Imágenes de páginas
PDF
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

DURING the Autumn, Winter, and Spring of 1863–4, and the ensuing Summer, a great number of desultory, indecisive expeditions were impelled by one side or the other, which, though they exerted no considerable influence over the issue of the struggle, will be rapidly summed up, preliminary to the narration of Gen. Sherman's memorable Atlanta campaign.

Several detachments of cavalry or mounted infantry, about 1,600 strong, sent out by Gen. IIurlbut, commanding in West Tennessee, under Lt.-Col. J. J. Phillips, 9th Illinois (infantry), Lt.-Col. W. R. M. Wallace, 4th Ill. cavalry, and Maj. D. E. Coon, 2d Iowa cavalry, raided through north

ern Mississippi to Grenada; where they captured and destroyed' over 50 locomotives and about 500 cars of all kinds. At 93 P.M., Col. Winslow arrived from Gen. Sherman’s army near Vicksburg, with orders not to destroy but save the rolling stock; and, he being the ranking officer, some effort was made to obey those orders; but fire had already done its work pretty effectually. Each party returned the way it came. They encountered little resistance, and their losses were inconsiderable. Gen. McPherson, with Tuttle's and Logan's divisions of infantry and Winslow’s cavalry, 8,000 in all, was pushed out from Wicksburg’ nearly to Canton, skirmishing with and push

* Early came down the Valley in November, crossing Cedar creek; but he was not in force to fight a battle, and, being pressed, retreated; his cavalry(under Lomax) being defeated and chased

by Gen. Powell up the Luray valley, with a loss of 2 guns and 150 prisoners. On our side, Col. Hull, 2d, and Capt. Prendergast, 1st N. Y. cavalry, were killed. "Aug. 16, 1863. *Oct. 14.

ing back Wirt Adams's cavalry and Cosby's, Logan's, and Whitman's brigades of infantry, until, finally, McPherson found himself confronted by a superior force, comprising Loring's division and other forces hurried down from Grenada and up from points so distant as Mobile; when he retreated without a battle, via Clinton, to Wicksburg.”

Under cover of demonstrations at Colliersville and other points by Chalmers, Lee, and Richardson, against our lines covering the Memphis and Charleston railroad, Forrest, with 4,000 mounted men, slipped through them near Salisbury, and advanced to Jackson, West Tennessee; which had ceased to be held in force on our side since the department headquarters had been transferred to Memphis. Drawing recruits from the sympathizers and supplies from the plantations and farms of all that region, he was soon emboldened to impel raiding parties in every direction; while Brig.-Gen. A. L. Smith—directed against him from Columbus, Ky., by IIurlbut, with 6,000 men, of whom 2,000 were mounted—was brought to a full stop by the execrable badness of the roads, and finally retraced his steps to Columbus. Isence, a cooperating force dispatched from Corinth on the south, consisting of Gen. Mower's brigade

of infantry and Col. Mizener's caval

ry, found nothing to cooperate with ; while the 7th Illinois cavalry, Col. Prince, which had moved out from Memphis to Bolivar, was compelled to fall back" to Somerville; near which, it was surrounded next day by Richardson's mounted force—1,000

against 500—and routed with considerable loss. Forrest had by this time taken the alarm, as well he might—the forces at IIurlbut’s command being three times his own—and had started southward to make his escape. Much of the country in this quarter being flat and swampy, and the rivers being bank-full, while Forrest was notoriously short of pontoons, he was obliged, after passing the Hatchie, to bear westward nearly to Memphis to find roads which even horsemen could traverse. Hurlbut was aware of this, and had ordered the burning of every bridge over Wolf river. His orders were obeyed everywhere but at the bridge near Lafayette; and it was for that bridge that Forrest, accordingly, struck; crossing over his army and his plunder, including a large drove of cattle, and pushing rapidly southward. This movement was covered by a fresh feint by Richardson on Colliersville; so that Gen. Grierson, who was watching for Forrest at Lagrange, was misled; and, when the pursuit was actually commenced, the scent was too cold. Grierson followed to Holly Springs, and then desisted; Forrest getting safely away with more men and bet. ter horses than he led into Tennessee.

Gen. Sherman, with four divisions of IIurlbut’s and McPherson's corps, and a brigade of cavalry under Winslow, moved" eastward from Wicks. burg through Jackson, crossing Pearl river on pontoons, and advancing through Brandon, Morton, Hillsboro', and Decatur, across the Octibbeha and Tallahaha, to Meridian"— a railroad junction on the eastern

* Oct. 21. * Early in December.

