« AnteriorContinuar »
commenced without wagons, except such as could be picked up through the country."
Instructions have been given to the generals operating in hostile territory to subsist their armies, so far as possible, upon the country, receipting and accounting for every thing taken, so that all persons of proved loyalty may hereafter be remunerated for their losses. By this means our troops can move more rapidly and easily, and the enemy is deprived of supplies if he should reoccupy the country passed over by us. Some of our officers hesitate to fully carry out those measures, from praiseworthy but mistaken notions of humanity, for what is spared by us is almost invariably taken by rebel forces, who manifest very little regard for the suffering of their own people. In numerous cases, women and children have been fed by us to save them from actual starvation, while fathers, husbands, and brothers are fighting in the ranks of the rebel armies, or robbing and murdering in ranks of guerrilla bands.
Having once adopted a system of carryingnearly all our supplies with the army in the field, a system suited to countries where the mass of the population tako no active part in the war, it is found very difficult to effect radical changes. Nevertheless, our trains have been very considerably reduced within the past year. A still greater reduction, however, will be required to enable our troops to move as lightly and as rapidly as those of the enemy. In this connection, I would respectfully call attention to the present system of army sutlers. There is no article legitimately supplied by sutlers to officers and soldiers which could not be furnished at much less price by quartermaster and commissary departments.
Sutlers and their employes are now only partially subject to military authority and discipline, and it is not difficult for those who are so disposed to act the part of spies, informers, smugglers, and contraband traders. The entire abolition of the system would rid the army of the incumbrance of sutler wagons on the march, and the nuisance of sutler stalls and booths in camp. It would relieve officers and soldiers of much of their present expenses, and would improve the discipline and efficiency of the troops in many ways, and particularly by romoving from the camps the prolific evil of drunkenness.
I referred in my last report to the largo number of officers and soldiers absent from their commands. It was estimated, from official returns in January last, that there were then absent from duty eight thousand nine hundred and sixty-seven officers, and two hundred and eighty-two thousand and seventy-three non-commissioned officers and privates. Only a part of these were really disabled or sick. The remainder were mostly deserters, stragglers, maligners, and shirks, or men who absented themselves in order to avoid duty. Much of this evil has been abated; very few furloughs are now given, and officers absent from duty not only lose their pay, but are subject to summary dismissal. Straggling
and desertion have also greatly diminished, and might be almost entirely prevented if the punishment could be prompt and certain.
In this respect our military penal code requires revision. The machinery of court-martial is too cumbrous for trial of military offences in time of actual war. To organize such courts it is often necessary to detach a large number of officers from active duty in the field, and then a single case sometimes occupies a court for many months. To enforce discipline in the field, it is necessary that trial and punishment should promptly follow the offence.
In regard to our military organization, I respectfully recommend an increase of the Inspector-General's department, and that it be merged in the Adjutant-General's department.
The grades of commander of armies and of army corps should be made to correspond with their actual commands. The creation of such grades need not cause any additional expense to the Government, as the pay and emoluments of general and lieutenant-general could be made the same as now allowed to major-generals commanding divisions.
I also respectfully call attention to our artillery organization. In the Fifth regiment of United States artillery, each battery is allowed one captain and four lieutenants, eight sergeants and twelve corporals, and all of these, together with the privates, receive cavalry pay and allowance. In the First, Second, Third, and Fourth regiments of the United States artillery, a battery is allowed one captain, three lieutenants, four sergeants, and four corporals, and, with the exception of two batteries to each regiment, for which special allowance was made by laws created March second, 1821, and March third, 1841, all of these receive the pay and allowances of infantry, yet they are all, with the exception of four or five companies, performing precisely similar duties.
A field battery of six guns absolutely requires all the officers and non-commissioned officers allowed in the Fifth artillery, and the additional responsibility of the officers, and the labor of both officers and enlisted men, render necessary the additional pay and allowances accorded by law to those grades in that regiment A simple remedy for these evils is the enactment of a law giving to the First, Second, Third, and Fourth regiments of United States artillery the same organization and the same rates of pay as the Fifth regiment, which, it may bo added, is also the same as that already given to all the volunteer field batteries now in the United States service. A similar discrepancy existed in the cavalry regiments till an act, passed by the last Congress, placed them all upon the same basis of organization and pay.
The act authorizing the President to call out additional volunteers, or the drafted militia, limits the call to the cavalry, artillery, and infantryarms, and makes no provision for organizing volunteer engineer regiments. This was unquestionably a mere verbal omission in the law, anet should be supplied, as it creates embarrassments in the organization of armies in the field. The generals commanding these armies complain in strong terms of the deficiency of engineer troops for the repairing of said roads, the construction of pontoon-bridges, and carrying on the operations of a siege, and urge that the evil be promptly remedied.
The waste and destruction of cavalry horses in our service has proved an evil of such magnitude as to require some immediate and efficient remedy. In the army of the Potomac there are thirty-six regiments of cavalry, averaging for the last six months from ten thousand to fourteen thousand men present for duty. The issues of cavalry horses to this army for the same period have been as follows: In May, five thousand six hundred and seventy-three; June, six thousand three hundred and twenty-seven; July, four thousand seven hundred and sixteen; August, five thousand four hundred and ninety-nine; September, five thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven ; October,sevcn thousand and thirtysix—total, thirty-five thousand and seventy-eight. To this number should be added the horses captured from the enemy and taken from citizens, making altogether an average remount every two months. We have now in our service some two hundred and twenty-three regiments of cavalry, which will require, at the same rate as the army of the Potomac, the issue, within the coming year, of four hundred and thirty-five thousand horses. The organization of a cavalry bureau in the War Department, with a frequent and thorough inspection, it was hoped would, in some degree, remedy these evils. To reach the source, however, further legislation may be necessary.
Probably the principal fault is in the treatment of these horses by the cavalry soldiers. Authority should therefore be given to dismount and transfer to the infantry service every man whose horse is, through his own fault or neglect, rendered unfit for service. The same rule might be applied to cavalry officers who fail to maintain the efficiency of their regiments and companies. The vacancies thus created could be filled by corresponding transfers from the regular and volunteer infantry.
By the existing law, the chief adjutant-general, inspector-general, quartermaster, and commissary of any corps are allowed additional rank and pay, while no such allowance is made to the chief engineers, artillery, and ordnance in the same corps. These latter officers hold the same relative positions, and perform duties at least as important and arduous as the others, and the existing distinction is deemed unjust to them.
PRISONERS OF WAR.
On the twenty-second of July, 1862, MajorGeneral Dix and Major-General Hill entered into a cartel for the exchange of prisoners during the existing war, specially stipulating when and where exchanges should be made and how declared, defining the meaning of a parole and the rights and obligations of prisoners under parole, I
and when and how they were to bo released from their obligations.
Special agreements of this kind, modifying and explaining the general laws of war, furnish the rules of conduct for the contracting parties in all cases for which they provide or to which they are applicable. Finding that the rebel authorities were feeding prisoners contrary to these stipulations, they were notified, on the twentysecond of May last, that all paroles not given in the manner prescribed by the cartel, would be regarded as null and void. Nevertheless they continued to extort, by threats and ill-treatment, from our men paroles unauthorized by the cartel, and also refused to deliver our officers and men for exchango in the manner agreed upon, but retained all the colored prisoners and their officers. It is stated that they sold the former into slavery, and sentenced the latter to imprisonment and death for alleged violation of the local State laws. This compelled a resort to retaliatory measures, and an equal number of their prisoners in our hands were selected as hostages for the surrender of those retained by them. All exchanges under the cartel therefore ceased. In violation of general good faith, and of engagements solemnly entered into, the rebel commissioner then proceeded to declare exchanged all his own paroled prisoners, and ordered their return to the ranks of their regiments then in the field, and we are now asked to confirm these acts by opening new accounts and making new lists for exchange, and they seek to enforce these demands by the most barbarous treatment of our officers and men now in their hands.
