, depots, machine-shops, and everything else in Atlanta which could be of any service to the rebels. Having concentrated at Atlanta, his troops, numbering between 50,000 and 60,000, the right wing, under Howard, moved on the 12th of November, and was followed by the left, under Slocum, on the 14th. Sherman himself accompanied the left wing. The lines of march followed generally the two lines of railroad traversing the state, the Georgia and Central, running from Savannah to Macon, and thence by a north-westerly line to Atlanta, a distance in all of nearly 300 miles; and the Georgia Railroad, running north of the former, in an easterly direction, between Atlanta and Augusta. This was connected with the southerly line by way of Waynesborough and Millen with Savannah. In the area bounded by these lines, resembling a parallelogram with Atlanta, Macon, Augusta and Millen at the four
corners, and Milledgeville at a central point in the enclosure, the important movements of Gen. Sherman's army were effected.
The rebels at first, and for some time, supposed that Sherman was engaged upon a raiding expedition into Georgia. It seemed as if it were impossible for them to grasp the boldness of that general's undertaking; and hence, as Grant says, <l the blindness of the enemy in ignoring his movement, and sending Hood's army, the only considerable force they had west of Richmond and east of the Mississippi River, northward on an offensive campaign, left the whole country open, and Sherman's route to his own choice.* For full and accurate details, we must refer the reader to Sherman's report, written in his lively and energetic style. A brief outline is all that we have room here to present.
Howard marched in ,two columns southwardly on the railroad as far as Jonesborough, the rebels being able to make but feeble opposition. One of his columns occupied McDonough, on the 15th of November, about thirty-five miles south-east of Atlanta, and the county seat of one of the richest portions of Georgia. Howard, on the 20th,
* "The whole plan, which had originated in the brain of President Davis, to compensate for the enemy's offensive movement in Georgia by penetrating Tennessee was outrageously foolish, from the simple consideration that the two invasions were necessarily unequal; for that into the enemy's country could not seriously affect his superabundant resources, while that Into the southern interior went right into the heart of the Confederacy; and having once passed the frontiers, on which the South had necessarily thrown all its resources in men, was destined to realize Gen. Grant's assertion, that the Confederacy was merely a shell."—Pollard's "Last Year of the War," p. 130. VOL. IV.—<!2.
crossed the Ocmulgee, and passing south, left Macon on the right and in the rear, and then moved rapidly through Monticello and Hillsborough to Clinton, so as to strike the Georgia Central at Gordon, twenty miles east of Macon. Kil Patrick's cavalry, meanwhile, were demonstrating in the direction of Macon, and the rebels were firmly possessed of the idea that that city was to be attacked, and gathered all the forces they could, under Cobb, for its defence.
On striking the Georgia Central, on the 22d of November, Howard's corps began to destroy the track between Gordon and Griswoldville, in that thorough and complete manner which they had acquired by 1 ong experience. While engaged in this work, a severe skirmish or battle between a section of our artillery and some cavalry, and about 5,000 of the rebels, occurred at Griswoldville. Desperate assaults were made on our force, but they resulted in nothing but loss and disaster, and the rebels were glad to make their way back to Macon. Milledgeville was occupied on the 21st of November, just a week after leaving Atlanta, the distance travelled being about ninety-five miles.
The corps under Slocum marched eastwardly towards Augusta, and by the 17th of November, the road was effectually destroyed as far as Covington. One column turned southeastwardly in the direction of Milledgeville, while another continued on the line of the railroad, and destroyed it as far as Madison, sixty-nine miles east of Atlanta, and 102 west of Augusta. The cavalry were pushed on between twenty and thirty miles further, serving as a