Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

place. Hood signalized his appointment by attacking Sherman instead of remaining on the defensive, and was defeated with heavy loss on the 20th of July, and again on the 22d, when our army, though victorious, met with a very severe loss in the death of Major-General McPherson, one of the choicest of the gallant leaders who had stood around Sherman through all that long, laborious, and bloody march. A raid of our cavalry, under General Rousseau, had destroyed the railroad between Atlanta and Montgomery, for thirty miles, with but little loss. Another, under General Stoneman, though partially successful in what it accomplished on the Macon road, was cut off on its return, and General Stoneman and most of his command were captured, on the 30th of July. Still, the month closed prosperously upon Sherman's operations. Another rebel attack was bloodily repulsed on the 28th, and his lines were drawn closely around Atlanta, while the rebel strength had been more weakened by Hood's assaults than by Johnston's successive retreats. At the North the month did not close so favorably. The hundred-days men offered by the Northwestern States had come promptly forward and been assigned to the posts where they were needed. On the 11th of June the President made the following brief speech to a regiment of them from Ohio, which passed through Washington:—

Soldiers! I understand you have just come from Ohio; come to help us in this the nation's day of trial, and also of its hopes. I thank you for your promptness in responding to the call for troops. Your services were never needed more than now. I know not where you are going. You may stay here and take the places of those who will be sent to the front, or you may go there yourselves. Wherever you go I know you will do your best. Again I thank you. Good-by.

But notwithstanding the aid which they furnished in order to make up the re-enforcements needed for Sherman to keep up his line of communication, for Grant to make the necessary extension of his lines, and for the meeting of rebel raids in various parts of the country, the President had deemed it wise, on the 18th of July, to issue the following Proclamation, ordering a draft of five hundred thousand men :

PROCLAMATION.

By the President of the United States of America. WASHINgrox, July 18, 1884. WHEREAs, By the act approved July 4, 1864, entitled an act further to regulate and provide for the enrolling and calling out the national forces, and for other purposes, it is provided that the President of the United States may, at his discretion, at any time hereafter, call for any number of men as volunteers for the respective terms of one, two, and three years for military service; and that in case the quota, or any part thereof, of any town, township, ward of a city, precinct, or election district, or of a county not so subdivided, shall not be filled within the space of fifty days after such call, then the President shall immediately order a draft for one year, to fill such quota, or any part thereof which may be unfilled. And, whereas, the new enrolment heretofore ordered is so far completed as that the afore-mentioned act of Congress may now be put in operation, for recruiting and keeping up the strength of the armies in the field, for garrisons, and such military operations as may be required for the purpose of suppressing the rebellion and restoring the authority of the United States Government in the insurgent States. Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do issue this my call for five hundred thousand volunteers for the military service; provided, nevertheless, that all credits which may be estab lished under section eight of the aforesaid act, on account of persons who have entered the naval service during the present rebellion, and by credits for men furnished to the military service in excess of calls heretofore made for volunteers, will be accepted under this call for one, two, or three years, as they may elect, and will be entitled to the bounty provided by law for the period of service for which they enlist. And I hereby proclaim, order, and direct, that after the fifth day of September, 1864, being fifty days from the date of this call, a draft for troops to serve for one year, shall be held in every town, township, ward of a city, precinct, election district, or county not so subdivided, to fill the quota which shall be assigned to it under this call, or any part thereof which may be unfilled by volunteers, on the said fifth day of September, 1864. Done at Washington this 18th day of July, in the year of our Lord, 1864, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-ninth. In testimony wherof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the [L. s.] seal of the United States to be affixed.

ABRAHAM LINGoLN. By the President.

WM. H. SEwARD, Secretary of State.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Towards the last of the month the rebels made another raid into Maryland and Pennsylvania, and on the 30th of July the town of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, was occupied by their cavalry under General . A written demand, signed by General Early, was presented for $100,000 in gold, or $500,000 in currency, with a threat of burning the town if the demand was not complied with. As it was not complied with, they fulfilled their threat and laid the town in ashes, without giving the citizens time to remove their property.

The rebel forces remained north of the Potomac till about the 7th of August, but accomplished nothing else of importance. On that day several of our commands which had been acting against them somewhat independently of each other were consolidated into one, at the head of which was placed General Sheridan. The benefit of this change was speedily seen. The rebels fell back south of the Potomac, and were so pressed by Sheridan that General Lee deemed it advisable to re-enforce Early from his own lines, when Sheridan in his turn fell back, and for some weeks there was active manoeuvring on both sides and several small battles were fought, in which we gained more than the rebels, who were never able to cross the Potomac in force again.