The rebel prisoners held by the United States have been uniformly treated with consideration and kindness. They have been furnished with all necessary clothing, and supplied with the same quality and amount of food as our own so.diers; while our soldiers, who, by the casualties of war, have been captured by them, have been stripped of their blankets, clothing, and shoes, even in the winter seasons, and then confined in dump and loathsome prisons, and only half fed on damaged provisions, or actually starved to death, while hundreds have terminated their existence, loaded with irons, in filthy prisons. Not a few, after a semblance of trial by some military tribunal, have been actually murdered by their inhuman keepers.
In fine, the treatment of our prisoners of war by the rebel authorities has been even more barbarous than that which Christian captives formerly suffered from the pirates of Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers, and the horrors of Belle Isle and Libby Prison exceed even those of British hulks or the Black Hole of Calcutta; and this atrocious conduct is applauded by the people and commended by the public press of Richmond, as a means of reducing the Yankee ranks. It has been proposed to retaliate upon the enemy by treating his prisoners precisely as he treats ours. Such retaliation is fully justified by the laws and usages of war, and the present case seems to call for the exercise of this extreme right Nevertheless, it is revolting to our sense of humanity to be forced to so cruel an alternative. It is hoped self-interest, if not a sense of justice, may induce the rebels to abandon a course of conduct which must for ever remain a burning disgrace to them and their cause.
It is seen from the foregoing summary of operations, during the past year, that we have repelled every attempt of the enemy to invade the loyal States, and have recovered from his domination Kentucky and Tennessee, and portions of Alabama and Mississippi, and the greater part of Arkansas and Louisiana, and restored the free navigation of the Mississippi River.
Heretofore the enemy has enjoyed great advantages over us in the character of his theatre of war. He has operated on short and safe interior lines, while circumstances have compelled us to occupy the circumference of a circle; but the problem is now changed by the reopening of the Mississippi River. The rebel territory has been actually cut in twain, and we can strike the isolated fragments by operating on safer and more advantageous lines.
Although our victories, since the beginning of the war, may not have equalled the expectations of the more sanguine, we have every reason to be grateful to Divine Providence for the steady progress of our army. In a little more than two years, we have recaptured nearly every important point held by the rebels on the sea-coast, and we have reconquered and now hold military possession of more than two hundred and fifty thousand square miles of territory held at one time by the rebel armies, and claimed by them as a constituent part of their Confederacy.
The extent of country thus recaptured and occupied by our armies is as large as Franco or Austria, or the entire peninsula of Spain and Portugal, and twice as large as Great Britain, or Prussia, or Italy. Considering what we have already accomplished, the present condition of the enemy, and the immense and still unimpaired military resources of the loyal States, we may reasonably hope, with the same measure of success as heretofore, to bring this rebellion to a speedy and final termination.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
Hon. E. M. Stanton,
Secretary of War.
HEiD<jrfiHTK«9 Or THE ARMT, I
Washington, Dec. (J, lsffij. (
Srn: In compliance with your instructions, I submit the following summary of the operations of General Grant's army since my report of the fifteenth ultimo. It appears from the official reports which have been received here, that our loss in the operations of the twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth, and twenty-ninth of October, in reopening communications on the south side of the Tennessee River, from Chattanooga to Bridgeport was seventy-six killed, three hundred and!
thirty-nine wounded, and twenty-two missing. Total, four hundred and thirty-seven.
The estimated loss of the enemy was over one thousand five hundred. As soon as General Grant could get up his supplies, he prepared to advance upon the enemy, who had become weakened by the detachment of General Longstrect's command against Knoxville. General Sherman's army arrived upon the north side of Tennessee River, and during the night of the twenty-third and twenty-fourth of November, established pontoon-bridges and crossed to the south side, between Citto Creek and the Chickamauga.
