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Depopulation of Atlanta.-Correspondence between General Sherman and Mayor Calhoun.-Flank Movement by Hood.-Attack on Allatoona.-Hood Severs Sherman's Communications.-Marches into Alabama and Enters Tennessee.-Sherman's New Plan of Campaign.-Invasion of Tennessee.-Battle of Franklin.-Affair at Murfreesboro'.—Battles of December 15th and 16th before Nashville.-Retreat of Hood into Alabama.-Close of the Campaign.
THE order for the depopulation of Atlanta which General Sherman, for military reasons, deemed it proper to issue and enforce, met with no little opposition from the small remnant of the inhabitants of that once flourishing place who had remained there during all the rigors of the siege. We have seen how Sherman replied to Hood's remonstrance. The following correspondence between him and the mayor of Atlanta conveys in as clear and forcible terms, perhaps, as were ever employed for the purpose, the hardships which the people of the rebellious States brought upon themselves in attempting to sever their relstions with the Union, and plunge the country in the horrors of civil
LETTER OF MAYOR CALHOUN.
"ATLANTA, GEORGIA, September 11, 1864.
"Major-General W. T. SHERMAN:
"Many poor women are in the advanced state of pregnancy; others having young children, whose husbands, for the greater part, are either in the army, prisoners, or dead. Some say: 'I have such a one sick at my house; who will wait on them when I am gone?' Others say: 'What are we to do? we have no houses to go to, and no means to buy, build, or rent any; no parents, relatives, or friends, to go to.' Another says: 'I will try and take this or that article of property; but such and such things I must leave behind, though I need them much.' We reply to them: 'General Sherman will carry your property to Rough and Ready, and then General Hood will take it thence on.' And they will reply to that: 'But I want to leave the railroad at such a place, and cannot get conveyance from thence on.'
"We only refer to a few facts to illustrate in part how this measure will operate in practice. As you advanced, the people north of us fell back, and before your arrival here a large portion of the people here had retired south; so that the country south of this is already crowded, and without sufficient houses to accommodate the people, and we are informed that many are now staying in churches and other outbuildings. This being so, how is it possible for the people still here (mostly women and children) to find shelter, and how can they live through the winter in the woods-no shelter or subsistence in the midst of strangers, who know them not, and without the power to assist them much, if they were willing to do so?
"This is but a feeble picture of the consequences of this measure. You know the woe, the horror, and the suffering cannot be described by words. Imagination can only conceive of it; and we ask you to take these things into consideration. We know
your mind and time are continually occupied with the duties of your command, which almost deters us from asking your attention to the matter; but thought it might be that you had not considered the subject in all of its awful consequences, and that, on reflection, you, we hope, would not make this people an exception to all mankind; for we know of no such instance ever having occurred-surely not in the United States. And what has this helpless people done, that they should be driven from their homes, to wander as strangers, outcasts, and exiles, and to subsist on charity?
"We do not know as yet the number of people still here. Of those who are here, a respectable number, if allowed to remain at home, could subsist for several months without assistance; and a respectable number for a much longer time, and who might not need assistance at any time.
"In conclusion, we most earnestly and solemnly petition you to reconsider this order, or modify it, and suffer this unfortunate people to remain at home and enjoy what little means they have. Respectfully submitted.
"JAMES M. CALHOUN, Mayor.
GENERAL SHERMAN'S REPLY.
"HEAD-QUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
"IN THE FIELD,
"ATLANTA, GEORGIA, September 12, 1864.
"JAMES M. CALHOUN, Mayor, E. E. RAWSON and S. C. WELLS, representing City Council of Atlanta: "GENTLEMEN:--I have your letter of the 11th, in the nature of a petition to revoke my orders removing all the inhabitants from Atlanta. I have read it carefully, and give full credit to your statements of the distress that will be occasioned by it, and yet shall not revoke my order, simply because my orders are not designed to meet the humanities of the case, but to prepare for the future struggles, in which millions, yea, hundreds of millions of good people outside of Atlanta, have a deep interest. must have peace, not only at Atlanta, but in all America. To secure this, we must stop the war that now desolates our once happy and favored country. To stop war, we must defeat the rebel armies that are arrayed against the laws and Constitution, which all must respect and obey. To defeat these armies, we must prepare the way to reach them in their recesses, provided with the arms and instruments which enable us to accomplish our purpose.
