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A gunboat fleet on the Mississippi meanwhile coöperated, assaulting the place from the opposite side, with no material success, and receiving not a little damage.
The face of the country, for the eight or ten miles intervening between this position and the high ground on which the city of Vicksburg stands, is first low and marshy, with lagoons, sandbars and bayous, and then peculiarly rough, deep ravines alternating with precipitous bluffs, mostly wooded, or covered with cane-brake and rank undergrowth. Among these natural defenses there nestled masked batteries and rifle pits, manned by an ample force gathered to meet this expected assault upon the rear of Vicksburg.
On attempting to advance, determined resistance was encoun. tered from the enemy, who was gradually driven back, during eight hours of hard fighting, closing at night. On the 28th, the conflict was early renewed, continuing with varying success, but with little permanent change of position, through the day. On the following morning, a general assault on the Rebel works was every-where repulsed, with heavy loss. The 30th was mostly spent in burying the dead and transferring the wounded to the transports. The undertaking was now abandoned. The forces of Sherman, reëmbarking, returned to Milliken's Bend, and there went into camp, at the beginning of
the new year.
Gen. Burnside, on assuming command of the Army of the Potomac, determined on an advance toward Richmond by way of Fredericksburg, instead of executing another plan of advance preferred (without being ordered) by the President and Gen. Hallock. A force occupied Acquia Creek, and commenced repairing the railroad which had been destroyed by the Rebels. Pontoons were ordered, to be in readiness for a rapid movement, Burnside being nearer than the enemy to Falmouth, where the crossing was to be made, and no considerable force then occupying Fredericksburg. Chiefly through a mortifying dilatoriness on the part of the proper officer at Washing. ton, in forwarding the pontoons, Lee gained time to move his force and to take the position he desired for meeting the intended advance. The principal battle resulting from this movement occurred on the 13th of December, when Burnside's forces endeavored to carry the enemy's strong position on Fredericksburg hights, by assault. After a hard-fought contest, through the day, attended by partial successes-Gen. Meade having temporarily carried a portion of the enemy's worksaight found the army still unsuccessful, and suffering heavy losses. The position held in town and across the Rappahanuock was retained by Burnside during the next two days, but the morning of the 16th found the whole army safely withdrawn to the Falmouth side, without any loss or interruption in this retrograde movement.
The losses in Gen. Sumner's grand division (the Second and Ninth Corps) on the right, were 473 killed, 4,090 wounded, 748 missing; in Gen. Hooker's grand division (the Third and Fifth Corps,) in the center, 326 killed, 2,468 wounded, 754 missing; and in Gen. Franklin's grand division (the First and Sixth Corps) on the left, 339 killed, 2,547 wounded, and 576 missing-a total of 12,321.
The army now went into winter quarters, little being done until Gen. Burnside was relieved, and Gen. Joseph Hooker appointed in his place, assuming command of the Army of the Potomac on the 26th of January. At the same time, Gens. Franklin and Sumner were relieved, being presently assigned to other commands.
Gen. Rosecrans arrived at Nashville on the 10th of November, and proceeded to re-organize the Army of the Cumberland, which was increased by new levies and put in excellent condition, and to restore the railroad communication between Louisville and Nashville. The Rebel army, on the other hand, now under command of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, was concentrating at Murfreesboro and vicinity, prepared to contest any advance of the Government forces. Supposing, from the information he had, that Rosecrans wculd go into winter quarters at Nashville, Johnston detached the cavalry force under Forrest, which was to cut the railroad in West Tennessee, in Grant's rear, and another body of cavalry under Morgan to make a raid into Kentucky, to perform a like service in the 'ear of Roserrans. Instead of helplessly calling for reënforcements, Rosecrans improved the opportunity afforded by this weakening of Johnston's army, to strike an effective blow. He began to more on the enemy on the 26th of December. McCook, with three divisions, advanced on Triune to attack Hardee, whose corps was believed to be between that place and Eagleville; but it had retreated on McCook's approach, and was pursued until it was found that he had gone to Murfreesboro, where Polk and Kirby Smith's forces were. Thomas and Crittenden also advanced on Nolinsville, Stewart's Creek, and Lavergne. Polk's corps and Wheeler's brigade of cavalry had been stationed at the last-named place, but retired before Crittenden's advance.
On the 28th, being Sunday, the troops, for the most part, rested. Meanwhile, the Rebel purpose of concentrating near Stone River was developed. The enemy's right, under Polk, consisting of the three divisions of Cheatham, Buckner and Breckinridge, rested on the Lebanon pike—the center, under Kirby Smith, extended westward, and the left, commanded by Hardee, rested on the Murfreesboro and Franklin road. On the 29th, the Government forces moved up nearer to the Rebel line, taking position preparatory to assuming the offensive. On the 30th, McCook, on the right, finding his position in danger of being turned by Hardee, advanced his line, under firo from the enemy, to avoid this result. On the 31st, early in the morning, the Rebels suddenly made an attack in heavy force along the entire line of McCook. His forces were driven back with the loss of many prisoners, but the ground was well contested by the division of Davis, especially, and the purpose of turning the right of Rosecrans failed.
The right having thus fallen back, Gen. Rosecrans prepared for an advance of the enemy upon his center and left, by massing his artillery at the anticipated point of assault, and sent forward Negley's division, sustained by that of Rousseau, to support the broken forces of McCook. This movement stopped further pursuit in that quarter. The Rebels were driven back in turn, with the loss of many prisoners. The forces of Negley and Rousseau, acting under orders, retreated on meeting another wave of battle, and the Rebels advanced in dense numbers, exulting in their supposed victory, until brought within tho acadly fire of the newly-placed batteries of Rosecrans, not hitherto discovered. Leaving immense numbers of dead and wounded on the field, the Rebel forces now turned and fled in confusion, not to be rallied again untıl much later in the day.. The right of Rosecrans had been forced backward more than two miles, and his line was now formed anew, the flanks having better protection.
The Rebels renewed the engagement, about 3 o'clock P. M., by an attack on *).a center and left of our army. A sharp and destructive confict continued for two hours, with no advantage to the assailants. Gen. Rosecrans, who was personally in the thick of the fight, had shown rare skill and energy in handling his troops, after his right had been doubled back upon his left. A change of front was successfully accomplished under fire, and a seemingly sure defeat turned into a substantial victory.
The two armies confronted each other during the next three days, without becoming actively engaged. On the 4th of January, Johnston was found to have retreated, and Murfreesboro was promptly occupied by our forces. The Government loss, in killed and wounded, was 8,778, and about 2,800 in prisoners. The hobel loss is computed by Gen. Rosecrans at 14,560.
This summary of military events, in the East and in the West, embraces what is deemed most important down to the eve of the campaigns of 1863, rendered illustrious by the great victories at Vicksburg, Port Hudson, Gettysburg, and Chattanooga. The first two years of the war, with varying successes in detail, had resulted, on the whole, in decided advantages to the Government arms. Commencing their “Confederacy” with even States, the conspirators had determined, by intrigue and by the force of arms, to wrest the remaining eight slaveholding States, the Indian Territory, New Mexico, and Arizona, from their allegiance to the Government, and to add this immense region, with its population, to the side of the Davis usurpation. The vigorous campaign of Gen. Canby, in New Mexice, and the victory at Fort Craig, in 1862, hurled back the invaders in that quarter into Texas, while the grand Rebel defeat at Peu
Ridge, Ark., under Gen. Curtis, in March of the same year, had put an end to all hopes of any Rebel acquisition in the Territories of the United States. The four slave States of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas, had been swept into the Secession rebellion at the very outset. All the determined efforts to extend the Rebel boundary beyond these States, had proved abortive. On the contrary, the spring of 1863 found Arkansas substantially reclaimed ; New Orleans and a large portion of Louisiana, (including the State capital.) restored to the Government; the Mississippi river reconquereduring its entire length, except the comparatively short distance from Vicksburg to Port Hudson, inclusive; the capital of Tennessce, and most of the western and middle parts of the State, occupied by Government garrisons; the western half of Virginia reorganized under a loyal government, and much of Eastern Virginia firmly held ; a permanent foothold gained on the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida; Northern Alabama returning to sentiments of loyalty, under the supporting presence of Government troops; a blockade, under the active operations of our formidable Navy, pressing heavily upon the rebellious States; and the power of slavery materially crippled, under the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation of the President, deranging the productive interests of the rebellion, and adding a new element of increasing strength to our arms.
To save their waring cause, the Rebels were now putting forth every energy to hold their trans-Mississippi communications, the Red river country and Texas being among their most abundant sources of supplies. To this end, it was necessary to keep their strongholds at Vicksburg and Port Hudson. land force under Gen. Banks (who had succeeded Gen. Butler as commander of the Department of the Gulf,) and the fleet of Admiral Farragut, began the work of reducing the latter post, on the 8th of May. After severe engagements on land and water, during the next two months, the place being closely invested, Port Hudson was unconditionally surrendered on the 8th of July, with its garrison, numbering 6,223. This event, however, was preceded by the fall of Vicksburg, and may be