On the afternoon of the twenty-third, General Thomas's forces attacked the enemy's rifle-pits, between Chattanooga and Citto Creek. The battle was renewed on the twenty-fourth along the whole line. Sherman carried the eastern end of Missionary Ridge up to the tunnel, and Thomas repelled every attempt of the enemy to regain the position which he had lost at the centre, while Hooker's force in Lookout Valley crossed the mountain and drove the enemy from its northern slope. On the twenty-fifth, the whole of .Missionary Ridge, from Rossvillc to the Chickamauga, was, after a desperate struggle, most gallantly carried by our troops, and the enemy completely routed.
Considering the strength of the rebel position, and the difficulty of storming his intrenchments, the battle of Chattanooga must be regarded as one of the most remarkable in history. Not only did the officers and men exhibit great skill and daring in their operations on the field, but the highest praise is also due the Commanding General for his admirable dispositions for dislodging the enemy from a position apparently impregnable. Moreover, by turning his right flank, and throwing him back upon Ringgold and Dalton, Sherman's forces were interposed between Bragg and Longstrect, so as to prevent any possibility of their forming a junction.
Our loss in killed, wounded, and missing is reported at about four thousand. We captured about six thousand prisoners, beside the wounded left in our hands, forty-two pieces of artillery, five thousand or six thousand small arms, and a large train. The enemy's loss in killed and wounded is not known. While Generals Thomas and Hooker pushed Bragg's army into Georgia, General Sherman, with his own and General Granger's forces, was sent into East-Tennessee to prevent the return of Longstrect, and to relievo General Burnsidc, who was then besieged in Knoxville. We have reliable information that General Sherman has successfully accomplished his object, and that Longstrect is in full retreat toward Virginia, but no details have been received in regard to Sherman's operations since ho crossed the Hiawassee River. Of Burnside's defence of Knoxville, it is only known that every attack of the enemy on that place was successfully repulsed. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, H. W. Halleck,
General-in-Chief. Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
Doc. 13. FIGHT AT CAMPBELL'S STATION, TENN.
Knowim.f, Tkn.v., November T, 1868.
TnE first engagement of any consequence between our forces and those of Longstreet, in the retreat to Knoxville, took place yesterday, at Campbell's Station—a little collection of houses on the Kingston road, where it forms a junction with the road to Loudon.
During the night of Sunday, the rebels made three different charges on our position at Lenoir, with the intention of capturing the batteries on the right of our position; but every onset was met and repulsed. In the morning, our troops again took up the march in retreat, and the rebels pushed our rear-guard with so much energy that we were compelled to burn a train of wagons, to obtain the mules to aid in getting away the artillery. Its destruction was necessary, as otherwise we would have been compelled to abandon it to the enemy. One piece of artillery, which had become mired and could not be hauled out by the horses, fell into their hands.
The rear was brought up by General Ferrero" s division of the Ninth corps, and as the progress of the wagon-trains in tho advanco was necessarily slow, no easy duty devolved upon that portion of our column. To check the impetuous pursuit of the rebels was indispensable to the safety of our main body, as well as the wagons, which, in addition to the baggage, carried the subsistence for the march. The result was, that a series of heavy skirmishes ensued along the whole line of the retreat. As we approached Campbell's Station, where it was feared the enemy would endeavor to throw a force upon our Hank, from the direction of Kingston, the division of Colonel Hartrauft was marched through the timber until it came upon the road leading from that point. In a short space of time, the wisdom of the precaution manifested itself; for the rebels soon made their appearance, but too late to execute their object. Colonel Hartrauft skirmished with them, and fell back slowly, fighting as he came. The rebels, at one time, made an effort to flank him, but failed. In this endeavor, they approached so close as to fire a volley directly at him and staff. A brigade of cavalry, under Colonel Biddle, gave material assistance in checking the enemy.
General Bumside, finding that the enemy were pressing hiin so closely as to endanger the trains and extra artillery, which, at the head of the column, still "dragged their slow length along," determined to come into position, to give them battle, and, pending it, to enable the wagons to get well in advance. Accordingly he selected positions for the artillery on commanding eminences to the right and left of the road, which at this point runs through a valley whose slopes are under cultivation, arid consequently cleared of timber. The ground chosen was, in fact, a succession of farms, commencing at Campbell's Station, and flanking either side of the road for a distance of over two miles.
Our guns were in position some time beforo noon, but it was near that hour when the fight became warm. General Ferrero, in falling back on the Loudon road, came in advance of Colonel Hartrauft, and defiling to the right, (it would bo to the left as he marched, but facing the enemy, it was the right,) took up his position in line of battle. Colonel Hartrauft, whose flank was now reenforced by a detachment of General White's command, under Colonel Chapin, came in rear of General Ferrero as he passed the fork of the road, and, marching to the left, came into position on tho southern slope of the valley, Colonel Chapin still holding his position on the flank. A consideration of the whole movement will show with what admirable position each regiment and brigade came into line of battle Indeed, tho evolutions on the field at Campbell's Station have seldom been excelled in beauty and skill. In coming into position, as well as in the succeeding manoeuvres, the commands on both sides, Union as well as rebel, exhibited a degree of discipline which at once betrayed the veterans of many a battle-field. Our troops here found an enemy not unworthy of their steel, in the hands of Longstreet Insignificant as the present fight may appear in comparison with others of this war, it certainly will rank among those in which real generalship was displayed. Every motion, every evolution, was made with tho precision and regularity of the pieces on a chessboard.
The rebels, finding the disposition of our troops to be one which offered battle, readily accepted the gage thrown down to them, and it was not long before their main body was seen advancing from the timber at the end of the clearing in two formidable lines. On they came, alternately surmounting the crests of the little knolls in beautiful undulating lines, and disappearing again into the hollows beneath. Our forces opened at long-range; but still they pressed on, heedless of the shower of bullets which whistled all around them, until they reached a position apparently suitable to them, when they began to return the fire. The rattle of musketry soon became quite lively, and continued for upward of an hour, when it was discovered that, while they had thus engaged us in front, a heavy force was menacing us on both flanks. The steady music of the volley-firing was now mingled with the intermittent shots of the skirmishers, who pushed out upon us from the woods on cither side. Our troops fell back, and tho rebel lines closed in a semi-circle. Still advancing, still pouring in their volleys with the utmost deliberation, the enemy came on, and at length a portion of their column quickened into a charge. Our troops gave way, not in confusion, but in steady line, delivering their fire as they fell back, step by step, to the shelter of the batteries.
Quick as lightning our guns now belched forth from the summits of the hills above. Shell and shrapnel, canister and case, whichever came readiest to hand in the ammunition-chests, were hurled at the serried ranks of the rebels. Our gunners could distinctly see the swathes which their missiles cut in those regiments advancing in solid mass. Benjamin, Rocnicr, Buckley, Gettings, Henshaw, all had full play upon the foe with their pet guns.
As might bo expected, the rebels gave way under this severe fire, but in admirable order, and, falling back again to the cover of the timber, which, in addition, was beyond ordinary range, made their disposition for the renewal of the attack. Heretofore they had fought without artillery. They now brought three batteries into position, and opened from the tops of the knolls, while the infantry deployed upon our flanks once more.
It was now late in the afternoon, the trains had obtained a good start on the road, and so far, General Burnside had obtained his object It was unnecessary, therefore, to hazard, in his present position, the result of the attack to which the rebels were returning with renewed vigor, while a better position was afforded in his rear. lie accordingly fell back about half a mile, to another series of commanding hills, where our batteries again came into position, and the fight was renewed. The second engagement, like the first, was marked by the same stubborn fighting on cither side.
Our forces contested the ground successfully until night terminated the battle, and left them in their chosen position. As the end for which General Burnside had given battle was attained, namely, the checking of the enemy's progress, until our trains were out of danger, and as he was not desirous of risking another engagement until he reached the fortifications at Knoxville, the retreat began once more, and it is reasonable to suppose, as the enemy gave no pursuit until the morning, that they were unaware of the movement, and expected a renewal of the fight on the ground of yesterday.
Despite the briskness and energy with which the fight was carried on, our loss is very small. It will not exceed three hundred, and General Burnside estimated it as low as two hundred.
The enemy have lost far more in comparison— the result of the severe artillery fire to which they were exposed; and one thousand is not far from their number.
I cannot finish my account without alluding to Colonel Chapin's brigade, of the Twenty-third corps, which fought with distinguished valor, and which, though not so long in the service as many of their veteran confrere*, has well earned a place by their side.
Doc. 14. BATTLES AT CHATTANOOGA, TENN.
DESPATCH-IS TO THE WAR DEPARTMENT.
FROM GENERAL GRANT.
[Received 6.40 P.m., Nov. 28,1S68]
Chattaboooa, Tesn., 8 P.m., Nov. 23,1868.
Major-GeneralH. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief': General Thomas's troops attacked the ene
my's left at two P.m. to-day, carried first line of rifle-pits, running over the knoll one thousand two hundred yards in front of Wood's Fort and low ridge to the right of it, taking about two hundred prisoners, besides killed and wounded; our loss small. The troops moved under fire with all the precision of veterans on parade. Thomas's troops will intrench themselves, and hold their position until daylight, when Sherman will join the attack from the mouth of the Chickamauga, and a decisive battle will be fought U. S. Grant,
Chattanooga, Tech., Nov. 24,186$—12 M. Major-General Halleck, General-in-Chief:
Yesterday, at half-past twelve, Granger's and Palmer's corps, supported by Howard's, were advanced directly in front of our fortifications, drove in the enemy's pickets, and carried his first line of rifle-pits between Chattanooga and Citico Creeks. We captured nine commissioned officers and about one hundred and sixty enlisted men. Our loss, about one hundred and eleven.
To-day, Hooker, in command of Geary's division, Twelfth corps, Ostcrhaus's division, Fifteenth corps, and two brigades Fourteenth corps, carried north slope of Lookout Mountain, with small loss on our side, and a loss to the enemy of five hundred or six hundred prisoners; killed and wounded not reported.
There has been continuous fighting from twelve o'clock until after night, but our troops gallantly repulsed every attempt to retake the position. Sherman crossed the Tennessee before daylight this morning, at the mouth of South-Chickamauga, with three divisions of the Fifteenth corps, one division Fourteenth corps, and carried the northern extremity of Missionary Ridge.
General Grant has ordered a general advance in the morning. Our success so far has been complete, and the behavior of the troops admirable. Geo. H. Thomas,
Mq or-General. FROM GENERAL GRANT. [Received 4 A.m., 25th.] Chattanoooa, Tens., Nov. 24,1S68—6 P.m. Major-General Halleck:
The fight to-day progressed favorably. Sherman carried the end of Missionary Ridge, and his right is now at the Tunnel and left at Chickamauga Creek. Troops from Lookout Valley carried the point of the mountain, and now hold the eastern slope and point high up. I cannot yet tell the amount of casualties, but our loss is not heavy. Hooker reports two thousand prisoners taken, besides which a small number have fallen into our hands from Missionary Ridge.
U. S. Grant,
Majur-Utncral. FROM GENERAL GRANT.
[Received 10 P.m.] Chattanooga, Tssfn., Nov. 25,1868—7J P.m. Major-GeneralH. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief: Although the battle lasted from early dawn