Now, I know the vindictive nature of our enemy, and that we may have many years of military operations from this quarter, and therefore deem it wise and prudent to prepare in time. The use of Atlanta for warlike purposes is inconsistent with its character as a home for families. There will be no manufactures, commerce, or agriculture here for the maintenance of families, and sooner or later want will compel the inhabitants to go. Why not go now, when ail the arrangements are completed for the transfer, instead of waiting till the plunging shot of contending armies will renew the scene of the past month? Of course, I do not apprehend any such thing at this moment; but you do not suppose that this army will be here till the war is over. I cannot discuss this subject with you fairly, because I cannot impart to you what I propose to do; but I assert that my military plans make it necessary for the inhabitants to go away, and I can only renew my offer of services to make their exodus in any direction as easy and comfortable as possible. You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot define it; and those who brought war on our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on till we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The United States does and must assert its authority wherever it has power; if it relaxes one bit to pressure, it is gone, and I know that such is not the national feeling. This feeling assumes various shapes, but always comes back to that of Union. Once admit the Union, once more acknowledge the authority of the National Government, and instead of devoting your houses and streets and roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army become at once your pro
tectors and supporters, shielding you from danger, let it come from what quarter it may. I know that a few individuals cannot resist a torrent of error and passion such as has swept the, South into rebellion; but you can point out, so that we may know those who desire a Government, and those who insist upon war and its desolation. "You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable; and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop this war-which can alone be done by admitting that it began in error, and is perpetuated in pride. We don't want your negroes, or your horses, or your houses, or your land, or any thing you have; but we do want and will have a just obedience to the laws of the United States. That we will have; and if it involves the destruction of your improvements, we cannot help it. You have heretofore read public sentiment in your newspapers, that live by falsehood and excitement, and the quicker you seek for truth in other quarters, the better for you "I repeat, then, that, by the original compact of government, the United States Lad certain rights in Georgia, which have never been relinquished, and never will be; that the South began war by seizing forts, arsenals, mints, custom-houses, &c., &c. long bette Mr. Lincoln was installed, and before the South had one jot or tittle of provocation. I myself have seen in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and part of Mississippi, hundreds and thousands of women and children fleeing from your armies and desperadoes, hungry and with bleeding feet. In Memphis, Vicksburg, and Mississippi, we fed thousat is upon thousands of the families of rebel soldiers left on our hands, and whom we could not see starve. Now that war comes home to you, you feel very different; you deprecate its horrors, but did not feel them when you sent car-loads of soldiers and ammazition, and moulded shell and shot, to carry war into Kentucky and Tennessee, and desolate the homes of hundreds and thousands of good people, who only ask to live in peace at their old homes, and under the Government of their inheritance. But these compari sons are idle. I want peace, and believe it can only be reached through Union and war, and I will ever conduct war purely with a view to perfect and early success.
"But, my dear sirs, when that peace does come, you may call on me for any thing. Then I will share with you the last cracker, and watch with you to shield your homes and families against danger from every quarter. Now, you must go, and take with you the old and feeble; feed and nurse them, and build for them in more quiet places proper habitations, to shield them against the weather, until the mad passions of men cool down, and allow the Union and peace once more to settle on your old homes at Atlanta 'Yours, in haste, W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General”
From the date of the surrender of Atlanta, up to the 22d of September, an armistice remained in force between the forces under Sherman and the army of Hood. This period of time on the part of Sherman was occupied in recruiting, refitting, and reorganizing. The railroad was employed in transporting stores, and in bringing new men to fill up the wasted ranks of the army, the trains returning with soldiers, going home to enjoy for a brief season their well-earned furloughs. Bakeries were established in all the camps to furnish the men with fresh bread, and they were supplied as rapidly as possible with new clothing and equipments. Meanwhile, the main body of Hood's army reposed near Jonesboro', twenty miles south of Atlanta, while his cavalry, under Forrest and other leaders, were raiding upon Sherman's communications in Northern Alabama and Georgia and Southern Tennessee. To meet these movements, General Thomas was ordered to Nashville to direct operations in that section, a small force being sent at the same time by General Sherman to Chattanooga. On the 20th September the cavalry of Forrest crossed the Tennessee, and having destroyed the railroad between Decatur and Athens, appeared before the latter place, which was garrisoned by a small body of colored troops under Colonel Campbell. These surrendered, together with
portions of the Nineteenth Michigan and One Hundred and Second Ohio, which had come to the succor of the garrison. Forrest then moved upon Sulphur Branch Trestle, and, having captured the garrison, attacked, on the 27th, the garrison of Pulaski, where General Rous seau commanded. On the 29th he cut the Nashville Railroad near Tullahoma, but was soon driven off by Rousseau. At the same time General Steedman collected a force of five thousand men to keep open the rail communication with Chattanooga. On the 26th, Newton's Division of the Fourth Corps, Army of the Cumberland, and Morgan's of the Fifteenth, were ordered from Atlanta to Chattanooga to replace Steedman. General Thomas, by order of Sherman, accompanied this force to take charge of affairs in Tennessee, and reached Nashville October 3d. General Granger, commanding the Northern District of Alabama, was ordered to occupy Athens when Forrest's troops withdrew, and moved off with his command in two columns towards Columbia. Morgan's Division occupied Athens October 2d, and had orders to move upon Bainbridge with a view to intercept the enemy, while Rousseau, with four thousand cavalry, was to press his rear through Mount Pleasant. At the same time, as General Washburn, with four thousand five hundred men, was moving up the Tennessee in pursuit of Forrest, orders were sent to him to unite his cavalry with those of Rousseau at Clifton. The enemy, however, escaped across the Tennessee, and Morgan returned to Athens.
