« AnteriorContinuar »
had been superseded by order of Jefferson Davis, and Hood was in oommand. He knew of the gap between Thomas and Schofield, and with desperate promptness attempted to throw his massed strength into it, and met Hooker and defeat. Had he succeeded he would have struck right and left in detail. Atlanta was virtually won at Peach Tree Creek, and the failure of Kenesaw Mountain redeemed, and Hood's prestige broken with his first blow. Our troops were in the terrible melee as the statement has shown.
ATLANTA-LITS IMPORTANCE HEART OF CONFEDERACY-MUST BE TAKEN-HOOD IN
COMMAND--SHERMAN'S REPORT--THE CHATTAHOOCHEE-BATTLE OF JULY 22D-MCPHERSON KILLED-LOGAN IN COMMAND-BLAIR ASSAILED BY HARDEE-SWEENEY
DODGE-TWELFTH ILLINOIS-SIXTEENTH Corps--LONG'S CORPS–Smith's DIVISION
LOSS OF GUNS—THE CRISIS-SHERMAN ORDER TO LOGAN--CHARGE-W00D-VICTORY-GUNS RETAKEN—WHAT SHERMAN SAYS—THE STONEMAN RAID-CHANGES IN COMMAND-HOOKER-PALMER-HOWARD-SLOCUM—DAVIS—WILLIAMS--BATTLE OF JONESBORO-VICTORY DECISIVE-REBEL RETREAT PURSUIT/" ATLANTA OURS AND FAIRLY WON"_SHERMAN'S PROMOTION—RE-UNION AND FREEDOM.
66 A TLANTA,” said a rebel newspaper, “is the gate city from
A the North and West to the Southeast. Its fall would open the way for the Federal army to the Gulf on one hand, and Charleston on the other, and close up those rich granaries from which Lee's army is supplied. It would give them control of our net-work of railways and thus paralyze our efforts.
“ The capture of Richmond would prove of greater advantage to our enemies in a political point of view than any other sense. With our capital in their possession we would find additional influence brought against us abroad; but as a material loss its fall would in no manner compare with the disadvantages which would result from a defeat of General Johnston, and the occupation of Georgia that would follow. To lose the one would be as the loss of a limb; should we be driven from the other, it will be a terrible blow at our most vital point.”
Hood had declared “ We cannot lose Atlanta. If we do, the confederacy is broken. For my part I'll fight while a man stands hy me, even until the streets of the city run with our blood.”
Its importance is seen in that it is the entrepot for the following railways : The Georgia, connecting Atlanta and Augusta, the Macon and Western to Macon, the Western and Atlantic to Chattanooga, and the Lagrange branch road to West Point on the Chattahoochee. It was the heart of the confederacy pumping vitalized blood into the arteries extending to the extremities. By these lines it was connected with the whole country. It is, by rail, one hundred and seventy-one miles from Augusta ; one hundred and one from Macon"; two hundred and ninety-two from Savannah, one hundred and thirtyeight from Chattanooga. Davis said, “It must not be given up." Here were the confederaţe rolling mills, founderies, machine shops, laboratories; here were great grain store-houses; here were the arsenal, oil stores, the pork depots, clothing factories, &c. No wonder it was to be defended to the extremity; no wonder that Grant and Sherman determined to take it, cost what it might.
Johnston's policy was to compel Sherman to garrison post after post. As he fell back, Sherman must weaken the force with which he followed, and in due time he would strike the daring leader and his weakened army and crush him. Davis rejected the policy, and gave the command to Hood, brave, able, careless of human life, disposed to field work, who inaugurated his campaign by his assault at Peach Tree Creek, and was about to repeat the experiment in another bold; costly, yet fruitless movement. · Yet his movements at first were in part deceptive. He, General Sherman, says:
“On the morning of the 22d, somewhat to my surprise, this whole line was found abandoned, and I confess I thought the enemy had resolved to give us Atlanta without further contest; but General Johnston had been relieved of his command and General Hood substituted. A new policy seemed resolved on, of which the bold attack on our right was the index. Our advancing ranks swept across the strong and well finished parapet of the enemy, and closed in upon Atlanta until we occupied a line in the form of a general circle of about two miles' radius, when we again found him cccupying in force a line of finished redoubts, which had been prepared for more than a year, covering all the roads leading into Atlanta ; and we found him also busy in connecting those redoubts with curtains strengthened by rifle trenches, abattis and chevaux-de-frise."
The General arranged his force to meet whatever emergency might arise. He says: