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DAN A's, DAVIDSON'S AND GRIER SON's RAIDs.
off his foraging parties; forcing back his cavalry on his infantry. Georgia was swiftly and cheaply traversed, simply by reason of the admirable dispositions which left the enemy in doubt as to his objective, and paralyzed, at Macon, Augusta, Savannah, &c., forces which should have been concentrated to oppose his advance.
Sherman announced his crowning triumph to President Lincoln as follows:
“I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.”
The President responded as fol
lows: “Executive MANsion, “WAs.IIINGTON, D.C., Dec. 26, 1864. “MY DEAR GEN. SHERMAN : “Many, many thanks for your Christmas gift—the capture of Savannah. “When you were about to leave Atlanta for the Atlantic coast, I was anarious, if not fearful; but, feeling that you were the better judge, and remembering that “nothing risked, nothing gained,” I did not interfere. Now, the undertaking being a success, the honor is all yours; for I believe none of us went further than to acquiesce. And, taking the work of Gen. Thomas into the account, as it should be taken, it is indeed a great success. “Not only does it afford the obvious and immediate military advantages, but, in showing to the world that your army could be divided, putting the stronger part to an important new service, and yet leaving enough to vanquish the old opposing forces of the whole—IIood's army—it brings those who sat in darkness to see great light. “Please make my grateful acknowledgments to your whole army, officers and men. “Yours, very truly, A. LINcoLN.”
Two separate expeditions were sent out from the Mississippi to distract the enemy's attention from Sherman, and prevent a concentration against him. One of them, under Gen. Dana, was dispatched from Vicksburg; encountering,” on the Big Black, a
Rebel force which it defeated, after an obstinate fight; destroying several miles of the railroad, including the bridge, with locomotives, cars, cotton, and valuable stores. The other, under Gen. Davidson, moved simultaneously from Baton Rouge to Tangipahoa, where it broke up the same railroad, destroying bridges, &c.; pushing on to Franklinton and West Pascagoula; meeting little resistance, taking some prisoners, and causing alarm for the safety of Mobile. A third and more important mounted expedition was dispatched” by Gen. Dana from Memphis, 3,500 strong, led by Gen. Grierson, southeastward through north Alabama to Tupelo on the Mobile railroad, which was thoroughly broken up southward to Okolona; Col. Karge, by the way, surprising” a Rebel camp at Verona, dispersing the force holding it, capturing 32 cars, 8 warehouses filled with ordnance and supplies, which were being loaded for Hood's army on 200 wagons taken by Forrest from Sturgis at Guntown. All were destroyed. At Okolona, Grierson intercepted” dispatches from Dick Taylor, at Mobile, promising réenforcements, which deserters said would arrive at 11 A. M. next day. He decided, therefore, to attack at daylight, and did so: the Rebels being intrenched at a little station known as Egypt, with 4 guns on platform cars, and some 1,200 to 2,000 men. While the fight, was in progress, two trains came up the road with rêenforcements for the enemy; but Grierson interposed between these and his stationary foes, repelling the former, and routing the latter; capturing and destroying a
* Nov. 25. * Dec. 21.
* 27 Dec. 25. * Dec. 27.
train, taking 500 prisoners, and dispersing the force at Egypt. Among their killed was Gen. Gholson.
Making feints in different directions, Grierson now moved southwestward ; striking the Mississippi Central at Winona, and tearing it up for miles on either hand; while the 4th Iowa pushed south to Bankston, destroying there Confederate cloth and shoe factories. Grierson moved from Winona to Benton; where Col. Osband engaged and defeated Col. Wood's Rebel cavalry. The expedition made its way thence to Vicks. burg with 500 prisoners, 800 beeves, and 1,000 negroes; having destroyed immense amounts of Rebel property, most of it of great military value, including 95 cars, 300 wagons, 30 full warehouses, &c., with a total loss of 27 killed, 93 wounded, 7 missing. Among its prisoners were 100 who had been recruited from among our men famishing in Rebel prison-camps, who had taken this course to save their lives.
Gen. Foster, commanding on the Sea Islands, being directed by Gen. IHalleck to make a demonstration inland in behalf of Gen. Sherman, who was expected near Pocotaligo at the end of November, was enabled to spare from his various garrisons but 5,000 men for this service. At the head of this force, he ascended Broad river on steamboats, landing” at Boyd's Neck; immediately pushing out Gen. J. P. Hatch to seize the Charleston and Savannah railroad near Grahamsville. Hatch, missing the way, failed to reach the railroad that day, and was confronted, next morning, by a strong Rebel force
* Nov. 30.
* Dec. 6.
intrenched on Honey hill, covering Grahamsville and the railroad. As saulting this, he was stoutly fought and worsted, recoiling at nightfall; having suffered a loss of 746 in killed, wounded, and missing.
Foster now threw two brigades, under Gen. E. E. Potter, across the Coosawhatchie to Devaux Neck, be: tween the two branches of Broad river, whence Potter advanced and seized” a position within cannon-shot of the railroad, which he fortified and held, while the rest of Foster's mov. able column was brought up to his support. Here, Foster received" his first news of Sherman's appearance before Savannah, and proceeded at once to the Ogeechee to meet him. By Sherman's direction, he held on to his position; and, after Hardee had fled past to Charleston, he occupied without resistance the Rebel works at Pocotaligo, and at the railroad cross. ings of the Coosawhatchie and Tulli. finny. Gen. Foster was preparing to operate, under Sherman's orders, against Charleston, when he was relieved—because of his suffering from an unhealed wound—by Gen. Gillmore.
Gen. Sherman remained over a month at Savannah, resting and refitting his army preparatory to further and more arduous efforts. He had intended to resumehisadvanceon the 15th of January, 1865; at which time, accordingly, the 17th corps, Gen. F. P. Blair, was taken by water around by Hilton Head to Poo taligo, whence it menaced Charles. ton; as the left wing, Gen. Slocum; with Kilpatrick's cavalry, moved up the Savannah to Sister's ferry, *Dec. 12.
threatening an advance on Augusta —Gen. Sherman thus pursuing his favorite strategy of dividing the enemy's forces and distracting his attention from his real objective, so as to prevent a concentration to resist him in the difficult, inhospitable region through which his course lay. Incessant rains, which flooded most of the adjacent country, giving the Savannah at Sister's ferry a surface width of nearly three miles, submerging the causeway road, and breaking up Gen. Slocum’s pontoon-bridge, compelled a delay of a fortnight; during which, Savannah was made over” to Gen. Foster: Gen. Grover's division of the 19th corps having been sent by Gen. Grant to form its garrison. Some feints were made from Pocotaligo of an advance on Charleston; Foster's position between the Coosawhatchie and Tullifinny abandoned as no longer of use; and at length— the flood having somewhat abated— Sherman's whole army moved” nearly northward; Slocum, with Kilpatrick, crossing the Savannah at Sister's ferry or Purysburg, and moving on Barnwell and Beaufort's bridge, threatening Augusta; while the right wing, keeping for some distance west of the Combahee and Salkehatchie, should cross at Rivers's and at Beaufort's bridges and push rapidly for the Edisto; thus flanking Charleston and compelling its precipitate evacuation by the enemy, after they should have been kept paralyzed so long as might be in apprehension of a siege. Southern South Carolina is so inveterately and generally a swamp, and was now so sodden and covered with water, that the belief was common among her people that for an
army, with its trains, to traverse her whole extent, from south-west to north-east, in mid-wiriter, was a physical impossibility. Yet, to provide against the chance of Sherman's proving able to overcome the resistance of the elements, Gov. Magrath had, by proclamation, summoned” to the field as militia every White male in the State between the ages of 16 and 60, not already in the service; proclaiming that those who did not voluntarily come out should be forced out, and that all former exemptions would be disregarded. Ample time had been afforded for felling her abundant trees across her narrow roads—that being about the last conspicuous service which her slaves were constrained to render to their masters. Wheeler's troopers hovered around our advance, watching for chances; while a brigade of infantry lay behind the Salkehatchie at Rivers's bridge, prepared to dispute its passage. This, however, was brushed” aside by a turning movement from below—to make which, Mower's and G. A. Smith's divisions of Blair's corps waded through a swamp three miles wide, covered with water, one to four feet deep— the weather having become bitterly cold—the two Generals wading at the head of their men. Once over, the Rebels were quickly driven off in disorder, retreating behind the Edisto at Branchville: our loss here being 18 killed and 70 wounded. Our infantry pressed rapidly after them; the enemy burning the bridges over the Edisto while our men broke up the South Carolina railroad for many miles; and Kilpatrick, skirmishing heavily with Wheeler,
* Jan. 18, 1865. * Feb. 1,
* Dec. 29, 1864. * Feb. 3, 1865.
moved by Barnwell and Blackville to Aiken, threatening Augusta. Thus, by the 11th, our whole army was on the line of the railroad aforesaid, tearing it up, and holding apart the enemy's forces covering Augusta on one hand and Charleston on the other. Our right was now directed on Orangeburg; the 17th corps crossing the South Edisto at Binnaker's bridge, while the 15th crossed at Holman's bridge, farther up; the two approaching at Poplar Spring: the 17th moving swiftly on Orangeburg bridge over the South Edisto, and carrying it by a dash; the enemy trying to burn it with but partial success. A battery was in position behind it, covered by a parapet of cotton and earth, with wings extending so far as could be seen. Blair confronted it with G. A. Smith's division, and sent his other two to a point two miles below, where pontoons were quickly laid and Force's division crossed; Mower's holding the bridge as a support. When Force emerged from the swamp on the right flank of the Rebels at Orangeburg, they gave way; when Smith pushed over; occupied their works, repaired the bridge; and by 4 P. M. the whole corps was in and around Orangeburg, tearing up the railroad leading to Columbia; pressing thence, so soon as possible, on that metropolis, regardless of Branchville or Charleston on their right; as Sherman knew that, being thus flanked, they must be abandoned rather than run the obvious risk of losing the troops by whom they were held. The 15th corps was again resisted” at the crossing of the Congaree; where the bridge was swept by the
guns of a substantial fort on the north side, with a smaller work or bridge-head on the south : the approach being over level, open ground, covered with mud from the recent inundation. Gen. Chas. R. Woods, whose division had the advance, turned the bridge-head by sending up Stone's brigade through a cypress swamp on the left; when the enemy decamped, after having fired but not destroyed the bridge, which was promptly repaired; so that our guns were brought over, and at night the head of the column bivouacked near the fine bridge over the Congaree leading into Columbia, which was fired and consumed as our van approached it next morning. The left wing, under Slocum, had found the crossing of the swollen Savannah so difficult, that it was not entirely clear of that river till the 7th ; but it had encountered thenceforth very little resistance; Wheeler's cavalry being the only force that infested its march, and this being kept quite busy by Kilpatrick alone. Augusta was full of Rebel stores; and, in painful apprehension of a visit from Sherman, was defended by such Georgians as could be mustered for militia; but Sherman had no notion of molesting or being molested by them. The shattered remnant of Hood's army—once more consigned to Jo. Johnston—was making its way, under Cheatham, from north Mississippi across Sherman's track through Georgia to his front in the Carolinas, but was not yet near enough to give us trouble: so Slocum, unvexed by any obstacle but the necessity of corduroying the interminable swamps he must traverse, crossed the South
* Feb. 15.