Hood, meanwhile, had kept his forces in the neighborhood of Jonesboro', and was sufficiently occupied for the time being in simply watching the movements of his adversary in Atlanta. To allow their principal Southern army to remain inactive was, however, no part of the programme of the rebel leaders, and in an intemperate and passionate speech delivered at Macon, on September 23d, Jefferson Davis announced that Sherman should find Atlanta but another Moscow, and that his retreat to the North would prove even more disastrous and ignominious than that of Napoleon from his barren Russian conquests. These remarks foreshadowed a new military policy in the South, of which the principal feature was to be the commencement of an ag gressive campaign upon Sherman's communications by the whole rebel army under Hood, very much after the fashion of Sherman's final and successful movement against Atlanta. In aid of this movement, Forrest, by far the ablest cavalry officer in the rebel army, was already operating against the communications between Chattanooga and Nashville, and it was supposed that if the railroad between Chattanooga and Atlanta could be well broken up by Hood, Sherman, cut off from his primary and secondary bases, would be compelled to retreat into Tennessee. The plan had the merit of boldness, and, had it been intrusted to abler hands than those of Hood, or devised against a less skilful general than Sherman, might have proved successful. It will be seen that Sherman was in this emergency master of the situation, and completely outwitted his brave, but rash and incapable, antagonist. By the 2d of October, Hood's army was across the Chattahoochee, and moving upon Dallas, whence it could threaten Chattanooga and the railroad, and, if hard pushed, retreat into Southwestern Alabama.
On the 4th, the rebels reached the railroad north of Marietta, and destroyed the track between Big Shanty and Acworth, and on the morning of the 5th a detachment of seven thousand men, under General French, approached the fort at Allatoona Pass, and demanded its surrender. By this time, Sherman's troops, with the exception of the Twentieth Corps left to garrison Atlanta, were also across the Chattahoochee, and moving rapidly upon Hood. The latter, however, had the start by at least two days, and sought to avail himself of that advantage to overwhelm the small garrison at Allatoona, the capture of which place would have given him immense stores and an almost impregnable position. Sherman was also aware of the importance of Allatoona, and with wise foresight had on the previous day thrown into the place a re-enforcement of nine hundred men under General Corse, drawn from the garrison of Rome. To French's demand for a surrender, "in order to save the unnecessary effusion of blood," Corse returned the curt reply, "I shall not surrender, and you can commence the unnecessary effusion of blood whenever you please." The attack opened at eight A. M., and was maintained with great pertinacity until two P. M., when the enemy, wearied and completely baffled, retired, with a loss of over a thousand men. During the heat of the contest, Sherman arrived on the summit of Kenesaw Mountain and opened telegraphic communication with the garrison, directing them to hold out resolutely, as succor was fast approaching. The fresh courage which this assurance gave to the beleaguered troops enabled them, doubtless, to maintain their heroic resistance.
The rebels now marched northward along the railroad. North of Resaca they recommenced to destroy the track, and continued the work as far as Tunnel Hill, a distance of twenty miles, capturing on the 14th the colored garrison at Dalton. Sherman was a comparatively quiet but vigilant spectator of these operations, and, to those ignorant of his plans, seemed to have relaxed from the energy of movement which had previously characterized him. When finally, on the 15th, he marched from Resaca against Hood, compelling the latter to retire in a southwesterly direction towards Lafayette, his movements were unaccountably slow. The rebel army, without, apparently, any unusual effort, escaped into Northern Alabama, whence on the 1st of November it marched for Warrenton, on the Tennessee River, Sherman being then at Gaylesville, Alabama, near the Georgia line. The object of Sherman's strategy was now apparent. Hood had been pushed far away from the Chattahoochee into Northern Alabama, and tempted into another invasion of Tennessee. His raid on the railroad between Chattanooga and Atlanta had been of so little detriment that by the 28th of October it was again in running order, and Sherman, having got rid of a troublesome enemy in his front, was now prepared to penetrate with a large force into the heart of Georgia, and march for the coast, with the almost positive certainty that no enemy of importance could oppose him. It was necessary, however, to provide first for the safety of Tennessee, thus threatened by a rebel army, and for that reason Thomas had been detached to Nashville. The Fourth Corps, Stanley, and the Twenty-third, Schofield, were sent to his sup