* Dec. 24.

* Feb. 3, 1864. * Feb. 14-16.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

border of the State—destroying a vast amount of railroad property, bridges, trestles, track, locomotives, cars, &c., &c. Lt.-Gen. Polk, with French’s and Loring's divisions and Lee's cavalry, fell back before our army; skirmishing occasionally, but making no serious resistance; retreating at last behind the Tombigbee. Yet the expedition, though scarcely resisted, and doing vast damage to the Rebels, was essentially a failure, because too weak in cavalry. This deficiency was to have been supplied by a strong division sent by IIurlbut, under Gen. Wm. Sovy Smith; but that officer, who was to have been here on the 10th, did not leave Memphis till the 11th, and failed to reach even West Point, nearly 100 miles north of Meridian ; whence he turned back," and made all speed to Memphis. Sherman was therefore obliged to retrace his steps; leaving Meridian on the 20th, and sending Winslow's cavalry so far north as Louisville to feel for Smith, but without success: so our army slowly returned unmolested to Canton.” Its total loss during the expedition was but 171; while it brought away 400 prisoners, 1,000 White refugees, with 5,000 negroes, and returned in better condition for servige than when it started. Gen. W. S. Smith, with about 7,000 men, including a brigade of infantry, had advanced by New Albany and Okolona nearly to West Point; when he found himself confronted by Forrest, Lee, and Chalmers, with more IRebels than he felt able to master; and, turning a very short corner, he made his way back to Memphis in the best time on record—his van

reaching that city at 11 P. M. on the 25th. Attacked at Okolona,” he had lost 5 guns in making good his escape; but it was claimed on his return that he had devoured or otherwise destroyed a large amount of Rebel property, mainly corn, and had lost but 200 men. Still, it is not recorded that he was ever again put in command of an important expedition. Simultaneously with his advance from Vicksburg, Sherman sent some gunboats and a detachment up the Yazoo against Yazoo City; which did not succeed in again capturing that city, but claimed to have done considerable damage, with a loss of but 50 men. Yazoo City was taken and occupied soon afterward by a Union force consisting of the 11th Illinois, Col. Schofield, 8th Louisiana (Black), Col. Coates, and 200 of the 1st Mississippi cavalry (Black). Col. Osband, who had dropped down the river from above, was here attacked" by a far superior Rebel force under Ross and Richardson, and a desperate streetfight ensued, in which our loss was 130; that of the enemy reported by them at 50, and by our side at 300. They carried a good part of the town, but could not take the fort, and were finally repelled by réenforcements from below. The place was evacuated, by order from Wicksburg, soon afterward. Gen. Jo. Johnston, commanding in northern Georgia, having dispatched two divisions of Hardee's corps, under Stewart and Anderson, to the aid of Polk in Mississippi, Gen. Grant, still commanding at Chattanooga, sent forward “the 14th rps, under Gen. Palmer, to counract this diversion. The divisions Jeff. C. Davis, Johnson, and aird, moved on the direct road to alton; Stanley's division, under an. Crufts, moving from Cleveland our left, and forming a junction th Palmer just below Ringgold. he advance was resisted, but not riously, at Tunnel Hill and at Scky-Face ridge; whence Palmer essed forward, against continually &reasing resistance, to within two les of Dalton; where, hearing that e two Rebel divisions which were at south had been brought back, d that all Johnston's (late Bragg's) my was on his hands, he fell back Tunnel Hill, and ultimately to nggold;" having lost 350 killed d wounded. The Rebel killed and Sunded were but 200.

Feb. 21. * Feb. 26.

19 Feb. 22. ” March 5. * Fob. 22.

Various inconsiderable collisions d raids on frontier posts occurred southern Tennessee during the inter and Spring; in one of which, steamboat on the Tennessee was 9tured and burnt by the enemy; t nothing of moment occurred til Forrest, at the head of 5,000 valry, advanced “ rapidly from rthern Mississippi through West nnessee, after a brief halt at Jackl, to Union City, a fortified railld junction near the Kentucky e, held by the 11th Tenn. cavalry, l. IIawkins, who tamely surrender* after repelling an assault withloss. The spoils were 450 priers, 200 horses, and 500 small as. Gen. Brayman, with a relievforce from Cairo, was but 6 miles tant when Hawkins gave up. .

[blocks in formation]

Forrest now occupied Hickman without resistance, and next day appeared before Paducah at the head of a division of his force which had moved thither directly from Jackson. He found here the 40th Illinois, Col. Hicks, 655 strong; who promptly withdrew into Fort Anderson, where he could be aided by the gunboats Piosta and Paw-Paw, Capt. Shirk, and whence he answered Forrest's summons with quiet firmness. Two assaults were made and repelled: the enemy at length occupying the town and firing from behind the houses at the garrison, but to no purpose. At 11 P.M., after burning a steamboat on the marine ways and some houses, Forrest drew off; our loss in the siege having been 14 killed and 46 wounded. Forrest reports his loss here and at Union City, “as far as known,” at 25;" but names Col. A. P. Thompson and Lt.Col. Lanhum, killed, and Col. Crosslin and Lt.-Col. Morton, “slightly wounded.” His loss was doubtles far heavier than he admitted.

Buford, with a part of Pillow's men, next summoned” Columbus, held by Col. Lawrence, 34th New Jersey; who refused to surrender, and could not be taken. Moving thence to Paducah, Buford summoned that post; but, a surrender being declined, heretired withoutassaulting:

Forrest, with the larger portion of his command, had meantime fallen back into Tennessee, where he sud. denly appeared" before Fort Pi— Low, some 40 miles above Memphis, held by Maj. L. F. Booth, with a garrison of 557 men, 262 of whom were Blacks (6th U. S. heavy ar.

* Heaterward makes it 10 killed, 40 wounded. * April 12.

[ocr errors]

tillery); the other battalion was White, under Maj. Bradford, 13th Tennessee cavalry. Maj. Booth had six guns. The attack was made before sunrise, and the fighting was sharp until 9 A.M., when Maj. Booth was killed. IIitherto, our men had defended an outer line of intrenchments; but Major Bradford now drew the garrison back into the fort, situated on the high, steep, but partially timbered bluff of the Mississippi, with a ravine on either hand, also partially wooded. The gunboat New Era, Capt. Marshall, cóoperated in the defense; but to little purpose, because of the height of the bank, and because the Rebels, if shelled up one ravine, shifted their operations to the other. The fighting went on till considerably after noon, without material advantage to the enemy; when the fire on both sides slackened to allow the guns to cool, while the New Era, nearly out of cartridges, moved back into the channel to clean her guns. Forrest improved the opportunity to send a summons, and soon after a second, demanding a surrender within 20 minutes; which Bradford declined. While these negotiations were in progress, the Rebels were stealing down both ravines and gaining sheltered positions whence they could rush upon the fort whenever the signal should be given. Bradford's answer having been received, their rush was instantaneous, and in a moment the fort was in their hands; while the garrison, throwing down their arms, fled down the steep

[ocr errors]

bank, trying to hide behind trees or logs, or skulk in bushes, or find comparative safety in the river; while the Rebels followed, butchering Black and White, soldiers and non-combatants, men, women, and children, with no more discrimination than humanity. Disabled men were made to stand up and be shot; others were burned with the tents wherein they had been nailed to the floor. This carnival of murder continued till dark, and was even renewed the next morning. Major Bradford was not murdered till they had taken him as a prisoner several miles on their retreat to Mississippi. It was in vain that Forrest and his superior, Lt.-Gen. S. D. Lee, undertook to palliate this infernal atrocity, in defiance of their own record. Apart from the general threats (hitherto cited) of the Rebel authorities” that they would refuse to treat Black soldiers or their White officers as prisoners of war, Forrest, not three weeks before, had seen fit to summon Paducah in these terms:

“H'DQu'Rs For REST's CAvALTY Corps, PADUCAH, March 25, 1864. } “To Col. IIicks, commanding Federal forces at Paducah : “Having a force amply sufficient to carry your works and reduce the place, in order to avoid the unnecessary effusion of blood, I demand the surrender of the fort and troops, with all the public stores. If you surrender, you shall be treated as prisoners of war; but, if I have to storm your works, gou may expect no quarter. “N. B. FoEREST, Maj.-Gen. Com'ding.”

Doth Booth and Bradford having been killed, the precise terms in which he summoned Fort Pillow do not appear;” but Buford's demand for the surrender of Columbus, the next day after the massacre, was

”See pages 106, 523–4. * Forrest's official report speaks of his sum

monses No. 1 and No. 2, as “hereto appended;” but the report, as printed, does not give them.

« AnteriorContinuar »