Two days before the burning of Chambersburg, General Grant had made a movement on the north side of the James River, across which, by means of pontoon bridges, he threw a force which was attacked before it had time to strengthen its position, but repulsed the rebels with a loss of four guns. This movement, though only a feint, was heavy enough to induce General Lee to throw a strong force to the north side also, when our men were in the night drawn back for an attack on the Petersburg works, which was made on the 30th. The attack was begun in front of General Burnside's limes, by the explosion of a mine under one of the rebel forts, destroying it at once. Instantly every gun in our ranks opened upon Petersburg and its defences, and an assault was made upon the gap in the rebel lines caused by the explosion of the mine. The attack was successful in piercing the lines, but not in carrying a height just within them, called Cemetery Hill, from which, if we had suc ceeded in carrying it, our guns would have commanded Petersburg and its defences. The rebels gathered here in force, and poured so heavy a fire upon our forces that the assault could not be maintained, and while part of our troops were driven back, a large number of them, who had entered the blown-up fort, were unable to return and were compelled to surrender. Our loss in the whole affair was between two and three thousand men. Charges were made that the colored troops, who formed a part of the assaulting column, had failed to do their duty; but the evidence did not sustain this charge, but showed that the failure was due mainly to that lack of cordial co-operation among the generals in command, which has so often defeated the most skilful and promising plans. It was supposed that this repulse would put an end to active operations in front of Petersburg for a long time; but this was not giving due credit to Grant's unyielding pertinacity. An important position on the north side of the James was captured on the 15th of August, by a ruse, Hancock's Corps having been shipped on transports down the river, as if on their way to Washington, but returning under cover of night to join the Tenth Corps in taking and holding a position only ten miles from Richmond, capturing some five hundred prisoners and ten guns. This position was important to cover the work of our men in digging the Dutch Gap Canal, through which it was hoped our iron-clads might go up the river to flank the rebel defences. Not satisfied with this success, but taking advantage of the fact that Lee, encouraged by the ill success of our assault on the 30th of July, had sent a portion of his troops to re-enforce Early, General Grant, on the 17th, struck a blow at the other end of his lines, upon the Wel. don Railroad, which was seized by our forces. A furious attack was made upon them by the rebels, which at one time met with a partial success, but our lines were

[ocr errors]

re-established, and a subsequent attack was repulsed with
heavy loss. Two rebel generals were killed and three
wounded. Another and more determined assault was
made on the 26th, but, after tremendous fighting, was also
repulsed. Our loss was severe, but that of the rebels
was far more so. The substantial prize of the struggle,
the railroad, remained in our possession, and thus another
of the sources of supply for the army of General Lee was
cut off.
Thus the month of August gave us a decided advan-
tage in Virginia. In the South it gave us brilliant suc-
cess. In the early part of the month the preparations
were completed for an attack upon Mobile, by the fleet
under Commodore Farragut, aided by a small land force
under General Granger. The passage of the fleet into the
bay past the rebel forts, and the destruction of the
rebel fleet, were accomplished in about three hours, on
the morning of the 5th of August. Our fleet consisted
of fourteen gunboats and three monitors. The gunboats
were lashed together, two by two, that one might help
the other, and the monitors were on the starboard side of
the fleet. The Brooklyn led the way, followed by the
flagship Hartford and the rest. One of our monitors,
the Tecumseh, commanded by the gallant Craven, was
struck by a torpedo and sunk with all on board, except
her pilot and eight or ten of her crew. This disaster
momentarily checked the advance, when Farragut, in the
flag-ship, rushed forward to the head of the fleet and led
the way past the forts, followed by the rest of the gun-
boats, each one as she went by pouring her broadsides
into the rebel forts. Within the harbor the rebel iron-
clad Tennessee made desperate battle. The rest of the
rebel fleet, except one vessel, having been captured or
destroyed, she was attacked by several of our vessels
at once, who rammed her severely whenever they could
get a chance at her, and, seeing the rest of the fleet and
the monitors bearing down upon her, she surrendered.
She was commanded by Buchanan, who commanded the
Merrimac in her famous battle with the Monitor.

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »